Agenda and minutes

Vibrant and Sustainable City Scrutiny Panel
Thursday, 23rd November, 2017 6.00 pm

Venue: Training Room, Ground Floor, Civic Centre, St Peter's Square, Wolverhampton WV1 1SH

Contact: Martin Stevens  Email: martin.stevens@wolverhampton.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Cllr John Rowley, Cllr Mak Singh and Cllr Christopher Haynes.

 

2.

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

 

3.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 109 KB

[To approve the minutes of the previous meeting as a correct record]

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 28 September 2017 were approved as a correct record.

 

4.

Matters arising

[To consider any matter arising from the minutes]

Minutes:

 

The Chairman reported that the issue of parking near schools had been looked at in depth at the last meeting and it was clear legislative changes were needed.  It had been agreed that three or four Councillors would form a sub-group to work through the recommendations.  On the 13 November a document had been emailed to the Panel Members for their consideration and comment.  The Scrutiny Officer, Earl Piggot-Smith, had requested that any comments should be emailed to him by the end of the following week.  There were eighteen recommendations, the majority of which the Chair believed were practicable and achievable. 

 

5.

Draft Budget and Medium Term Financial Strategy 2018-19 to 2019-20 pdf icon PDF 92 KB

[To consider a report on the draft budget and medium term financial strategy 2018-2019 to 2019-2020]

Minutes:

The Finance Business Partner (Place) presented a report on the Draft Budget and Medium Term Financial Strategy 2018-2019 to 2019-2020.  The purpose of the report was to seek the Panel’s feedback on the Draft Budget 2018-2019, that had been approved by Cabinet to proceed to formal consultation and scrutiny stages.  The Panel’s feedback was also sought on the approach to the budget consultation and key budget reduction proposals that were built into the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy.  There were no new savings currently proposed in the service area for the forthcoming financial year. 

 

The Cabinet Member for City Environment stated there were three main strands in the savings portfolio over three financial years.  Corporate Landlord had a target of £1.2 million savings.  The Council was on track to achieve the £1.2 million in savings.  Whilst there had been overspend in some areas there had also been underspend in others.  There were some issues in Catering Services but overall the Council was on target.  Over the next two financial years there was a target of a further £2 million in savings.  He personally believed the City was moving, office space and buildings were having a much better take up.  i10 had been a success in helping to attract other businesses to the City. 

 

The Chair requested further information on the overspend in catering services.  In response, the Head of Corporate Landlord stated there had been a £590,000 reduction in the Catering Services income.  The service was however still bringing in £900,000 in income, so it was not a net loss to the service.  The principal reason for the reduction in income was the market becoming more competitive.  The current offer to schools was higher in costs compared to the market but extra services were included in the overall cost.  The Council would therefore have to offer these extra services for an additional charge to remain competitive.  An action plan was being devised reprofiling the service, with a report due in the near future.   The review that had been completed was partly to help manage a decline in the service as schools became more autonomous.  In excess of 70% of primary schools were still using the Council’s catering service.  A review had been undertaken with the intention of helping to stabilise the service.  A panel member asked what had caused the decline and was keen to ensure that nutritional standards remained high.  In response, the Head of Corporate Landlord confirmed that the Council was currently charging more per school meal than the market.  The food however was provided to a higher standard and a kitchen maintenance and food advisory service were provided as part of the package.  In future, the Council would have to provide a price for a food only service, to remain competitive and offer the additional services as extras with a corresponding additional charge.  The Panel noted the good work undertaken in Corporate Landlord in achieving the savings to date. 

 

A panel member asked if the Civic Hall  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.