Full Cabinet – 11 October 2016

PRESENT:-   Councillor Waltham (Vice Chairman) in the Chair.

Councillors Briggs, Hannigan,  Poole, Reed, Rose and C Sherwood.

Councillors Ali, Allcock, Armiger, Clark, J Davison, Evison, L Foster, T Foster, Glover, Godfrey, Mumby-Croft, Oldfield, O’Sullivan, Robinson, Wells and Wilson also attended the meeting.

Mike Wedgewood, Denise Hyde, Peter Williams, Rob Beales, Will Bell, Becky McIntyre, Karen Pavey, Lesley Potts, Peter Thorpe, and Richard Mell also attended the meeting.

The meeting was held at the Civic Centre, Scunthorpe.

1226   DECLARATIONS OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY INTERESTS AND PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS – Councillor Waltham declared a personal interest in relation to Agenda Item 9 as a snow warden for Brigg.

1227   MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting of cabinet held on 12 July, 2016, having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and be signed by the chairman.

1228   (14)    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.

1229   (15)    SEPTEMBER BUDGET REVIEW – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report on the September 2015/2016 budget review. His report explained that the council’s approved budget was monitored through the financial year and at intervals cabinet received a formal report on progress in achievement of the approved revenue cash-limited budget and capital programme 2016/20. This provided the opportunity to take stock of how plans were progressing, to take corrective action where necessary and consider the forward financial plan.

The report indicated that overall spending against the revenue budget (appendix 1 refers) for the day to day operation of services was currently forecast to be overspent largely due to increased demand for People Services and cost pressures in Places Directorate, some continuing from 2015/16. Action plans would be implemented in each service reporting a pressure to contain the in year over spend and also mitigate the longer term impact. There was positive progress towards the achievement of £9.8m approved budget savings and there were changes to the capital programme (appendix 2 refers), 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 (appendix 3 refers) and an Efficiency Statement was included for approval at Appendix 4 to secure the government’s offer of guaranteed core funding up to 2020.

The report considered in detail the revenue budget for 2016/2017 by directorate, the savings monitor for 2016/2017, revenue account support reserve, the capital programme by directorate, treasury management and the financial plan for 2016/2020.

Resolved – (a) That cabinet notes the 2016/2017 revenue budget position at paragraphs 3.1 to 3.11 of the report and confirms that budgets are cash limited. (b) that Directorates implement action plans to address the identified pressures for the current year and beyond, in consultation with the relevant cabinet member; (c) that the positive progress made in achievement of budget savings be noted; (d) that the re-phasing of the capital programme as detailed in appendix 2 of the report be agreed; (e) that the latest position on treasury management as set out in appendix 3 of the report be noted, and (f) that submission of the Efficiency Strategy to government as detailed at appendix 4 of the report be approved.

1230   (16)    SHARED SERVICES PROGRESS REPORT – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report summarising the successful implementation and ongoing development of the shared service programme between North Lincolnshire Council and North East Lincolnshire Council.

The report explained that Shared Services officially went live on 1 April 2016 for Information and Communication Technology, Internal Audit, Human Resources and Finance and Legal Services. All structures and staff  in the five work streams had also been in place since 1 April 2016 as agreed following previous consideration by the Joint Committee for Shared Services and formal consultation with staff and trade unions. Projected savings for the shared services programme remained on target, monitoring systems were in place to ensure control and scrutiny of budgets and savings for the shared services, and management and governance arrangements had been agreed.

The Director in his report stated that the new Customer and Local Taxation and Benefits shared service in North and North East Lincolnshire went live in July 2016 with the first six weeks of the transformation proving to be very successful in terms of handling customer queries and providing relevant expert advice.

The Director also reported that positive internal audit and external auditor (KPMG) validation had been received regarding the implementation of shared service, a progress update was submitted to the DCLG regarding the Transformational Challenge Award allocation, which the DCLG had accepted, and positive discussions were now taking place with a view to the sharing of some operational services across the two councils including waste, transport and regulatory services.

Resolved – That the successful implementation of shared services and the positive direction of travel of Northern Lincolnshire Business Connect be noted.

1231   (17)    ADULT SOCIAL CARE LOCAL ACCOUNT 2016/17 – The Director of People submitted a report seeking approval for the publication of the Adult Social Care Local Account on the council’s website. The report informed cabinet that the ‘Local Account’ was produced annually informing local citizens what the council had been doing over the year to support adults with care and support needs, how well services were meeting outcomes and key developments within services. These accounts were important because they helped make the council be accountable to the community that its serves, strengthened relationships and used facts and figures about performance and expenditure for comparison. Local Accounts were also used as a tool for planning improvements, sharing information and performance with people who used services and receiving feedback on their experiences.  They were also used to publish key developments within adult services and provided the public with useful information on newer services available to them.

