Full Cabinet – 24 September 2013

PRESENT:  Councillor Mrs Redfern in the chair.
Councillors Briggs, Poole, C Sherwood, N Sherwood and Waltham.Councillors Ali, Armitage, Barker, Mrs Bromby, Bunyan, Carlile, Eckhardt, England, Evison, L Foster, T Foster, Glover, Grant, Ogg, Rowson, Swift, Wells and Whiteley also attended the meeting.Simon Driver, Louise Baxter, Will Bell, Frances Cunning, Denise Hyde, Karen Pavey, Lesley Potts, Peter Thorpe, Mike Wedgewood, Peter Williams and Mel Holmes also attended the meeting.

The meeting was held at the Civic Centre, Scunthorpe.

1051  DECLARATIONS OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY INTERESTS AND PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS – There were no declarations of interests.

1052  MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting of Cabinet held on 25 June 2013, having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and be signed by the chairman.

1053  (66) OUTSTANDING ACTION FROM PREVIOUS MEETINGS – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which contained a schedule of outstanding issues on which cabinet had requested reports to future meetings.

Resolved – That the report be noted.

1054  (67)  ADULT COMMUNITY LEARNING OFSTED INSPECTION OUTCOME  – The Director of Places submitted a report informing cabinet of the outcome of the Ofsted Inspection of Adult Community Learning (ACL) undertaken in March 2013.

All providers funded by the Skills Funding Agency were subject to further education and skills inspections.  Inspections are carried out using the common inspection framework in line with the Education and Inspections Act 2006.  The overall aim of inspection is to evaluate how efficiently and effectively the education and training provision meets learners’ needs.  Inspectors gather evidence from observations, success data, a range of interviews and written evidence and give an overall judgement based on overall effectiveness, outcomes for learners, quality of teaching, learning and assessment and effectiveness of leadership and management.

Inspectors then provide specific guidance about what the provider needs to do to improve further.  Ofsted had previously inspected this service and in 2008 the service was graded as “unsatisfactory”, followed by a “satisfactory” grading in 2010.  Staff within the service had worked hard to put in place the improvements needed to improve the education and training provision for customers and at the most recent inspection the service was graded overall as “good”.

The report contained further information about the main inspection grades and other relevant information.

Resolved – (a)That cabinet continues to support improvements in Adult Community Learning in support of the ambition for the service to achieve an “outstanding” rating at the next Ofsted inspection, and (b) that arrangements be made to write to staff and comment on the inspection report, and thank them for their excellent work.

1055  (68)  SEPTEMBER 2013 BUDGET REVIEW – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted his September 2013 Budget Review.  This was one of a series of reports to cabinet produced during the year to report progress on the council’s revenue plan and capital programme 2013 – 2017.

The report included details of the 2013/2014 revenue and capital budget monitoring position, a reassessment of the council’s future funding position following publication of a Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) Technical Consultation Document and also considered some potential approaches to meeting the funding gap for 2014/2016.

Regular budget review reports through the financial year provided cabinet with an update on spending in the year and early warning of changes to the council’s financial position.  It also provided an opportunity to review current budgets and make changes as necessary.  The report provided the usual report on revenue and capital spending in the current year 2013/2014 but also new information from government about future funding.  It also considered the effect of this on the overall council funding for future years and the proposed strategy for closing the funding gap.

The report then considered in detail the council’s revenue budget for 2013/14, with spending pressures identified in the People and Places Directorates which were being offset by various means, overall spend was expected to be in budget.  The report also considered the capital programme for 2013/14 and identified nine schemes where slippage to 2014/15 was identified.

