Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Committee for Leader, Finance and Performance - Wednesday, 15th January, 2020 7.00 pm

As of May 2021, decision making of meetings of the Council have returned to in-person sessions. A number of meetings remain virtual, with appropriate Councillors attending via remote video link. Public access to these meetings is via a live stream video through the Council’s official YouTube channel

Venue: Council Chamber

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No. Item


To note Substitutes in Accordance with Council Procedure Rule 4 - Substitutes at Meetings of Committees etc.




To receive apologies for absence.


Apologies were received from Councillor Stockwell.


To receive Declarations of Interests from Members in respect of any matter on the Agenda.


In relation to item 6 on the agenda, Councillor Lea declared that he is a West Sussex County Councillor.



To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 20 November 2019. pdf icon PDF 213 KB


The minutes of the meeting held on 20 November 2019 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.



To consider any items that the Chairman agrees to take as urgent business.




Draft Corporate Plan and Budget for 2020/21. pdf icon PDF 127 KB

Additional documents:


The Leader was invited to provide an overview of the budget.  He advised the Committee Members that the meeting provided an opportunity to scrutinise the Corporate Plan and Budget for 2020/21. He noted that following the scrutiny of the draft Service Plans and Budget, the Cabinet would consider them and then Council to would consider them at its meeting in early March. He commented on changes to the funding regime for local government.


The Chief Executive explained to the Committee how papers could be used to enable the Scrutiny Committee to consider all aspects of the draft budget and service plands 2020/1.


Members discussed Government Funding, the Full Fibre network for Burgess Hill, and staffing levels.  The Chief Executive advised that when the report was written the provisional local government settlement was not known.  However, since the General Election it had been announced and the draft budget did not require amendments in the light of it.  The Head of Corporate resources noted that it was predicted that no revenue support would be received, which was correct but the system may change for 2021/22.  The Head of Digital and Customer Service provided details on the Council’s employees.


Information was sought on insurance, rental income, sale of assets, the future predicted deficit and The Orchards.  The Head of Corporate Resources confirmed that due to collective procurement with other local authorities insurance costs had reduced.  He advised that changes in rents were reported on an individual bases as no regular increments were built in.  The Chief Executive commented that the budget predicted a deficit in year 2; however some factors may change and noted that the Fair Funding review would be material.  Some Councils like Mid Sussex may not fair very well and money may be diverted to other local authorities with children and adult responsibilities. She noted that receipts from the sale of assets were not accounted for until they were received.  The Leader confirmed that a study was underway to assess options to improve The Orchards to generate more income and reflect the changing needs of Mid Sussex residents.  He noted the 8% increase in footfall at The Orchards in the last quarter. 


Members discussed the long term investment strategy in playgrounds, the Full Fibre network and areas of Mid Sussex currently benefiting from projects.  The Assistant Chief Executive noted that 6 key parks had been identified for investment and that Council has commissioned a study to develop a 5 to 10 year strategy, for investment in the future.  She confirmed some improvements had already been completed.  The Chief Executive advised that the scrutiny committees will receive reports on the priority projects progress and noted that most were long term projects.  The Head of Digital and Customer Service confirmed the extensive works required on ROI and regulated matters by Government funded projects.  The Leader advised that the current development in Burgess Hill is supported by central government and emphasised that there is no prioritisation of investments in settlements in the District,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Scrutiny Committee for Leader, Finance and Performance Work Programme 2019/20. pdf icon PDF 274 KB


Tom Clark, Solicitor to the Council introduced the report, highlighting the two items which will appear on the next agenda.  He noted that the next meeting would be held on 7 April 2020.


The Head of Corporate Resources noted that capital projects are monitored through the budget management report and this report is received by this committee bi-annually.


The Chairman took Members to the recommendation which was agreed unanimously.




The Committee:


(i)    Agreed the Committee’s Work Programme as set out at paragraph 5 of the report, noting the date of the next meeting will be 7 April 2020.




Questions pursuant to Council Procedure Rule 10, due notice of which has been given.