Policy & Finance Cabinet Member – Minutes – 13 July 2015

2          (2) VIREMENTS 2015-16The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which sought approval for changes to revenue and capital budgets for 2015-16 as part of the council’s policy of active budget management.

On 24 February 2015 Council approved the revenue and capital budgets for the 2015/16 financial year.  The report gave details of virements that required Cabinet Member approval.

Resolved – (a) That the virements at paragraph 3.1 of the report be approved.

3    (3) NATIONAL NON-DOMESTIC RATE RELIEF APPLICATIONS AND MONITORING – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which sought consideration of the level of National Non-Domestic Rate (NNDR) relief to be awarded to ratepayers in North Lincolnshire and to inform the Cabinet Member of the latest forecast of the level of Business Rates Collection and its impact on council finances.

The council could retain a portion of the business rates it collected and this was made up of the baseline funding allocated to the council each year and a portion of any gain or loss in collection.  If business rates increased the council would retain 37%.  A safety net mechanism ensured that the council would, at worst, retain 92.5% of its baseline funding if business rates fell but would be responsible for 49% of any loss in collection below the government’s estimate until this safety net was reached.

The actual amount of collectable business rates for 2014/15 was £84.9m.  The amount of collectable business rates assumed in the 2015/16 budget was £89.5m and the increase was largely due to growth in the total rateable value of businesses in the area.

This meant that the level of NNDR reliefs had a much larger impact on the council’s finances than before.  The attached schedule to the report, appendix B, showed 5 new applications for rate relief and 7 reviews where the recommended level of relief for 2015/16 differed from the current relief.

Resolved – (a) That the level of rate relief set out in the schedule attached to the report be awarded to each applicant, and (b) that the outturn position for 2014/15 on business rate collection be noted.

4          (4)  POLICY AND RESOURCES DIRECTORATE PLAN AND PERFOMANCE TARGETS 2015-16 – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which sought approval of the 2015/16 directorate plan and performance targets for Policy and Resources.

Annual Directorate plans were produced to help ensure that the key actions in the North Lincolnshire strategy were delivered.  It was explained that the directorate plan had had a light touch update to reflect service priorities for 2015/16 and was attached as appendix 1 to the report.

The North Lincolnshire strategy and the directorate plan were both measured by a number of key performance indicators. The proposed set of indicators for the directorate and their target attainment for 2015/16 were detailed in Appendix 2.

The North Lincolnshire strategy was approved in July 2014 and set out the council vision, priorities and aims to change outcomes for all people living and working in the area and was due to be updated to reflect the changing local government landscape and progress made over the last year.

The plan was a live document that would continue to be developed and improved to reflect progress that was being made.  The directorate plan would be revisited and updated to reflect any changes arising from the refreshed council strategy.

Resolved – (a) That the Policy and Resources Directorate Plan (appendix 1) be approved, and (b) that the performance indicators and associated targets that measure the directorate plan (appendix 2) be approved.

5          (5)  CONSULTANCY USAGE: QUARTER 4 2014/2015 – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report to advise on the consultancy usage for the fourth quarter of 2014/2015, to highlight the consultancy usage to support major projects within North Lincolnshire and to advise on the overall effectiveness.

The protocol for managing consultancy was introduced as part of a package of cost management measures in 2011. The protocol required services to report their use of consultants on a quarterly basis. This reporting requirement was formally adopted as part of the council’s updated contract procedure rules in May 2012.

It was widely recognised that the provision of specialist expert advice was essential for the successful delivery of major projects and effective management of potentially high cost risk exposure. Examples of major council projects requiring specialist advice included:

–               Building Schools for the Future

–               University Technical College (UTC)

–               Waste Treatment

–               Capital Programme

For the purpose of this report the term “consultancy” was used to describe the procurement of highly specialised subject matter expertise which the council did not possess in-house or where an independent opinion was required. Examples included specialist environmental surveys, technical analysis and advice on essential legal requirements such as Construction Design and Management (CDM) regulation compliance.

The report set out a summary of consultancy usage and detailed findings were presented at Appendix A.

Resolved – That the findings set out in the report for Quarter 42014/15 be noted.

6          (6)  CONTRACT AWARD INFORMATION 2014-2015 – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which provided a summary of the contracts awarded by the council during the financial year 2014/15.

During 2014/15 a total of 178 tendering exercises were undertaken resulting in 168 contracts being awarded to 197 companies. Of these, 38 tendering exercises were over £100,000. 38.7% of all contracts were awarded to suppliers based within North Lincolnshire. A detailed analysis was set out in appendix 1, and appendix 2 set out the details of the specific contracts awarded directly by the council in 2014/15.

Specific findings regarding the geographic location of successful tenders was set out in paragraph 2.5 of the report.

Resolved – That the findings for 2014/15 set out in the report and associated appendices be noted.