Agenda and minutes
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Venue: St Aldate's Room - Oxford Town Hall. View directions
Contact: Alice Courtney, Scrutiny Officer email DemocraticServices@oxford.gov.uk
Note: This meeting will not be live streamed
Declarations of Interest
The Finance and Performance Panel is asked to note its work plan and agree any amendments.
Cllr Latif joined the meeting.
The Panel noted the Work Plan and requested that the Scrutiny Officer seek an alternative date for the Panel meeting in September 2022, due to availability of the Chair.
The Medium Term Financial Strategy 2023-24 to 2026-27 will be considered by Cabinet on 13 July 2022. Nigel Kennedy, Head of Financial Services will attend to present the report and answer questions.
The Panel is asked to consider the report and agree any recommendations it wishes to make to Cabinet.
Nigel Kennedy, Head of Financial Services presented the report, which set out the budget setting strategy for the forthcoming Medium Term Financial Plan 2023-24 to 2026-27. In response to questions, the Head of Financial Services confirmed that:
· A report setting out the lessons learnt from the QL system failure was being prepared and would be presented to the Audit and Governance Committee in due course. The Council was approximately 6 weeks behind schedule on getting the QL system back up and running as intended, but it was anticipated it would be ‘business as usual’ in the first week of August 2022.
· He would provide a list of all non-statutory services and their budgetary costs, together with information about external funding where relevant. He added that he expected the £5.5m budget deficit to widen as a result of increased costs (e.g. increased energy costs).
· There was limited scope to draw on reserves to plug the budget deficit. He added that no further COVID-19 related support was expected from central Government.
· He would produce a report for the Finance and Performance Panel related to the cost-benefit of the Council’s transformation programme. This would include a list of savings which had already been achieved and the savings anticipated from current and future work to ensure that savings were not being counted more than once.
· No additional dividend was expected from OCHL, therefore no assumptions were included around that. The last OCHL dividend was expected in 2025/26 and any dividend beyond then was uncertain – however the position would be clearer in September when OCHL produced the next iteration of its Business Plan.
· Any income from OxWED LLP or South Oxford Science Village LLP was not included in the current strategy; it was too early to make any assumptions as those ventures were still being developed.
· The rise in corporate costs was as a result of an increase in Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) due to increased lending; however the position was an improvement on the original assumptions as MRP seemed to focus more on commercial loans rather than all loans.
· No assumptions were included in the strategy around increases to utilities costs, therefore the budget deficit was expected to increase.
· He would explore the presentation of the information in the tables – particularly whether it could be highlighted which categories certain aspects (e.g. utilities and salaries) came under and the nature of risk associated with them.
· There had been no news from the Government related to fairer funding.
· The Council was fairly on track to achieve the stated efficiencies. The Panel requested the Head of Corporate Property be invited to the next meeting to present a report on income from Council assets.
· He would request a case study on the savings achieved by implementing renewable energy sources at Blackbird Leys and Hinksey Leisure Centres to get a sense of the Council savings that could be achieved by using solar panels; the Council had recently invested in a solar farm.
· The current provision for bad ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
The Finance and Performance Panel is asked to consider a report on how it wishes to discharge its performance monitoring function for the 2022/23 municipal year. The Panel is recommended to:
1. Note and comment on the end of year performance report for KPIs selected by the Finance and Performance Panel in the 2021/22 municipal year.
2. Agree to have Scrutiny Performance Monitoring as a standing item on the Finance and Performance Panel agenda, where written questions or invitations to relevant officers to attend the next meeting can be agreed, and previous written responses considered.
3. Agree to continue monitoring the KPIs selected in 2021/22 (subject to any changes to KPIs agreed by Cabinet)
Or to agree to monitor alternative KPIs for 2022/23.
The Panel considered the report, which had been produced to support it in selecting the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) it wished to monitor over the 2022/23 municipal year.
· Noted the end of year performance report for KPIs selected by the Finance and Performance Panel in the 2021/22 municipal year.
· Agreed to have Scrutiny Performance Monitoring as a standing item on the Finance and Performance Panel agenda, where written questions or invitations to relevant officers to attend the next meeting could be agreed, and previous written responses considered.
· Agreed to confirm the list of KPIs it wished to continue to monitor in 2022/23 via email.
· Scrutiny Officer to circulate Appendix A of the report to the Panel for agreement on which KPIs should be taken out for 2022/23 Scrutiny monitoring.
Dates of Future Meetings
The Finance and Performance Panel is scheduled to meet on the following dates:
· 07 September 2022
· 07 December 2022
· 23 January 2023
· 28 March 2023
All meetings start at 6.00pm.
The dates of future meetings were noted.
The Panel requested that the Scrutiny Officer seek an alternative date for the Panel meeting in September 2022, due to availability of the Chair.
Cllr Jarvis advised that he was unavailable for the Panel meeting scheduled for 07 December 2022.