Agenda and minutes

Place and Resources Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 17th January, 2024 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Dorchester, DT1 1XJ. View directions

Contact: Lindsey Watson  01305 252209 / Email:


No. Item


Declarations of interest

To disclose any pecuniary, other registrable or non-registrable interests as set out in the adopted Code of Conduct. In making their disclosure councillors are asked to state the agenda item, the nature of the interest and any action they propose to take as part of their declaration.


If required, further advice should be sought from the Monitoring Officer in advance of the meeting.


There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 132 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 9 November 2023.


The Chairman noted that in respect of the minute relating to ‘Review of Dorset Council’s Tourism Service’, the wording of the final paragraph should be amended to read as follows:


‘Following the discussion, it was agreed by the committee that the Chairman and Vice-chairman would meet with officers to discuss the setting up of task and finish groups to explore opportunities for income generation in tourism through a future review’.


The committee agreed with the amendment to the wording and the minutes of the meeting held on 9 November 2023 (as amended) were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


Public Participation

Representatives of town or parish councils and members of the public who live, work, or represent an organisation within the Dorset Council area are welcome to submit either 1 question or 1 statement for each meeting.  You are welcome to attend the meeting in person or via MS Teams to read out your question and to receive the response.   If you submit a statement for the committee this will be circulated to all members of the committee in advance of the meeting as a supplement to the agenda and appended to the minutes for the formal record but will not be read out at the meeting. The first 8 questions and the first 8 statements received from members of the public or organisations for each meeting will be accepted on a first come first served basis in accordance with the deadline set out below.  Further information read Public Participation - Dorset Council


All submissions must be emailed in full to  by 8.30am on 12 January 2024.


When submitting your question or statement please note that:


         You can submit 1 question or 1 statement.

         a question may include a short pre-amble to set the context.

         It must be a single question and any sub-divided questions will not be permitted.

         Each question will consist of no more than 450 words, and you will be given up to 3 minutes to present your question.

         when submitting a question please indicate who the question is for (e.g., the name of the committee or Portfolio Holder)

         Include your name, address, and contact details.  Only your name will be published but we may need your other details to contact you about your question or statement in advance of the meeting.

         questions and statements received in line with the council’s rules for public participation will be published as a supplement to the agenda.

         all questions, statements and responses will be published in full within the minutes of the meeting.


There were no questions or statements from members of the public or local organisations.


Questions from Councillors

To receive questions submitted by councillors.  


Councillors can submit up to two valid questions at each meeting and sub divided questions count towards this total.   Questions and statements received will be published as a supplement to the agenda and all questions, statements and responses will be published in full within the minutes of the meeting. 


The submissions must be emailed in full to by 8.30am on 12 January 2024. 


Dorset Council Constitution – Procedure Rule 13


There were no questions from councillors.


Budget and Medium-Term Financial Plan Strategy report pdf icon PDF 131 KB

To receive a report of the Corporate Director for Finance and Commercial.

Additional documents:


The committee was invited to consider the budget proposals for 2024/25 prior to consideration at Cabinet on 30 January 2024 and Full Council on 13 February 2024. The report gave a summary of progress to date on the budget strategy and process and provided the opportunity for the scrutiny committees to review further, budget assumptions and actions being proposed to deliver a balanced budget for 2024/25.


The Place and Resources Scrutiny Committee had the opportunity to consider the implications of the proposals on behalf of residents of Dorset and to provide constructive challenge to decision makers before a final decision was made. It was noted that the comments made by the committee would be reported to Cabinet on 30 January 2024 and taken into consideration as part of the budget setting process.


A short introduction and overview of the budget proposals was provided by the Executive Director of Corporate Development followed by an exploration of the budget proposals in a number of key theme areas.


Further to the discussion held, the Chairman provided a summary of the key points raised during the discussion in relation to each area covered by the committee and noted that the points below would be submitted to Cabinet as part of the budget setting process:


Workforce Issues


·       The committee note that Dorset Council has spent around £14m a year over the last couple of years on the employment of agency staff, which is a more expensive option. It is flagged up that driving forward the transformation process is imperative to reduce costs in this area

·       It is important that Legal Services staffing is kept to full strength in order to mitigate the risk to the council

·       There needs to be sufficient funding and focus on communications and engagement to ensure that the council’s recruitment programme is successful

·       The committee recognise that the recruitment and retention of staff continues to be a challenge particularly with the wage economy, competition with other local authorities and with a national shortage of local government officers in some service areas.



·       Clarification is sought on the position with Public Works Loans as this may affect Dorset Council’s working with town and parish councils

·       The committee is confident with the Invest to Save strategy and transformation project

·       It is noted that the sponsorship and income stream through the use of council assets could be developed further to become more commercial and bring in a bigger income for the council

·       The committee note the role of the Our Future Council programme to find efficiencies and transformation in services, with an initial focus on Place and Corporate areas.  Assurance will be sought on progress with the programme in September/October 2024 with regular monitoring opportunities for councillors provided.

Home to School Transport


·       There is a need for additional placements at the Dorset Centre of Excellence to be progressed at pace to assist with relieving SEN budget pressures

·       The committee highlight the importance of Dorset Council working with maintained schools and academies to progress the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 50.


Place and Resources Scrutiny Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 116 KB

To consider the committee’s work programme.


Councillors reviewed the committee’s work programme and noted items to be considered at the next meeting on 26 February 2024.


Executive Forward Plans pdf icon PDF 228 KB

To consider the Executive arrangement forward plans.

Additional documents:


Councillors considered the Cabinet Forward Plan and decisions of the meetings held on 7 November and 5 December 2023, which the committee could use to identify potential areas for post decision review.


In addition, the committee noted the forward plan for the Shareholder Committee for Care Dorset Holdings Ltd and the Shareholder Committee for the Dorset Centre of Excellence.


Urgent items

To consider any items of business which the Chairman has had prior notification and considers to be urgent pursuant to section 100B (4) b) of the Local Government Act 1972. The reason for the urgency shall be recorded in the minutes.


There were no urgent items.


Exempt Business

To move the exclusion of the press and the public for the following item in view of the likely disclosure of exempt information within the meaning of paragraph x of schedule 12 A to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended). The public and the press will be asked to leave the meeting whilst the item of business is considered.  


There are no exempt items scheduled for this meeting.


There was no exempt business.