Agenda and decisions

Venue: John Meikle Room, The Deane House, Belvedere Road, Taunton TA1 1HE. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services Email: democraticservicesteam@somerset.gov.uk 

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. 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.

Additional documents:

2.

Minutes from the Previous Meeting - 15 January 2024 pdf icon PDF 133 KB

To approve the minutes from 15 January 2024 Executive Meeting.

Additional documents:

3.

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 )

Additional documents:

4.

Public Question Time pdf icon PDF 88 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 democraticservicesteam@somerset.gov.uk 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.

Additional documents:

5.

Executive Forward Plan

To note the latest Executive Forward Plan of planned key decisions that have been published on the Council’s website.

 

Click here to access - Executive Forward Plan

Additional documents:

6.

2023/24 Budget Monitoring Report - Month 9 - End of December 2023 Q3 pdf icon PDF 2 MB

To consider the report.

Additional documents:

Decision:

NON-KEY DECISION   

 

Following consideration of the officer report, appendices and discussion, the Executive noted the forecast overspend of £17.5m (3.6%) for the year and the recovery action being taken and mitigations put in place to address this.

 

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS CONSIDERED: As set out in the officer report

 

REASON FOR DECISION: As set out in the officer report

7.

2023/24 Capital Budget Monitoring Report - Q3 pdf icon PDF 2 MB

To consider the report.

Additional documents:

Decision:

NON-KEY DECISION

 

Following consideration of the officer report, appendices and discussion, the Executive:?? 

Following consideration of the officer report, appendices and discussion, the Executive:??

a.     Approved the changes to the capital programme approvals, as detailed in Section 42 of the report.

b.    Noted the revised capital forecast spend for the financial year 2023/24 of £199.8m and the key risks, future issues detailed in the report.

c.     Agreed to move the slippage of £105.7m from 2023/24 into 2024/25.

 

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS CONSIDERED: As set out in the officer report

 

REASON FOR DECISION: As set out in the officer report

 

8.

2023/24 Housing Revenue Account Capital and Revenue Budget Monitoring Report Q3 pdf icon PDF 5 MB

To consider the report.

Additional documents:

Decision:

NON-KEY DECISION

 

Following consideration of the officer report, appendices and discussion, the Executive noted:

 

a.       The HRA’s forecast financial performance and projected reserves position for 2023/24 financial year as at 31 December 2023. Including key risks and future issues and opportunities detailed in the report which will be closely monitored and updated throughout the year.

 

b.      The forecast outturn position of the Capital Programme.

 

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS CONSIDERED: As set out in the officer report

 

REASON FOR DECISION: As set out in the officer report

 

9.

2024/25 HRA Budget setting report pdf icon PDF 582 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

KEY DECISION

 

Following consideration of the officer report, appendices and discussion, the Executive agreed:

 

2.1 To endorse and recommend the recommendations below for approval

by the Council, which include changes for rents and service charges to be used to

prepare the necessary notices to tenants ready for dispatch following the Council

meeting on 20 February 2024 to ensure the 28 days, notice period is met.

 

2.2 That Full Council approve the following:

 

Revenue Budget for 2024/25

2.3 The HRA Annual Revenue Budget for 2024/25 as shown in Appendix A of the report.

 

Rent Setting for 2024/25

 

2.4 An increase of 7.7% to Dwelling Rents in line with the Governments 2019 (and updated 2023) Rent Standard.

 

2.5 An increase of 7.7% for Sheltered and Extra Care housing rents in line with the dwelling rents increase.

 

2.6 An increase of 7.7% for Shared Ownership properties.

 

2.7 An increase of 7.7% on affordable rental tenures, with the rent being reviewed at relet based on 80% of open market rent capped at the LHA rate.

 

2.8 The continuation of rent flex at relet for new tenants within the West of the Council for tenants part of the in-house service (dwelling stock inherited from the legacy Somerset West and Taunton Council) as included in the Rent Charging Policy. This will be levied at basic rent plus 5% for general needs tenants and 10% for sheltered and extra care tenants.

 

2.9 The introduction of rent flex at relet for new tenants within the North of the Council for tenants part of Homes In Sedgemoor (dwelling stock inherited from the legacy Sedgemoor District Council) as included in the Rent Charging Policy. This will be levied at basic rent plus 5% for general needs tenants and 10% for sheltered and extra care tenants.

