Decision Maker: Cumbria Police and Crime Panel
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
The Panel considered a report which accompanied the report from the Police and Crime Commissioner setting out the proposed budget and precept for 2014/15. This report explained the Panel’s options for decision making.
In the light of the uncertainty about the precept principles the Panel were presented with revised options for decision making as follows:
Option 1: Support the precept
Option 2: Support with comments
The Panel could accept the proposed precept on the basis that the maximum level of the precept was 1.99% whilst accepting it may be lower provided the lower figure was not in excess of the Government threshold. The PCC would need to consider this recommendation and respond.
Option 3: Veto the Proposed Precept
In the case of a veto, the Commissioner must respond in writing to the Panel by 15th February at the latest with a revised precept. The Panel must then review the revised precept and report on it to the Commissioner by 22nd February.
Option 4: Defer consideration completely
Following a discussion a member moved that the proposed precept be vetoed. This was agreed unanimously for the following reasons:
· Because the plans assumed a 1.99% Council Tax increase, the Panel felt that they could not support them given that the financial premise on which they were based could change significantly in the near future.
· There was uncertainty as to whether or not a 1.99% increase would be the PCC’s final proposal as a result of the Government having not yet confirmed the Council Tax increase threshold for 2014/15. If the size of the increase that could be proposed before a local referendum was triggered was reduced (possibly to 1.5%) then it was assumed that an amended proposal consistent with the new threshold would be put forward. Whilst the immediate financial impact of a reduction to 1.5% would be relatively limited, the cumulative impact on police budgets over the next several years could be significant.
· There was, in any event, insufficient clarity in the budget paper to support the proposed increase in the precept. This reflected the recognition that although significant amounts of financial information had been provided within the report there was limited discussion of why the increase in precept was needed from a service delivery perspective and also why existing high levels of reserves and previous years under spends were not being utilised.
(1) in accordance with paragraph 4 of Schedule 5 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 the proposal for a 1.99% increase in the council tax precept be vetoed as being too high and for the reasons set out above
(2) A special meeting of the Panel take place on 20 February at 2pm in Kendal to consider the revised proposed precept.
Publication date: 13/06/2014
Date of decision: 22/01/2014
Decided at meeting: 22/01/2014 - Cumbria Police and Crime Panel