Agenda item

ARP Joint Committee Partnership Budget (Agenda item 7)

Report of Alison Chubbock, BDC Chief Accountant (Deputy S151 Officer).



The Chief Accountant & Deputy S151 Officer (BDC) presented the proposed budget for the whole of the Partnership for the next financial year, 2021-22. The report also included indicative future years allocations and highlighted the individual Partners’ shares towards the costs.


The budget for next year was £151k lower than 2020-21, mainly due to additional income in respect of parking enforcement work – the detail behind this figure had been highlighted at paragraph 1.5 of the report.


Future budgets from 2022-23 included other efficiency targets to be achieved of £220k.


The recent spending review announced a public sector pay freeze just prior to the publication of the report. Consequently, this budget paper did not include any reduction from this potential change but with many of the Partners’ on local pay schemes this would not be reflected in every single Partners’ budget. It was likely that there could be a saving of approximately £40k from that pay freeze due to all Partners’ making their own decisions; therefore, for next year, a small variance would be shown if that pay freeze came to fruition.


Although the enforcement income continued to be a risk, all services were continuing as normal and the budget had been based on those services as expected.


The Vice-Chairman referred to section 1.4 of the report where it mentioned new parking enforcement work would commence in 2020-21.  He asked if this could be explained as he was not aware of this new service. Jo Andrews, the Strategic Manager (Revenues) ARP explained that ARP would be taking on this enforcement work in respect of parking fines for East & West Suffolk Councils.  This would operate in the exact same way as council tax and business rates enforcement and an increase in fee collections and income was expected. 


The Vice-Chairman also asked a question in respect of no changes being made to the budget setting going forward.  The Chief Accountant (BDC) explained that this year had been used as a basis taking account of ARP’s performance and continued delivery of services and was comfortable with the proposed budget going forward in such uncertain times.


Having seen the way that the ARP had delivered services during such difficult times, the Chairman felt that the Chief Accountant’s assessment of this budget was correct. 


Councillor French had been very interested to hear about the new parking enforcement service.  As the Portfolio Holder for Fenland DC, she had been looking into this matter and various meetings had been held and a draft report was being prepared hopefully prior to Christmas.   One of the issues discussed during these meetings was how fines that had not been paid were collected and she would be very interested to have further conversations with ARP in respect of this work.


The Chairman felt that there had been much discussion at previous meetings on lessons learnt and transferring skills sets within the Partnership and this new enforcement work could clearly benefit Fenland DC.  He was sure that the Strategic Manager (Revenues) ARP would be happy to assist Fenland in any way that she could.


Members were informed that Suffolk County Council delegated authority to East & West Suffolk District Councils who had their own in-house teams to manage such work. Enforcement matters then came to the ARP’s Enforcement Team which all Partners would benefit from.


Paul Corney, the Head of ARP suggested that Sam Anthony, the Head of HR & Organisational Development for Fenland District Council speak to the other OIB Members from East & West Suffolk to understand exactly what process they followed that could be of some assistance. 


In response, the Head of HR & Organisational Development said that she would be happy to follow that up with OIB Members.


The Chairman thanked the Chief Accountant (BDC) for an excellent report.


RESOLVED that the Partnership budget at Appendix A of the report for 2021-22 be approved.















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