2019-20 FEES AND CHARGES

 

Finance, Budget and

Performance Scrutiny Panel  20 November 2018

 

Report Author                         Tim Willis, Deputy Chief Executive and S151 Officer

 

Portfolio Holder                       Cllr Ian Gregory, Cabinet Member for Financial Services & Estates

 

Status                                      For Recommendation

 

Classification:                          Unrestricted

 

Key Decision                           Budget and Policy Framework

 

Ward:                                      All

 

Executive Summary:

A review of fees and charges has now been completed as part of the budget build. The proposed fees and charges are expected to generate additional income of around £189K, which represents an increase of 2.0%. This excludes items such as Selective Licensing and On Street Parking. 

 

Recommendation(s):

1.   That Finance, Budget and Performance Scrutiny Panel consider the fees and charges as listed in Annex 1 and make any recommendations or provide feedback to Cabinet.

 

CORPORATE IMPLICATIONS

Financial and Value for Money

The financial implications have been reflected within the body of the report. However were members to decide to reject any of the proposals, then additional savings of the same value would be required to deliver a balanced budget.

 

Legal

 

Section 151 of the 1972 Local Government Act requires a suitably qualified named officer to keep control of the council’s finances. For this council, it is the Deputy Chief Executive (S151 Officer), and this report is helping to carry out that function.

Local authorities have a variety of powers to charge for specific statutory services as set out in section 42 of the Local Government Act 2003.

The power to charge for discretionary services is not available to local authorities if there is a statutory duty to provide the service or if there is a specific power to charge for it or if there is a prohibition on charging.

The Localism Act 2011 provides local authorities with a general power of competence that confers on them the power to charge for services but again subject to conditions/limitations similar to those noted above.

Any decision made by the council must give due regard to the Public Sector Equality Duty section 149 of the Equality Act 2010.

Corporate

Corporate priorities can only be delivered with robust finances and this report gives Members the opportunity to review the council’s proposed fees and charges for 2019-20 as part of the budget process.

 

Equalities Act 2010 & Public Sector Equality Duty

Members are reminded of the requirement, under the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) (section 149 of the Equality Act 2010) to have due regard to the aims of the Duty at the time the decision is taken.  The aims of the Duty are: (i) eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act, (ii) advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it, and (iii) foster good relations  between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.

Protected characteristics: age, gender, disability, race, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, religion or belief and pregnancy & maternity.  Only aim (i) of the Duty applies to Marriage & civil partnership.

 

Please indicate which aim is relevant to the report.

Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act,

 

Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it

Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.

The Equality Act 2010 (the “Act”) came into force on 1 October 2010 and brings together over 116 separate pieces of legislation in order to create a framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all.

 

The Equality and Human Rights Commission recognises that with major reductions in public spending, local government has to make difficult and often unpopular decisions regarding funding and service provision. Thanet District Council has statutory public sector equality duties concerned with eliminating unlawful discrimination, advancing equality of opportunity and fostering good relations on the basis of protected characteristics such as gender, race, disability or age. These duties do not prevent the council reducing services or charging where necessary - provided that decisions are taken in accordance with the Act.

 

An Equality Impact Assessment (“EIA”) is not a legal requirement in England, but it is an established and credible tool for demonstrating due regard to the public sector equality duty, which is required by law. Thanet District Council, taking its obligations as seriously as it does, had the Policy Owner for each proposed fee and charge, complete an EIA.

 

An analysis of the impacts fees and charges might have to the statutory equality duties encouraged Thanet District Council to take a proportionate approach to fees and charges.  EIAs tailored the necessary mitigations and exceptions, for example.

 

The council is satisfied that, in all the circumstances, the Schedule of 2019-20 fees and charges, those subject to an EIA, are lawful for the purposes of the public sector equality duties in the Equality Act 2010.

