The Committee considered the Council’s overall performance and financial position for the period ended 31 March (“Fourth Quarter 2020/21”).
Members congratulated Keith Pointon on his appointment as Head of Finance.
Reference was made to the service areas with significant underspends as set out in paragraph 2.5 of the report. With reference to Carelink, members were advised that the underspend was as a result of increased income arising from the new Carelink model.
Clarity was sought around the COVID grant funding, together with the implications for leisure services and Pavilion Gardens, particularly around parking income, the withdrawal of furlough etc. Covid grant had been used to offset income losses and additional costs in 2020/21, but it was early in the financial year 2021/22 to accurately predict any ongoing impact. It was further suggested that a training session / briefing session be held for all three scrutiny committees after the summer around the Council’s Covid Recovery Plan.
The implications for the parking income with the loss of the undercroft at Pavilion Gardens was queried, to which an update would be provided in due course.
Members were advised that the Statement of Accounts were being drawn up, and some business grants would go to earmarked reserves for distribution this year.
Around performance, concerns were expressed regarding the way in which a contract to replace gas pipes on Gamesley was being undertaken, and reference made to a recent serious accident. Members were advised that the work was being undertaken by a sub-contractor on behalf of National Grid, and not the Council, but agreed to refer the issue to the Health and Safety Advisor and DCC.
Regarding street cleaning, the standards used to achieve grades would be circulated. In response to comments around why only 75% of high risk premises had been inspected, it was noted that this due to a number of premises being shut during the pandemic. Training for contracted staff was discussed.
With reference to the new layout of the report, members commented that there should be more reference to areas for improvement together with a link to the action plan and a clearer reference to targets.
1. That the Fourth Quarter 2020/21 financial, procurement and performance position detailed in Appendices A, B and C and summarised at paragraph 3.3 of the covering report be noted;
2. That the Executive be recommended to approve the allocation of the surplus on the General Fund Revenue Account to reserves as explained in Appendix A (paragraph 2.11);
3. That the Executive be recommended to approve the proposal to carry forward unspent revenue budget as described in Appendix A (Paragraph 2.14);
4. That the Executive be recommended to approve the proposals to carry forward unspent capital budget as set out in Appendix A (paragraph 6.5 and 7.5);
5. That the Executive be recommended to approve the write offs as set out in Appendix D;
6. That a training session be arranged for all three scrutiny committees around the Council’s Covid recovery Plan.