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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 1 & 2, The Guildhall, Market Square, Cambridge, CB2 3QJ. View directions

Contact: James Goddard  Committee Manager

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


No apologies were received.



Declarations of Interest


No declarations of interest were made.



Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 228 KB


The minutes of the meeting held on 21 January 2016 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.



Public Questions


There were no public questions.



Budget Setting Report 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 146 KB

Additional documents:


Matter for Decision

At this stage in the 2017/18 budget process the range of assumptions on which the Medium-Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) was based needed to be reviewed, in light of the latest information available, to determine whether any aspects of the strategy needed to be revised. This then provided the basis for the budget considerations.


The Budget-Setting Report (BSR) included the detailed revenue bids and savings and capital proposals and set out the key parameters for the detailed recommendations and budget finalisation being considered at this meeting. The BSR report reflected The Executive’s final budget recommendations to Council, for consideration at its meeting on 23 February 2017.


The recommendations that follow refer to the strategy outlined in the BSR and all references to Appendices, pages and sections related to the Budget-Setting Report 2017/18 (Version 1 – Strategy & Resources) as reported to Strategy & Resources Scrutiny Committee on 23 January 2017.


Decision of The Executive

The Executive unanimously resolved to recommend the Budget Setting Report 2017/18 to Council on 23 February 2017, subject to any amendments from the Strategy & Resources Scrutiny Committee meeting on 23 January 2017, namely:


General Fund Revenue Budgets: [Section 5, page 28 refers]

       i.          Agreed to recommend to Council:

·       Revenue Pressures shown in Appendix C (a) and Savings shown in Appendix C (b).

·       Bids to be funded from External or Earmarked Funds as shown in Appendix C (c).

·       Non-Cash Limit items as shown in Appendix C (d).

     ii.          Recommended to Council formally confirming delegation to the Chief Financial Officer (Head of Finance) of the calculation and determination of the Council  Tax taxbase (including submission of the National Non-Domestic Rates Forecast Form, NNDR1, for each financial year) which will be set out in Appendix B (a).

   iii.          Recommended to Council the level of Council Tax for 2017/18 as set out in Section 4 [page 25 refers].


Other Revenue:

   iv.          Recommended to Council delegation to the Head of Finance authority to finalise changes related to any corporate and/or departmental restructuring and any reallocation of support service and central costs, in accordance with the CIPFA Service Reporting Code of Practice for Local Authorities (SeRCOP).

    v.          Recommend to Council delegation to the Head of Finance, as Section 151 Officer, to make the necessary detailed budgetary adjustments in the GF, to reflect the impact of the triennial valuation of the Cambridgeshire Local Government Pension Scheme.

   vi.          Recommend to Council approval of a temporary earmarked fund to be set up to accumulate surplus NHB contributions to meet the requirement for funding of projects to mitigate the impacts in Cambridge of the A14 upgrade – the “A14 Mitigation Fund” [page 25 refers].


Capital: [Section 7, page 33 refers] Capital Plan:

 vii.          Recommend to Council the proposals outlined in Appendix E (a) for inclusion in the Capital Plan, or put on the Projects Under Development List, including any additional use of revenue resources required.

viii.          Recommend to Council the revised Capital Plan for the General Fund as set out in Appendix E (d), the Funding as set out in Section 7, page 36 and note the Projects Under Development list set out in Appendix E (e).


General Fund Reserves:

   ix.          Note the impact of revenue and capital budget approvals and approve the resulting level of reserves to be used to support the budget proposals as set out in the table [Section 8, page 38 refers].


Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.


Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.


Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Head of Finance. She updated her report with an amendment sheet published on-line and tabled at committee. This referred to:

       i.          New Homes Bonus.

     ii.          Rough Sleeping Programme.

   iii.          Section 25 Report (Robustness of Estimates and Adequacy of Reserves).


The Executive was recommended to approve the amendments outlined above, namely:

                           i.          NHB and rough sleeping programme: amend the BSR for the revised NHB and rough sleeping programme items.

                         ii.          Section 25 Report: insert the report into the BSR as per the Executive - Section 25 Report.

                       iii.          Also to authorise the Section 151 officer to make necessary changes to the Budget-Setting Report 2017/18, to be considered by Council at the meeting on 23 February 2017, to reflect the impact of changes for the above.

                       iv.          To note that further changes are expected before Council, which will be notified and then incorporated into the BSR, in respect of:

·       Council Tax Base 2017/18 and Council Tax Setting 2017/18 [Appendices B (a) and B (b), insert after page 55], following notifications from precepting authorities.

