Agenda and minutes

Joint Executive Advisory Board - Thursday, 24th June, 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: This meeting will be held via MSTeams

Contact: Andrea Carr, Committee Officer Tel no: 01483 444058  Email:


No. Item


Election of Chairman for the Meeting

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The Joint Executive Advisory Board (EAB)




that Councillor Angela Goodwin be elected as Chairman for this meeting.



Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitute Members

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Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Steven Lee, Bob McShee and Masuk Miah.  Councillor Chris Blow was present as a substitute for Councillor Bob McShee.



Local Code of Conduct and Notification of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests

In accordance with the local Code of Conduct, a councillor is required to disclose at the meeting any Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (DPI) that they may have in respect of any matter for consideration on this agenda. Any councillor with a DPI must not participate in any discussion or vote regarding that matter and they must withdraw from the meeting immediately before consideration of the matter.


If that DPI has not been registered, the councillor must notify the Monitoring Officer of the details of the DPI within 28 days of the date of the meeting.


Councillors are further invited to disclose any non-pecuniary interest which may be relevant to any matter on this agenda, in the interests of transparency, and to confirm that it will not affect their objectivity in relation to that matter.


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There were no declarations of disclosable pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 293 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Joint Executive Advisory Board held on 15 March 2021.

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The minutes of the meeting of the Joint EAB held on 15 March 2021 were confirmed as a correct record, and would be signed by the Chairman at the earliest opportunity.



Savings Strategy Programme Mandate pdf icon PDF 231 KB

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The Resources Director introduced this item and delivered a related presentation which covered:


·             Reasons for the projected £6.0million budget gap

·             Trajectory of the medium term General Fund revenue budget gap of £2.7million in 2022-23 rising to £6.0million by 2025-26

·             The Savings Strategy

·             Definitions of Savings Types

·             Options / Workstreams

·             Considerations

·             Resources

·             Potential costs and benefits

·             Issues, assumptions and risks

·             Dependencies, constraints and opportunities

·             Reviewer List

·             Corporate Management Team and Executive Liaison Feedback


By way of introduction, the Director advised that the Savings Strategy related to the next five years and was intended to assist with mitigating the estimated £6.0million General Fund revenue budget shortfall.  There was an anticipated overspend of £9.0million in the 2020/21 financial year with expected financial pressure in 2021/22 owing to a delay in the Government’s pandemic lockdown easing plan.  Therefore, there was an urgent requirement to identify any and all potential savings that could assist with bridging the budget gap over the next few years.  Savings delivered to date included a reduction in staffing costs of £4.3million through the Future Guildford programme.


Areas highlighted in the presentation included the receipt of some one-off Government grants to provide financial support during the pandemic.  However, in general, Government funding had reduced by approximately 50% over the last five to six years.  In terms of the £6.0million budget gap, factors such as the Local Government Finance Settlement, the final accounts for 2020/21, the findings of the Capital Investment and Outturn Report and debt interests likely to be incurred in 2022/23 could all have an impact on the 2021/22 and 2022/23 financial years.


The Savings Strategy was a high priority piece of work required to secure the Council’s future financial viability which overarched a number of savings project workstreams that would each have their own individual mandate.  In terms of potential costs and benefits, some costs would be incurred in the process of identifying potential savings.  Attention was drawn to the need to apply the entire Strategy to closing the budget gap as no single savings strand would be sufficient to achieve this alone.


The Lead Councillor for Resources highlighted the fact that this Council spent significantly more on some service areas compared to other similar councils on a per head of population basis.  Although this would not render savings in such areas any less unpopular or controversial, it was emphasised that the Council needed to identify and progress spending reductions to address the budget gap.


The following points arose from related questions, comments and discussion:


1.           In terms of the Future Guildford programme, its Board had met on limited occasions during the past year owing to difficulties associated with the pandemic lockdowns.  The programme was nearing completion following the implementation of Phase B of the related restructuring and of the majority of the associated new technology.  However, some teams remained in a transitional period.  Following the instigation of the remaining ICT modules, a development pipeline for the new technology would be introduced, particularly around the Business World and Salesforce  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.


Guildford and Waverley Collaboration Mandate pdf icon PDF 196 KB

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The Joint Executive Advisory Board (JEAB) received a presentation from the Strategy and Communications Manager in respect of the above mandate.  The presentation introduced the mandate and explained the following aspects of it:


·             Strategy

·             Options evaluation

·             Considerations

·             Resources

·             Issues, assumptions and risks

·             Dependencies, constraints and opportunities

·             Reviewer list


A Late Sheet containing related supplementary information, which consisted of the resolutions and recommendations of the Executive of Waverley Borough Council (WBC) to its full Council meeting on 6 July 2021, had been circulated.  The additional information sought by WBC in resolution (1) would be shared with this Council.


