(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Burns)
Report of the Head of Democratic Services.
The Head of Democratic Services submitted a report advising Cabinet of options for reducing expenditure on the Civic Programme in 2009/10.
The budgets for Civic Receptions and Mayoral Functions and for floral decorations at Civic Events were detailed in the report, with options for reducing expenditure. The options, options analysis, including risk assessment, were set out in the report as follows:
Visit by Civic Heads of Lancashire
Option 1 – not to hold the event at all, producing a saving of at least £500. The content of the event is personal to each Mayor and the event in 2008 cost over £900 due to the requirement to hire a coach.
Option 2 - to hold a small scale event based in Lancaster Town Hall comprising an afternoon reception with tea and coffee and a tour of the building. This could be run on similar lines to the reception for overseas students held in 2008, tying in a tourism presentation to publicise the district.
Option 1 – Not to hold a celebratory reception at the end of the Annual Council meeting. This would produce a saving in excess of £3,000.
Option 2 – To reduce the number of guests being invited to a reception on the same basis as in previous years, eg a three course lunch. Reducing the number of invitees by half would produce a saving of over £1,500. A separate report on the Lancaster Town Hall Centenary celebrations for 2009 has already identified that a reduction in the number of guests would produce a saving which could then be utilised to enhance the Heritage and Lancaster Unlocked weekends.
Option 3 – To set a total budget allocation for this event, say £1,000 or £2,000 and with the agreement of the Mayor choose a reduced level of catering, e.g a buffet rather than a served meal. Numbers would be invited according to the budget allocation.
Attendance at the Royal Garden Party in London
The City Council applies annually for the full allocation of four places to attend the Royal Garden Parties in London in July. The City Council at present pays for a short break to London for the four guests, usually the Mayor and Mayoress/Consort and the Deputy Mayor and their Mayoress/Escort. The cost of the break includes hotel accommodation and rail travel and in 2008 cost the City Council £683.03. The Council then also covers the cost of food and travel (eg taxi fares) whilst in London, raising the cost of this to approximately £840.
Option 1 – that the City Council applies for the allocation of 4 tickets to enable attendance at the Royal Garden Party in London, but that the cost of attending is covered by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor from within their allocated Mayoral Allowances should they wish to attend.
Option 2 - that the City Council does not apply for the allocation of tickets and is not represented at the Royal Garden Party in London.
The budget for floral decorations, currently estimated at £2,300 for the 2009/2010 financial year could be deleted. Limited floral decoration could be provided from the remaining Civic Receptions and Mayoral Functions budget allocation for specific events where required.
There is no officer preferred option. Members need to understand however that this budget has been substantially reduced over the years and all events reviewed to ensure that they provide value for money. It would not be possible to continue to provide the same level of events at reduced costs. Savings can be made, but only by cutting a specific event or making major alterations to events.
It was moved by Councillor Blamire and seconded by Councillor Gilbert:-
“(1) That the budget for floral decorations, currently estimated at £2,300 for the 2009/2010 financial year, be deleted.”
Members then voted:-
(1) That the budget for floral decorations, currently estimated at £2,300 for the 2009/2010 financial year, be deleted.
It was moved by Councillor Gilbert and seconded by Councillor Archer:-
“(2) That the number of guests being invited to a reception on the same basis as in previous years, (eg a three course lunch) be reduced and that Elected Members and their guests be charged for their lunch.”
Members then voted:-
(6 Members (Councillors Archer, Blamire, Bryning, Charles, Gilbert and Kerr) voted in favour and 3 Members (Councillors Barry, Fletcher and Mace) abstained.
(2) That the number of guests being invited to a reception on the same basis as in previous years, (eg a three course lunch) be reduced and that Elected Members and their guests be charged for their lunch.
Councillor Blamire proposed and Councillor Barry seconded:
“(3) That a budget of £8,400 be allocated to the Civic Programme for 2009/10 for the Mayor to prioritise.”
Members then voted as follows:-
(3) That a budget of £8,400 be allocated to the Civic Programme for 2009/10 for the Mayor to prioritise.
Officers responsible for effecting the decisions:
Head of Democratic Services
Reasons for making the decisions:
The decisions allows savings to be made without reducing the Mayoral profile.
The meeting adjourned for lunch at 12.30pm and reconvened at 1.00pm.