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Agenda and minutes

Venue: West Wiltshire Room - County Hall, Bythesea Road, Trowbridge, BA14 8JN. View directions

Contact: Roger Bishton  Email: kieran.elliott@wiltshire.gov.uk

No. Item


Welcome and Introductions


The Leader welcomed everyone to the meeting and asked attendees to introduce themselves.



To receive any apologies for the meeting


Apologies for absence was received from:-


·         Cllr Ian Thorn who was substituted by Cllr Ruth Hopkinson.

·         Robin Bassford – ASCL

·         Michael Harrison – NUT

·         Carole Valley – CMB


Notes of the Last Meeting

To receive the notes from the 2018 meeting.

Supporting documents:


The notes of the previous meeting held on 8 February 2018 were received and noted as a correct record.


Wiltshire Council Financial Plan Update 2019/20

To consider the 2019/20 Budget Proposals.


The budget papers are available at this link.  


Some hard copies will be available for trade union representatives at the meeting.


The Leader introduced the budget and invited Cllr Philip Whitehead, Cabinet Member for Finance, to provide an overview of the Council’s proposed Budget for 2019/2020. 


Cllr Whitehead reported that he was confident that the Council was currently in a good position to set a strong Financial Plan for the years ahead. He reported that budget proposals had been circulated to Overview & Scrutiny Task Groups in October 2018 and this had enabled a thorough examination of the proposals to take place.  He did not foresee a problem with the proposed Budget which amounted to £332 million. 


A key focus would be to ensure a strong sustainable financial base during the current challenging times. The key changes in the Plan reflected the revised forecast for the increasing demand for adult social care and children’s services, in particular services for children with special educational needs.   It was noted that this latter service was increasingly critical following the enactment of the Children and Families Act in 2014 which extended responsibilities to care leavers from the age of 21 to 25 years. Demographic growth across social care equated to £1.2 million. 


The Council would no longer received a Rate Support Grant (RSG) from the Government but would continue to receive income from Council tax and business rates which would lead to a greater degree of flexibility in managing the Council’s finances and lead to a greater control of the Budget.  Cllr Whitehead explained that greater emphasis would be placed on commercialisation and innovation, in particular the increased advancement in digitalisation. 


The union representatives then had an opportunity to make statements and ask questions regarding the Budget.


Mr Andy Newman (GMB) referred to inflation on in house carers being estimated at 2% and contract inflation on external providers at 2.97% as per contractual arrangements.  He noted that the total growth required for inflation in 2019/20 amounted to £0.792 million.  In view of this and the increasing demand for in house carers, he enquired if there would be an increase in funding to enable staff who provided these services to receive an increase in pay, bearing in mind that they had not received one in the past five years.  It was explained that these staff were self employed and did not form part of the Council’s workforce. Any pay increases would need to be met from the global sums allocated for the provision of this service. The Director of Finance pointed out that £5.699 million growth had been allocated to Children & Education Services in 2019/20. The Leader reported that the provision of sufficient funds especially for children with special educational needs was a national problem and she took every opportunity to lobby ministers at Westminster on this and in particular the specific problems besetting Wiltshire.


Mr John Hawkins ((NEU) noted the provision of traded services and enquired to what extent increases in income were being sought.  Cllr Whitehead explained that there were a number of services for which charges were being made and increases would be introduced  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.




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