Agenda and minutes

Growth Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 25th July, 2018 10.00 am

Venue: Witham Room - South Kesteven House, St. Peter's Hill, Grantham. NG31 6PZ. View directions

Contact: Anita Eckersley 

No. Item



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    The Committee to be notified of any substitute members.


    The Committee were informed that Councillor Adams was substituting for Councillor Jeal.



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    An apology for absence was received from Councillor Stephens.


Disclosure of interests

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    Members are asked to disclose any interests in matters for consideration at the meeting.


    None disclosed.


Action notes from the Call-In Meeting held on 29 May 2018 pdf icon PDF 214 KB

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    That the action notes from the call-in meeting held on 29 May 2018 were agreed. It was noted that Councillor Adams and Councillor Wood were not present at this meeting and did not vote on the notes.



Action notes from the meeting held on 13 June 2018 pdf icon PDF 207 KB

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    The action notes from the meeting held on 13 June 2018 were agreed. It was noted that Councillor Adams was not present for this meeting and therefore did not vote.



Updates from the previous meetings

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    The Chairman referred to the following items and a brief update was given for each:


    Q4 Financial Outturn Report – this item would be looked at as part of the agenda.


    Local Plan – this was on track, the final consultation was currently underway.


    Spitalgate Heath Garden Village - application due to go to Development Management Committee towards the end of the year.


    Economic Development - work was on going.


    St Peter’s Hill – Cinema Project – work was on going and budget was on target, car parking scenario had been resolved.


    Grantham Southern Relief Road – no update available.


    Business Rates – Item would be included as part of outturn reports later in the agenda.


    River Witham Corridor – no update available.


    Housing Needs – the Chairman noted (as a member of the Development Management Committee) that through Section 106 Agreements there were small pockets of expenditure with turn arounds being slightly faster.


    Waste Recycling – food waste trial was currently ongoing – possibility of further budget provision costings for anaerobic digesters.


    Car Parking - this would be discussed next year at the proper time.  It was noted that a lot of work had been done on car parking about four years ago.


    One Member asked about the redevelopment of the office space and it was noted that this issue had been moved back and there was nothing to report at the current time, a report would be coming to a future meeting of the Committee.


    A question was asked about car parking and it was confirmed that the issue was in respect of car parking at Bourne in relation to Marks and Spencer’s and the Corn Exchange and a barrier was to be put in place to regulate the Corn Exchange parking.  A further question was asked about car parking in relation to the cinema project. It was confirmed that no changes would be made to the current tariffs but certain floors would be allocated short stay and long stay in the Welham Street car park. Also space would be looked at where the Reel Cinema used to be as a temporary car park to enable an evaluation to be carried out once the cinema was up and running.    It was stated that the proportion of spaces would be more short stay and less long stay.


    A question was asked about the cost with regard to waste recycling and it was stated that the food trial had been carried out at the request of Lincolnshire County Council. The trial was currently well used but it would be necessary to look at the cost implications after the trial.


Q4 Financial Outturn 2017-18 pdf icon PDF 176 KB

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    Report number CFM467 of the Cabinet Member for Finance.     (Enclosure)

    Additional documents:


    The Cabinet Member for Finance introduced report CFM467.  The report provided the Committee with the detail of the Council’s outturn position for the financial year 2017/18 and covered revenue and capital expenditure for the General Fund and the Housing Revenue Account.


    The Governance and Audit Committee had approved the Revenue and Capital Outturn report and associated appendices for 2017/18 together with set-asides and reserves and had also approved the Capital slippages from the 2017/18 Capital Programme at their meeting on 21 June 2018.


    Quarter 3 was reported to the Committee on 14 February 2018 with a forecast variance on the net budget requirement of £612K.  The final outturn position had improved with additional income being earned through investment of increased cash balances, increased business rates income received as a result of upward revaluation and additional business rates pooling gain arising from the 60% (after the levy) retention of the local growth above the baseline level.  An increase in central support costs of £340K was charged to the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) following in-year increase in support service costs together with a number of grants that were received late in the financial year.


    Members then questioned the information before them and the following questions/comments were made:


    ·                     A question was asked about the Leisure Centres and what needed addressing – it was confirmed that there had been issues across all leisure centres, although mostly with regard to maintenance.  A detailed breakdown would be circulated to Committee members.

    ·                     A question was asked about overspend in relation to communications and was this staff based – the Chairman stated that any staffing issues should be directed to the Chief Executive, the Member stated that if this was in relation to external consultancy it was different to staffing.  The Cabinet Member for Growth and Communications stated that there were a number of different projects being implemented under Communications with different elements to achieve the Councils objectives and additional staff had been required to carry out the work.

    ·                     A further comment was made about the one off costs in relation to the corporate management structure was this in relation to redundancy, the Member was referred to the Statement of Accounts but it was stated that the detail was confidential.

    ·                     A comment was made about the variance information contained within the report in relation to Leisure Centres and the information in the appendices – the figures were different.  An explanation was given about the difference and what cost were included and the Member who raised the issue asked if the public would understand this.


