Full Cabinet – 22 October 2008

PRESENT: Councillor Kirk in the chair.

Councillors Foster (vice chair), Gosling, Grant, Regan and Swift.

Councillors Barker, B Briggs, J Briggs, Bunyan, Collinson, Davison, England, Glover, Poole, Mrs Redfern, Smith and Whiteley also attended the meeting.

Simon Driver, Caroline Barkley, Will Bell, John Coates, Barry Fleetwood, Keith Ford, Neil Laminman, Geoff Popple, Jeff Tattersall, Marcus Walker, Dave Watson, Mike Wedgewood, Sarah Williamson, Mike Wood and Mel Holmes also attended the meeting.

763 DECLARATIONS OF PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS – Councillor T Gosling declared a personal interest in Agenda Item 5 as a member of the Humber Bridge Board and in Agenda Item 8 as a Trustee of the Scunthorpe/Grimsby Rape Crisis Board.

Councillor M Grant declared a personal interest in Agenda Item 8 as a member of the Supporting People Commissioning Body – some of the recommendations would impact on this.

764 MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting of cabinet held on 17 September 2008, having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and be signed by the chair.

765 (77) OUTSTANDING ACTION FROM PREVIOUS MEETINGS OF CABINET – The Service Director Legal and Democratic 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.

766 (78) BUDGET REVIEW – OCTOBER 2008 – The Service Director Finance submitted a report on the October budget review which was part of a quarterly review process for the revenue and capital budgets. It built on monthly monitoring and provided an opportunity for cabinet to take stock of the financial position on a regular basis. This year it had a particular emphasis on the Local Area Agreement (LAA) to ensure that adequate resources were committed to delivering the shared local strategic partnership priorities. The June budget review had considered a number of issues which were detailed in paragraph 2.2 and this latest review provided an update on the revenue and capital position and the emerging resource implications of the Local Area Agreement and Community Strategy.

The report provided a review of the approved revenue budget, considered the implications of the council’s investments with Icelandic Banks, considered the resource implications of the Community Strategy and Local Area Agreement and identified slippage in the capital programme and the resources which funded it.

In relation to the revenue budget for 2008/2009 the report detailed a number of potential overspends together with some compensating underspends, considered the Local Area Agreement and Community Strategy in detail and the detail of the Capital Programme for 2008/2011. Attached as an appendix were details of the LAA and Community Strategy though these were subject to change.

Resolved – (a) That revenue budgets be revised within the overall cash limit as set out in the table at paragraph 4.12; (b) that tight expenditure controls be maintained to ensure the council’s financial plans remain deliverable in view of potential losses from investments with Icelandic Banks; (c) that cabinet confirm that any additional spending implications arising from the LAA and Community Strategy would be dealt with through allocation of the reward monies from the previous LAA by the Local Strategic Partnership, or by re-prioritisation of existing resources; (d) that cabinet approve the re-phasing of the capital programme as shown in the table at paragraph 4.15, and (e) that cabinet authorise a full review of the capital programme and its funding to be the subject of a further report to the next meeting of cabinet.

767 (79) HUMBER BRIDGE TOLLS – RESEARCH FINDINGS – The Chief Executive submitted a report which considered the main findings of independent research into the economic and social impact of the high tolls on the Humber Bridge and recommended the next steps in the campaign to persuade Ministers of the need to take decisive action on the tolls – the highest for any UK river crossing.

The four Humber Unitary Councils had commissioned Colin Buchanan and Partners to carry out a four month economic and social impact assessment of high Humber Bridge Tolls. The findings had been published in the House of Commons on 7 October 2008, with a majority of the city region’s MPs in attendance. The research sought to quantify the impact of the tolls on the Humber Bridge in the context of the four Humber Unitary Councils making a success of the emerging city region for the Humber.

The councils had sought to establish, with a clear evidence base, if it was realistic to create a successful and dynamic Hull and Humber Port City Region straddling both banks of the Humber, given the constraints imposed by both geography and high tolls. In the past, Ministers, and indeed regional bodies, had not been persuaded that action on the Humber Bridge Tolls was either necessary or a priority. However, this could no longer be the case with the publication of the Colin Buchanan and Partners research, on 7 October 2008. Two key points set this study apart from previous research. These were –

  • The fact that it was set in the policy context of a city region.
  • It used an economic model now accepted and approved by the Department of Transport.

This changed the whole debate and dynamics surrounding the Humber Bridge and for that reason it was imperative to maintain the momentum and consensus to make a decisive breakthrough. Indeed, it was felt that unless action on the tolls was taken, the likelihood of creating a successful Hull and Humber Port City Region was doubtful. The research made clear in effect there were two job markets, with little interaction across the bridge.

The key findings of the research were set out in appendix 1 to the report. Appendix 2 indicated how the four unitary council areas would benefit, sector by sector with North Lincolnshire performing extremely well. The figures used were at today’s prices.

The report concluded that, having got this far, and armed with such a powerful evidence base, the four Humber councils, MPs, business community and other parties and individuals, had now to take the case to Ministers. With the possibility of injecting up to £1.1 bn into the city region over the period to 2032, action to either abolish or substantially reduce the tolls had to be one of the council’s most pressing priorities.

The report detailed two options for consideration in terms of taking this forward together with an analysis of those.

