Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 8 February 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: This will be a virtual meeting. Details below.

Contact: Candida Mckelvey, Democratic Services Officer  07895 213820

Note: Watch the meeting live here: The recording will remain on the channel afterwards. 

No. Item


Apologies for absence

To record apologies for absence and the attendance of substitute members. 


Samantha Bowring sent her apologies.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 98 KB

To adopt and sign as a correct record the Scrutiny Committee minutes of the meeting held on 15 December 2020.


The public minutes of the meeting on 15 December 2020 were agreed as a correct record and the chair will sign them as such.


There was a confidential part of the meeting planned to discuss confidential minutes of 15 December and one finance appendix that contained some additional figures. The chair asked if the committee would be happy to agree these now, or whether a confidential session was deemed necessary.


Chair explained that further confidential details from the meeting on 15 December 2020 would be revealed at the appropriate time. At present, such details were still commercially sensitive.


The committee agreed that the confidential minutes of 15 December 2020 were a correct record, and the chair will sign them as such.






Declarations of interest

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




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.


No urgent business, normal housekeeping rules apply.


Chair added that the confidential appendix A6 of the budget report would need discussing in private, but may not be necessary if there were no questions.


Public participation

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




Budget 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 213 KB

To consider the Interim Head of Finance’s report (to follow).

Additional documents:



The budget 2021-22 Cabinet report was introduced by Cabinet member for Finance and Corporate assets, Councillor Andrew Crawford. The Interim Head of Finance, Simon Hewings, was present to answer questions.

He explained that the budget required a thorough review of all budget codes. Gratitude was expressed to officers who worked on this. There were no cuts to frontline services. Comments from Scrutiny were welcomed before presentation to Council.


The Interim Head of Finance added that budget setting was a statutory duty, and the council was required to set a council tax.


A question was asked on page ten of the report. The estimate of total capital expenditure was £12 million. Why were the estimates lower in later years? It was responded that the affordable homes commitment part of the growth deal is a large commitment with £8 million budgeted to contribute to affordable homes delivery. This was a one off. There were Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) payments also, to Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) and the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for this year and next. These distort figures for this year and next.


What were the long-term plans to improve the budget?

The Cabinet Member for Finance said that a cautious approach was taken to determining what funding from government we would get. The council is going ahead with projects despite Covid-19, which will contribute positively to the budget. The corporate plan was now in place, and we will plan to tackle the unsustainability of the current council tax rate and the caps that were in place. We had not accounted for capital receipts that we do not have yet. There was opportunity to save money and make income from council property.


The Interim Head of Finance added that a raft of items across all services will be needed to balance the budget.


Councillor Avery had connection issues and had no questions on the paper because he was unable to hear the meeting until half an hour into the meeting.


On page 16, an explanation was sought regarding small staff increments, reduction in training, the Beacon.  The Interim Head of Finance explained that items in Appendix A2 were previously agreed decisions in last year’s budget.


Paragraph 16 – New Homes Bonus (NHB) – when will we have clarity on the figures?

The Interim Head of Finance answered that the final settlement figures were just published and will be debated in Parliament, so are unlikely to change.

It was clarified that in paragraph 25, we had made allowance in 2022/23 for NHB legacy payments. Core revenue spending power has been estimated forward over the life of the MTFP period. In reference to line 48 in the MTFP it was noted that there was uncertainty over what a future scheme will look like at this stage.


Waste collection service on page 23 – increase in contract cost. What was the cost of garden waste collection to the council? Cabinet member answered that there was an indexation increase in the Biffa contract. Biffa collected  ...  view the full minutes text for item Sc99


Work schedule and dates for all South and Vale scrutiny meetings pdf icon PDF 86 KB

To review the attached scrutiny work schedule. Please note, although the dates are confirmed, the items under consideration are subject to being withdrawn, added to or rearranged without further notice.



The GLL report had been moved to later in the year.

The GLL confidential item had been moved forward to a meeting on 9 March.

A34 diversion item had been moved as staff had been redeployed to Covid-19 work.

There may be a June 2021 report on office accommodation.

The corporate delivery plan and discretionary growth bid process may be looked at in May 2021. Chair will meet with officers to set further dates, and the chair encouraged members to get in touch if they had any other items to add.





Exclusion of the public

To consider whether to exclude members of the press and public from the meeting for the following item of business under Part 1 of Schedule 12A Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 and as amended by the Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006 on the grounds that:

(i)        it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1-7 Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, and

(ii)       the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information. 


The committee agreed that the confidential session was not required.


confidential minutes

To adopt and sign as a correct record the confidential minutes of the meeting held on 15 December 2020.





Budget 21/22: confidential appendix A6

To review the restricted information of appendix A6