Issue - meetings

Budget Scrutiny Working Group - Recommendations

Meeting: 11/11/2019 - Executive (Item 61)

61 Budget Scrutiny Working Group - Recommendations pdf icon PDF 75 KB


The Chair of the Budget Scrutiny Working Group, Councillor Jenny Wheeler, presented a report outlining the background to two recommendations that had been proposed by the group at a recent meeting.

During 2019 the group had held a number of meetings.  At the latest meeting of the group Members had considered information about the Section 24 Notice that had been issued by the external auditors, Grant Thornton, to the Council in July 2019 and the action plan that the Council had developed to address the points raised by the auditors.  The group had concluded that scrutiny Members had a key role to play in providing assurance to the Executive Committee in respect of the Council’s budget position and any decisions that might have significant budget implications for the Council.


The first recommendation proposed by the group focused on the Council’s investments and acquisitions.  Since the approval of the Council’s Investment and Acquisition Strategy in 2017 the Executive Committee had been invited to consider two proposed investments.  Neither of these investments had been subject to budget scrutiny.  Councillor Wheeler suggested that at a time when the Council’s financial position was challenging the budget Scrutiny Working Group should consider all proposed investments and acquisitions as standard policy at the Council.  Members were advised that the group recognised that commercial decisions needed to be taken quickly in order to enable the Council to be competitive and therefore the group was prepared to meet at short notice to consider any proposed investments and acquisitions to avoid holding up the decision-making process.


The second recommendation focused on the information in respect of the financial implications of proposed action that was detailed in reports presented at Committee meetings.  The recommendation proposed that more detail needed to be provided about the financial implications of alternative options and the sources of funding for proposed actions as this would help the Executive Committee when making decisions.  At the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 7th November 2019 when the report had been considered Members had suggested that this proposal should apply where appropriate, in recognition that all of this information would not always be required for every report considered at an Executive Committee meeting.


Following the presentation of the report Members thanked the Budget Scrutiny Working Group for their hard work.  In response to questions from the Committee Councillor Wheeler confirmed that the recommendations had been approved by the Budget Scrutiny Working Group in October 2019 and that a majority of Members had approved the recommendations at the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 7th November.  The evidence basis for the group’s proposals was also discussed and Councillor Wheeler explained that the group had considered the content of reports that had been debated by the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee at meetings in July and September 2019 as well as information about the Council’s budget.  The recommendations were designed to support the Executive Committee and would enable the Budget Scrutiny Working Group to act as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 61