Full Cabinet – 25 June 2013

PRESENT:  Councillor Mrs Redfern in the chair.
Councillors Briggs, Poole, C Sherwood, N Sherwood and Waltham.Councillors Bainbridge, Bunyan, Carlisle, Eckhardt, England, L Foster, T Foster, Gosling, Ogg, Robinson, Wilson, and Whiteley also attended the meeting.

Simon Driver, Chris Barwell, Will Bell, Nolan Bennett, Tom Coburn, Frances Cunning, Emma Howard-Drake, Mick Gibbs, Dave Hewitt, Denise Hyde, Trevor Laming, Karen Pavey, Lesley Potts, Helen Reek, Simon Seal, Susan Twemlow, Peter Williams, Mike Wedgewood, and Richard Mell also attended the meeting.

The meeting was held at the Civic Centre, Scunthorpe.

1032  DECLARATIONS OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY INTERESTS AND PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS – There were no declarations of interests.

1033  MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting of Cabinet held on 26 March 2013, having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and be signed by the chairman.

1034  (1)  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.

1035  (2)  UPDATED COUNCIL SRATEGY 2013-2017 – The Chief Executive referred to minute 976, and submitted a report seeking approval of the updated Council Strategy for 2013-2017, which was attached as an appendix. The Council’s Strategy was a four year plan setting out the council’s vision, strategic priorities, aims and key actions. This strategy updated the Council Strategy 2012-16 approved by cabinet on 16 July 2012 (minute 976 refers).

The report explained that since the previous strategy had been approved, the council had worked hard to demonstrate its commitment to ‘one council, putting our customers first’. Associated notable achievements during the year were also summarised in the report.

Although the council’s vision as set out in the 2012 strategy remained unchanged, it presented a summary of 2011 census data for the area and strategic priorities for the next four years. The priorities, aims and actions had been revisited to ensure that they were fit for purpose. Consequently, the original priorities remained relevant and unchanged and completed actions removed. Similarly, amendments had been made to respond to the changing environment and reflected new and emerging agendas including the transfer of public health into local authorities and the recent drive to become more commercial. Updated priorities and their aims were set out in the report. As in previous years each priority would be managed in line with the council’s performance management arrangements, and its delivery monitored through monthly performance scorecards. The measures used had been revised and attached in appendix A.

Resolved – That the Council Strategy 2013-2017 and its associated performance measures be approved.

1036  (3)  FINANCE AND PERFORMANCE OUTTURN 2012/2013 AND BUDGET REVIEW 2013/2014 – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report on the council’s financial performance for the year 2012/2013, set out proposals to carry forward funding for specific purposes into 2013/2014, and provided a first budget review for the new financial year.  The report also brought together financial and performance information allowing a broad judgement to be made of the impact of budget reductions on service delivery.  In general, findings were positive and most measures showed improvement or achievement of targets during a time when the council had been faced with real spending cuts.

The Director in his report summarised the outturn position showing –

  • Net service spending was within budget, £1.8m or 1.5%;
  • Capital Investment was £29m, £7.8m or 21% below approved programme spend, and
  • 85% of key performance indicators showed performance above targets or within tolerance, and 65% showed improvement on the previous years.

Cabinet was invited to consider the financial outturn and performance for 2012/2013, the re-phasing of the capital programme, the carry forward of the approved 2013/14 revenue and capital budget, and the reallocation of 2013/14 capital and revenue budgets to realign for known savings and pressures.

The report contained further detailed information about the outturn and budget review and included a number of appendices relating to the revenue budget, the capital programme, performance, agreed carry forward funds, and the realignment of capital budgets.

Resolved – (a) That the revenue, capital and performance outturn for 2012/2013 as detailed in appendices 1 – 5 be noted; (b) that the proposed revenue budgets for 2013/14 at appendix 6, with the addition of the agreed carry forward funds from 2012/2013 at Appendix 6A, and the provision of £60k to provide 20 new opportunities for young people within the Westcliff area (to be supported by £2.5k wage incentive monies provided by the DWP), be approved; (c) that the revised capital programme at appendices 7 and 7A be approved, and (d) that plans be worked up for a further £1 million of investment in children’s educational facilities, proposals and costings to be brought to the next cabinet meeting as part of the September Budget Review.

