Agenda and draft minutes

Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 14 November 2022 7.00 pm

Venue: Abbey House, Abbey Close, Abingdon OX14 3JE

Contact: Candida Basilio, Democratic Services Officer  Email: candida.basilio@southandvale.gov.uk

Note: The meeting can be watched live. Copy and paste the following link to your web browser to watch the meeting live at our YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/c/SouthandValeCommitteeMeetings/  

Items
No. Item

Sc69

Apologies for absence

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

Minutes:

Apologies received from:

Councillor Jerry Avery, and Councillor Val Shaw was present as substitute.   

Councillor Max Thompson, and Councillor Samantha Bowring was present as substitute.

Councillor Hayleigh Gascoigne, and Councillor Paul Barrow was present as substitute.

Councillor David Grant sent apologies but could not find a substitute for the meeting.

 

It was noted that Councillor Emily Smith (Council Leader) was present to introduce both papers this evening, as Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Assets, Councillor Andy Crawford, sent apologies.

Sc70

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. 

Minutes:

Chair ran through housekeeping matters.

Sc71

Declaration of interests

To receive declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests, other registrable interests and non-registrable interests or any conflicts of interest in respect of items on the agenda for this meeting. 

 

Minutes:

In respect of agenda item 9, Councillors Bowring and De La Harpe declared interest, as members of Abingdon Town Council. Although they could take part in discussion, they would have to leave the room during debate and could not vote should a recommendation be put forward.

Sc72

Notes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 201 KB

To review the notes of the informal meeting held on 22 September 2022.

Minutes:

Resolved:

The minutes of the meeting on 22 September 2022 were noted as a correct record and will be signed as such by the chair.

Sc73

Public participation

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

Minutes:

None.

Sc74

Work schedule and dates for all Vale and Joint scrutiny meetings pdf icon PDF 116 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.

 

Minutes:

No comments raised.

Sc75

Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS) Review pdf icon PDF 268 KB

The committee is asked to review the proposed council tax reduction scheme commencing 2023/24 following a public consultation. Members may provide any comments or recommendations to the Cabinet member for Finance.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Leader of the Council introduced the report. The committee were invited to review the proposed council tax reduction scheme that will be adopted for the financial year 2023/24, until such time as members wish to change the scheme and make any recommendations to the Cabinet member for Finance.

The council was required by statute to adopt a scheme to help those on low incomes to meet their council tax liability. In accordance with the strategic objective “running an efficient council” by having a scheme we meet this objective whilst, at the same time, considering the views of residents, service users and other stakeholders.

It was proposed to reverse three of the amendments made to the scheme that were approved from April 2014 in light of the cost-of-living crisis and mounting debt risk.

In summary, it was proposed the changes will:

i. provide greater support for low income working individuals and families that have previously been penalised financially and

ii. Provide a fairer council tax reduction scheme for all residents on a low income.

It was suggested for 2023-24 onwards, that the same 2022-23 scheme be adopted but with the following amendments as detailed in the report:

1. to remove the 91.5 per cent limit when calculating the council tax bill, and remove the band E restriction for all applicants, so that their CTR is calculated at 100 per cent of their council tax bill after any deductions and based on their property’s actual council tax band. 

2. to reinstate Second adult rebate

 

Cabinet had approved the changes, but scrutiny was welcomed to review and provide further comments to the Cabinet member for Finance.

 

Committee asked questions. A member asked how this affected Parishes. Officer responded that there would be a reduced tax base, but this would affect across all parishes and doesn’t affect Parish pre-set.

 

There was discussion about the history of legislation about CTRS and how councils set up their own schemes.

 

Council Leader explained that it benefitted 1,400 applications, but also created efficiencies for the council.

 

Officers were thanked for a clear and concise report on CTRS.

 

Resolved:

Committee noted the CTRS report and members considered it to be a good report and a good scheme to progress.

Sc76

Exclusion of the public

To consider whether to exclude members of the press and public from the meeting for the following items of business under Section 100A and 100I of the Local Government Act 1972 on the grounds that:

 

(i)     It is likely that there will be disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A, and

 

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

Minutes:

Resolved:

Committee voted in favour of exclusion of the public for a confidential item.

Sc77

Central Abingdon Regeneration Framework

Committee is asked to note an update report and provide any comments before the report is finalised.

Minutes:

Committee noted a report and provided their views to the Council Leader and officers.