Venue: The Boardroom, Municipal Building
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The Minutes of the meeting held on 18 January 2024, were taken as read and signed as a correct record.
The Board considered a report from the Corporate Director Chief Executive’s Delivery Unit, which provided an overview of the new Council Corporate Plan and outlined the next steps for the Plan to come into effect from April 2024. The Corporate Plan would be the Council’s key strategic document and it would set out the main vision, themes and values of the Council for the next 5 years. A copy of the Plan document was attached to the report.
1) the report be noted and the Board recommends to Council that the new Corporate Plan be approved; and
2) the Scrutiny Chairs’ Group be requested to consider changing the titles of the Policy and Performance Boards to bring them in line with the new Corporate Plan 6 key priorities.
The Board received a report of
the Chief Executive, which set out the proposed Calendar of Meetings for the
2024/25 Municipal Year, which was appended to the report for information.
RESOLVED: That Council be recommended
to approve the Calendar of Meetings for the 2024/25 Municipal Year, as appended
to the report.
Corporate Services Portfolio
received the Treasury Management Strategy Statement, (TMSS) which incorporated
the Annual Investment Strategy (AIS) and the Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP)
Strategy for 2024/25.
The TMSS was
appended to the report and detailed the expected activities of the treasury
function in the forthcoming financial year (2024/25). Its production and submission to Council was
a requirement of the CIPFA Prudential Code and the CIPFA Treasury Management
Local Government Act 2003 required the Council to have regard to the Prudential
Code and to set Prudential Indicators for the next three years, to ensure that
the Council’s capital investment plans were affordable, prudent and
therefore required the Council to set out its treasury strategy for borrowing
and to prepare an Annual Investment Strategy (AIS), which set out the Council’s
policies for managing its investments and for giving priority to the security
and liquidity of those investments.
Government guidance notes stated that authorities could combine the TMSS
and the AIS into one report, which the Council had done and was included in
noted that the production of a Minimum Revenue Provision Policy Statement was
required and a formal statement for approval was contained within the report at
paragraph 2.3, with the full policy shown in Appendix A.
That Council be recommended to adopt the policies, strategies, statements,
prudential and treasury indicators outlined in the report.
The Board considered a report of the Operational Director – Finance, on
the Council’s Capital Strategy for 2024/25.
It was reported that all councils
were required to produce a Capital Strategy annually, the aim of which was to
ensure that the Council understood the overall long-term policy objectives and
resulting capital strategy requirements, governance procedures and risk
Members were advised that the Capital
Strategy should be read in conjunction with the Treasury Management Strategy
Statement, included on the same agenda; this detailed the expected activities
of the treasury management function and incorporated the Annual Investment
Strategy (AIS) and the Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) policy for 2024/25. It was noted that the successful delivery of
the Capital Strategy would assist the Council in planning and funding its
capital expenditure over the next three years.
RESOLVED: That Council
be recommended to approve the 2024/25
Capital Strategy, as presented
in the Appendix attached to the report.
N.B. Councillors Thompson
and Wharton declared a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in the following item of
business as they are both members of the Mersey Gateway Crossing Board.
The Board received a report from the Operational Director – Finance, advising of the Council’s overall revenue and capital net spending position as at 31 December 2023, together with a forecast outturn position.
Appendix 1 presented a summary of spending against the operational revenue budget up to 31 December 2023 and Appendix 2 provided detailed figures for each individual Department. It was reported that in overall terms the outturn forecast for the year showed that net spend would be over the approved budget by £7.144m. Appendix 3 presented the Capital Programme as at 31 December 2023, highlighting the schemes which had been revised.
spending continue to be limited to only absolutely essential items;
Directors continue to take urgent action to reduce or defer spending for the
remainder of the current financial year, or secure additional funding;
be requested to approve the revisions to the Capital Programme as set out in
paragraph 3.24; and
review of outstanding sundry debts is undertaken as outlined in paragraph 3.31,
particularly within Adults and Community and Greenspaces, to facilitate debt
collection, reduce the level of outstanding debt, and avoid increasing bad debt
The Board considered a report from the Operational Director, Finance,
which outlined a recommendation to Council in respect of the Budget, Capital
Programme and Council Tax for 2024/25.
The Medium Term Financial Strategy
(MTFS), approved at the Executive Board meeting on 16 November 2023, had
identified a funding gap of around £3.743m in 2024/25, £0.495m in 2025/26 and
£1.347m in 2026/27. The Strategy had the
a balanced and sustainable budget;
spending towards the Council’s priority areas;
excessive Council Tax rises;
significant cashable efficiency gains;
essential front line services and vulnerable members of the community; and
In terms of consultation, it was noted that the Council used various
methods to listen to the views of the public, and Members own experiences
through their Ward work was an important part of that process. Individual consultations were taking place in
respect of specific budget proposals and equality impact assessments would be
completed where necessary.
