Agenda and minutes

Policy and Finance Committee - Thursday 9th December 2021 6.00 pm

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

Contact: Jane Fulton 


No. Item




The Vice-Chair announced that the Chair was delayed on public transport and so she would be Vice-Chair in the Chair until his arrival.


The Chair then welcomed Members and Officers to the meeting of the Policy & Finance Committee. 



Apologies for Absence


No Apologies for Absence had been received.


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 Dixon declared a Personal Interest in Agenda Item 4 [Urgent Items – Levelling Up Fund Projects] in his capacity as a Member of the Bognor Regis Civic Society.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 165 KB

The Committee will be asked to approve as a correct record the Minutes of the Corporate Policy and Performance Committee held on 14 October 2021, as attached.   




Urgent Items - Levelling-Up Fund Projects pdf icon PDF 174 KB


The Chair confirmed that there was one urgent item for the Committee to consider which was a report on Levelling-Up Fund Projects.   This report had been emailed to Councillors late in the afternoon and uploaded to the Committee’s web pages as a supplement, prior to the meeting.


The Chair confirmed that she would adjourn the meeting for a period of ten minutes to provide Councillors with the opportunity to read the report.


The meeting then resumed with Councillor Gunner being present and chairing the meeting.


The Chair introduced this item outlining that with the award of the Levelling-Up Grant there was a Government requirement that the schemes be completed by March 2024. To maintain this programme, it was vital for the Council to progress these projects as quickly as possible and to put into place the relevant resources. This was why this report was being presented as urgent so that recommendations could be forwarded to Full Council on 12 January 2022 for approval.


            The Chair then invited the Principal Landscape & Project Officer to present the report.  She introduced the report explaining it had been compiled following the very welcoming news that the Council had been successful in its bid for the Levelling-Up Fund totalling a sum of £19,424,597 to fund improvements to the Alexandra Theatre, in Bognor Regis and the public realm along Littlehampton seafront. It was explained that this was the very starting point for both projects and that the first step that the Council needed to take was to ensure that the resources and the project teams were in place to deliver the projects. 


The report sought approval to formally accept the grant offer; enter into  a funding agreement; and draw down the funding award. The report also sought approval  for the heads of terms for the procurement of consultants to progress the projects forward. 


The Principal Landscape & Project Officer then worked through other aspects of the report explaining the background surrounding the bid, its submission and grant award; and the scope of the projects. It was important to emphasise that looking at the scope of the overall project, it was clear that it contained service areas that would normally be reported into several different Service Committees. Paragraph 3.1.3 of the Council’s Constitution at Part 3 – Responsibilities for Functions read that “Where a function did not clearly fall within the remit of one particular Service Committee, the Policy & Finance Committee would direct which Committee would deal with the function or deal with the matter itself”. Due to the different projects and the importance of maintaining the tight programme, it would be impossible to manage dissecting this project and working to different Committee deadlines in place. It was therefore being recommended to Full Council that it would be this Committee that would be responsible for overseeing all aspects of the Levelling-Up Fund project.


The expertise of external resources was needed to progress the design and deliver the projects. The tendering process planned for the appointment of consultants would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 504.


Change to the Order of the Agenda


A request was made by Councillor Walsh to change the order of the agenda to receive Item 9 [Levelling-Up Fund Delivery Support] now as this tied in significantly with the previous item.


            This request was agreed by the Committee.



Levelling Up Fund Delivery Support pdf icon PDF 150 KB

This report recommends the appointment of temporary staff resource to enable the delivery of the projects to be funded from the £19 million awarded to the Council from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund. It also outlines how these will be funded.


The Chair invited the Interim Group Head of Corporate Support and Section 151 Officer to present this report. She explained that this item surrounded the project management resources that were required to deliver the Levelling-Up Fund bid discussed at the last item by the Committee.


In discussing the report, the Committee acknowledged that it had no alternative other than to accept the recommendations to appoint the temporary staff that were required to resource the delivery of the projects.


Having had the recommendations in the report proposed by Councillor Cooper and seconded by Councillor Pendleton, the Committee


                        RESOLVED – That


(1)          The virement of up to £55,000 from corporate underspend in 2021/22 be used to fund temporary staff to enable the delivery of the successful Levelling Up fund bid in 2021/22; and


(2)          Budget provision is made from 2022/23 for these posts until completion of the projects.




