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Personnel and Property Services Committee

APPENDIX I to the minute of meeting of the Personnel and Property Services Committee of 12 March 2002 (Article 4(b) refers)

MINUTE of MEETING of the CENTRAL CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Thursday 14 February 2002 at 10.00 am.

Present:

Angus Council Representatives

Councillor BILL MIDDLETON

Councillor RON SCRIMGEOUR

Councillor GLENNIS MIDDLETON

Councillor BRIAN MILNE

Councillor SHEENA WELSH

Councillor DAVID SELFRIDGE

Teacher Association Representatives

PETER ANDREWS (EIS)

PHILIP JACKSON (EIS)

BRIAN McHARDY (EIS)

ALICE McLEOD (PAT)

Trade Union Representatives

ALISTAIR WILSON (GMB)

KATE LEIPER (UNISON)

NEIL CHRISTIE (UNISON)

Apologies: Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of JIM FALCONER (NAS/UWT) and LOUISE TRAYNOR (UNISON).

PETER ANDREWS in the Chair.

1. CONVENERSHIP

In accordance with paragraph 3(b) of the Constitution, Councillor Bill Middleton was appointed as Convener of this Committee for the period until February 2003, whereupon Councillor Middleton then took the Chair.

2. VICE-CONVENERSHIP

In accordance with Article 1 above, the Convener called for nominations for Vice-Convener and the Committee agreed to appoint Peter Andrews as Vice-Convener for the period to February 2003.

3. MINUTE OF PREVIOUS MEETING

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 21 August 2001 was submitted and approved as a correct record.

4. PROVISIONAL REVENUE BUDGET 2002/2003

There were submitted:-

  1. Report No 198/02 by the Director of Finance apprising members of the provisional revenue budget submissions of each Council Department and of the savings considered necessary to allow the Council to deliver a revenue budget within the resources expected to be available;
  2. Report No 199/02 by the Director of Finance being the provisional revenue budget volume, including a commentary by each Head of Department; and
  3. Report No 200/02 by the Director of Finance being the Departmental budget cuts proposals.

The Director of Finance summarised the background in arriving at the proposed budgets for 2002/2003 and stressed that, while the overall budget had been increased by 6.7%, much of the increase related to specific initiatives and new burdens imposed by Central Government, thereby limiting the Council's flexibility.

The Director of Finance also emphasised the need for financial settlements to be made by Central Government on a more flexible basis to avoid continuing cuts in core services and unacceptable increases in Council Tax.

The Convener stressed that the Administration had instructed that the budget cuts identified had to be as practical as possible and that closure of facilities and proposals involving compulsory redundancies were to be avoided wherever possible; in addition, it was emphasised that service delivery remained a priority.

On behalf of the Trade Union side, Peter Andrews welcomed the avoidance of compulsory redundancies but nevertheless expressed concern at the impact on jobs and quality of service delivery arising from delays on non-filling of vacancies.

In this connection, the Committee agreed:-

  1. to indicate to Trade Unions and Professional Associations that it would be helpful if these bodies could join local authorities in alerting Central Government to the danger of continuous cutting of core budgets; and
  2. to make available to Mr Andrews the proportion of employee related savings which were included in the 1½% cut.

Thereafter, having considered the provisional revenue budget departmental cuts proposals as contained in Report No 200/02, the Committee agreed that the undernoted comments be reported to the Finance and Information Technology Committee at its meeting to be held later today:-

(a) Alternatives to Exclusion (EDUC 17)

To note an assurance by the Director of Education that this policy was still deliverable, following concerns expressed at the size of this cut;

(b) Absence Cover (EDUC 24 & 27)

To note that the reduction in the absence cover budgets of primary and secondary schools should not reduce the ability of teachers to undertake continuing professional development in term of the McCrone agreement;

(c) Ground Maintenance ­ Residential Accommodation (SW 5)

To note that this proposal, which was a value for money measure, would not have an adverse impact on Contract Services and had been agreed between the Director of Social Work and the Contract Services Manager; and

(d) Footway Maintenance (ROAD 7)

While it was acknowledged that this cut would lead to increased expenditure in future years, it was noted that this was a national problem which had been raised with COSLA and the Scottish Executive although in Angus, the use of the Repairs and Renewal Fund helped to alleviate this particular cut.

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