Venue: Council Chamber, County Buildings, Stafford
Contact: Mandy Pattinson Email: email@example.com
Declarations of interest
None were made at the meeting.
Questions to the PFCC from Members of the Public
Questions to the Commissioner are invited from members of the public who live or work in Staffordshire. Notice of questions must be received by no later than three clear working days before the Panel meeting. More information on where and how to submit a question can be found at https://bit.ly/34arVDw
No questions were submitted in time for this meeting.
Supplementary fire revenue budget report (inc. MTFS and precept) circulated at the meeting.
The Commissioner introduced his report which set out the proposed budget and precept proposals for the Fire and Rescue Authority for 2023/24.
The Panel received a supplementary paper, circulated at the meeting, which set out the revenue budget and precept proposals, should the pay offer made by the National Employers (NJC) be accepted. The offer was 7% on basic pay rates and Continual Professional Development payments from 1 July 2022 and 5% from July 2023. Members were informed that this did not have an effect on the net budget requirement which remained the same at £46.465million
The Commissioners Chief Finance Officer gave a short presentation which was considered along with the Fire Revenue Budget Report (including the MTFS and Precept).
It was explained that the Settlement Funding for 2023/24 had been confirmed at £15.704million, made up of; Revenue Support Grant (RSG) which had been set at £5.422million; Local Business Rates revenue of £4.070million andBusiness Top up of £6.212million. The total budget requirement for the service was £46.465million and including part fund the balance from Council Tax funding of £30.761million and a proposed increase of 4.85% per annum (£84.25 pa per Band D property). This includes a Council tax Surplus of £0.405 million.
The Panel also considered the following documents:
· The Fire Authorities Capital Strategy and Capital Programme 2023/24 to 2025/26 (Including Minimum Revenue Provision Policy).
· The Reserves Strategy update paper considered the overall level of reserves held by the Authority at 31 March 2023. The paper focused on two key areas of reserves that impacted on the future financial strategy. These were the General Reserve balance forecast as at 31 March was £1.9million and Earmarked (specific) Reserves, to meet future or predicted requirements balance at 31 March 2023, this was forecast to reduce to £6million by March 2028.
· The Treasury Management Strategy for 2023/24 which set out proposals for the management of the Fire Authorities cash flows; borrowing; and investments and the risks.
If savings could not be made or income generated, it was reported that reserves would have to be used in the short term and the Strategy would be reviewed, particularly Service Transformation options.
During the meeting and discussion, the following information was shared in addition to that in the report:
· It was explained that co-location of services at Stafford was not an income generator specifically but did give greater flexibility for services. More information on specific sites would be available shortly.
· Regarding the latest, as yet unaccepted pay offer, it was felt that in the past there may have been inconsistencies in pay awards and that fire services had not always been in line with other public services.
· The total level of debt (capital financing requirement) was forecast to increase from £20.8m to £29.3m by 2026 due to investment in fleet/estate/equipment etc. This was being managed but was increasing in the medium term. This debt included loans from the Public Loans Board which incurred interest.
· There was an environmental strategy which looked at moving towards a ... view the full minutes text for item 39.
The Safety Plan was designed to underpin the Staffordshire Commissioners Fire and Rescue Plan and four priorities for the Service were determined following consultation across Staffordshire in 2020.
The four priorities outlined in the current Commissioners Fire and Rescue Plan were:
· A flexible and responsive service
· Protect people and places
· Help people most at risk stay safe
· A fire and rescue service for tomorrow
Detail on the priorities and the progress to date was contained in the report.
With regard to the Falls Response Team and their work with partners, the time patients were left lying on floors was questioned and if there was medical follow-up after assistance was given. It was explained that this was prior to Christmas when the NHS was at its busiest. Medical assessments were carried out by appropriately trained officers who are sent depending on the type/level of call out and were in contact with partners if additional advice was needed. Having access to individuals homes provided an opportunity to offer guidance/support or access to other services that may be available. Funding was provided by the SSOTICB but there may, in the future, be discussions for opportunities to work with partners to relieve pressure on response teams. This was a different service to that provided by the Police who responded to emergency’s involving mental illness. Defibrillators were normally fitted into response vehicles, including the falls teams.
The prevention and education service were discussed and the move from classroom physical teaching to online. There was also funding for PSE officers who pass on Safety and police initiatives.
The HICFRS report findings and the progress made to address issues raised was noted. The Panel was reminded that the Commissioners performance meetings with the Chief Fire Officer were public and available on his website.
The information on access arrangements for sheltered or assisted living sites in case of emergencies, would be shared with members of the Panel after the meeting.
The Panel noted the positive OFSTED inspection result which rated the service as Good (with 2 areas of outstanding) for the apprenticeships scheme.
a) That the report be noted.
b) information on access arrangements for sheltered or assisted living sites in case of emergencies, would be shared with the panel.
Questions to the PFCC by Panel Members
RESOLVED – That the dates of future meetings be noted.