Available in Large Print

Document Sample
Available in Large Print Powered By Docstoc
					 Available in
 Large Print

 Meeting:      Finance and Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee

 Date:         Wednesday 13th December 2000                    Time:   7.30 p.m.

 Place:        Committee Room 6, Civic Centre, Uxbridge
  Committee Administrator:          Andrew Nankivell             Tel: 01895 277488
  Press Enquiries:
                               ..........
                                    Roy Mills                    Tel: 01895 250534



                Councillors on the Sub-Committee

  Conservative                       Labour                   Liberal Democrat
  Jonathan Bianco               Parmjit Dhanda                Stephen Carey
  (Lead)                        (Lead)
  Mohammed Miraj                John Morse
  (Deputy Lead)                 (Deputy Lead)
  David Bishop                  Norman Nunn-Price
  Geoff Courtenay               Paul Harmsworth

                          Substitute Councillors
  Richard Barnes
                                 .........
                                 Jeanne Smith                  Jill Rhodes


   You are invited to attend the above meeting. The agenda is attached.

                                   David Brough
                             Head of Committee Services
                     Smoking is not allowed in the Committee Room
Parking is available to the public attending meetings – entrance in High Street, Uxbridge

                                                     DESPATCH DATE: 1 st December 2000
FINANCE AND ECONOMIC REGENERATION SUB-COMMITTEE –
13TH DECEMBER 2000

AGENDA

PART 1 – MEMBERS, PUBLIC AND PRESS

1.   Apologies for absence and to report the appointment of any substitute members
2.   To receive the minutes of the meeting held on 12th September 2000, copy
     attached
3.   Notification of ‘Any Other Business’
4.   To confirm that all items marked Part 1 will be considered in public and that any
     items marked Part 2 will be considered in private
5.   To note that no items fall within the provisions of Section 106 of the Local
     Government Finance Act 1992
6.   Report of the officers, copy attached

1     Hayes and West Drayton Partnership Forward Funding for the                    Page 15
      Voluntary Sector
2     Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee Revenue                         Page 18
      Budget
3     Annual Treasury Management Report                                             Page 23
4     Financial Systems Change                                                      Page 37
5     Local Government Pension Scheme Internal Dispute Resolution                   Page 42
      Procedure
6     Council Tax – Irrecoverable Amounts Written Off Under Delegated               Page 44
      Powers
7     Internal Audit – 5 Recent Audit Reports                                       Page 46
8     Use of Consultants in the Chief Executive’s Office and Finance and            Page 58
      Property – Quarterly Report
9     Funding for Staffing of the Mayor’s Office                                    Page 67
10    Authorisation of Disposals Under Standing Order 63                            Page 69
11    Langley Farm, Harefield – Freehold Disposal                                   Page 71
12    27 Victoria Road, Ruislip Manor                                               Page 76
13    Highgrove Pool Sell-Off                                                       Page 79

7.     Any other business or urgent items in Part 1

PART 2 – PRIVATE, MEMBERS ONLY

14    NNDR Write-Offs – Comparison                                                   Page 83
15    Park Lodge Farm Centre, Harvil Road, Harefield                                 Page 86
16    Kingsend Development, Ruislip                                                  Page 89
17    Sales Programme                                                                Page 93

Item 14 is included in Part 2 of the Agenda as it contains information relating to the
financial or business affairs of a particular person or organisation (other than the
Authority), (exempt information under Paragraph 7 of Part I, Schedule 12A of the
Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1985.
Items 15 and 17 are included in Part 2 of the agenda because they contain exempt
information as defined in paragraph 9 of the Schedule to the Local Government
(Access to Information) Act 1985. The information contains any terms proposed or
to be proposed by or to the authority in the course of negotiations for a contract for
the acquisition or disposal of property or the supply of goods or services.

Item 16 is included in Part 2 of the agenda as it contains exempt information relating
to instructions to counsel and an opinion of counsel (whether or not in connection
with any proceedings) and advice received, information obtained, or action to be
taken, in connection with:
(a) legal proceedings by or against the authority, or
(b) the determination of a matter affecting the authority (whether, in either case,
      proceedings have been commenced or are in contemplation).
Exempt Information under Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1985
Schedule 1 Part 1 , paragraph 12 (a) and (b).

8.   Any items transferred from Part 1
9.   Any other business or urgent items in Part 2
        FINANCE AND ECONOMIC REGENERATION SUB-COMMITTEE

                     Meeting held at the Civic Centre, Uxbridge
                     on Tuesday 12 September 2000 at 7.30pm

Councillors:               Ann Banks                 Mohammed Miraj
                           Jonathan Bianco           John Morse
                           David Bishop              Norman Nunn-Price
                           Pamjit Dhanda             Paul Harmsworth


Also in attendance : Councillors Lynn Allen and D Banks

1.    APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN

      RESOLVED – That Councillor Jonathan Bianco be appointed Chairman for
      the remainder of the 2000/2001 Municipal Year.

2.    APPOINTMENT OF VICE-CHAIRMAN

      RESOLVED – That Councillor Mohammed Miraj be appointed Chairman for
      the remainder of the 2000/2001 Municipal Year.

3.    MINUTES OF SUB-COMMITTEES

      The Minutes of the meetings of the Finance and Asset Management
      Sub-Committee on 20 June 2000 and the Economic Regeneration/SRB
      Sub-Committee on 21st June 2000 were agreed as a correct record and
      signed by the Chairman.

4.    CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS IN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE

      The Sub-Committee agreed that the items of business marked Part 1 would
      be considered in public and that the matter referred to in Minute 24 would be
      considered in private for the reason stated in that minute. Members of the
      press and public were therefore excluded from the meeting during
      consideration of that item.

5.    SECTION 106 OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT FINANCE ACT 1992

      It was noted that none of the reports fell within the provisions of Section 106
      of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.




               PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000             Page 1
                         RESOLUTIONS AND REPORTS

6.    'HOT PROPERTY' – GETTING THE BEST FROM LOCAL AUTHORITY
      ASSETS

      The Sub-Committee received a presentation and considered the main findings
      of an Audit Commission publication 'Hot Property' regarding the management
      of Local Authority property assets. The report also outlined actions taken by
      the Council in meeting the main recommendations of the report. To
      compliment the Audit Commission's report the Department of the
      Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) had produced best practice
      guidance for the development of "Asset Management Plans" (AMP's), which
      would need support implementation of a new system of organising capital
      budgets – the Single Capital Pot.

      The publication 'Hot Property' highlighted that Local Authority property was
      'Big Business', and yet suggested that it did not get the attention it deserved.
      The report suggested that property issues should be regarded as a high
      corporate priority, the development of Asset Management Plans, review of all
      property holdings and issues around improving property management
      procedures and services.

      The development of Asset Management Plans in response to the DETR
      required information to be submitted by 30 November 2000 to the
      Government Office for London, as part of a "dry run". This submission would
      be reported to Policy Committee on 29 October 2000, prior to submission to
      the Government Office for London.

      Many of the policies and practices to deliver the Asset Management Plan
      were locally in place, but were in need of review and updating. In addition a
      general requirement was identified for an improved management information
      system for property. This would assist the analysis of options for properties,
      identify and address backlog maintenance needs and costs associated with
      running property, in order to inform a decision. There would also be a best
      value review of property to explore strategic property management and
      examine new ways of working and innovations taking place in other
      authorities and public bodies as well as in the private sector.

      RESOLVED – (1) That the need for strategic management of the Council's
      property assets be endorsed.

                     (2) That the report and further actions arising from it be noted.

7.    ECONOMIC REGENERATION: POSITION STATEMENT

      The Sub-Committee considered a report that outlined the Council's work on
      Economic Development and Regeneration. Regeneration was one of the
      Council's five community programmes as set out in the Council's Best Value
      Performance Plan 2000/2001.


             PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000             Page 2
      The report covered five main areas:

      Hayes/West Drayton SRB partnership The partnership was established in
      1995 and successfully bid for SRB monies to undertake a major regeneration
      programme in the Hayes/West Drayton corridor. The partnership received an
      SRB allocation of £22.2 million over 7 years. The Partnership Board
      consisted of 13 key organisations active in the area. Over 40 projects had
      been funded so far, some of which had been completed. The local
      community was playing an increasingly important role in the delivery of the
      programme.

      Uxbridge Initiative The Uxbridge Initiative was established in 1995, being a
      partnership between Hillingdon Council, local retailers and businesses,
      educational establishments, the RAF, Metropolitan Police and community
      groups. Its central aim was "through promotion, development and
      partnership, to take Uxbridge forward into the 21st Century as a regional
      centre of excellence for shopping, business, education, culture and leisure".
      There were currently six private sector partners working with the Council. The
      core fund covered the salary of the Uxbridge Town Centre Manager and some
      of the projects in the business plan. Other projects attracted investment
      through the Home Office, sponsorship, the Transport Policy Programme and
      Section 106 Agreement.

      Tourism The Hillingdon Tourism Development Programme was a three year
      programme running1997-2000. The principle funding sources were the
      European Union Konver II Fund, private sector money and the London
      Borough of Hillingdon. Work undertaken included production of three
      framework documents, a domestic and international conference marketing
      programme with Heathrow hotels, an association conference marketing
      programme in partnership with Brunel University and a venue funding agency
      programme.

      Economic Development and Regeneration Work included developing a
      Hillingdon Profile (also available as CD Rom and on the Internet), preparation
      of an economic development strategy, supporting various funding bids and
      ensuring that Section 106 Agreements contained an economic regeneration
      input. The Council was currently obliged to produce an "Economic
      Development Plan" for consultation with business. Next year this obligation
      would be replaced by a general power to promote the economic, social and
      environmental wellbeing of the area. Comments on the plan were reported.

      Business Support in Hillingdon This was provided by the Council through the
      Hayes Regeneration Office, working a partnership with the Government
      funded Business Link and the Hillingdon Chamber of Commerce. However it
      was proposed to introduce a Small Business Service in London, covering the
      entire city with five sub-regional areas. Negotiations on its development were
      still continuing.



            PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000           Page 3
      RESOLVED – (1) That the report be noted.

                   (2) That a tour of economic regeneration sites be organised
      for Sub-Committee members

8.    HAYES TOWN CENTRE REGENERATION SCHEME

      The Sub-Committee considered a report that outlined work being undertaken
      by a development group to regenerate the Hayes Town Centre. The Group
      comprised the Hayes and West Drayton Partnership, London Borough of
      Hillingdon, BAA, Stockley Park Consortium, Chamber of Commerce,
      Railtrack, Resolution, Jansons and the local Member of Parliament, John
      McDonnell). The development group had held detailed discussions with a
      number of prospective commercial partners on ways in which they could
      assist and co-ordinate development proposals for the Hayes Town Centre
      area. The report outlined a development programme for the Hayes Town
      Centre area which would include

      •    preparing a master plan for the Town Centre based on a supply and
           demand profile

      •    Identify specific site development opportunities, prepare development
           appraisals, initiate discussions with owner occupiers and estimate
           acquisition costs

      •    Enter into a partnership agreement with the Council to negotiate site
           assembly and to develop a bid for SRB funding

      •    For detailed designs and planning applications to be developed and new
           retail and occupiers to be secured.

      It was expected that the first two stages would occur within three months, with
      the remainder taking between 18 and 24 months. It was reported that in
      accordance with standing order 62 the Town Centre Development Group had
      selected Complex Development Projects to undertake this work. It was
      planned that stage one of the consultancy work would be met from a
      contribution from BAA matched by Section 106 funds identified for that
      purpose. The acquisition and development phase would be funded by
      Complex Development Projects supported by SRB funds. It was also
      anticipated that a Town Centre Manager for Hayes would be appointed, to be
      funded entirely from Section 106 monies received in relation to the
      redevelopment of the former Thorn EMI site in Blyth Road.

      The report stressed that the report was seeking approval in principle to the
      proposed arrangements. A further report would come to a future meeting of
      this Sub-Committee to agree implementation proposals.




             PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000           Page 4
      RESOLVED - (1) That it be agreed in principle that the Council work in
      partnership on the programme for the regeneration of the Hayes Town
      Centre, as set out in the report of officers.

                     (2) That officers negotiate a legal agreement with Complex
      Development Projects to act as the Council's agent in carrying out the
      regeneration of key sites in Hayes Town Centre.

                     (3) That the issue be referred to the Environment Committee,
      for its agreement to work with Complex Development Projects and other
      partners on planning, access, parking and service arrangements.

                   (4) That proposals for the creation of a new post of Hayes
      Town Centre Manager, to be funded from Section 106 monies, be endorsed.

                    (5) That the other initiatives being developed for
      West Drayton, are as set out in the report, be noted.

                       (6) That a further report come before the Sub-Committee
      setting out the finalised project details, on which a final decision on
      implementation would be made.

9.    OUT-TURN 1999/2000

      The Sub-Committee considered the revenue out-turn position for the Finance
      and Asset Management Sub-Committee for 1999/2000. This out-turn position
      covered the Corporate Services and Chief Executive's office budgets. The
      out-turn for the Sub-Committee was £12,984,000, which represented an
      overspend on the approved budgets of £80,600. This overspend was slightly
      higher (£21,300) than that projected at the time of Council Tax setting.

      The report of officers outlined details of the significant variations from budget,
      both under and overspends.

      RESOLVED - that the revenue out-turn for the Sub-Committee for 1999/2000
      be noted.

10.   REVENUE BUDGET – CORPORATE SERVICES

      The Sub-Committee considered a report that set out the revenue budget
      position for the Corporate Services Department for 2000/2001. It also set out
      implications for the Department if it were to meet the provisional cash limit as
      set by Policy Committee on 29 June 2000.

      The main potential variances identified in the current year's budget monitoring
      were as set out in the report, resulting in a total net effect of a projected
      under-spend of £230,000. These variances were considered in two main
      categories, those identified as part of normal budget monitoring, and those



             PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000              Page 5
      occurring following the issue of a Section 114 report and subsequent tighter
      controls over non-essential expenditure.

      The main variances before the Section 114 report were issued were external
      audit fees (plus £70,000), NNDR recovery plan (plus £45,000), slippage on
      staff car parking income (plus £30,000). The variances identified following the
      issue of a Section 114 report were members allowances (minus £315,000),
      vacancy savings in Corporate Services Support Services (minus £40,000 )
      and ICT Services (minus £20,000). The report identified that there would
      continue to be tight controls for all expenditure until the Council's overall
      budget position improved.

