Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Hollinsworth Hall, Canalside Conference Centre, Marsh Lane, Huntworth, Bridgwater TA6 6LQ. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services Email: 

Note: Please note: For the budget meetings taking place in February 2024, there is amended guidance on Public Question Time. Please see the guidance notes contained within each agenda for the amended details. 

No. Item


Appointment of Vice Chair

To appoint a Vice-Chair for the meeting.


Resolved that Cllr Henry Hobhouse was appointed as vice-chair.


Resolved that Cllr Henry Hobhouse was appointed as vice-chair.


Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies were received from Councillors Collins (on-line attendance), Trimnell, Rodrigues, Soughton, Cottle, Ham and all provided substitutes.


Declarations of Interest

To receive and note any declarations of interests in respect of any matters included on the agenda for consideration at this meeting.

(The other registrable interests of Councillors of Somerset Council, arising from membership of City, Town or Parish Councils and other Local Authorities will automatically be recorded in the minutes: City, Town & Parish Twin Hatters - Somerset Councillors 2023 )


Councillor Hazel Prior-Sankey declared a non-registrable interest as her husband was a street pastor in Taunton who used the CCTV service.


Minutes from the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 104 KB

To approve the minutes from the previous meeting held on Thursday, 4 January 2024.


Resolved that the minutes of the Scrutiny Committee - Corporate and Resources held on 4 January 2024 be confirmed as a correct record.



Resolved that the minutes of the Scrutiny Committee - Corporate and Resources held on 4 January 2024 be confirmed as a correct record.



Public Question Time pdf icon PDF 51 KB

Amended procedures for the budget meetings:-


Due to the high volume of submissions anticipated for the budget meetings of Scrutiny (Corporate and Resources), Executive and Full Council, the Monitoring Officer in consultation with the Chair of each meeting, has allocated up to 45 minutes at the meeting for Public Question Time meeting (with a maximum of 9 speakers permitted to speak at the meeting). Generally this will be set aside near the beginning of the meeting or the Chair may invite speakers at the specific agenda item their questions relate to.


Based on the time to be set aside for PQT, we anticipate up to nine speakers will be invited by the Chair to individually address the meeting. Each speaker will have for up to 3 minutes and will be allowed a maximum of 3 questions.  The nine speakers will receive a verbal response at the meeting.


Each speaker must direct their questions and comments through the Chair. You may not take a direct part in the members’ debate at the meeting. The Chair will have the discretion to conclude or extend the time permitted for public participation.


Any submissions that are received over the nine speakers allowed at the meeting, will receive a written response after the meeting. However, all questions and statements received will be published on the Council’s website and circulated to all members at least 1 working day before the meeting.


If you wish to speak or ask a question about any matter on the agenda, please contact Democratic Services by 5pm providing 3 clear working days before the meeting. (for example, for a meeting being held on a Wednesday, the deadline will be 5pm on the Thursday prior to the meeting) Email or telephone 01823 357628. You will need to include your full name, address and contact details.


Anyone wishing to speak, make a statement or ask a question will need to attend in person or alternatively can join the meeting remotely. If you are unable to do either of these then your question or statement could be read out at the meeting if time permits.


If an item on the agenda is contentious, with many people wishing to attend the meeting or if multiple speakers wish to ask questions that are similar to others, a representative will need to be nominated to present the views of the group.  Democratic Services will assist in the process of nominating a representative if this occurs.


There was one Public Question submitted and a response was provided by the lead officer.


There was one Public Question submitted and a response was provided by the Executive Member.


2024/25 General Fund Revenue Budget, HRA Revenue Budget and Capital Budgets pdf icon PDF 87 KB

To consider the 2024/25 Budget Proposals and provide feedback to the Executive for consideration. The following documents are attached:


Scrutiny of the 2024/25 Budget – pages 19 – 23.


Paper A -  2024/25 General Fund Revenue Budget – pages 25 - 63. This report has the following Appendices:

·    Appendix 1: Strategic Risks associated with the budget – pages 65 - 67

·    Appendix 2: MTFP Forecast – pages 69 - 70

·    Appendix 3: Provisional Finance Settlement – pages 71 - 72

·    Appendix 4: Changes to budget 2023/24-2024/25 – pages 73 - 76

·    Appendix 5: Council Tax trends – page 77

·    Appendix 6: Detailed list of savings proposals – pages 79 - 91

·    Appendix 7: Detailed list of pressures – pages 93 - 98

·    Appendix 8: Full & part reversals of prior year savings – page 99

·    Appendix 9: Dedicated Schools Grant 2024/25 – pages 101 - 105

·    Appendix 10: Summary of findings from the budget consultation exercise – pages 107 - 135

·    Appendix 11: Reserves – pages 137 - 141


To view all the supporting documents, including the savings proposals, the Cumulative Impact Assessment and the relevant Equality Impact Assessment forms, please access the web library by using this link – Supporting Documents


Paper B – Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Revenue and Capital Budget Setting 2024/25 including Dwelling Rent Setting and Fees and Charges for 2024/25, MTFP and 30-Year Business Plan Update’– pages 143 – 194. This report has the following Appendices:

·    Appendix A - Revenue Budget and Medium Term Financial Plan for 2024/25 – page 195

·    Appendix B - Proposed Fees and Charges for Homes In Sedgemoor for 2024/25 – pages 197 - 198

·    Appendix C - Proposed Fees and Charges for the In-House Service for 2024/25 – pages 199 - 209

·    Appendix D - HRA MTFP 10-Year Capital Programme – pages 211 - 212

·    Appendix E - HRA Proposed Capital Budgets for 2024/25 and Capital Financing per Scheme – pages 213 - 216

