Agenda and draft minutes

Finance and Corporate Services Select Committee - Wednesday, 11th January, 2023 7.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 6 - Civic Centre, High Street, Uxbridge UB8 1UW. View directions

Contact: Anisha Teji  01895 277655

Items
No. Item

41.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor John Riley with Councillor Ekta Gohil substituting.

42.

Declarations of interest in matters coming before this meeting

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

43.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 206 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes from the meeting on 23 November 2022 be agreed.

 

44.

To confirm that the items of business marked as Part I will be considered in Public and that the items marked as Part II will be considered in Private

Minutes:

It was confirmed that all items would be heard in Part I.

45.

2023/24 Budget Planning Report for Services within the Remit of the Finance & Corporate Services Select Committee pdf icon PDF 294 KB

Minutes:

The Interim Financial Planning Manager and Head of Finance – CF and Finance introduced the report detailing the draft revenue budget and capital programme for the services within the remit the Committee.

 

Key points from the report were highlighted, including details of the financial pressures generated by the ongoing exceptional inflationary environment, legacy Covid–19 impacts, cost of living crisis all leading to a doubling of the Council’s saving requirement for 2023/24 from £10m to £20m.  It was reported that the balanced budget was presented as part of the Consultation Budget to be achieved through a combination of efficiency savings and increases in council tax and fees and charges.

 

Budget proposals for 2023/24 had been prepared in the context of a wider strategy addressing the five-year MTFF period.        The latest monitoring position for the 2022/23 financial year reported a net underspend of £61k which would leave uncommitted General Balances at £26,780k entering the 2023/24 financial year.

 

The Committee noted that Cabinet would consider the budget proposals on 16 February 2023 and the report would include comments from Select Committees. Members were informed that Council would meet to agree the 2023/24 budgets and Council tax levels on 23 February 2023.

 

Further clarity was requested on government grants and business rates income failing to match prevailing levels of inflation currently and in the medium term. It was explained that when the financial position was reviewed, funding and the costs of running services was considered. 75% of service expenditure is proposed to be funded from business rates and council tax in the Consultation Budget. The remaining 25% comes from government grants, with the provisional settlement being published on 20 December 2022, which was consistent to the Consultation Budget.

 

Members requested reassurance on the savings proposals and the impacts that these would have on business performance and support teams, service maintenance, service delivery and business transformation. It was noted that the Council had undergone in-depth reviews of different service areas and although the figures were substantial, service delivery and the impact on residents had been considered, with no reduction in the quality of the Council services expected from the proposals.

 

In terms of the capital investment plan and the requirement of 59 million pounds of extra borrowing to 2027/28, Members were informed that the capital programme had significantly reduced over the past few years and maximising resources had been considered. The items in the capital programme had been reviewed to ensure that they were fit for purpose for residents. The higher interest rates were driving significant movements on the Council’s cost of borrowing.

 

It was noted that fees and charges was expected to generate an additional £204k in the portfolio and further information was requested on the examples of the fees and charges currently under review. Services being considered included the registrar office and blue badges incomes generated within the contact centre.

 

During Member questions it was noted that the Council held general and earmarked reserves and they were in place to protect the Council  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.

46.

Review of Procurement within Hillingdon - Second Witness Session pdf icon PDF 373 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Procurement and Commissioning introduced the report on the Review of Procurement within Hillingdon – Second Witness Session and provided a detailed overview.

 

The second witness session focussed on the operational perspective of how the Council delivered value for money through the procurement process.

 

The Committee heard that there were three broad stages as part of the procurement cycle including:

 

·         Pre- tender - Strategic decision making around delivery model, route to market, required outcomes and commercial model

 

·         Tender - Technical and transaction process of running a tender process including social value and local supply market.

 

·         Post- tender - Management of contract during implementation and delivery phase to ensure supplier meets the agreed contractual commitments.

 

Pre Tender Stage

 

It was reported that the pre-tender process involved identifying the Council’s needs and seeking the best commercial and quality outcomes.

 

The Committee heard that this stage required officers to engage with provider markets to better understand how Hillingdon requirements could be met. For the London Borough of Hillingdon’s part, officers considered how the tender was positioned in order to elicit the best response from providers. Engagement with suppliers also allowed the Council to look at how others were delivering services both within local government and outside. It allowed the Council to challenge how work was currently done, understand cost drivers and support the delivery of efficiencies.

 

As well as engagement with supplier markets, the pre-tender phase was supported by an analysis of spend to confirm the scope and benchmarking against others to validate the strategy.

 

Once an understanding was established of what was required and the way in which it would be tendered , this needs to be articulated clearly into a specification so that suppliers could understand and accurately respond to the Council’s tender. A clear specification was key to future phases. As part of this phase, thought also needs to be given to developing a contract management framework to ensure the supplier delivers on its commitments

 

Tender Stage

 

The Committee heard that the tender stage of the process was more transactional and officers assessed the suppliers’ ability to provide the required goods, works or services to Hillingdon through a formal tender process. There were various processes for tendering, all set down with the Public Contract Regulations. Areas considered within tenders included: 

 

·         Governance / Assurance - H&S, Insurance, Financial health etc.

·         Capability – Experience in similar contracts, competence of teams engaged in delivery of the contract, capacity to meet LBH requirements, method statements as to how supplier will deliver the contract etc

·         Financial / Commercial – Supplier response to the pricing model.

 

It was noted that bids were submitted by tenderers and evaluations were based on a pre-determined set of price and quality criteria.

 

Social Value / Environmental

 

The Committee was informed that social value was considered an important component of the tender process in extracting value for public money. Officers took a broad view of social value inclusion within a tender and how it might be used to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 46.

47.

Cabinet Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 137 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the Forward Plan be noted.

 

48.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 156 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was requested whether the witness sessions as part of the major review could include external witnesses such as representatives from chambers of commerce.

 

It was also requested whether information reports could be provided on:

 

·         The digitalisation of Human Resources.

·         Information on customer service particularly call centre teams and how digitalisation would impact this.

·         An update on the new Members Enquiries system.

 

RESOLVED: That the updates and work programme be noted.