Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Management Panel - Friday, 17th February, 2023 3.15 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - The Guildhall, Portsmouth. View directions

Contact: James Harris on 023 9260 6065  Email:


No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies were received from Cllr Abdul Kadir, Cllr Gemma New and Cllr Scott Payter-Harris.


Declarations of Members' Interests


There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes of the meeting held on 16 January 2023 pdf icon PDF 96 KB

RECOMMENDED that the minutes of the meeting held on 16 January 2023 be confirmed and signed by the Chair as a correct record.


The minutes of the meeting held on 16 January 2023 were confirmed and signed as an accurate record.


Overview of Portsmouth City Council Budget and Council Tax 2023/24 and Medium Term Budget Forecast 2024/25 to 2026/27 pdf icon PDF 532 KB

(Information only Item)


An overview of the budget will be provided by Mr Chris Ward, s151 Officer.


An opportunity will be given to the panel to ask questions.


The Panel may also put forward for consideration at Cabinet any collective comments.


Members are advised that the budget papers will be included in the agenda for the 21 February 2023 meeting and are expected to be published on 13 February 2023 when they will be available to view on the Council's website via the following link:


Agenda for Cabinet on Tuesday, 21st February, 2023, 12.00 pm Portsmouth City Council






The S.151 Officer introduced the item and explained that the meeting was an opportunity for members of the panel to ask questions on the proposals in the budget prior to it being considered by Cabinet and recommended to Council for approval.  A copy of the presentation is included as an appendix to these minutes.


In response to questions raised by the panel the S.151 Officer:


  • Explained that whilst it could appear that local council tax support cases had been slowly increasing following the Covid-19 pandemic, the increase of single person discounts was part of a normal cycle.  These discounts were regularly reviewed, at which time the number usually fell before increasing and then falling again at the following review.


  • For budgeting purposes, the Council's inflation pressure for 2022/23 was 9.6% and the budget had been uplifted by 9.6% accordingly.  For 2023/24 the prediction was inflation to be an average of 5.5%, starting higher in the year and then falling.  Budgets would therefore be uplifted by 5.5%, on top of the 9.6% for 2022/23.  Whilst inflation was predicted to decrease, it was important to note that this reflected a slowdown of the increase in inflation, rather than a reversal of the high inflation rates seen in 2022/23.


  • The contingency included within the budget was not specifically allocated but had been based upon the predicted total cost of a worst case scenario.


  • Whilst the replacement of 1,666 black bins seemed high, this figure had been based upon historic actuals.


  • In respect of high cost care packages, once a certain threshold had been reached and became classed as healthcare needs, any additional costs became the responsibility of the NHS and the costs of the care package was then shared.  The increase above this threshold therefore did not impact upon the council.


  • Whilst the future of the council continuing to be based in the civic offices was unknown, the CISCO IT infrastructure costs contained within the Capital Programme was needed due to this equipment reaching end of life.  The equipment could be relocated though, so these costs were not inextricably linked to the civic office building.


  • The purchase of Farlington Playing Fields had been a strategic acquisition in order to protect the site.  In respect of the council's asset register, a new Asset Management Strategy would be drafted in 2023/24 to ensure that the council had the right assets to deliver its priorities.



  • The proposed changes to adult social care funding posed a risk, as uncertainty remained on what the terms and conditions would be.


The Chair thanked the S.151 Officer for his summary of the budget and the panel wished to place on record its gratitude to his and the finance team's professionalism and hard work.


Having sought the views of the panel, the Chair advised that the panel did not wish to forward any comments to Cabinet.