Policy & Resources Cabinet Member – Minutes – 14 April 2014

On 19 February 2013 and 25 February 2014 Council approved the revenue and capital budgets for the 2013/2014 and 2014/15 financial year respectively.  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.

118      (58) DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES POLICY – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which outlined and sought approval of the council’s revised Digital Technologies policy.

It was explained that the council’s existing Digital Technologies policy was created in early 2013, bringing together the four elements of internet, email, mobile phones and social media and was essential in governing how employees used digital technologies.

The cabinet member was advised that the policy had been updated to reflect the broader scope of mobile devices used across the council including smart phones and tablets and provided robust guidance on their suitability for posts and their use.

The revised policy was appended to the report.

Resolved –  That the revised Digital Technologies Policy be approved.

119      (59)  INFORMATION GOVERNANCE POLICY FRAMEWORK UPDATE – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which sought consideration and approval of a series of updates to the council’s Information Governance Policy Framework.

It was explained that the council was required to undertake regular reviews of its information governance policies in order to demonstrate legally compliant practice and maintain its current Level 2 status in the annual NHS Information Governance Self Assessment.   The Information Governance Policy Framework comprised a series of specific policy and procedural schedules relating to the management and security of information and personal data.

As part of this on-going development work, a series of changes had been proposed to the over-arching Information Governance Policy Framework, and these were set out at Appendix 1 to the report.

Resolved – That the proposed changes to the Information Governance Policy Framework as detailed in appendix 1 to the report be approved.

120      (60) NATIONAL NON-DOMESTIC RATE RELIEF APPLICATIONS AND MONITORING 2013/14 – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which sought consideration of the level of National Non-Domestic Rate (NNDR) relief to be awarded to ratepayers in North Lincolnshire and informed the Cabinet Member of the latest forecast of the level of Business Rates Collection and its impact on council finances.

It was explained that as from April 2013 the council could retain a portion of the business rates it collected.  The amount retained was made up of the baseline funding allocated to the council each year and a portion of any gain or loss in collection.

The Government estimated that the council would collect £78.4m in Business rates and the Council assumption built into the 2013/14 budget was that the council would collect £81.1m and would retain almost £1m.  Details were outlined in Appendix A to the report.

The forecast was that the amount the council would collect was £81.8m, which was around £0.7m above the level assumed as part of the budget setting process.

Further details were outlined within the report and associated appendices.

Resolved – (a)  That the level of rate relief to each applicant as set out in the  attached schedule to the report be awarded, and (b) that the latest position for 2013/14 on business rate collection and reliefs be noted.

121      (61) DEBT RECOVERY 2013/14 – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which provided an annual review of debt due to the council and focused on those debts which were proving difficult to collect.

The report provided information on the council’s continuing high collection rates for council tax and business rates and provided assurance that all appropriate measures were being taken to recover monies due to the Council.

It advised the Cabinet Member of debts written off under delegated powers and sought approval to write off a number of debts over £5,000, which were attributed to a range of reasons including bankruptcy, death or the debtor had gone away and could not be traced.

The cabinet member was advised that the full range of debt recovery processes had been undertaken in the pursuit of these debts in accordance with Council policy, but there were always cases where payment of debt could not be secured.

The total amounts compared to the previous year show a significant overall reduction and details were outlined within the report and appendix.

Resolved – (a) That the continued high debt collection rate of North Lincolnshire Council in comparison to other local authorities be noted; (b) that the debts written-off under delegated powers listed in Appendix 1 be noted; (c) that the write-off of debts over £5,000 listed in Appendix 1 be approved, and (d) that these debts remain in the Council`s records and available for payment in the future should they become available.

The corresponding report of the following item (Minute 122 refers) contains exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

122      (62)  IT TECHNICAL VISION AND STANDARDS UPDATE – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which sought consideration and approval of an updated IT Technical Vision and Standards document.

The IT Technical Vision and Standards document (Appendix 1 to the report) set out the minimum IT specifications that would be used across the council.  The standards provided the necessary technical platforms that underpinned the delivery of the IT and Digital Strategy and were essential for providing a secure and agile infrastructure that was fit for purpose enabling the council to deliver its business priorities.

The document had been comprehensively reviewed as a full revision to reflect the complex and rapidly changing nature of the IT business environment and reflected both local and national demands and drivers.

Resolved – That the updated IT Technical Vision and Standards document attached at Appendix 1 to the report 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.