Agenda and draft minutes

Council - Thursday, 17 February 2022 6.00 pm

Venue: 135 Eastern Avenue, Milton Park, OX14 4SB

Contact: Steven Corrigan, Democratic Services Manager 07717 274704 Email: steven.corrigan@southandvale.gov.uk  Democratic Services Manager

Link: This meeting will be broadcast live - you can watch it here

Items
No. Item

65.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 790 KB

To adopt and sign as a correct record the Council minutes of the meeting held on 9 December 2021. 

Minutes:

RESOLVED: to approve the minutes of the meeting held on 9 December 2021 as a correct record and agree that the Chair sign them as such.

 

66.

Declarations of disclosable pecuniary interest

To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and any conflicts of interest in respect of items on the agenda for this meeting.  

Minutes:

None.

67.

Urgent business and chair's announcements

To receive notification of any matters which the chair determines should be considered as urgent business and the special circumstances which have made the matters urgent, and to receive any announcements from the chair. 

Minutes:

The Chair of Council, Councillor Robb, advised that, in accordance with Section 100B (4) (b) of the Local Government Act 1972, she had agreed to take one item of urgent business at the meeting – for Council to amend its Council Tax Reduction Scheme to disregard Energy Bill rebate payments when determining eligibility for Council Tax Reduction.

 

The reason for urgency being that Council must agree the change by the statutory deadline of 11 March 2022 and the matter arose since the publication of the agenda for this meeting. The Chair further advised that the item would be taken after the Council Tax setting item.

 

68.

Public participation

To receive any questions or statements from members of the public that have registered to speak. 

Minutes:

None.

69.

Petitions

To receive any petitions from the public. 

Minutes:

None.

70.

Treasury Management and Investment Strategy 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 922 KB

Cabinet, at its meeting on 3 February 2022, considered the attached report of the head of finance on the council’s treasury management and investment strategy for 2022/23.

 

The Joint Audit and Governance Committee considered the report at its meeting on 25 January 2022 and had not recommended any adjustments to the strategy. 

 

RECOMMENDATION: to

1.    approve the treasury management strategy 2022/23, as set out in appendix A to
the head of finance’s report to Cabinet on 3 February 2022;

 

2.    approve the prudential indicators and limits for 2022/23 to 2024/25, as set out in appendix A to the report; 

 

3.    approve the annual investment strategy 2022/23 set out in appendix A to the report,and the lending criteria detailed in table 6.

 

Minutes:

Council considered Cabinet’s recommendation, made at its meeting on 3 February 2022, on the council’s treasury management and investment strategy for 2022/23.

 

Councillor Rawlins, Cabinet member for finance, reported that several changes were proposed to the strategy, designed to widen the scope of the available instruments the council can invest in with the aim of achieving an increase in yield whilst still maintaining the primacy of security and liquidity in determining where to place the council’s investments. 

 

The Joint Audit and Governance Committee had considered the report at its meeting on 25 January 2022 and had not recommended any adjustments to the strategy and resolved to recommend Cabinet to approve the treasury management strategy, the prudential indicators and limits for 2022/23 to 2024/25 and the annual investment strategy 2022/23 as set out in the report. 

 

Cabinet agreed to recommend Council to approve the strategy. 

 

RESOLVED: to

 

1.    approve the treasury management strategy 2022/23 set out in appendix A to the head of finance’s report to Cabinet on 3 February 2022;

2.    approve the prudential indicators and limits for 2022/23 to 2024/25 as set out in, appendix A to the report; and

3.     approve the annual investment strategy 2022/23 set out in appendix A to the report,and the lending criteria detailed in table 6.

 

 

71.

Capital Strategy 2022/23-2031/32 pdf icon PDF 158 KB

Cabinet, at its meeting on 3 February 2022, considered the attached report of the head of finance on the capital strategy for 2022/23 to 2031/32.   

 

RECOMMENDATION: to 

 

1.    approve the capital strategy 2022/23 to 2031/32, contained in the appendix to the head of finance’s report to Cabinet on 3 February 2022; and

2.    agree the strategy for flexible use of capital receipts, which is contained as annex 1 of the capital strategy.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council considered Cabinet’s recommendation, made at its meeting on 3 February 2022, on the council’s capital strategy for 2022/23 to 2031/32.

 

Councillor Rawlins, Cabinet member for finance, set out the key proposed change to the strategy to broaden the areas where capital investment will be considered to include property investments, loans and renewable energy schemes. He stressed that in all cases investment would need to be within the council’s legal powers, must be proportionate to the council’s financial standing, and should support the council’s corporate objectives.  However, investment could not be purely for commercial gain. 

