Agenda for Finance Cabinet Member Meeting on Monday, 13th October, 2008, 4.00pm

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Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 1, Hove Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Nara Miranda, Democratic Services Officer; Tel (01273) 291004 (voice-mail only)  Email: nara.miranda@brighton-hove.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

29.

Procedural Business

    (a)  Declarations of Interest by all Members present of any personal interests in matters on the agenda, the nature of any interest and whether the Members regard the interest as prejudicial under the terms of the Code of Conduct.

     

    (b)  Exclusion of Press and Public - To consider whether, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted, or the nature of the proceedings, the press and public should be excluded from the meeting when any of the following items are under consideration.

     

    NOTE:  Any item appearing in Part 2 of the Agenda states in its heading the category under which the information disclosed in the report is exempt from disclosure and therefore not available to the public.

     

    A list and description of the exempt categories is available for public inspection at Brighton and Hove Town Halls.

     

    Minutes:

    29a     Declarations of Interests

     

    29.1    There were none.

     

    29b    Exclusion of Press and Public

     

    29.2    In accordance with section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972 (‘the Act’), the Cabinet Member for Finance considered whether the press and public should be excluded from the meeting during an item of business on the grounds that it was likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the press or public were present during that item, there would be disclosure to them of confidential information (as defined in section 100A(3) of the Act) or exempt information (as defined in section 100I(1) of the Act).

     

    29.3    RESOLVED - That the press and public be not excluded from the meeting.

30.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 78 KB

31.

Cabinet Member's Communications

    Minutes:

    31.1    The Cabinet Member welcomed everyone to the meeting. She explained that items 32 to 40 would have no consideration, since no information had been received for today’s meeting. She indicated that she wished the spaces provided on the agenda for consideration of such items were used in a more effective way.

32.

Items reserved for discussion

    (a)  Items reserved by the Cabinet Member

     

    (b)  Items reserved by the Opposition Spokesperson

     

    (c)  Items reserved by Members, with the agreement of the Cabinet Member.

     

    NOTE: Public Questions, Written Questions form Councillors, Petitions, Deputations, Letters from Councillors and Notices of Motion will be reserved automatically.

    Minutes:

    32.1    There were none.

     

33.

Public Questions

34.

Written Questions from Councillors

35.

Petitions

36.

Deputations

37.

Letters from Councillors

38.

Notices of Motions referred from Council

39.

Matters referred for reconsideration

40.

Reports from Overview & Scrutiny Committees

41.

Income Collection & Recovery 2008/2009 - Quarter 1 pdf icon PDF 113 KB

    Report of the Director of Finance & Resources (copy attached).

    Additional documents:

    Decision:

    1.       That the contents of the report be noted.

    Minutes:

    41.1    The Cabinet Member considered a report of the Director of Finance & Resources on income collection and recovery performance for 2008/2009 as at Quarter 1 (June 2008).  The report highlighted continuing improvement and best practice actions (for copy, see minute book).

     

    41.2    The Cabinet Member was pleased with the information provided and noted the importance of the reports as they helped to keep track of the Council’s financial position.

     

    41.3    The Opposition Spokesperson referred to the table appended to the report and sought clarification in relation to the 14% of transactions regarding housing rent payments. He indicated that he believed that many people would not have the facility to make direct debit payments and was unsure as to whom exactly that percentage related to.

    41.4   The Assistant Director, Financial Services, clarified that 14% was a percentage of the total number of people who were liable to pay rents.

    41.5   Councillor Hamilton also requested to know the total number of people making repayments in respect of Housing Benefit overpayments. The Assistant Director offered to find out more about this enquiry and report back to Cllr Hamilton directly.

    41.6   RESOLVED – That, having considered the information and the reasons set out in the report, the Cabinet Member accepted the following recommendation:

     

              (1)      That the contents of the report be noted.

42.

Corporate Fees & Charges Policy PPTOBDPSXLSDOCWPWPDPDFTIFPNGGIFJPGRTFMGRTFTOPDFMGTIFTOPDFMGPNGTOPDFMGGIFTOPDFBMPMGBMPTOPDFCGMMGCGMTOPDFDCXMGDCXTOPDFJPEGMGJPEGTOPDFJPEMGJPETOPDFJFIFMGJFIFTOPDFPCXMGPCXTOPDFCONVERTPDFIFBIGGERKEEPCONVERTPERCENTDOCXXLSXPPTXDOCMXLSMMGDOCXTOPDFMGXLSXTOPDFMGPPTXTOPDFMGDOCMTOPDFMGXLSMTOPDF 78 KB

    Report of the Director of Finance & Resources (copy attached).

    Additional documents:

    Decision:

    1.       That the contents of the report be noted.

     

    2.       That the proposed Corporate Fees & Charges Policy, as detailed in Appendix 1 to the report, should come into force for the 2009/10 budget setting cycle for proposals to change fees and charges (other than by inflation) and in full from the 2010/11 cycle as part of the Medium Term Financial Strategy, be agreed.

     

    3.       That the report be referred to Cabinet for information.

     

    Minutes:

    42.1    The Cabinet Member considered a report of the Director of Finance & Resources concerning fees and charges. The report updated the Cabinet Member for Finance about recent developments in relation to discretionary charging and the application of fees and charges. The report also recommended a Corporate Fees & Charges Policy (for copy, see minute book).

     

    42.2    The Opposition Spokesperson accepted that fees should go up in accordance with inflation, but thought that there were areas where the raising of fees would prove difficult to sustain. He stated that he was against the general rearrangingof all fees and indicated that he and his colleagues in the Labour group were concerned with the proposed budget process outcome referred to in paragraph 3.18 of the report.

     

    42.3    The Cabinet Member clarified that the Council needed to go through this process because the Government had introduced legislation (the Local Government Act 2003) to encourage Local Authorities to effectively review the application of fees and charges. In addition, the proposed policy was also in response to the Audit Commission’s recommendation of good practice.

     

    42.4    The Assistant Director, Financial Services,further clarified that the policy encouraged services to be clear and explicit about the reasons for providing concessions and subsidies to services where fees and charges were applicable. He explained that the primary aim of the policy was to ensure a consistent and robust framework for reviewing fees and charges. The policy itself did not recommend specific fees or charging levels.

     

    42.5    The Opposition Spokesperson referred to paragraph 3.2 of the report. He considered the sentence “charge for discretionary services if the recipient agrees” unclear and confusing. He felt that Members should be aware of what discretionary services and statutory services were, but there appear to not exist clear information about that.

     

    42.6    The Head of Law clarified the sentence meant that people did not have to receive the service if they did not want to pay for it. The Head of Law recommended that officers reviewed the wording on the referred paragraph 3.2 in order to make the sentence clearer.

     

    42.7    The Assistant Director explained that the council’s website provided information about what were discretionary and what were mandatory services. He accepted there were areas where the council was unclear about this matter, and this was one of the reasons why the review was appropriate.

     

    42.8    The Cabinet Member asked officers to provide Cllr Hamilton with the various information he had requested.

     

    42.8    RESOLVEDThat, having considered the information and the reasons set out in the report, the Cabinet Member accepted the following recommendations:

     

    (1)      That the contents of the report be noted.

     

    (2)      That the proposed Corporate Fees & Charges Policy, as detailed in Appendix 1 to the report, should come into force for the 2009/10 budget setting cycle for proposals to change fees and charges (other than by inflation) and in full from the 2010/11 cycle as part of the Medium Term Financial Strategy, be agreed.

     

    (3)      That the report be referred to Cabinet for information.

     

 


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