 

Fees & Charges for 2024/25

 

2.10 An increase in Service Charges for tenants in the North, managed by Homes In

Sedgemoor, based on predicted costs in line with the service charging policy. The

introduction of a transparent 10% service charge management fee. The service

charges are contained in Appendix B of the report.

 

2.11 An increase in Service Charges for tenants in the West, managed by the In-House Service, of

(a) 7.7% for Grounds Maintenance and the Support / Sheltered Housing and Extra Care accommodation services

(b) 6.8% for the Piper Lifeline service

(c) other charges based on actual costs incurred for laundry, heating, communal areas, communal door entry systems

(d) no change to the communal utilities charge

(e) a new charge for exceptional street cleaning

(f) sewerage will increase in line with the

Wessex Water increases for 2024/25 once known. The service charges are contained in Appendix C of the report.

 

2.12 An increase of 7.7% for garage rents.

 

2.13 An increase of 6.7% on temporary accommodation daily rates.

 

2.14 An increase of 6.7% for Meeting Hall hourly rental rates.

 

2.15 An increase of 6.7% for Guest Room charges.

 

Capital Programme from 2024/25

 

2.16 The HRA Major Works and Improvement Capital Programme for 2024/25 of  ...  view the full decision text for item 9.

10.

2024/25 Treasury Management Strategy pdf icon PDF 6 MB

To consider the report.

Additional documents:

Decision:

NON-KEY DECISION

 

Following consideration of the officer report, appendices and discussion, the Executive endorsed and the recommended approval by Full Council on 20 February 2024:

 

a.    The adoption of the Treasury Borrowing Strategy and Treasury Investment Strategy for 2024-25 as set out in the report.

 

b.    The adoption of the Prudential Treasury Indicators set out in the report.

 

c.     The adoption of Appendix A of the report as part of the Councils Financial regulations.

 

 

 

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS CONSIDERED: As set out in the officer report

 

REASON FOR DECISION: As set out in the officer report

11.

2024/25 Capital Strategy pdf icon PDF 8 MB

To consider the report.

Additional documents:

Decision:

KEY DECISION

 

Following consideration of the officer report, appendices and discussion, the Executive approved and recommended to Full Council:

 

a.    The Capital Strategy including the key prudential indicators for 2024/25.

 

b.    The Flexible Use of Capital Receipts Policy for 2024/25

 

c.     The Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) Policy for 2023/24 and 2024/25.

 

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS CONSIDERED: As set out in the officer report

 

REASON FOR DECISION: As set out in the officer report

 

12.

2024/25 General Fund Capital Budget pdf icon PDF 3 MB

To consider the report.

Additional documents:

Decision:

KEY DECISION

 

Following consideration of the officer report, appendices and discussion, the Executive approved and recommended to Full Council to:

 

a.    Approve the removal of the already approved schemes as detailed in Appendix A of the report.

 

b.    Approve the revised capital programme for 2024/25 as detailed in Appendix B of the report.

 

c.     Approve the inclusion of the new capital bids for 2023/24 and 2024/25 onwards as detailed in Appendix C of the report for inclusion in the programme.

 

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS CONSIDERED: As set out in the officer report

 

REASON FOR DECISION: As set out in the officer report

13.

2024/25 General Fund Budget and Medium-Term Financial Plan pdf icon PDF 7 MB

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

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

KEY DECISION

Following consideration of the officer report, appendices including individual and cumulative impact assessment and discussion the Executive:

 

a)    Considered the feedback on the public consultation set out in Appendix 8.

b)    Considered the comments from the five business sector engagement events set out in Appendix 8.

c)     Considered and endorsed the comments from Scrutiny Committee Corporate & Resources on the budget proposals.

d)    Noted the that a formal request has been submitted to DLUHC for Exceptional Financial Support in the form a Capitalisation Direction to balance the budget, an additional 5% in council tax (request subsequently refused) and £40m for the ‘re-sizing’ of the council and associated redundancy costs and that as part of this process there will an external assurance review by CIPFA.

e)    Noted that the conclusions of the Council’s Section 151 Officer (Chief Finance Officer) confirming the robustness of the budget estimates and the adequacy of the level of reserves, will be a separate report to Council.

f)      The Executive agreed the removal of savings proposals: CMS015 RNLI, CAP007 Crossing Patrols; SWL006 Democratic process; SWL007 Committee size; SWL008 Committee meeting locations; SWL012 Members allowances; and CAP -32 Reductions to highways maintenance. Resulting in a total change of £260,000.

g)    The Executive agreed the following updates/revisions:

Communities Service Area - wording and savings type amendments to: CMS021 overnight locking of Wellington, Blenheim and Vivary Parks; CMS026 Taunton Visitor Information Centre; and CMS041 Parish Ranger Scheme. Resulting in no financial changes.