The report then considered the financial plan for 2014/2018 and indicated that on 26 June 2013, the government had published the results of its Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) 2013, setting out revised spending plans for 2014/2015 and for the first time their public expenditure plans for 2015/2016.  A 1% additional cut in government funding for 2014/2015 had been expected, a headline 10% reduction in grant funding for 2015/16 confirmed that local government would take a greater share of spending reductions to allow for the continued protection of school and NHS spending.  Since then, the DCLG had published a consultation document on an indicative local government financial settlement for 2014/2015 and 2015/2016.  It provided illustrative figures for those two years authority by authority and whilst the level of support indicated for 2014/2015 was close to expectations, it was clear that general funding reductions in 2015/2016 were closer to 15%.  This was because the government had top sliced over £1bn of general funding and other grants such as the New Homes Bonus to provide earmarked funding for various national initiatives.

Taking into account the information provided in the recent consultation document, it was possible to make a revised assessment of the council’s future funding gap and this was detailed in appendix 1 to the report.  This was after the proposed top slicing of funding.  The appendix compared the latest consultation figures with the financial plan approved at council in February, 2013 and showed the scale of additional savings which were now required and were detailed in paragraph 3.14.  Once again, the government had made an offer of freeze grant for 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 equivalent to a 1% council tax increase.  If this was taken the funding gap would increase from £0.7m to £1m in 2014/2015 and from £7.7m to £9.2m in 2016/2017.

The delivery of the 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 budget plans including efficiency and transformation savings was not seen currently as being problematic.  This would allow time to start a strategic review to determine how the council could meet the funding gap in later years.  The report then considered some possible ways of assisting in meeting the funding gap including an internal review of funding of the capital programme.

Resolved – (a)That cabinet notes the revenue and capital budget position for 2013/2014 and approves the re-phasing of the capital schemes identified at paragraph 3.7, and (b) that cabinet notes the implications of the government’s indicative funding settlement for 2014/2016.

1056  (69)  HUMBER LEADERSHIP JOINT COMMITTEE – The Chief Executive submitted a report updating cabinet on progress with the government’s local economic devolution agenda and seeking approval in principle to the formation of a joint committee of the four Humber Local Authorities to enable the creation of a sub-regional body to receive powers and responsibilities from central government to deliver local economic development and growth.

Following the publication, on 18 March 2013, of the government’s response to Lord Heseltine’s report on how to speed up and increase economic growth, the overall architecture and future direction of sub-regional economic development in England had become much clearer.  At the heart of the Heseltine proposals, now accepted by government, was the introduction of a single funding pot.  Central government funds for elements of skills funding (but not apprenticeships), housing and transport were to be devolved into single cash pots for Local Enterprise Partnership areas (LEPs).  Under this “Single Local Growth Fund” (SLGF) Scheme, all 39 existing LEPs would negotiate a local growth deal with the treasury.  The single funding pot would be partly distributed to the partnerships on the basis of a negotiation process for a 5 year period from 2015/2016.  This was in effect a bidding process given the competitive element and funding availability.

The report indicated that currently the Humber LEP was in the process of negotiating a Hull and Humber City Deal with the government and it was clear that this bespoke/negotiating model would be extended to cover the single local growth fund/local growth deal.  However, unlike the Hull and Humber City Deal which concentrated upon a specific economic challenge being faced by the Humber, the Single Local Growth Fund would contain funding associated with local authority statutory obligations, especially housing and transport.

Access to the SLGF would be through a “Local Growth Deal” negotiation process similar to that being undertaken in the development of the Hull and Humber City Deal and – as with the Hull and Humber City Deal – the government required that governance arrangements were commensurate with the significance of the SLGF.  The government’s announcement of the introduction of a SLGF required the development of appropriate governance arrangements to ensure that there were in place effective and legally compliant governance arrangements that would facilitate sub-regional decision making in relation to devolved powers, such as housing and transport.

The government’s response to the Heseltine recommendations made it clear that determining whether or not a LEP area would receive an allocation from the SLGF would depend on two things –

  • The quality of the strategic plan (including an investment strategy embracing EU structural and investment funds) produced by the LEP and
  • Having the right governance arrangements in place.