1037  (4) WASTE 2 (RESIDUAL WASTE TREATMENT FACILITY) PROJECT – MODIFICATIONS TO CONTRACT PROCEDURE RULES – Further to minute 1007, the Director of Places submitted a report requesting approval of proposed modifications to the council’s Contract Procedure Rules (CPR) to meet the bespoke needs of the above Waste 2 project. The council’s standard set of CPR’s required modification to suit the project as it would employ a Competitive Dialogue procedure, and would also facilitate a legally compliant progression of the project and incorporate acknowledged best practice.

The proposed modifications to the CPR’s required were attached at appendix 1 to the report.

Resolved – That the proposed modifications to the council’s CPRs as detailed in appendix 1 of the Director’s report be approved.

1038  (5)  NORTH LINCOLNSHIRE CHANGE4LIFE STRATEGY 2013/18

The Director of Places and Director of Public Health submitted a joint report seeking approval of a refreshed multi-agency Obesity Strategy that followed on from the North Lincolnshire Healthy Weight Strategy 2009/11. It had been updated having regard to national guidance and local priorities, and was intended to sit below the overall Health and Well being Strategy. A copy of the updated strategy and action plan entitled ‘Change4Life’, was attached as an appendix.

The joint report explained that the strategy was developed in consultation with a steering group representing all key partners. It took into account all relevant national guidance and local priorities informed by partners and the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA). It incorporated the wide range of activity that contributed to reducing obesity ranging from universal services such as sport and leisure activities, to specialist commissioned services such as weight management.

Also, the strategy’s action plan would focus effort in delivering the strategy and would outline a range of measurable outcomes. Actions would be facilitated and managed by the obesity co-ordinator and monitored by a multi-agency steering group. Associated significant achievements made over the last eighteen months were summarised in the report.

Resolved – (a) That Cabinet confirms its support for the Change4Life Strategy 2013/18 and the associated action plan, and (b) that as the strategy and action plan is further developed in the future, reports be submitted to relevant Cabinet Member(s) for endorsement.

1039  (6)  TRANSPORT REVIEW – PROGRESS REPORT – The Director of Places submitted a report providing cabinet with an update on progress of the transport review which was completed in January 2012, summarised progress against the 2012/13 action, and sought approval of a revised action plan, which was attached as an appendix to the report.

The report stated that out of the actions, 17 were now complete, one was no longer relevant and ten actions had been rolled over into the 2013/14 revised action plan. A summary of the progress made against the following headings was also provided –

  • Concessionary Fares and Bus Operators;
  • Voluntary and Community Transport;
  • Transport Legislation and Fleet Compliance,
  • Children and Young People and Adults Transport, and
  • Integration with Health.

Resolved – (a) That the progress achieved to date in taking forward the action plan arising from the transport review be noted; (b) that the updated action plan for 2013/14 be approved, and (c) that the Transport Review Board and appropriate cabinet member receive periodic reports on progress in taking forward the updated action plan.

1040   (7)  WHEELS 2 WORK – PROGRESS REPORT – The Director of  Places submitted a report which provided cabinet with an update on progress since the introduction of the Wheels 2 Work Scheme launched in December 2012. The Wheels 2 Work Scheme was a project that helped people that have difficulty accessing work, training and education.  The scheme provided either a scooter or bicycle for people that could not access public transport because of where they lived, or they were working unsociable hours or shift working.

The report confirmed that since the launch relevant members had received monthly updates on expenditure regarding the Rural Youth Initiative and Community Transport budgets. The council had joined the Wheels 2 Work national association established with funding from the Department of Transport which provided an opportunity to learn from others and to benchmark. Consequently, the Devon Wheels 2 Work association had visited North Lincolnshire and provided a free assessment, which indicated that the scheme was being managed effectively. Some ideas for further consideration were also provided which were set out in the report.

The Director in his report also provided key statistics on the current position of scooter hire and bicycle provision, and an appendix showed the start and end location of each journey for those applicants that received a scooter.

Resolved – That the progress achieved to date in putting in place the Wheels 2 Work initiative be noted.

1041   (8)  HOME TO SCHOOL BUS CONTRACTS: EURO III EMISSION STANDARDS – The Director of Places submitted a report which set out proposals for the council to adopt the Euro III standard for school contract services starting in 2014. The proposal was recommended following a soft market testing exercise during 2012 which suggested consultation with local bus and coach operators on the proposal.