      The report also outlined the thinking behind a decision not to proceed with a
      proposed merger of the Revenues and Benefits Sections. Officers would
      however continue to pursue ways of the two services working more closely. A
      provisional cash limit of £14,389,000 had been agreed by Policy Committee
      on 29th June 2000, which included the following assumptions in relation to the
      Corporate Services Department. There would be savings as against the three
      year budget strategy of £358,000, a further saving target of £50,000 allocated
      to Policy, and growth items totalling £1,200,000. Following an in-depth
      budget review exercise undertaken over the Summer savings options totalling
      £428,000 had been identified. The cash limit assumed savings of £408,000
      for Corporate Services. A number of different service options level were
      identified in the report to achieve the savings target, either resulting from
      increases in fees, savings through changes in service, proposed negotiations
      of new contracts and the spend to save initiative. If all were implemented
      these could lead to up to five redundancies.

      Following discussion it was agreed not to proceed immediately with 3 of the
      proposals in the report of officers. These were a proposal to close the civic
      centre canteen and banqueting service, although it was accepted that officers
      should continue to move toward closure of the banqueting service; a proposal
      to lease out more car parking spaces in the multi-storey car park; and a
      proposal to pass on all or some of the charges for making Council Tax
      payments through a Giro Account. These proposed savings would be subject
      to further consideration, and a commitment was also made to consult staff on
      the proposed changes to the civic service canteen service.

      RESOLVED - (1) That the current year's revenue budget position for the
      Corporate Services Department be noted.

                    (2) That the implications for the Corporate Services
      Department in meeting the provisional cash limits for 2001/2002 as reported
      to Policy Committee on 29 June 2000 be noted.

                       (3) That 3 measures set out in the report of officers to achieve
      the cash limits set not be immediately implemented but be further considered:
      those relating to a proposal to close the civic centre canteen and banqueting
      service (officers to however continue moving toward closure of the banqueting


             PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000             Page 6
      service); a proposal to lease out more car parking spaces in the multi-storey
      car park; and a proposal to pass on all or some of the charges for making
      Council Tax payments through a Giro Account.

11.   REVENUE BUDGET – CHIEF EXECUTIVE’S OFFICE

      The Sub-Committee considered a report that set out the implications for the
      Chief Executive's office of the provisional cash limit set by Policy Committee
      on 29 June 2000. The main potential variances identified for the current year
      would result in a net projected under-spend of £30,000. The variances were
      an additional £50,000 for modernisation consultation and savings of £80,000
      arising from not committing £40,000 from the Corporate Initiatives budget, and
      freezing the £40,000 growth assumed under the communications budget.

      The main unavoidable pressure identified in 2001/2002 budget within the
      Chief Executive's budget related to Best Value inspection costs. A growth
      item of £150,000 was recommended to cover likely inspection costs. The
      report identified that the budget proposed had no scope for development of
      corporate initiatives, nor for funding of the post of Communications Manager.

      RESOLVED - (1) That the current year's revenue budget position for the
      Chief Executive's office be noted.

                     (2) That the implications for the Chief Executive's office in
      meeting the provisional cash limits for 2001/2002, as reported to Policy
      Committee on 29 June 2000, be noted.

12.   APPROVAL OF THE 1999/2000 STATEMENT OF ACCOUNTS

      The Sub-Committee considered a report that set out the Council's Statement
      of Accounts 1999/2000 circulated separately to members of the Sub-
      Committee and available on request. The accounts were due to be audited
      by District Audit from September 2000, and it was anticipated that the
      accounts would be formally published by 31 December 2000. It was reported
      that the accounts for 1998/1999 had not yet been signed off by the District
      Auditor following issues arising during the public inspection of accounts.
      Given the out-turn position of the Council reflected in the final accounts it was
      possible that the accounts would be qualified. The most likely areas for this
      would be around potential or actual liabilities not covered by balances.

      RESOLVED - That the statement of accounts for the financial year ending 31st
      March 2000 be approved.

13.   THE COUNCIL'S CAPITAL MAINTENANCE PROGRAMME 1999/2000

      The Sub-Committee considered a report setting out the out-turn on the Capital
      Maintenance Programme for 1999/2000, and updating it on the progress of
      the Capital Maintenance Programme for 2000/2001. The 1999/2000 Capital
      Maintenance Programme out-turn came in at £1,584,400, representing an


             PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000             Page 7
      out-turn of £74,000 less than the final budget for the year. The overall effect
      of overspends within the programme had been offset against savings
      elsewhere. When these were fully taken into account the net effect of out-turn
      variations would be to enable additional works of £22,000 to be undertaken on
      property maintenance in 2000/2001.

      The Capital Maintenance Programme for 2000/2001 had been reviewed for
      the report, using the process previously agreed by members whereby both
      potential savings and re-phasing identified within the programme were
      allocated to reserve projects which would be completed within the current
      year. Those projects re-phased away from the current year would have first
      call on resources made available for capital maintenance in 2001/2002. The
      review identified a significant number of savings, totalling £231,600 across the
      programme. The report also identified a number of schemes where
      uncertainties had been identified in funding or scheme progression.
      Programme monitoring would continue to identify potential for additional
      savings or re-phasing. As a result of the review new projects totalling
      £246,000 had been drawn from the reserve list, to be fully completed within
      the current financial year. The report proposed that officers should develop a
      revised reserve list for property, drawn from the overall prioritised list, of
      projects capable of full implementation within the remainder of the current
      year. Pressure on the Property Maintenance Programme of £10,300 had
      been identified, to be met from the General Contingency. The property
      contingency had been increased slightly, to be held in reserve to meet
      potential liabilities in respect of leasehold properties.

      It was moved, seconded and carried that the recommendation of officers be
      approved, subject to the two projects relating to the William Byrd Pool being
      reinstated to the capital programme. This would give flexibility for the Council
      to support any proposal to reopen the Pool should a viable business plan be
      developed. A decision would need to be made by the appropriate Committee
      at a later date, as to whether the Council wished to support any business plan
      submitted. It was reported that if the capital works on William Byrd Pool
      identified did occur it would result in not proceeding with work on the
      Harlington Bowls Club Pavilion heating system and reduce the total budget for
      Civic Centre replacement floor coverings.

      RESOLVED - (1) That the out-turn of the 1999/2000 Capital Maintenance
      Programme be noted.

                       (2) That the action taken by officers using approved
      processes in respect of both out-turn and events subsequent to this in respect
      of the 2000/2001 Capital Maintenance Programme be approved with the
      exception that the two schemes relating to William Byrd Pool on page 1 on
      Appendix B1 of the report of officers be reinstated and adjustment made to
      reduce the allocations to new schemes as set out on page 7 of Appendix B1
      of the report of officers by the amount of that reinstated expenditure.




             PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000            Page 8
                      (3) That officers should prepare a revised and expanded list of
      reserve projects for property which could be delivered in the current year,
      should further savings or re-phasing be identified.

14.   NATIONAL NON-DOMESTIC RATES RESCUE PLAN PROGRESS
      REPORT

      The Sub-Committee considered a report that updated members on the
      progress of the Non-Domestic Rate recovery plan, as approved by Finance
      and Asset Management Sub-Committee on 7 March 2000.

      It was reported that the Council had submitted NNDR3 returns to the District
      Auditor. This submission included updated NNDR3 returns for 1997/1998,
      1998/1999 and 1999/2000 to allow the District Auditor to get a clear picture of
      the true level of transaction types.

      It was also reported that work was continuing to resolve the large backlog of
      valuation updates with the more complex cases now being worked on.

      For the current year it had been decided to produce figures that showed the
      full picture of what was owed for previous years, including adjustments to
      accounts made in the current year. The overall reduction and debt reported
      was £3.1 million, although the reduction in arrears before 1999 was £6.4
      million. The debt for 1999 had in fact risen by over £3 million since the start of
      2000/2001, due to changes in the 1999 debt carried out during 2000/2001.
      The value of the payments allocated to the Business Rate accounts as at
      9 August 2000 was £97 million most of which was allocated to the 2000/2001.
      Officers were working to confirm that the figures were correct. It was further
      reported at the meeting that the Council was once again earning interest on
      its Collection Fund payments.

      RESOLVED - That progress to date on the National Non-Domestic Rates
      recovery plan be noted.

15.   COUNCIL TAX AND NATIONAL NON DOMESTIC RATE –
      IRRECOVERABLE AMOUNTS WRITTEN OFF UNDER DELEGATED
      POWERS

      The Sub-Committee considered a report that set out details of Council Tax
      and National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDR) that had proved irrecoverable, and
      were written off by officers under delegated powers during the previous
      quarter. These totalled £3,589.36 in respect of Council Tax and £173,246.12
      in respect of National Non-Domestic Rates.

      RESOLVED - That the irrecoverable amounts of Council Tax and NNDR
      written-off by officers under delegated powers be noted.




             PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000             Page 9
16.   NATIONAL NON-DOMESTIC RATE – IRRECOVERABLE AMOUNTS TO
      BE WRITTEN OFF

      The Sub-Committee considered a report that set out details of outstanding
      amounts of National Non-Domestic Rates for sums in excess of £5,000 which
      it had not been possible to collect, and were therefore submitted for write off.
      A number of irrecoverable accounts had been identified relating to recovery
      action taken a considerable time ago, but which were only now coming to
      Sub-Committee for write off. This reflected officer priority given to collection
      of recoverable debts and resolution of difficulties arising from corruption of the
      Non-Domestic Rate account database. The more recent cases had been the
      subject of recovery proceedings against the defaulter, but it had not been
      possible to discover the current whereabouts of the ratepayer.

      The report identified that under the current scheme of delegations to officers
      officers could write off or remit debts due to the Council after reasonable steps
      had been taken to recover them upto a limit imposed by the appropriate
      Committee or Sub-Committee. For the purposes of this report the limit of
      £5,000 as previously agreed had been used. It was moved, seconded and
      agreed that a limit of £5,000 continue to be used.

      RESOLVED - (1) That the amounts set out in the report be written off for the
      reasons stated.

                    (2) That officers be authorised to write off or remit individual
      sums, under the authority of the Finance and Economic Regeneration Sub-
      Committee, under £5,000.

17.   INTERNAL AUDIT IT SECURITY REPORT

      The Sub-Committee considered a report that outlined the computer security
      control environment within the authority, and summarised the Internal Audit IT
      work programme for 2000/2001. Issues identified related to password
      security, security of servers and telecommunications equipment, back-up
      techniques and contingency planning. It was anticipated that as part of the
      current cabling infrastructure project within the Civic Centre systems could be
      put in place to more proactively detect authorised access attempts. It was
      also reported that the Head of I.C.T. was reviewing cover and maintenance
      arrangements for corporate equipment as part of the Best Value review.
      During the Millennium project contingency plans were drawn up to cope with
      the loss of key systems. These plans could be of longer term use if
      periodically maintained. The report recommended that a change control
      procedure between Corporate I.T. and I.C.L. should be reviewed with the
      objective of extending authorisation to the appropriate users, especially during
      major or significant changes. The report also stated that since the Audit had
      been completed work had begun by the Heads of Personnel and I.C.T. on the
      development of policies for computer security, e-mail code of conduct and
      internet access facility.



             PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000             Page 10
      Internal Audit had developed a programme of work for I.T. systems which was
      outlined to the Sub-Committee.

      RESOLVED - That the report be noted.

18.   LAND ADJACENT TO CRANFORD PARK PRIMARY SCHOOL,
      ST DUNSTANS CLOSE, HAYES

      The Sub-Committee considered a report requesting approval of the transfer of
      land held for Housing Act purposes to Education Act purposes, at land
      adjacent to Cranford Park Primary School, St Dunstans Close, Hayes. The
      proposal had previously been approved by Housing and Education
      Committees. A revised plan for the site was circulated at the meeting.

      RESOLVED - That a valuation of £1,000 for land adjacent to Cranford Park
      Primary School, St Dunstans Close, Hayes be approved, as set out in the
      report of officers and revised plan circulated at the meeting, for appropriation
      of this land from the purposes held under the Housing Act 1936-1944 to
      Education Act purposes.

19.   LAND REAR OF BELLE VUE, STILLWELL CLOSE, OFF
      HARLINGTON ROAD, HILLINGDON

      The Sub-Committee considered a report that set out a proposal to appropriate
      land from Social Services purposes to Housing Act purposes at land rear of
      Belle Vue, Stillwell Close, off Harlington Road, Hillingdon. The proposal had
      previously been approved by Housing and Social Services Committees.

      RESOLVED - That the appropriation of land showed coloured black on the
      Plan No UXB.933 dated 24 March 2000 be approved, from the purposes held
      under the Middlesex County Council Act 1944 to Housing Act purposes at a
      valuation of £1,000.

20.   FORMER ELDERLY PERSONS HOMES: KNIGHTSCOTE, HERNE
      HOUSE, AND HYDE HOUSE

      The Sub-Committee considered a report that proposed the sale of three
      former elderly persons homes. All three homes would be vacant by the end of
      September 2000, and following a review of possible long and short term uses
      for the homes or sites officers recommended that they were disposed of. The
      report further recommended that the possibility of selling Herne House and
      Hyde House to Housing Associations for affordable housing schemes be
      investigated. It was proposed that Knightscote be offered for sale on the open
      market, and that if either or both Herne and Hyde House could not be
      disposed of for affordable housing schemes that these also be disposed of on
      the open market. It was moved, seconded and agreed that Knightscote also
      be investigated for sale to a Housing Association for affordable housing
      developments.



             PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000            Page 11
      RESOLVED - (1) That the sale of Knightscote, Herne House and Hyde
      House be approved.

                    (2) That officers be authorised to seek any appropriate outline
      planning permission for all properties

                     (3) That officers investigate the possible sale of Herne House
      Hyde House and Knightscote to Housing Associations for affordable housing
      developments and negotiate and complete sales if viable schemes can be
      agreed at prices to be approved by the Head of Property Services Agency.

                      (4) That in the event of it not being possible for Herne House,
      Hyde House or Knightscote to be sold for viable affordable housing
      development, they be offered for sale on the open market – by tender or
      private treaty negotiations at prices to be approved by the Head of Property
      Services Agency.

21.   DISPOSAL OF LAND BETWEEN 20 AND 22 ORCHARD ROAD, HAYES

      The Sub-Committee considered a report that recommended disposal of a site
      between 20 and 22 Orchard Road, Hayes to a Housing Association for the
      construction of affordable housing. Should it not be possible to develop a
      suitable affordable housing scheme it was recommended that the site be
      offered on the open market for sale to generate a capital receipt. The
      Education Committee and Housing General Sub-Committee would be asked
      to declare their respective pieces of land surplus to requirements.