In relation to the governance arrangements it was proposed, therefore, that a joint committee of the four Humber local authorities should be established for the purpose of local economic development and regeneration.  This was the preferred option.  The government’s agenda was based on the need for strategic economic planning and strong and democratic governance and clear accountability and might require local authorities to radically re-engineer how they promoted growth and delivered services.  The proposed joint committee arrangement and its relationship to the governance of the Humber LEP would ensure that the sub-region was prepared to enter into the new funding framework of the SLGF.

The introduction of a SLGF and the government’s requirement for governance arrangements would be integrated into the strategic plan which was a pre-requisite of successfully bidding into the SLGF and provided a rationale for re-visiting the Humber’s emerging governance.  For the government, appropriate accountability structures at local and national levels had to be in place to deliver this step change and it would be up to local areas to determine which governance structure was right for them.  Partners in Hull and the Humber now had to complete work on –

  • Negotiations for a Hull and Humber City Deal (by autumn 2013).
  • The preparation of a strategic economic plan for the Humber (by January 2014).
  • Enter into negotiations with the government on a SLGF for the Humber.
  • Ensure appropriate and government approved governance arrangements were in place across the Humber (as soon as possible but in parallel with the strategic plan).

The report contained further information in relation to this matter.

Resolved – (a) That cabinet, in principle, support a legal agreement to be entered into by the Leader of the Council to establish a joint committee under Section 101(5) of the Local Government Act 1972 and Section 9EB of the Local Government Act 2000 to undertake the devolved decision making as set out in the report; (b) that the Leader of the Council in consultation with the Chief Executive be authorised to approve entry into the final form of agreement under Section 102(1)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972 following negotiation of the final terms with North East Lincolnshire Council, Hull City Council and the East Riding of Yorkshire Council, and (c) that further reports be submitted to cabinet on the development of the joint committee and council, as appropriate, on any constitutional implications arising therefrom.

1057  (70)  WESTCLIFF – LOOKING BACK AND MOVING FORWARD – A report was submitted by the Chief Executive updating cabinet on progress with the Westcliff Taskforce and seeking agreement to proposals for a capital regeneration scheme in the Westcliff area.  The taskforce, chaired by the Leader of the Council, was made up of representatives from the council, North Lincolnshire Homes, Job Centre Plus and North Lindsey College to focus on a number of key areas namely –

  • Communication
  • Skills
  • Employment
  • Health
  • Aspiration and Ambition
  • Benefits
  • Money Management

An action plan had been put in place to take action on each of these themes and a series of events were held each week throughout July in the Westcliff Precinct to consider some of the themes.  These events were well received and as a result similar events had been held in Brigg and Barton to give advice and support to people looking for employment.  The report also set out some other positive achievements included as a result of this council initiative and indicated that for some time the council and more latterly North Lincolnshire Homes had tried to develop a deliverable strategy to transform the precinct area of the Westcliff Estate with a view to changing the fortunes of its residents.  This had involved a number of public consultation exercises, numerous consultancy reports and some undeliverable plans.

Following ongoing work the development of a Community Investment Partnership was a preferred option for work in this area which would allow for a cohesive and inclusive approach to work in North Lincolshire’s localities.  The partnership would have shared priorities and outcomes and would recognise that all partners could deliver activities within the localities of North Lincolnshire.

The partnership would deliver a programme for the remaining months of 2013/2014 and a new programme for 2014/2015.  The priorities would build on the work already undertaken by the Westcliff taskforce and use the lessons learnt from this programme to ensure that a future programme was sustainable in the short and medium term.  The initial priorities would be –

  • Employment
  • Aspiration and Ambition
  • Skills
  • Health Inequality

It was also envisaged that the community hub element of the project was what would set it aside and see it develop.  Although ideas were at a very early stage as previous work focussed on providing a library and youth centre, the community hub, owned and managed by North Lincolnshire Homes, would be the linchpin of service delivery to one of the most deprived communities in North Lincolnshire.  The aspiration was for a state of the art building which could house every service required to make a step change in the entrenched multi generational unemployment, health and crime issues concentrated in that area.