The report explained that during the last 20 years, legislation has driven improvements in the quality of buses including –

  • The PSV Accessibility Regulations 2000 required that medium size and big buses providing local services had low floors and wheelchair access by various dates between 2015 and 2017.
  • Successive Euro emission standards had reduced the level of pollutants from bus engines. Details were  in Appendix 1 to the report.

Very few low floor buses were of less than Euro lll standard and none were more than 18 years old.  Operators would be unable to use other buses on local bus services within the next few years. Consequently, emission standards were not an issue for local bus service contracts. However, the Council has 41 school bus contracts, most of which were not registered as local bus services. Though the council assessed each operator’s safety record before permitting them to bid, it did not specify the age of the vehicle or emission standards. As a result, contractors used vehicles which could be up to or over 30 years old. Some of these buses were built before the introduction of any emission standard.

Resolved – (a) That the proposal to specify as a minimum the Euro III emission standard for home to school buses and coaches on contracts starting from September 2014 be approved, and (b) that achieving the emission standard via the fitting of exhaust filters be acceptable.

1042 (9) PLAYING PITCH STRATEGY FOR NORTH LINCOLNSHIRE AND PPG17 COMPLIANT OPEN SPACE STUDY – The Director of Places submitted a report seeking approval of both the Playing Pitch Strategy for North Lincolnshire and PPG17 Compliant Open Space Study. Both documents had been placed in political group offices for consideration by all members, and electronic copies sent to members of the cabinet.

The report explained that the Playing Pitch Strategy for North Lincolnshire and PPG17 Open Space Study were prepared at the same time, although independently of each other. They were closely linked and both explored outdoor open space related issues. The PPG17 Open Space Study dealt with planning related open space provision and the Playing Pitch Strategy focused specifically on playing pitches.

The Playing Pitch Strategy had been developed following the methodology outlined by Sport England in their publication, “Towards a Level Playing Field – A Manual for the Production of Playing Pitch Strategies”. The underpinning vision for the strategy was to ensure that the quality and quantity of pitches met the needs and aspirations of residents, now and into the future.  The Playing Pitches Strategy considered the adequacy of provision for football, cricket, rugby union, hockey and netball. Sport England had been sent a copy of the draft strategy and had endorsed the content of the strategy as drafted.

The key issues of the strategy covering the period between 2013 and 2018 were summarised in the report. This included a key recommendation to establish a joint working group to promote partnership working across the council and with key stakeholders in the provision of playing pitches. This group would lead the further development and progress of an action plan to deliver the Playing Pitch Strategy. The action plan was attached as appendix 2 of the report.

The Director in his report also explained that a PPG17 compliant Open Space study for the area was commissioned in April 2010. Under the then PPG17 (Planning Policy Note 17 ‘Open Space, Sport and Recreation) local authorities were required to undertake assessments of the existing and future needs of their communities for open space, sports and recreational facilities. The guidance expected local authorities to use the information from audits and assessments to set locally derived standards for the provision of open space, sports and recreational facilities in their area. These standards should then form the basis for addressing any deficiencies through the planning process. Local development plans could include these standards.

The study focused on local needs and provision, and in particular, the requirement to make the most effective use of available resources.

Resolved – That the adoption of the North Lincolnshire Playing Pitches Strategy and the PPG17 Compliant Open Space Study be approved.

1043  (10) NORTHERN LINCOLNSHIRE BROADBAND – EUROPEAN REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT FUNDING – The Director of Places submitted a report informing Cabinet of the offer of European Regional Development Funding for the Northern Lincolnshire Broadband Project.

The report explained that The Northern Lincolnshire Broadband project had applied for European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) in 2012. An outline application was submitted in May 2012 and was approved in July 2012. A full application was submitted in October 2012 and formally approved on 9 April 2013.

Northern Lincolnshire was allocated £2.511m of ERDF.  Of this, £1.557m was allocated as capital to contribute towards upgrading broadband infrastructure.  The remaining £954,000 was allocated as revenue to deliver a programme of business support to eligible Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). A contract was now expected during the week commencing 27 May 2013. The application approval and contract award was the first of any applicable to Broadband related projects in the Yorkshire and Humber region.   The regional Department for Communities and Local Government was now in receipt of the council’s changed proposal which sought to increase the ERDF award based on the additional public sector funding available through BDUK and North Lincolnshire Council.

