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Agenda and minutes

With effect from 1 April 2016 Agenda and Minutes will be available in both Welsh and English. Reports are working documents and produced in English only in accordance with Welsh Language Standard 41 of this Council’s Final Compliance Notice from the Welsh Language Commissioner.

Venue: Council Chamber, Guildhall

Contact: Suzanne Price  Scrutiny Facilitator

Media

Items
No. Item

53.

Apologies for absence

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Committee members Councillors Bryan Apsley, Paul Blackwell and Paul Rogers and Lead Members Councillor Andrew Atkinson and David Kelly.

54.

Declarations of personal interests, if any

Members are reminded of their responsibility, under Paragraph 11 of the Members’ Code of Conduct, to declare the existence and nature of any personal interest in respect of any of the business to be transacted at this meeting

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members were reminded of their responsibility, under Article 11 of the Members’ Code of Conduct, to declare any interests in relation to any of the business to be transacted at this meeting. The following declarations were made:

 

Agenda Item 5 – Revenue Outturn and Carry Forward Proposals

Councillor Adrienne Jeorrett - Personal and Prejudicial – member of Caia Park Community Council – The Councillor remained in the meeting and claimed an exemption under Article 12(2) of the Members’ Code of Conduct taking part in the discussion and voting thereon

Councillor Gwenfair Jones – Personal and Prejudicial – School Governor – The Councillor remained in the meeting and claimed an exemption under Article 12(2) of the Members’ Code of Conduct taking part in the discussion and voting thereon

Councillor Geoff Lowe – Personal – School Governor

Councillor John McCusker - Personal and Prejudicial – School Governor – The Councillor remained in the meeting and claimed an exemption under Article 12(2) of the Members’ Code of Conduct taking part in the discussion and voting thereon.

Councillor John Pritchard - Personal and Prejudicial – School Governor – The Councillor remained in the meeting and claimed an exemption under Article 12(2) of the Members’ Code of Conduct taking part in the discussion and voting thereon.

 

Agenda Item 6 – Review of Asset Transfer Policy

Councillor Trevor Bates - Personal – Community Councillor and Trustee of Canolfan Ceiriog Centre

Councillor Sonia Benbow-Jones – Personal – LA Governor and member of Cefn Community Council

Councillor Mike Davies – Personal and Prejudicial – member of Community Council – The Councillor remained in the meeting and claimed an exemption under Article 12(2) of the Members’ Code of Conduct taking part in the discussion and voting thereon.

Councillor Adrienne Jeorrett - Personal and Prejudicial – School Governor – The Councillor remained in the meeting and claimed an exemption under Article 12(2) of the Members’ Code of Conduct taking part in the discussion and voting thereon.

Councillor Gwenfair Jones – Personal – member of Gwersyllt Community Council

Councillor Geoff Lowe – Personal – Member of Community Council

Councillor MG Morris – Personal – member of Community Council

Councillor Barrie Warburton - Personal – member of Community Council

55.

Confirmation of Minutes pdf icon PDF 81 KB

To sign as a correct record the Minutes of the Meeting held on 27 March 2019

Additional documents:

Minutes:

AGREED – That the Minutes of the Meeting held on 27 March 2019 be signed as a correct record.

56.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 44 KB

To consider the report of the Chief Officer Governance and Customer

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Officer Governance & Customer submitted a report (COGC/09/19s) to assist the Committee in considering and agreeing its work programme.

 

Members were advised that the Executive Board had recently agreed the budget process and timetable for the 2020/22 budget, which was attached at Appendix 2 to the report.  Members were requested to identify any specific savings proposals for scrutiny via Topic Selection Forms.

 

It was noted that the next meeting of the Committee on 15 May 2019 would start at the earlier time of 1.00pm.

 

AGREED – That the work programme be agreed.

57.

Revenue Outturn and Carry Forward Proposals pdf icon PDF 191 KB

To consider the report of the Lead Member for Organisation – Finance, Performance, Health & Safety and Governance

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Members declarations of interest in relation to this matter are set out in Minute 54 above)

 

The Lead Member for Organisation – Finance, Performance, Health & Safety and Governance submitted a report (COFI/28/19s) to inform Members of the Council Fund revenue outturn for 2018/19, to consider the proposals with regard to reserves and the year end carry forward arrangements and to inform Members of the Housing Revenue Account outturn for 2018/19.

 

Presenting the report the Lead Member thanked the Chief Officer Finance & ICT and his team for their hard work in closely monitoring and controlling the budget throughout the year.  He also paid tribute to the work of departmental Chief Officers and Lead Members in their respective areas.  These sentiments were echoed by the Chair of the Committee.