The report contained further information about the work of the taskforce and the proposed development of the community hub.

Resolved – (a)That cabinet notes the progress achieved to date by the Westcliff Taskforce; (b) that cabinet welcomes the creation of the Community Investment Partnership; (c) that cabinet supports the development of the Westcliff Precinct Regeneration Programme; (d) that a further progress report be submitted to cabinet at its next meeting , and (e) that cabinet notes the under investment in the Westcliff area in previous years and welcomes future investment and commitment to the area which will provide employment opportunities and will ultimately regenerate the Westcliff area to the benefit of all those who live there.

1058  (71)  YOUNG PERSONS’ WORK EXPERIENCE PROGRAMME – The Director of Places submitted a report updating cabinet on progress with the Young Persons’ Work Experience Programme.

The report indicated that the council had taken some significant steps to contribute towards reducing youth unemployment in the area and had achieved some considerable success.  Currently, around 8.8% of young people in the area who were aged 18 to 24 were claiming Job Seekers Allowance (JSA).  This represented a reduction when compared with the same period last year.

The council remained committed to helping reduce youth unemployment and measures had been taken to achieve this including putting in place an apprenticeship programme operating both within the council and the private sector.  The council also operated the £10m Regional Growth Fund and had worked in partnership with the Department of Work and Pensions and North Lindsey College to deliver the Young Persons Work Experience (YPWE) programme.  In addition, cabinet had previously approved £60,000 of funding to support the delivery of this programme.

The number of young people claiming JSA in the last twelve months have dropped by 365.  This clearly demonstrated the success of the apprenticeship programme and the Regional Growth Fund which had helped create in excess of 200 new jobs in the area.  The YPWE programme would see a further 26 young people who had claimed JSA for six months employed within the council for six months.  This would provide them with valuable work experience.  North Lindsey College would also offer seven hours training a week in a relevant subject area in support of the programme.

The report contained further detailed information in relation to this matter.

Resolved – (a)That cabinet notes the progress achieved to date in taking forward the YPWE, including the establishment of 26 new posts specifically for young people who had claimed JSA for six months, throughout the council; (b) that cabinet welcomes the imminent recruitment of the first 11 young people into the council via the YPWE, and (c) that a further progress report on this matter be submitted to cabinet on 1 April 2014.

1059  (72)  COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT REPORT – ACTION PLAN – The Director of Policy and resources submitted a report informing cabinet of the actions taken in response to the report of the Places Scrutiny Panel entitled “Community Engagement”.

Attached as an appendix to the report was the detailed action plan for taking forward the recommendations of the Places Scrutiny Panel report and cabinet was asked to approve the action plan and the ongoing actions being taken.

Resolved – That the report and action plan be approved and adopted.

1060  (73)  THE STANDARDISED HOSPITAL MORTALITY INDEX (SHMI) IN NORTHERN LINCOLNSHIRE AND GOOLE – REPORT OF THE HEALTH SCRUTINY PANEL – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report with an attached report of the Health Scrutiny Panel entitled “The Standardised Hospital Mortality Index (SHMI) in Northern Lincolnshire and Goole.

At its meeting held in June 2013 the Health Scrutiny Panel had approved this report and had referred it to cabinet for consideration of the recommendations with a view to the preparation of an action plan.

The background to the report was that it had been noted that patient mortality rates across Northern Lincolnshire and Goole appeared to be significantly higher than should be expected.  The panel had therefore decided to look into this issue particularly in relation to the Standard Hospital Mortality Index in Northern Lincolnshire and Goole.

The Chairman of the Health Scrutiny Panel introduced the report and other members commented on its content and recommendations.

Cabinet was asked to consider the report of the Scrutiny Panel.

Resolved – (a)That the report and recommendations be approved and adopted, and (b) that the Northern Lincolnshire health community prepare an action plan in response to the recommendations of the report for submission to the next meeting of cabinet.