The account for 2015/2016 explained what was achieved against the priorities set and what was planned in the forthcoming year.  Last year’s priorities were –

  • Strengthen Wellbeing through developing community capacity;
  • Enable people with dementia to access all aspects of community life to live well;
  • Enable more people to have choice and control over their long term care and support, and
  • Enable people who lack capacity to have the maximum independence.

The key message from this year’s local count were that North Lincolnshire continued to be a high performing authority and had further developed or enhanced a range of care and support services to meet local needs closer to home. Key messages were detailed in paragraph 2.5 of the report.  The local account also highlighted areas of focus over the coming 12 months and these were detailed in paragraph 2.6.

Attached as an appendix to the report was the full local account document ‘Services to Adults Local Account 2015/2016 – How Did We Do?’

Resolved – That the publication of the Adult Services Local Account 2015/2016 on the council’s website be approved.

1232   (18)    LINCOLNSHIRE LAKES UPDATE – Further to minute 1207, the Director of Places submitted an update report on progress across the project’s key work packages. The Lincolnshire Lakes Project aimed to develop over 6,000 homes up to 2018 by creating six villages in waterside settings. This £1.2bn scheme had its Area Action Plan adopted in May 2016.

The report stated that with regard to part of the first phase of the project, the Lucent Group development of 3000 homes alongside the northern roundabout and Scotter Road junctions, agreements with all landowners were now in place and their section 106 agreement was signed off in July 2016 allowing for work to progress in earnest in taking forward the development in early 2017. Lucent had also appointed contractors and a civil engineer with work been in hand for the installation of utilities including a ‘fibre to home’ superfast broadband product and essential infrastructure works. The Maltgrade planning application for development of a further 2500 homes in addition to the main terminating junction and large leisure lake had been approved by the Planning Committee at its meeting in July 2016, with the section 106 agreement currently in negotiation.

The Director in his report also summarised further progress and development under the following headings –

  • Lake 1
  • Flood Defence Scheme
  • Southern Junction
  • Northern Junction
  • Supply Chain, and
  • Design Guide

Resolved – That the latest position in taking forward the Lincolnshire Lakes development be noted.

1233   (19)    BRITISH STEEL SUPPORT FUND – Further to minute 1206, the Director of Places submitted an interim progress report on the British Steel (formerly Tata) Support Fund. The council was the accountable body for the £3 million support fund provided by the Government to assist the area following the announcement in 2015 of 900 job losses at Tata Steel, Scunthorpe.

The report explained that the fund launched in April 2016 provided support to North Lincolnshire businesses through grants towards capital investment. The £3m fund was available until March 2018. Progress in administering the grant had been considerable. As such, it was anticipated that the programme would allocate all funding considerably before this time. The fund was available to help safeguard jobs in supply chain companies as well as to support the creation of new jobs. The council was given a target to create or safeguard 250 jobs by the end of the programme.

The Director stated that a Board was in place to oversee the allocation of the fund.  Board members included public and private sector partners who had experience of managing programme funds.  This group had met regularly since April 2016 to consider and approve applications for funding. To date, 45 businesses had been engaged in the programme with the Board approving five grants, with a further six currently subject to due diligence. A further six applications were in the programme pipeline. The fund had so far provided £1.242m of grants, with a further £1m of grants in due diligence. Project pipeline applications total £576,000. In total, this amounted to £2.818m of projects. Over £18.95m of private sector funding leverage had also been secured to date.

So far, the fund had supported the creation of 173 jobs, with, a further 140 jobs currently in due diligence, and a further 28 jobs in the project pipeline. Therefore, the total number of jobs created including pipeline projects is 341 which considerably exceeds the target to create 250 jobs. Applications were primarily from the manufacturing sector, followed by construction, and then support service activities.

Resolved – (a) That the progress made to date in allocating the British Steel Support Fund be noted, and (b) that a further update report be provided to the April 2017 meeting advising on the full Year 1 performance of the programme.

1234   (20)    ACTION STATION – ONE YEAR ON – The Director of Places submitted a report on the work of the Action Station following its first year of operation. The Action Station opened around 12 months ago and in the subsequent period had worked with individuals to achieve the outcomes committed to reducing dependency for all, ensuring everyone ‘Feels safe and are safe’, ‘Recognises their potential and that plans are in place to reach their full potential’ and ‘Enjoys good health and emotional well-being’.

