As the name suggests this is the Council Committee that is principally concerned with money. It reviews budget proposals before they go to full Council for approval and sets the overall policy within which the budget is framed, i.e. what extra items will be included, what savings will be taken and what overall effect on Council Tax will be proposed.
Its work does not stop once the budget is set. Every quarter of the Financial Year the Finance Officer prepares a report that shows how the Council is doing against its budget. If some areas look like they may go under budget and some go over, funds can be moved around, this process is called virement and is agreed at Finance and Policy Committee. At every meeting, members have a schedule of every item that has been spent since the last meeting, from £10,000+ large items to the smallest or most routine items like postage. This gives elected members a chance to examine in detail what has been done with the money the public have paid through their Council Tax and is an important part of the Council’s overall process of controlling its activities, known as governance.
Major contracts are awarded by the Finance and Policy Committee, unless they come completely within the work of another committee, such as allotments grounds maintenance which is run by Community Development.
The “Policy” side of the Committee covers proposals to take on new services, which are increasing as Herefordshire Council comes under more pressure to reduce its spending and is considering moving out of some services altogether. At present discussions are ongoing about the footpaths in the city and our largest open space, King George’s Park, and Finance and Policy Committee will oversee that work, examine proposals and decide in due course whether to recommend that the Council takes these over.
All reports by the Council’s auditors go to Finance and Policy Committee for comment on any recommendations for improvements or more general observations. Sometimes these go to another committee as well, depending what that auditor has said we ought to consider doing.