Venue: Jubilee Room, Aylesbury Vale District Council Gatehouse Road Aylesbury Bucks HP19 8FF
Contact: Khalid Ahmed 01494 732725; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Declarations of Interest
Councillor Iain McCracken and Councillor Emma Webster both declared Interests as Members of the Berkshire Fire Authority.
To agree the Minutes of the Meeting held on 16 November 2018.
The Minutes of the Police and Crime Panel meeting held on 16 November 2018 were agreed as a correct record.
Public Question Time
Anyone who works or lives in the Thames Valley can ask a question at meetings of the Police and Crime Panel, at which a 20 minute session will be designated for hearing from the public.
If you’d like to participate, please read the Public Question Time Scheme and submit your questions by email to email@example.com at least three working days in advance of the meeting.
There were no public questions submitted.
The report will be presented by Cllr Iain McCracken, Chairman of the Budget Task and Finish Group.
As in previous years, the Thames Valley Police & Crime Panel formed a Budget Task & Finish Group to assist in discharging its statutory duty to scrutinise the Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Thames Valley’s proposed Council Tax precept for 2019/20.
Councillor Iain McCracken, the Chairman of the Budget Task and Finish Group presented the report. He thanked Ian Thompson and Linda Waters for attending the Group and updating Members on the PCC’s draft budget proposals and also Members of the Group for their work.
The Chairman particularly referred to the following points:-
• Precept increase flexibility of up to an additional £24 (Band D equivalent) for all PCCs (or equivalents) in 2019/20.
• £161m additional grant funding – The settlement, including council tax and pension grant, represents an average cash increase (total funding) of 7.1% between 2018/19 and 2019/20.
• New Requirements – The Minister’s letter refers to the requirement to "drive efficiency, productivity and effectiveness".
• Forces are being provided with an additional £142.5m pensions grant in addition to the £161m core funding. For Thames Valley this does not cover the full pension’s costs. There is a shortfall and hence a balance to be funded locally. In TVP the funding shortfall is £0.7m.
• The PCC has undertaken a short public consultation exercise on the proposed increase in Council Tax and over 8,000 people responded with almost 70% supporting the proposed increase in the Policing precept for Council Tax.
• After funding pay and price rises, the proposed increase in Council Tax enables an investment of around £8.5m in a number of priority policing areas. The PCC has made the following commitments:
• To improve services to the public through contact management by reducing 101 call handling times (£1.3m) – Additional call-handling staff (around 45) would be recruited to deal with the volume of calls and to improve outcomes to residents
• To increase frontline policing by recruiting additional officers and staff to respond to increasing crime demand and complexity (£2.5m)
• To improve investigative capacity and process for complex crimes (£2.2m)
• To increase the Digital Development Programmes (£2.5m) and increase digital capability by exploiting the modern platforms which have been investing in – This involved increasing the number of laptops for Police Officers, improving Wi-Fi capability in police establishments.
• In accordance with the agreed policy on the use of reserve funding the PCC will continue to utilise the Improvement and Performance (I&P) reserve to fund one-off expenditure contained within the MTFP. It will also support the capital programme and ICT Strategy implementation.
• The revenue budget is balanced in all 4 years (i.e. 2019/20 to 2022/23) with a £24 increase in Band D council tax in 2019/20 followed by 2% per annum in later years. The MTFP provides for inflationary increases and limited investment to address some service and performance issues by increasing resources, both police officers and police staff, alongside investing in the technology to make staff more productive. The investment has only been possible ... view the full minutes text for item 37.
Attached are the Revenue Estimates 2019/20, the Medium Term Financial Plan 2019/20 to 2022/23, the Medium Term Capital Plan and Reserves and Balances Reports.
The PCC responded to the following written questions:-
1. There are around 2.4million residents in the Thames Valley policing region and yet there were only around 8,000 residents who responded to your consultation on the proposed precept. What is the reason for this low response rate?
[I was not aware, until the provisional police grant settlement was released on 13th December 2018, that I would be encouraged by Government to increase council tax by up to £24 for a Band D property in 2019/20. All my financial planning up till that point was based on a £12 increase, as per the previous police finance settlement from 12 months ago.
However, before deciding whether or not to increase council tax by £24 I carried out a short online survey which ran for 3 weeks from 19th December till 9th January. In order to reach as many people as possible the survey In order to reach as many people as possible, it was sent to:
• All users of TVP Alert – at least 82,787 residents
• All town and parish councils
• All councillors from county, unitary and district councils
• All media in the TVP area via a press release
• Regular social media updates via Twitter
In total, 8,031 people voted, of which 5,599 or 69.7% voted yes.
Although this is a relatively small percentage when compared to overall population in the Thames Valley more people voted in this survey, than the one I undertook 12 months ago (6,500) and is also a better response rate than other PCCs have achieved when consulting locally on their council tax increase. I would be interested to know what measures the Panel believe I could have taken to increase the response rate over the festive period.]
2. Will this budget mean that you can deliver the key objectives in your Police and Crime Plan, particularly in relation to the reduction of crime and higher detection rates?
[The additional investment should enable the force to improve its operational performance, particularly in respect of crime reduction and better detection.]
3. How will you holding the new Chief Constable to account on the use of this additional funding? At this early stage, could you give an indication of how the £8.5m of extra investment is going to be used?
[The main areas of additional investment in 2019/20, being funded through the increase in council tax precept are under the following schemes:
• Improved Services to the Public through Contact Management £1.3m - The rise in demand and the complexity of that demand have increased the length of time it takes to assess the threat, harm and risk and ensure every call receives the appropriate response. We will reduce call handling times, particularly for 101 calls, by recruiting additional staff to deal with the additional demand and more complex crime and incidents being reported.
• Increasing Local Front Line Policing and Service Delivery £2.5m - we will recruit additional officers and staff to increase visibility to ... view the full minutes text for item 38.
Date and Time of Next Meeting
To note the following meetings of the Police and Crime Panel (all meetings to commence at 11.00am):
12 April, 2019
21 June, 2019
6 September, 2019
22 November, 2019
31 January, 2020
The next meeting of the Police and Crime Panel would take place on 12 April 2019 at 11.00am, at Aylesbury Vale District Council Offices.
It was agreed that prior to the Annual meeting of the Panel on 21 June 2019, a consultation take place with those Members appointed to the Panel from Thames Valley local authorities, on preferred future venues.