Agenda and minutes

Joint Meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees, Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 15th January, 2020 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber, Blackdown House, Honiton

Contact: Chris Lane, Democratic Services Officer  01395 517544; email


No. Item


Public speaking

Information on public speaking is available online



There were no public speakers at the meeting.


Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 56 KB


The minutes of the previous meeting held on 5 September 2019 were agreed and signed as a true record.


Declarations of interest

Guidance is available online to Councillors and co-opted members on making declarations of interest



Cllr Kim Bloxham Minute 6, Personal Interest, Member of Cranbrook Town Council


Cllr Sam Hawkins Minute 6, Personal Interest, Member of Cranbrook Town Council


Cllr John Loudon, Minute 6, Personal Interest, Member of Sidmouth Town Council




Matters of urgency

Information on matters of urgency is available online



There were no matters of urgency.


Confidential/exempt item(s)

To agree any items to be dealt with after the public (including the press) have been excluded. Thereare no itemswhich officersrecommendshould be dealtwithin thisway.



There were no confidential items.


Draft Revenue and Capital Budgets 2020/21 and Key Service Objectives


The Chairman welcomed the Strategic Lead Finance to open the meeting with an overview of the budget position in the context of the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) and the main factors influencing this and future budgets.


The report presented the draft revenue and capital budgets for 2020/21 for consideration by this joint meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Recommendations from this meeting would be presented to the Cabinet on 5th February 2020 when members would finalise budget proposals to be recommended to Council.


Members noted that the projected deficit was £0.7M in 2020/21 rising to £1.6M in 2021/22, giving a total deficit in the next two years of £2.3M.


At the beginning of the meeting Cllr Fabian King expressed a concern over whether Commercialisation Strategy as presented was fit for purpose. He was concerned that there did not seem to be a viable plan and that the senior management of the Council needed to acknowledge the need to change. He considered that managing change had not been handled well or planned. He was concerned that the Council would not be able to generate sufficient income through its Commercialisation Strategy.


During discussions the following points were noted:

·       There had been no significant generation of additional income by the Council.

·       There was an issue of management of change by the Council.

·       Need to progress the process of change.

·       A Transformation Strategy had been in place for a number of years.

·       Significant budget savings had been achieved over recent years in response to the reduction and removal of Government grants.

·       There had been considerable thought given to the posts that were being made redundant under ‘Fit for Purpose’. Systems thinking had made the way the Council worked more efficient and Development Management had seen a recent reduction in workload.

·       It was acknowledged that there had been a number of proposed income generating areas that had slipped in the budget.

·       The Commercialisation post was to assist Service Leads on preparing business plans but the Senior Management Team (SMT) were responsible for delivery of commercialisation initiatives.

·       Why have we not invested in commercial initiatives or housing? The Council were limited by that lack of suitable property available in the district.

·       If there was no money we would have no choices to take.

·       Concern expressed that Council Tax had not been increased for many years previously.

·       The Action Plan was weak as there was a lack of commercial income.

·       Concerns about how much car park initiatives would achieve in 2021. Would like reassurances about the future.

·       Would have to look at other initiatives if current ones did not bring in income.

·       What would happen with Cranbrook in future years?

·       The need to produce a balanced budget by being more commercially driven.

·       Concern about proposals to create an alternative shopping centre to Cranbrook town centre on the outskirts of Exeter.

·       There was there need for someone to drive forward a cultural change at EDDC. Concern that the £60K for commercialisation would not be spent  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.