Full Cabinet – 24 September 2014
PRESENT:- Councillor Mrs Redfern in the chair.
Councillors Briggs, Poole, C Sherwood, N Sherwood and Waltham.
Councillors Allcock, Carlile, Clark, Collinson, Eckhardt, England, Evison, Gosling, Marper, Ogg, Rowson, Swift, K Vickers, Wells, Whiteley and Wilson also attended the meeting.
Simon Driver, Dave Basker, Will Bell, Mick Gibbs, Trevor Laming, Becky McIntyre, Lesley Potts, Peter Thorpe, Mike Wedgewood, Jason Whaler, Peter Williams and Mel Holmes also attended the meeting.
Edwina Harrison, the Chair of the Local Children’s Safeguarding Board also attended the meeting.
The meeting was held at the Civic Centre, Scunthorpe.
1111 DECLARATIONS OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY INTERESTS AND PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS – Declarations of personal interests were indicated as follows:-
|Councillor Mrs E Redfern||Minute 1114 – North Lincolnshire Homes – Member|
|Councillor C Sherwood||Minute 1114 – North Lincolnshire Homes – Board Member|
|Councillor R Waltham||Minute 1114 – North Lincolnshire Homes – Board Member|
1112 MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting of Cabinet held on 2 July 2014, having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and be signed by the chairman.
1113 (12) 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.
1114 (13) WESTCLIFF UPDATE – With reference to minute 1103, the Chief Executive submitted a further progress report in relation to the Westcliff Regeneration Programme.
Since the last update in July 2014, work had progressed on the project development and delivery plan, including a draft of Phase 1 Scheme. This would include a convenience store, 5 smaller retail units and a community enterprise hub. The location for the initial phase was the Swinburne Road/Lichfield Avenue car park area. The community enterprise hub would include a new pre-school, space to deliver youth services, a community cafe and IT provision, a training kitchen and space for group sessions and one to ones. A draft plan of the proposal was attached as an appendix to the report. This phase 1 could be delivered as a stand alone phase. This would facilitate continuity of service for existing providers including a pharmacy and post office.
The draft plan had been shared with partners and the community at the Westcliff Drop In Centre Fun Day held in August which was attended by officers from the council, North Lincolnshire Homes and DBA Management. In the main the reaction to the proposals was positive. A number of useful suggestion had been made that were now under active consideration.
Two bids for funding had been submitted at the start of the summer. One of these bids was to the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership for a community enterprise hub. This bid had not been successful in the initial round. However it did receive positive feedback and there was an opportunity to re-submit the bid by November 2014. In addition, North Lincolnshire Homes had submitted a bid to the Homes and Communities Agency. They were successful in securing funding to deliver 50 new affordable homes and work was now progressing to agree detailed plans. North Lincolnshire Homes expected to complete the delivery of the 50 new homes by March 2018.
In summary work was now well underway to meet the deadline for completion of the development and delivery plan by Christmas 2014. The key milestones to achieve this were contained in detail in paragraph 2.11 of the report.
Resolved – (a) That cabinet notes the progress achieved to date on the development of the Westcliff Precinct Regeneration Programme, and (b) that further progress reports be submitted to cabinet in due course.
1115 (14) OPEN AND ACCOUNTABLE LOCAL GOVERNMENT – THE OPENNESS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT BODIES REGULATIONS 2014 – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which indicated that the Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014 came into force on 6 August 2014. These regulations amended in part the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960, the Local Government Act 1972 and the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012.
The regulations specifically amended the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 to allow entry to the meetings of specified local government bodies for the purposes of reporting and to allow the results and reporting to be published or disseminated. Reporting includes filming and providing commentary on proceedings and the new rules allow for the reporting of meetings via social media of any kind. Bloggers, tweeters and for example facebook, youtube users and individuals with their own website should be able to report meetings.
As a result of these regulations, councils and other local government bodies are required to allow any member of the public to take photographs, film and audio record proceedings and report on all public meetings. The regulations only apply to meetings which are open to the public. The relevant council or local government body may not allow filming or audio recording in its private meetings or where a meeting is going into private session to consider exempt or confidential items. Councils and other local government bodies must take the necessary steps to ensure that arrangements are in place to enable the above to take place. However, those undertaking these activities must not act in a disruptive manner, which could result in them being excluded from the meeting. Disruptive behaviour could be any action or activity which disrupts the conduct of meetings or impedes members of the public being able to see, hear or film etc the proceedings. The guidance which accompanied the regulations gives examples of disruptive behaviour.
The report also referred to the introduction in 2012 of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations which afforded greater transparency and openness into the meetings of a council’s executive, its committees and sub committees and decision making processes. However one aspect of those regulations that remained unclear was seemingly a requirement that all executive decisions, not just “key” decisions, taken by officers were the subject of a written record which was then published on the council’s website and open for inspection at the councils offices.
The new regulations seek to extend this principle to non executive decisions in addition to executive decisions taken by officers, although the regulations do draw a distinction between day to day administrative and operational decisions taken by officers which do not require recording and those, for example, taken following a specific delegation which should be recorded and published, which the council’s procedure rules already provide for. The guidance provided a series of examples of the types of officer decision that should now be recorded and work was ongoing to ensure that the council’s internal governance arrangements were proportionally revised to accommodate these requirements and, where necessary, appropriate amendments would be made to the council’s procedure rules.
Resolved – (a) That the arrangements in relation to the reporting of meetings be noted and that an appropriate protocol be developed for the filming etc of public meetings and that, subject to approval by council, the council’s procedure rules be amended accordingly, and (b) that work continue in relation to the development of arrangements to record appropriate officer decisions, both executive and non executive in the light of the regulations and guidance and that if appropriate and, subject to approval by council, the council’s procedure rules be amended as necessary.
1116 (15) REGIONAL GROWTH FUND (RGF) – The Director of Places presented a report updating cabinet on developments linked to the North Lincolnshire Regional Growth Fund Programme.
The report indicated that the council had submitted a bid for Regional Growth Fund (RGF) monies in June 2011. RGF had been introduced by the government to encourage enterprise through economic growth and new employment opportunities in the private sector in response to the economic downturn, with a particular emphasis on areas that were overly dependent on employment in the public sector. The council’s bid had been submitted along with the Tata Taskforce following the announcement of job losses at Tata in May 2011. The bid focussed on helping new businesses to start up, existing businesses to grow and diversify and attracting new inward investment into the area.
The North Lincolnshire Regional Growth Fund allocation totalled £10m. The programme had proven extremely successful and to date over £9m had been committed to projects aimed at creating 716 jobs and securing additional private sector investment into the local economy exceeding £71m. Further pipeline projects amounting to £1.7m were currently in the approval process and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills had suggested that subject to formal approval, the council could access a further £2.5m of funding in addition to the £10m already provided to support pipeline schemes with a deadline of March 2015 for commitment.
RGF Funding had assisted the start up of a number of new business as well as investing in the development and growth of existing North Lincolnshire based companies looking to expand. It had further attracted new companies into the area that were looking to start up or expand their existing business and paragraph 2.5 of the report gave a number of examples of the successful use of RGF Funding.
Attached as an appendix to the report were some examples of positive feedback and comments from businesses who had been in receipt of RGF Funding.
Resolved – (a) That cabinet welcomes the success of the North Lincolnshire Growth Fund Programme that to date have allocated over £9m of funding to businesses towards securing a total of 716 new jobs in North Lincolnshire and levering in additional private sector investment in excess of £71m; (b) that cabinet agrees that the council should take steps to secure additional Regional Growth Funding of £2.5m potentially available to continue the work in hand to support enterprise and job creation in North Lincolnshire; (c) that cabinet place on record its thanks to all staff in the council’s regeneration team for their hard work to ensure the successful use of RGF funding in North Lincolnshire, and (d) that a letter be sent the Prime Minister thanking him and his government for the initiative in setting up the Regional Growth Fund and particularly for recognising the work of North Lincolnshire Council by allocating significant sums of money to the area.
