Issue - decisions

Financial Measures to respond to COVID-19

15/05/2020 - Financial Measures to respond to COVID-19

That the Cabinet Member for Finance, Property and Regeneration approved:

1.1.The financial governance related to COVID-19 expenditure as per section 7 and the revised approval routes to ensure a co-ordinated consistent response to the operational needs that arise from the pandemic. 

1.2.The allocation of any COVID-19 government funding to be delegated to the Executive Director of Finance and Resources, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Finance, Property and Regeneration.

1.3.The financial support measures for the Council’s commercial tenants as noted in paragraph 6.7 of the report and delegated authority to the Executive Director of Finance and Resources to extend this in line with the financial governance as noted in section 7.

1.4.The brokerage facility as part of the Westminster Connects platform, as per paragraphs 6.9 to 6.12 of the report.

1.5.The continuation of immediate payment terms, even as the Council enters BAU with the IBC.

1.6.The income and debt management policies and delegations of these policies during the current crisis as per section 8 of the report.

1.7.That Westminster City Council act as the lead borough for the London Strategic Coordination Group for the provision of additional mortuary space across London, incurring all initial expenditure on the instructions of the mortuaries planning group and subsequently recovering this from the other London boroughs as set out in section 9 of the report.

1.8.The types of relief (as outlined in section 10) the Council may offer to suppliers in line with the financial approval limits set out in section 7. 

Reasons for Decision

1.     COVID-19 is impacting everything the Council does and is having an adverse effect on the economy and the resident and business communities that the Council serves. The Leader, Cabinet, Executive Leadership Team and other council officers are responding to this crisis daily.

2.     In the current circumstances where the Council is functioning outside of business as usual it is important to have an agreed financial framework within which the Council operates. This report sets out how the financial framework can be adapted within the boundaries of the financial regulations and the scheme of delegation. This ensures financial decisions are linked to operational and strategic needs specific to the Council’s response to the crisis, with decisions being made at the appropriate level and by the appropriate individual or group.

3.     The recommendations as set out in section 2 of the report and the Council’s financial management of the situation as outlined in sections 6-8 are considered to be the most appropriate and efficient way to assist the aforementioned groups to respond to this international pandemic.