Agenda and minutes

Venue: The Oculus, Buckinghamshire Council, Gatehouse Road, HP19 8FF - Aylesbury. View directions


Webcast: View the webcast

No. Item


Chairman's Introductions

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The Chairman thanked the members and officers for attending the meeting.  He explained that the date had been changed due to a Wycombe District Council Cabinet meeting taking place on the evening of Monday 3 February.  He noted that at this meeting Cabinet had considered a Climate Change Protocol which now brought the council in line with other Buckinghamshire councils.


Apologies for Absence

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Apologies were received from Councillors L Clarke OBE, P Cooper, J Gladwin, P Kelly, S Lambert and S Renshell.


Declarations of Interest

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There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes of the Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 196 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 25 November 2019.

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Concern was raised that previous webcasts were not available to view as indicated in the previous minutes.  The Chairman noted that these should be able to be accessed for openness and transparency.  It was noted that webcasts should be available for 12 months and the officers would ensure that missing webcasts would be uploaded to the website.


RESOLVED:  That the minutes of the meeting held on 25 November 2019 were AGREED as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


Implementation Plan Update pdf icon PDF 298 KB

The Committee will receive an update on the Implementation Plan.  Members will have an opportunity to discuss, ask questions and comment.

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The Committee considered a report providing an update on the progress of the implementation programme for the new unitary council.  The Chairman of the Implementation Task and Finish Group, Councillor Barbara Gibbs, confirmed that the request for some of the March ‘must haves’ to be moved to January and February had been undertaken.  Also that regular officer update meetings were taking place to provide a seamless transition to the new council and she thanked the officers for the good work.


Mrs S Ashmead, Monitoring Officer, presented the report on behalf of Mr R Goodes, Programme Manager as he was unable to attend the meeting.  It was noted that at the time of the meeting there were 58 days to go until vesting day.


The following points were noted:


·       Corporate Directors and Services Directors had been appointed and recruitment was being undertaken for five remaining vacant roles.  Interviews would take place in March with the aim of confirming appointments ahead of vesting day. 

·       Services Directors had undertaken work on the alignment of teams in their services areas. It was noted that this was an important piece of work to so that staff would be aware of where they sit in their structure. Staff would be informed in February of their positions in the structures and services directors would undertake a series of staff meetings.

·       This information would also enable the development of the Service Plans that would sit underneath the new Council Plan.

·       The Shadow Executive had agreed 16 Community Boards following extensive consultation.

·       A Town and Parish Charter was under development with the help of representatives from town and parish councils.

·       Town and Parish councils had been asked for expressions of interest in a devolution pilot scheme.  Over twenty responses had been received and these were being evaluated for a decision on who would be included in the pilot.

·       Work was continuing on the Council’s Corporate Plan.

·       Customer service standards had been agreed and training would be provided to all appropriate staff in preparation for 1 April. 

·       Testing of customer scenarios had been undertaken with AMEO.

·       Preparations were being made for the upcoming elections in May. 

·       The Implementation Risk register was being closely monitored and key risks were being monitored on a weekly basis.

·       The Budget Scrutiny Task and Finish Group had met for four days in January 2020 to consider the draft budget. 

·       Practical arrangements had been considered and agreed for the Interregnum period (1 April to 11 May 2020).  These were to use existing committee measures if required during this time.

·       A communications plan was being developed for day one and information would be available for residents so they know who and how to contact the new council.

·       Staff roadshows were being carried out across the councils during January and February.

·       A residents’ magazine had been agreed and would be available in May once the new Council has been established.

·       Officers remained confident that work was on track for April 2020 and focus was on the deliverables for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Task and Finish Group Updates pdf icon PDF 551 KB

The Committee will receive verbal updates from the Chairman of the task and finish groups:


Implementation Plan T&F – Councillor Barbara Gibbs


Budget T&F – Vice Chairman - Councillor Chris Whitehead – Report to follow and is to be noted.

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The Chairman of the Implementation Plan TFG, Councillor Barbara Gibbs, requested that a report be provided regarding the Spending Protocol to the Committee at the next meeting.  The Chairman confirmed this would provide a further understanding on how budgets would be managed during the interregnum period and to enable a smooth transition to the new council.