      RESOLVED - (1) That the sale of the site shown edged black hatched and
      stippled on Plan No: HAY.GEN dated 10 August 2000 be approved, subject to
      Education Committee and Housing General Sub-Committee declaring the
      land surplus.

                     (2) That officers initially investigate whether a viable scheme
      can be agreed with Airways Housing Association to develop a scheme for one
      wheelchair unit at an affordable rent and one dwelling for shared ownership.

                      (3) That in the event that an affordable housing scheme can
      not be agreed within a reasonable timescale that the site be marketed either
      by tender or private treaty negotiations on terms to be agreed by the Head of
      Property Services Agency.

22.   LAND AT A40 CAR PARK, LONG LANE, HILLINGDON

      The Sub-Committee considered a report that proposed disposal of part of the
      A40 car park at Long Lane, Hillingdon and an associated redundant WC
      block, to a doctors’ practice to develop new surgery premises. The site in
      question was approximately 0.04 hectare. The proposal was for a surgery on
      the site of the closed public conveniences and a redesigned car park on land
      to remain in Council ownership. The redesigned car park to be retained by


             PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000          Page 12
      the Council would involve the loss of one space in total from those existing at
      present. It was reported that the car park was not frequently used by the
      public. The scheme could require relocation of existing recycling facilities on
      the site.

      RESOLVED - (1) That officers be authorised to negotiate terms to be
      approved by the Head of Property Services for disposal of the site outlined in
      the report of authors to the doctors’ practice.

                      (2) That in the event that this disposal cannot be agreed within
      a reasonable timescale the site be marketed on the open market for sale by
      tender or private treaty negotiations at terms to be approved by the Head of
      Property Services Agency.

23.   REPURCHASE OF A PROPERTY IN SOUTHBOURNE GARDENS,
      EASTCOTE

      The Sub-Committee considered a report that proposed repurchase of a
      property in Southbourne Gardens, Eastcote, from the present occupier who
      had originally acquired it under the Right to Buy scheme. Housing Committee
      had a Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Buy-Back Scheme with two
      objectives; to assist Right to Buy owners whose properties were difficult to
      sell on the open market, and to increase the Council's housing stock. This
      property was recommended for purchase under this scheme.

      RESOLVED - That the leasehold interest in the property identified in the
      reports of officers be repurchased for £102,000.

24.   UXBRIDGE INDUSTRIAL ESTATE

      The Sub-Committee considered a report that outlined a proposed strategy for
      the future management of the Uxbridge Industrial Estate, designed to
      maximise its potential contribution to the Council's economic regeneration
      initiatives for the area, and to address needs for reinvestment in the Estate.

      RESOLVED - (1) That officers proactively manage the Uxbridge Industrial
      Estate, dispersing of some parts on a freehold or long leasehold basis.

                      (2) That officers are authorised to proceed with proposals to
      seek redevelopment of plot 1, the Clinic site with Plot H2 and the car park and
      allotment sites, subject to:

      i)     obtaining any necessary planning permissions.
      ii)    short term management arrangements of the clinic site until site H2
             becomes available.
      iii)   release of the allotment site by the Youth and Leisure Sub-Committee
             and any necessary approvals and relocations
      iv)    the approval of terms for lettings and disposals by the Head of Property
             Services Agency.


              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000           Page 13
                      (3) That the action taken by officers to investigate the cost and
      alternative options for bringing the estate roads up to adoption standards be
      endorsed.

                     (4) That officers be authorised to market land on the open
      market or by private treaty on a long leasehold or freehold basis on terms to
      be approved by the Head of Property Services Agency.

                      (5) That officers be authorised to negotiate the freehold
      disposal of plot V on terms to be approved by the Head of Property Services
      Agency.

      (This report is included in Part 2 of the Agenda as it contained exempt
      information within paragraph 8 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act
      1972, namely
      Any terms proposed or to be proposed by or to the authority in the course of
      negotiations for a contract for the acquisition or disposal of property or the
      supply of goods or services and disclosure of this information is likely to
      prejudice the authority in negotiation.)


The meeting closed at 9.37 p.m.




             PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000           Page 14
HAYES AND WEST DRAYTON PARTNERSHIP                                       ITEM 1
FORWARD FUNDING FOR THE VOLUNTARY
SECTOR
                                          Contact Officer: A Johnson
                                          Telephone: 020 8899 1822

SUMMARY

This report is to consider forward funding for Community and Voluntary Sector
Organisations who have been awarded the Single Regeneration Budget (S.R.B.)
Challenge Fund Grant.

RECOMMENDATIONS

That members:

1.   Note the constraints of arrears funding of S.R.B. monies.

2.   Approve forward funding for Community and Voluntary organisations.

3.   Instruct officers to establish forward funding arrangements for
     organisations which are in receipt of S.R.B. funding.

4.   Welcome the role played by the Community and Voluntary Sector in local
     regeneration initiatives.

INFORMATION

Introduction

1.1 The S.R.B. Challenge Fund is claimed quarterly in arrears. There is a
requirement that organisations with approved S.R.B. funded budgets must defray
monies on a cash basis before a claim can be made.

Impact on the Community and Voluntary Sectors

1.2 The structure of the S.R.B. funding regime places a considerable burden on
community and voluntary sector organisations who may not have the level of cash
reserves they need to forward fund their S.R.B. projects.

1.3 The Government and the London Development Agency actually encourage
S.R.B. Partnership's to establish a forward funding mechanism. This issue has been
addressed by the Hayes and West Drayton Partnership Board which has asked
Hillingdon Council, which acts as the Partnership’s accountable body to consider
forward funding community and voluntary sector groups which have secured S.R.B.
funding.




               PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000        Page 15
Types of Funding

1.4 The S.R.B. programme has two types of grant where forward funding is an
issue:

1.   Mainstream Project Funding

     This is normally allocated to established community and voluntary sector
     organisations who have a sound track record of delivering projects and services
     and effective and transparent financial systems. (Likely level of S.R.B. grant
     would be in the region of £40,000 - £75,000 per annum)

2.   Small Project Fund

     This was established to fund smaller community groups operating in the Hayes
     and West Drayton Corridor. The fund supports one-off projects, some of which
     may be delivered by groups which are new and less experienced in project
     delivery. However the fund will only support small bids between £1,000 and
     £10,000 (in any given year the likely amount of forward funding required would
     be £50,000).

The Mechanism for Forward Funding

1.5 It is suggested that forward funding be made available to community and
voluntary sector organisations to cover their approved costs up to the time that they
receive their first S.R.B. Grant payment.

1.6 Any forward funding will be claimed back from the London Development Agency
(L.D.A.) directly by the Council in its capacity as the Partnerships accountable body.
These monies will be claimed at the end of the financial year and paid directly to the
Council.

Risk/Realism

1.7 There is a small level of risk with forward funding if an organisation was to take
the forward funding and not utilise it for its stated purpose. However this risk can be
mitigated by:

⇒    Close monitoring of the organisations project and financial management
     arrangements.

⇒    Ensuring the amount of forward funding is the minimum amount required to run
     the project until such a time that the S.R.B. monies can be drawn down from
     the L.D.A.

⇒    A Project Implementation Agreement which is a contract with the recipients of
     the S.R.B. grant, it sets down the conditions of grant and allows the Council to
     claw back any monies which have not been spent in accordance with the
     approved project appraisal and project budget.


              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000              Page 16
1.8 It should be recognised that:

⇒     the great majority of Community and Voluntary organisations requesting
      forward funding will be known to the Council and will have successfully
      managed council grants previously. All organisations who request forward
      funding will have to be formally constituted with their own bank accounts and
      financial systems.

Conclusion

1.9 If the community and voluntary sector are to be engaged in delivering
regeneration projects there must be an element of trust. Increasingly the community
and voluntary sectors are seen as equal partners and critical to the delivery of
effective local regeneration activities. It should be recognised that forward funding is
an important tool in enabling the community and voluntary sectors to develop and
contribute towards the well being of Hillingdon's more disadvantaged communities.

RESOURCE IMPLICATIONS

1.10 The adoption of the above proposals for forward funding would enable the
Hayes/West Drayton Partnership to support the undertaking of a number of new
projects focused towards the needs of the communities within the corridor and
delivered by Community and Voluntary Groups.

1.11 In adopting this approach it needs to be recognised that there are potential
risks of non-delivery or of the Council being unable to enforce implementation.
Agreements are likely to be greater than in funding projects owned by major
companies as with Powergen and its site at Bull's Bridge. At the same time the
Council cannot expect that the same standards of financial management and control
would exist within these small organisations as has been the case with previous
external Project Owners. In addition Members are reminded that given the
constitution of the Partnership the Council has agreed to assume responsibilities that
arise from non-performance on schemes.

1.12 Therefore in approving the recommendations the Sub-Committee needs to
recognise that it is accepting liability on behalf of the Council should a situation arise
where any forward funded project fails to deliver and the Council is unable to
clawback resources from the organisation concerned.

LEGAL IMPLICATIONS

1.13 The legal implications are contained in the body of the report and as set out
within the financial implications.

BACKGROUND DOCUMENTS

Nil



              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000                Page 17
FINANCE & ECONOMIC REGENERATION                                               ITEM 2
SUB-COMMITTEE REVENUE BUDGET
                                             Contact Officer: Paul Whaymand
                                             Telephone: 01895 250816

SUMMARY

This report sets out the revenue budget position for the Sub-Committee for the
current year and summarises the savings that have been agreed to date in relation
to the 2001/02 budget.

RECOMMENDATIONS

That the Sub-Committee;

1.   Note the current year’s revenue budget position.
2.   Note the savings that have been agreed by Council in relation to the
     2001/02 budget.

INFORMATION

2000/01 Revenue Budget Position

2.1 This section of the report informs members of the main potential variances that
have been identified in the current years budget monitoring. The net effect of the
variances is a projected underspend of £525k. The following paragraphs outline the
reasons for the main variances.

2.2 Modernisation Consultation (+£50k) – The Council has a requirement to
consult its residents on the options open to the Council under the modernisation
agenda. This exercise will need to have taken place by 1.6.01. Initial estimates
based on informal discussions with market research companies suggest that the
likely cost could be around £50k depending on the exact requirement to meet
Government guidance to be issued later this month. The funding for this exercise is
already assumed in the provisional cash limit for 2001/02. The timing requirements
are such that the bulk of this expenditure will now need to take place in the current
financial year. The growth will therefore not be required in next year’s budget. The
net effect of this exercise when looking at the budget over the two years is therefore
neutral.

2.3 External Audit Fees (+£70k) – The outturn for last year showed an overspend
of £70k due to extra work District Audit had to undertake on NNDR, the public
inspection, reviewing management arrangements for S106 planning gains and on
the qualified audit opinion for 1998/99. This pressure may reduce slightly this year,
as some of these areas of work were one-off in nature but given the financial position
of the Council there will still be a significant on-going pressure.



              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000            Page 18
2.4 In addition, there is a forecast pressure on the element of the budget that funds
the Best Value inspection and audit of the Performance Plan. The projected costs of
this work will be in the region of £169k. This is £19k more than the £150k, which was
added to the budget as growth at the start of the year. The current projection is that
the budget as a whole will overspend by around £70k this year.

2.5 NNDR Recovery Plan (+£45k) – A report was presented to Finance & Asset
Management Sub-Committee on 20 June this year outlining the work programme
associated with the recovery plan. The report identified that the costs would be in the
region of £45k in excess of the available budget. This expenditure is essential to
satisfy District Audit and DETR requirements and to improve the Council’s cashflow
in relation to Non-Domestic Rates.

2.6 Slippage on Staff Car Parking Income (+£30k) – The base budget for the
current year assumes £150k income from staff car parking charges. Owing to delays
in implementing the scheme there is likely to be a pressure in the region of £50k.
Negotiations have taken place to increase external income from the multi-storey car
park, which have reduced the overall overspend by £20k to around £30k.

2.7 Corporate Initiatives (-£40k) – The original budget for 2000/01 included £90k
growth for Corporate Initiatives. £50k of this sum has already been committed to
anti-racial harassment and an officer is now in post to manage this function. The
remaining £40k is uncommitted in the current financial year and in light of the S114,
plans to spend it have been put on hold.

2.8 Communications (-£40k) – Following the issuing of the S114 the plans for the
current year have been reviewed. The growth put into the base budget at the start of
the year has been frozen until the end of this financial Year.

2.9 Members Allowances (-£315k) – The original budget for 2000/01 included
£315k growth for Members Allowances. No consensus was reached prior to the
issuing of the S114 report as to how this sum should be spent. The growth was
therefore been put on hold until at least 31.3.01. Council decided on 9 November
that for 2001/02, £10k of this sum should be allocated to increasing administrative
support in the Mayors Office.

2.10 Vacancy Savings in Corporate Services Support Services (-£60k) – This
service was in the process of being restructured to combine the support service
resources from the various elements within Corporate Services into one unit. The
appointment to these posts was delayed in light of the S114 report to achieve
vacancy savings this year. Following the decision to restructure the central
departments these posts will remain vacant and have been offered up and taken as
savings in the 2001/02 budget.

2.11 Other Vacancies (-£85k) - Vacancy savings in other services are estimated to
save a further £85k this year. These savings are in Corporate Personnel & Training
(£40k), Finance (£20k), Registration of Electors (£5k) and Valuers (£20k).




              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000             Page 19
2.12 ICT Services (-£40k) – Because of emerging problems with recruitment and
retention it is likely that there will be an underspend within the Corporate ICT area of
£20K. It is also planned to capitalise £40k of salaries costs in ICT relating to work on
managing the new structured cabling contract. There are pressures on the telephony
budgets, which are likely to be in the region of £20k this year.

2.13 Estates Budgets (-£25k) - The rent income for the estates budgets as a whole
is projected to be underspent by £20k. This is primarily due to rent income from the
industrial estates. It is also planned to capitalise some expenditure at Park Lodge
Farm that would otherwise have been charged to Revenue.

2.14 Facilities Management (-£40k) - Expenditure controls within this service
following the issue of the S114 and vacancy savings are estimated to save in the
region of £40k this financial year.

2.15 Outplacement Budget (-£20k) - There is a £40k budget for support to staff
within the Council taking or thinking of taking redundancy. It is estimated that only
around £20k of this budget will be spent in this financial year.

2.16 Best Value (-£35k) - Steps have been taken this year within the Corporate
Best Value Team to cut back on expenditure. It is projected that savings in training,
consultation and data management will save in the region of £35k this year.

2.17 Other Chief Executive’s Office Austerity Measure (-£20k) - Other savings
flowing from the expenditure controls agreed during the summer are expected to
result in underspends in the region of £20k.

