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Posted by: John Brace | 11th November 2011

Cabinet 3/11/2011 Part 1 Motions (Inflation, Projected Budget & PACSPE call-in)

The agenda and reports are here.

There were three motions at last week’s Cabinet meeting. They are all below.

Agenda Item: Provision for Inflation 2012-2013

Cabinet agrees all the recommendations, Cabinet asks Chief Officers to contain any price inflation costs within their existing budgets, as it notes that the long term Government assumption of inflation costs is set at 2% which is the amount contained within the projected budget, and that this will equate to a savings of £4.2m at a time when the Council is facing serious financial pressures.

Agenda Item: Budget Projections 2012-2015

Cabinet notes, with dismay, that the projected budget gap is likely to rise by 2014/15 to nearly £47m as a result of likely changes in the Local Government Resource Review and the implications of new legislation.

Cabinet recognises that these are projections based on what is known or anticipated at the moment on a pro rata basis between authorities, and could perhaps be even worse than anticipated when the direct impact on Wirral is calculated.

Cabinet expresses its grave concern that potential cuts at this level will be extremely damaging to Wirral’s services and to the people of Wirral at a time when the country’s economy is facing a slide into depression and poorer areas will once more be those which are hit the hardest.

Agenda Item: Parks and Countryside Services Procurement Exercise (PACSPE) – Outcome of Call-In

This Cabinet has considered carefully the resolution submitted to it by the Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee;

It recognises the detailed work that went into the procurement process and the Gateway Reviews that were carried out as part of that process and does not question the thoroughness of those Reviews or the dedication and ability of those carrying out those Reviews;

However, the Cabinet believes that this does not alter the fact that detailed unit costs and specific activity levels, which would have allowed for full comparator costs to be available to check against the tender specifications, were not available and that this would have left the Council open to the same criticism on the PACSPE contract that was levied against the HESPE contract:

  • Cabinet recognises the seriousness of the qualification by the District Auditor of the Council’s Value for Money statement and of the warning to Members that they should be aware of the increased risk of letting a ten year contract if there is only very limited information on the costs and activity levels of the existing service because there is nothing to monitor against when assessing whether or not letting the contract has delivered better value for money.
  • Cabinet further considered the position that the cost of contractual inflation over a period of three years at current CPI levels would erode any savings delivered by outsourcing the contract and in subsequent years could increase costs to the Council.
  • Cabinet was further mindful that this decision was being taken when a highly critical Corporate Governance report had just been published which pointed in general to weaknesses in the Council’s commissioning, managing and where necessary dismissing failing contractors and suppliers.
  • Cabinet, therefore, re-iterates its decision taking on 22 September 2011 and re-affirms the full content of the resolution passed, as stated in Cabinet Minute No. 117, including its confidence in the ability and commitment of the workforce to deliver an excellent service, with proper support and good management, over the next ten years.

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