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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 2 - County Hall, Durham. View directions

Contact: Lucy Gladders  03000 269712

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors K Hawley, H Liddle, A Shield, H Smith and A Willis.

2.

Substitute Members

Minutes:

Councillor J Nicholson substituted for Councillor A Shield.

3.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

4.

Medium Term Financial Plan (9), 2019/20 to 2022/23 and 2019/20 Budget - Report of the Corporate Director of Resources pdf icon PDF 241 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Board received an overview of the 16 January 2019 MTFP(9) Cabinet report from the Head of Corporate Finance and Commercial Services  . The overview covered the MTFP(9) period from 2019/20 to 2022/23 and 2019/20 Budget (for copy see file of minutes).

 

The Head of Strategy referred to Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Management Board held in September 2018 where members discussed in detail the July MTPF Cabinet report and raised several points for consideration by Cabinet. A summary of the discussion at COSMB was forwarded to Cabinet highlighting the issues and a copy of the response received from Councillor Napier together with a response from Councillor Stephens had been circulated prior to the meeting.

 

Councillor Robinson referred to the spend on care in the community and adaptations to enable people to continue living in their home environment, however he questioned the cost of equipment that was not returned.  He also queried whether a £19m reduction in Public Health Grant would put pressure on statutory services such as Health Visitors and he suggested that Cabinet were supported in stressing the impact on services, should the Public Health Grant be reduced.

 

The Chairman referred to the recently published NHS 10-year plan and the proposal that a review of Public Health would result in public health services going back to the NHS. There was a worry that this would have an impact on funding for social care.

 

The Head of Corporate Finance and Commercial Services confirmed that providing assistance to enable people to live at home was significantly less than the cost of social care.   A £19m cut would be a 40% reduction, however if a cap was introduced to ensure that no local authority was reduced by more than 10% this would at least protect the position of public health to some extent.

 

Councillor Clarke referred to the shortfall with regards to the High Needs Dedicated Schools Grant budget and the concerns expressed at Council around meeting this shortfall from the General Fund Budget Support Reserve.  He was concerned that the reserve could diminish rapidly as a result of pressures on the High Needs Dedicated School Grant (HNDSG) and this was presuming there would be no extra pressures from the impact of Brexit.  The Head of Corporate Finance and Commercial Services agreed that it was important to maintain reserves, however children’s social care budget had increased by £20m in two years, which showed the volatility of this area.  He added that the overspend in the children’s social care budget in 2017/18 had resulted in the Councils first overspend since local government reorganisation, eight years prior.

 

The Chairman agreed that the Council’s approach in retaining reserves was the correct stance as many succumbed to public pressure or advice from government to use them.  Despite assurances that austerity was over, this was not the case in Durham.

 

Councillor Adam referred to the increase in staff costs due to increases in pay and noted that although positive for staff, it may have a negative effect  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

 

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