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Agenda and minutes

Venue: County Hall, Durham

Contact: Lucy Gladders  03000 269712

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors J Chaplow, K Hawley, L Maddison, J Makepeace, C Potts, J Robinson, M Simmons and F Tinsley

 

2.

Substitute Members

Minutes:

Councillor D Freeman for Councillor M Simmons

3.

Minutes of the meeting held on 17 December 2018 and 22 January 2019 pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meetings held on 17 December 2018 and 22 January 2019 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

 

Matters Arising

 

With regards to matters arising, the Head of Strategy confirmed the following;

 

17 December 2018

Minute no. 6, in relation to comments made by Councillor Shield on the re-employment of staff. It was noted that of our 3000 plus ER/VRs since 2011, 85 junior staff had been re-employed. Most were in part time or temporary positions such as library and election assistants.

 

Further discussion ensued as to whether any senior staff had been made redundant and then re-employed.

 

Minute no. 5, with regard to information on savings achieved, it was noted that this would be picked up in the next quarterly finance update report.

 

 

 

 

Minute no. 6,

-       It was noted that in response to information requested from Councillor Wilkes, six services had exceeded the average time taken to answer the phone, the highest being 34 seconds over the 60 second target.

-       In response to a question from Councillor Jopling regarding whether the council offered zero-hour contracts it was confirmed that the council did not employ staff on such contracts.

 

Minute no. 7, regarding a query relating to contamination notices requested by Councillor Wilkes, a response from the Customer Relation Team Manager was read.

 

22 January 2019

 

Minute no. 4, In response to a query raised by Councillor Boyes regarding financial incentives from other local authorities to move into County Durham, it was noted that many schools in Durham did have high turnover rates and this was continually monitored, however the service had no evidence of incentives but would continue to monitor.

 

The Chairman added that the following amendment be made to paragraph 4 Item number 4 of the minutes of 22 January 2019 as follows:

 

“There was a worry that this could have an impact on funding for social care”.

 

4.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

5.

Report on the Council's use of powers under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 - Quarter 3 - 2018/2019 pdf icon PDF 127 KB

Minutes:

The Board considered a report of the Head of Legal and Democratic Services which informed members about the Council’s use of powers under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (‘RIPA’) during the period 1 October 2018 until December 2018 (Quarter 3) to ensure that it is being used consistently with the Council’s policy and that the policy remains fit for purpose (for copy see file of Minutes).

 

The Governance Solicitor advised that during Q3 there had been three RIPA Directed Surveillance applications, two of which were authorised by the Court. Further details were provided regarding the application which was refused and the reasons for this.

 

Resolved: That the quarterly report on the Council’s use of RIPA for the period 1 October 2018 until 30 December 2018 be received and note that it is being used consistently with the Council’s policy and that it remains fit for purpose.

 

6.

Medium Term Financial Plan 2019/20 to 2022/23 and Revenue and Capital Budget 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 137 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Board considered a joint report of the Corporate Director Resources and Director of Transformation and Partnerships which provided an update on the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) including the Cabinet report of 6 February 2019 relating to the Medium Term Financial Plan (9) 2019/20 to 2022/23 and Revenue and Capital Budget 2019/20.

 

The report further provided a final opportunity for Members of COSMB to scrutinise the Council’s Medium Term Financial Plans prior to consideration by full Council (for copy see file of Minutes).

 

The Head of Corporate Finance and Commercial Services provided an update to the Board on information relating to the local government settlement, the Fair Funding Review and Capital Programme.

 

It was reported that the Fair Funding Review was scheduled for implementation from April 2020 alongside a move to 75% Business Rates Retention (BRR), however there was no certainty as to future local authority funding allocations beyond this point, nor how it would be distributed. It was noted that should the government adopt an Advisory Council for Resource Allocation (ACRA) methodology to apportion Public Health funding then the council would be the biggest loser of any authority in the country.

 

The Head of Corporate Finance and Commercial Services did however note some good news in respect of additional one off funding to be received in relation to Winter Pressures and Social Care funding for 2019/20. Details were also provided regarding the government intention to reimburse authorities who would experience negative Revenue Support Grant (RSG) and would result in additional resources for those authorities and increase their Core Spending Power (CSP). Further information regarding the RSG reduction for 2019/20 and the savings required were details within paragraph 12 and 13 of the report.

 

Moving on to Council Tax, the Head of Corporate Finance and Commercial Services advised that the government had confirmed that the maximum the Council Tax can be increased by before a public referendum is required was 3%. In addition, however the council had the option to increase it by a further 2% for an adult and social care precept. This being the last year of the three year arrangement agreed by government.

 

Moving on to the analysis of the settlement received in December, the Head of Corporate Finance and Commercial Services referred members to paragraph 36 of the report and further information which had been received as part of the consultation process regarding adjustments for Negative RSG. He noted that many of the beneficiaries would be district councils. Table 2 highlighted the main beneficiaries, noting the comparisons to Durham. It was reported that, the governments Core Spending Power (CSP) per dwelling calculation for Durham was now significantly less than the England average. The Head of Corporate Finance and Commercial Services noted that if Durham’s CSP was brought up to the England authority average of £1,908 per dwelling, the council would annually receive additional government grant of £44 million. However, despite Durham being a relatively deprived area the authority has a lower spending power than more  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Notice of Key Decisions pdf icon PDF 118 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Board considered a report of the Head of Legal and Democratic Services, which provided details of the key decisions that were scheduled to be considered by the Executive (for copy see file of Minutes).

 

The Senior Committee Services Officer advised new to the plan was the inclusion of the 2019/20 General Fund Revenue & Capital, MTFP(9), Council Plan & Service Plans and the School Admission Arrangements for Academic Year 2020/21

 

Resolved: That the content of the report be noted.

 

8.

Information Update from the Chairs of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees pdf icon PDF 143 KB

Minutes:

The Board considered a report of the Director of Transformation and Partnerships which provided an update on overview and scrutiny activity from 17 December 2018 – 13 February 2019 (for copy see file of Minutes).

 

Resolved: That the content of the report be noted.

 

 

 

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