Resolved – (a) That cabinet agrees to work with local MPs to arrange a Ministerial meeting to explore in detail the research findings commissioned from Colin Buchanan and Partners into the economic and social impact of Humber Bridge Tolls on the Hull and Humber Port City Region; (b) that a Ministerial delegation, to include a wide range of interested parties, including the Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce, seeks to achieve Ministerial recognition of the substantial economic benefits of eliminating the tolls on the bridge, as cited in the Colin Buchanan and Partners research; (c) that the council and other stakeholders seek Ministerial recognition, based on the research, that for a successful Hull and Humber Port City Region to become a reality, government action on the tolls is required; (d) that cabinet reaffirms its commitment to play a leading role in the development of the Hull and Humber Port City Region; (e) that the Leader and the Chief Executive work closely with the Humber Unitary Leaders Group on the key points to be made to the Minister, and (f) that cabinet seeks the support of the Regional Minister.

768 (80) WASTE CONTRACTS PROCUREMENT PROJECT – The Service Director Neighbourhood and Environment submitted a report which set out and sought confirmation of the procurement approach to be adopted for the new waste contract.

Current contracts let to deliver waste management services for the council were scheduled to terminate by 31 March 2011. The council had recognised that in order to meet future Landfill Allowance Requirements (LATS), investment in additional infrastructure in the form of treatment capacity would be required. The procurement of waste treatment and disposal service contracts with a current annual value of around £6m had to be undertaken strictly in accordance with EU and UK rules. Counsel’s opinion had been sought in April 2008 on the appropriate procurement route and on the facts presenting at that time. Counsel had confirmed that the council was entitled to use the restricted procedure for the full package of proposed contracts although use of the competitive dialogue procedure was not ruled out.

In July 2008, cabinet previously approved, in principle, the letting of contracts under the restricted procedure for –

  • Residual Waste Treatment
  • Compost Site and Household Recycling Centre Management
  • Kerbside Recycling Collections

Subject to this decision, the council had engaged the services of legal, financial and technological experts as external advisers. The firms engaged had long and successful involvement with local councils in procuring services and infrastructure to support local waste management strategies. Their opinions and recommendations were sought on the council’s strategy. In the light of long and complex discussions the further advice of counsel had been sought on the 9 October 2008. This presented a useful opportunity to appraise counsel of the discussions that had taken place with the external advisers subsequent to his earlier advice. Counsel concurred that in the light of the particular complexities identified with the residual waste treatment and disposal element of the contract it would be possible for that element to be procured under the competitive dialogue procedure and in accordance with regulation 18 of the Procurement Regulations (Contract B). As those complexities did not present in relation to the remaining elements of the contract (as detailed in paragraph 3.3) it would still be appropriate for these to be procured under the restricted procedure (Contract A).

The report then considered the council’s options in relation to this matter together with an analysis of the options. Paragraph 3.3 set out how the contracts could be packaged. As it was unlikely that a treatment facility would be operational by April 2011, interim arrangements would be required for the waste which was currently landfilled in order that the council could remain LATS compliant (Contract C). The report contained further detailed information in relation to this matter including the resource implications and outcomes of detailed consultations.

Resolved – (a) That cabinet approve the formal commencement of the procurement process and issue OJEU contract notices in line with the contract packaging and procurement routes detailed in paragraph 3.3, and (b) that officers submit reports on the technical specifications for each of the contracts when the details are finalised.

769 (81) REVIEW OF SUPPORT FOR SMALL BUSINESSES IN NORTH LINCOLNSHIRE – The Head of Strategic Regeneration, Housing and Development submitted a report which considered an action plan relating to the support for small businesses in North Lincolnshire.

At its meeting held on 19 March 2008, council had considered a report of the Economic Development and Corporate Issues Scrutiny Panel in relation to a review of support for small businesses in North Lincolnshire. The report had been referred to cabinet which in turn had asked appropriate officers and members to produce an action plan in response to the recommendations. Attached as an appendix to the report were details of the recommendations together with the actions proposed in relation to each.

Resolved – That the action plan be approved and adopted.

770 (82) REVIEW OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICE PROVISION AND AREAS OF VULNERABILITY – The Service Director Legal and Democratic submitted a report which considered the recommendations of the Safer and Stronger Communities Scrutiny Panel in relation to a review of domestic violence service provision and areas of vulnerability.

At its meeting held on 24 September 2008, council had considered a report of the Safer and Strong Communities Scrutiny Panel in relation to a review of domestic violence service provision and areas of vulnerability. The report had been approved by council and referred to cabinet for consideration of the recommendations with a view to the preparation of an action plan.

The report referred to the brief in relation to the review and attached as an appendix were the detailed conclusions and recommendations. Cabinet was asked to approve the recommendations and ask appropriate members, officers and other agencies to prepare an action plan in response.

Resolved – (a) That the report and recommendations be approved and adopted, and (b) that the relevant officers and other agencies prepare an action plan in response to the recommendations of the report for submission to a future meeting of cabinet.

771 RECYCLING OF WASTE – This matter was considered after the chair had decided it was urgent because of the need to update members on important information relating to recycling.

The Deputy Leader referred to the anniversary of the council introducing the burgundy bin for the recycling of plastics and cardboard. He informed cabinet that the scheme had been an overwhelming success with over 3,200 tonnes of plastic and 3,258 tonnes of cardboard recycled. This waste had been diverted from landfill. He indicated that this was a great credit to the public of North Lincolnshire and to the council’s staff. North Lincolnshire Council was one of the best recycling authorities in the Region and indeed in the United Kingdom.

Resolved – That the report be noted.