 

The council recognises that EIAs are not an end in themselves. They are, of course, a way of showing that due regard has been paid to the general duties; but the council will continue, all-the-time, engaging with the equality considerations, accepting comments and opinions from stakeholders and maintain a positive relationship with the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

 

 

CORPORATE PRIORITIES (tick those relevant)✓

 

 

CORPORATE VALUES (tick those relevant)✓

 

A clean and welcoming Environment 

 

Delivering value for money

Promoting inward investment and job creation

 

Supporting the Workforce

 

Supporting neighbourhoods

 

Promoting open communications

 

 

1.             Introduction and Background

 

        1.1.          This report sets out the fees and charges for 2019-20. Fees and charges have historically been agreed early in the budget cycle so that they can be built into individual service estimates. This covering report summarises the main points, with the detail being provided in Annex 1.

      

        1.2.          A rigorous examination of all the council’s fees and charges was undertaken by the service managers, using techniques such as benchmarking and other in-depth reviews.

 

        1.3.          Service managers also completed Equality Impact Assessments as per the requirement of the Public Sector Equality Duty and hence informed their design of the service and price.

 

        1.4.          Changes to bring to Members’ attention:

 

             1.4.1.       Parking - Charges per hour are rounded to a 10p charge denomination. This charge supports the software within the machines which take a minimum of 5p. To reduce the cost of cash collection coinage the parking charges are rounded to 10p.

             1.4.2.       In response to feedback, the first hour charge at seasonal car parks has been reduced - the daily charge remains the same.

             1.4.3.       Free car parking is still available on Saturdays in Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate. This has been changed in Broadstairs from Vere Road to St Peter’s Park Road.

             1.4.4.       A charge is being introduced to support the call out charges for opening the multi storey car parks out of hours. This charge covers the call out and staff cost.

             1.4.5.       Planning - 20% increase in fees reflects the change made by Central Government. This extra income is required to be re-invested in the planning service.

             1.4.6.       Building Control - Domestic Structural Design service will no longer be offered.

 

  1.  Implications

 

          2.1.        Annex 1 to this report sets out the proposed level of fees and charges for 2019-20 in respect of services provided by the council. As a result of reviewing all the council’s fees and charges, additional income of £189K is anticipated in 2019-20. Table 1 compares 2018-19 to the proposed 2019-20 fees and charges. The proposals represent an increase in income of 2.0%. Some charges have remained at 2018-19 prices; others have increased to reflect parity with other authorities and some to cover cost of providing the service.

 

Table 1 – Comparison with previous year

 

 

 

2018-19

 

2019-20

Income Increase

£390,000

£189,000

Percentage Increase

4.0%

2.0%

 

          2.2.        The major changes proposed to fees and charges 2019-20 can be summarised in Table 2:

 

Table 2 – Summary of major changes

2018-19   Fees & Charges

Major Changes

 

 

New

Deleted

Increased

Ref

Type of Fees & Charges

Fees

Fees

Fees

1.

Car Parks – Off Street

2.

Car Parks – On Street

4.

Crematorium

5.

Cemeteries

7.

Refuse - Bulky

8.

Green Waste

17.

Water Users

18.

B’stairs & M’gate Harbour

19.

Ramsgate Harbour/Port

27

Planning

32.

Building Control

37.

Property Services

Note: A tick shows that there has been a change. A blank means no change.

 

 

  1. Options

 

          3.1.        Finance, Budget and Performance Scrutiny Panel has the option to receive the fees and charges proposals as put or to make recommendations or provide feedback to Cabinet for consideration.

 

    4.        Next Steps

 

          4.1.        Subject to any feedback required for Cabinet, these proposals will be considered by Council on 6 December 2018.

 

Contact Officer:

Joanne Kemp, Finance Manager

Reporting to:

Matthew Sanham, Financial Services Manager

 

Annex List

 

Annex 1

Fees and Charges Schedule 2019-20

 

Background Papers

 

Title

Details of where to access copy

None

N/A

 

Corporate Consultation

 

Finance

Gary Whittaker, Interim Head of Financial and Procurement Services

Legal

Sophia Nartey, Interim Head of Legal Services

   Communications

Hannah Thorpe, Head of Communications