Agenda item

Medium Term Financial Strategy 2022/23 - 2025/26 - Chief Executive's Department


The Commission considered a joint report of the Chief Executive and Director of Corporate Resources which provided information on the proposed 2022/23 – 2025/26 Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) as it related to the Chief Executive’s Department.  A copy of the report marked ‘Agenda Item 9’ is filed with these minutes.


The Chairman welcomed Mr N. J. Rushton CC, the Leader of the Council, Mrs D. Taylor CC, the Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Regulatory Services, and Mrs P. Posnett CC the Lead Member for Communities, to the meeting for this item.


Arising from discussion and questions the following points were raised:




(i)              Growth Service – The role of the Service had developed over time and it now delivered across five key areas of activity.  The Growth Unit itself engaged with growth locations across the County and supported work on issues such as the Freeport and the main sustainable urban extensions across the County.  It had a strategic planning role that linked with the Strategic Growth Plan and the work of the City and County Member Advisory Group, and it contributed to work on district local plans, coordinating the County Council’s work on infrastructure provision and the relationship between the two.  It also managed the Superfast Leicestershire Broadband Programme, included the economic growth team that liaised with the LLEP and other organisations around economic funding, and also now co-ordinated the Council’s activity to deliver its climate change and net zero carbon aspirations.




(ii)             Legal Case Management and New Ways of Working – An operational review was being undertaken of the Council’s external legal spend which related to the need to seek Counsel’s advice from time to time and when legal work had to be externalised due to a lack of internal resource or expertise.  It was accepted that this was more costly than delivering the service in house and work was therefore being undertaken to determine how this could be avoided for the future.  It was noted that this was separate to the wider Ways of Working Programme being rolled out across the Authority.

(iii)           Local Government Association (LGA) Subscription – In response to a question on whether the Council resigning its membership of the LGA had negatively affected its influence of ministers and work with other authorities, the Leader advised that there had been no impact and that he still had good relationships with, and was still involved in discussions on key issues with both.  The decision to withdraw its membership was, in his view, sound given the outcome and the financial pressures faced by the Council.


External Influences


(iv)           Levelling Up White Paper – In response to a question the Leader said that this was still awaited and whilst it was hoped that County Deals would be included within the White Paper, this was not yet certain. 

(v)            Coroners and Registrars – It was questioned whether it was possible for the Council to recharge for such services given the increase in demand.  Members noted that the coroner’s service was a statutory service and so could not be recharged.  The Council was, however, looking to merge the two coronial areas (South Leicestershire and Leicester (currently managed by Leicester City Council) and North Leicestershire and Rutland (managed by the County Council) following the retirement of the Coroner for the latter.   Registrar services were charged for and where possible a 10% increase in fees would be introduced in April 2022.

(vi)           Shire Community Solutions Grants – Members noted that these grants were very popular and often oversubscribed.  Applications were assessed closely and unfortunately due to funding limitations, not all projects could be funded fully.  The Council sought to ensure the grants supported long term projects where possible.  Members acknowledged that the grants helped to support communities which in turn reduced the need on the County Council.   The Lead Member for Communities undertook to consider with the Leader and the Chief Executive whether some additional funding could be added to the Leicestershire grants programme which had been set at the present level of funding of £0.1m.  It was recognised that for little money the projects supported provided great benefit both to the Council and its communities.




(a)  That the report and information now provided be noted;

(b)  That it be noted that the Lead Member for Communities would consider, in consultation with the Leader and the Chief Executive, the allocation of additional funding for Shire Community Solutions Grants;

(c)   That the comments now made be submitted to the Cabinet for consideration at it meeting on 5th February 2022.




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