2.18 There will continue to be tight controls in place for all expenditure until the
Council’s overall budget position improves. The budgets will continue to be reviewed
closely each month to identify any savings that accrue as a result of the current
expenditure controls.

2001/02 Budget

2.19 At the last meeting of this Sub-Committee a range of savings options were
presented to Members. Following that meeting the savings went to Policy Committee
and then to full Council on 9 th November. Appendix A contains a list of savings in
relation to services within this Sub-Committee that have now been agreed for next
year (£769,000). These savings are in addition to the savings already assumed in
the 3 year budget strategy for 2001/02 (£487,000) which are also listed in
Appendix A.

2.20 It was further agreed by Council that £10k of the £315k current year growth put
into the base budget for Members allowances and support would be set aside to
fund extra administrative support to the Mayors Office subject to a detailed
examination by this Sub-Committee. There is a separate report in the agenda for this
meeting that explains the need for this growth. The £305k balance of the £315k
remains as a saving for next year and is included in the £769k.



              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000             Page 20
FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

2.21 This is a financial report and the financial implications are contained within.

LEGAL IMPLICATIONS

2.22 There are no legal implications arising directly from this report.

BACKGROUND DOCUMENTS

Nil




              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000              Page 21
                                                                     APPENDIX A


     SAVINGS PROPOSALS APPROVED BY COUNCIL 9 NOVEMBER 2000

                                                                          £
Deletion of Asst Chief Executive and Personal Asst                     120,000
Top slice non-salary budgets in Chief Executive’s Office                 9,000
Grants reduction in staffing                                            25,000
Further Savings from restructuring Corporate Services and Chief         50,000
Executive’s Office not assumed in 3-year budget strategy
Increase external income generation from Legal Services                 50,000
Cut Members Allowances growth frozen in current year                   305,000
Equal Opportunities budget                                              10,000
Modernisation Consultation costs                                        50,000
Accommodation Savings                                                  150,000
Total                                                                  769,000



      SAVINGS PROPOSALS ALREADY IN 3-YEAR BUDGET STRATEGY

                                                                          £
Grants – reduction in support to voluntary sector                       50,000
Best Value – reduce central team by 1 post                              25,000
Economic Development – elimination of all LBH support budgets           15,000
Personnel                                                               39,000
Registration of Births, Deaths & Marriages income                       10,000
ICT Best Value Savings                                                  98,000
Corporate Services Support Team savings                                 62,000
Facilities Management Savings                                          167,000
Property feasibility budget savings                                      7,000
Transfer of Property to HRA                                             14,000
Total                                                                  487,000




             PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000      Page 22
ANNUAL TREASURY MANAGEMENT REPORT                                          ITEM 3
                                           Contact Officer: Jim Burness
                                           Telephone: 01895 277584

SUMMARY

This is the annual report to Members on the Treasury Management activities in line
with the requirements of s45 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989, and
the Code of Practice issued by CIPFA. The report has four sections;

•    review of 1999/00 activities

•    the operational policies and guidelines that apply to the treasury management
     function.

•    The proposed strategy for 2001/02, and the implication for the revenue budget.

•    Comments on the proposals in the Green Paper around prudential indicators
     for local authority treasury management.

RECOMMENDATIONS

It is recommended that the Committee:

1.   Notes the position in respect of 1999/00.

2.   Notes the operational policies and delegations for Treasury Management
     (Appendix B).

3.   Agrees the strategy for 2001/02 set out in the report (para 4.16 – 4.23), i.e.

     • To utilise internal funds for new expenditure or refinancing loans, as
          opposed to incurring new external borrowing

     • To utilise the change in regulations regarding the treatment of premia on
          premature repayments, to repay at least £10m of loans of 10% or
          higher interest.

INFORMATION

The Treasury Management operation 1999/00

3.1 During 1999/00 there were 95 temporary loans raised. The summary of the
borrowing transactions for 1999/00 is as follows:




             PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000          Page 23
            Summary of External Borrowing Transactions for 1999/00

                       Debt O/s at        Loans           Loans         Debt O/s at
                         1/4/99           Repaid          Raised         31/3/00
                           £k               £k              £k              £k
Asset Mortgages               525.1             11.7               -           513.4
PWLB                     132,922.6           9,592.2               -      123,330.4
Temporary                     215.0        161,820.0       161,830.0           225.0
Total                    133,662.7         171,432.9       161,830.0      124,068.8

3.2 1999/00 continued the trend from the previous year of a progressive reduction in
the overall level of long term borrowing. This was possible primarily because the
level of funds available from accumulated set aside capital receipts enabled the
Council to avoid the need to enter into any new long term borrowing. However
because of issues around business rates cash flow the volume of temporary
borrowing was substantially higher than recent years.

3.3 The average interest rate of the external debt for 1999/00 was 8.61% compared
to 8.87% for the previous year. The steady reduction in the average rate reflects the
stability of the Council’s debt portfolio and the policy of controlling the amount of that
debt which has to be refinanced each year to around 10%. This compares to an
average interest rate of 8.1% based on information from 16 London authorities. The
difference to the average for the other authorities is a result of Hillingdon’s low level
of temporary debt relative to those authorities.

3.4 Interest rates generally showed an increase during the later part of the year from
5½% to 6% at the end of the year. This was as a result of concerns by the Bank of
England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) over increasing inflationary pressure
in the UK economy.

3.5 The total external interest costs borne by the Council were £11.86m, and this
was £0.75m less than the comparable costs for 1998/99. This reduction would have
been higher but for the £0.52m of short term interest costs incurred for reasons
referred to above.

3.6 There are time lags between when the resources are available and when the
Council chooses to incur the expenditure that they will fund. In addition the Council
will gain or lose interest depending on the specific cash flow with regard to the DETR
and business rate collection. When there are cash flow surpluses, these are
invested to earn interest for the Council. For the first half of 1999/00 the Council was
not in the position of having surpluses, but the position changed from November
1999 when the Council received an interim settlement from the NNDR Pool of over
£20m to start to redress the cash flow in-balance that had developed as a result of
NNDR system difficulties.

3.7 During the year external investments of surplus funds were made totalling
£570.5m. Of the total 87% was with banks, 12% with building societies, and 1% with
other bodies (mostly local authorities). The average rate of interest earned on these
investments ranged between 4.55% to 6%, reflecting the market rates for short term


              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000                Page 24
investments of up to one year which is the period to which the Council is limited. The
benchmark return for the year could be taken as 5.3% based on the average local
authority 7 day rate for 1999/00. The total amount of interest earned on these
external investments was £0.5m. This was less than the previous year’s figure of
£1.4m, due to the overall level of surplus funds being less, due to the business rate
situation. Appendix A shows the profile of external investments for the year.

3.8 During the course of the year all borrowings and investments were in
accordance with agreed policies and within the statutory limits set by the Council.

The Operational Policies

3.9 The primary objective of the Council’s treasury management function is to
minimise the financing costs by borrowing at the lowest rates of interest, and by
investing, at an acceptable risk, any surplus cash in order to earn interest.

3.10 To achieve this objective the Council pursues a range of policies, which it is the
role of the s151 Officer, through the central accountancy function, to formulate,
implement and review. The Council carries out its treasury management activities
with regard to the relevant statutes, regulations and codes of practice. It also
receives advice and market information from Sector, the leading local authority
treasury management advisory company, to help in the determination of borrowing
and investment strategies.

q    The policy for borrowing is to minimise costs consistent with ensuring the
     stability of the Authority’s long-term financial position.

q    The policy for lending can be summarised as seeking the best return consistent
     with minimising risk.

3.11 The approved methods of borrowing and criteria for investment are set out in
the Treasury Management Policy Statement (Appendix B), together with the current
external financing limits.

3.12 On the fallout of debt the Council's policy has been to establish a debt profile
where the amount of debt due for refinancing each year is fairly stable and large
scale refinancing is avoided. To achieve this the following limit is placed on the
amount of long term debt that has to be refinanced in any one year.

q    Maximum percentage of total debt due to fallout in any year - 10% (for
     Hillingdon this target is currently approximately £13m per annum)

3.13 The current profile of fallout on the Council's long term debt is set out in
Appendix C. The overall position is in line with recommended practice, with the main
exception of one year, 2004/05. The current strategy for any longer term borrowing
is to target the years 2007/08 onwards for new borrowings, in order to stretch the
borrowing. However for reasons explained in the next section it is not expected that
any such borrowing will be undertaken in the year ahead.



              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000             Page 25
The Current Year and Strategy for 2001/02

3.14 The last year has seen a gradual increase in interest rates from 5% in the
Summer of 1999 to 6%. This has been in response to concerns by the MPC over
inflationary pressures in the economy in the light of data around wage rates, house
prices and consumer spending. Since the early summer inflationary concerns have
been offset by concerns around the effects on growth of further increases in rates.
How the economy reacts to the planned increase in public expenditure, and the
impact of factors such as oil prices, and whether the cooling in house market prices
will determine whether rates have levelled off or whether further increase to 6½% will
occur. If there is a slowing in economic growth and inflation remains at the current
low levels then a reduction in rates during 2001 is likely.

3.15 It is also likely that the differential in rates between short and medium term
periods and long term (>10yrs) of around 1½%, that has existed over the past year
or so will continue.

3.16 In this context Hillingdon’s proposed strategy for the current year and 2001/02
will be to continue with the utilisation of internal funds to finance new capital
expenditure and refinance maturing loans, as opposed to incurring new borrowing.

3.17 Based on the current forecast of the level of new credit approvals and the
minimum revenue provision for 2001/02, plus the known fallout of existing debt, the
net borrowing requirement for the year is estimated to be £23m (see below). This
sum will be able to be met from the internal funds of the authority as represented by
the provision for credit liabilities (PCL).

                         Borrowing Requirement 2001/02

                                                                    £m
New capital expenditure estimated to be covered by BCA/SCA         16.0
Long term loans maturing                                           11.0
                                                                   27.0
Less repayments funded by minimum revenue provision (MRP)          -4.0
Net borrowing requirement to be met from internal funds            23.0

3.18 The internal funds are represented by the Council’s provision for credit
liabilities (PCL) that arise from complying with the statutory requirement to make an
annual revenue charge, and from setting aside a proportion of capital receipts
generated. At the end of 1999/00 this provision amounted to £23.2m and is forecast
to be around £20m at the end of the current year after funding the year’s new
borrowing requirement. The projected increase in the PCL in 2001/02 is £16m. The
combined sum, £36m, will more than cover the new borrowing requirement referred
to above.

3.19 The overall effect is to continue the reduction in the Council’s long term
external debt. At the start of 2000/01 this stood at £123m and is forecast to reduce
to £112m by the end of the year. This will have the effect of producing gross interest
savings for the authority in 2001/02 of £0.9m compared to the current year.


              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000            Page 26
3.20 Whilst there will significant savings in the total interest costs these will not
translate into savings on the total capital charges budget for the GF. This is because
the budget is made up of:

q
q    the gross interest costs,
q
q    less the portion recharged to the HRA under the legislation governing the HRA
     (Item 8 Determination )
q
q    plus the GF’s minimum revenue provision (MRP)

3.21 It is forecast that the recharge to the HRA will reduce by £0.6m in 2001/02
compared to the current year. At the same time the GF MRP is expected to
increase by £0.25m. The main reasons for these changes are:

q
q    With set aside on capital receipts now only applying to housing receipts this
     has accelerated the decline in the HRA basis of apportioning the costs relative
     to the GF

q
q    The fact that new credit approvals in recent years have been applied to fund
     GF as opposed to HRA capital expenditure. This was exacerbated in the
     current year with the increase in credit approvals to the Council resulting from
     changes in the DETR’s funding of housing capital expenditure.

q
q    The progressive reduction in interest rates

3.22 In the current year the DETR has made changes, which came into effect in
August 2000, to the way in which local authorities can fund the cost of premia on the
premature repayment of debt (Statutory Instrument (SI) 2000 No 1773). Previously
these costs had to fall as a charge to revenue in the year in which they were
incurred. From the date of the SI, it is now allowable to fund these from an
authority’s PCL. This use of this will increase the authority’s credit ceiling for
purposes of calculating its MRP, which will result in an additional revenue cost of 4%
of the premium, per annum, on a reducing balance over time. By this means the
cost is spread over a long period as opposed to being incurred in a single year.

3.23 Consequently following discussions with the Council’s Treasury Management
advisers it is proposed to apply at least £10m of the PCL anticipated to be available
at the end of the current year, to redeem debt of rates 10% or higher, the premium
on this will be approximately £0.9m, of which approximately one third is attributable
to the HRA. The gross interest saving from doing this will be £1m in 2001/02.
Allowing for factors such as the additional MRP cost to the GF, reduction in interest
earned, and the proportion of the interest saving that will accrue to the HRA, the
benefit to the GF in 2001/02 is expected to be £0.2m.

Green Paper on Local Government Finance

3.24 The Green Paper on Local Government Finance contains elements that would
affect future Treasury Management operations. The main thrust of the Green Paper



              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000            Page 27
is to move away from a highly regulated system of central control on capital financing
to one based on self regulation and adherence to prudential guidelines.

3.25 The suggest approach would have three central elements:

q    the Government would set a limit on the rate of increase of individual
     authorities’ debt. This would avoid any initial surge in aggregate spending as
     local government adjusts to the new system. The Government would continue
     to monitor local government’s capital plans and might, exceptionally, re-impose
     limits on increases in debt if national economic circumstances demanded it.
     There would be a reserve power to restrict the right to borrow freely for
     individual authorities which did not operate local prudential regimes effectively,
     were not delivering Best Value or failed to consult voters and local
     stakeholders;

q    there would be a core set of prudential indicators for which local authorities
     would set their own ratios, e.g. of debt to revenue, whilst working within a
     centrally agreed framework. These local prudential indicators would help make
     clear the impact of capital expenditure proposals on the revenue account over
     time and allow performance in managing investment to be monitored and
     assessed; and

q    the regime would be backed up by the fundamental principle of the balanced
     budget requirement (enshrined in legislation) and accounting codes which
     authorities are required by law to have regard to.

3.26 The emphasis is clearly on authorities behaving prudently by following
practices that clearly identify the risks and benefits of different funding routes, and
that decisions are driven by the strategic plans for the authority (e.g. Capital
Investment Strategy, Asset Management Plan, Corporate Plan). A basic element of
prudential approach is that an authority plans how it will meet the revenue
consequences of the level of any net new borrowing it decides to undertake.

