Policy & Resources Cabinet Member – Minutes – 13 November 2012

On 21 February 2012 Council approved the revenue and capital budgets for the 2012/2013 financial year.  The report gave details of virements approved by the Director of Policy and Resources under delegated powers and those that required Cabinet Member approval.

Resolved – (a) That the virements at paragraph 3.1 of the report, approved by the Director of Policy and Resources under delegated powers be noted, and (b) that the permanent virements outlined in paragraph 3.2 of the report be approved.

24        (24)  BUSINESS RATE RELIEF – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report for consideration of the level of Business Rate relief to be awarded to ratepayers in North Lincolnshire.

The former Policy Committee agreed the legal position and administrative practices for dealing with rate relief on 22 January 1996.

The Corporate Services Cabinet Member on 20 February 2004 (minute 128 refers) agreed to adopt a scoring system based on set criteria for the awarding of discretionary rate relief.  On 7 February 2005 (minute 233 refers) and 21 December 2006 he agreed to amend the criteria.  The latest amendment to the criteria was taken by the Policy and Resources Cabinet Member on 25 May 2012 (minute 2 refers).

There was no discretion about granting mandatory relief.

Resolved – That the level of rate relief be awarded to each applicant as set out in the schedule attached to the report.

25        (25) PAYMENT OF AND REDEPLOYMENT OF APPRENTICES – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report to inform the Cabinet Member of an increase to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) minimum rate of pay for apprentices, and sought approval to increase the rate of pay for apprentices who had completed the first year of their apprenticeship, but who were not entitled to a higher age related NMW rate.

In addition, the report sought approval for apprentices to access redeployment opportunities during the final 12 weeks of their contract.

Details of the financial and staffing implications were outlined within the report.

Resolved – (a)  That the increase to the NMW apprentice rate be observed and implemented; (b) that the minimum weekly rate of pay be increased to £122.00 for apprentices who have completed the first year of their apprenticeship, but who are not entitled to an age related higher rate of the NMW, and (c) that the council’s Redeployment policy be updated to afford apprentices the opportunity to be placed on the redeployment register for the last 12 weeks of their contract, without the need to have attained one year of service.

26        (26)  Consultant Usage  – Quarter 2 2012/2013 – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report to advise on the consultancy usage for the second quarter of 2012/2013, to highlight the consultancy usage to support major projects within North Lincolnshire and to advise on the overall effectiveness.

Cabinet had introduced a new protocol for the use of consultants as part of a package of cost management measures in 2011. The protocol required services to report their use of consultants on a quarterly basis for 2012/2013.  Following the introduction of the protocol, the council had benefited from a significant reduction in consultancy spend in the region of £1m during 2011/12.

The Director of Policy and Resources confirmed that following extensive consultation with all services, the report set out a summary of consultancy usage for quarter two 2012/2013, details of which were presented in Appendix A to the report.

Resolved – That the findings set out in the report for quarter two 2012/2013 be noted.

Consultant Usage – Quarter two

27        (27)  PENSION AUTO ENROLMENT – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report to inform the cabinet member of the potential implications of the introduction of Pension auto enrolment, the stages of auto enrolment and for consideration of the financial and administrative implications and how these will be met.

New legal duties had been placed upon the authority by the Pensions Regulator for the UK, which required workers who were not already in a pension scheme to be auto-enrolled in line with the duties set out in the Pensions Act 2008. This requirement applied to all employers and was a statutory duty.

Depending on the size of the PAYE scheme, each organisation was given its own start staging date and it was confirmed that for North Lincolnshire Council this had been confirmed by the Pensions Regulator as 1 April 2013.

Details were outlined within the report, and attention was drawn to the fact that there was no existing monitoring facility within either the Human Resources Personnel system or the payroll system.  Enhancements to the software would be required to make the systems fit for purpose.

The Cabinet Member was advised that whilst the initial cost of auto enrolment was expected to be low it did represent a potential financial risk, which could be reduced by deferral. For this reason, it had been proposed to defer auto-enrolment of existing employees until 1 October 2017, who would still have the option to join during this period.

