Agenda and draft minutes

Cabinet Policy Development Working Group
Thursday, 25th November, 2021 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre. View directions

Contact: Lisa Thornett 

Items
No. Item

19.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence from Councillors.

Minutes:

None.

20.

Declarations of Interest

To receive Councillors’ declarations of interest (if any) in relation to any matters on the agenda.

Minutes:

None.

21.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 181 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 7 October 2021.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 7 October 2020 be agreed as a correct record.

22.

Matters arising

Any matters arising from the minutes of the previous meeting.

Minutes:

None.

23.

Local Council Tax Support Scheme pdf icon PDF 616 KB

Minutes:

The Working Group received a draft report on Local Council Tax Support Scheme.

 

Councillor Maggie Hulcoop asked whether, because of the pandemic, the courts were still catching up on cases that had been postponed. Donna Beechener, Revenue and Benefits Manager, explained that Council Tax and Building Rates run differently as the Magistrates Courts are used. The Council provides a report and then a hearing would be held where a decision would be made. Donna Beechener confirmed that the Council was given monthly court dates. Councillor Hulcoop agreed that the report was good as it would allow the claimant to know what was coming in and would reduce officer’s time in making slight changes.

 

Councillor Jodi Dunne asked what was considered as hard recovery. Donna Beechener explained that hard recovery was a statutory process. She also explained that the soft recovery process allowed the officers to engage with the residents to offer support and assistance where possible.

 

Councillor Michael Garnett asked that, where in paragraph 10 it refers to the £150 hardship reward, whether this was paid to both working and pensionable claims. Donna Beechener confirmed that it was only to working age claimants. She also explained that the remaining £96,000 was being used to help people with their arrears.

 

Councillor Clive Souter asked if the closing of the cash desk during the Covid-19 pandemic made a difference. Donna Beechener advised that it was difficult to respond but evidence suggested that the closure did not have any significant impact as many residents found alternative ways to pay.

 

RESOLVED that the Working Group:

 

A     Acknowledged the current position regarding the 2021/22 Local Council Tax Support Scheme and endorses continuing stability within the scheme for 2022/23.

 

B    Recommended to Cabinet that the current Local Council Tax Support Scheme remains unchanged for the 2022/23 financial year.

24.

Treasury Management Strategy pdf icon PDF 240 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Working Group received a draft report on the Treasury Management Report.

 

Councillor Clive Souter asked what effect the potentially big spike in interest rates would have on money borrowed. Simon Freeman, Director of Finance and Deputy to the Chief Executive, advised that, whilst there may be increases for public sector bodies, this may not be as significant as increases in the retail banking/finance sector and the link between pwlb rates and government guilts could help.

 

Councillor Jodi Dunne asked whether there was a formal investment review or whether it was just ongoing. Simon Freeman advised that the Council engaged with external treasury advisors quarterly and keeps investment advice and criteria under review. The Council also received a daily update of risk.

 

Councillor Mike Garnett asked if there were more investments that would provide returns for the Council. Simon Freeman advised that this could be possible but will be driven by the business sector following Covid and the property requirements that they may or may not have as the economy emerges from the pandemic.

 

RESOLVED that the Working Group considered the report and the underpinning principles that support the Council’s Treasury Management Strategy.

25.

Work Plan pdf icon PDF 117 KB

To review the Working Group’s work plan for the current year.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the work plan was noted.

 

26.

Matters of Urgent Business

Such other business which, in the opinion of the Chair, should be received as a matter of urgency by reason of special circumstances to be specified in the minutes.

Minutes:

None.