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Disclosure of Interests
In accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct and the statutory provisions of the Localism Act, Members and co-opted Members of the Council are reminded that it is a requirement to register disclosable pecuniary interests (DPIs) and gifts and hospitality to the value of which exceeds £50 or multiple gifts and/or instances of hospitality with a cumulative value of £50 or more when received from a single donor within a rolling twelve month period. In addition, Members and co-opted Members are reminded that unless their disclosable pecuniary interest is registered on the register of interests or is the subject of a pending notification to the Monitoring Officer, they are required to disclose those disclosable pecuniary interests at the meeting. This should be done by completing the Disclosure of Interest form and handing it to the Democratic Services representative at the start of the meeting. The Chair will then invite Members to make their disclosure orally at the commencement of Agenda item 3. Completed disclosure forms will be provided to the Monitoring Officer for inclusion on the Register of Members’ Interests.
There were no disclosures of interest made at the meeting.
Urgent Business (if any)
To receive notice of any business not on the agenda which in the opinion of the Chair, by reason of special circumstances, be considered as a matter of urgency.
There were no urgent items of business for the meeting.
To consider and respond to the Call-In in accordance with the procedure set out in the Council’s constitution.
The Chair of the Scrutiny & Overview Committee, Councillor Sean Fitzsimons, introduced the call-in item outlining the reasons why the key decisions set out in the two Cabinet reports, namely ‘Responding to the Local Government Funding Challenge’ and the ‘July Financial Review’ had been called in. It was confirmed that the reason for the call-in related to an insufficiency of detail in the reports to allow the Committee (see Scrutiny & Overview Committee – 22 July 2020) to reach a conclusion on whether the measures proposed were the right course of action or not. As such the call-in submission had requested a range of additional information to aid the Committee’s consideration of the call-in.
The Chair explained the process for considering a call-in, confirming that the Committee needed to agree whether to review the decision and, if it decided to proceed, confirm how much time it wished to allocate for the item. The Committee agreed that it would review the decision and allocated two hours for consideration of the item.
The Chair went on to explain that there were three outcomes the Committee could reach as a result of the review. These were:-
1. That no further action was necessary and the decision could be implemented as originally intended.
2. To refer the decision back to the decision maker for reconsideration, outlining the nature of the Committee’s concerns
3. To refer the decision to Council, if the Committee considered that the decision taken was outside of the Budget and Policy Framework.
The Cabinet Member for Finance & Resources, Councillor Simon Hall and the Council’s Section 151 Officer, Lisa Taylor, were in attendance at the meeting to address the call-in and answer any questions arising.
The Cabinet Member was given the opportunity to respond to the call-in request and in doing so highlighted to the Committee that the current situation was unprecedented with the Council having to manage the covid-19 pandemic on top of an already challenging budget situation following ten years of austerity.
The Section 151 Officer confirmed to the Committee that at present the Council did not have a balanced budget. Although the Cabinet, the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government were working together to address the budget shortfall, it could not be guaranteed that a Section 114 notice would not be issued.
The first question from the Committee related to media rumours about changes to the senior management of the Council and how any such change would impact upon the staff restructure process. In response it was advised that the Cabinet, ELT and the Corporate Leadership Team (CLT) were working together to deliver the necessary savings to balance the Council’s budget. Although additional time had been added to the staff restructure process to allow the Trade Unions longer to respond, the timetable for the process was set. If there was any change within senior management then the process would continue along the already set timetable.
It was noted that in the commentary provided by ... view the full minutes text for item 35/20
Exclusion of the Press and Public
The following motion is to be moved and seconded where it is proposed to exclude the press and public from the remainder of a meeting:
“That, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act, 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information falling within those paragraphs indicated in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended.”
This motion was not required.