 

Members were invited to ask questions of the Lead Members and Officers present.  In debate the following matters were highlighted:

 

·         Further information was requested in respect of the £104k proposal for contribution to the Capital Reserve to fund specific projects.  It was reported that this would be subject to further consideration by the Executive Board later in the year, taking account of pressures at that time.  A Member suggested that consideration be given to transferring the sum to the Together in Wrexham reserve.

·         Further information was requested in respect of the £311k overspend in Adult Social Care – Mental Health.  The Lead Member commented that this was as a result of high cost placements and additional capacity needed to carry out mental health assessments in the community.

·         Noted that Adult Social Care – Substance Misuse had overspent by £57k as a result of increased admissions into rehabilitation services.  The Lead Member for People – Communities, Partnerships, Public Protection and Community Safety commented on the significant amount of work done in respect of this area and it’s positive impact in reducing anti-social behaviour. 

·         A breakdown relating to £1.434k to offset overspends from ‘utilisation of Grant Funding, Service Reserves and other departmental efficiencies’ in relation to Children’s Social Care was requested.

·         Noted that the overspend in Environment and Planning – Environmental Services  was due to the reduction in Welsh Government grant funding and, in part, arising from waste collection remodelling to enable the Council to meet statutory targets.

·         Noted that reduced level of car parking income had put pressure on the Environment and Planning budget.  The Lead Member commented that car parking in recent years had not increased in line with inflation in an attempt to assist the local economy in attracting shoppers into the town centre.

·         Clarification was sought in respect of Housing and Economy – Economy overspend in relation to the School Catering service.  Noted that this related to a delay in implementing the charge for the wraparound childcare element of the Free Breakfast scheme.

·         Suggested that officers investigate whether the VAT refund arising from the European Court of Justice decision to allow local authorities to treat leisure income as exempt rather than taxable could also be applied to Museums and Heritage.

·         Noted  ...  view the full minutes text for item 57.

58.

Review of Asset Transfer Policy - Fees & Charges pdf icon PDF 79 KB

To consider the report of the Lead Member for Organisation – Finance, Performance, Health & Safety and Governance

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Members declarations of interest in relation to this item are set out in Minute 54 above)

 

The Lead Member for Organisation – Finance, Performance, Health & Safety and Governance submitted a report for Members to scrutinise the policy of charging fees when dealing with Asset Transfers.

 

The Lead Member reported that the Asset Transfer Policy had been approved by the Executive Board at it’s meeting of 14 July 2015 and outlined the procedure in relation to an application for a body to acquire an asset under the policy.  The policy required that any costs incurred by the Council by the granting of a lease or freehold disposal was met by the tenant or purchaser.

 

Members were invited to ask questions of the Lead Member and officer present.  In debate the following matters were highlighted:

 

·         Concern at the ‘one size fits all’ approach in the policy.  Suggested that it may be better to consider applications on a case by case basis.  The officer commented that this would be difficult for officers to manage.  In addition, it must be noted that this would have budgetary implications for the Department.

·         Commented that in some circumstances the Council benefited by the transfer of an asset as the long term liability and maintenance costs were no longer the responsibility of the Council.

·         Accepted that while the policy addressed inconsistencies in the transfer of assets, there should be a difference between how requests from individuals are considered and how the council might approach requests from a community organisation where the asset was to stay in the community for the benefit of and use by the community. 

·         The Committee felt that in these latter cases, a paragraph could be included in the policy to allow some flexibility in the Policy to enable the  Corporate Land & Buildings Group to consider the request and possibly make a recommendation to the Executive Board in respect of charging/contributions.

·         Noted that the policy was due to be reviewed and taken back to the Executive Board in 2020.

 

AGREED – That the Executive Board consider when renewing the Policy in 2020 that recognition is made within the policy for assets that are going to remain in community use by recognised community organisations so that they each be considered on their own merits in terms of fees and charges.

59.

Contracts which have exceeded the Agreed Contract Sum by more than 5% pdf icon PDF 150 KB

To consider the report of the Lead Member for Organisation – Finance, Performance, Health & Safety and Governance

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Lead Member for Organisation – Finance, Performance, Health & Safety and Governance submitted a report (COFI/29/19s) to allow Members to consider a six monthly report, which details contracts which have exceeded the agreed contract sum by more than a specified percentage or amount.

 

In considering the report Members were reassured that there were adequate controls in place to manage budgets and contracts and on that basis agreed that future reports should be submitted on an annual basis.

 

RESOLVED – That the Committee is satisfied with the processes and controls in place to manage budgets and contracts and will take this item as an annual report in the future.