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.



Modern Slavery Policy Statement pdf icon PDF 281 KB

From 2022 the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (section 54) will require Arun District Council to publish a ‘Transparency in Supply Chains’ Policy Statement.  The purpose of the Statement is to demonstrate the actions the Council will take to identify, prevent and mitigate incidences of modern slavery and trafficking in its supply chain. 


This report sets out for approval the Policy Statement and the registration of the Policy Statement with The Home Office.


The Chair invited the Council’s Safeguarding Officer to present this report. She outlined that the report had provided detail with regard to modern slavery and the Council’s duties. This report had been prepared in advance of an imminent amendment to the Modern Slavery Act 2015 requiring local authorities to publish a ‘Transparency in Supply Chains’ Policy Statement, to prevent exploitation in procurement supply chains.


            The report aimed to assist Managers to identify and mitigate any known risks and to ensure that any new contracts complied fully with the new duties.


The Committee, in discussing the report, was interest to learn what checks and balances were in place prior to contracts commencing with the Council and what type of activities would be put into pace to ensure contracts when procured had detailed the necessary tests to ensure compliance with the amended Act. It was explained that the new requirements stipulated that it was necessary for the Council to upload an annual statement of compliance to the home office registry. Training would be offered giving best guidance to current contractors setting out robustly other factors that would be held to account. It was recognised that there were some industries that had a higher likelihood of exploitation and so the Council would be working with its providers to ensure that all necessary checks would be actioned.


This would be assisted by providing training to Officers managing those type of contracts to ensure that the relevant questions to potential suppliers, starting with the larger contacts, would take place.


Concerns were raised as over the high levels of horticultural industry in the District which was often where exploitation could take place. Would the Council proactively inspect some of those premises to ensure compliance or was this a responsibility for the police?  It was explained that this was a police function to ensure the safeguarding and welfare was actioned, however, the Council would ensure that that the businesses it was contracted with would undergo the required checks with the Council looking at the services it held contracts with to ensure that close working with partner agencies continued and the required checks were undertaken.  The Group Head of Wellbeing outlined that through training staff and in undertaking the necessary site visit checks, Officers would be able to report back anything that was of concern.


Having had the recommendations proposed by Councillor Cooper and seconded by Councillor Stanley,


            The Committee


                        RESOLVED - That


(1)          The Arun District Council’s Transparency in Supply Chains (TISC) Policy Statement be adopted; 


(2)          The Corporate Support Committee be requested to review the Council’s Procurement Policy to ensure that supply chain transparency is given appropriate consideration I the purchasing of goods and services;


(3)          A break clause is required in contracts where Modern Slavery and Trafficking is identified and no remedial action is taken;


(4)          A procurement threshold of £100,000 is supported for suppliers to evidence compliance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015; and


(5)          Support is given to training in the principles of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 508.


Business Rates Pooling pdf icon PDF 254 KB

The report requests delegated authority for the Group Head of Corporate Support, in consultation with the Chair of this Committee, to enter into a business rate pool with selected other West Sussex authorities. The delegation is required to ensure agreement can be reached on membership, financial and governance arrangements for the pool and an application can be made to the Department for Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) by the required deadlines.


The Chair invited the Interim Group Head of Corporate Support and Section 151 Officer to present this report.  She explained the principles behind business rate pooling in that West Sussex would be better off by keeping some of the levy that would have otherwise been returned to Central Government. The West Sussex Business Rate Pool had been discontinued last year due to the financial risks to all of the pool members arising from Covid-19.  An invitation had been received from the Department of Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) to reintroduce a pool for 2022/23.  The Committee was therefore being asked to agree to the Council participating in a business rate pool in West Sussex with effect from 1 April 2022 and to grant delegated authority for the Interim Group Head of Corporate Support, in consultation with the Chai of the Policy & Finance Committee, to agree the terms of a business rate pool for West Sussex for 2022/23.


            Following some discussion and having had the recommendations in the report proposed by Councillor Roberts and seconded by Councillor Stanley,


            The Committee


                        RESOLVED  - That


(1)          Agreement be given to the Council participating in a business rates pool in West Sussex with effect from 1 April 2022; and


(2)          Delegated authority be granted to the Interim Group Head of Corporate Support, in consultation with the Chair of the Policy & Finance Committee to agree the terms of a business rate pool for West Sussex for 2022/23.



