Full Cabinet – 9 July 2008
Councillors Foster (vice chair), Carlile, Gosling, Grant, and Swift.
Councillors Ali, Barker, B Briggs, J Briggs, England, Glover, Mrs Redfern and Whiteley also attended the meeting.
Simon Driver, Richard Stiff, Kevin Booth, John Coates, Kevin Coyle, Keith Ford, Denise Hyde, Neil Laminman, Geoff Popple, Paul Savage, Dave Watson, Peter Williams, Sarah Williamson, Jason Whaler, Mike Wood, Peter Young and Mel Holmes also attended the meeting.
743 DECLARATIONS OF PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS – Councillor Mark Kirk declared a personal interest in Agenda Item 4 as a board member of the Crosby Pathfinder and in Agenda Item 8 as a member of the Urban Renaissance Board.
744 MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting of cabinet held on 21 May 2008, having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and be signed by the chair.
745 (61) 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. The Chief Executive informed members that the Government had today launched its White Paper – Communities in Control : real people, real power. A report on its contents would be submitted to cabinet in September.
Resolved – That the report be noted.
746 (62) BUDGET REVIEW – JUNE 2008 – The Service Director Finance submitted a report which summarised the council’s current financial position and how this affected its overall financial strategy. The report also provided an update on the budget review requested by council in February 2008.
At its meeting in February 2008, the council had approved a financial strategy for the three years 2008/2011. This –
- Considered the robustness of estimates.
- Set spending and council tax levels firm for the first year, indicative for the next two.
- Approved a three year capital investment programme.
- Agreed a policy for the use of reserves.
It also commissioned a further budget review to incorporate the effects of the new Local Area Agreement (LAA). This was necessary as the deadline for signing the Agreement with government was 30 June 2008. The report submitted provided an opportunity to consider the budget implications of the Agreement, and any funding decisions needed to be set against the background of the council’s financial strategy. This strategy anticipated potential additional costs in 2007/2009 on flood recovery, an unforeseen inquest and adult social care. In the event this was not needed. In closing the accounts for 2007/2009 services had in fact delivered a £0.3m underspend and there was £0.6m additional income from the PCT to cover the costs of continuing care. For future years the council would continue to benefit from additional Primary Care Trust funding. A national framework on continuing care was issued by the Department of Health in October 2007 and this clarified who should fund the costs of continuing NHS care. An assessment of eligible individuals in North Lincolnshire provisionally identified £1.1m of continuing care costs now to be met by the PCT each year. This release of resources could potentially be used to support the Local Area Agreement priorities.
The report then identified some potential emerging pressures and considered other issues such as the LAA and Community Strategy, further developments, continuing care savings and budget pressures and other related activity.
Resolved – (a) That the budget review for the LAA be concluded and that lead Service Directors for each of the community strategy actions and associated LAA targets prepare robust delivery plans, with a working group to be established to co-ordinate the process; (b) that a further report be submitted to cabinet in October confirming the resource implications of the LAA and requesting any necessary virements; (c) that action plans be prepared for areas of emerging budget pressure, in particular for adult and children and young people’s services; (d) that services proceed with developments approved in the 2008/2011 plan, with £50,000 transferred to contingency; (e) that the transfer of £200,000 for the Crosby Pathfinder from the corporate budget to community planning and resources be noted, and (f) that a transfer of £1.1m be made from the adult services budget to contingencies.
747 (63) DELIVERING EFFICIENCY ON LOCAL SERVICES (FAST SUCCESS OF FUTURE CHALLENGES) – A report was submitted by the Service Director Finance which showed that the council had exceeded its Gershon efficiency target for 2005/2008. The report also considered the government guidance for delivering efficiencies in 2008/2011, “delivering value for money in local government : meeting the challenge of CSR07 : (DVML).” This confirmed a target of 3% cashable savings year on year. The report also considered the implications for the council taking stock of where it is with the value for money agenda and identifying the action still needed to be taken to meet targets.
The report referred to the Gershon efficiencies for 2005/2008 and the efficiency targets for 2008/2011 which the government had published on 9 October 2007 as part of the comprehensive spending review. It outlined an ambitious Value for Money (VFM) programme designed to build on the progress already made by local government and to further embed a culture of innovation. There was no mandatory target for each council, but there was a requirement for 3% savings from the sector overall. The report did however define the base on which expected efficiencies should be calculated and in practice individual councils which had not set ambitious targets would be subject to close scrutiny. One of the new national performance indicators would measure value for money. This would replace the current system of annual efficiency statements. The detailed measures were set out in paragraph 2.7.
The council was required to submit a VFM target for the year in October. A return was then required each July to report the actual position. In addition, the new Comprehensive Area Assessment (CAA) would review the achievements of efficiencies from April 2009 as part of a wider scored “use of resource judgement”. The report then explained some of the other issues involved in relation to this issue. Attached as appendices were details of the Gershon efficiencies previously achieved under the 2005/2008 regime together with cumulative cashable efficiencies by service in the financial plan for 2008/2011.
Resolved – (a) That it be noted that the Gershon efficiency target for 2005/2008 had been exceeded; (b) that an exercise be carried to identify all the efficiency savings which services will make in the 2008/2011 plan period, and (c) that an efficiency target of 3% cashable savings be adopted for each financial year in the period 2008/2011.
748 (64) WASTE PROCUREMENT PROJECT – The Service Director Neighbourhood and Environment submitted a report seeking confirmation of the governance arrangements for the waste procurement project and agreeing the approach to be adopted.
The report indicated that the current arrangements for the provision of waste treatment and disposal services would terminate on 31 March 2011. The requirement for additional infrastructure in the form of treatment and/or disposal capacity necessitated a long lead in period. The procurement of waste treatment and disposal service contracts, with a current value of around £6m, had to be undertaken strictly in accordance with EU and UK rules and to complete this task within the time available the necessary contract notices needed to be published at the earliest opportunity.
A strategic assessment of what was required had been completed. This included the preparation of an Outline Business Case (OBC) and the development of a draft Municipal Waste Management Strategy on which stakeholders had been consulted. A project board had been formed to deliver the project. Under the chairmanship of the Deputy Leader of the Council, the board comprised members of both main political parties and senior officers of the council. Terms of reference had been agreed and a core procurement team consisting of internal specialists with external legal, financial and technical support was also to be convened. In addition, an assessment of the options for “packaging” waste service contracts had been completed taking into account advice received from the Office of Fair Trading. The outcome of responses received to the consultation process conducted earlier in the year with respect to the content of a Municipal Waste Management Strategy for North Lincolnshire had been reported to cabinet in February. This identified broad agreement (73.6%) for the burning of residual waste to produce heat and electricity. Counsel’s opinion had been sought and obtained on the procurement process options available i.e. the restricted procedure or competitive dialogue. This had been done on the basis that the preferred option for dealing with residual waste was advanced thermal treatment.
The report then considered various options for consideration particularly in relation to the elements of the waste treatment and disposal service affected, details of which were contained in paragraph 3.2. Agreement was also required on specific elements of the contract procedure rules, details of which were contained in paragraph 3.4. The report then set out an analysis of the options available and it was noted that the preferred option of advanced thermal treatment would also positively contribute to the council’s climate change agenda in terms of its “carbon footprint”. The report also considered the resource implications involved with the estimated contract value of all elements of this procurement assuming a 20 year arrangement in the order of £150m. In addition, a sum of £250,000 had been allocated in the approved budget for 2008/2009 to support the procurement process. The report also described other issues relating to this matter.
Resolved – (a) That cabinet approves the formal commencement of the procurement process and to the issue of an OJEU contract notice in line with the indicative timetable attached as an appendix to the report, suitably amended following the procurement of external legal advice; (b) that the use of the restricted procedure procurement route, in principle, be confirmed; (c) that the formation and role of the Waste Project Board be acknowledged and agreed, and (d) that further reports be submitted as necessary.
749 (65) ANNUAL JOINT NORTH LINCOLNSHIRE COUNCIL/NORTH EAST LINCOLNSHIRE COUNCIL (NLC/NELC) JOINT PROCUREMENT UNIT UPDATE AND PROCUREMENT STRATEGY 2008/2011 – The Service Director Finance submitted a report which considered an update on the progress made by the Joint NLC/NELC Procurement Unit over the last 12 months and seeking approval to an updated procurement strategy for the period 2008/2011.
Procurement was now recognised and firmly established as a key strategic function underpinning all of the council’s activities and was essential for achieving value for money, service improvement and demonstrating effective use of resources under CPA. The joint NLC/NELC unit had made significant progress over the last 12 months, which had been recognised regionally and nationally. Key highlights were set out in the report. In order to build on this progress and to provide a clear forward direction, an updated procurement strategy had been produced for the period 2008/2011. This joint strategy brings the previous separate NLC and NELC procurement strategies into full alignment, supporting the attainment of the shared vision and the objectives set out for the joint unit.