3.27 The likelihood is that any changes are likely to come into effect from 2002/03 at
the earliest. The Council is reasonably well placed in terms of its treasury
management policies and practices to accord with prudential guidelines. What will
require consideration is the parameters set by the Council’s budget strategy and how
these will constrain any growth in borrowing to fund new capital expenditure.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

3.28 This is a financial report and the financial implications are contained within.




              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000              Page 28
LEGAL IMPLICATIONS

3.29 The legal requirements related to this area are covered in the report. The main
ones are those arising from s45 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989.

BACKGROUND DOCUMENTS

Final accounts L.B.Hillingdon 1999/00
Financial markets and economic briefing papers
DETR Statutory Instrument 2000 No. 1773




             PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000         Page 29
                                                                                                              APPENDIX A




                                        1999/00 EXTERNAL INVESTMENTS

                         30,000                                                           600

                         25,000                                                           500




                                                                                                Interest £k
            Ext inv £k




                         20,000                                                           400

                         15,000                                                           300

                         10,000                                                           200

                          5,000                                                           100

                             0                                                            0
                                  APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC JAN FEB MAR

                                                        Month
                                            Ext investments     Interest Earned


                                        PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000                                               Page 30
                                                                         APPENDIX B

TREASURY MANAGEMENT POLICY STATEMENT

The primary objective of the Council’s treasury management function is to minimise
the financing costs by borrowing at the lowest rates of interest, and by investing, at
an acceptable risk, any surplus cash in order to earn interest.

The following policies and delegations are intended to facilitate this objective.

Approved Methods and Sources of Raising Capital Finance

Finance will only be raised in accordance with the Local Government & Housing Act
1989, and within this the Council is allowed to use a number of approved methods of
raising new capital finance. For Hillingdon the methods that will be used are:

                   Source                    Fixed Rate     Variable Rate
   PWLB                                          ü               ü
   Local Authority Finance market                ü               ü
   loans (see Glossary for description
   of individual instruments)
   Internal investment of capital                 ü
   receipts and other balances

The external financing limits are:

    q   Money on call - maximum at any time of £5m.
    q   Money on two day notice - maximum at any time of £5m.
    q   Limit on total temporary borrowings - maximum at any time of £25m.
    q   Limit on total borrowings at variable interest rates - maximum at any time of
        £25m.

The intention behind these limits is to ensure that at any time no more than 5% of the
Council's debt is subject to potentially volatile changes in rates. The limit on variable
rate borrowing is set to enable flexibility if appropriate but without leading to
excessive exposure to fluctuating market rates.

With regard to the source of borrowing the Council borrows on a temporary basis
from any organisation working in the local authority financial market. Long term
borrowing is exclusively from the Public Works Loans Board (PWLB) on account of
the favourable rates available and the simplicity and flexibility of this form of long
term borrowing.

Approved Methods and Organisations for Investments

The Council has always placed the emphasis on the importance of minimising risks,
as opposed to maximising interest earned. As the Council still has debt outstanding
it is only permitted to invest funds externally for periods up to one year. As a further
means of risk minimisation the Council restricts its dealings to organisations:


              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000              Page 31
   q   which have a F1 credit rating according to the Fitch Credit Rating system
       which is widely recognised in financial markets as an objective assessment of
       financial institutions credit rating. An F1 rating equates to the highest quality
       short term credit rating, and indicates the strongest capacity for timely
       payments of financial commitments. The total sum invested with a single
       organisation at any period is limited to £10m.

   q   a wholly owned subsiduary of a F1 rated body but with a limit to the total sum
       invested at any period of £3m.

By restricting investments to these categories of institutions the risk of non
repayment, or late repayment is minimised.

Organisations that meet this criteria, and thus would be approved counter parties,
are as follows:

       ¬   Abbey National plc
       ¬   Alliance & Leicester
       ¬   Bank of Scotland
       ¬   Barclays
       ¬   Britannia BS
       ¬   Citibank International
       ¬   Co-op Bank
       ¬   Halifax
       ¬   HSBC
       ¬   Lloyds
       ¬   Lazard Bank
       ¬   Nat West Bank
       ¬   Nationwide BS
       ¬   Northern Rock
       ¬   Royal Bank of Scotland
       ¬   Standard Chartered
       ¬   Woolwich

The continually evolving nature of financial markets means that the Council has to
continually monitor the bodies with whom it might invest, to ensure that the Council’s
investments have the maximum security whilst at the same time to become aware of
new institutions that can meet the required standards. The Fitch rating system is
updated monthly and the Council receives it as part of the service from its Treasury
Management advisers.

Delegations

The Borough Treasurer is required to prepare, implement and monitor a Treasury
Management policy. The policy is required to be reported at least annually to
Members, and any material revisions need to be approved by Members. The
Finance & Economic Sub Committee is the relevant body of the Council charged
with considering matters related to Treasury Management.


              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000               Page 32
In carrying out the policy the Borough Treasurer makes the following delegations.

                                                                  Delegated to
•   Decisions on the most appropriate form of borrowing         Head of Financial
    and investment instruments                                     Planning

•   Decisions on the long term borrowing strategy,              Head of Financial
    including the raising of new loans, or premature               Planning
    repayment of existing loans

•   Compliance with Code of Practise for Treasury               Head of Financial
    Management and London Code of conduct for                      Planning
    principals and broking firms in the wholesale markets

•   Day to day decisions on borrowing and investment as      Treasury Management
    part of normal cash flow management                           Accountant

•   Daily borrowing and investment transactions                Staff designated by
                                                                Head of Financial
                                                                     Planning

•   The authorisation of any operating or financial leases      Head of Financial
                                                                   Planning




              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000          Page 33
                                                                                                                                                  APPENDIX C




                                        L.B.HILLINGDON - DEBT FALLOUT
                 20.0
                 18.0
                 16.0
                 14.0
                 12.0                                                                                                                         Debt Fallout
       Fallout




                 10.0                                                                                                                         10% Ceiling
                  8.0
                  6.0
                  4.0
                  2.0
                  0.0
                        00/01   01/02   02/03   03/04   04/05   05/06   06/07   07/08   08/09   09/10   10/11   11/12   12/13   13/14   14+


                                                                                Year




                                                PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000                                                                                      Page 34
                                                                     APPENDIX D

GLOSSARY OF MAIN TERMS
Call Loans                   Loans that are repayable at the lender's discretion
                             with no obligation to give any prior notice.

2 or 7 Day Notice Money      Loans where the lender is obliged to give either two
                             or seven working days notice of their intention to call
                             in the loan.

Short Fixed Loans            Loans fixed to mature in periods usually up to one
                             month.

1 or 3 Month Money           These are loans with fixed repayment dates either
                             one or three calendar months from the date the loan
                             is made.

Public Works Loan Board      Commonly referred to as the PWLB. It is a
Loans (PWLB)                 Government Agency. This is the most common
                             source of long term lending to local authorities.
                             Loans cover all annual periods up to 25 years. In
                             addition the loans can have different principal
                             repayment characteristics. e.g. repayment at the
                             end of the loan; repayment by equal instalments
                             over the loan period. Loans are available at two
                             levels of interest rate, the higher rate applying to
                             borrowings over an individual authority's basic
                             entitlement for the year.

Bonds                        In the past these have included small value loans
                             from individuals as well as large loans from
                             companies and institutions. LBH no longer issues
                             small value bonds for reasons of economy.

Negotiable Bonds             Loan instruments issued through banks and finance
                             houses that can be traded. The actual loan is for a
                             fixed duration.

Local Authority Mortgages    These elements mainly relate to the period when
                             authorities used to borrow for specific purposes and
                             sometimes secured loans on fixed assets.
                             Mortgages are issued under Council Seal and are
                             still the required form of loan by building societies
                             when they lend long term to Councils.




             PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000          Page 35
Provision for Credit         This represents funds the authority is legally obliged
Liabilities                  to set aside from capital receipts and charges made
                             to its revenue account, to be used for the repayment
                             of debt, or as credit cover for non-operating leases.

Basic & Supplementary        Borrowing permissions issued by Government as
Credit approvals             part of resourcing authorities’ capital programmes.




             PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000         Page 36
FINANCIAL SYSTEMS CHANGE PROJECT                                             ITEM 4
                                             Contact Officer: Jim Burness
                                             Telephone: 01895 277584

SUMMARY

This report sets out for the Committee the key facets of this major project , whose
progress will be reported to the Sub-Committee. It seeks agreement to proceed with
the setting up of the project management arrangements for the project.

RECOMMENDATION

That the project management arrangements set out in paras 4.6 - 4.8 be
agreed.

INFORMATION

Description of Project

4.1 Policy Committee on 31st October agreed to tender for a web enabled suite of
financial systems. This covers the Council’s General Ledger, Creditors and Debtors
systems. These are currently “character based” applications where user screens
have a form like appearance and entering data and navigating around screens is by
the use of pre-set function keys. The intention is to move to a web enabled
application where screens have the appearance similar to internet web pages, and
entering and navigation is more intuitive and based on using a computer mouse.

4.2 The project will involve a tendering process to identify the product best suited to
the Council’s requirements, followed by an implementation phase which will include
training for users. The project will also encompass a change management
dimension as some existing processes will have to change if the full benefits of the
change are to be realised. The target date for going live with the new applications is
1/4/2002.

Benefits of the Project

4.3 The benefits of the proposed moved to web enabled applications are as follows:

q    Savings from streamlining the ordering and payments process.

q    Enabling the Council to implement a procurement strategy that would include
     the following and should produce significant savings:

     §   More centralised control of purchasing through corporate contracts;
     §   To access the benefits of e-procurement.




              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000             Page 37
q    Improved payments performance for PIs, by increasing the amount of the
     process done electronically and by introducing workflow type systems.

q    Establishing a more user friendly system for commitment accounting, thereby
     improving financial information

q    Improving access to financial information for non financial managers

q    Improving interchange of financial information between ledger and payments
     systems.

q    Reducing the volume of paper based reports generated by distributing all
     reports to managers by web based (ðintranet) means.

4.4 It is too early to place any specific figures on savings that would be achieved
from the change but annual savings from streamlined processes and improved
procurement should be produce net savings of at least £200k per annum within a
year of the systems going live.

Project Management

4.5 The key to success of projects often lies in proper initial planning and resourcing
of project management. The proposed project management arrangements are as
follows:

q    The detailed work will largely be undertaken by a dedicated project team the
     core of which will be a project manager, a financial systems accountant and an
     administrative assistant. They will be managed by the project owner, Head of
     Financial Planning. They will be supplemented by support from corporate IT
     and central finance.

q    The project team will meet regularly with the project owner and nominated
     representatives of budget managers, to form the steering group for the whole
     project. The budget managers will not be finance staff as it is important that
     non-finance managers have a significant input into the specification, choice,
     and implementation of the new system.

q    The steering group will report monthly to the Director of Finance, and at
     appropriate stages to the Management Board and Members.

4.6 The cost of project management will form part of the total project costs. The
additional costs for the staff who will be working full time on the project are estimated
to be £205k:

q    Project manager £60k
q    Financial systems accountant £60k
q    Administrative support £30k
q    CIT resources £45k
q    Equipment accommodation etc £10k


              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000               Page 38
4.7 The staff will all be on fixed term contracts related to the life of the project, and
for purposes of costing at this stage it is assumed this will be 18 months from
February 2001.

4.8 The project offers scope to modernise significantly the Council’s financial
systems to better meet the aspirations of Members and managers. For the project to
be successful it needs to be properly resourced in terms of project management.
This is important if the following risks are to be avoided:

q    Failure to properly define requirements leading to system not meeting
     requirements;
q    Failure to communicate and train staff leading to negative attitude to change;
q    Failure to control costs during implementation phase;
q    Failure to identify and resolve interface issues to other systems leading to
     disruption of services provided.

4.9 There also needs to be corporate acceptance that there will have to be changes
to business practises once the new systems are in place if the full benefits are to be
realised.

4.10 At this stage of the project the aim is to have the new system in place for April
2002. There will need to be a period of dual running of the two financial systems as
the closing of accounts for 2001/02 will have to be done on the current general
ledger applications. This means that the current application will have to remain until
at least August 2002. This means that an option exists to start the 2002/03 financial
year on the current applications and transfer during the year if the project plan
develops so that an April 2002 date for going live is unachievable.

System and Infrastructure Costs

4.11 In advance of tendering for the system it is not possible to be precise about
costs. However informal discussions with potential suppliers indicate that a provision
of £300k at this stage would be appropriate. To this would be added a sum of £50k
to cover training and change management issues. The training aspects are
important not to under estimate as they will embrace training staff in the use of a
different technology and ways of accessing information to what they have been used
to. As far as possible in-house training resources will be used.

4.12 There will be other costs associated with adaptation to the Council’s network
systems and servers, and to converting interfaces from other systems that pass
information to and from the financial systems (e.g. housing benefits, payroll,
Council’s bankers). Funding will need to be included for this work to be done either
by the chosen supplier or by the Council’s computer facilities management
contractor and a provisional sum of £200k is proposed at this stage. It would also be
sensible to allow an overall contingency for the project at this stage of £100k.

4.13 The timing of introducing any new system is related to the completion of the
recabling project for the Civic Centre. Until that is done it would be impractical to


              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000                Page 39
deploy any web based financial systems. Consequently the project plan does not
anticipate installing any new system for testing before December 2001.

4.14 It is anticipated that the Council’s chosen ICT facilities management partner will
be involved in helping with the selection and implementation of any new system.
This will be an important practical test of their commitment to their partnership with
the Council.

Key Milestones

4.15 An initial project plan has been drawn up. The key milestones within the plan
are shown below:

q    Secure funding as part of the process for setting the capital programme for
     2001 – 04 Feb 2001;
q    Appoint project manager Feb 2001;
q    Devise communications strategy Apr 2001;
q    Devise change management strategy Apr 2001;
q    Issue specification Apr 2001;
q    Select preferred partner Jul 2001;
q    Complete network infrastructure changes Dec 2001;
q    Commence testing Dec 2001;
q    Plan and commission training Jan 2002;
q    Go live Apr - Jul 2002.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

4.16 The report outlines costs including project management of £855k. This will be
spread over three financial years 2000/01 to 2002/03 with the larger element likely to
fall in 2001/02. These costs can be treated as capital expenditure and officers are
putting these forward for funding as part of the 2001-04 capital programme.

4.17 The revenue implications of a new system are two fold. Firstly there will be
higher annual costs of licensing the system, primarily arising from the increased
numbers of users of the system that is anticipated. This could be between £100k -
£150k pa. Depending on the financial arrangements concluded with the chosen
supplier the additional costs the earliest any additional costs will commence will be
from 2002/03.