Budget Monitoring Report to 30 September 2021 pdf icon PDF 36 KB

The Budget Monitoring Report sets out the Capital, Housing Revenue and General Fund Revenue budget performance to the end of September 2021.

Additional documents:


The Chair invited the Interim Group Head of Corporate Support and Section 151 Officer to present the Budget Monitoring Report to 30 September 2021.


Members were requested to consider the financial position of the Council as set out in appendix 1 to the report. The report detailed a current General Fund underspend at Quarter 2 of £657k. The main variations had been set out in Table 2.2 resulting in an anticipated outturn General Fund of approximately £7.6m provided conditions continued. The risk in relation to Covid-19 continued to add uncertainty to the forecast. In terms of capital there had been significant slippage in the programme which was being reviewed with a view to deliverability in the current year.


            A range of questions were asked by the Committee, which have been set out below:


·      Looking at the Bognor Regis Arcade, was the Council likely to recoup the rent arrears mentioned in the report?  It was confirmed that this level of detail was not available to provide an answer to the meeting and so a written response would be circulated to the Committee, following the meeting.

·      Concern was expressed that £35k had been spent on undertaking an update review on the Trisanto property company. It was explained that this had been a review of the business case to see if it should be resurrected or not. It was confirmed that the cost of this review was substantially less than that sum.


Having had the recommendation proposed by Councillor Stanley and seconded by Councillor Cooper,


            The Committee


                        RESOLVED – That


(1)          Any specific project related General Fund revenue underspend continues to be transferred to earmarked reserves as per previous policy to allow projects to be completed; 


(2)          The Housing Revenue Account repairs and maintenance (Planned and Responsive) budget be closely monitored to ensure that any necessary corrective action is taken if required; and


(3)          The Capital, Asset Management and Projects programme be reviewed to determine future projections and deliverability of current projects.



Corporate Plan and Service Delivery Plan 2018-2022 - Quarter Two Performance Report for the Period 1 July 2021 to 30 September 2021 pdf icon PDF 246 KB

This is an update report setting out the Q2 performance outturn for the Corporate Plan and Service Delivery Plan performance indicators for the period 1 July 2021 to 30 September 2021.

Additional documents:


In the absence of the Group Head of Policy, the Chair invited the Interim Chief Executive to present this report. He outlined that this was a standard report that was presented to the Committee identifying the key performance indicators that the Council gathered and how they had performed over the last quarter being 1 July to 30 September 2021.


            A range of comments and questions were asked by the Committee which have been set out below:


·           SDP 1 [Major Applications determined in 13 weeks] – the issue of Extension of Time agreements was an issue of concern raised previously at meetings as this SDP showed the Council overachieving this target when in fact it was underachieving due to a constant reliance on Extension of Time agreements (EOTA). Three  paragraphs from the Hannaby Review of the Council’s Planning Service were read to the Committee to remind Members of what the review had identified.  How was the Council going to address this matter? The Director of Place responded referring to the commentary in the report demonstrating what the position was without the use of (EOTAs) and with them. This showed that the Council was being as transparent as it could in terms of how this had an impact on its performance indicators. The Group Head of Planning was working through an exercise looking at why they had and were being used and had given further instructions to the team to ensure that (EOTAs) would only be used when necessary. The Director of Place explained the circumstances for their use which had been down to a significant increase in the overall workload in terms of a major increase in the number of planning applications submitted coupled with ongoing staffing issues. This matter had also been discussed by the Planning Committee at briefings held to discuss the recommendations contained in the Hannaby review.

·           Concerns were still expressed as the indicators SDP1 and SDP3 still confirmed an overachievement of target which was not accurately being reported.  The Director of Place confirmed that indicator was being reported exactly as the Government required. Further explanation was provided setting out examples for when it was necessary to use (EOTAs).


The Chair asked for further clarification as to when the Council would see a reduction in using (EOTAs). It was explained that this was down to a range of factors that had already been identified. The Chair stated that a date to achieve reducing the use of (EOTAs) needed to be set.


·           SDP5 [Occupied Retail Units in Bognor Regis] – it was pleasing to see this performing so well at 95% and that Bognor Regis was comparing favourably with other Towns. The changing nature of the high street was acknowledged in that it was becoming ever increasingly important for social activities with a gradual move away from retail. 