·       Any other minor typographical amendments.


In response to Opposition Councillors’ questions officers said the following:

       i.          Head of Finance: The impact of the BSR was cost neutral as money in/out balanced expenditure.

     ii.          The Chief Executive undertook to send update to all councillors after the meeting to supplement BSR details on how funding was spent. The BSR set out headline information, but not a detailed breakdown on funding spent.


Opposition Councillors questioned Executive Councillors regarding Budget Setting Report information under their portfolios. Executive Councillors answered as set out below.


The Leader / Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport


       i.          Funding was allocated to the A14 mitigation fund so it was ready for use when required. This was expected to be 2019/20 onwards.

     ii.          £1.5M of funding was pledged by the City Council to the Department of Transport's localised A14 fund. Additional funding would also be contributed to this fund by many other local authorities. However the City Council would decide how it's contribution would be spent.

   iii.          A written agreement was in place between the City Council and Department for Transport.

   iv.          Car parking charge amendments were proposed to encourage a change in demand to even out use/demand across all days of the week (lower fees on low demand days and higher fees on peak demand days). It was hoped a change to fees would also lead to a change in travel patterns and encourage a modal shift from cars to public transport in respect of long stay visitors to the city. The changes to charges should also maintain income levels from car parks and pay for maintenance.


Executive Councillor for Communities

    v.          The Sharing Prosperity Fund had a specific purpose, (like the Climate Change Fund) to address inequality/poverty in the City.

   vi.          Summarised the process on how funding was allocated. Proposals were sent to the Project Board on a quarterly basis, recommendations were then made to Councillor Johnson for approval.

 vii.          Fund reports were made to Community Services in June on an annual basis since he became Executive Councillor. These set out project progress and future proposals for the Anti-Poverty Strategy.

viii.          Opposition Councillors could liaise with the Executive Councillor on his reasons for decisions. He did not expect the fund to change how it operated.

   ix.          There had been no project bids for funding over £75,000 so there was no need to bring any to committee for scrutiny.


The Head of Corporate Strategy added:

·       He had delegated authority to approve projects up to £15,000 in value.

·       The Executive Councillor could approve projects £15,000 - £75,000.

·       Projects over £75,000 would be brought to scrutiny committee for approval.

    x.          Undertook to ask Officers to provide a report on funding spent since 2014 by Councillor and Officer delegated authority decisions.


Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources

   xi.          No decisions have been made on mooring fees and charges as the consultation was on-going.

 xii.          PUD UD561 was on the budget with no figures allocated as there were no proposals to deliver through it until the moorings consultation was complete.


The Head of Finance added that £70,000 had previously been allocated, but the money had been reallocated as there were no plans in place to deliver through PUD UD561. The project was referenced in the Officer’s report (Projects Under Development) as an aide memoir to take action in future.

xiii.          The Council apprentice scheme started with 6 apprentices in 2015. 2 have completed their apprenticeship (but not been taken on by the Council) and 4 were on-going. There had been a low take up of apprenticeships as the city had high employment. The Council would review the situation in future as the national situation was changing with an apprenticeship levy in April 2017. A paper would come to Strategy & Resources Committee in March setting out future proposals.

xiv.          The office accommodation strategy was a wide ranging project. Mandela House was being refurbished to bring Hobson House and Depot staff into one place. A building was also being leased on Cowley Road for 15 years. Unused lease could be sold by the Council to generate income.


Executive Councillor for Environmental Services and City Centre

xv.          A number of green space bins had been replaced on a like for like basis since Labour took control of the council. Responsibility for bins had been held by various Executive Councillors over time and funding came from an amalgamation of sources.


The Head of Environmental Services undertook to confirm with Councillors Roberts and Cantrill that all bins that needed replacing in open areas were replaced on a like for like basis.

xvi.          Savings generated from the shared waste service came from changes to senior management and efficiency changes from the service re-organisation.

xvii.          A performance review was underway in the Waste Team. The Executive Councillor would also see the South Cambs internal audit report (the City Council would not produce one).

xviii.          Some bins had been missed in collections as a result to changes to bin collection days/routes as a result of the shared service. This was something like 1/10,000. There had been a material increase in the service for residents.

xix.          There had been 3 peaks in complaints about the waste service, but it was not always the City Council’s fault that bins had been missed. Mitigation measures were put in place to compensate for missed bins.


The Chief Executive added that the waste service received higher numbers of comments than other services. The Council had a proactive social media presence to notify residents about bin collection issues.