Agenda and minutes

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 5th October, 2023 7.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 2, Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, Essex, RM17 6SL.

Contact: Jenny Shade, Senior Democratic Services Officer  Email:


No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 128 KB

To approve as a correct record the public minutes of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committeemeeting held on 11 July 2023.

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Councillor Worrall requested that the numbered action points relate to the points risen, this would make the minutes more comprehendible.


Members stated that no updates had been provided to the actions within the minutes and asked for these to be provided following this meeting.


Members also requested that an Action List be presented at the next meeting.


Following the above being made, the minutes of the 11 July 2023 Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee be approved as a correct record.


Items of Urgent Business

To receive additional items that the Chair is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency, in accordance with Section 100B (4) (b) of the Local Government Act 1972. To agree any relevant briefing notes submitted to the Committee.

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There were no urgent items of business.


Declaration of Interests

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No declaration of interests were made.


2023/24 Quarter 1 Forecast Revenue and Capital Outturn pdf icon PDF 271 KB

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The report presented set out the estimated forecast revenue outturn position for 2023/24 for the General Fund, Housing Revenue Account (HRA), Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) and Public Health Grant.


The following points were made:


·       Member referred to recommendation 2 of the report and stated it would be helpful for committee members to have directorate budgets itemised as to what their mitigations were.

·       Member referred to paragraph 3.3.5 and questioned what affect would the

higher rates have and having some comparisons would have been beneficial to members.

·       Member referred to paragraph 3.9.2, Members needed to understand more about what the debt recovery team. It was also noted the good work being undertaken by the debt recovery team. Officers will take away action to look at the currently recruitment exercise. (see action point 17)

·       Member thanked officers for the detailed report.

·       It was recorded that a Member had had a lot of interaction with the financial inclusion team who undertook some amazing work for residents.

·       Member referred to paragraph 2.1, questioned how much of the hardship fund of £0.616m had been used this year. (see action point 18)

·       Member made a general statement in regard to Children’s social care, and this needed to be tackled nationally.

·       Member referred to paragraph 3.3.4, questioned how this overspend would impact those children.

·       Member referred to paragraph 3.4.3, commented on the cost of postage increases in year with the council trying to be more digital.

·       Member referred to paragraph 3.8.4, questioned whether the CO2 was now completely empty and if so could this be temporarily taken out of ratings. (see action point 19)

·       Member referred to paragraph 3.10.3, questioned why there had been a reduction in registrar services as the new Town Hall had more facilities to offer these services. (see action point 20)

·       Members also stated the council should be exploring more registrar services to generate more income.

·       Member referred to paragraph 4.1, Inflation, Energy Services, questioned the fluctuations and how could this be happening if the council had bulk purchased. (see action point 21)

·       Member referred to paragraph 3.15.5, questioned whether this additional level of income had been a positive income of an action that had been agreed by the council.

·       Member questioned when the financial accounts for 2020/21 would finally be completed.

·       Members questioned how confident officers were on the final figure.

·       Member stated the HRA Capital Program remained on track for delivery as no new capital programmes would commence.

·       Member referred to Right to Buy Receipts and questioned whether there was a business case that these could be used.


The meeting adjourned at 7.36pm.


The meeting reconvened at 7.38pm.


·       Member referred to paragraph 3.25, had concerns that the underspend had been achieved but these services had been reduced and were at risk of being lost. She questioned whether the best use of funding from external resources was being used.

·       Member requested an update home to school transport and whether everything was undertaken to ensure that every child got to school. (see action  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.


Report of the Cabinet Member for Finance, HR and Payroll/Financial Strategy Update pdf icon PDF 258 KB

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Councillor Snell presented his portfolio holder report for Finance, HR and Payroll/Financial Strategy Update.


The following points were made:


·       Member acknowledged the work undertaken by officers in producing this very detailed report.

·       Member referred to paragraph 4.15 and discussed the 7% Public Works Loan Board.

·       Member referred to paragraph 4.18 and discussed the £103 investment in the CCLA Property Fund as to whether this was a safe long-term return.

·       Member referred to the savings of the £18.2 million from the revenue budget and questioned how confident the portfolio holder was this would be met.

·       Members discussed the targets for 2024/25 and 2025/26.

·       Member referred to how and when assets where sold, with officers reiterating that the council had an explicit direction to pay down debt and referred members to the notes on hurdle rates within the report.

·       All members discussed the purpose of pink papers.

·       Member noted the dates in the report were out of sequence to events.

·       Members agreed that a robust and up to date Asset Register should be available.

·       Member referred to Table 2, noted the expensive administration fees and questioned how confident the portfolio holder was in a return of those costs.

·       Member stated for some this would be the first time they had an opportunity to see the council had a vast array of investments and acknowledged there was going to be a significant loss.

·       Member referred to paragraph 3.8 and stated there was no mention in the bullet points that it was the reduction of the central government grant over time. With less money coming in the administration was over reliant on vestment incomes and questioned whether this had been considered as the council developed their accounts in the future.



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 57 KB

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Members requested that an updated Action List be presented.


The chair requested that the Portfolio Holder Annual Report: Transformational Change, Communications and Governance be moved from the
1 February 2024 meeting to the 7 December 2023 meeting.


Members requested an update on the Investment Advisory Panel.


Any Other Business


Councillor Morris-Cook stated how uncomfortable she had felt, but had remained at this important meeting, on how inappropriate it was that Councillor Gledhill was now a member of this committee. Councillor Morris-Cook stated he had been the leader when the finance issues arose and with him now asking the current portfolio holder questions on finance was totally inappropriate.


Councillor Gledhill responded to say this had been an appointment made at the 27 September 2023 full council meeting made by the leader, with no objections being made. Councillor Gledhill stated the comment made by Councillor Morris-Cook had also been inappropriate, as a member he was entitled to sit on this committee like any other member and to hold the council to account.


The chair agreed for these notes to be included in the minutes.



Recording of Meeting


The full recording of the meeting can be viewed from the following link:


Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Thursday 5 October 2023, 7:00pm - Thurrock Council committee meeting webcasts (