Agenda item

Verbal Update: Capital Programme and Process Report


The Strategic Resources Accountant introduced the report and stated this updated Members on the capital process and how the capital programme was formulated. He began by saying that the capital programme included projects that would run for between 3 and 5 years, and corporate finance invited submissions for projects around September. He stated that these were reviewed for accuracy and purpose at a detailed level, and were assessed for how the projects fit within the corporate priorities. He stated that once this was completed the projects were formulated into papers which went to either the Service, Property or Digital Board, and were ranked from 1-3, with 1 being essential projects and 3 being projects that would be nice to have and could run in the background. He elaborated by stating that once the submissions had been reviewed by the relevant Board, it was then ratified and sent to Directors’ Board, before being agreed by Cabinet and then Full Council. He summarised and stated that capital programme followed the same timescales as the budget setting process.

The Chair opened debate and stated this report had come to Committee due to Councillor Hague’s point at the last meeting regarding the level of detail and understanding of the previous Capital Programme report. The Chair felt that in January of the next municipal year, the programme would be in a good place for a report to be brought before the Committee, which would have a good level of detail, as well as a top level overview, which the Committee could scrutinise. The Strategic Resources Accountant replied that in regards to the Property Board, many capital projects were very detailed due to the number of assets, and gave the example of legionnaire’s testing, as although this was a small scale project, due to the number of council properties, this became classified as a capital programme. He added that he felt there would be the potential to bring larger scale issues such as council house building to the committee. He felt there was a balance to be struck between the Committee receiving an overarching summary of capital programmes and the very detailed submissions that corporate finance received. He added that criteria could be put in place so the Committee did not have to scrutinise essential works or work that would be funded through an external provider.

Councillor Hague added that in the previous Capital Programme report, strategic investments were not linked to the corporate strategy, and did not contain a qualitative assessment of the return on investment. The Director of Strategy, Communications and Customer Services replied that due to the comments at the last Corporate Overview and Scrutiny meeting, strategic investments were now linked to corporate priorities, as a note had been added to the Full Council Capital Programme report.

The Chair summarised and asked for a report to be added to next municipal year’s Work Programme which gave more detail on the capital programme, and asked for the next Chair to organise this with the Corporate Finance team.