Agenda item

Budget Proposals

To receive an update on the proposed budget for 2024/25 and the provisional budgets for 2025/26 and 2026/27, so far as the proposals relate to the remit of the Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing & Communities).


The Chair noted that the Executive Board’s budget proposals were referred to Scrutiny for consideration and comment on 13 December 2023.


Initial working groups took place in December 2023 to enable scrutiny members to discuss the budget proposals so far as they related to the remits of their respective boards.


There is further opportunity for members to consider the proposals at the January cycle of public Scrutiny Board meetings.


The comments and conclusions of all the Scrutiny Boards will be summarised in a joint report that will be submitted to the Executive Board in February.


When the Executive Board refers the final budget proposals to Council, its members will need to report how they have taken account of any recommendations made by the Scrutiny Boards.


Those in attendance for this item were:


·  Cllr M Harland (Executive Member, Communities)

·  Cllr M Rafique (Executive Member, Energy, Environment & Green Spaces)

·  Cllr J Lennox (Executive Member, Housing)

·  Cllr D Coupar (Executive Member, Resources)

·  James Rogers (Director, Communities, Housing & Environment)

·  Paul Money (Chief Officer, Safer, Stronger Communities)

·  Lee Hemsworth (Chief Officer, Community Hubs, Welfare & Business Support)

·  John Woolmer (Chief Officer, Environmental Services)

·  John Mulcahy (Chief Officer, Elections and Regulatory)

·  David McNutt (Senior Finance Business Partner)

·  Gerard Tinsdale (Chief officer, Housing)

·  Adam Crampton (Head of Property Management)


The Chair summarised the comments, conclusions and recommendations of members of the Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing & Communities) at their working group in December 2023.


He noted that the following matters had been discussed and would therefore be reflected in the joint Scrutiny report:


-  Expansion of district parking charges and the service review proposal relating to new charges at Middleton, Roundhay and Temple Newsam.


-  The introduction of car parking charges at Golden Acre and Otley Chevin Parks (categorised as a ‘business as usual’ saving with further comment scheduled under the following item).


-  Trade Union engagement with proposals to reduce staffing numbers. 


-  The distribution of Welcome Spaces for winter 2024.


-  Continued publication of both Business as Usual and Service Review proposals.


-  Assurances were sought regarding attracting new users to community centres to generate income, reductions in 3rd sector funding, opportunities to improve insulation in community buildings and the likelihood of increased fly tipping due to bulky waste charges.


-  Members requested that community committees receive information about costs for services carried out by the cleaner neighbourhoods’ teams - to inform local decisions about future service prioritisation.


-  Members recommended that officers explore opportunities to deliver savings by reducing the temperature of community buildings.


-  Members requested that the Scrutiny Board is engaged in early consultation about a future waste strategy including plans for glass recycling.


-  The Board recognised the decision in relation to HAP budgets was taken in the context of wider risk to the Housing Revenue Account. Members welcomed the retention of environmental works budgets held by local housing offices.


James Rogers provided a brief update on the consultations that are taking place in relation to various budget proposals. It was noted that these are at different stages and the responses will be analysed.


Cllr Coupar reassured members of the Scrutiny Board that Trade Union engagement with the budget proposals is being undertaken.


Further information was requested in relation to the consultation about library services.


Members sought reassurance about the potential impact on front line services of changes to operational arrangements at some community centres.




a)  Members noted the content of the report and its appendices.


b)  A summary of the deliberations of all five Scrutiny Boards during the period of consultation on the initial budget proposals will be submitted for consideration by Executive Board on 7 February 2024.


Supporting documents: