Full Cabinet – 2 July 2014
PRESENT:- Councillor Mrs Redfern in the chair.
Councillors Briggs, Poole, C Sherwood, N Sherwood and Waltham.
Councillors Ali, Allcock, Carlile, Clark, Eckhardt, L Foster, T Foster, Glover, O’Sullivan, Robinson, Rowson, Wardle, Whiteley and Wilson also attended the meeting.
Simon Driver, Rob Beales, Nolan Bennett, Frances Cunning, Mick Gibbs, Denise Hyde, Rachel Johnson, Lisa Kershaw, Helen Manderson, Mike Wedgewood, Peter Williams and Mel Holmes also attended the meeting.
The meeting was held at the Civic Centre, Scunthorpe.
1098 DECLARATIONS OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY INTERESTS AND PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS – Declarations of personal interests were indicated as follows:-
Councillor R Waltham
Councillor C Sherwood
Agenda Item 6 – North Lincolnshire Homes – Board Member
Agenda Item 6 – North Lincolnshire Homes – Board Member
1099 MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting of Cabinet held on 1 April 2014, having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and be signed by the chairman.
1100 (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.
1101 (2) UPDATED COUNCIL STRATEGY – The Chief Executive submitted a report seeking approval to the recently updated council strategy. In July 2012 cabinet had approved the council strategy for 2012-2016. The strategy was refreshed in 2013 and reflected an update of the actions needed to deliver the action plans that underpinned the four council priorities.
Since the strategy had been approved the council had worked hard to deliver the priorities and actions set out in the document with various notable achievements as detailed in paragraph 2.2 of the report. The strategy also presented a summary of the latest census data for the area and set out the strategic priorities for the next four years. The priorities identified had been informed by the evidence presented in the North Lincolnshire Strategic Assessment. This refreshed strategy was designed to be read electronically and linked to the evidence contained within North Lincolnshire Data Observatory. The priorities and aims had been revisited to ensure that they were still “fit for purpose”. It was felt that the original priorities remained relevant and therefore remain unchanged. The aims and actions plans had also been revisited with completed actions removed. Amendments had been made to respond to the changing environment and reflected new and emerging agendas. The updated priorities and their aims were set out in paragraph 2.4. The strategy had been updated to reflect the progress made to date and the changing environment and incorporated new agendas as detailed in paragraph 2.5.
As in previous years each priority would be addressed through a number of aims and supporting actions, which would be implemented and managed in line with the council’s performance arrangements. Efforts would continuously be made to monitor the delivery of the strategy through the monthly performance score cards. The measures used had been revised to ensure that they were more accurately focused and addressed the new agendas detailed in paragraph 2.5 of the report. These measures were shown in appendix A to the report.
Attached as an appendix to the report was the revised North Lincolnshire Strategy.
The report was complemented by an interactive presentation.
Resolved – That cabinet approves the updated council strategy and its associated performance measures.
1102 (3) TRANSFORMATION AND SHARED SERVICES – A report was submitted by the Chief Executive which indicated that all local councils faced challenges in delivering high quality services from a combination of demographic pressures, increasing customer expectation and fiscal consolidation. Against that backdrop leading councils were re-engineering their businesses and redesigning services to make them sustainable over the longer term. Central to this was the need to protect frontline services through exploring transformation opportunities or maximising available resources through radical service delivery models. The key to achieving this was co-operation amongst authorities to share staff, assets and other resources to optimise their effectiveness.
The Local Government Association (LGA) had recently published its shared services map for 2014 which revealed that 337 councils were now sharing services across 383 functions with reported savings of £357m. The council had a progressive history of joint working and shared services with partners, principally North East Lincolnshire Council, the East Riding of Yorkshire Council and Health. The report set out the existing shared services in various paragraphs.
On 2 April 2014, the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) announced the release of £320m through the Transformation Challenge Award to be made available to support the upfront costs of local authorities working in partnership to re-engineer their business practices and redesign service delivery. Of this £320m £15m was available in 2014/2015 for a small number of places which by working with other public sector partners could utilise funds to reform services and make a return in 2014/2015. These projects must be “oven ready” with business plans and partnership agreements in places. A further £105m would be available in 2015/2016 to local authorities working in partnership on significant (up to £5m) transformation projects. A bid had been submitted by the deadline date of 1 July and bids that were accepted and taken forward would also benefit from additional DCLG support to develop full bids by 1 October 2014.
As part of the council’s transformation and budget planning work, discussions had taken place with North East Lincolnshire Council to explore the potential of establishing a shared “back office hub”. Initial estimates had identified savings in the region of £0.5m up to £0.75m for each council from a strategic scale arrangement. Further exploration of plans would be required to validate and achieve those savings.
Paragraph 2.13 of the report set out a number of areas within the Policy and Resources Directorate which were considered potentially suitable for sharing as part of a “back office hub” arrangement as an initial phase. In addition, a proposal had been developed to redesign the front end of the local taxation benefits customer service provision through a user and staff friendly online solution, implemented alongside significantly re-organised staff resources enabling expert face to face provision for those who need it, focused on benefit claimants and council tax. The Chief Executives of both authorities had agreed in principle to submit an expression of interest to the DCLG Transformation Challenge Award to progress the establishment of a shared “back office hub”, subject to the approval of both council’s cabinets.
To coincide with the launch of the Transformation Challenge Award the Design Council had launched a ‘Design’ in the Public Sector Programme for Yorkshire and Humber. The programme would deliver training to a cohort of the participants from across the area looking at specific challenges and using design methods to help them respond to the challenges of re-designing local public services. A joint application had been submitted with North East Lincolnshire Council which had been successful.
The report contained further detailed information in relation to these matters.
Resolved – (a) That cabinet endorse further development work associated with the potential establishment of a shared back office with North East Lincolnshire Council; (b) that cabinet notes that an expression of interest had been submitted to the DCLG Transformation Challenge Award to develop a strategic shared back office hub with North East Lincolnshire Council, and (c) that it be noted that the application to participate in the Design and Public Sector Programme in support of the customer services redesign project had been successful.
1103 (4) WESTCLIFF UPDATE – With reference to minute 1077 the Chief Executive submitted a report updating cabinet on progress with the Westcliff Regeneration Programme. Cabinet had originally considered a report in September 2013 titled “Westcliff looking back and moving forward”. The report and its recommendations had been approved to develop the Westcliff Regeneration Programme with cabinet seeking regular updates on progress.
Since the last update, a partner had been appointed to deliver a refreshed Development and Delivery Plan for the Westcliff precinct area. This work would include a number of elements including a detailed master plan of the site and proposed future use (developed on the back of current and future community/partner consultation). This would be completed by Christmas 2014, ready for the submission of a planning application in early 2015. The Westcliff Drop In Centre had been part of the selection panel for the new partner and the local community would play a key role in shaping proposals.
In addition, two bids for capital funding had been made in support of the regeneration project. Firstly, North Lincolnshire Homes had bid to the Homes and Communities Agency to secure grant funding to support the development of 50 new units of affordable rented housing. If the bid was funded a mixture of property types would be provided from family homes, smaller single person properties and properties specifically for those with disabilities. The outcome of the bid would be known in July, 2014. Secondly, North Lincolnshire Council had bid to the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership for grant funding to support the development of the Community Hub. This funding had specifically been sought to support the delivery of training and business start up space in order to improve the employment and enterprise prospects of the community. The outcome of this bid would be known by September 2014.
How we engage and work with the community remained a key focus for the project. The project team held a further community conversation event in April 2014 and this session focused upon potential services and facilities that residents would like to see delivered within the area as part of a community hub, together with aiming to establish the communities’ thoughts on the Desert Rat and the possibility of the development of a family friendly food based public house provision.
A summary of the key findings from the session were summarised within the report which also contained further detailed information about the project.
Resolved – (a) That cabinet notes the progress achieved to date on the development of the Westcliff Precinct Regeneration Programme with the two capital funding bids and the successful Catzero and Wage Incentive programmes, and (b) that cabinet receives a further progress report at its next meeting.
1104 (5) FINANCE AND PERFORMANCE OUTTURN 2013/2014 AND BUDGET REVIEW 2014/2015 – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report on the council’s financial performance for the year 2013/2014, set out proposals to carry forward funding for specific purposes into 2014/2015, 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. As last year the report’s findings were very positive with the majority of key indicators showing improved performance or achievement of targets at a time when the council was again faced with real term spending reductions.
The Director in his report summarised the outturn position showing –
- Net directorate spending successfully contained within the cash limited budget (by £486k or 0.4%).
- An increase in the level of available reserves.
- At the same time an improvement in performance with a creditable 86% of key performance indicators showing performance above target or within tolerance and 68% showing improvement on the previous year.
- Capital expenditure of £48.37m, £7.99m or 14% below programme spend, mostly due to rephasing.
There was also positive early progress in achieving 2014/2015 savings and delivering planned development.
Cabinet was invited to consider the financial outturn of performance for 2013/2014, the rephasing of the capital programme and the reallocation of 2014/2015 capital revenue budgets and carry forwards.
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 forwards and the realignment of capital budgets.
Resolved – (a) That the revenue, capital and performance outturn for 2013/2014 as detailed in appendices 1 to 5 be noted; (b) that the 2014/2015 revenue budget and the committed budget carry forwards at appendices 6 and 6A be approved; (c) that the revised capital programme at appendices 7 and 8 be approved, and (d) that the progress to date on delivering 2014/2015 savings and developments be noted.
1105 (6) REGULATION OF INVESTIGATORY POWERS ACT 2000 (RIPA) – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report informing cabinet of the latest developments relating to RIPA, the outcome of a recent inspection and to seek approval to changes to the policy.
RIPA created a regulatory framework to govern the way public authorities handle and conduct covert investigation. This included covert surveillance directed at a person(s), the use of a “covert human intelligence source” (CHIS) which involved the establishing of a relationship for the covert purpose of obtaining information and access to communications data such as telephone subscriber details and itemised phone logs.
The council’s main use of RIPA related to directed surveillance activities. There was some use of access to communications data but little use of CHIS. The value of RIPA was in obtaining evidence to support criminal prosecutions in e.g. benefit fraud and trading standards cases. The Statutory Codes of Practice issued pursuant to RIPA provided that elected members must set the RIPA Policy once a year, and that updates must be provided on the Council’s use of RIPA.
The report detailed the uses of RIPA between 1 July 2013 and 31 March 2014 and indicated that in accordance with the legislation and the RIPA policy all applications were authorised internally and also by the Magistrates’ Courts. Surveillance was successful and resulted in fixed penalty notices being issued and a benefit claim amount being reduced.
The council was inspected in relation to its use of RIPA on 13 February 2014. The inspection was carried out by the Office of Surveillance Commissioners who met with various officers involved in the process. The RIPA Policy and the Central Records of Authorisations were also scrutinised and in a report produced on 16 February 2014 it was found that the council continued to take a highly responsible approach to covert activity. A number of comments were made by the inspector in his report which was detailed in paragraph 2.7. The inspection report recommended some minor improvements to the RIPA policy. The slightly revised policy was attached as appendix 1 to the report with the amendments recommended showed in italics. In addition, references to register revisions had been removed as these were no longer available to the council. Finally, RIPA also formed part of the Counter Fraud strategy which was approved by the Audit Committee as surveillance may be necessary to investigate potential fraud in certain cases.
The report contained further information in relation to this matter.
Resolved – (a) That the contents of the report be noted and that the revised RIPA policy be approved and adopted.
1106 (7) RESIDUAL MUNICIPAL WASTE TREATMENT – PROCUREMENT AND DELIVERY STRATEGY – With reference to minute 1089, the Director of Places submitted a report in connection with the Residual Municipal Waste Treatment Procurement and Delivery Strategy.
Cabinet had previously considered the issues associated with securing a suitable solution for the treatment of Residual Municipal Waste, with the following outcomes –
- Resolved to implement a solution intended to deliver lowest, short term costs.
- Approved a procurement and delivery position statement on the actions contained within it.
Further progress achieved to date included –
- Soft market testing exercise completed.
- Determination that no specific update was required to the Municipal Waste Management Strategy.
- Work commenced on most appropriate way for providing waste transfer station.
- Drafting of procurement documents commenced.
The soft market testing exercise reviewed the council’s position, informing the completion of a draft strategy. Implementing this strategy should obtain the lowest cost and the best value for money short and long term solution. It should also move the council up the Waste Hierarchy. A draft strategy was attached to appendix 1 to the report. This was in line with the principles of the council’s Municipal Waste Management Strategy.
The report also indicated that the council could now terminate the “Waste 2” project. An alternative solution was available aimed at providing the lowest cost and best value for money solution available. It best fit with the council’s revenue and capital budget position and also responded positively to current market conditions.
The report contained further information in relation to this matter.
Resolved – (a) That cabinet approves the procurement and delivery strategy for the treatment and disposal of the council’s Residual Municipal Waste and the associated actions contained therein; (b) that the “Waste 2” project be terminated, and (c) that cabinet approves the progression of an alternative procurement aimed at securing the lowest cost and best value for money solution available for the treatment of residual municipal waste.
1107 (8) NORTH LINCOLNSHIRE’S LOCAL TRANSPORT PLAN (2011-2026) UPDATE – The Director of Places submitted a report informing cabinet of the updated Transport Strategy and the second Implementation Plan of the Local Transport Plan 3. The report also sought approved to the updated documents for an implementation date of 1 July 2014.
Local authorities had a statutory duty under the Transport Act 2000 to produce a Local Transport Plan (LTP). The current Local Transport Plan (LTP 3) took effect from 1 April 2011. The plan had two elements –
- Transport Strategy I
- implementation Plan
The Transport Strategy was a 15 year plan which aligned with the Local Development Framework. It set out the long term vision for the development of transport and travel in the area. The strategy was based around five Local Transport Goals. These would shape the future of transport in North Lincolnshire –
- Economic growth
- Environment and sustainability
- Safety and security
- Equal opportunities
- Health and wellbeing
The LTP3 considered the existing transport network and likely future travel demands. It also identified potential problems and challenges facing the network. An extensive community consultation on these issues had been completed in 2010/11 and the identified transport options were subsequently appraised, prioritised and taken forward for delivery.
The implementation plan set out how the Transport Strategy would be delivered. The plan covered a three year period and included the programme of works. The production of the second Implementation Plan provided an opportunity to report on progress in delivering the Transport Strategy and it was produced alongside an updated strategy. The second Implementation Plan became operational on 1 April 2014 and provided a timely opportunity to update the Transport Strategy to reflect changes in European, National and Local Transport policy. The updated Transport Strategy followed the same format as previously and included a number of chapters as detailed in paragraph 2.6 of the report. Paragraph 2.7 detailed the main changes to the strategy.
The report contained further detailed information in relation to this matter including the financial implications which indicated that the council would receive £4.743m in 2014/2015 through LTP block funding. It was anticipated that a similar level of funding would be received in 2015/2016 and 2016/2017. Copies of the updated plan had been circulated to members and was available on request.
Resolved – That cabinet approves the updated Transport Strategy and the second implementation plan of the third Local Transport Plan, with an implementation date of 1 July 2014.
1108 (9) CHILDREN IN CARE – PROGRESS UPDATE PLACEMENT SUFFICIENCY STRATEGY 2013/2015 – The Director of People submitted a report updating cabinet on progress in implementing the Placement Sufficiency Strategy for Children in Care and Care Leavers for 2013/2015.
The council was required by the Children Act 1989 to take reasonable steps to secure sufficient accommodation to meet the needs of Children in Care, specifically the provision of foster care and children’s homes to meet this need. On 31 March, 2014 170 children were in care in North Lincolnshire and 69 were receiving support as care leavers. This was 47.9 children per 10,000 of the 0 to 18 population which was less than the England average of 60 and statistical neighbour of 68. North Lincolnshire had approximately 40 children less than the England average in care.
Since formulating the strategy there was now a duty under the Children and Families Act 2014 to support children in foster care to “stay put” and remain in their foster families beyond their 18th birthday where this was possible. The more recent adoption reforms also encouraged the recruitment of foster carers who could adopt. North Lincolnshire had 153 children in care living in family placements.
The Placement Sufficiency Strategy outlined the following –
- To prioritise early effective intervention to sustain families at home wherever possible and safe to do so.
- Increase capacity in our fostering and adoption services with the aim of increasing the number of and availability of foster families and adopters.
- Ensure our children’s homes are of the highest quality and a commitment to a purpose built children’s campus.
- Increase the level and choice of accommodation for care leavers.
- Sustain and develop the specialist accommodation for young mothers in a 6-unit facility with built in support.
- Explore the use of social enterprise to further extend provision and accommodation support for care leavers.
- Lead on the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Adoption consortium.
The Placement Sufficiency Strategy had clearly supported the achievement of positive outcomes for children and young people in North Lincolnshire as detailed in paragraph 4.6. The report contained further information in relation to the strategy.
Resolved – (a) That cabinet welcomes and supports the positive progress against the Placement Sufficiency Strategy in 2013/2014; (b) that cabinet commits to the ongoing development of local family based care to meet the new demands, and (c) that the staff involved be thanked for their work.
1109 (10) EMPLOYEE SURVEY – ACTION PLAN – With reference to minute 1097 the Assistant Director Human Resources submitted a report and an attached action plan which had been drawn up in response to a report by the Corporate Scrutiny Panel on the Employee Survey.
The Panel had completed its report in March 2014 and which had been considered by cabinet on 1 April 2014. It had been agreed that the recommendations should be adopted and that an action plan be prepared in response to the recommendations.
The action plan was attached as an appendix to the report.
Resolved – That cabinet approves the action plan attached to the report.
1110 (11) CHILDHOOD WEIGHT – ACTION PLAN – The Director of Places and the Director of Public Health submitted a joint report informing cabinet of the actions taken in response to the People Scrutiny Panel report entitled Childhood Weight.
The People’s Scrutiny Panel had undertaken a review of Childhood Weight and submitted a report to cabinet in January 2014. The recommendations had been approved by cabinet with a request for an action plan to be submitted.
The completed action plan was attached an appendix to the report.
Resolved – That the action plan be approved and adopted.