Agenda and minutes

Policy and Finance Committee - Wednesday 1st September 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Arun Civic Centre, Maltravers Road, Littlehampton, BN17 5LF. View directions

Contact: Jane Fulton 

No. Item




The Chair welcomed Members and Officers to what was the first physical meeting of the Corporate Policy & Performance Committee.



Declarations of Interest

Members and Officers are invited to make any declaration of pecuniary, personal and/or prejudicial interests that they may have in relation to items on this agenda, and are reminded that they should re-declare their interest before consideration of the items or as soon as the interest becomes apparent.


Members and Officers should make their declaration by stating:


a)             the item they have the interest in

b)             whether it is a pecuniary/personal interest and/or prejudicial interest

c)             the nature of the interest



Councillor Walsh declared a Personal Interest in Agenda Item 8 [Update on the Future of Joint Arun Area Committees] in his capacity as a Member of West Sussex County Council.


Councillors Oppler and Pendleton then declared their Personal Interests in Agenda Item 8 as Members of West Sussex County Council.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 248 KB

The Committee will be asked to approve as a correct record the Minutes of the Corporate Policy and Performance Committee held on 17 June 2021, which are attached.


The Minutes from the meeting of the Corporate Policy & Performance Committee held on 17 June 2021, were approved by the Committee and were signed by the Chair.



Public Question Time

To receive questions from the public (for a period of up to 15 minutes)



The Chair confirmed that no questions had been submitted for this meeting


Revenue and Capital Outturn Expenditure 2020/21 [30 minutes] pdf icon PDF 558 KB

The attached report provides a summary of revenue and capital outturn expenditure for 2020/21 and compares this expenditure with the approved budget.


The Interim Group Head of Corporate Support & Section 151 Officer presented this report outlining that 2020/2021 had been an exceptional year due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Unfortunately, the audit of the Council’s financial statements had been delayed until November 2021. The report before the Committee was the draft Outturn report and no further changes were envisaged. It was anticipated that the audit  would be completed in November 2021 with the Audit & Governance Committee signing off the accounts at a Special Meeting to be held in January 2022.


As already mentioned, 2020/21 has been a challenging year with much  uncertainty and additional costs to the Council, yet it had managed to achieve a very positive financial outturn. The Council had received significant Covid-19 funding in addition to the sales of fees and charges compensation scheme which had helped to back up the Council’s additional expenditure accrued mainly in areas such as homelessness, rough sleepers, supporting the leisure contract and areas of central support such as office buildings, rapid reception area adjustments to support homelessness cases and areas such as IT to allow all staff to work from home. Support had also been given in reaction to the need for additional cleaning in the Civic Centre and to areas such as Environmental Health. There had been some positive income streams in areas such as Planning whose income was above budget as the lockdown had led to a surge in planning applications being submitted. During the year the Council had approved supplementary estimates totalling £1.6 million which included the worst case support scenario for the leisure contract which had not been required and so the Council had managed to absorb this into its general outturn.


In reaction to the report, praise was given to the Interim Group Head of Corporate Support and her team for their work during the past year and for meeting the challenges that had been set.  It was very pleasing to be told that despite the challenges highlighted, the Council had managed to maintain a favourable balance and had not needed to raid the Council’s reserves which had been an extraordinary achievement. 


The Interim Group Head of Corporate Support then drew Committee’s attention to the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) outturn which was under budget and to Recommendation 3 of the report which was asking approval to carry forward £1million Housing Capital spending from 202/21 to 2021/22 to support and complete a number of projects that had been unavoidably delayed due to the pandemic. 


In response to this, it was felt important that the Council’s share of the capital receipts  which it could spend should only be spent on new social housing. There was reference made in the report that the phasing of the programme would be a key factor. Councillor Walsh confirmed that he wished to suggest that the Committee made a strong recommendation to the appropriate Service Committee that the housing capital revenue programme would take account of that and would make sure that the Council would spend  ...  view the full minutes text for item 223.


Budget 2022/23 - Process [15 minutes] pdf icon PDF 159 KB

This report provides a summary of the Budget process for 2022/23 for Members’ consideration.


The Interim Head of Corporate Support and Section 151 Officer presented this report outlining that its purpose was to ensure that Members were fully informed of the budget process for 2022/23 under the new Committee system.


            It was explained that each Committee would receive a similar report as the relevant budget would have to be considered by each Service Committee before the full Budget would be considered by this Committee on 10 February 20222 before approval by Special Council on 23 February 20222.



In considering the report, a request was made for a Members’ Seminar to be organised as this had formed a very helpful part of the process in considering and understanding the budget for last year.  The Interim Group Head of Corporate Support conformed that she would investigate organising this. 


Following a brief discussion, Councillor Gunner then formally proposed that the Budget process for 2022/23 be approved and this was seconded by Councillor Pendleton.


The Committee




            That the Budget process for 2022/23 be approved.



