Venue: Virtual Meeting - Please use the links on the Agenda Front Sheet to join the virtual meeting
Contact: Andy Ellis
WELCOME & APOLOGIES
The Chair, Cllr Susan Erbil welcomed everyone to the meeting.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Members of the Council are invited to identify any disclosable pecuniary, other pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests relevant to the items on the agenda.
No declarations of interest were received.
To review the decision taken at Cabinet on 14 October 2020 as a result of the matter having been Called-in.
The response to Call in reasons is not attached to the agenda and will be circulated “to follow”.
The Chair introduced this item and explained the process to be followed in hearing the Call-in. Cllr Lindsay Rawlings was welcomed as the Call-in Lead and presented reasons for issuing the Call-in.
1) A lengthy paper was presented to Cabinet and a sustainability strategy is a good thing, however residents would want to see figures relating to costs likely to be incurred.
2) The report states that individual projects report their progress against the strategy, however, how can projects report without financial information being available?
3) Financial parameters are referred to in the report but without any associated figures. How can Councillors carry out effective scrutiny over how money is being spent, when there is no estimated amount mentioned in the main report. In addition, the length of the scheme is estimated to be between 10-30 years, therefore new Councillors could be in place.
4) There have been previous examples of reports coming to meetings, seeking additional resources, above an original estimate. At least with an original estimate it is possible to see what is being requested and for the necessary scrutiny to take place.
5) With best practice and new technologies being developed constantly, this will have an impact on the finances needed for the scheme. Without a financial model within the strategy, it is not possible to make a decision on the incorporation of new environmental practices.
6) The report does not explain the potential risk to delivery, if the costs are higher than expected and how this will be mitigated. The Meridian Water Scrutiny Workstream highlighted the uncertainties around such a long-term scheme which were rebutted by Cabinet.
7) The response report concludes by stating that the strategy does not commit the Council to a higher cost of delivery as it is bound by the long-term financial parameters of the project, however, these figures are not quoted in the main report.
8) Is there an actual budget for Meridian Water or is there a guideline figure, or an upper limit figure?
9) The Cabinet Member should return to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee with an addendum to the Meridian Water Environmental Sustainability Strategy, outlining the budget for delivery.
The Chair thanked Cllr Rawlings and asked the Leader of the Council, Cllr Caliskan and the Programme Director Meridian Water, Peter George to respond.
10) It was noted that the strategy is a high-level document that sets out the aims and direction. It is not a report intended to detail finances or operational delivery. The finances for the scheme have been agreed by Full Council previously. It is fully appreciated that residents would want to be appraised of the finances of the project but it is not possible to include detailed finances of the entire scheme within every document produced.
11)We are in year 6 of a 30-year project at Meridian Water. The pace with which climate change regulations and technology is changing is unforeseen. It is not possible to predict how technology and the market will evolve. ... view the full minutes text for item 20.
DATES OF FUTURE MEETINGS
To note the dates of future meetings as follows:
Thursday 17 December 2020 (Budget Meeting)
Wednesday 17 February 2021
Thursday 1 April 2021
Provisional Call-in Meetings
Wednesday 25 November 2020
Wednesday 9 December 2020
Wednesday 13 January 2021
Thursday 4 February 2021
Wednesday 3 March 2021
Thursday 25 March 2021
Tuesday 27 April 2021
The dates of future meetings were noted.