The Leader of the Council provided some additional background information and invited the JEAB’s comments regarding the mandate.


The following points for forwarding to this Council’s Executive arose from related questions, comments and discussion:


1.           Support was expressed for mandate option 4 to establish a single corporate management team with one chief executive as a first step towards progressing to the full integration of the officer teams of both councils into one shared officer resource working for two separate democratic councils.  This would lead to the preparation of a series of business cases relating to the possible integration of individual service areas commencing where compatibility between the authorities was greatest, such as similar back office functions.

2.           There was no wish to merge the authorities fully at this stage and each would remain as a separate legal identity with individual decision-making powers.

3.           It was considered important for the Council to address its funding deficit in a proactive manner in order to avoid any financial controls or service reductions being imposed on it, such as a move to a single county-wide unitary authority which was not favoured.

4.           Councillors felt that frontline services should be protected to meet the needs of residents.  Demand for services had increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and was expected to continue to do so as future residential developments stemming from the Local Plan led to local population growth.  WBC was in a similar position regarding its recently adopted Local Plan.

5.           Issues with the volume of planning applications being submitted were highlighted and it was questioned whether some related fees could be raised where possible to increase income towards offsetting the budget deficit.

6.           In terms of risks associated with collaboration, concerns were raised regarding the short term disruption to Council services and officers, public perception of Council services, integration of ICT systems, lack of local knowledge, loss of continuity of officer experience and integration in the Guildford senior management team, and failure to achieve efficiencies and projected savings.

7.           The Local Government Boundary Commission for England and the Boundary Commission for England reviews were not expected to impact on a proposed collaboration between the two councils as the former review concerned warding patterns within the Borough and the latter was a parliamentary review of the constituency boundaries.

8.           Although WBC had not been through a rationalising restructure such as Future Guildford, there was confidence  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.


Mandate to Review the Council's Operational Property Portfolio pdf icon PDF 176 KB

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The Head of Asset Management gave a presentation regarding a proposed mandate to review the Council’s operational property portfolio.  The presentation introduced the mandate and explained that the rationale behind its development was that the review had been identified as one initiative in the Council’s Savings Strategy which sought to generate revenue savings required to reduce the Council's cumulative budget deficit of £6.0million over the next 5 years.  This was an overarching programme level review and underlying projects would be subject to their own individual project mandates.


This mandate followed the standard mandate format and the aspects addressed included those set out below:


·             Strategy

·             Options Evaluation, Considerations and Resources

·             Potential costs to proceed to the next stage to develop the Strategic Outline Case

·             Issues and assumptions

·             Risks and dependencies

·             Constraints and opportunities

·             Likely projects

·             Reviewer list


In terms of strategy, a full review of the Council's 250 operational assets and office accommodation would be undertaken in order to identify any rationalisation and revenue savings opportunities, in conjunction with other savings initiatives and service changes being carried out across the Council.  Covid-19 had accelerated a review of the use of the Millmead House complex due to the new and accepted home-working culture which had subsequently led to the Council's reduction in its office space requirement and created an opportunity to save significant revenue costs and potentially generate capital receipts.


The options evaluation offered three alternative potential ways forward regarding assets, namely, do nothing, do minimum or do more.  All of these options were green rated under the RAG system as they could pose a solution for a particular asset.  This would depend upon whether the asset was fulfilling its purpose in line with service requirements, was redundant or underutilised accommodation suitable for sale / leasing / transfer, or could offer opportunities for redevelopment or alternative use.  It would be necessary for Asset Management to collaborate closely with discretionary services when reviewing assets.


Considerations included the assumption that savings achieved in some discretionary service areas would not be included in this programme in terms of costings and savings and would not therefore contribute to the Asset Management savings target of £1.5million net revenue savings, which would be refined as the review progressed.  However, Asset Management would have regard to the outcome of discretionary services reviews.


Potential resource costs to progress to the next stage / gate and develop the strategic outline busines case would include those associated with internal staffing and specialist external consultants for ICT development work to the Property Asset Database.


The issues and assumptions and the risks and dependencies were also explained.


The likely projects forming the programme consisted of office accommodation, community centres and Stoke Park Nursery.


The following points arose from related questions, comments and discussion:


1.           A Councillor expressed the view that the Council’s operational property portfolio should be reviewed more widely than from a purely financial perspective to take account of the Council’s property requirements to meet the needs of residents overall.  This should include  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.