Agenda and minutes

Finance, Economic Development and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 27th June, 2022 10.30 am

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

Contact: Democratic Services 

No. Item


Comments from members of the public

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    To receive comments or views from members of the public at the Committee’s discretion.


    There were none.


Apologies for absence

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    Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Ian Stokes.


Disclosure of interests

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    There were none.


Minutes of the meeting held on 3 May 2022 pdf icon PDF 147 KB

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    The minutes of the meeting held on 3 May 2022 were proposed, seconded and AGREED as a correct record, subject to the following amendment:


    ·       Resolution B that followed the Local Authority Search figures report was confirmed as irrelevant following reference that the Committee did not require any further monitoring.  The Committee AGREED that the paragraph was to be deleted.


Updates from previous meeting pdf icon PDF 10 KB

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    To consider updates on actions agreed at the meeting held on xxxxxx.


    The Committee noted the action notes from the meeting held on 3 May 2022.  It was confirmed that the walking tour of Grantham for Members would be arranged over the summer.


Scoping a new Economic Development Strategy for South Kesteven pdf icon PDF 272 KB

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    To seek Members views on the scope for creating a new five-year Economic Development Strategy for South Kesteven.

    Additional documents:


    The Head of Economic Development presented the report outlining plans to develop a new five-year Economic Development Strategy and short-term Action Plan for South Kesteven.  The previous South Kesteven Economic Development Strategy spanned 2016 – 2021 and formed a key part of the strategy for the implementation of InvestSK Ltd, the wholly council owned regeneration and economic development company for the District.  Following the economic impact of the covid pandemic and European Union exit, now was the right time to take forward a new strategy into 2028.


    The timing of the new strategy was key, given the Government’s levelling-up agenda and the decision to make Local Authorities accountable bodies for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).  Officers were currently consulting on this with a view to providing funding through to March 2025.


    There were six economic development objectives for inclusion in the Strategy:


    ·                                   Business and Job Creation, and Employment Safeguarding

    ·                                   Skills development

    ·                                   Growth and Regeneration

    ·                                   Enhancing South Kesteven’s tourism and visitor economy offer

    ·                                   Income

    ·                                   Securing Council


    The intention was to have the draft Strategy ready for approval in November 2022 in preparation for full adoption from April 2023.

    It was felt necessary to consult a wide-ranging group of Members, key stakeholders and partner organisations to ensure the essential evidence required to deliver an effective service was captured.


    Members raised questions and observations in relation to the report:


    ·            The report seemed to be Grantham-focused.  Were Bourne, Stamford and the Deepings going to be fairly considered too?


    ·            What was the result, including lessons learnt from the previous Strategy?


    ·            What had the district of South Kesteven received for the £3,000,000 invested in InvestSK Ltd and what were the performance indicators for the new Strategy?


    ·            Has InvestSK Ltd been closed down?  The report noted the Strategy was supported by InvestSK colleagues.


    ·            It was suggested that an analysis of the economy within South Kesteven would be welcomed to help Members understand the size, extent and nature of the local economy so clear decisions could be made with the intention of adding value and promoting sectors that had seen little growth in recent years.


    ·            Was there a need to call the new Economic Development team a different name to avoid confusion?


    ·            How were the objectives in the report to be actively monitored and how the Council would affect productivity of local business. 


    ·            Interest was expressed in knowing which region was the most productive and what each area contributed.


    ·            The report had no mention of the effect of transport on the South Kesteven economy.  It was acknowledged that while this issue was not the responsibility of the District Council, it may have contributed to missed potential in local business.  Residents in the Deepings were constantly pushed towards Cambridgeshire and the lack of transport network prevented travel to Grantham College, for example.


    The Director of Growth and Culture confirmed that the name of InvestSK would be kept as the brand was well-known and established.  The Officer continued that there was an intention to have a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Changing Places Toilet Facilities pdf icon PDF 212 KB

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    Report providing information relating to the funding for, and locations of, Changing Places Toilets to be installed in existing sites within South Kesteven over the next two years.


    The Chief Finance Officer presented the report to the Committee. 


    In July 2021 the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announced the opening for Expressions of Interest bids for a share of a £30M pot to provide Changing Places toilets in existing, publicly accessible buildings.  Changing Places toilets were larger accessible toileting facilities for severely disabled people, with equipment such as hoists, curtains, adult-sized changing benches and space for carers. 


    The funding itself had been announced some months previously and consultation with relevant groups across the district was carried out to determine the preferred locations of the people who would use a Changing Places facility and their carers.


    The Council’s Expression of Interest requested £160,000 to enable the installation at four identified sites:


    Bourne Community Access Point

    • Grantham Meres Leisure Centre

    • Abbey Gardens, Grantham

    • The Shack, Stamford Recreation Ground


    Due to complexity, access issues and cost, amendments were made after consideration with Abbey Gardens in Grantham replacing the Tennis Club as one of the proposed sites.  A site on South Street in Bourne also replaced the Bourne Community Access Point.


    The Officer informed the Committee that site investigations were to be completed by the end of July 2022 then accurate costings could be prepared.


    During discussion, Members raised the following points:


    ·            There was no proposed site within the Deepings area and confirmation was sought as to what the reason was for this.  The Community Centre was suggested as an example.

    ·            The decision to consult before making a decision was welcomed as it allowed a two-way interaction with the local community.

    ·                              Had the proposals been subject to scrutiny before the decisions were made?


    The Chief Finance Officer clarified that the Community Centre at the Deepings was unable to be progressed and not considered a viable solution.  The Officer confirmed that confirmation of who was consulted during the process of decision-making was to be given to Members of the Committee at a future date.




    For Officers to inform Committee Members of those consulted during the decision-making process on the proposed site for Changing Places Toilet Facilities at The Deepings.




    a)         That the report be noted.



Provisional Outturn Position Report 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 415 KB

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    The report provides the Committee with the details of the Council’s provisional outturn position for the financial year 2021/22.

    Additional documents:


    This report, presented by the Chief Finance Officer, provided the Finance, Economic Development and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee with the detail of the Council’s provisional outturn position for the financial year 2021/22 and covered the following areas:


    ·            General Fund Revenue Budget

    ·            Housing Revenue Account Budget

    ·            Capital Programmes - General Fund and HRA


    The Committee was informed that within the General Fund Budget, the overall outturn position was positive.  Due to funding changes by the Government, including Covid Grants awarded and the Council receiving some windfall Business Rate income, an adverse outturn position had been avoided.


    The Chief Finance Officer clarified to the Committee that table 3 within the report showed a balanced position at the year-end which gave the Council an opportunity to replenish reserves, using the Covid Reserve. 


    The Committee was reminded that at the start of the year, the country was still in lockdown.  The restrictions impacted the Council’s income in many areas, especially markets, Arts and car-parking revenue in the first quarter of the financial year specifically.  The report confirmed that the Council had received some further funding from the Government’s income compensation scheme which had enabled the Council to replenish some of the income balances that had been lost.  There were still concerns over low car park usage and the performance of the markets which has not yet been able to recover to pre-pandemic levels.


    Members raised the following points during discussion:


    ·            An explanation of the net cost of service was requested.  A Member commented that some of the areas of overspends and underspends were difficult to understand as some savings appeared to show costs, for example, the costs of team restructure.

    ·            What was the overall impact of Covid on the budget for 2021-22 and where were the funds taken from to deal with the Pandemic from originally?


    The Chief Finance Officer confirmed that the ‘Net Cost of Service’ showed the variance included in each service, such as depreciation and other accounting adjustments.  They were necessary in order for the Council to adhere to the regulations of accounting.  For auditing purposes, total transparency had been shown.


    It was explained further that the cost of items such as the staffing restructure was not an overspend.  The Council had previously agreed the costs were to be funded from the Invest to Save reserve but the costs themselves had to be charged at ‘cost of services’ level. 


    The Officer added that a Covid Impact report was presented to the Committee in February 2022 with a financial analysis appended to the report at that time.   The Covid Reserve was funded wholly from direct financial support from the Government in order to support the Council through the pandemic.  It was agreed that if the remaining balance was not required, it was to be used to replenish other services.


    The Chief Finance Officer informed the Committee that the General Fund Capital budget outturn position showed that £2.2 million was not spent throughout the year.  It was previously approved by Council  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Work Programme 2022 - 2023 pdf icon PDF 123 KB

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    To consider the Committee’s Work Programme for 2022 – 2023.

    Additional documents:


    The Committee noted the contents of the Work Programme 2022 – 2023.


    A request was made that the Budget Monitoring Report was required to be added to the Work Programme ahead of the Committee meeting in September 2022.




    That the Work Programme be updated to reflect the addition of the Budget Monitoring Report in September’s Committee meeting.


Any other business, which the Chairman, by reason of special circumstance decides is urgent

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    There were none.


Close of meeting

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    The Chairman closed the meeting at 12:05.