Resolved – (a) That the LGPS be nominated as the council’s chosen pension scheme for auto enrolment; (b) that auto enrolment for new workers commence as from 1 July 2013 as permitted under the staging rules; (c) that compulsory auto enrolment for existing employees commence as from 1 October 2017, and (d) that dialogue with East Riding of Yorkshire Council commence immediately to ensure payroll monitoring software will be suitable for the processes to be implemented.

28        (28)  POLICY AND RESOURCES DIRECTORATE PLAN 2012-2013 – The Director of Policy & Resources submitted a report which sought approval of the 2012-13 directorate plan for Policy and Resources.

The council strategy 2012-16 was approved in July 2012 and sets out the council vision, priorities and aims to change outcomes for all people living and working in the area.  The plan provided a profile of the directorate and outlined how the Policy and Resources directorate would contribute to the overall vision and how it would help to deliver the councils priorities.

The plan was a ‘live’ document that would continue to be developed and improved to reflect progress that was being made.

Resolved – That the Policy and Resources Directorate Plan 2012-13 be approved.

29        (29)  INFORMATION MANAGEMENT POLICY UPDATE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION, DATA PROTECTION AND ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS (FOI/DPA/EIR) COMPLAINTS – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which sought approval to update the Information Management Policy to reflect new requirements stipulated by the Information Commissioner’s Office with regard to the handling of complaints relating to FOI/DPA and EIR.

It was explained that the council’s Information Management Policy was an overarching policy setting out our responsibilities and activities in relation to information management in accordance with specified legislation and professional principles.  It provided a framework that enabled the council to manage its information efficiently.  It also promoted the effective management of this information across the organisation, recognising its value as a corporate asset for the delivery of efficient, appropriate, open and transparent services.

It was recognised that dealing with FOI, DPA and EIR complaints was different to dealing with customer complaints and accordingly a separate policy forming part of the Information Management framework was recommended.

Resolved – That the new information management policy relating toFreedom of Information, Environmental Information Regulation & Data Protection complaints be adopted.

30        (30)   INFORMATION MANAGEMENT POLICY UPDATE: DATA BREACH PROCEDURE – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which sought approval to update the Information Management Policy to reflect a new procedure for the handling of breaches relating to the Data Protection Act.

The council’s Information Management Policy was an overarching policy setting out our responsibilities and activities in relation to information management in accordance with specified legislation and professional principles.  It provided a framework that enabled the council to manage its information efficiently.  It promoted the effective management of this information across the organisation, recognising its value as a corporate asset for the delivery of efficient, appropriate, open and transparent services.

The report highlighted that in the unlikely event that data was lost or shared inappropriately, whether by the council or contractors/subcontractors working on its behalf, it was vital that appropriate action was taken to minimise any associated risks as soon as possible. Breaches of the DPA could expose the council to fines of up to £0.5m.

The purpose of the new policy was to ensure that a standardised management approach was taken to the handling of data breaches in line with ICO guidelines.

Resolved – That the new information management policy relating to data breach handling be adopted.

The corresponding report of the following item (Minute 31 refers) contains exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

31        (31)  LOCAL TAXATION AND BENEFITS – SHARED SERVICES WITH NORTH-EAST LINCOLNSHIRE COUNCIL – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which sought approval for a minor amendment to the Local Taxation and Benefits shared service structure.

The shared service between North Lincolnshire Council (NLC) and North-East Lincolnshire Council (NELC) for Local Taxation and Benefits services was approved by the cabinet member on 7 November 2011. This included the business case which stated: the drivers for the project, the strategic fit between the two authorities, options appraisal, the associated costs and the anticipated benefits of delivering the project.

The implementation of the shared services was undertaken in three phases. Phase 1 was approved by the cabinet member on 7 February 2012. Phase 2 was approved by the cabinet member on 2 May 2012. Phase 3 was approved 27 June 2012.

Details of the minor amendment were detailed within the report.

Resolved – That the amended structure be approved.

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Where there is no report this is because it is exempt, as it contains information which is considered to be of a confidential nature, as detailed in the Local Government (Access to Information) Act.