Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Windmill Street, Gravesend DA12 1AU. View directions

Contact: Committee Section 

No. Item




An apology of absence was received from Cllr Lenny Rolles, Cllr Steve Thompson substituted  



Minutes pdf icon PDF 95 KB


The Minutes of the meeting held on 23 June 2015 were signed by the Chair.



Declarations of Interest


No declarations of interest were made.   



Budget Monitoring Report 2014-15 (Out-turn) pdf icon PDF 154 KB


The Service Manager (Finance) presented to the Committee the out-turn budget monitoring report explaining that the Council set its original budget requirement for 2014-15 at £13.8 million; there have been monitoring reports on the budget sent to the Committee throughout the year.


The Service Manager (Finance) directed Members to the table on page twelve which showed that the final out-turn against the original budget was £777,290.


One favourable variance was against the original budget was employee costs. The original budget included a £350,000 estimate of vacancy savings and assumed a 2% pay award. The council has continued its rigorous management of the staffing establishment and the National Local Government Pay Award that was announced in November 2014 saw a 2.2% increase on all pay scales starting from 1 January 2015 to 31 March 2016. The Service Manager (Finance) explained that due to those factors the Council managed to achieve savings more than it originally budgeted of £480,150.


With regard to Business Rates the Service Manager (Finance) advised that the budgeted income was £2.6 million pounds.  Actual retained income was less than expected due to the level of appeals provision the council has been required to make for businesses who have submitted appeals against the rates they pay..


To manage the volatility caused by accounting arrangements a NDR Collection Fund Equalisation Reserve has been established.


The Service Manager (Finance) then directed the Committee to page 18 and drew Members attention to the items in the budget for 2014-15 which have been approved by the Assistant Director (Finance) to be carried forward into 2015-16.


The Service Manager (Finance) also stated that:


·         The General Fund Capital final out-turn for 2014-15 was £2.4 million.

·         The 2014-15 HRA deficit now stands at £851,910 compared to the original budget deficit of £899,830

·         The HRA Working Balances are being maintained at £3 million.


One Member noted the Budget announcements regarding public sector pay rises being held at 1% and asked would the trade unions accept this rise or does more money needed to be put aside within the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) to fund this.


The Service Manager (Finance) advised that the assumptions in the MTFP would be reviewed over the next few weeks as more detail on the announcements is released and amended if required; the MTFP would be presented subsequently to Members through the quarterly budget monitoring reports..


The MTFP currently reflect a 2% annual increase in salaries.


The Chair asked for some clarification on what the lump sum was on page 30 para 3.31.


The Service Manager (Finance) clarified that the lump sum was an indemnity amount of one million pounds from GBC, with a further one million pounds match-funded from KCC.


One Member raised concerns over refunding business rates on P16 asking; if the Council has to make a refund to any business then can GBC reclaim any of the money that has gone back to the government.


The Principal Accountant (Revenue & Capital Budget) advised that if any refunds occur  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.


Statutory Statement of Accounts 2014-15 pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Additional documents:


The Assistant Director (Finance) presented to the Committee the draft Statutory Statement of Accounts 2014-15 and highlighted the following:


·         GBC are required to produce a year-end statement of accounts

·         The Assistant Director (Finance) as the Section 151 Officer has to certify the statement is presented in a true and fair view of the Councils financial position by 30 June.

·         Grant Thornton has commenced their audit of the Statement

·         The full audited Statement will come back to the Committee in September.  Bringing the draft statement to Members ahead of this is considered good practice.


The Assistant Director (Finance) advised the committee of the future funding outlook for the council, citing the recent Budget announcements, the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review due in the Autumn and the messages from the Independent Commission on Local Government Finance outlined in the Explanatory Foreword of the Statement.


A question was asked by one Member about the legal situation with the sick children in Waterdales and if the council had made a provision for dealing with the legal case.. A private answer was requested after the meeting.


A factual error was found in the statement on page 84 as there is no ‘Cllr Jean Christie’; the Service Manager (Finance) advised she would investigate the error after the meeting.


The Committee asked for clarification on what ‘long term debtors’ are.


The Service Manager (Finance) explained it is a debt which is due after one year..  It was agreed that the Note in the Statement could be expanded to show this more clearly in the final statement.

One Member asked the status of the MMI (Municipal Mutual Insurance) provision.  The Principal Accountant (Revenue and Capital Budgets) warned that from updates supplied by MMI there are still claims in the pipeline, and likely that more claims will be lodged in the future , for example to workers who had previously worked with asbestos in their jobs. This may result in further drawdowns form the provision; hence it was prudent to retain the provision at the current level.


The Committee asked for clarification on what ‘Overage from Christian fields’ was.


The Principal Accountant (Revenue and Capital Budget) explained that the Christianfields Project was a joint scheme in 2008-10 between the council, Countryside Properties and Moat Homes which involved decanting tenants of the site whilst the existing dwellings were demolished and new homes rebuilt. There was an agreement in place that should Moat Homes or Countryside Properties ‘profit’ from the scheme; this would be shared with the Council.  Moat wanted to clear their liability so they offered the council a one off payment, termed Overage.


The Committee asked that ‘Overage’ be put into the glossary of items in the final Statement. 


Members noted the information given in the report.



Any Other Business


The Grant Thornton Auditor informed Members that he had hard copy guides for Members on Local Government Statement of Accounts if anyone wished to have one.


The Chair advised the Committee of the Revenues & Benefits training session happening on Wednesday 15 July 2015 and encouraged Members to attend.