Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Declarations of Interest

In relation to matters on the agenda, seek declarations of interest from Members, in accordance with the provisions of the Fire Authority’s Code of Conduct for Members.


It was noted that, in relation to matters on the agenda, no participating Member had any interest to declare under the Fire Authority’s Code of Conduct for Members.


Apologies for Absence/Substitutions


Apologies had been received from Councillor Tutt.  Councillor Lambert was attending as his substitute.  Apologies had also been received from Councillor Scott.  Councillor Evans was attending as his substitute.


Minutes of the last Policy & Resources meeting held on 23 July 2020 pdf icon PDF 290 KB


RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Policy & Resources Panel held on 23 July 2020 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


Notification of items which the Chairman considers urgent and proposes to take at the end of the agenda/Chairman's business items

Any Members wishing to raise urgent items are asked, wherever possible, to notify the Chairman before the start of the meeting.  In so doing, they must state the special circumstances which they consider justify the matter being considered urgently.


The Panel recorded their thanks and congratulations to Assistant Chief Fire Officer Mark Andrews on his departure from East Sussex Fire & Rescue to take up his position as Deputy Chief Fire Officer at West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service.



The Chairman will call the item numbers of the remaining items on the open agenda.  Each item which is called by any Member shall be reserved for debate.  The Chairman will then ask the Panel to adopt without debate the recommendations and resolutions contained in the relevant reports for those items which have not been called.


Members reserved the following items for debate:


13.       Revenue Capital Budget 2020/21 and Capital Programme 20/21 to 2024/25 Monitoring


14.       Treasury Management Half Year Review 2020/21


Revenue and Capital Budget 2020/21 and Capital Programme 2020/21 to 2024/25 Monitoring pdf icon PDF 434 KB

Report of the Assistant Director Resources/Treasurer

Additional documents:


The Panel received a report from the Assistant Director Resources/Treasurer (ADR/T) on the findings from the Month 6 monitoring of the Revenue and Capital Budget 2020/21 and Capital Programme 2020/21 to 2024/25.


Commenting on the unique and challenging circumstances, the ADR/T explained that there was currently a net Revenue overspend of £105,000, a favourable variation of £44,000 from the position identified in the last report to the Panel.  With regard to the Capital Programme, a net £1,231,000 was currently projected to slip into 2021/22.  This was largely due to the impact of Covid-19 on the areas of fleet and estates.  Officers were working hard to manage and mitigate risks.  Further details on the risks to the Revenue budget and Capital programme were set out in the report.


The ADR/T drew the Panel’s attention to the fact that the current year’s budget was reliant on one-off grants in terms of pension costs and support for the immediate impact of Covid.  It was expected that the additional costs incurred and income lost as a result of the pandemic would be covered by the government grant and a bid against the income loss compensation scheme, however, this would depend on the impact of the second wave.  There was currently no need to draw on reserves.  The ADR/T added that the Authority was facing a period of financial uncertainty with the impact of Covid-19 expected to be seen in the following financial year and a 1 year government settlement, an announcement on which was expected at the end of the month. 


The Panel asked for further information on the impact of the pandemic on the people services side of the organisation, such as training, apprenticeships and the use of consultants and agency staff.  The Assistant Director People Services (ADPS) gave assurances that key training had continued during the pandemic through alternative ways of delivery and although this had been a quick cultural shift, it had been very positive.  There had been a 3 month period when some training had been missed, however, a training recovery plan had been developed by the Covid-19 Working Group.  Apprenticeships for staff had continued, depending on providers adapting delivery methods.  The ADR/T added that he was not aware of any upturn in the use of consultants or agency staff.


The Panel asked for clarification on the overall net reduction in the drawdown from reserves of £2,553,000 as set out in paragraph 8.5 of the report.  The ADR/T explained that this was partly due to the slippage on the capital programme which reduced the drawdown from capital reserves.  The Service had also received a higher level of S31 grant in relation to business rates relief some of which has been transferred into reserves to be released in 2021/22 to cover the corresponding collection fund loss.  There had also been the contribution of the £136k Covid government grant which would be used during year.  The ADR/T added that there had been a review of the improvement and efficiency fund  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.


Treasury Management Half Year Review 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 413 KB

Report of the Assistant Director Resources/Treasurer



The Panel received a report from the ADR/T which provided an update on the treasury activity for the first six months of 2020/21, a requirement of the Fire Authority’s reporting procedures.  The ADR/T confirmed that despite a challenging period, the Fire Authority had complied with its approved Treasury Management Strategy and Prudential Indicators during the first 6 months of the year.  The Panel noted that there had not been any opportunities to repay or restructure debt and that there had been no new borrowing.  The Authority continued to work with Link Asset Services via Orbis for treasury management advice.


The Panel was pleased to note that there were no material issues to report.


RESOLVED: That the Panel notes the treasury management performance for the first half year of 2020/21.