The Chairman of the Committee noted that a substantial minority of the Budget TFG had requested that the Council tax harmonisation should have been as the original business case where WDC residents council tax stayed at its current level and the rest of county areas brought down to that level.


It was accepted that the majority view of the TFG was to raise Council tax on average by 3.99 %.  However, they wanted the council to be transparent with all residents regarding the exact increase as residents of Wycombe District Council would face a much larger increase due to harmonisation.


A member raised concerns regarding the information provided at the Budget TFG and the budget forecasts for special educational needs and Children’s Services.  Also regarding the Planning budget that further work should be done as this could be a great budget risk for the future. The Chairman confirmed that these issues had been highlighted during the budget scrutiny process and the Budget TFG recommendations to the Shadow Executive would take these issues into account. The Chairman thanked the officers and members for all their help during the Budget scrutiny process. 


The Vice-Chairman of the Budget TFG, Councillor Chris Whitehead, provided a presentation on the 33 recommendations as agreed by the TFG to be provided to the Shadow Executive for a response.  He noted that the budgets for the next 2 years had been examined as part of the legacy scrutiny arrangements however year 3 did not provide as much detail.  It was noted some of the £18.2m savings outlined in the unitary business case had already been made by the legacy councils.  It was expected that the remaining savings would be realised over the next few years, however there was further work to be done. Once the Shadow Executive had provided their response to the recommendations then the budget would be provided to the Shadow Authority for agreement.


The Budget Task and Finish Group recommended the following to the Shadow Executive:



Recommendation 1:


a)      There should be a consistent approach to how inflation and salary increases are applied across the budget.

b)     Where budgets include monies released from a reserve, this should be clearly noted in a separate budget line.

c)     Further work should be undertaken on Years 2 & 3 of the MTFP to ensure the robustness of the budgets in light of a number of external factors which are outside of the Council’s control.


Recommendation 2:  The Corporate Plan for Buckinghamshire Council should include a stronger commitment to Climate Change, with the aim of the Council being net Carbon Neutral by 2035 (subject to consideration of the results of the Council’s Carbon Audit)  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Shadow Executive Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 254 KB

To consider the Shadow Executive Forward Plan.

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Members noted the Shadow Executive Forward Plan.


Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 132 KB

The Committee will consider the work programme and agenda items for the next meeting.

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The Chairman requested that the spending protocol and a further Implementation Plan update be provided at the next meeting.  He suggested that the draft Constitution be emailed to the Committee in advance of consideration by the Shadow Executive.  He requested that if Members had any further suggestions for items then to email him directly.


A member requested the draft Parish Charter be provided to the Committee and that the Budget TFG recommendations also be circulated.  The Chairman explained that a detailed report regarding the recommendations was being presented to the Shadow Executive and the additional information requested from officers would be circulated to the TFG members.


The next meeting was scheduled to take place on Tuesday 3 March at 6.30pm to be held at the Oculus, Aylesbury Vale District Council. 



Following the meeting and in agreement with the Chairman the date of the meeting would be amended to take place on Wednesday 4 March at 6.30pm, also to be held at the Oculus, Aylesbury Vale District Council.




RESOLVED: That pursuant to Regulation 4(2)(b) of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012 the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of Minute 9, because of their reference to matters which contain exempt information as defined as follows:

Minute 9 Risk Register

Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information) (Paragraph 3, Part 1 of Schedule 12A, Local Government Act 1972)

(The need to maintain the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure, because disclosure could prejudice the Council’s position in any future tender process or negotiations)

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Risk Register

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The Committee received an update on the Unitary Implementation Risk Register. Sarah Ashmead provided specific information on 13 risks and confirmed that these were regularly monitored by the Programme Office and the Chief Executive’s Group.  Regarding red risks it was noted that these were on track but required close monitoring.  


Members discussed and commented on the Risk Register, and received clarification on a number of points.  It was requested that the Risk Register be provided to the Committee at the next meeting.