Policy & Resources Committee – Thursday 14th January 2016

Revenue Budget Monitoring to end November 2015
Councillors were advised that the council was forecast to be within budget by £4.3 million for the financial year 2015/16. Head of Finance Alan Wood told councillors that the reason for the position was due to services absorbing the pay award of £1.5 million and additional grant of £1.7 million which would not be fully used during the remainder of the financial year. He advised that there was a continued overspend on the adult social care budget – and this was being carefully managed and proactively reviewed. He also highlighted the need to take account of additional costs incurred as a result of flooding and advised that the senior leadership team was monitoring the position.

Councillors expressed thanks to staff across the council for their efforts in responding to the flooding and discussed the use of reserves to support activity and work programmes. The response by the council was described as ‘outstanding’, and agreed to support communities with developing their resilience plans.

Mr Wood explained that the council was recording all costs associated with flooding and these would be accommodated where possible within existing revenue budgets. He explained that general reserves were available if required, additional monies had been announced by Scottish Government, and the Bellwin Scheme had been triggered.

Councillors were content that existing processes and reserves are sufficient, but agreed to receive a report back to a future meeting of full council on the work that has taken place and what will be required in coming months. An update was received from the Director of Infrastructure Services about the continuing work of the council to support the recovery across Aberdeenshire, as well as building resilience across the area, in conjunction with agencies and partners involved in the response, working alongside communities.

Capital Plan monitoring
Councillors discussed the report which provided a forecast of £6.4 million underspend against a three-year £385 million capital plan. The nature of a Capital Plan is such that large projects can take longer than expected to be delivered. Head of Property, Allan Whyte advised that there was good progress on a range of projects including the new Kintore Primary School and he explained that the new Drumoak Primary School was on course for completion next month. 

Nomination to Scotland Excel Executive Sub-Committee
Cllr Cryle Shand was appointed to the Executive sub-committee.

Recognising continuous service
Councillors agreed to recognise continuous service accrued by former employees of the Scottish Police Authority, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, NHS Grampian and Bon Accord Care. It would impact on annual leave entitlement, occupational sick pay, maternity and redundancy pay, supporting the council’s recruitment activities and helping to attract staff to the organisation.

The proposal was agreed following a vote 8 to 6.

Financial Extension to ‘Super Saturday’ Project under the Fraserburgh Regeneration Action Plan
Committee agreed to approve £36,509 as an extension to the Super Saturday project in Fraserburgh. The project helps to support the vibrancy of town centres and was one of the first projects developed by the businesses and community to attract visitors to the town.

The investment was welcomed and councillors requested information about the economic and social benefits of the project.
Fraserburgh 2021 Heritage Lottery Funding
Councillors supported the stage 2 application for Heritage Lottery Funding. In 2015, the council was awarded £1.2 million from Historic Environment Scotland and a first stage pass from the Heritage Lottery Fund for £1.79 million. Since then, work has been progressing on the stage 2 Heritage Lottery submission. This stage requires the council to provide supporting documentation and more detailed information, as well as substantial public engagement and consultation.

A decision on the submission is expected in June 2016