 

RESOLVED: to 

 

1.    approve the capital strategy 2022/23 to 2031/32, contained in appendix one of the head of finance’s report to Cabinet on 3 February 2022; and

2.    agree the strategy for flexible use of capital receipts which is contained as annex 1 of the capital strategy. 

 

72.

Revenue budget 2022/23 and capital programme 2022/23 - 2026/27 pdf icon PDF 496 KB

Cabinet, at its meeting on 3 February 2022, considered the attached report of the head of finance on the the draft revenue budget 2022/23, and the capital programme to 2026/27.

 

The Scrutiny Committee considered the report at its meeting on 7 February 2022 and made no recommendations to Cabinet.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS: to

 

1.    set the revenue budget for 2022/23, as set out in appendix A.1 to the head of finance’s report to Cabinet on 3 February 2022;

 

2.    approve the capital programme for 2022/23 to 2026/27, as set out in appendix D.1 to the report, together with the capital programme changes as set out in appendix D.2 and appendix D.3 to the report;

 

3.    set the council’s prudential limits, as listed in appendix E to the report;

 

4.    approve the medium-term financial plan to 2026/27, as set out in appendix F to the report;

 

5.    allocate £500,000 to fund the Communities Capital and Revenue grant scheme;

 

6.    ask officers to review the Medium-Term Financial Strategy following the announcement by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities of changes to the council’s future funding streams.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The chair referred to regulations that require councils to record the names of those councillors voting in favour, against or abstaining from any vote on the budget, including amendments, and the council tax. In accordance with the regulations she would call for a named vote on each of these matters at this meeting.

 

The chair reminded councillors that they were not entitled to vote on any issue affecting the level or administration of the council tax or other decisions which might affect the making of any such calculation such as the budget, if they were over two months in arrears with their council tax payments. Where such circumstances applied, councillors were under a statutory obligation to disclose the restriction placed on them and refrain from voting at the relevant meeting. No councillor made any such declaration.

 

Council noted the report of the chief finance officer on the robustness of the budget estimates and the adequacy of the reserves.

 

Council considered Cabinet’s recommendations, made at its meeting held on 3 February 2021, on the revenue budget for 2021/22 and the capital programme to 2025/26. Scrutiny Committee had considered the report of the interim head of finance on 7 February and had made no recommendations. 

 

Councillor Rawlins, Cabinet member for finance, presented Cabinet’s proposals for the revenue budget and capital programme. He moved and Councillor Rouane, Leader of the council, seconded a motion to approve Cabinet’s recommendations as follows:

 

To

 

1.    set the revenue budget for 2022/23, as set out in appendix A.1 to the head of finance’s report to Cabinet on 3 February 2022;

 

2.    approve the capital programme for 2022/23 to 2026/27, as set out in appendix D.1 to the report, together with the capital programme changes as set out in appendix D.2 and appendix D.3 to the report;

 

3.    set the council’s prudential limits, as listed in appendix E to the report;

 

4.    approve the medium-term financial plan to 2026/27, as set out in appendix F to the report;

 

5.    allocate £500,000 to fund the Communities Capital and Revenue grant scheme;

 

6.    ask officers to review the Medium-Term Financial Strategy following the announcement by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities of changes to the council’s future funding streams.

 

 

In introducing the budget proposals, the Cabinet member stated that the budget would help chart the council back to a more stable financial position and recovery from the position the administration had inherited at the district council elections in 2019.  The council had faced significant financial issues in the preparation of the budget.  Its council tax was the fifteenth lowest in the country for a shire district and well below the national average; the council was unable to increase its council tax significantly.  The council had not benefitted from the business rates retention scheme and, whilst the council had benefitted from the New Homes Bonus scheme, this was under review by the government and was expected to be less generous in future.      

 

The revenue budget set for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 72.

73.

Future provision of external audit services pdf icon PDF 333 KB

Cabinet, at its meeting on 3 February 2022, considered the attached report of the head of finance on proposals for appointing the external auditor to the council for the accounts for the five-year period from 2023/24.

 

RECOMMENDATION: to

1.    accept Public Sector Audit Appointments’ invitation to opt into the sector-led option for the appointment of external auditors to principal local government and police bodies for five financial years from 1 April 2023; and

 

2.    authorise the head of finance to opt into the national scheme for auditor appointments for the provision of external audit services starting with the audit of the 2023/24 accounts. 