Climate and Place Service Area – new savings: Contractual changes related to the guaranteed minimum annual tonnage for residual waste in Somerset to our Contractor (Viridor) or seeking alternative EfW disposal routes above the current minimum annual tonnage floor; and Funding of one Grade 10 post and one Grade 7 post using time-limited external Levelling up front grant provided by DHLUC to support us in delivering LUF schemes – resulting in a combined £243,000 saving, And: the removal of CAP004 Funding for Community Rail Partnership; a reduction in CAP027 transport policy costs; the deferral until 2025/26 of CAP032 reduction in highways maintenance and devolution of service (including removing savings regarding gully emptying, deferring savings regarding reducing reactive budgets for hedge trimming, noxious weeds treatment, gully emptying, ditches and grips and reduced planned grass-cutting; and a amendment of the title (wording only) of CAP010 to Make Savings from the Core Contract for Household Waste Recycling Centre. In total resulting in a savings reduction of £243,000.

 

Furthermore the Executive agreed to recommend to full Council approve:

 

Revenue Budget

 

a.    Note the conclusions of the Council’s Section 151 Officer (Chief Finance Officer) in his Section 25 report confirming the robustness of the budget estimates and the adequacy of the level of reserves for 2024/25 and his warning about the 2025/26 financial year.

b.    Approves the additional funding for pressures requirements set out in Appendix 6.

c.     Approves the savings and income generation plans outlined in Appendix 7, considering the detailed Equalities Impact Assessments

d.    Notes the MTFP  ...  view the full decision text for item 13.

14.

Developing the Approach to Transformation pdf icon PDF 2 MB

To consider the report.

Additional documents:

Decision:

KEY DECISION

 

Following consideration of the officer report, appendices and discussion, the Executive:

 

a.    Noted the new approach to whole Council transformation.

 

b.    Approved the launch of the Voluntary Redundancy (VR) scheme, and the 45-day consultation period on 9 February 2024, as part of the Workforce Reduction programme.

 

c.     Noted that the delivery of the VR scheme will be dependent on the current financial strategy.

 

15.

Heart of the South West LEP Transition pdf icon PDF 3 MB

To consider the report.

Additional documents:

Decision:

KEY DECISION     

 

Following consideration of the officer report, appendices and discussion, the Executive:

 

a.    Approved the proposed Integration Plan for the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP) and the transfer of the LEP functions into the Council.

 

b.    Delegated responsibility to the Service Director – Economy, Employment and Planning, in consultation with the Lead Member for Economic Development, Planning and Assets for establishing the Somerset Economic Growth Board and the implementation of the Integration Plan.

 

c.     Delegated to the Executive Director – Resources & Corporate Services (Section 151 Officer) to finalise a transfer arrangement and agreements with Devon, Plymouth and Torbay councils that cover operational implementation of the LEP functions; allocations of LEP residual funding, resources, and assets as set out in the finance and risk section.

 

d.    Agreed the case for applying the exempt information provision as set out in the Local Government Act 1972, Schedule 12A and therefore to treat the attached confidential Appendix 01 in confidence, as it contains commercially sensitive information, and as the case for the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing that information.

 

 

 

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS CONSIDERED: As set out in the officer report

 

REASON FOR DECISION: As set out in the officer report

16.

Determination of 2025/26 Somerset Council Admission Arrangements pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Additional documents:

Decision:

KEY DECISION

 

Following consideration of the officer report, appendices and discussion, the Executive agreed:

 

 

1.      1. To the proposed changes to the over subscription criteria for Local Authority Voluntary Controlled and Community Primary Schools.

2.      

3.     2. To the proposed changes to the over subscription criteria for Local Authority Voluntary Controlled and Community Secondary Schools.

4.      

3.     3. To determine the Admission Arrangements for all Local Authority Voluntary Controlled and Community Primary Schools for 2025/26.

4.     

5.     4. To determine the Admission Arrangements for all Local Authority Voluntary Controlled and Community Secondary Schools for 2025/26.