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Contact: Earl Piggott-Smith Tel: 01902 551251 or Email: email@example.com
Apologies were received from the following member(s) of the panel:
Cllr Jasbir Jaspal
Cllr Jacqueline Sweetman
Cllr Wendy Thompson
Declarations of interest
There were no declarations of interest.
[To approve the minutes of the previous meeting as a correct record]
That the minutes of the meeting held on 7 October be approved as a
correct record and signed by the Chair.
[To consider any matters arising from the minutes]
Minute 6 - Future Money – Income Generation (Savings Proposals)resources
The panel were advised that a briefing paper was sent to members. A more detailed report on the performance of Agresso payment system will be presented to the panel on 3.2.16.
[Mark Taylor, Assistant Director Finance, and Claire Nye, Head of Finance, to present 2016/2017 Draft Budget Strategy and Medium Term Financial Strategy report]
Cllr Potter invited Claire Nye, Chief Accountant, to present the report to panel. The Chief Accountant gave a brief introduction to the report and explained that members of the panel were invited to provide feedback on the savings proposals. The comments would be presented in a report to Scrutiny Board for their consideration.
Cllr Andrew Johnson, Cabinet Member for Resources, gave a brief introduction to the report and invited panel members to comment on the proposals summarised in Appendix A, B and C. The panel comments on the proposals were as follows:
Customer Services Transformation – accelerate existing savings
The panel asked for an explanation of the “lift and shift” methodology. Cabinet Member for Resources explained that the term refers to the process of bringing in backroom function services to a central location and over a period of time making changes to make them efficient and responsive to customer needs. Sue Handy, Head of Customer Services, gave examples of services where changes had been made to make them more efficient by removing unnecessary stages in the process. This process has led to a reduction in the resources needed and lower administrative costs to the Council.
Review of council tax scheme and discounts
Cabinet Member for Resources explained that the changes are to confirm eligibility and reduce the level of fraud. The process will involve introducing new procedures and the sharing of intelligence. The end of the discretionary council tax discount for the first 21 days will have implications for Wolverhampton Homes and other housing providers in terms of the management of voids. There will be exemptions to the policy if the property needs major work done to meet the necessary standard.
The panel queried the reason for not introducing the policy change earlier.
Cabinet Member for Resources explained that there had been discussions three years ago to consider this issue. However, at the time there was a consensus that 21 days was a reasonable time period to grant a discount given for an empty property.
The panel queried if the policy change applies to charities or voluntary sector bodies owing property. Cabinet Member for Resources explained that charities pay business rates and are not affected by the proposed changes and would receive either a discount between of 80% to 100% depending on circumstances on their business rates.
Review of ICT requirements
Efficiencies within Financial Services
No panel comments
Revised approach to Procurement
No panel comments
Review residual fraud resource (within Internal Audit)
Cabinet Member for Resources outlined the change. The proposal has been discussed with the Head of Audit and the Chair of Audit Committee. No panel comments
Charges for late payment of invoices
Cabinet Member for Resources outlined the change. The panel commented that this should have introduced earlier. Cabinet Member for Resources explained that there is an administrative cost involved in chasing late payment of invoices which would have affected the amount of any potential savings. Further the previous finance systems would not have been able ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
[Claire Nye,Chief Accountant, to present report to establish the terms of reference for a working group to review the Council’s specific reserves and to agree the membership of the working group.]
The panel accepted the recommendation to set up a specific reserves working group. The Chair made the following nominations
Cllr Mary Bateman
A specific reserves working group to be set up . Scrutiny Officer to agree a date for a meeting in January 2016 and contact nominees to advise them.