Resolved – That the Cabinet welcomes the offer of European Regional Development Funding in support of the Northern Lincolnshire Broadband Project.

1044  (11)  PEOPLE SCRUTINY PANEL REVISIT REPORT ON PLAY, PLAYGROUNDS AND OPEN SPACES IN NORTH LINCOLNSHIRE – PROGRESS REPORT AND ACTION PLAN – A joint report was submitted by the Director of Places and the Director of People informing cabinet of progress achieved to date and a plan of further actions proposed in response to the revisit report of the People Scrutiny Panel on ‘Play, Playgrounds and Open Spaces in North Lincolnshire’.

The report contained eight detailed recommendations and was attached as  appendix 1, setting out the actions being taken in response to the recommendations and the progress being made. Also a further appendix 2 was attached demonstrating continued improvements in the provision of activities for young people since July 2012.

Resolved – That the action plan attached as an appendix 1 to the report be approved and adopted.

1045  (12)  LOCALISED SUPPORT FOR COUNCIL TAX AND RELATED REFORMS – ACTION PLAN – The Director of Policy and Resources referred to minute 1024, and submitted a report setting out a proposed action plan to deliver the Corporate Scrutiny Panel’s recommendations contained in  its report ‘Localised Support for Council Tax and Related Reforms’.

The report contained four detailed recommendations and was attached as appendix A of the report

Resolved – That the action plan attached as appendix A of the report be approved and adopted.

1046  (13)  COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT – REPORT OF THE PLACES SCRUTINY PANEL – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report with the attached report of the Places Scrutiny Panel entitled ‘Localised Support for Council Tax.’  The report had been referred to cabinet for consideration of the recommendations with a view to the preparation of an action plan.

The panel in its report had focussed on a number of key issues.  These were –

  • To review the existing practices and mechanisms used by the council to engage the community.
  • To consider best practice and innovation in community engagement.
  • To consider North Lincolnshire’s performance against best practice.
  • To obtain community input into this review’
  • To formulate good practice recommendations for submission to the Executive.

The report contained a number of detailed recommendations.

The former chairman of the Places Scrutiny Panel commented on the report.

Resolved – (a) That the report and recommendations be approved and adopted, and (b) that the relevant members and officers prepare an action plan in response to the recommendations of the report for submission to a future meeting of cabinet.

1047  (14)  WORKING TOGETHER TO SAFEGUARD CHILDREN (HER MAJESTY’S GOVERNMENT, APRIL 2013) – The Director of People submitted a report providing Cabinet with an overview of the revised ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ guidance published by the Government in April 2013, and highlighted specific recommendations and expectations placed upon the council.

The report explained that the above new guidance which came into effect on 15 April 2013, streamlined previous guidance and clarified the responsibilities of professionals towards safeguarding children, refocusing workers and managers away from processes towards the needs of the child. The guidance reflected ‘The Munro Review of Child Protection’ and ‘A child centred system: the government’s response to the Munro review of child protection’. These documents highlighted the need for a child-centred approach in which all professionals shared a responsibility to work effectively with vulnerable families, as early as possible, to safeguard children and young people.

The Director in her report also reminded the cabinet that Section 11 of the Children Act (2004) also placed duties on a range of organisations and individuals to ensure their functions, and any services that they contract out to others, were discharged having regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.  Various other statutory duties applied to other specific organisations working with children and families.

Key changes resulting from the guidance were summarised in the report, together with progress on implementation of new requirements.

Resolved – That Cabinet complies with and supports the implementation of the above new statutory guidance ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’.

1048  (15)  ADOPTION REFORM – The Director of People submitted a report informing members of the Department for Education (DfE) document ‘An Action Plan for Adoption: Tackling Delay’ and ‘Further Action on Adoption’, and sought cabinet’s approval for local implementation.

The report explained that ‘An Action Plan for Adoption: Tackling Delay’ (the action plan) was launched by the DfE in March 2012 set out ways of tackling delay in the adoption system in England which would –

  • speed up the process for children; overhaul the service for prospective adopters and make better use of the National Adoption Register;
  • speed up the adopter assessment process including the introduction of a ‘fast-track’ for those who have adopted before; and
  • strengthen local accountability for the timeliness of adoption services

Its three main sections looked at ‘Finding homes for children without delay’, ‘Valuing prospective adopters’, and ‘System improvement’. The action plan also set out how the DfE would measure improvements in tackling delay using a new performance tool, the “Adoption Scorecard”.