·    Appendix F – EIA form – pages 217 - 224


Paper C - 2024/25 General Fund Capital Budget – pages 225 – 236. This report has the following Appendices:

·    Appendix A: Removed schemes from Capital Programme 2023/24 – pages 237 - 238

·    Appendix B: Capital Programme 2024/25 to 2026/27 – pages 239 - 243

·    Appendix C: New Bids for 2024/25 – pages 245 - 247

Additional documents:


The Committee :

I.              Scrutinised and commented on the draft budget proposals for 2024/25 and the proposed council tax increase, with reference to the cumulative impact assessment, individual equalities impact assessments and the budget consultation;

II.           Scrutinised and commented on the proposed Housing Revenue Account budget for 2024/25;

III.        Scrutinised and commented on the proposal Capital Budget for 2024/25;

IV.          Agreed to make the following recommendations to the Executive:


Ref/title of budget proposal: 


Proposed recommendation  







Capitalisation Direction and proposed additional increase to Council Tax – awaiting DLUHC approval 


Scrutiny Committee to recommend to Executive and S151 Officer that it receives an update on the outcome of the capitalisation direction and council tax increase request at meeting on 7 March and if unsuccessful what mitigations are proposed 


To ensure S114 is avoided   


Developing the approach to Transformation (outline business case for Executive 7 February) 


Scrutiny Committee to scrutinise the Outline Business Case at its meeting on 7 March   

To understand the potential impact on Council services and delivery of Council Plan priorities 

Level of General Reserves in 2024/25 and 2025/26 being sufficient and level of pressures for 2025/26 to avoid a S114 


Scrutiny Committee to receive regular updates on the level of general and earmarked reserves in 2024/25 and projections for 2025/26, together with projected pressures for 2025/26 as part of monthly budget monitoring reports throughout 2024/25 


Concerns whether the level of general reserves and potential pressures projected for 2025/26 will result in Section 114  



Appendix 6 – pg 3 



Devolution of Services/Facilities to Parish/Town councils and pressures on Parishes taking on these additional areas of work 

The Committee welcomes the partnership work being undertaken with Somerset’s Town and Parish Councils and recommends that Scrutiny Committee for Communities receives quarterly update reports regarding the progression and delivery of devolution of various communities services and assets to Parish and Town Councils. 


To monitor the delivery of devolution proposals and  whether additional capacity is needed from Somerset Council to enable this 

CMS 018 (pg 3 of Appendix 6 savings proposals) - CCTV 



Scrutiny Committee for Communities to receive quarterly update reports regarding the progression and delivery of income generation proposals with relevant Parish and Town Councils to deliver the target value to avoid cessation of the CCTV service. 


To monitor the delivery of alternative solutions to avoid cessation of the service and provide a 2024/25 and future years viable solution  

CMS022 – Octagon Theatre in Yeovil 


CMS038 – Westlands entertainment venue, Yeovil 


CMS020 – Yeovil recreation Ground 




Scrutiny Committee Communities to receive quarterly updates on the delivery of the devolution of specific assets and services to Yeovil town council as alternative solutions to these savings proposals. 


To receive a quarterly update on the capital bid to DCMS and the potential capital investment in the Octagon Theatre 


To monitor the delivery of these devolution proposals and the proposed capital project for the Octagon during 2024/25 together with delivery of any mitigations if unsuccessful 




Adults & Health Services 

Appendix 6 –  ...  view the full decision text for item 71.


Overall Budget:


Councillor Leyshon introduced the budget proposal papers and Jason Vaughan as the S152 Officer went through the legal requirements to set the budget plus explained what a Section 25 statement covered, explaining that a report is needed on the robustness of the estimates in the budget and the minimal levels of reserves retained by the Council and this would be a separate report presented to Full Council.


There were a number of updates since the publication of the papers and these were as follows:


·       Saving options in Communities - CCTV service, sports and leisure facilities at Yeovil Recreation Centre

·       Additional funding announced by Government

·       Commercial Investment income following review of portfolio by JLL

·       Business Rates income  following completion of return

·       Updated appendix on 2024/25 Budget consultation with notice that the figures may change again as the final finance settlement is expected on 5 February 2024.

The committee also received information on the request for Exceptional Financial Support made to Government to increase Council Tax by an additional 5% plus a further £40m to fund costs of transformation/re-sizing of the Council. Members then asked questions of the officers and Executive, requesting clarification on the following areas:

information on whether all services had put forward savings and whether there were any other options being held back? Some savings could not be achieved within 2024/25 therefore would be included in following years, Transformation package will be considered by Corporate and Resources Scrutiny in March as not part of current savings proposals

Budget monitoring and level of variance of budget for Scrutiny involvement? Scrutiny and Executive receiving monthly updates and looking at favourable and unfavourable issues – early warning of issues arising and tracking of progress/actions

SEND budget and whether the High Needs Block was impacting on budget and long term implications? National issue with the projected figures/deficit  to be funded by the Council, some authorities have had to have deals with Government, Somerset Council were not in this bracket at present and a Deficit Management Plan being worked on acknowledging that spend on High Needs Block and education system needed to be reduced but other issues coming into force – Scrutiny Children and Families will be tracking progress.

It was confirmed that General reserves were adequate at present, however the use of them was not sustainable in future years.

Referring to the List of Pressures, would the costs rise and is there a time when the costs would be unachievable? The projection for 2025/26 budget gap will be £104m and it was acknowledged this would be difficult to close down, reiterating that Local Government funding was broken.


The committee then considered each Service in turn and the proposals for budget savings and summary of pressures.


Community Services:


Chris Hall updated Members confirming that a lot of work and discussion was being undertaken with Parish and Town Councils in relation to devolution of various services, this has led to some services being taken on by other councils which included  ...  view the full minutes text for item 71.