Venue: remotely - via Microsoft Teams
Contact: Democratic Services
Apologies for Absence
To receive apologies for absence from Members.
Apologies were received from the Corporate Director – Social Services and Wellbeing.
Declarations of Interest
To receive declarations of personal and prejudicial interest (if any) from Members/Officers in accordance with the provisions of the Members’ Code of Conduct adopted by Council from 1 September 2008.
The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change presented a report, the purpose of which, was to seek approval of the Council's Corporate Plan 2018 to 2023 reviewed for 2022 - 23. The revised plan was attached at Appendix A to the report.
The Corporate Plan for the period 2018 to 2023 describes the Council's vision for Bridgend County Borough Council, it’s three well-being objectives and our organisational values and principles that underpin how BCBC will work to deliver their priorities.
The Plan represents the contribution to achieving the seven national Well Being goals as set out in the Well-being of Future Generations Wales Act and BCBC’s improvement objectives under the performance duties of the Local Government and Election Wales Act 2021. This latter piece of legislation places new performance and governance duties on local authorities. Evaluation of performance was now a continuous organisation wide self-assessment of how effectively a local authority is operating, not only in terms of meeting its objectives, but how it is delivering its functions, using its resources and governing itself.
The Plan before Members was the final one for this five-year period.
The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change, confirmed that between October and November 2021, the Corporate Plan has been refreshed for the coming financial year and has been discussed with Corporate Directors and Heads of Service throughout the authority. This has enabled officers to consider any emerging priorities as part of the Covid 19 recovery and renewal work, to take account of any external regulator feedback and to streamline the commitments and performance indicators to ensure a strategic focus on achieving the Council’s well-being objectives.
In addition, the outcome of the ‘Fit for the Future’ consultation undertaken in December 2021, has helped to shape where efforts should be concentrated going forward. People have placed importance on recycling and waste, highways and infrastructure improvement and community facilities, including parks and being outdoors over the last 12 months. Priority areas identified include support for older people, tackling food poverty and homelessness. Also, further efficiencies identified include continuing to streamline processes, rationalise the number of offices and encourage our citizens to take more responsibility themselves.
The well-being objectives, aims and strategic priorities within the Plan remained unchanged. However, some commitments have been revised and performance indicators to measure outcomes had been agreed. Targets have been set for 2022 - 23 where possible, although the ongoing pandemic continues to impact on the availability of data to set some meaningful targets.
The draft Corporate Plan was considered by the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee in January, she added.
The document replaces the current Corporate Plan.
Progress against the Plan will be monitored through the corporate performance assessment process. Performance challenge will also take place at Directorate Management team meetings and twice yearly at the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee
The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change, concluded her report, by adding that in accordance with the performance duty of the Local Government and Elections Act, the ... view the full minutes text for item 799.
The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change presented a report, the purpose of which, was to present to Cabinet the Medium Term Financial Strategy for the period 2022-23 to 2025-26. This included:
· A financial forecast for 2022 to 2026;
· A detailed revenue budget for the coming financial year;
· a capital programme for the period 2021-2022 to 2031 – 2032; and
· the corporate risk assessment
The MTFS is fully aligned with the Council’s Corporate Plan and well-being objectives.
The development of the MTFS has been guided by these priorities.
Although reductions in the level of funding available in previous years has necessitated significant budget reductions across various service areas, the Council continues to manage annual gross expenditure of around £459m and is the largest employer in the County Borough. As a result, the Council does play a significant role in the local economy of this area.
The Council's MTFS articulates how the Council plans to use its resources to support the achievement of its well-being objectives and statutory duties, including the management of financial pressures and risks over the coming four years. The document outlines the principles and detailed assumptions which drive the Council’s budget and spending decisions, it outlines the financial context within which the council is operating and tries to mitigate any financial risks and pressures going forward whilst at the same time taking advantage of any opportunities arising.
The MTFS focuses on how the Council intends to respond to the increasing pressures on public sector services, which have undoubtedly been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The quarterly reports to Cabinet during this financial year on the projected revenue position for 2021/2022 have outlined in detail the impact on the budget of the additional cost pressures and loss of income faced by the Council throughout the year as a result of the pandemic. Welsh Government has played a significant role in mitigating a large proportion of these losses through their various funding streams, most notably the COVID-19 hardship fund.
The Council now needs to consider the longer term impact of the pandemic and how it will shape the Council as part of its recovery programme, given that the hardship fund is due to come to an end in March 2022.
The announcement of the final local government settlement for 2022-23 is again approximately two months later than in previous years, due to the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review by the UK Government not being delivered until the end of October 2021. The final settlement for local government in Wales is not due to be announced until 1 March 2022. As a result, this budget is being proposed on the basis of the provisional settlement received in December 2021. Whilst we do not anticipate any significant change in funding between the provisional and final settlement, any changes will be reported back to Council at a later date. It is not envisaged that any changes will impact upon Council Tax.
As the Council’s S151 Officer, she believed the level ... view the full minutes text for item 800.
The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change, submitted a report, in order to present to Cabinet the Treasury Management Strategy 2022-23 (Appendix A to the report), which detailed the Treasury Management Indicators, and the Capital Strategy 2022-23 to 2031-32 (Appendix B), which includes the Prudential Indicators, and the Annual Minimum Revenue Provision Statement 2022-23 (Section 7 of Appendix B), before submitting to Council for approval.
She explained that both treasury management and the control of capital expenditure are regulated by legislation. The legislation provides local authorities with the powers to borrow and invest as well as providing controls and limits on this activity. The Prudential Code For Capital Finance In Local Authorities includes a requirement for the Council to approve a Treasury Management Strategy (TMS) before the start of each financial year which sets out the Councils and Chief Financial Officers responsibilities, delegation and reporting arrangements. The proposed Strategy for the coming financial year was attached at Appendix A to the report.
In addition, local authorities are required to determine a Capital Strategy which demonstrates that the authority takes capital expenditure and investment decisions in line with service objectives and properly takes account of stewardship, value for money, prudence, sustainability and affordability when making these decisions. The proposed Capital Strategy for 2022 - 2023 to 2031 - 2032 was attached at Appendix B to the report
With regard to the TMS, the Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change drew Cabinet’s attention to the key points within the document.
The ongoing impact on the UK of the pandemic, together with higher inflation, higher interest rates following the Bank of England’s increase in interest rates in December 2021 and then again more recently in February 2022, together with the impact of the UK leaving Europe, will be major influences on the Council’s Treasury Management Strategy for the coming financial year.
As at the 31st of December 2021, the Council held £96.87 million of borrowing and £77.5 million of investments. The external debt and investment position was shown in Table 1 within the Treasury Management Strategy.
The Treasury Management Strategy highlighted that the Council will have a new borrowing need over the coming three years to fund the proposed Capital Programme. With short term interest rates currently much lower than long term rates, it is it is likely to be more cost effective in the short term to use internal resources to fund our expenditure.
The Strategy is clear that the Authority will take the most appropriate form of borrowing, depending on the prevailing interest rates at the time. The borrowing need will be monitored on an ongoing basis and any new borrowing will be considered alongside any changes in the Capital Programme that may affect the level of borrowing so required. Any significant changes within these proposals will be reported to Cabinet, the Governance and Audit committee and Council, as appropriate.
In November 2020 the Treasury issued revised lending terms for Public Works Loan Board borrowing by local authorities. The ... view the full minutes text for item 801.
To consider any items of business that by reason of special circumstances the chairperson is of the opinion should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency in accordance with paragraph 2.4 (e) of the Cabinet Procedure Rules within the Constitution.