Agenda and minutes

Special Budget, Regeneration and Sustainable Development Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 27th November, 2017 10.00 am

Venue: Committee Room 1/2 - Port Talbot Civic Centre. View directions

No. Item


To scrutinise information and monitoring issues being reported by:


Consultation on Environment Directorate's Budget And Draft Savings For 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 240 KB


Officers provided Members with the context for the Environment Directorate’s draft budget proposals. Officers reported that the provisional Local Government settlement for 2018/19 for the authority was £20m less than the previous year. Officers stated that the Environment Directorate’s budget was £32.710m at present and was currently 11.9% of the local authority’s overall budget. Officers continued by stating that since 2009/10 the Directorate had contributed £18m towards the authority’s deficit and was expected to contribute an additional £2m in the current financial year. Officers added that over 400 members of staff had left the Directorate within the last seven years, with 200 leaving under the Early Retirement/Voluntary Redundancy (ER/VR) scheme during financial years 2013/14 and 2014/15.

Officers referred to proposal ENV706 regarding the generation of income through asset sponsorship. Officers informed Members that the additional £75k target identified in the current Financial Forward Plan had been deferred, but was likely to be achieved during the next financial year now that the contract with Immediate Solutions had been extended. 

Officers elaborated on proposal ENV804 regarding staff redundancies and the deletion of posts across the directorate. Officers stated that these savings would be achieved by considering ER/VR applications and by utilising existing staff in different ways.

Officers updated Members on proposal ENV805 regarding the reduction of staff within the Planning Department. Officers reported that a couple of enquiries had been received from staff with regard to the ER/VR scheme. Officers continued by stating that losing experienced staff through the ER/VR scheme would put pressure on the service area, and a re-structure may help to alleviate the problem.

Officers referred to proposal ENV806 regarding the increase to the rent for workshops, industrial units and business centres. Officers acknowledged that some businesses may already be facing financial difficulty and a rent increase may affect some businesses more than others. Officers assured Members that the authority would try to work with businesses where possible. Officers continued by stating that due to the financial pressures placed on the authority a slight rent increase was necessary. 

Officers conceded that the list of proposals brought forward for the next financial year were not as extensive as in previous years as it was becoming increasingly difficult each year to identify savings. Despite this, officers informed Members that other items and proposals would be brought to future scrutiny committee meetings such as the cleaning review, public conveniences review and a joint review with the Social Services Health and Housing Directorate to look at aspects of commissioning.

Members queried how much interest had been expressed so far in relation to asset sponsorship (proposal ENV706). Officers informed Members that the authority worked with an external provider called Immediate Solutions in order to attract businesses who would be interested in asset sponsorship. Officers continued by stating that Immediate Solutions received a percentage fee for every sponsorship deal that they gained for the authority. Officers conceded that sponsorship had tailed off towards the end of this year. Officers explained that the company received a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 1a