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Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee

7 December 2021

 

Fees and Charges 2022-23

 

Final Decision-Maker

Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee

Lead Head of Service

Mark Green, Director of Finance and Business Improvement

Lead Officer and Report Author

Ellie Dunnet, Head of Finance

Classification

Public

 

Wards affected

All

 

Executive Summary

 

This report sets out the proposed fees and charges for 2022/23 for the services within the remit of this committee.† Fees and charges determined by the council are reviewed annually, and this forms part of the budget setting process.† Changes to fees and charges agreed by this committee will come into effect on 1 April 2022 unless otherwise stated in the report.

 

Purpose of Report

 

Decision

 

 

This report makes the following recommendations to this Committee:

1.   That the proposed discretionary fees and charges set out in Appendix 1 to this report are agreed.

2.   That the expected statutory fees and charges set out in Appendix 1 to this report are noted.

 

 

Timetable

Meeting

Date

Strategic Planning & Infrastructure Committee

7 December 2021

Policy and Resources Committee

15 December 2021



Fees and Charges 2022-23

 

1.       CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES AND IMPLICATIONS

 

Issue

Implications

Sign-off

Impact on Corporate Priorities

         We do not expect the recommendations will by themselves materially affect achievement of corporate priorities.  However, the Councilís policy on charging has been developed to support corporate priorities as set out in the strategic plan and the proposals within the report have been made with reference to this.

Ellie Dunnet, Head of Finance

Cross Cutting Objectives

         The report recommendations support the achievement of the cross cutting objectives by ensuring that costs of service delivery are recovered where possible, which enables services which support these objectives to be sustained.

Ellie Dunnet, Head of Finance

Risk Management

         This is covered within section 5 of the report.

Ellie Dunnet, Head of Finance

Financial

         Financial implications are set out in the body of the report.† If agreed, this income will be incorporated into the Councilís medium term financial strategy for 2021-22 onwards.

Ellie Dunnet, Head of Finance

Staffing

         The recommendations do not have any staffing implications.

Ellie Dunnet, Head of Finance

Legal

         Acting on the recommendations is within the Councilís powers as set out within the Local Government Act 2003 and the Localism Act 2011.

Section 93 of the Local Government Act 2003

permits best value authorities to charge for

discretionary services provided the authority

has the power to provide that service and the

recipient agrees to take it up on those terms.

The authority has a duty to ensure that taking

one financial year with another, income does

not exceed the costs of providing the service.

A number of fees and charges for Council

services are set on a cost recovery basis only,

with trading accounts used to ensure that the

cost of service is clearly related to the charge

made. In other cases, the fee is set by statute

and the Council must charge the statutory fee.

In both cases the proposals in this report meet the Councilís legal obligations.

 

         Where a customer defaults on the fee or charge for a service, the fee or charge must be defendable, in order to recover it through legal action. Adherence to the MBC Charging Policy on setting fees and charges provides some assurance that appropriate factors have been considered in setting such fees and charges.

Legal Team

Privacy and Data Protection

         The recommendations do not have any privacy or data protection implications.

Policy and Information Team

Equalities

         The recommendations do not propose a change in service therefore will not require an equalities impact assessment.

Policy & Information Manager

Public Health

 

 

         The recommendations do not have any public health implications.

Public Health Officer

Crime and Disorder

         The recommendations do not have any public health implications.

Head of Finance

Procurement

         The recommendations do not have any procurement implications.

Ellie Dunnet, Head of Finance

Biodiversity and Climate Change

The implications of this report on biodiversity and climate change have been considered and are;

         There are no implications on biodiversity and climate change.

Biodiversity and Climate Change Officer

 

 

 

 

 

2.††††† INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

 

2.1     The council is able to recover the costs of providing certain services through making a charge to service users.† For some services, this is a requirement and charges are set out in statute, and in other areas the council has discretion to determine whether charging is appropriate, and the level at which charges are set.

