Agenda and minutes

Venue: Herefordshire Council Offices, Plough Lane, Hereford, HR4 0LE

Contact: Danial Webb, Statutory Scrutiny Officer 

Link: Watch this meeting on the Herefordshire Council YouTube Channel


No. Item


Apologies for absence

To receive apologies for absence.



Apologies for absence had been received from Councillor Bruce Baker.


Named substitutes

To receive details of councillors nominated to attend the meeting in place of a member of the board.


There were no named substitutes.


Declarations of interest

To receive declarations of interests in respect from members of the board in respect of items on the agenda.


No declarations of interest were made.



The minutes of the meeting held on 10 January 2024 will be submitted to the next scheduled meeting for approval.


It was noted that the minutes of the meeting held on 10 January 2024 would be submitted to the next scheduled meeting for approval.




Questions from members of the public pdf icon PDF 190 KB

To receive any written questions from members of the public.

Additional documents:


A document containing a question received from a member of the public and the response given, plus a supplementary question and the response given, is attached at Appendix 1 to the minutes.


The board briefly discussed the need for reports to be made available within the required timescale before each scrutiny meeting in public, in accordance with the council’s Constitution [paragraph 4.2.8, Access to agenda and reports before the meeting], to ensure that councillors had all the information needed to inform their discussions.  The Chief Executive said that the circumstances surrounding the late publication of papers would be followed up with officers.



Questions from councillors

To receive any written questions from councillors.


No questions had been received from councillors.



2024/25 Capital Investment Budget and 2024/25 Draft Budget - Revenue


It was noted that consideration of the ‘2024/25 Capital Investment Budget’ item and the ‘Corporate Services Directorate Delivery Plan 2024/25’ element of the ‘2024/25 Draft Budget – Revenue’ had been deferred at the board meeting held on 10 January 2024.


Further documents published for the current meeting included: the ‘Medium Term Financial Strategy 2024/25 to 2027/28; ‘Treasury Management Strategy 2024/25’; and ‘Earmarked Reserves and General Fund Balance forecasts to 31 March 2024’.


The principal points of the discussion are summarised below.


2024/25 Capital Investment Budget 


The documents for this item were published within the agenda for 10 January 2024 and are also available through this link: 2024/25 Capital Investment Budget


The Cabinet Member Finance and Corporate Services responded to questions from board members, the key points included:


i.             Schools Accessibility Works [10 January 2024 agenda, page 97]: It was confirmed that access needs were identified each year which could result in capital costs for accessibility works.


ii.            Children’s Residential Homes for 11 to 18 year olds [10 January 2024 agenda, page 99]: The board was advised that the identified revenue budget implications had been included in the revenue budget proposals 2024/25.


iii.          Property Improvements in Care Homes [10 January 2024 agenda, page 107]:  The need to raise awareness about council assets was acknowledged. 


The Chairperson:- drew attention to the information available on the council’s website [link to the council land and property assets webpage]; suggested that future business cases should make it clear where investments were being made in council-owned property, to meet repairing lease responsibilities, or to meet other legal obligations; and, referring to best practice identified to board members during Treasury Management Training provided by Link Group, requested assurance that appropriate levels of detail (such as legal power, evidence of robust option appraisal work, sensitivity analysis outcomes, impact on resources, skill-sets of external consultants, and any material risks) were made available for each line of the capital programme, and for the proposed additions, before spending was sanctioned on any individual project.


The Cabinet Member Finance and Corporate Services accepted that additional information could have been included in this Outline Business Case and said that full details would be included in the Full Business Case.


In response to a comment from a board member that the absence of a County Plan beyond 2024 made it difficult to understand the need for certain expenditure, the Cabinet Member Finance and Corporate Services advised that the County Plan 2024-2028 was in development and the Delivery Plan would include financial lines.


iv.          Prudential borrowing [10 January 2024 agenda, page 90, paragraph 17]: Clarifications were provided about how capital schemes would be financed from prudential borrowing through to 2027/28.  It was reported that this approach was factored into the Medium Term Financial Strategy. 


A board member expressed concern that this could limit the capacity to borrow in future years. 


The Chairperson re-iterated that the lack of a County Plan for the next period fettered the ability of the board to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 49.



Children and Young People directorate budget task and finish group

This report provides Scrutiny Management Board with the findings and recommendations of the board’s task and finish group tasked with scrutinising the current expenditure and future budget of the children and young people directorate.


This agenda item was referred to the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee [link to the meeting page for 23 January 2024].


Date of the next meeting

The date of the next scheduled meeting: Tuesday 19 March 2024 2.00 pm


The date of the next scheduled meeting was confirmed as Tuesday 19 March 2024, 2.00 pm.