Agenda and minutes

Venue: St George's Room, Elizabeth House, Dereham

Contact: Committee Services  01362 656870

No. Item


Apologies (Agenda item 1)

To receive apologies for absence.


There were no apologies for absence.


Urgent Business (Agenda item 2)

To note whether the Chairman proposes to accept any item as urgent business, pursuant to Section 100(B)(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972.




Declaration of Interest (Agenda item 3)

Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests that they may have in any of the following items on the agenda.  The Members’ Code of Conduct requires that declarations include the nature of the interest and whether it is a personal or prejudicial interest.




Non-members wishing to address the meeting (Agenda item 4)

To note the names of any non-members wishing to address the meeting.


Mr P Duigan and Mr M Kiddle-Morris.


Exclusion of Press and Public (Agenda item 5)

To consider passing the following resolution:  “That under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1973, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A to the Act.”





RESOLVED that under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and the public be excluded for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A to the Act.


Proposed Investment Property Acquisition (Agenda item 6)

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive.


The Executive Member for the Economic & Commercial Portfolio thanked the Chairman for bringing the item to this an emergency meeting.  He advised that since the publication of the agenda, a number of the risks on the Risk Register had changed and a further risk had been added (see Risk Ref No. 17).


The Head of Asset Management provided Members with a verbal update to confirm that due diligence had been completed following Council’s approval to the acquisition of an investment for inclusion in Breckland Council’s property portfolio.


Following the Council’s approval, Breckland Council had been able to enter into a formal ‘lock out’ period which expired on Wednesday, 24 November 2010; therefore, the timing of this meeting had been pertinent and crucial.


The report that had been presented to Full Council had set out Breckland Council’s position on the matter subsequently this report provided Members with a written update on the due diligence process.


The property would not be a risk free investment and the role of Asset, Legal and Finance had been to identify risks and present to the Committee with any findings.


Each risk on the revised Risk Register was explained in detail.


A Member felt that an “exposure draft” would be pertinent to Risk 1 and therefore felt that the risk should be scored higher than one.  He explained that such a draft was supposed to come into effect sometime in 2011/12 and this lease would extend into that time period.


Questions were asked about business risk failure.  Members were content with the response.


A Member had taken an interest in the environmental risks highlighted in the report as it suggested that the property had some environmental issues.  The Head of Asset Management advised that the site check report had been based on a desk top analysis, since then, a specialist Phase 1 report had confirmed that there were no contamination issues.  Members were pleased to note that a formal assignment for Breckland would be obtained.


Referring to Risk no. 12, the Chairman felt that this should be scored as a bigger risk to take into account the current economic climate.  Members were informed that the Council had relied on the reputation of the valuer and the purchase amount had been based on current market prices.


In response to a concern, it was noted that the car park was included in the Head Lease. 


The Commercial Solicitor addressed the matters that had been set out in the memo attached to the report.


Members were encouraged to ask questions.


A Member wished to know why the current owner had chosen this particular time to sell.  The Head of Asset Management advised that the Council had asked the vendors this question and the answer was still awaited.  He put forward his thoughts and beliefs on the matter in question.


A question was asked as to why the previous buyers had decided not to proceed.  Members were informed that the previous buyers had been unable to perform within the timescale  ...  view the full minutes text for item 76.


Next Meeting (Agenda item 7)

To note the arrangements for the next meeting to be held on 14 January 2011.


The arrangements for the next ordinary meeting of the Audit Committee on 14 January 2011 were noted.


Budget Presentation (Agenda item 8) pdf icon PDF 25 KB

A presentation to accompany the attached report will be provided by the Head of Finance.


The Head of Finance provided Members with an overview of the spending review and covered the key aspects that had been presented to Executive Board meetings throughout the year.


A presentation was provided.


The comprehensive spending review headlines for receipts and expenditure were explained. 


Part of the grant that the Council received relating to concessionary fares would be moved to County Councils in 2011.  This would have implications to local authorities as it would affect the Formula Grant.  The Head of Finance was unsure what would happen to district funding as the paper that had been promised following the CSR announcement detailing the consultation outcome had not bee published.


A 2 + 2 year settlement, which used to be a 3 year settlement, was expected to be announced in early December; however, there had been some speculation on this being delayed which could have an impact on Committee dates, meaning the Budget Settlement report may have to skip a Committee cycle.


The assumptions in preparing the revenue budget were explained and the Estimated Settlement chart from 2011/12 to 2015/16 was shown.


The efficiency requirement of £328k would increase by this amount year on year but would partly be off-set by the projected New Homes Bonus.  This new reward would more than cover the efficiency requirements as the Council moved forward; however, it was emphasised that it only related to new additional homes and not existing and there was a risk associated with relying on this Bonus as the details would not be confirmed until the New Year.


The interest earned would return to more ‘normal’ market levels by 2012/13.


Costs saved through the new shared management and ICT structure were highlighted, as well as the RSV risks.


A Member congratulated the Finance Team for being prudent enough in preparing for these budgetary changes and cuts far enough ahead. 


The Chairman agreed with the aforementioned comment, Breckland Council was in a very good financial position compared to many other authorities.