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Apologies for Absence
To note any apologies for absence from Members.
Apologies were received from Councillors A Harrison, N Mannion and J Saunders. Councillors S Adams, A Heler and F Wilson attended as substitutes.
Declarations of Interest
To provide an opportunity for Members and Officers to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests, other registerable interests, and non-registerable interests in any item on the agenda.
There were no declarations of interest.
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the previous meeting held on 18 January 2024.
That the minutes of the meeting held on 18 January 2024 be approved as a correct record.
Public Speaking/Open Session
In accordance with paragraph 2.24 of the Committee Procedure Rules and Appendix on Public Speaking, set out in the Constitution, a total period of 15 minutes is allocated for members of the public to put questions to the Committee on any matter relating to this agenda. Each member of the public will be allowed up to two minutes to speak; the Chair will have discretion to vary this where they consider it appropriate.
Members of the public wishing to speak are required to provide notice of this at least three clear working days in advance of the meeting.
There were no public speakers.
To consider the proposals within the budget consultation relating to the Committee’s responsibilities.
The Committee considered a report which sought feedback on the responsibilities of the Committee as consultees, on the development of the Cheshire East Medium-Term Financial Strategy 2024/25 to 2027/28.
The Corporate Policy Committee budget for 2023/24 was £41m. Expenditure was forecast to increase by £2.5m next year. The budget envelope proposed for the Committee could enable an increase of £0.2m due to funding constraints, and as a result this would mean that savings of £2.3m would need to be identified. A total of 7 savings proposals had been put forward and these were set out in Appendix A to the report.
Members asked questions and provided comments in relation to the proposals. These included:
Table on Paragraph 12 – reference was made to the table which showed the shortfall exceeding target by 12.7m and it was asked if this was before or after the 3m of additional government funding announced recently? In response it was confirmed that the figure was before the additional funding.
CPC 3 Reduction of election costs and increase charges were possible – concerns were raised that this could have a detrimental effect on the smaller parish councils and the elections costs could be disproportionately high compared to their overall budget. In response it was stated that at present town and parish councils were re-charged for by-elections but were not charged for non-contested elections. These had a significant cost to the elections team, so it was being proposed that they would be charged for. For all-out town and parish elections, which coincide with the Borough Council’s elections, it was being proposed that town and parish councils are charged an appropriate share of the costs. It was noted that there would be further consultation with the town and parish councils on this proposal.
Legal Services capacity – the Committee asked for further details on this proposal. In response Members were informed that the capacity issue arose in two areas. The first being an increased demand in adult and children’s social care services which required legal services to support cases involving court proceedings. Also, there were special needs assessment disagreements which could go to tribunal and legal services participated in the resolution of them. The second element of legal services budget increase was in relation to capacity for change, as the Council was putting forward a number of significant proposals for changes to services e.g., changes to buildings, and changes to work contracts, and many of these change proposals would require additional legal support.
CP2 reduction in emergency funding – the Committee asked what the take-up of scheme was in the previous year, this year and if it was oversubscribed. In response it was stated that the figures were not to hand, and Officers agreed to provide a written response to the committee.
CP7 Reduce additional spending on staffing and agency staff – it was reported that the Corporate Leadership Team had been reviewing staffing budgets and the approaches to ensuring sufficient staff resources were available to meet existing ... view the full minutes text for item 76.