1117 (16) CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION (CSE) IN NORTH LINCOLNSHIRE – ACTION PLAN IN RESPONSE TO A REPORT BY THE PLACES SCRUTINY PANEL – The Director of Places and the Director of People submitted a joint report presenting an action plan in response to the Places Scrutiny Panel report on Child Sexual Exploitation in North Lincolnshire.
The issue of protecting children from sexual exploitation was a key national and local priority which continued to receive a great deal of media attention. The Office of the Children’s Commissioner’s Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) had been published in 2012. The Inquiry highlighted that CSE was widespread and applied to both rural and urban areas. In addition, victims and perpetrators came from a range of ethnic and social backgrounds.
With this in mind, the Places Scrutiny Panel had undertaken a review into this key issue with the aim of ensuring that North Lincolnshire had embedded in its safeguarding children procedures robust and comprehensive systems to identify, support and protect children and young people from CSE. The Scrutiny Panel had focussed on a number of key issues which were detailed in paragraph 2.2.
Cabinet had received and endorsed the report of the Panel in April 2014 and since then officers had been working together both in relation to the recommendations of the panel and similar priorities identified by the Local Safeguarding Childrens’ Board into a revised strategy and action plan. The aim was to ensure that all agencies continued to drive this work forward, work in partnership and co-operate to tackle all forms of CSE.
An updated action plan was attached as an appendix to the report and that plan set out progress achieved to date in addressing the issues raised by the Scrutiny Panel as well as the ongoing work to respond to their various recommendations.
The Chief Executive and members commented on this matter and the Chair of the Local Children’s Safeguarding Board commented and thanked the council for its work in relation to this matter.
Resolved – (a) That cabinet approves the action plan in response to the Places Scrutiny Panel reports and recommendations on Child Sexual Exploitation in North Lincolnshire, and (b) that all the teams involved in this work be thanked for their efforts.
1118 (17) SEPTEMBER BUDGET REVIEW 2014/2015 – This matter was considered after the chairman decided it was urgent because of the need to inform cabinet about the latest position with the council’s 2014/2015 budget, take stock of plans and how they are progressing and take corrective action where necessary.
The Director of Policy and Resources submitted his September 2014 budget review. This was one of the series of reports to cabinet produced during the year to update cabinet on the council’s financial position for the 2014/2015 financial year. It provided an opportunity to review how the council’s revenue plans and capital programme were progressing and take corrective action where necessary.
The report indicated that overall spending against the revenue budget for the day to day operation of services was within target and that where budgeted savings could not be delivered in full alternative funding sources had been identified to contain spending within the council’s budget. Positive progress in the achievement of £8.65m of approved budget savings was being made and there were changes to the capital programme which included programme re-phasing and funding adjustments in connection with a number of projects. Cash balances and debt were being managed in line with the council’s planned treasury strategy. The report also considered future budget strategy in the light of the funding implications included in the government’s consultation document regarding the 2015/2016 financial settlement.
The report considered in detail the revenue budget for 2014/2015 by directorate, central budgets, the savings monitor, the revenue account support reserve, the agreed capital programme for 2014/2015, the treasury measurement strategy and the financial plan for 2015 to 2019.
Resolved – (a) That the 2014/2015 revenue budget position shown at paragraphs 3.1 to 3.8 of the report be noted and that the adjustments to the budget shown in appendix 1 be approved; (b) that cabinet notes the positive progress made in the achievement of the approved budget savings; (c) that cabinet agrees to the re-phasing of the capital programme detailed at paragraph 3.10 and the 700k increase in the capital programme as indicated at paragraph 4.3; (d) that cabinet notes the latest position on treasury management; (e) that cabinet notes the implications of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) consultation document regarding the illustrative funding settlement and (f) that cabinet confirms that the existing local council tax support scheme would remain unchanged in 2015/2016.