4.18 The second aspect of the revenue implications is the savings that will arise
from the new system. At present a significant amount of resource is applied to
raising, checking and controlling payments across the Council. In terms of Finance
teams alone at least the equivalent of 12FTE are applied to this activity. If this
reduced by a third savings of £75k would arise. The other and potentially more
significant area for savings is through enabling more efficient procurement. This
would be by channelling more purchases through corporate or consortium contracts,
and by accessing discount arrangements for online ordering and payment. All this is
dependant on there being in place the resources to support a corporate procurement
strategy. At present the Council purchases goods and services, excluding schools


              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000             Page 40
and social care placements of between £10m - £15m. Progress has been made in
securing savings in a number of areas but it would not be unrealistic to target further
savings of £250k as being achievable within a year of the new system being in place.

4.19 The introduction of new systems which will impact particularly on the Council’s
procurement procedures will require the revision of financial regulations and standing
orders at the appropriate time.

LEGAL IMPLICATIONS

4.20 The normal tendering procedures for a contract of this size will have to be
followed. Considerable legal input will be required later in the process when the
contract documentation is drawn up and finalised.

BACKGROUND DOCUMENTS

Financial Systems Change Project file




             PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000            Page 41
LOCAL GOVERNMENT PENSION SCHEME                                            ITEM 5
INTERNAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCEDURE
                                           Contact Officer: J. Maule
                                           Telephone: 01895 250567

SUMMARY

This report seeks approval to change the members of the panel to consider pension
disputes.

RECOMMENDATIONS

1.   That the Borough Solicitor be nominated to the panel set up under the
     Internal Dispute Resolution Procedure

2.   That the former Director of Finance and the former Corporate Director;
     Corporate Services should no longer be on the Panel.

INFORMATION

5.1 Since April 1997 the Council has been required to have a panel of people who
can hear disputes about pensions matters, under the Internal Dispute Resolution
Procedure. The Panel currently consists of: the Borough Treasurer; the former
Corporate Director: Corporate Services; the former Pensions Manager; and the
former Director of Finance.

5.2 The former Pensions Manager was specifically appointed to the Panel last year
and his detailed knowledge of the Scheme makes it appropriate to retain him on the
Panel. The other two ex-employees were appointed by virtue of their employment at
the time and it would be sensible to formally remove them from the Panel.

5.3 An important part of the procedure is that the Appointed Person should have
had no previous involvement in the case. Although the majority of cases are dealt
with under delegated authority by the pensions staff or the Payroll and Pensions
Manager, there may be occasions where the advice of the Borough Treasurer is
sought. This would preclude her from hearing a dispute on the matter later. There is
also a possibility (albeit remote) that the former Pensions Manager might have been
involved in a case.

5.4 The number of cases has remained small but there is a need for the Panel to
include someone who would not have had previous involvement in decisions. An
Appointed Person must have sufficient understanding of the local government
pension scheme to be able to take a view on the submissions made. It is proposed
that the Borough Solicitor should be appointed, as the nature of a dispute can
involve interpretation of the law in relation to the Pension Fund, contracts of
employment etc.



             PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000          Page 42
FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

5.5 There are no financial implications arising from this proposal.

LEGAL IMPLICATIONS

5.6 The Council has a duty to implement the Internal Dispute Resolution Procedure.

BACKGROUND DOCUMENTS

Nil




              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000        Page 43
COUNCIL TAX - IRRECOVERABLE AMOUNTS                                              ITEM 6
WRITTEN OFF UNDER DELEGATED POWERS
                                              Contact Officer: Amanda Jeynes
                                              Telephone: 01895 250358

SUMMARY

This report contains details of irrecoverable amounts of Council Tax, which have
been written off by officers under delegated powers in the last quarter.

RECOMMENDATION

That the Committee note the amounts written off by officers under delegated
powers.

INFORMATION

6.1 The new Scheme of Delegations to Chief Officers continues to give authority to
officers to write off income due to the Council, after all reasonable steps have been
taken to recover the debt, but no longer requires a quarterly report to Committee. At
the last meeting of this Sub-Committee it was agreed that the Borough Treasurer
should continue to report to each meeting on the sums written off under delegated
authority, and that the limit for write-offs by officers should be up to £5,000 per debt.

6.2 This report contains details of irrecoverable amounts of Council Tax, which have
been written off by officers under delegated powers in the last quarter.

Council Tax

6.3 A total of £7,336.64 has been written off in respect of Council Tax. This is made
up as follows:

          Range                      No. of cases                     Amount
                                                                          £.p
Up to £100                                 200                        1,613.84
£100.01 to £500                             14                        3,493.71
£500.01 to £1,000                            1                          791.40
£1,000.01 to £2,000                          1                        1,437.69

                       Total               216                        7,336.64




              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000               Page 44
6.4 The reasons that these amounts have been written off are as follows:

                   Reason                          No. of cases       Amount
                                                                        £.p
Moved away - unable to trace                            85          3,104.15
Bankrupt                                                 1             56.82
Taxpayer Deceased – Estate Insolvent                    37          2,512.67
Company in Liquidation                                   3          1,025.72
Uneconomical to Collect                                 89            522.44
Other                                                    1            114.84

                                         Total         216          7,336.64


LEGAL IMPLICATIONS

6.5 No legal implications arising directly from this report.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

6.6 Council Tax write-offs are charged to the Collection Fund and are recovered
from future years Council Tax charges.

BACKGROUND PAPERS

Nil




              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000         Page 45
INTERNAL AUDIT – FIVE RECENT AUDIT REPORTS                                      ITEM 7
                                                Contact Officer: Gill Crosbie
                                                Telephone: 01895 250354

SUMMARY

This report outlines to Members the results of five recent Internal Audit reports that
reviewed major systems within the authority. The report also details the action taken
or intended to be taken by officers to address the control weaknesses identified by
the audits

RECOMMENDATION

That the report be noted.

INFORMATION

Background

7.1 At the June 2000 meeting of the Sub-Committee, Members were presented with
the Internal Audit Annual Report for 1999/2000. The report gave an overall opinion
on the control environment within the Council and highlighted certain areas where
improvements could be made to strengthen controls.

7.2 Members requested that a report be submitted to the Sub-Committee, outlining
the results of 5 recent internal audit reports dealing with major systems and the
actions taken by management to address the weaknesses identified.

7.3 The five audits being reported to the Sub-Committee in this report are:

Ø     Housing Benefits
Ø     Council Tax
Ø     Parking Computer System
Ø     Asylum Seekers
Ø     General Ledger

Housing Benefits

7.4 The following weaknesses were identified that could affect the efficient and
effective delivery of the Housing Benefit/Council Tax Benefit service or result in a
substantial loss of revenue to the authority:-

•   Serious deficiencies in computer access controls.

•   General lack of security to deter physical access to the section.

•   Lack of vetting procedures for new staff.


              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000              Page 46
•   All options for recovery of overpayments (in particular landlords) not being used
    and management information unable to produce accurate, relevant and reliable
    data on overpayment recovery.

•   Measures to deter fraud and the effective monitoring of investigations could be
    improved.

•   Workflow system unable to adequately cope with the volume of documentation
    received to enable scanning to be carried out immediately it is received.

7.5 The weaknesses above expose the system to the threat of fraud, loss and/or
corruption of data and documentation. The draft report was issued in August 2000
and the action management intend to take is summarised below (Housing
Management’s detailed comments are given in Appendix 1).

7.6 The weaknesses regarding access controls were raised during the 1998/99
audit which was finalised in March 2000. The audit for 1999/2000 found that the
problems regarding access controls had not yet been addressed due to problems
related to the computer system. With the introduction of the new server,
management anticipate that these weaknesses will be addressed by 1 April 2001.

7.7 Housing Benefit management are currently considering the various options
available for improving physical security and Personnel are implementing new
vetting procedures for staff.

7.8 In respect of the recovery of overpayments, the loss of revenue could be
substantial with the current outstanding overpayments to landlords alone being
estimated as £1m. This estimate is very rough due to the lack of accurate
information. Management are aware of the problems with obtaining accurate data
from the system and a new software package is being considered to correct this.

7.9 In order to improve the deterrence and monitoring of fraud, management have
agreed to:-

-     introduce an awareness training programme in early 2001

-     implement a Prosecution Policy from April 2001

-     introduce the verification framework on a module basis from April 2002

-     review the various fraud management systems that are available.

7.10 The workflow system was not considered to be a major problem by
management as it was only used for storing information once a claim was actioned.
However, an alternative system will be considered in the future.




              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000             Page 47
Council Tax

7.11 The audit of the Council Tax system identified the following weaknesses:-

•    Serious deficiencies in computer access controls exist.

•    Payment books not despatched until the end of March.

•    Special payment arrangements not independently checked.

•    Limited reviews of Council Tax accounts where discounts/reliefs/exemptions
     have been applied.

•    Authorisation of waivers of costs in respect of recovery of Council Tax debts
     not evidenced.

•    Concerns over the security of the computer system with regards to the disaster
     recovery plan not being tested.

7.12 The weaknesses above open the Council Tax service to the following risks:-

•    The threat of fraud, corruption and loss of data.

•    Adverse affect on the authority’s cash flow.

•    Special payment arrangements being made that may not necessarily be in the
     best interests of the Council.

•    Council Taxpayers being in receipt of a reduction to their Council Tax liability to
     which they are no longer entitled.

•    Costs being waived without the authority of a senior officer.

7.13 The audit for the 1999/2000 financial year was finalised in June 2000 and
management’s formal response to the recommendations made are given below.

7.14 The serious weaknesses in access controls were reported in the 1998/99 audit
which was finalised in December 1999. However, the need to upgrade the computer
system has delayed implementation and the revised target date following the
1999/2000 audit is now December 2000.

7.15 The recommendation for Council Tax payment books to be issued by
mid-March is subject to the date the tax is set by Members and therefore cannot be
resolved by management.

7.16 For special payment arrangements, management agreed to a sample check by
a senior officer by September 2000 instead of the 100% check recommended by
Internal Audit. It was also agreed that a regular rolling review of all



              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000              Page 48
discounts/reliefs/exemptions would be instigated in 2000/01. Both of these
recommendations have since been implemented by management.

7.17 Management did not agree to the recommendation that a senior officer
evidences any authorisations given to the waiving of costs. However, it was agreed
to establish a working party by the 31 October 2000 to review the policy and
procedures for the withdrawal of summonses/Liability Orders and the agreement to
and the implementation of cancelled costs. Management has informed Internal Audit
that the working party has not yet been established due to workload and the planned
move to the new Sun Box. However, arrangements are currently underway to set up
the working party.

7.18 The two recommendations above were not agreed to in full by management as
it was the view that the volume of such arrangements would make them impractical
and costly to implement.

7.19 The 1998/99 audit of the Council Tax system identified other weaknesses that
were not addressed at the time due to the impending outsourcing of the service.
These weaknesses related to the testing of the computer disaster recovery plan and
to the formulation of a contingency plan in the event of a sustained loss of the
computer system. However, following the decision to maintain the service in-house,
management have/are taking action to address these problems on a corporate
basis.

7.20 The weaknesses identified above increase the risk of Council Tax not being
collected due to possible error or fraud. The amount of tax collected in 1999/2000
was £61,163,532 and is estimated to be in the region of £65m for 2000/01.
Therefore, it is paramount that the recommendations are implemented as soon as
possible.

Parking Computer System

7.21 The weaknesses identified from the audit of the Langdales Parking System in
1999/2000 are as follows:

•    No effective computer password security policy in place.

•    Checks performed on individual transactions such as write-offs can be
     circumvented by entering a session date that is before the current reporting
     period.

•    Insufficient controls on changes to the systems parameters.

•    No test environment for the system.

•    Confusion over the roles of client department IT and Corporate IT.

•    No standby arrangement for a server to provide cover in the event of a
     prolonged machine failure.


             PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000            Page 49
•    No plan for the removal/reduction of approximately 3800 tickets on the system
     with a recovery hold on them meaning that all recovery action is suspended.

•    There is inadequate separation of duties between opening mail and operating
     the Cash Till, especially as these staff have full access to all the computer
     system facilities including write-offs.

•    Reports produced for the Parking Operations Manager to undertake
     supervisory checks may not be complete due to inconsistent formatting of
     entries on the system.

•    Not all checks on system inputs and outputs are evidenced by the persons
     performing them.

•    Officers performing supervisory checks cannot always be identified.

•    No procedure to monitor the effectiveness of collections on tickets passed to
     the Bailiff for collection.

•    Staff knowledge of the computer system limited.

7.22 The computer system has fundamental control weaknesses and it is possible
that difficulties could be experienced in making staff responsible for transactions
performed on the system. The weaknesses carry with them the risk of sabotage to
system parameters that could result in embarrassment to the Authority.

7.23 The system is vulnerable to systematic manipulation and therefore it is
essential that good segregation of duties exists and that effective monitoring of all
transactions is carried out.

7.24 Staff training in how the system works may help with the design of effective
procedures and enable more meaningful and timely reports to be produced.

7.25 The risks of system downtime could be reduced by the negotiation of a contract
for a standby server, and agreeing roles in the recovery procedure between Client
and Corporate IT.

7.26 The ability to be able to manipulate the system exposes the authority to real
risks. However, the weaknesses in the security of the system are a potential risk that
needs to be managed as it could result in a major loss of revenue to the authority.

7.27 Audits of Parking Services had been undertaken regularly but had mainly
concentrated on the general systems/procedures in operation. Management’s
response to the previous recommendations was very good. However, delays in
responding to the computer system audit have been experienced.

7.28 The recommendations made during this audit that was finalised in May 1999
were agreed to by management with implementation dates of July 1999. A follow up


              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000              Page 50
audit was undertaken in January 2000 and it was found that there was little
knowledge of the audit report and/or the recommendations. This was mainly due to
management changes during the period which meant responsibility for the
implementation of the recommendations had become unclear. In addition there were
major activities being planned e.g. the move to the Depot and an upgrade of the
system.

7.29 Following the follow-up audit, Internal Audit has requested, on several
occasions, revised target dates for implementation of the recommendations. These
were finally received at the end of November 2000, with the majority of the target
dates being May 2001. This date is when the new Parking for Windows computer
system is to be implemented which should address many of the weaknesses in the
current system. It should be noted that some of these recommendations have been
partially implemented as an interim measure to improve controls. The remaining,
non-computer related, recommendations have been implemented.

7.30 Although interim measures have been introduced in some cases, the timely
and accurate implementation of the new system is crucial in ensuring that the overall
control environment is adequate. Internal Audit will be monitoring the project plan for
implementing the new system and raise any concerns with the appropriate level of
management. Internal Audit will also ensure that the new system does address all
the weaknesses previously identified.