    Whilst going through the outturn report Members referenced the number of changes made to the budget, they appreciated that budgets changed over the course of a year but felt that there were too many variances and the Council needed to get better at budgeting.  It was stressed that the Committees role was to scrutinise the issues before them and to monitor variances and raise any concerns that they had.  The Chairman thanked the Strategic  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.


Q1 Financial Outturn 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 489 KB

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    The Cabinet Member for Finance submitted report CFM462 which provided the Committee with a summary of the year to date position against the original budget for 2018/19.  The report covered revenue and capital expenditure for both the General Fund and the Housing Revenue Account.


    In order to ensure effective budget management it was important that the Committee are updated with budget monitoring information and that they are kept informed of the financial position following the balanced budget set by Council at the start of the financial year.


    The report covered the financial position to the 30 June 2018 and focussed on emerging issues and identified action that was being undertaken to manage these issues.


    A number of savings had been undertaken, however only £579K of the budgeted £2.494M had been achieved with regard to savings, efficiencies and income generation and alternative plans were being explored.  The Committee would be provided with more details at their next meeting when a forecast position would be presented. Currently the HRA had a small overspend.


    Each appendix to the report was then discussed by the Committee.


    Appendix A – a comment was made about looking at new investment opportunities in order to increase investment income.  The Assistant Director Resources provided clarification that the income described as “Interest and Investment Income” is the income generated through the treasury management of the council’s cash balances.  The investment income from Commercial Property investments was within the net cost of services, and it was this income that the £28K variance highlighted within Appendix B related to.


    Appendix B – Bourne Core Area, particularly the vacant units on Wherry’s Lane was discussed especially as these had now been vacant for a considerable period of time.  It was requested that an update on the units and retail interest in them should be given at the next meeting.


    >Action Note


    That an update on the retail units at Wherry’s Lane, Bourne and any interest in them be given at the next meeting.


    Appendix B – Variances on parking income and additional parking capacity. Members discussed these issues in light that the tariffs were not set to increase.  The extra capacity was in relation to a Stamford car park. 


    A Member asked that in order to make informed decisions a projected forecast outturn was needed. Members were told that this would be available for the next meeting of the Committee.  A Member asked about the new measures that had been previously discussed for car parks in the budget in relation to barriers, enforcement etc and whether these were in place yet.


    The staffing variance of £17K was discussed.  A Member repeated his request that the Headcount report be circulated.  The Strategic Director Resources provided the Committee with assurance that the monitoring of staffing budgets was part of the budget management process that budget managers are expected to undertake.


    A Member commented on the self-financing enforcement team which had been promised and he wanted to know what progress had been made. It was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.


InvestSK - Articles of Association and Memorandum of Understanding pdf icon PDF 107 KB

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    Report number iSK004 of the Cabinet Member for Growth and Communications.            (Enclosure)

    Additional documents:


    Members had been circulated with report iSK004 from the Cabinet Member for Growth and Communications which concerned two key documents for consideration by the Committee, the Articles of Association for InvestSK and the Memorandum of Association and its associated Performance Management Framework for InvestSK. 


    The Cabinet had considered the proposal to incorporate InvestSK as a Private Company, Limited by Guarantee at its meeting on 12 May 2018.  The decision had been called in by five Members and the Growth Overview and Scrutiny Committee had met on 29 May and considered the call-in. The Committee had decided not to uphold the call-in decision and therefore the decision made at Cabinet on 12 May 2018 stood.


    The Cabinet decision was in six parts and the report gave an update on each area.  Two items before the Committee were in relation to the Memorandum of Understanding and its associated Performance Management Framework  and the Articles of Association.


    Questions were asked about the content of the appendices which seem to contradict each other.


    The Strategic Director Growth clarified that Appendix 2 to the report was a copy of the Model Articles for Private Companies Limited by Guarantee.  Appendix 4 was the proposed Articles for InvestSK based on the Model Articles.   Appendix 5 was a provisional Performance Management Framework and Appendix 6 was a comparison model that tailored the Articles of Association for InvestSK which should have shown the tracked changes (although it was noted that the track changes had failed to print).   The Cabinet Member for Growth and Communications stated that a working group of the Advisory Committee had spent time going through the documents before Members.


    A question was asked about the number of directors needed to be quorate.  The Strategic Director, Growth clarified that at the moment there were three directors and to be quorate only two were needed.  Members were concerned about this number but it was stated that this was the same number as the current Gravitas Company had.   Further comments were made about remuneration to the directors of the company especially in respect to spending public money.   The Strategic Director Growth referred to the Tailored Articles at Appendix 4 where clarification on Directors’ remuneration was provided. Reference was made to the composition of the Board and the restrictions imposed by law.


    The Cabinet Member indicated that it had not been the intention to have an Advisory Committee for the long term and performance would be reported to the Cabinet.


    Further comments were made about the content of the appendices as Members were confused about which appendices they should be discussing.  Concern was also expressed about monitoring the directors, it was felt that the Council had no power.  A further comment was made about the appointment of the Company Chief Executive in respect of the recruitment process and interview.  


    A question was asked about the detail in relation to the Advisory Committee.  It was stated that the Cabinet Member for Growth and Communication had delegated authority in respect of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.


Close of meeting

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    The meeting closed at 12:50pm.