The minutes from the previous meeting were approved.
Relevant updates on any outstanding actions were provided and the Action Log updated
Fire and Police Interoperability Plans
An interoperability programme update was provided to outline the progress made in bringing the two organisations closer together from an operational perspective.
SH explained that page three of the report provides the operational focus whilst page 10 sets out the strategic objectives.
The key priorities on page five are the focus of the effort.
There was a discussion on the work being undertaken to deliver a joint JESIP capability in control room and joint command platform
It was agreed that SM’s original vision of ‘purple’ will now be reinvigorated with the recruitment of Transformation Director who will lead on Enabling Services.
Key priority for new Executive board is to define ambition over next three months and mitigate any stresses in each organisation
SM expressed his disappointment that he hasn’t seen any real progress. His expectation in the next 3 months is that both Services will come forward with clear ambition.
On reviewing the strategic objectives (page 10) SM would like to see a timeline for delivery.
It was agreed that the Gold Strategy outlined on page 10 of the report provided a suitable framework from which to build and accelerate progress.
Treasury Management update
HK gave an overview of the report and explained the current cashflow position for NCFRA.
HK explained the potential reimbursement due to NCC and that there was likely to be a balance of circa £1.3m, which is mainly constituted of cash baked reserves.
HK also explained the differences in format from the policing statement as the NFRS statement is undertaken by LGSS who also do similar reports for all organisations they provide services for. Those organisations are more complex in terms of borrowing and investment structures.
SM requested the borrowing in advance of need paragraph be amended to read as per Policing.
NA drew attention to page 5 regarding the Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) and pointed out that pressure will be ongoing
There was a discussion on revenue and cost avoidance.
HK advised that the PFCC can borrow and lend under the appropriate T&C’s which will have to stand up to scrutiny
There was a discussion about the ‘fleet of foot’ experience across both services so can react to changes in market conditions and rate reductions/increases. HK and NA confident that budget holders have the necessary skills but need to tidy up on controls.
Training has been identified where appropriate.
NA presented the report and outlined the fluctuating outturn and the volatility experienced during the year.
This had led from underspends of almost £300k in the Autumn to £14K by January.
NA and HK advised that subject to year end accounting treatment, it was likely that the underspend could reduce further and/or move into an overspend position.
DD and HK explained that some had been one off costs (asbestos £113K cost and accounting treatment £63K benefit)
HK highlighted the importance of financial discipline with some of the budget holders and DD explained where some of the variances had arisen and the management actions being put in place to mitigate these.
DD also highlighted where things had previously been paid where funding was available, rather than allocating them to the correct year.
Mitigations included, a full training needs analysis and plan for 2020/21. Budget holder training. DD to ensure all budget managers highlight where they cannot manage costs within their budget and to new pressures when they arise.
HK advised that things are tight but we do need to minimise the volatility for future years as there is such limited flexibility in the Fire budget.
HK and DD gave an overview of the work involved in the draft capital programme.
HK explained how some items had been classified between capital and revenue to build in affordable replacement programmes.
NA outlined how the minimum revenue provision made such an impact on the revenue costs.
NA cautioned that it was important to minimise borrowing wherever possible. Hence S106 and Grants had been applied where possible.
HK advised the Home Office were still open to discussions to realign grants where appropriate as long as they were in line with the original intent.
SM discussed control rooms and joint control rooms and the early thinking in this regard
SM would be keen to make a proposal to ministers for this if there is a business case to support it.
Action DD/SM to write to Minister Brokenshire setting out a case for Home Office Support in bringing the control rooms together. JESIP principles key driver particularly in light of Grenfell and additional pressure caused to NFRS funding following delay of 114.
SM approved the capital programme and priorities within the report
SM pleased to see that whilst NFRS is still struggling financially it is delivering better outcomes for the people of Northamptonshire.
It was also noted that more capital will be spent in next two years than was spent in last 10 years.
SM thanked everyone for their hard work
COVID – 19 Coronarvirus
DD confirmed business continuity plans were being reviewed in light of the recent developments.
Used to modelling given experience of managing industrial action in the past
DD meeting with senior command team this week. Will share plan with SM
Action DD to share Business continuity plan for COVID-19Coronarvirus with SM