Government Multi-Year Settlement
The Director (Corporate Services) explained that Central Government had made an offer of a multi-year financial settlement. This had been debated at Full Council in April, where it was resolved that officers would prepare a report for consideration by the Finance & Audit Committee, ahead of the offer being debated at Full Council on 11 October and prior to the deadline for acceptance of 14 October 2016.
The recommendation of the report is that the Council accepts the offer on the basis that it provides some stability for financial planning and decision-making. Reference was made to the letter from the then Secretary of State which indicated that council’s choosing not to accept the offer would be subject to the existing yearly process for determining central support and could be subject to further reductions if the fiscal climate required this.
Page 64 of the report sets out key implications for accepting or not accepting the settlement offer.
Members requested that further information be added to the report to Full Council to assist all Members in understanding the offer, the implications of acceptance or non-acceptance of the offer and to provide an indication of the intentions of other Kent authorities.
Following Members comments and questions, the Director (Corporate Services) responded to the following points:
Views of other Local Authorities
- Where known, other Councils’ opinions on acceptance of the offer had been referred to in the table on Page 64 of the report; the consensus of opinion at an officer level is that accepting the offer is considered the most appropriate way forward. This information had been obtained from speaking to other district authorities and attending meetings and conferences with other Council officers. .
Views of the New Chancellor/CLG
Members were keen to understand if the views of the New Chancellor differed from those of the previous Chancellor, and whether the CLG department had any further information about the offer above that already shared. Officers agreed to engage with the CLG department to request further information on these points
Medium Term Financial Strategy
- Members requested further information in the strategy around the current status of Devolution in Kent, as it affects Gravesham. There have been discussions at Kent Leaders level about local authorities working more together in the future on cross working services and tackling various issues etc.
- Members probed the council’s capacity to support change. The Director (Corporate Services) explained that the Council had created a new role of Corporate Change Manager and this officer would be key to co-ordinating change activity. The Service Review team would also support change, having conducted service reviews.
- Service Review Process - Options for service changes will be considered by Cabinet, and the Overview Scrutiny before any final decisions to progress options are taken. Following this, appropriate consultation will be undertaken and impact assessments conducted, with the information presented to Cabinet before any final decision to implement services changes are ultimately taken.
- Staff engagement - An IIP group has been formed within GBC comprised of officers from all branches of the Council who have all been trained to work with other staff members to achieve a more efficient workplace. The Joint Staff Consultative Committee has also been refreshed to focus on disseminating information on the SRT process as options begin to be implemented and to provide a feedback mechanism on this.
Members put forward a list of recommendations of things that should be put into the report before it goes back to Council:
- Information to be added on what neighbouring local authorities and KCC are doing with regard to accepting or declining the offer.
- Information on Devolution in Kent, as it affects Gravesham.
- Any additional information about the New Chancellors view
- Any additional information from the CLG department about the offer above that already shared.
- The debate held at the Committee should be appended to the report to Full Council.
The consequences of not accepting the offer to be highlighted in the report.
- 1. Settlement and MTFS - September 2016, item 85. PDF 100 KB
- 2. Appendix 2 - Multi-Year Settlements and Efficiency Plans, item 85. PDF 381 KB
- 3.Appendix 2 - Annex, item 85. PDF 59 KB
- 4. Appendix 3 - MTFP - V5 - 2016-17 - BMR1 - final, item 85. PDF 69 KB
- 5. Appendix 4 MTFS 2016-17 to 2019-20, item 85. PDF 844 KB
- 6. Appendix 4 - Change Management Strategy, item 85. PDF 217 KB