Asylum Seekers

7.31 The weaknesses identified in the audit on the asylum seeker system as
follows:-

•    Standard assessment form not used for asylum seeker applications.

•    Assessment officers not trained in examining Immigration Nationality
     Department documents (IND).

•    Assessments are not authorised by senior officers.

•    Key IND documentation not always on file and photocopies of documents not
     verified as copies of original documents.

•    No checks to confirm applicants are not prior residents of the country or
     whether they are in employment.

•    Ineffective monitoring of expenditure and insecure database of asylum seeker
     information.

•    Payment procedures inadequate to ensure payment to correct person.

•    Reconciliation of the asylum seeker system to the general ledger system is only
     undertaken annually.



              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000               Page 51
•    Stock control on supermarket vouchers weak.

•    Lack of segregation of duties between assessment officers and payment
     officers.

•    Inadequate procedures for payments to landlords.

•    Review procedures to ensure continuing eligibility could be improved.

7.32 The asylum seeker system is divided between Social Services and Housing
Services with no central line management co-ordination which has led to
inconsistencies in the procedures and policies adopted.

7.33 The main weaknesses in the system means there is a high risk of both internal
fraud and individuals claiming support not being eligible. Other weaknesses relate to
the management information systems which could provide inaccurate information
through error or manipulation.

7.34 The previous audit on asylum seekers in 1997/98 identified a number of
weaknesses, most of which were addressed by management. Outstanding issues
from that report which had to be reported again in the recent report were the
weaknesses regarding IND documentation and contracts with landlords.

7.35 The 1999/2000 audit which was finalised in July 2000 has put forward 38
recommendations of which 4 have not been agreed to by management. The target
dates for implementation of these recommendations range from immediate
implementation to a target date of September 2000. A follow-up audit will be
undertaken later in the year to confirm the actual implementation of these
recommendations.

7.36 The four not agreed to and the reasons put forward by management were as
follows:-

•    Checking for any employment details – not agreed as considered Home Office
     responsibility prior to accepting asylum application However, Internal Audit’s
     view is that this would not take into account any changes to their status
     following acceptance as an asylum seeker.

•    Requesting asylum seekers to have their IND documentation when they attend
     the Cashiers Office for payment – not agreed as ID cards are now issued.

•    Contract for supermarket vouchers be put out to tender – not agreed as
     considered existing contractor gives highest discount and has maximum
     number of outlets. Although this may be the case, Internal Audit would prefer
     that official tendering was undertaken to confirm this.

•    Contracts should be set up for landlords so that invoices for accommodation
     can be checked effectively – not agreed as consider adequate arrangements
     already exist for checking invoices.


             PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000           Page 52
7.37 The grant recovery rate for the various categories of asylum seekers varies. In
1999/2000, the only category that was not fully recoverable was for 15 years old and
below where the loss per head was £391 per week. It is therefore essential that
these costs are monitored effectively.

General Ledger

7.38 The weaknesses identified in the audit on the general ledger (CFACS) system
were as follows:-

•    Deficiencies in computer access controls.

•    Systems documentation for the General Ledger system is poor.

•    Monthly reconciliations between the general ledger system and feeder systems
     are not always properly performed and discrepancies are not always promptly
     investigated.

•    Evidence that monthly reconciliations have been reviewed by a senior officer
     are not always in existence.

•    A control report is not always produced and monthly reconciliations are not
     always carried out for Student Awards.

7.39 Inadequate access controls means that unauthorised officers could perform
transactions in an attempt to conceal fraudulent activity. This is further exacerbated
as the lack of systems documentation means that the facilities available within the
system may not be understood or used.

7.40 The potential risk of the general ledger containing interface data that had not
been reconciled back to the feeder systems, is that it could give inaccurate
information.

7.41 The 6 (out of 15) recommendations not agreed to by management were mainly
for technical reasons within the CFACS system which will have a major upgrade in
2001.The recommendation regarding investigating discrepancies between the
payroll system and the general ledger was not agreed to as it was considered by
management that it would not be an effective use of resources. However, it is
Internal Audit’s view that there are risks in not investigating the cause of computer
system mis-balances, and it is important not to confuse apparently innocuous
symptoms with the cause – a small misbalance could mask major system
malfunction, which if uncorrected may eventually prove to be irrecoverable.

7.42 The remaining recommendations have been agreed for implementation by
management and Internal Audit will be conducting a follow-up audit to confirm actual
implementation in 2001.




              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000             Page 53
LEGAL IMPLICATIONS

7.43 No legal implications arising directly from this report.

RESOURCE IMPLICATIONS

7.44 There are no financial implications directly arising from this report.

BACKGROUND PAPERS

Internal Audit Reports and Working Papers




              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000            Page 54
                                                                       APPENDIX 1
HOUSING MANAGEMENT’S RESPONSE TO ISSUES RAISED DURING THE
INTERNAL AUDIT OF HOUSING BENEFITS

1.   Serious Deficiencies in Computer Access Controls

This was also reported in Internal Audit’s report on IT systems and also affects
Council Tax. This has been accepted. At the introduction of Release 4 of 1st
Revenues and Benefits the security table was lost. 1st Software and CFM blamed
each other with neither accepting responsibility. This means that any member of
staff with access to the system has access to everything and leaves the system open
to abuse. Unfortunately there is a substantial amount of work required to identify
which modules and to what level every member of staff should have access. It is
proposed that this work will be undertaken once the new server is in place. A senior
manager from both Revenues and Benefits will work on identifying modules and
agreeing level of access. Once this is done CFM or 1st Software will be required to
amend every person’s individual password. Target date for completion 1st April
2001.

2.   General Lack of Security to Deter Physical Access to the Section

This is accepted in principal. The BFI recommend that all benefit post is opened in a
secure area in the presence of a senior officer. This is problem with the type of
accommodation available in the Civic Centre. Benefits would need to sectioned off
from the rest of the quadrant with controlled access for relevant staff only.

We are in processing of looking at number of options for making benefit files and
post more secure:

1.   The option of PO Box numbers for Benefit and Fraud post, so it will be delivered
     directly to the Section.

2.   Positioning the post opening and workflow scanning in a secure area. If one
     can be found!

3.   Storage for the filing cabinets in the office, currently 200 approx. Unfortunately,
     secure, easy to access storage is a problem common with other Sections.

4.   A clear desk policy where everything is locked away at night. This will require
     all current filing cabinets to be emptied.

3.   Lack of vetting procedures for new staff

This was referred to Corporate Personnel in 1999. Policy is being implemented
including vetting new staff and following up references. Officer responsible, Roger
Hackett. This was included in the report to Policy Committee on 31/10/00.




             PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000             Page 55
4.   Recovery of Overpayments

The recommendation have been agreed in principal. Audit have indicated that
additional resources are required to improve the recovery of overpayments.
However, currently, 62% of rent allowance overpayments are recovered with the
resources available, 4 part time staff.

Unfortunately, there is a problem with the reports available from the Debtors system.
This a problem common to all 1st Software sites. 1st are attempting to rectify the
problems but admit that overpayments in general require a large amount of work. A
new incentive scheme proposed by the DSS for April 2001 will put greater emphasis
on overpayments generated, classified and recovered. The whole issue of
overpayments will therefore have to be addressed. We are currently looking at new
software package, Oracle Discoverer which may help us obtain correct information
from the Debtors system.

Due to the lack of accurate information it is not possible to agree or dispute the £1m
landlord overpayments that are outstanding. This is an estimate.

5.   Measures to deter fraud

The recommendations has been agreed in principal. Hillingdon has been very
successful in the detection of Fraud. We were one of the top performing London
Boroughs in 99/00. The two areas of weakness identified related to deterrence and
monitoring.

Deterrence - presumably this would cover such areas as fraud awareness,
prosecution policy and verification framework. We are currently working on a
training program with the Benefit Agency where we intend to run joint awareness
training sessions in the New Year. With the introduction of a new incentive scheme
from April 2001 our performance will be based on different criteria and therefore we
intend to introduce a comprehensive Prosecution Policy form April 2001.
Authorities who have introduced the verification framework have experienced major
problems with service delivery. The DSS however are proposing to allow Authorities
to implement VF in modules and this is something we will be looking at when we
produce our Action Plan for the next three years. Initially we plan to introduce VF,
on a module basis from April 2002.

Monitoring - we currently have a clerical system where we monitor cases, because of
the volume of cases it is very difficult to accurately monitor caseload and turnaround
times etc. We are however due to see a demonstration of a number of fraud
management systems shortly with the intention of purchasing a suitable system.

There is room for improvement and this is currently being addressed.

6.   Workflow system

This was disputed with Audit. It was explained that we only use the system for
storing of information once a claim was actioned. The full implementation of


             PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000           Page 56
workflow was stopped due to the proposal, firstly to outsource, and then to merge
with Revenues. The revised audit report recommends that an alternative workflow
system, which can be fully supported by the supplier should be given priority for
implementation.



14/11/00




             PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000      Page 57
USE OF CONSULTANTS IN THE CHIEF                                               ITEM 8
EXECUTIVE’S OFFICE AND FINANCE AND
PROPERTY – QUARTERLY REPORT
                                      Contact Officers: Janice Maule/Brian Murrell
                                      Telephone: 3567 / 3612

SUMMARY

The use made by the Council of consultants, agency staff, temporary staff and
overtime over the previous quarter (July to September 2000) is attached for
information.

RECOMMENDATION

That the report be noted.

INFORMATION

8.1 All service Committees and the Finance and Economic Regeneration
Sub-Committee will henceforth receive details of the use of consultants, agency
staff, temporary staff and overtime during the previous quarter, for the service areas
that they are responsible for.

8.2 This information is therefore attached for the Chief Executive’s Office and for
Finance and Property, for members information.

RESOURCE IMPLICATIONS

8.3 The costs outlined in the report have all been absorbed from within existing
budgets with the exception of the NNDR costs. These costs associated with the
recovery plan reported to Members earlier in the year have been declared as an
overspend in the current financial year.

LEGAL IMPLICATIONS

8.4 There are no legal implications arising directly from the report.

BACKGROUND DOCUMENTS

Personnel files within Chief Executive’s Department and Finance and Property




              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000            Page 58
            PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000   Page 59
            PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000   Page 60
            PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000   Page 61
            PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000   Page 62
            PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000   Page 63
            PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000   Page 64
            PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000   Page 65
            PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000   Page 66
FUNDING FOR STAFFING OF THE MAYOR’S                                          ITEM 9
OFFICE
                                             Contact Officer: David Brough
                                             Telephone: 01895 250636

SUMMARY

At the full Council meeting on Thursday 9 th November 2000, it was agreed that a
sum of money be set aside to cover additional staffing costs in the Mayor’s Office for
2001/02 subject to detailed examination by this Sub-Committee.

RECOMMENDATION

That £10,000 be allocated to cover additional costs associated with the staffing
of the Mayor’s Office for 2001/02 as set out in this report.

INFORMATION

9.1 The staffing of the Mayor’s Office consists of two Mayor’s Secretaries who are
on a job share which makes up a total of 40 hours a week. In addition there is a
Mayor’s Officer who is employed on a casual basis to carry the mace at Council
meetings and at major functions and to undertake other duties within the Parlour.
The current funding for the staffing of the Mayor’s Office is £33,240.

9.2 Some years ago there was a full-time Secretary and assistant but when the
budget provision was reduced there was only enough for one post. The job share
was introduced as a way of ensuring that there was more than one person to provide
a service to the Mayor but in practice there have been a number of operational
problems as follows:-

•    Firstly the overall level of support is inadequate to cover the amount of work
     required and this has been the case for a number of years. Staff have worked
     additional hours but there is no budget provision to pay overtime. To provide an
     additional 10 hours a week for the Office would cost £6925 including on-costs
     in a full year.

•    When one of the Secretaries is on leave or off sick the other Secretary has to
     come in to provide office cover but this results in her building up hours which
     she cannot take off because of the pressure of work. To pay for each Secretary
     to work additional hours to cover her colleague’s annual leave but not sick
     leave would cost £3542 including on-costs in a full year. This sum would only
     be spent if overtime hours were authorised in accordance with approved
     procedures

9.3 In addition to increased provision for secretarial support the Mayor also
proposes that the Mayor’s Officer should be paid an annual retainer of £1000 as



             PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000            Page 67
happened for the previous Mace-bearer. At present he is paid when his services are
used.

FINANCIAL COMMENTS

9.4 The costs of the proposals described in this report are:-

 Item                                             Full year £

 Extra hours for workload                            6925
 Extra hours to cover leave                          3542
 Mayor’s Officer retainer                            1000
 TOTAL                                              11,467

RESOURCE IMPLICATIONS

9.5 There is some provision within the current salaries budget to absorb a small
element of the extra support identified in the report (around £1,500). The net cost of
these proposals will therefore be in the region of £10k. This £10k can be funded out
of the £315k previously allocated for Members allowances/support. The remaining
£305k will be a potential saving in next years budget deliberations.

LEGAL IMPLICATIONS

9.6 There are no legal implications arising directly from this report.

BACKGROUND DOCUMENTS

Report and minutes of Policy Committee 31st October 2000
Report and minutes of Council on 9 th November 2000




              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000             Page 68
AUTHORISATION OF DISPOSALS UNDER                                              ITEM 10
STANDING ORDER 63
                                              Contact Officer: Martin White
                                              Telephone: 01898 250936

SUMMARY

Under Standing Order 63(6) this Sub-Committee is required to determine or approve
the method of disposal or lease where the value exceeds £1,000.

RECOMMENDATION

That the Sub-Committee approves the methods of disposal recommended in
the table in paragraph 10.2 of this report.

INFORMATION

10.1 Officers are required to obtain approval as to the methods of disposal by sale
or lease of properties. If no method is prescribed by the Committee the disposal shall
be by way of public advertisement unless the value does not exceed £1,000.

10.2 The sales or leases contained in the table are currently in hand having
previously authorised for disposal or lease by the appropriate Committee prior to
negotiations but the method of disposal had not been determined at that stage, or as
a result of further work done a revised method of disposal is being recommended.

LEGAL IMPLICATIONS

10.3 Under Section 123 of the Local Government Act 1972, the Council may
dispose of any of its land as it chooses but, except in the case of a short tenancy, the
consent of the Secretary of State is required if it is intended to dispose of land at less
than can reasonably be obtained. Standing Order 63(6) provides that “the relevant”
Committee is required to determine the method for disposal of land on the
recommendation of its officers. In this case, officers’ recommendations are set out
in the attached Table.

