Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 19th February, 2024 6.00 pm

Not all meetings are broadcast. The meetings that will be broadcast are as follows: (a) Council; (b) Cabinet; (c) Dover Joint Transportation Advisory Board; (d) General Purposes Committee; (e) Electoral Matters Committee; (f) Governance Committee; (g) Planning Committee; (h) General Purposes Committee and (i) Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

For those meetings that are being broadcast there will be a link to view the live broadcast under the ‘Media’ heading below. Only those items not restricted on the agenda will be broadcast.

Guidance on how to watch live broadcasts of meetings.

The link to view a recording of a meeting that was broadcast can be found on the Council’s YouTube channel (@doverdc)

Venue: Council Chamber. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services  Email: democraticservices@dover.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

90.

Apologies pdf icon PDF 31 KB

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Councillor R M Knight.

91.

Appointment of Substitute Members pdf icon PDF 33 KB

To note appointments of Substitute Members.

Minutes:

It was noted that in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 4, Councillor M Bates had been appointed as substitute member for Councillor R M Knight.

92.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 55 KB

To receive any declarations of interest from Members in respect of business to be transacted on the agenda.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest made by Members.

93.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 47 KB

To confirm the attached Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 22 January 2024.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 22 January 2024 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

94.

Decisions of the Cabinet Relating to Recommendations from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 62 KB

To receive the Cabinet decisions in respect of recommendations of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

Minutes:

The decisions of the Cabinet relating to recommendations made by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting held on 5 February 2024 were noted.

95.

Issues referred to the Committee by Public Petition, Council, Cabinet, or another Committee pdf icon PDF 36 KB

To receive any public petitions or issues referred by Council, Cabinet or another Committee.

Minutes:

The Head of Corporate Services and Democracy advised that there were no issues referred to the Committee by Council, Cabinet or another Committee.

96.

Notice of Forthcoming Key Decisions pdf icon PDF 74 KB

It is intended that Members should use the Notice of Forthcoming Key Decisions to identify topics within the remit of the Committee for future scrutiny.

Minutes:

The Head of Corporate Services and Democracy presented the Notice of Forthcoming Key Decisions to the Committee for its consideration.

 

RESOLVED:  That the Notice of Forthcoming Key Decisions be noted.

97.

Scrutiny Work Programme pdf icon PDF 118 KB

It is intended that the Committee monitor and prioritise its rolling work programme.

Minutes:

The Head of Corporate Services and Democracy presented the Overview and Scrutiny Work Programme to the Committee for its consideration.

 

Members discussed the inclusion of items relating to the Parking Strategy Review when it was ready and an update on the Garden Waste service changes. Councillor M Bates suggested the update on Garden Waste should be after six months while Councillor M J Nee suggested it should be after a full growing season.

 

RESOLVED:   That the Work Programme be noted, subject to the inclusion of items on the Parking Strategy Review and an update on Garden Waste after a full growing season.

98.

Public Speaking pdf icon PDF 54 KB

Please note that in accordance with the agreed Protocol for Public Speaking at Overview and Scrutiny, the right to speak only applies to agenda items 10, 11 and 12.

 

Members of the public wishing to speak must register to do so by no later than 2.00 pm on the second working day (Thursday) before the meeting.

Minutes:

The Head of Corporate Services and Democracy advised that no members of the public had registered to speak on items on the agenda to which the public speaking protocol applied. However, a letter had been received from Christine Oliver that they had requested be read out at the meeting.

 

Members agreed that the letter should be read out and the Chairman asked the Head of Corporate Services and Democracy to do so.

99.

EKS Service Transition Business Case pdf icon PDF 129 KB

To consider the attached report of the Interim EKS Service Transition Manager.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor M J Nee, and seconded by Councillor S B Blair, that as the matter had been deferred at Cabinet until its meeting in March 2024, the matter should not be scrutinised until the outcome of that deferment was known.

 

Councillor C A Vinson argued that it should be considered despite this as it related to services that were of vital importance to local residents.

 

Councillor C A Vinson proposed, and was duly seconded, that a recorded vote be held. On being put to the vote, the Motion was LOST.

 

RESOLVED:       That consideration of the report be deferred until the outcome of the Cabinet’s decision was known.

 

In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 18.5, the following Members requested that their individual votes be recorded:

 

FOR

AGAINST

ABSTAIN

S B Blair

M Bates

 

M J Nee

D R Friend

 

L M Wright

M W Rose

 

C F Woodgate

C A Vinson

 

H M Williams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

100.

Section 25 Report pdf icon PDF 124 KB

To consider the attached report of the Strategic Director (Finance and Housing).

Minutes:

The Strategic Director (Finance and Housing) presented the Section 25 report.

 

Members were advised that the Local Government Act 2003 (Section 25) required that the Section 151 (s151) Officer (who was the Strategic Director (Finance and Housing)) make a report to councillors on the robustness of the estimates made for the purposes of the budget calculations, the precept for the Council’s council tax and the adequacy of the proposed financial reserves. Members were required to give regard to these when considering the annual budget and precept.

 

Members were advised that there was no prescribed format for a Section 25 report.

 

The Strategic Director (Finance and Housing) advised that in his opinion as the s151 Officer, the Council’s budget has been prepared on a rigorous and robust basis and the Council’s reserves are sufficient for its immediate needs.

 

However, it is also his opinion as the s151 officer that there were two significant factors that could undermine the budget over the next year or two because of the actions of the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). As a consequence, the Council was faced with the choice of either maintaining border controls at its own expense to protect UK farming and the food chain or follow the logic of DEFRA’s withdrawal of Dover Port Health Authority funding and cease the already too limited controls at the border and expose the UK to the high risk of African Swine Fever and other Products of Animal Origin (POAO) risks.

 

If the Council maintained border controls at its own expense it would massively deplete its reserves and significantly increase the risk of the chief finance officer being required to make a report pursuant to s.114 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 in 2025/26.

 

Members were advised that this would need to be taken into consideration when scrutinising the Budget 2024/25 and Medium-Term Financial Plan 2024/25 – 2027/28.

 

It was proposed by Councillor C A Vinson, duly seconded by Councillor M Bates, that due to the overlap between this item and the Budget 2024/25 and Medium-Term Financial Plan 2024/25 – 2027/28 both items be taken en bloc.

 

On being put to the vote it was

 

RESOLVED:       That the Section 25 Report and the Budget 2024/25 and Medium-Term Financial Plan 2024/25 – 2027/28 be taken en bloc.

 

Members discussed the following points:

·         Whether there were any cuts to services as a result of this for 2024/25. In response they were advised there were not.

·         Whether there was any further update from DEFRA on the funding issue. In response it was stated that the Council had outstanding letters to DEFRA that it had not received a response about. The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA) in Parliament was also waiting on a response from DEFRA. The Council was urging DEFRA to engage on this matter as DEFRA had stopped responding to communications from the council.

·         The accuracy of DEFRA data as they continued  ...  view the full minutes text for item 100.

101.

COUNCIL BUDGET 2024/25 AND MEDIUM-TERM FINANCIAL PLAN 2024/25–2027/28 pdf icon PDF 122 KB

To consider the attached report of the Strategic Director (Finance and Housing).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This item was taken en bloc with the Section 25 report.