The report stated that the Action Station’s performance figures were a testament to its own success with a reduction in those claiming out of work benefits through Job Seekers Allowance falling by 49.8% during the period between January 2013 and August 2016 with youth unemployment reducing by 55% over the same period. The proportion of the population with no qualifications had dropped from 9.4% in 2011 to 8.1% in 2015. Also, there had been a rise of 27%  in the number of residents in North Lincolnshire who have achieved NVQ level 4 qualifications, which equated to 6,000 individuals, and an increase in the number of people securing a trade through an apprenticeship from 4.4% in 2011 to 6.3% in 2015. Appendix 1 to the reports contained a number of case studies that demonstrated the positive impacts achieved by the clients of the Action Station.

The report contained further information about the work of the Action Station, especially work carried out with partners, further successful outcomes and the future strategic direction of the service.  Work was also currently being carried out to identify a new building for a fully integrated service as the service had out grown its current location.

Resolved – (a) That the latest reduction in the numbers claiming Job Seekers Allowance and the increase in those achieving skills qualifications in North Lincolnshire, be welcomed, and (b) that the work of the Action Station one year on from the opening of the facility be supported, and the future strategic direction for the Action Station as set out in the report be endorsed.

1235   (21)    WINTER SERVICE – DESK TOP REVIEW UPDATE – The Director of Places submitted a report advising Cabinet of progress made to date on the Winter Service Policy desk top review prior to the start of the winter season 2016/17.

He explained that the Winter Service Policy document used last winter performed very well and that it continued to comply robustly with the national Code of Practice. A revision was, however, required in the early part of 2017 in preparation for the 2017/2018 winter season in order to reflect the changes required following the publication of the revised Code of Practice anticipated in late 2016. Steps had also been taken to make sure that the Winter Service Procedures reflected the most recent guidance contained in Chapter 13 of the Code of Practice for Highway Maintenance management, “Well Maintained Highways”.

The report stated that the council had received a request to extend its schedule of precautionary salting routes.  Officers had assessed the request against the policy criteria resulting in South End, Goxhill failing to meet the criteria for inclusion (Appendix 1 of the report provided full details). Officers were assessing continually requests received for the provision of additional salt bins. The Policy continued to include the provision of devolved budget allocations for snow clearing to Town & Parish Councils, and it was proposed to maintain these at the same level as applied in 2015/16 (appendix 2 of the report referred).

Also, contact had been made with all registered contractors asking for current Insurance certificates and any amendments to their available plant or hire rates. As a result, an up to date register was in place in readiness for the start of the 2016/17 winter season.

In his report the Director informed cabinet that during this season, winter operations would be managed and operate from the Billet Lane depot facility. The salt stockpile had been replenished to capacity with 6mm rock salt, which was possible as the stock was now stored undercover. Spreaders would be calibrated for this season to allow four identified routes to use fully the remaining stock of 10mm salt.  The remaining five would be calibrated to use the new supply of 6mm salt. The major benefits of the change to 6mm aggregate were that a reduced amount of salt was required and it turned into solution quicker than 10mm aggregate. Furthermore, a winter preparedness article was ready for publication in the autumn edition of the council’s residents’ publication, and the social networking site communications that were used successfully last season would continue. Contact would be made with all Lead Snow Wardens, Snow Wardens and Town/Parish clerks to identify any changes to personnel and/or contact details, and also to seek requests for any further salt supplies in 1 tonne bags. Additional green salt bins were also available if required at a cost of £145 per bin.

Resolved – That the Winter Service Policy arrangements for 2016/17 be approved.

1236   (22)    NORTH LINCOLNSHIRE CHILDREN’S LITERACY TRUST – The Director of People submitted a report updating the Cabinet of progress in establishing a North Lincolnshire Children’s Literacy Trust. North Lincolnshire was gaining a national and international reputation for promoting the importance of early literacy and communication in raising aspirations and life chances of children, young people and families. The proportion of children achieving a good level of development at age five increased 17 percentage points between summer 2013 and 2017 to 70% with further improvements forecast for 2016 once validated outcomes were published. This placed North Lincolnshire in the best one quarter of all local authorities in England for early childhood development.

The report explained that the roll out of the Imagination Library had made a significant impact in raising parent, carer and family awareness of the importance of sharing and reading books with young children. Since the launch of the Imagination Library in February 2013, 12,449 children had registered, equating to 88% of the total under-fives population across North Lincolnshire. 4,209 children had graduated from the scheme and 255,487books had been gifted to children across North Lincolnshire.

The UK Dollywood Forum had also recognised North Lincolnshire as a model of exemplary practice, describing the local delivery as the “most innovative UK programme”. North Lincolnshire had the highest proportion of eligible children enrolled when compared at both national and international levels. Feedback from parents about the Council’s commitment to early literacy development had been overwhelmingly positive, with evidence that the Imagination Library and the wide range of complementary activities had increased parent and carer engagement in the wider local offer for our youngest children.