RESOURCE IMPLICATIONS

10.4 There are no direct financial implications arising from this report.

BACKGROUND DOCUMENTS

Nil




              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000               Page 69
                                                                              APPENDIX
                                        TABLE

METHODS OF DISPOSAL BY SALE OR LEASE OR CURRENT CASES WHERE
                    VALUE EXCEEDS £1,000


        ADDRESS               SALE OR   METHOD OF DISPOSAL                   REASON
                               LEASE
Units 1-18 Warnford           Lease     Public advertisement and      Units which become
Industrial Estate,                      negotiate with applicants     vacant are relet on the
Clayton Road, Hayes                                                   open market

Former Schoolkeeper’s         Lease     Private Treaty                To enable lease to
House                                                                 school governing
                                                                      bodies for use as
                                                                      accommodation by
                                                                      teachers

Land at 4 New Windsor         Sale      Public advertisement and      Current Lessee not
Street, Uxbridge                        negotiate with applicants     interested in
                                                                      purchasing. Propose
                                                                      sell on open market.

Market Shops 1-12,            Lease     Public advertisement and      Shops which become
Pavilions Shopping                      negotiate with applicants     vacant are relet on the
Centre, Uxbridge                                                      open market

Plot I, Uxbridge Industrial   Lease     Advertise for expressions     To attract partners for
Estate                                  of interest and seek offers   joint development for
                                        by tender or negotiation      small industrial units

Land adj. to Hayes By    Lease          Private Treaty                Land being used
Pass, North of Pump Lane                                              illegally by adjoining
                                                                      owner. Lease will
                                                                      regularise this.

Land underneath the           Lease     Private Treaty                Lease to adjoining
Hayes By Pass, North of                                               owner
Pump Lane

100 Car Parking Spaces,       Lease     Private Treaty                Negotiations with hotel
Cedars Car Park,                                                      operator intending to
Uxbridge                                                              convert redundant
                                                                      office blocks within the
                                                                      Pavilions Shopping
                                                                      Centre to hotel use.




                PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000                  Page 70
LANGLEY FARM, BREAKSPEAR ROAD NORTH,                                          ITEM 11
HAREFIELD – FREEHOLD DISPOSAL
                                              Contact Officer: M.Francis
                                              Telephone: 01895 250925

SUMMARY

Seeking approval to the proposed method of freehold disposal in compliance with
Standing Order 63 (6), and amendments to boundary of site to be sold.

RECOMMENDATIONS

1.   That officers be authorised to seek informal tender offers for the freehold
     of Langley Farm, the property comprising the land and buildings shown
     on the amended plan no: G1045/1 dated 13/12/00.

2.   In the event of the property not being sold by this method that officers be
     authorised to negotiate a sale by private treaty or auction, such sale terms
     to be approved by the Head of Property Services.

3.   That officers be authorised to submit a planning application for consent
     to a proposed change of use of the attached agricultural outbuilding to
     provide additional residential accommodation to the existing farmhouse.

INFORMATION

Background

11.1 In a report to Policy Committee 17/12/98 Langley Farm was identified in the
sales programme as a property to be disposed of on the open market.

11.2 The site of the property was identified in the report as shown on original plan
no:G1045 dated 19/11/98

11.3 In order to progress the sale procedures have to be put in place to seek the
Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions
(DETR) consent for the disposal under the provisions of the Green Belt (London &
Home Counties) Act 1938.

11.4 Part of the information required by the DETR when considering the application
is a copy of the Committee decision authorising the proposed sale.

11.5 Officers are of the opinion that in view of the likely timescale for the granting of
DETR consent (which could be 6 – 9 months from the experience of other Local
Authority disposals) the most appropriate method of freehold disposal initially is by
informal tender of offers, since it is only when DETR consent is confirmed that
negotiations can be finalised. In order to comply with the requirement of Standing


              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000               Page 71
Order 63 (6) this matter is being reported to Committee for approval as to the
method of disposal.

11.6 Officers have also reviewed the property to be offered for sale since the
original report in 1998 and have concluded that there ought to be a revision to the
original site boundaries to retain one barn and the adjoining paddock in Council
ownership as a useful adjunct to Park Lodge Farm. An alternative area of land
adjoining Breakspear Road North is proposed to be included in the sale as a
paddock. The revised boundary is now shown on plan no: G1045/1 dated 13/12/00.

11.7 It is proposed that Langley Farm will be sold with a covenant against
development of the outbuildings and listed barn, in order to reassure the DETR that
the intentions are to protect the original aspirations of the Green Belt Act as far as
possible, and to ensure that the Council benefits from any development value not
reflected in the initial purchase price should planning consent be granted at some
future date.

11.8 The Council will however be making an application to the Local Planning
Authority for a change of use of the outbuilding attached to the house from
agricultural to residential, as additional accommodation for the farmhouse, in the
belief that this should enhance the value of the offers received. The outbuilding is
shown cross hatched on the plan.

11.9 All offers sought will be on the understanding that they are unconditional from
the proposed purchaser, but conditional upon the Council obtaining consent to the
disposal under the Green Belt Act procedures. In the event that the initial marketing
exercise does not find a suitable purchaser the intention is to remarket for private
treaty sale and then if still no satisfactory conclusion necessary to offer the property
for auction.

LEGAL IMPLICATIONS

11.10 Under Section 123 of the Local Government Act 1972, the Council may
dispose of any of its land as it chooses but, except in the cases of a short tenancy,
the consent of the Secretary of State is required if it is intended to dispose of that
land at less than can be reasonably obtained.

11.11 From this report, there appears to be no intention of obtaining less than the
best price that can reasonably be obtained on the disposal of the Farm. The
Secretary of State’s consent is still required , however, because section 5 of the
Green Belt (London & Home Counties ) Act 1938 provides that, before Green Belt
land which is owned by the local authority under that Act can be sold, exchanged or
appropriated, the authority must, among other things, obtain the Secretary of State’s
consent. Legal input is likely to be required in obtaining that consent.

11.12 Standing Order 63 (6) provides that the “relevant” Committee is required to
determine the method for disposal of land on the recommendation of its officers. The
“relevant” Committee in this case is the Finance and Economic Regeneration Sub
Committee.


              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000               Page 72
FINANCIAL COMMENTS

11.13 The sale of the property would generate a capital receipt that would be
available to fund new capital expenditure. The forecast of possible capital receipts
for 2001/02 includes this site. The Council currently receives no income from the
property and will be removing a liability in terms of future maintenance that would be
required to protect the asset.

BACKGROUND DOCUMENTS

Report to Policy Committee 17/12/98 Appendix C
Standing Order 63 (6)




              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000            Page 73
            PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000   Page 74
            PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000   Page 75
27 VICTORIA ROAD, RUISLIP MANOR                                              ITEM 12
                                             Contact Officer: Martin White
                                             Telephone: 01898 250936

SUMMARY

This report seeks Members’ approval to the valuation of 27 Victoria Road, shown
edged black on the plan no. RUI.30 dated 21 November 2000, and to its
appropriation from the general fund to Housing Act purposes.

RECOMMENDATION

That the Sub-Committee approves a valuation of £0 for the property and agree
its appropriation from the General Fund to Housing Act purposes.

INFORMATION

12.1 27 Victoria Road is a leasehold property which was first acquired in 1965. It
was originally held for Education purposes the ground floor lock up shop being used
as a careers office. The flat above was managed by the Ruislip housing office. When
the careers office closed the property was transferred to the General Fund. The
shop has been vacant since April 1996. The flat remains tenanted.

12.2 The Council’s most recent lease expired on 24 December 1998. Since that
date the Council has remained in occupation by virtue of a continuation tenancy
under Part II of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. Although the shop is surplus to
requirements the property cannot be surrendered by the Council. It is unable to give
vacant possession of the flat as the tenant has acquired security of tenure under the
Housing Act 1985.

12.3 Transfer of the property to Housing Act purposes will allow Housing Services to
manage it. The lease could be renewed and a tenant sought for the shop or the
housing tenant could be relocated and the property surrendered.

12.4 Transfer will comply with the proposals for revenue savings in Corporate
Services budget approved by the Sub-Committee on 12 September 2000, generating
savings of around £14,000.

12.5 The Council pays a rent of £14,475 per annum for the premises. This is
partially offset by the rent for the flat although other expenses such as empty
property rates for the shop are incurred. Were the shop to be let total income
received is unlikely to exceed the rent paid. In view of this it is recommended that the
property is appropriated at nil value.

LEGAL IMPLICATIONS




              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000             Page 76
12.6 An authority may, in certain cases, appropriate land already held for one
statutory purpose to some other statutory purpose, for example, when the land is no
longer required for the purposes for which it was previously held. The question of
whether land is no longer required for its existing or previous purpose is for the
authority to decide, although the decision would be reviewable on Wednesbury
principles of reasonableness. The issues surrounding the appropriation of this
property are set out in the body of the report.

RESOURCE IMPLICATIONS

12.7 The appropriation from the General Fund to the Housing Revenue Account is
part of the savings package already agreed by Members. The nil valuation arises
from the adverse impact the secured tenancy has on the letting of the shop

BACKGROUND DOCUMENTS

Nil




             PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000          Page 77
            PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000   Page 78
HIGHGROVE POOL OVERFLOW CAR PARK –                                           ITEM 13
REQUEST FOR DISPOSAL
                                             Contact Officer: Lenny Kinnear
                                             Telephone: 01895 250625

SUMMARY

Education Committee on the 7 th December 2000 considered an update report on the
Asset Management Review of facilities for leisure, youth provision, adult education
and libraries. It sought approval from Members to undertake further feasibility work
to provide options for procurement and financing in the context of the Council’s
overall capital strategy. As part of its consideration it was asked to declare the land
forming the overflow car park at Highgrove Pool surplus to requirements and
recommend to this Sub-Committee that it be disposed of. This Sub-Committee is
therefore asked to consider the proposal.

RECOMMENDATION

That the land forming the overflow car park at Highgrove Pool (and shown on
plan G564, dated 19th October 2000) declared surplus to requirements by
Education Committee, be sold by way of private treaty to a Housing
Association provided terms are agreed within a reasonable period, or, by way
of public advertisement and informal tender.

INFORMATION

13.1 At its meeting on 19th October 2000, the Education Committee endorsed the
aims of the EYL Asset Management Review and agreed that the development
proposals should be revised to reflect the outcomes of the formal public consultation.
The Committee agreed that officers should undertake further preparation and
feasibility work on the revised proposals, firming up partnerships and appraising
external funding opportunities.

13.2 The Education Committee also agreed to commission KPMG to work with the
current project team on the project master plan and procurement options to provide
options for closing the funding gap and recommend the best sequence for delivery in
the Council’s overall capital programme. This aspect of the October 2000
recommendations was referred to Policy Committee for authorisation on
31st October 2000.

13.3 Due to the Council’s budgetary position in the current financial year, the Policy
Committee did not approve any further revenue expenditure on the AMR. Instead, it
resolved to defer any decision until its December meeting when the 2000/01 revenue
situation should be clearer.

13.4 The Policy Committee did, however, agree to sell the overflow car park at
Highgrove Pool for residential development. The capital receipt will fund the


              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000             Page 79
proposed improvements to Highgrove Pool and Manor Farm library. This approval
was dependent on a guarantee that the sale could take place in 2001/02.

Highgrove

13.5 The residential layout for the optimum development of the overflow car park is
complete and an outline planning application with supporting planning statement has
been submitted. Preliminary discussions with officers from Planning Services
suggest that the scheme is acceptable. The proposals make more effective use of
the site and may yield a higher sale price than was originally envisaged.
Discussions are now underway with Housing officers to determine whether a private
residential development or a partnership with a housing association is preferred. It is
obviously important that the Council receives best consideration for this disposal in
order to maximise funding for the proposed AMR refurbishments, however, this
needs to be balanced against the need for affordable housing in the north of the
borough. It will be possible to sell the overflow car park in 2001/02. It is, therefore,
recommended that the land forming the overflow car park (and shown on plan G564)
be declared surplus to requirements and Finance and Economic Regeneration
Sub-Committee be asked to provide authority for disposal. A planning application
will be submitted after this Committee.

13.6 Officers are developing detailed proposals for the improvements and
alterations required for the Highgrove Pool buildings. The new “fitness Zone” gym is
proving very popular and the annual membership target has been exceeded. The
gym is also being regularly used by a significant number of “pay as you go”
customers. Gym members have raised concerns regarding the poor changing
facilities at Highgrove Pool and many are choosing to come to the gym already
changed. This is causing a slight problem with bags and jackets being left in the
reception area. Due to this, officers have prioritised the provision of good quality
changing accommodation on the floor immediately below the “fitness Zone”.

13.7 The Highgrove Pool project is being planned with phased implementation in
mind. It is important that normal service levels are maintained while the
refurbishment work is underway. This will inevitably mean that temporary changing
and reception facilities will be required during certain phases of the project. The
project itself will involve improving the health and fitness suite, refurbishing the
reception area, developing a changing village, improving the social area, providing
separate heating plant for the small pool plus various cosmetic improvements to the
appearance of the facility. Existing pool users will be consulted on the proposals
prior to implementation.

13.8 The Manor Farm library improvements to disabled access and linked library
refurbishment will be Stage 2 of the overall project.

LEGAL IMPLICATIONS

13.9 Section 123 of the Local Government Act 1972 enables the Council to dispose
of any of its land as it chooses. It must dispose of the land in this case at the best
consideration that can reasonably be obtained in the circumstances.


              PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000             Page 80
RESOURCE IMPLICATIONS

13.10 The disposal will generate a capital receipt which will be used to fund projects
incorporated into the programme consistent with the resolution passed by Policy
Committee on the application of this receipt at their meeting on the
31st October 2000.

BACKGROUND DOCUMENTS

Report to Education Committee 19th October 2000 “Asset Management Review”.
Report to Education Committee June 2000 “Asset Management Review – Further
Update”
Report to Education Committee March 2000 “Asset Management Review”
Asset Management Review Update Document March 2000
Report to Education Committee February 2000 “Asset Management Review Update”
Report to Education Committee December 1999 “Asset Management Review
Update”
Report to Education Committee October 1999 “Education, Youth and Leisure
Services Asset Management Review”
Asset Management Review Document October 1999.
Enterprise Consultation Report
Council Consultation Report
Online Leisure Demand Analysis




             PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000            Page 81
            PART I – MEMBERS & PUBLIC (INCLUDING THE PRESS)

Finance & Economic Regeneration Sub-Committee – 13th December 2000   Page 82

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Stats:
views:12
posted:8/24/2011
language:English
pages:85