Agenda item

Reports to be considered by District Executive on 10 January 2019


Members considered the reports within the District Executive agenda for 10 January 2019 and made comments as detailed below. Responses to most of the comments were provided at the Scrutiny Committee by the relevant officer or Portfolio Holder.


Corporate peer Challenge; Follow Up Visit (Agenda item 6)


·         Members asked when they would be informed of what actions would be taken to address the recommendations made by the Peer Group, and the timeframes for any actions.

·         Page 7, rec 5 of the Peer Group – members asked if we were satisfied that we have all the skills necessary.

·         Members acknowledged that staff capacity was stretched at the current time, but sought reassurance that the costs of bringing in staff resources and consultants was being monitored. The response by the Chief Executive that such costs were contained within routine budget reports was acknowledged, but members noted the detail was not easy to refer to

·         Page 7, rec 6 of the Peer Group – in terms of policy / strategy, members sought clarity about whether an investment project needed to be for profit or council service priorities, or whether it could be a mix of both.

·         On hearing the responses of the Chief Executive about the actions currently being taken to address the recommendations made by the Peer Group, members felt it would be useful if similar information was circulated to all members with the next steps.

·         Page 21 of the agenda, section 3 of the Peer report – members noted the unfortunate spelling typo needed to be amended.

·         Page 19, point 2 – regarding ‘what additional services could we provide? Members asked if there was a timeframe involved, and if more training was required for commercialisation in some service areas?


A303 Sparkford to Ilminster Dualling Scheme – Local Impact Report (Agenda item 7)


·         Members sought reassurance that there are sufficient resources available to compete the work required from SSDC.

·         Members were content that the recommendations go forward.


Assessing Needs and Opportunities for Indoor and Outdoor Sports Facilities in South Somerset (Agenda item 8)


·         It was noted the email regarding the workshop for members had originally been circulated just prior to Christmas, and it was suggested a reminder be sent.

·         Page 41 – Athletics – regarding reference to public accessibility of the athletics track at Millfield School, it was noted that the school also had a pool but there was no reference to it in the swimming pool section on page 35, and for consistency it was felt it should be mentioned.

·         Some members were surprised that there was little mention of outdoor sports pitches, and noted there was a strong desire for an all-weather pitch in Area East.


2019/20 Draft Budget and Medium Term Financial Plan Update (Agenda item 9)


·         Members acknowledged the updates to the report provided by the Lead Specialist (Finance), including that in paragraph 46 - the word ‘within’ should say ‘without’, and in the table at para 14 – the reference to member training should say for ‘all elected members’ and not ‘new cabinet’.

·         Para 12 on page 47 – it was noted the last bullet points did not seem to refer to the table. The bullet point refers to Business Rates Retention whereas the table refers to ‘deleted reduction of RSDG’. Members sough clarity as to what was being referred to – the Rural Services Delivery Grant or Business Rates Retention?

·         Para 27 on page 49 – some members sought clarity about reference to an increase of £200k for investment income in 2019/20 as table 2a at para 9 refers to a figure of £502.9k which is the same as the previous update.

·         Para 39 on page 51 – it was queried what proportion of the Business Rates Retentions was expected to come to SSDC?

·         Para 58 on page 53 – it was noted that provisional figure of £200k to aid implementation of the Economic Development Strategy did not appear in any of the tables.


Council Tax Support Scheme 2019/20 (Agenda item 10)


·         No queries were raised as a Task and Finish Review had been undertaken by Scrutiny. However it was noted during discussion and endorsement of the Task and Finish report that some minor changes had been suggested to the report. A revised Task and Finish report highlighting the changes has been circulated to District Executive via e-mail yesterday (Wednesday).


Council Tax Discount Review (Agenda item 11)


·         Members noted the term ‘Care Leavers’ was a little confusing but acknowledged it was a term used in the Children’s Society report.

·         Members sought clarity as to how, or where, the empty properties income would be reported back and monitored.

·         It was suggested that when corresponding with owners of empty properties to notify them of Council Tax liabilities, that the opportunity was taken to signpost them to empty property grants and other relevant information.


Business Rates Relief (Agenda item 12)


·         Members were content that the recommendations go forward.


SSDC Transformation Programme – Progress Report (Agenda item 13)


·         Page 95, Risk Matrix – members felt the heat map was confusing and queried the relevance of the numbers as no key was provided to the matrix.


Notification of an Urgent Executive Decision – Short term funding facility required to SSDC Opium Power Ltd to accommodate VAT cashflow during VAT reclaim period (Agenda item 14)


·         Some members felt the matter was an issue that SSDC should possibly have been aware of at an earlier stage.

·         It was acknowledged the loan provided a good return in the short-term, and had helped prevent the project from stalling.


District Executive Forward Plan (Agenda item 15)


·         No comments.

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