Also, in January 2013, the DfE built on the Action Plan and launched ‘Further Action on Adoption:  Finding More Loving Homes’ (‘Further Action on Adoption’) which set out it’s proposals for the next steps in tackling delay so that more children can benefit more quickly from being adopted in to a loving home.

The Director in her report summarised further elements of the above document and North Lincolnshire Council’s response, which continued to prioritise proactive family finding so that all of our children were placed as quickly as possible. This would mean targeted fast track assessments, flexibility in adoption panels, swift court action & conclusion as well as timely agency decision. Similarly, North Lincolnshire Council continued to prioritise front line social work practice with targets set by DfE and the adoption scorecard having been met and continued to be on target for 2013/14.  Also North Lincolnshire Council led the regional adoption contract which included fifteen local authorities in Yorkshire and Humber and two Voluntary Adoption agencies. In the first year the consortium increased available adoption placements through the consortium by 30%.

North Lincolnshire Council was committed to a family first policy wherever this was safe for the child and to support parents to ensure where ever possible they made the positive change to be able to care for their children.

Resolved – That the local implementation of the document ‘Further Action on Adoption:  Finding More Loving Homes’ published by the DfE in January 2013, be supported.

1049  (16)  COOL KIDZ – OFSTED BEST PRACTICE – The Director of People submitted a report informing cabinet that the council’s Children’s Services were and remained featured on the Ofsted Best Practice Website for work undertaken on consulting and engaging with children and young people.

The report explained that during the 2012 Ofsted Inspection of Safeguarding and Looked After Children inspectors met with a group of children and young people who were members of the Cool Kidz Club.  The Cool Kidz Club was a group of children and young people who were all subject of child protection or child in need plans.  The group was established two years ago when a gap in effective consultation with children on Child Protection Plans had been identified.

Following completion of the inspection one of the Ofsted Inspection Team visited North Lincolnshire and met with officers with a view to promoting the Cool Kidz Club as best practice in the area of consulting and engaging with children and young people.  The Ofsted best practice Cool Kidz Club in North Lincolnshire case study was attached as an appendix to the report.

Resolved – That Cabinet notes and commends the above best practice work undertaken by Children’s services on consulting and engaging with children and young people.

1050   (17)  YOUTH ELECTIONS PROJECT 2013 – The Directorof People and Director of Policy and Resources submitted a joint report updating the cabinet of progress in relation to the Youth Elections Project 2013, and sought continued support for the process and roles of Young Mayor and Member of Youth Parliament.

The Directors in their report explained that the Youth Elections Project 2012 culminated in May 2012 when K Alcock – Murtagh was elected as North Lincolnshire’s first Young Mayor and K Robinson was elected as the first elected Member of Youth Parliament.  5724 young people voted in the elections which constituted 59% of voting turnout (of young people 11 to 18 eligible to vote).  The role of a local Young Mayor was championed by the People Cabinet Member, with support from Cabinet Members and Children’s Trust Board members who welcomed the developments to establish the roles of an elected Young Mayor and Member of Youth Parliament. Cabinet Members and Children’s Trust Board members have supported them during their term in office.  Health and Wellbeing Board members have also recognised the roles of the Young Mayor and Member of Youth Parliament and they have been identified as members on the Health and Wellbeing Board.

The report stated that the Youth Elections Project planned for the election in 2012 was  timed around the election of the North Lincolnshire Mayor.  It was now proposed that the Youth Elections 2013 should be held in Local Democracy Week during 14 to 20 October 2013, emphasising the importance of the Youth Elections Project as part of our local democracy.  This also ensured that the council was able to maximise the contribution of the current Young Mayor and Member of Youth Parliament to the 2013 election.

A Youth Elections Project 2013 working group had also been established and was made up of colleagues from People Directorate and Policy and Resources Directorate as well young people.  A work plan had been developed for the project, which took account of the learning from the inaugural Youth Elections Project in 2012.  The timeline for the work plan was set out in the report.

Resolved – (a) That the progress in relation to the Youth Elections Project 2013 be noted, and (b) that cabinet continues to support the process as outlined in the report.