Agenda item

Agenda item


To receive an update on a proposed new capital budget setting process and draft changes to the Terms of Reference and name of the Strategic Investment Group (copy enclosed).



The Lead Member for Finance, Performance and Strategic Assets along with the Head of Finance introduced the report to the committee (previously circulated).


The purpose of the report provided an update to members on the proposed new capital budget setting process and draft changes to the Terms of Reference and name of the Strategic Investment Group. Cabinet were in support of the proposed changes.


Members were directed to section 4 of the cover report which provided details of the reasons for change. One of the strongest reasons for change had been to adopt a more strategic approach to reviewing capital bids. The proposal aimed to reduce the chance of reviewing bids in isolation bit to collate the bids into an annual process. To allow for the best decisions to be made with regard to capital funding.


The proposal included a new group called the Capital Scrutiny Group to be created. The group would scrutinise business cases and capital budgets. The group would not make any decisions. If the group were not in support of a project, it could still be provided to Cabinet for discussion and resolution.


If members were in support of the proposed changes and Cabinet in December agreed the constitution would need to be amended. Members also heard that if approved a full guidance pack would be created for project officers and services. Thus to ensure compliance with the process and how to complete the business case.


The report also included details of the proposal to have separate approval arrangements for fully grant funded projects and below £250k. Research had taken place to see what other local authorities allowed.


The Chair thanked the Lead Member and Head of Finance for the detailed introduction to the proposals.

Following the introduction members discussed the following in more detail:

·         The Head of Finance agreed the report needed to include reference to the 100% grant funding schemes.

·         A glossary would be helpful and beneficial to the reader of the report. Including a brief summary explaining each terminology.  

·         The process included in the council’s constitution allowed Cabinet to approve individual capital schemes, with the annual Capital Plan requiring approval from full Council. Currently of projects are under £1mil the Strategic Investment Group could grant approval, if over £1mil Cabinet would have to approve and over £2mil the proposal had to be presented and approved by full Council.

·         All project proposals that are not fully grant funding would have to be presented to Capital Scrutiny Group.

·         The capital budget was due to be set in December for Cabinet approval in January.

·         A suggested addition to the core functions of the Capital Scrutiny Group element of the report was raised. It was suggested ‘refer to experiences of previous decisions/ projects’ be inserted at the start of the first bullet point. The Head of Finance confirmed he would have a look at the section to ensure previous experience was included as a core function.

·         It was stressed to members that a request had been made to Internal Audit to complete a review including before and after implementation if approved. The Chief Internal Auditor confirmed a mini audit was scheduled.

·         The new Capital Scrutiny Group would aid in the support of putting the business cases together, providing members time to ready the cases.

·         It was confirmed if the Chair of the group deemed a proposal needing Cabinet approval it could be presented to Cabinet for debate.

·         It was noted the rising costs of inflation and how that may affect a proposal.


Members thanked the Head of Finance for the detailed responses to members comments and concerns.


RESOLVED that the committee were in agreement to proceed with the consultation and decision making process and the committee discussed and debated the changes to the capital process including the terms of reference to be reported back to Cabinet.


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