Agenda and minutes

Group Leaders Meeting with Trade Union Representatives - Wednesday 5 February 2020 10.00 am

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

Contact: Kieran Elliott 01225 718504 

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

·         Sue Dawson – ATL




Notes from the previous meeting

To receive the minutes from the last meeting held on 14 February 2019.

Supporting documents:


The notes of the previous meeting held on 14 February 2019 were received and noted as a correct record.




Wiltshire Council Financial Plan Update 2020/21

To consider the 2020/21 Budget proposals.


The budget papers are available here.


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


The Leader reported that the Financial Plan had been circulated in advance of the meeting and that the Trade Union Representatives would have had an opportunity to consider the detail of the Plan and formulate questions based around the Plans contents.  He explained that the other consultative groups had recently considered the Plan, in particular the Schools Forum, Financial Planning Task Group and Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which has enabled a thorough examination of the proposals to take place.  This meeting was the final round of consultation.


The Leader stated that a key focus would be to ensure a strong and sustainable financial base during the current challenging times.  He referred to the Council embracing the transformation of services and how this would provide improvements to those service areas to generate greater financial gains for the Council’s overall budget.  


Cllr Jacobs, in supporting the comments of the Leader, explained that a large portion of the budget is allocated to the increasing demand for the vulnerable, including adult and children with complex care needs and special educational needs. It was noted that this was an area of concern and one that the Council would manage as efficiently as possible.


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


Mr John Drake (UNISON) asked the following questions:


1.    The representations made to local MPs in relation to the increasing demand for adult social care and children’s services.   The Leader reported that the provision of sufficient funds especially for these areas was a national problem and he took every opportunity to lobby local MPs. He also mentioned that lobbying was undertaken on behalf of Wiltshire Council by the County Council Network and the Local Government Association. It was noted that with the formula’s review was ongoing and current funding based on areas of deprivation rather than population, local authorities like Wiltshire received rather less funding compared to more urban authorities.


2.    The potential for an assessment of the number of officers employed by the Council in light of the ongoing financial climate. The Leader confirmed that there were no planned redundancies within the workforce and that officer turnover was managed very effectively through retirement and vacancies being created when officers move onto other employment opportunities. Cllr Jacobs referred to the creation of new employment openings within the Council, for instance a new team to manage the Council’s proposals around the climate emergency.    


3.    The potential for transferring services back inhouse.  The Leader confirmed that consideration of this matter was not a priority for the Council at this stage. Although, the Council would investigate any possibilities if the need arose. 


Mr John Hawkins (NEU) highlighted concerns about the level of high needs spending. The Leader reported that Wiltshire’s demand for high needs spending remained in excess of the high needs block allocation, which reflected the experience of the majority of other local authorities. There was a recognition within government that the funding allocation needed to be considered  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.