 

Minutes:

Council considered Cabinet’s recommendation, made at its meeting on 3 February 2022, on the appointment of the external auditor to the council for the accounts for the five-year period from 2023/24.

 

The Joint Audit and Governance Committee, at its meeting on 25 January 2022, supported the recommendations set out in the report. 

 

RESOLVED: to

 

1.    accept Public Sector Audit Appointments’ invitation to opt into the sector-led option for the appointment of external auditors to principal local government and police bodies for five financial years from 1 April 2023; and

 

2.    authorise the head of finance to opt into the national scheme for auditor appointments for the provision of external audit services, starting with the audit of the 2023/24 accounts.

 

 

74.

Council tax 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 371 KB

To consider the report of the head of finance on the setting of the council tax for the 2022/23 financial year - report to follow.

Minutes:

Council considered the report of the interim head of finance on the setting of the Council Tax for the 2022/23 financial year.

 

In accordance with regulations requiring councils to record the names of those councillors voting in favour, against or abstaining from any vote on the council tax the chairman called for a recorded vote which was carried with the voting being as follows:

 

 

For

Against

Abstain

Councillors

Councillors

Councillors

Ken Arlett

 

 

 

Anna Badcock

 

 

 

Pieter-Paul Barker

 

 

 

David Bartholomew

 

 

 

Robin Bennett

 

 

 

David Bretherton

 

 

Sam Casey-Rerhaye

 

 

 

Sue Cooper

 

 

 

Peter Dragonetti

 

 

 

Maggie Filipova-Rivers

 

 

 

Stefan Gawrysiak

 

 

 

Kate Gregory

 

 

 

Victoria Haval

 

 

 

Lorraine Hillier

 

 

 

Kellie Hinton

 

 

 

Alexandrine Kantor

 

 

 

Mocky Khan

 

 

George Levy

 

 

Lynn Lloyd

 

 

 

Axel Macdonald

 

 

Jane Murphy

 

 

 

Andrea Powell

 

 

 

Leigh Rawlins

 

 

 

Jo Robb

 

 

 

Sue Roberts

 

 

 

David Rouane

 

 

 

Anne-Marie Simpson

 

 

 

Ian Snowdon

 

 

 

Alan Thompson

 

 

 

Ian White

 

 

Celia Wilson

 

 

 

31

 

0

 

0

 

RESOLVED:

1.    To note that at its meeting on 9 December 2021 the council calculated the council tax base 2022/23:

(a)    for the whole council area as 60,343.7 [Item T in the formula in Section 31B of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, as amended (the “Act”)]; and

 (b)   for dwellings in those parts of its area to which a parish precept relates as in column 1 of appendix 1.

2.    That the council tax requirement for the council’s own purposes for 2022/23 (excluding parish precepts) is £8,221,226

3.    That the following amounts be calculated for the year 2022/23 in accordance with Sections 31 to 36 of the Act:

(a)    £80,209,413 being the aggregate of the amounts which the council estimates for the items set out in Section 31A(2) of the Act taking into account all precepts issued to it by parish councils.

(b)    £65,708,812 being the aggregate of the amounts which the council estimates for the items set out in Section 31A(3) of the Act.

(c)    £14,500,601 being the amount by which the aggregate at (3)(a) above exceeds the aggregate at (3)(b) above, calculated by the council, in accordance with Section 31A(4) of the Act as its council tax requirement for the

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
year.  (Item R in the formula in Section 31B of the Act).

(d)    £240.30 being the amount at (3)(c) above (Item R), all divided by Item T (1(a) above), calculated by the council, in accordance with Section 31B of the Act, as the basic amount of its council tax for the year (including parish precepts).

(e)    £6,279,375 being the aggregate amount of all special items referred to in Section 34(1) of the Act, as set out in column 2 of appendix 1.

(f)     £136.24 being the amount at (3)(d) above less the result given by dividing the amount at (3)(e) above by Item T (1(a) above), calculated by the council, in accordance with Section 34(2) of the Act, as the basic amount of its council tax for the year for dwellings in those parts of its area to which no parish precept relates.

4.    That for the year 2022/23 Oxfordshire County Council has stated the following amounts in precepts issued to the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 74.

75.

Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme - Energy Bills Rebate disregard (Prescribed amendment) pdf icon PDF 224 KB

To consider the report of the head of finance seeking approval for the council’s current Council Tax Reduction Scheme’s wording to be amended so that it can disregard Government’s £150 one-off Energy Bills Rebate as income, in accordance with new legislation, when calculating a person’s entitlement for council tax support and the amount of the support deduction.