·           CP10 [Total Rateable Business Value for the Arun District] looking at the Saltbox development – what else was there in the pipeline that could assist this figure?  The Director of Place  ...  view the full minutes text for item 511.


Residents' Satisfaction Survey 2021 pdf icon PDF 234 KB

Each year the Council undertakes a Residents Satisfaction Survey as part of the Council’s performance framework.

The Residents’ Satisfaction Survey for 2020/21 was undertaken between 28 June and 25 July 2021.  The Council instructed BMG Research to undertake the survey.

This report sets out the main findings of the survey for review by Members.

Additional documents:


In the absence of the Group Head of Policy, the Chair invited the Interim Chief Executive to present this report. He confirmed that the Council did undertake a residents satisfaction survey annually and this was treated as a key tool for the Council to use in assessing the effectiveness of the services that it provided. The Interim Chief Executive confirmed that it was an aim for the Council to steer towards achieving private sector excellence in terms of service delivery and this was a key tool used to achieve this as the results of the survey would inform service development over the next twelve months.  Plans were already underway looking at how next year’s survey would be delivered to include methods to increase returns.


            The Interim Chief Executive highlighted that the survey returns for 2020 had shown a significant upturn in terms of improvement of services with the survey being viewed very positively despite the challenges of the pandemic. The results for this year had shown a return to pre-pandemic levels and so this provided the Council with an opportunity to strive to return to achieving the same satisfaction levels shown for 2020. It was pleasing to see how this reflected the excellent performance of the Council’s staff during lockdown and in meeting the challenges of the pandemic.


The Committee in discussing the survey results for 2020 felt that in terms of distribution, this had not been representative of the whole District as the western side of the District had been under-represented with the eastern side being over-represented. This could have affected the results shown, it was felt that the results of this year’s survey were a far more accurate representation. Concerns raised were over the cleanliness of residential roads which were often littered due to seagulls splitting open refuse sacks. Was there a way this could be addressed? The Director of Services acknowledged that this was a big issue and as the Council still collected its refuse using black sacks which sat on streets on collection day. This would be a matter for negotiation when the Council retendered its waste contract.


Another issue raised was that of communication and how the Council listened and communicated externally.  It was felt that there was a significant difference in satisfaction between non homeowners and homeowners and whey this could be?


The Interim Chief Executive responded agreeing with these points made. He outlined that the Council needed to work very hard to ensure it achieved a positive perception of what it did. This would be a key issue that it would focus on over the coming months. The Director of Services acknowledged that many areas in the District were deprived areas facing many challenges and this was why satisfaction was lower as this correlated around social housing and the rented sector. There was a lot of work for the Council to tackle on wellbeing issues to address in adopting a new Council Vision.


The Chair alerted Members to an issue of concern in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 512.


Environment Committee - 17 November 2021 pdf icon PDF 161 KB

The Committee is asked to consider recommendations from the meeting of the Environment Committee held on 17 November 2021. The minutes are attached.


There are recommendations at:


·         Minute 448 [Empty Property Assistance Programme]

·         Minute 450 [Annual Engineering Service Review]


To access these reports, please click on this link: Environment Committee Reports




The Chair confirmed that the Minutes from the Environment Committee held on 17 November 2021 were being presented to this Committee as there were recommendations for it to consider. The Chair explained that these recommendations had evolved from the budget consultation exercise that was agreed by this Committee on 1 September 2021. The timeline for the decision making process in respect of these recommendations was:


20 January 2022 - The recommendations referred to three service bids (as set out in the minutes) and would be included in the Environment Committee’s proposed Budget for 2022/23, which would be discussed by that Committee on 20 January 2022.


10 February 2022- All Service Committees would consider their draft budgets in the same way.  Each of the Service Committee’s budgets would then be presented and considered by this Committee on 10 February 2022 when it would consider the Full Council Budget.


23 February 2022  - The Budget for 2022/23 would then be recommended onto the Special Meeting of the Council on 23 February 2022.


The recommendations from the Environment Committee therefore stood deferred in light of the procedure set out above.



Outside Bodies



            There were no feedback reports from Outside bodies to present to this meeting


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 207 KB

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


The Committee received an updated version of its Work Programme covering the remainder of the Municipal Year.


            The Committee Services Manager outlined that the work programme would be updated further to include regular updates and reports on the Levelling-Up Fund projects,  as discussed earlier.             


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