 

2.2     In recent years, the use of charging has become an increasingly important feature of the councilís medium term financial strategy, as pressures on the revenue budget limit the extent to which subsidisation of discretionary services is feasible.† Recovering the costs of these services from users where possible helps to ensure sustainability of the councilís offer to residents and businesses, beyond the statutory minimum.

 

2.3     A charging policy (attached at Appendix 2 for reference) is in place for charges which are set at the councilís discretion and this seeks to ensure that:

 

a)   Fees and charges are reviewed regularly, and that this review covers existing charges as well services for which there is potential to charge in the future.

 

b)   Budget managers are equipped with guidance on the factors which should be considered when reviewing charges.

 

c)    Charges are fair, transparent and understandable, and a consistent and sensible approach is taken to setting the criteria for applying concessions or discounted charges.

 

d)   Decisions regarding fees and charges are based on relevant and accurate information regarding the service and the impact of any proposed changes to the charge is fully understood.

 

2.4     The policy covers fees and charges that are set at the discretion of the council and does not apply to services where the council is prohibited from charging, e.g. the collection of household waste.† Charges currently determined by central government, e.g. planning application fees, are also outside the scope of the policy.† However, consideration of any known changes to such fees and charges and any consequence to the medium term financial strategy are included in this report for information.

 

2.5     Managers are asked to consider the following factors when reviewing fees and charges:

 

a)   The councilís strategic plan and values, and how charge supports these;

 

b)   The use of subsidies and concessions targeted at certain user groups or to facilitate access to a service;

 

c)    The actual or potential impact of competition in terms of price or quality;

 

d)   Trends in user demand including an estimate of the effect of price changes on customers;

 

e)   Customer survey results;

 

f)    Impact on users, both directly and on delivering the councilís objectives;

 

g)   Financial constraints including inflationary pressure and service budgets;

 

h)   The implications of developments such as investment made in a service;

 

i)     The corporate impact on other service areas of council wide pressures to increase fees and charges;†

 

j)    Alternative charging structures that could be more effective;

 

k)   Proposals for targeting promotions during the year and the evaluation

of any that took place in previous periods.

 

Discretionary Charges for 2022-23

2.6     It is important that charges are reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that they remain appropriate and keep pace with the costs associated with service delivery as they increase over time.

 

2.7     Charges for services which fall within the remit of this committee have been reviewed by budget managers in line with the policy, as part of the development of the medium term financial strategy for 2022/23 onwards.† The detailed results of the review carried out this year are set out in

Appendix 1 and the approval of the committee is sought to the amended

fees and charges for 2022/23 as set out in that appendix.

 

2.8     Table 1 below summarises the 2020/21 outturn and 2021/22 estimate for income from the fees and charges which fall within the remit of this committee.† Please note that the table only reflects changes relating to fees and charges and does not include other budget proposals which may impact these service areas.

 

2.9     The overall increase in income if these changes are agreed and implemented as planned is expected to be £12,660 which amounts to a 0.29% increase in the overall budgeted income figure for this committee for the current financial year.†

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Service Area

2020-21
Outturn

2021-22
Budget

Proposed
change
in income

2022-23
†Estimate

 

£

£

£

£

Parking Services

2,134,692

3,160,060

0

3,160,060

Sandling Road Car Park

29,797

151,000

0

151,000

Land Charges

343,957

286,900

0

286,900

Street Naming & Numbering

38,145

73,350

0

73,350

Building Control

441,919

354,160

7,510

361,670

Development Management & Conservation Control

1,319,146

1,452,260

5,150

1,457,410

Grand Total

4,307,656

5,477,730

12,660

5,490,390

Table 1: Fees & Charges Summary (SPI)

 

2.10  Detailed proposals are set out within Appendix 1 to this report, and considerations relating to these proposals have been summarised below.†

 

2.11  Parking Services Ė No changes are proposed to pay and display charges for the next financial year as this service and the local economy continues to recover from the impact of the pandemic.† The off-street parking charges for town centre car parks proposed for have been compared to charges at non-MBC car parks (see table below) and are considered to represent value for money.†

 

Tariff

Fremlin

Fremlin

(Sat)

Mall

Lock-meadow (MBC)

