(Report OS204 refers)
Councillor Ashton introduced the Report which summarised the Council’s performance and financial position during the final quarter of 2017/18. The Council had been able to set aside an increased amount to reserves to help support future budgets and enhance protection for the council against future financial volatility. The report gave updates against major projects, the Council Strategy outcomes and key performance measures. A financial summary set out the detail of the General Fund revenue and capital budgets as well as the Housing Revenue Account (HRA).
A number of points and issues were raised:
· Winchester High Street security bollards contribution – no public consultation had occured on these owing to statutory emergency planning responsibilities, but where there were options (eg fixing to the ground) then interested parties such as the Town Forum and BID would be consulted.
· St Maurice’s Covert – a new design had been received from the architect following concerns raised by the Police and this was now being considered.
· Constitution review – this would be progressed in the coming weeks, following further review by legal services.
· The generating of an additional £500k of returns through a strategic asset purchase scheme was queried against the actual returns generated.
· There would shortly be a fundamental review of fees and charges for 2018/19.
· A point was raised as to what ‘on track’ meant and how this differed from ‘Green’ in the RAG (Red, Amber, Green Status) status. In the specific example of restricting permitted development rights in Winchester, Councillor Horrill confirmed that following more data collection recommendations on this would be forthcoming.
· The Cabinet (Housing) Committee had considered the issue of HMO size reductions and Government’s direction on this. A programme of inspection would be drawn up and Members kept fully briefed.
· The Strategic Director: Resources was asked to provide Members with details of the numbers of litter fines issued (page 63 of the agenda refers) and how successful this had been to date.
· In respect of employment opportunities for young people, Councillor Humby confirmed that a company was being used to talk to local businesses about developing / encouraging opportunities.
· The Economic Strategy was being reviewed to incorporate more meaningful targets.
· With regard to the Central Winchester Regeneration project, Councillor Horrill confirmed that a meeting tomorrow would take into account new supplementary planning guidance and other governance recommendations, including working up further detail. The lessons learned from the Bath, Chester and Oxford city visits and how the retail ‘mix’ and related strategies evolved here.
· The Replacement Surgery project was on hold due to the GPs yet to finalise arrangements with the Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS more widely on longer-term provisions.
· The Central Winchester Archaeology Advisory Panel had reported to the IPG, making recommendations on how to proceed with the site. The Cabinet Committee was inviting them back so that interested parties could ask questions directly of them.
· On Internal Audit actions, it was noted that there had been significant improvements and that there were now fewer outstanding issues.
· A risk-based, comprehensive approach continued to be taken when responding to FOI requests.
· In respect of paying invoices within 30 days, a 100% target would be near impossible to achieve as there can be clarifications sought or disputes to resolve before payments can be completed. The figure was currently mid 90% of invoices that were paid in less that 30 days.
· With regard to increased homelessness, Councillor Horrill outlined a number of initiatives and partnership arrangements currently being progressed to continue addressing this.
· Learning points were being gathered in respect of the Enterprise Centre, and the capital strategy would be revised in the future.
The Committee commended the continual improvements to the report, but asked that the Capital Expenditure Outturn figures be reformatted so that they were more easy to read.
That the Leader and other relevant Portfolio Holders notes the comments of the Committee but that no items of significance to be drawn to the attention of Cabinet.