Policy & Resources Cabinet Member – Minutes – 30 July 2013

On 19 February 2013 Council approved the revenue and capital budgets for the 2013/2014 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.

75        (15) NON-DOMESTIC RATE RELIEF APPLICATIONS – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which sought approval 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.

76        (16)  CONSULTANCY USAGE: QUARTER 1 2013/2014 – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report to advise on the consultancy usage for the first quarter of 2013/2014, to highlight the consultancy usage to support major projects within North Lincolnshire and to advise on the overall effectiveness.

The protocol for managing consultancy expenditure was introduced as part of a package of cost management measures in 2011. The protocol required directorates to report their use of consultants on a quarterly basis.  Following the introduction of the protocol, the council had benefited from a significant reduction in consultancy spend in the region of £708,288 in 2012/13.

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 one 2013/2014, details of which were presented in Appendix A to the report. Services engaging consultants reported that overall they had been satisfied with performance and effectiveness.

The report also detailed the projected consultancy spend for Quarter 2 as provided by directorates.

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

77        (17) LAPTOP PC HARD DISK ENCRYPTION – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which outlined a proposal for IT services to undertake an extensive process of hard disk encryption of all council laptop/notebook devices in order to improve security and data protection.

On 1 September 2009 the council joined the Government Connect Secure Extranet (GCSX). The GCSX network provided a secure infrastructure for councils and other public bodies to share and transfer sensitive information.

In order to join GCSX the council needed to demonstrate compliance to a list of technical controls, known collectively as a code of connection (CoCo), one of which was that all laptop PCs used remotely must have the remote working solution installed, including hard disk encryption.

The risks surrounding non-encrypted devices had been raised and discussed at the IT and Information Security Forum and featured in the information governance improvement plan.

The Cabinet member was advised that several high profile cases had further highlighted the risks involved in not encrypting all laptop/notebook devices.

Resolved – (a) That the proposal to commence new laptop/notebook PC encryption processes across the entire estate be approved, and (b) that relevant IT technical security standards, policies and procedures be revised accordingly.

78        (18) CARRYING PAID FOR ADVERTISING – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which sought approval to consolidate the Council position relating to carrying paid for advertising.

The report outlined that a scrutiny review on paid for advertising took place in 2009. That review determined that paid for advertising should not be carried by North Lincolnshire Council Website but that the position relating to other forms of advertising continue to be reviewed.  Since that time the council had incrementally begun to carry paid for advertising, most notably on roundabouts and car parking tickets.

The report and attached appendix sought to formalise the council position relating to advertisements.

Resolved – (a)  That the Commercial Advertising and Sponsorship Policy appended to the report be approved; (b) that the Head of Communications be assigned to investigate commissioning an advertising agency to promote and sell adverts on behalf of the council, and (c) that appropriate officers be instructed to set appropriate fees and charges.

The corresponding report of the following item (Minute 79refers) contains exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

79        (19)  COMMERCIAL PRIORITIES & DEVELOPMENT UPDATE – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which introduced the council’s proposed commercial development priorities for 2013/14. The paper was accompanied by a highlight report which detailed progress with the commercial development programme as at 30 June 2013.

The paper set out the proposed commercial development priorities for 2013/14 and had been produced following consultation with directorates.

Resolved – (a) That the proposed commercial priorities as set out in appendix 1 be approved, and (b) that the progress made on commercial development activity as summarised at appendix 2 of the report be noted for information.

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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.