The Board received regular reports summarising spending in the current
year against the budget. The latest report indicated that spending was forecast
to be over budget in the current year by approximately £7.144m against a net
budget of £140.880m.
The proposed revenue budget for 2024/25 totalled £149.496m; the
departmental analysis of this was shown in Appendix B and the major reasons for
change from the current budget were shown in Appendix C. A total of £2.702m of savings were approved
by Council on 1 February 2023.
The Board was advised that the proposed budget incorporated the grant
figures announced in the Local Government Finance Settlement. It included £0.124m for the New Homes Bonus
grant, an increase of £0.115m from 2023/24. The budget also included Better
Care Funding of £6.982m which was unchanged from 2023/24.
Further information was also provided on the budget outlook, Halton’s
Council Tax, Parish precepts, Police, Fire and Liverpool City Region (LCR)
Mayor precepts, the Capital Programme, Prudential Code and School Budgets.
RESOLVED: That Council be
adopt the resolution set out in Appendix A, which includes setting the budget
at £149.496m, the Council Tax requirement of £64.039m (before Parish, Police,
Fire and LCR Combined Authority precepts) and the Band D Council Tax for Halton
approve the capital programme set out in Appendix F;
approve the introduction of a Council Tax Premium of 100% to properties where
there is no resident and which are substantially furnished (typically referred
to as second homes) from 1 April 2025, subject to legislation being enacted;
approve the use of Capital Receipts Strategy as set out in Appendix H.
The Board received the annual Pensions Discretions Statement for 2024-25
for Halton Borough Council.
The Council was required to publish a Pension Discretion Statement
annually, to advise the discretions it intended to exercise under the Local
Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) – this was appended to the report.
It was reported that the Pensions Discretion Statement for 2024-25 was
based upon the statement for 2023-24, which was approved by Executive Board in March
2023. It was noted that no new
discretions had been added.
RESOLVED: That the Board approve
the Pensions Discretions Statement for 2024-25.
Children and Young People Portfolio
The Board considered a report of the Executive Director – Children, which provided an update on the progress of the Halton Family Hubs Programme in meeting the Department of Education’s ambition to implement a Digital / Virtual Family Hub by March 2025. Family Hubs were a system wide model of providing high quality, joined up, whole family support services. Hubs delivered these services from conception, through a child’s early years until they reached the age of 19 (or 25 for young people with special educational needs and disabilities).
It was noted that Beebot Family Hubs Support had conducted a successful proof of concept exercise with families, residents and professionals, with the aim to gain feedback and opinion from a range of demographics and job roles across Halton. Following on from the exercise, that included positive stakeholder workshop feedback and support, Beebot had been asked to provide a fully costed proposal. The estimated cost of a 3-year licence was £194,000, funded through the Department for Education Family Hubs and Start for Life Programme, and a waiver of Procurement Standing Order 1.14. (iv) and 1.14 (v) was requested for the purchase of the Family Hub Digital Solution.
RESOLVED: That approval be given for a Waiver request in compliance with Procurement Standing Order 1.14. (iv) and 1.14 (v) for the purchase of the Family Hub Digital Solution.
SCHEDULE 12A OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972 AND THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT (ACCESS TO INFORMATION) ACT 1985
In this case the Board has a discretion to exclude the press and public and, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted, it is RECOMMENDED that under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, having been satisfied that in all the circumstances of the case the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item(s) of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act.
The Board considered:
Members of the press and public should be excluded from the meeting of the
Board during consideration of the following item of business in accordance with
Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972 because it was likely that,
in view of the nature of the business to be considered, exempt information
would be disclosed, being information defined in Section 100 (1) and paragraph
3 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972; and
the disclosure of information was in the public interest, whether any relevant
exemptions were applicable and whether, when applying the public interest test
and exemptions, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed
that in disclosing the information.
RESOLVED: That as, in all the circumstances of the case, the public
interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed that in disclosing the
information, members of the press and public be excluded from the meeting
during consideration of the following items of business in accordance with
Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972 because it was likely that,
in view of the nature of the business, exempt information would be disclosed,
being information defined in Section 100 (1) and paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of
the Local Government Act 1972.
Corporate Services Portfolio
Flexible Workforce Arrangements - key decision
Board considered a report of the Corporate Director, Chief Executive’s Delivery
Unit, that outlined new arrangements for the management of flexible
workforce from 1 September 2024 onwards.
RESOLVED: That the
recommendations set out in the report be approved.
MINUTES ISSUED: 27
CALL-IN: 5 March 2024 at 5.00 pm.
Any matter decided by
the Executive Board may be called in no later than 5.00pm on 5 March 2024.