Update on the Future of Joint Arun Area Committees [10 minutes] pdf icon PDF 27 KB

A decision was made by the Full Council at West Sussex County Council (WSCC) to establish a new informal District/Borough-based forum to replace the Joint Arun Area Committees.   This paper informs Arun District Councillors of that decision.   


The Chair referred the Committee to the update report informing Councillors of the decision made by West Sussex County Council to establish a new informal District/Borough based forum to replace the Joint Arun Area Committees.  



Feedback from a Meeting of the Greater Brighton Economic Board held on 20 July 2021 [10 minutes] pdf icon PDF 252 KB

This is a feedback report provided by the Group Head of Economy following the recent meeting of the Greater Brighton Economic Board held on 20 July 2021.



The Chair confirmed that he had attended, with the Chief Executive, the meeting of the Greater Brighton Economic Board held on 20 July 2021 and so would be happy to respond to any questions asked.


A range of questions were asked.  The first was around the need for the Board to address the very low wage levels in the Arun District as well as deprivation levels. Had this message been put across to the Board? The Chair reassured the Committee that he had robustly defended Arun and had argued the need for greater support. Councillor Gunner outlined that there had been a change in Chair of the Board with the new Chair wishing to refocus the Board’s priorities.  The Committee was reassured that further pledges would continue to push for inward investment into Arun


            Secondly, from the long list of Board initiatives, had any greatly benefited Arun over the time of its membership?  The Chief Executive confirmed that one had been decarbonising council housing stock and that a Working Party had been established to see how this could be taken forward.  He reminded Members of the report that had been taken to Cabinet in 2020 which had provided a detailed presentation outlining the Board’s 10 main pledges focusing on the sustainable growth agenda and superfast broadband.  It was hoped that Arun would benefit from future Government funding in the future.


The Chair added to this by outlining that the Board did have a list of major build projects, but these were predominantly earmarked towards Brighton and Hove and the surrounding area. He had made his displeasure clear around the need to see some of this investment being injected into Arun and had met with the Officer team to prompt the Board to commence a greater focus on areas outside of Brighton.


Mention was made of the reintroduction of the kelp forest off the Sussex coast and the investment in hydrogen power plant at Shoreham harbour and input from nearby engineering firms that were progressing the use of hydrogen powered engines in some buses. It was hoped that this would be rolled out to Stagecoach soon which would benefit the District. A request made for the Council to undertake a review of all its corporate partnerships to assess what value they brought to the Council and its residents as it was essential to see that the Council was getting value for its investments. In relation to this, the importance of railway infrastructure and the progression of the Arundel Chord was raised and was this on the agenda for future meetings of the Board. Reassurance was provided that the Arundel Chord was and had been regularly mentioned at meetings.  It was noted that the Arundel Chord was not mentioned in WSCC’s Transport Draft Plan and that this needed to be addressed.



Joint Climate Change Board [5 minutes] pdf icon PDF 224 KB

The Committee is asked to confirm that it approves that Councillor Staniforth will be this Council’s nominated representative to attend Joint Climate Board Meetings organised by West Sussex County Council.


A meeting of the Board was held on 7 July 2021. Councillor Staniforth’s feedback report is attached.


The Chair confirmed that this item formed two parts.  Firstly, the Committee was being asked to confirm Councillor Staniforth as the Council’s nominated representative on the Joint Climate Change Board and secondly a feedback report had been provided by Councillor Staniforth for the Committee’s information.  Councillor Gunner then formally proposed Councillor Staniforth’s nomination which was seconded by Councillor Pendleton.


In debating this proposal, Councillor Dixon confirmed that he wished to make an amendment which was to propose that Councillor Thurston be the Council’s nominated representative, and this was seconded by Councillor Oppler. 


The Chair then invited debate on this amendment and reasons for proposing Councillor Thurston for this role were explained.  On putting this to the vote, 4 Councillors voted for the amendment and 4 voted against it.  As this was a tied vote, the Chair used his casting vote and voted against the amendment.


            The Chair then returned to the substantive proposal and on this being put to the vote it was CARREID.


            The Committee therefore




That Councillor Staniforth be this Council’s nominated representative on West Sussex County Council’s Joint Climate Change Board.


The Chair then returned to the feedback report that had been submitted by Councillor Staniforth and invited questions.  As she had not been able to be present at the meeting, he confirmed that any detailed questions could be responded to outside of the meeting. Councillor Staniforth was praised for providing such a substantial report.


            Following some further discussion, the Committee noted the report.



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 201 KB

A copy of the Committee’s Work Programme for the remainder of 2021/22 is attached for the Committee’s information.


The Chief Executive introduced the Committee’s draft Work Programme for the remainder of 2021-22 and provided an update on the Corporate Plan in terms of how this was developing and the timetable that was in place for an April 2022 start.


            Having received no further suggestions or questions, the Chair thanked Members for their input.