The report contained detailed background information about this issue giving details of the achievements evidenced which were detailed in paragraph 2.3 together with details about the actual integrated team structure in paragraph 2.6. A three year business plan had been produced to deliver the strategy and the efficiencies required under the government’s comprehensive spending review. This plan was set out as an appendix to the strategy. A copy of the full strategy had been deposited in the political group offices and was available from the Head of Democratic Services on request.
Resolved – (a) That the progress of the joint team during the last year be noted; (b) that the procurement strategy for 2008/2011 be approved, and (c) that an update on progress with implementing the strategy and the alliance’s performance be submitted to cabinet in September 2009.
750 (66) URBAN RENAISSANCE BOARD MEMBERSHIP – The Service Director Legal and Democratic submitted a report which considered the council’s current membership of the Urban Renaissance Board. The board is made up of representatives from the Scunthorpe Town Team, North Lincolnshire Strategic Partnership, North Lincolnshire Council and Yorkshire Forward. Its terms of reference provide for 4 representatives from each organisation except for Yorkshire Forward which has 1 representative.
The report indicated that the board was now formalising its future representation and seeking 4 representatives from North Lincolnshire Council to take up board membership. It was also seeking named substitutes to attend meetings when board members were unable to attend.
Resolved – That two members of the Labour Group – Councillors M Kirk and S Bainbridge with Councillor M Simpson as nominated substitute, one member and one nominated substitute from the Conservative Group (names to be notified to the Head of Democratic Services) and Councillor N Poole with Councillor B Briggs as nominated substitute be the council’s representative on the Urban Renaissance Board.
751 (67) SKILLS PLEDGE – The Chief Executive submitted a report which considered signing a “Skills Pledge” – a voluntary commitment to raise skills within the council and wider area.
Rosie Winterton MP, Regional Minister for Yorkshire and the Humber, had contacted council leaders across the region to encourage them to sign a skills pledge. This was a national initiative led by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and was a voluntary, public commitment to support the development of an organisation’s workforce.
Signing the pledge commits organisations to train its entire workforce to a minimum of at least level 2. This is equivalent to 5 GCSE’s at grade A* – C. The pledge includes developing employee’s basic skills, including literacy and numeracy. The council is also encouraged to promote the skills pledge to other local employers.
The council currently had a Learning and Development policy which would fit with the aims of the skills pledge. Details of the policy were contained in paragraph 2.5.
Resolved – (a) That the council signs up to the skills pledge; (b) that the skills pledge be promoted to other employers in the North Lincolnshire area, (c) that the Service Director Human Resources produce a detailed development plan to meet the requirements of the pledge.
752 (68) REVIEW OF CHILD AND ADOLESCENT MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES – (CAMHS) IN NORTH LINCOLNSHIRE – The Service Director Legal and Democratic submitted a report which considered the recommendations of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel in relation to a recent review of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in North Lincolnshire.
At its meeting held on 25 June 2008 council had considered a report of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel in relation to this review. 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. Attached as an appendix to the report were the panel’s recommendations. In relation to this report the recommendations were directed at the North Lincolnshire Primary Care Trust (PCT) which was responsible for the services reviewed. A copy of the report would therefore be sent to the PCT with a request that an action plan be prepared within the time limits of 3 months as detailed in the legislation, for submission to a future meeting of cabinet.
Resolved – (a) That the report and recommendations be approved and adopted, and (b) that the report be sent to the North Lincolnshire Primary Care Trust with a request that an action plan be prepared for submission to cabinet within the 3 months time frame allowed.
753 (69) OBESITY IN NORTH LINCOLNSHIRE – A report was submitted by the Service Director Legal and Democratic which considered the recommendations of the Healthier Communities and Older People Scrutiny Panel in relation to obesity in North Lincolnshire.
At its meeting held on 25 June 2008 council had considered a report of the Healthier Communities and Older People Scrutiny Panel in relation to this review. 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. Attached as an appendix to the report were the panel’s recommendations.
Resolved – (a) That the report and recommendations be approved, and (b) that officers and appropriate cabinet member(s) prepare an action plan for submission to a future meeting of cabinet.
754 (70) REVIEW OF COUNCIL MEDIA AND ADVERTISEMENTS – The Service Director Legal and Democratic submitted a report which considered the recommendations of the Economic Development and Corporate Issues Scrutiny Panel in relation to a review of council media and advertisements.
At its meeting held on 25 June 2008, council had considered a report of the Economic Development and Corporate Issues Scrutiny Panel in relation to this review. 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. Attached as an appendix to the report were the panel’s recommendations.
Resolved – (a) That the report and recommendations be approved, and (b) that officers and the appropriate cabinet member prepare an action plan for submission to a future meeting of cabinet.