Medway

St (MBC)

King

St (MBC)

1hr

£2.40

£3.60

£2.00

£1.00

£1.30

£1.35

2hr

£2.90

£3.60

£2.00

£2.00

£2.60

£2.70

3hr

£3.40

£6.00

£2.50

£2.50

£3.90

£4.05

4hr

£4.40

£6.00

£3.50

£3.50

£5.20

£5.40

5hr

£5.80

£10.20

£4.50

£5.00

n/a

n/a

Over 5hr

£10.80

£10.20

£9.00

£7.00

n/a

n/a

Overnight

£2.00

£2.00

n/a

No charge

£2.00

£2.00

Table 2: Town centre parking charges comparison Ė short stay

 

 

Increases are proposed to the charges for season tickets in order to rationalise the level of subsidy provided in this area, and also for dispensations in response to recent high demand.† No increases are proposed to the income budgets in this area as the existing budgets have not been achieved.

 

2.12  Land Charges and Street Naming & Numbering Ė Search fees are set by central government and no changes are currently anticipated for the next financial year.† It is proposed that the discretionary charges in these areas remain at their current level for 2022/23.†

 

2.13  Building control Ė Moderate inflationary increases are proposed for building control charges.† It is anticipated that this may generate additional income of £7,510 which will be reinvested in the service.

 

2.14  Development Management Ė Inflationary increases have been applied to the discretionary charges in this area.† It is anticipated that this may generate additional income of £5,150 which will offset the increased staffing costs which are expected to arise from wage inflation.

 

 

 

3.   AVAILABLE OPTIONS

 

3.1Option 1

The committee could approve the recommendations as set out in the report, adopting the fees and charges as proposed in Appendix 1.† As these proposals have been developed in line with the councilís policy on fees and charges, they will create a manageable impact on service delivery whilst maximising income levels.

 

3.2Option 2

The committee could propose alternative charges to those set out within Appendix 1. Any alternative increases may not be fully compliant with the policy, would require further consideration before implementation and may not deliver the necessary levels of income to ensure a balanced budget for 2022-23.† The impact on demand for a service should also be taken into account when considering increases to charges beyond the proposed level.

 

3.3Option 3

The committee could choose to do nothing and retain charges at their current levels.† However, this might limit the Councilís ability to recover the cost of delivering discretionary services and could result in the Council being unable to set a balanced budget for 2022-23.

 

 

4.        PREFERRED OPTION AND REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS

 

4.1     Option 1 as set out above is recommended as the proposed fees and charges shown within Appendix 1 have been developed by budget managers in line with the Councilís Charging Policy.† The proposed charges are considered appropriate and are expected to create a manageable impact on service delivery whilst maximising cost recovery.† Changes to fees and charges agreed by this committee will come into effect on 1 April 2022 unless otherwise stated.

 

 

5.       RISK

5.1     The risks associated with this proposal, including the risks if the Council does not act as recommended, have been considered in line with the Councilís Risk Management Framework.† We are satisfied that the risks associated are within the Councilís risk appetite and will be managed as per the Policy.

 

 

 

 


6. CONSULTATION RESULTS AND PREVIOUS COMMITTEE FEEDBACK

 

6.1     No consultation has been undertaken specifically relating to the proposals set out in the report.† However, the Council has conducted a survey of residents which will be used to inform wider decisions related to budget setting and spending priorities.† The results of this survey were presented to Policy and Resources Committee on 24 November 2021.

 

 

7.       NEXT STEPS: COMMUNICATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DECISION

 

7.1     Policy and Resources Committee will receive an overarching report of all fees and charges proposals on 16 December 2021.

 

7.2     If agreed, the proposed changes to fees and charges, as set out within Appendix 1 will be implemented with effect from 1 April 2022.

 

 

 

8.        REPORT APPENDICES

 

The following documents are to be published with this report and form part of the report:

         Appendix 1: Current and Proposed Fees & Charges Ė SPI Committee

         Appendix 2: Charging Policy

 

 

9.        BACKGROUND PAPERS

 

None