 

Minutes:

Council considered the urgent report of the head of finance seeking approval for the council’s current Council Tax Reduction Scheme’s wording to be amended so that it can disregard Government’s £150 one-off Energy Bills Rebate as income, in accordance with new legislation, when calculating a person’s entitlement for council tax support and the amount of the support deduction.

RESOLVED: to approve an amendment to its Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme (working age & pension age), inserting appropriate income disregard wording which takes account of Government’s one-off £150 Energy Bills Rebate.

 

76.

Pay policy statement 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 260 KB

To consider the report of the deputy chief executive on the adoption of a pay policy statement to meet the requirements of the Localism Act - attached.

 

Minutes:

Council considered the report of the deputy chief executive on the adoption of a pay policy statement to meet the requirements of the Localism Act.

 

RESOLVED: to approve the statement of pay policy for 2022/23 attached to the report of the deputy chief executive to the Council meeting on 17 February 2022.

 

77.

Report of the leader of the council

1.    To receive the report of the leader of the council.

 

2.    Urgent cabinet decision

 

In accordance with the Scrutiny Committee Procedure Rules, a Cabinet or Cabinet member decision can be taken as a matter of urgency, if any delay by the call in process would seriously prejudice the council’s or the public’s interest or that the decision cannot reasonably be deferred.  Treating the decision as a matter of urgency must be agreed by the chair of the Scrutiny Committee and must be reported to Council, together with the reasons for urgency.

 

Council is requested to note the details of the following urgent decision.

 

 

Additional Restriction Grant Defrayal Omicron Update

 

On 1 February 2022, Councillor Robin Bennett, Cabinet member for Development and Corporate Landlord, took a decision to approve amendments to the South Oxfordshire District Council Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) scheme – Winter 2021 to account for Omicron updates and to authorise the head of development and corporate landlord, in consultation with the head of finance, to award grants.

 

The chair of the Scrutiny Committee agreed to waive call in to allow the funds to be awarded immediately to meet Government conditions for the scheme or risk losing available business support funds.

         

 

 

Minutes:

Councillor Rouane, Leader of the council, provided an update on a number of matters. The text of his address is available on the council’s website.

 

Council noted the details of an urgent decision taken by Councillor Robin Bennett, Cabinet member for Development and Corporate Landlord, to approve amendments to the South Oxfordshire District Council Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) scheme.

 

78.

Questions on notice pdf icon PDF 176 KB

To receive questions from councillors in accordance with Council procedure rule 33.

 

Question from Councillor Anna Badcock to Councillor Leigh Rawlins,

Cabinet Member for finance and property assets

 

What would it take politically and monetarily to have a swimming pool built in Watlington, considering the options currently and in the future and mindful of the development at Berinsfield where a current facility, in need of update, resides, and the anticipated planning applications for Chalgrove? 

 

Minutes:

Question from Councillor Anna Badcock to Councillor Leigh Rawlins,

Cabinet Member for finance and property assets

 

What would it take politically and monetarily to have a swimming pool built in Watlington, considering the options currently and in the future and mindful of the development at Berinsfield where a current facility, in need of update, resides, and the anticipated planning applications for Chalgrove

 

Answer

 

Strategic leisure is already in the process of undertaking a strategic review of leisure need across the district in partnership with Sport England, the output of which will be a facilities planning model.  That work and model is expected to be ready by the end of this year and its purpose is to identify an appropriate level of sports provision in an area.  It will take into account recent and planned population changes and housing delivery, and it is this document that will provide the best basis upon which to make decisions as to where new sports facilities are provided. 

 

Funding for significant capital projects and potential sites would need to be identified in any such case, and clearly s106 and Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) are sources of funding, derived from the development of new homes, that have the potential to be used.

 

We will of course be very happy to report the findings of the strategic leisure work to Councillor Babcock, particularly in regards to its findings regarding Watlington.

 

Supplementary question

 

Councillor Badcock asked if the Cabinet member for leisure would meet in person, within the next few weeks, with Watlington Parish Council to discuss the findings from their survey and strategy to ensure that the Cabinet member, head of service and team undertaking the review are fully aware of the leisure needs of a neglected rural area and appraises the parish council of all the considerations and requirements for the delivery of the key desirable facilities requested by the residents of the parish.

 

Answer

 

In response Councillor Filipova-Rivers, Cabinet member for community wellbeing, confirmed she would attend such a meeting.

79.

Motions on notice

No motions have been submitted from councillors in accordance with Council procedure rule 38. 

 

Minutes:

No motions were submitted for consideration by Council.