Agenda item

Medium Term Financial Strategy 2024/25 - 2027/28 - Chief Executive's Department

In addition to the Leader and Lead Member for Resources, the following Lead Members have been invited to attend for this item:


-         Mrs D. Taylor CC (Regulatory Services)

-         Mrs P. Posnett CC (Community and Staff Relations)



The Commission considered a joint report of the Chief Executive and Director of Corporate Resources which provided information on the proposed 2024/25 – 2027/28 Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) as it related to the Chief Executive’s Department.  A copy of the report marked ‘Agenda Item 9’ is filed with these minutes.


In addition to the Leader and Lead Member for Resources, the Chairman welcomed the Lead Member for Regulatory Services, Mrs D. Taylor CC and the Lead Member Community and Staff Relations, Mrs P. Posnett CC, to the meeting.


Arising from discussion and questions, the following points arose:


Proposed Revenue Budget


(i)               Members noted that Strategy and Business Intelligence covered a broad area of work including business intelligence, the Communities and Policy teams, the Resilience service (the County Council acting as host to the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Local Resilience Forum and Partnership), and the Growth Service.  These helped to secure funding, supported the delivery of large scale projects, such as Broadband rollout, and worked with partners and the voluntary sector.   A Member commented that these were not statutory services and this section generated the highest cost for the Department but was not expected in the current MTFS to deliver any savings.  It was suggested that an update on this service area would be beneficial to better understand the breadth of work delivered.

(ii)              The Council’s contribution to the Leicester and Leicestershire Place Marketing Team was included within the Strategy and Business Intelligence budget.  This amounted to approximately £60,000 per year as well as two seconded officers.  A Member commented that tangible examples of what this partnership delivered would be helpful.  It was noted that these would be provided in the next annual report on the performance of the organisation as had been previously requested by the Commission.

(iii)            In response to questions raised, the Director confirmed that the Department currently employed approximately 250 FTE staff excluding registrars on zero hour contracts. 

(iv)            Members welcomed the work of the Trading Standards service and noted that, in light of the Government’s recent announcement to ban the sale of disposable vapes, the work of the service would increase further. Some additional funding had been allocated to enable the service, in conjunction with East Midlands Airport, to tackle the import of such products.  However, members noted that the service was already stretched and had limited staff to cover all areas of enforcement.  A triage approach would therefore be adopted to prioritise those areas that gave rise to the most risk.

(v)             It was noted that Trading Standards was responsible for food standards whilst district councils were responsible for food hygiene.  The service worked closely with district council environmental health officers given there was some cross over in this work, particularly when coordinating inspections.  It also worked closely with other partners, such as the police, in tackling doorstep crime and rogue traders, and East Midlands Airport border force and HMRC to tackle issues such as illicit tabaco.

(vi)            It was noted that the recruitment of solicitors continued to be an issue, particularly in areas such adult and children’s social care, with some posts having to be readvertised a number of times.  Case levels had also significantly increased.  Members recognised the need to ensure legal cases were continuously being managed and therefore any gap in service had to be temporarily filled through the use of locums or by outsourcing work to the private sector, both of which were costly to the Council.  The Director confirmed that the corporate incentive programme had been used to enhance salaries to make the positions advertised more competitive.  This had resulted in some improvements. 


(vii)          The new Biodiversity Net Gain Regulations would come into force in April 2024.  The County Council would be the lead local authority and was therefore in the process of reviewing the limited guidance currently available and establishing an advisory service.  This would be a chargeable service and no costs were therefore accounted for within the MTFS.  Over time it was expected this service could generate an income for the Council.




That the comments now made by the Commission be submitted to the Cabinet for consideration at its meeting on 9th February 2024.

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