The Director in her report emphasised that the North Lincolnshire Children’s Literacy Trust would maximise the impact of the council’s investment in early childhood learning and development. It would establish a charitable structure to enable North Lincolnshire to increase the range of funding streams to support community literacy, which in turn, would enhance community engagement, resilience and promote aspiration and work towards reducing levels of unemployment. The legal entity would be a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) (Foundation Model) offering the many benefits which were summarised in paragraph 2.6 of the report.

Resolved – (a)        That the progress in the establishment of a North Lincolnshire Children’s Literacy Trust be noted, and (b) that all officers involved be thanked for their excellent work in the development and continuing success of the Children’s Literacy Trust.

1237   (23)    ‘BE SMART’ – SOCIAL MEDIA CHARTER – The Director of People submitted a report explaining that in Autumn 2015, Headteachers identified through the partnership activity, the opportunity to develop a collective approach to e-safety through a social media charter for all secondary age schools and for colleges. The Youth Council was engaged by secondary heads to develop a social media charter. The Chair of the consortium attended a Youth Council meeting to seek their view about what young people thought about social media and its impact on young people in a school context.  Young people identified that social media was an essential part of day to day life to enable communication, being informed and keeping in touch.  Young people, schools and council officers recognised that there was a need to educate young people to be responsible social media users in order to keep themselves safe. It was agreed that members of Youth Council would be supported to develop a resource that could be used by young people, schools and parents/carers.

Consequently, the Youth Council developed a social media charter informed by their understanding of the aspects of social media they wanted to promote and the positive behaviours they wanted to encourage. The charter had been created by young people for young people and it clearly sets out suggestions about how to ‘BE SMART’ around specific areas of social media.

The report stated that following extensive consultation with young people through school council’s and young voice activities and with the support from all secondary schools and colleges, the final version was launched at the North Lincolnshire Youth Council Annual General Meeting in July 2016.  More than 50 people attended the launch, including young people and champions from the Children and Young People’s Partnership. The response to the charter had been very positive and regarded as a crucial resource to support a change in behaviours leading to more young people knowing how to use social media responsibly. The Charter had been distributed into schools and colleges.  A number of schools had incorporated it into their home school agreement and also held discussions in tutorial time.  (Copies were also circulated at the meeting to members of the cabinet and all other members present). Building on the positive response from young people, schools and partners, further development of the charter included:

  • Designing a charter for primary aged children
  • Engaging with local businesses, particularly those who employ young people to encourage them to promote the ‘BE SMART’ principles
  • Encouraging businesses to champion the charter at the point of sale of technical devices.

The roll out and further development of the charter supported the Children’s Strategy 2020, Children’s Challenge: Children being safer on-line.

Devon Drakes a representative of the Youth Council attended the meeting and informed the cabinet of the work carried out by young people to develop the Charter, its success with young people and further work being, and to be carried out to expand the principles of the Charter to younger children and their families.

Resolved – (a) That the work undertaken by young people to create the ‘BE SMART’ Social Media Charter be noted; (b) that the Cabinet champions the launch, roll out and future development of the charter and associated resources, and (c) that the Cabinet thanks Devon Drakes for attending the meeting and providing a very interesting presentation on the Charter and associated future work to be carried out.

1238   (24)    ANNUAL YOUNG VOICE REPORT – The Director of People submitted a report on the impact of the Youth Council and Young Voice in North Lincolnshire. The Youth Council was a constituted group of children and young people who come together to be the vehicle for the Young Voice in North Lincolnshire. Its aims were set out in paragraph 2.1 of the report.

The report explained that since the inception of the Youth Council in 201, the council had evolved in its membership and young voice influence on strategic priorities, service delivery, commissioning and how the young voice was firmly at the centre of improving outcomes for young people in North Lincolnshire. The Young Voice Annual Report 2015/16, attached as an appendix to the report, highlighted the work undertaken across the Youth Council and wider young voice activities. It outlined the impact and outcomes of engagement, predominantly at a service and strategic level, and focussed upon young people’s perspectives and experiences. This had all been showcased to council representatives and partners across the Young People’s Partnership at the Youth Council’s Annual meeting in July 2016.

The Director in her report listed what the Youth Council had debated and influenced over the past year, together with its most notable achievements.

The Cabinet at the meeting viewed the DVD Photostory of the Young Voice Annual Report.

Resolved – (a) That the impact of the Youth Council and Young Voice in North Lincolnshire be received and noted, and (b) that the Annual Young Voice Report and DVD Photostory be received and welcomed.