Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

To improve accessibility individual documents published after 1 May 2020 are available as HTML pages where their original format supports this

Speaking at a Council or Committee meeting

Venue: Remote (Zoom)

Contact: Tom Hudson, Scrutiny Officer  email

Link: View the link


No. Item



Substitutes are not permitted.


Councillor Andrew Gant tendered apologies for the meeting


Declarations of Interest




Finance and Performance Work Plan pdf icon PDF 4 KB

Attached is the recommended work plan for the Panel.

The Panel has two meetings in August and September each with one item on the agenda. The August report, Social Value in Procurement Update, is not time sensitive. The Panel is recommended, therefore, to agree to delay consideration of it until September and cancel the August meeting.

NB The work plan has a shorter horizon than in previous years as the main Scrutiny Committee is taking a more flexible approach which means it is unable to commit longer in advance to the topics it will consider.


The Panel were informed that with changes to the Forward Plan the September meeting would coincide with the Treasury Management report and Integrated Performance Report Q1. As such, the recommendation in the agenda – to combine the August and September meetings – no longer was possible and that the meetings should remain as scheduled, with the Treasury Management and Integrated Performance Reports added to the September agenda.


Notes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 360 KB

Attached are the notes of the meeting held on 27 January 2021. The Panel is asked to agree the notes as an accurate record having made any necessary amendments.

NB This includes confidential notes.

Additional documents:


The notes of the meeting held on 27 January 2021 were AGREED as a correct record.


Outturn and Performance Report 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 512 KB

The Outturn and Performance Report attached will be considered by Cabinet on 21July 2021. Nigel Kennedy, Head of Financial Services, and Anna Winship, Management Accounting Manager, will be available to present the report to the Panel and respond to any questions.

The Panel is asked to note the report, having any agreed any recommendations to Cabinet arising from it.

Additional documents:


Anna Winship, Financial Accounting Manager, presented the Financial Outturn Report 2020/21 to the Panel.

Headline figures showed a deficit of a little over £2m for the General Fund owing to the effect of Covid, with the recommendation being that, as previously agreed, the deficit would be covered by the use of reserves. The level of reserves stood at £68.4m, of which 17% was reserved for Covid-related costs. It was hoped, however, that reserves in later years would be replenished. The HRA showed a favourable variance of £8.4m, with £1.9m to be carried forward and £6.5m being transferred to the HRA reserves for future capital spending. Capital Spending stood at £68.8m, a favourable variance against the latest budget forecast of almost £10m.

Within the General Fund most service areas reliant on income were showing adverse variance owing to having not achieved the expected income targets. Big drops in income were noted particularly with regards to Building Control, Community Services (particularly the Town Hall), car parking and corporate property. Bad debt provision was being made for the income not received in the last year from the Council’s corporate tenants. Further, no interim dividend was declared by ODS.  In addition, the local cost of benefits showed an adverse variance of £0.85m, arising from loss of subsidy due to local authority error of around £350k (0.5% of total spend and a figure lower than many recent years) and a reduction in overpayment income raised compared to last year, due to increases in benefit entitlement and reduced ability to collect arrears, all in relation to COVID 19. Favourable figures relating to interest payable arose because of not having to borrow as much as anticipated. Another favourable variance, on funding arose because higher losses from car parking meant an increase in government support for lost sales, fees and charges. Although presenting as a favourable variance, overall the recompense of the government did not cover losses which precipitated the government support.

Councillor Amar Latif joined the meeting at this point

In response the Panel raised a number of questions, including the degree to which income losses could certainly be apportioned to Covid and not be masking alternative issues. Officer views were of the view that losses in income were directly attributable, the rapid rise non-payment of rent in commercial properties, the closure of the Town Hall and loss of income, and the precipitous drop in car parking coinciding precisely with Covid. Future expectations of commercial property arrears were discussed, with the existing bad debt provision being expected to be fully used. When setting the budget, a long-term impairment of income of £2m was forecast. Other income streams were anticipated to bounce back more fully and swiftly.

When set against other authorities Oxford’s position, though not easy, was better than many. In the last week a further Council, Slough Borough Council, had had to issue a s.114 notice, declaring its inability to deliver a balanced budget. The Audit Committee had also raised similar questions,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Scrutiny-selected Performance Monitoring pdf icon PDF 134 KB

The Panel is asked to consider a report on how it wishes to discharge its performance monitoring function at future meetings. The Panel is recommended to:

1)    AGREE to have Performance Monitoring as a standing item on the agenda, where written questions or invitations to relevant officers to attend the next meeting can be agreed, and previous written responses considered.

2)    AGREE fifteen to twenty-five KPIs for consideration throughout the civic year.


Additional documents:


The report was introduced by Tom Hudson, Scrutiny Officer. In setting up the Finance and Performance Panel the Scrutiny Committee had included within the Panel’s remit responsibility for performance monitoring. Historically, the Panel had considered Cabinet papers of the Integrated Performance Report, but had also identified a suite of its own indicators to consider on a regular basis. The Panel was asked to make a change to previous performance monitoring, which had been undertaken by one officer trying to respond in-depth questions on areas beyond their own service. It was AGREED by the Panel that performance monitoring would be a standing item on the agenda, but that it would not be presented by an officer. Instead, the Panel would at that point agree questions to relevant officers for written responses, or invite the relevant officers to talk at the following meeting.

Concerning which measures to track, the Panel AGREED that the most time efficient way to agree measures would be for Panel members to send their list of up to 25 measures to the Scrutiny Officer by e mail, and for a composite list to be created from the responses.

A modification was requested to the performance monitoring report template, with previous years’ performance included (where available). Further, it was AGREED by the Panel that it was important that they understood the basis by which the targets were set, and that this process be explained to them by a relevant officer at the next meeting.



Dates of next meeting

Further Finance and Performance Panel meetings are scheduled for:


-       02 Aug 21*

-       06 Sept 21

-       08 Dec 21

-       24 Jan 22

-       09 Mar 22


*Recommended to be cancelled


The dates of the next meetings were NOTED.