Corporate Service Cabinet Member – Minutes – 6 July 2010
384 (11) BUSINESS RATE RELIEF – The Service Director Finance submitted a report considering the level of Business Rate relief to be awarded to ratepayers in North Lincolnshire.
The Policy Committee agreed the legal position and administrative practices for dealing with rate relief on 22 January 1996.
The Corporate Services Cabinet Member on 20 February 2005 (minute 128 refers) agreed to adopt a scoring system based on set criteria for the awarding of discretionary rate relief. The Corporate Services Cabinet Member on 7 February 2005 (minute 233 refers) agreed to amend the criteria. The Corporate Services Cabinet Member on 21 December 2006 agreed to update the criteria and gave approval to the Service Director Finance to authorise relief where the level of relief remained unchanged.
There was no discretion about granting mandatory relief.
Resolved – That the level of rate relief be awarded to each applicant as set out in the schedule attached to the report.
On 24 February 2010 council approved the revenue and capital budgets for 2010/2011 financial year (minute 1830 refers). The report gave details of virements approved by the Service Director Finance under delegated powers and those that required Cabinet Member approval.
Resolved – (a) That the virements at paragraph 3.1 of the report, approved by the Service Director Finance under delegated powers be noted, and (b) that the permanent virements outlined in paragraph 3.2 of the report be approved.
The report outlined the options for consideration and also the financial analysis for the proposed changes.
Resolved – That the restructure of the Benefits Assessment section be approved.
387 (14) HIGHWAYS AND PLANNING APPRENTICESHIP SCHEME – The Service Director Highways and Planning submitted a report for consideration of a training scheme for Civil Engineering apprentices in the Highways and Planning Service.
An apprenticeship scheme was adopted by the Highways Alliance in 2008. A decision for funding was approved by the council at the Corporate Services Cabinet member meeting on 31 December 2008 (Minute 213 (80)).
This scheme, which was a partnership between Clugston Construction, Pell Frischmann, the council and North Lindsey College, had been very successful, recognised nationally, with two of the apprentices achieving awards for excellence.
The Cabinet member was advised that the scheme currently has six apprentices, three of whom would complete the programme this summer.
Offers of employment were being considered by Clugston Construction and Pell Frischmann, but the council was unable to recruit as no vacancy existed in the current establishment
In order to support and develop young people in Civil Engineering, it was proposed to adopt an apprenticeship scheme to continue the work of the Alliance and provide additional training and academic opportunity for one apprentice per year as they ‘fall out’ of the Alliance arrangement. The scheme would entail an agreed programme covering a number of engineering disciplines across the service area to suit the apprentice’s skills and career aspirations.
This would be subject to continuing budget availability.
Resolved – That the proposal to adopt the Apprenticeship Scheme in Highways and Planning be approved.
It was explained that the post would ensure that the Community team remained an integrated service with a management structure accountable for health and social care outcomes.
In February 2010 NHS North Lincolnshire transferred the responsibility to RDASH to provide nursing and therapy services for Adult citizens with a Learning Disability in North Lincolnshire. Prior to the transfer the Community Team for Learning Disabilities operated as an integrated health and social care service. An agreement had been reached with all partners around the money which would remain in the pool to fund the post. This money was the PCT contribution to the pool.
Assurance was given in writing by NHSNL that the contribution would be made on a permanent basis and that any amendment to this arrangement would need to be agreed by both partners through the existing formal partnership arrangements.
Resolved – That the creation of the post Development Manager Integrated Learning Disability Team be approved.
389 (16) FUTURE JOBS FUND DELIVERY – The Service Director Strategic Regeneration, Housing and Development Unit submitted a report which outlined a request to establish 27 new temporary six-month posts funded through the Future Jobs Fund, 12 in Asset Management and Culture, 17 in Neighbourhood and Environment, one in Finance and one in Strategic Regeneration, Housing and Development.
The Future Jobs Fund (FJF) was launched in May 2009 by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), in partnership with Department for Communities and Local Government to create new jobs for long term unemployed young people and others who lived in unemployment hotspots facing significant disadvantage in the labour market.
The report outlined details of the proposed posts, and summarised that these would be established and filled by the end of March 2011 in line with the conditions of the FJF funding. It was confirmed that all would be for a six month term.
Resolved – That the proposal to create the 27 new temporary posts funded through the Future Jobs Fund, 8 based in Asset Management and Culture, 17 based in Neighbourhood and Environment, one based in Finance and one based in Strategic Regeneration, Housing and Development be approved.
390 (17) SICKNESS ABSENCE POLICY – The Service Director Human Resources submitted a report for approval of revisions made to the council’s sickness absence policy.
The council’s sickness absence policy, which was last updated during 2007 had been amended in an attempt to improve the council’s performance in this area. The amended policy was one element of an action plan drafted in response to the report of the council’s Economic Development and Corporate Issues Scrutiny Panel on sickness absence.
Reducing levels of sickness absence was a high priority for the council and it had been recognised that the policy was integral to the effective management of employee absence and a necessary support mechanism for the fair and appropriate treatment of all employees.
The policy now required short-term absence to be monitored closely over a rolling period of six months rather than 12. Revised sickness trigger points for initial management action and improvement targets thereafter were also included. Both measures supported a general approach towards an earlier referral to occupational health. This would enable the council to assess any underlying medical conditions and obtain advice on the implementation of appropriate support strategies. This approach towards earlier occupational health referral would be repeated during periods of long-term absence.
It was envisaged that acceptance of the policy would encourage diligent and fair management action with the ultimate outcome of reducing levels of sickness absence within the council for 2010/2011 and beyond.
Resolved – That the revised sickness absence policy be approved and adopted.
391 (18) OVERPAYMENTS PROTOCOL – The Service Director Human Resources submitted a report for approval of the new Overpayments protocol.
Overpayments protocol was a new HR document to outline a consistent process that the council would follow in circumstances where an overpayment had been made to an employee. The protocol had been written in consultation with the council’s Payroll section and trade union representatives to outline responsibilities and offer guidance to all parties involved in the process
The report outlined that whilst a decision to recover an overpayment should consider individual circumstances and be reasonable, trade union representatives had raised concerns about the inconsistency of approach in some cases.The protocol set out a basic obligation on all employees to check their payslips to ensure their pay was correct and bring to the attention of their manager or the council’s Payroll section, any errors or unexpected changes to pay.
Resolved – That the above overpayment protocol be approved and adopted.
392 (19) Asylum and Immigration checks – The Service Director Human Resources submitted a report to seek approval for the new Asylum and Immigration guidance.
The report explained that the law required the council to check that all potential employees were entitled to work in the UK. There were different criteria for this. The Asylum and Immigration guidance was a new Human Resources (HR) document to outline an up to date and consistent process that the council would follow to ensure that appropriate documents were checked and copied before a person was allowed to start work.
Alongside the improved guidance it was also proposed that the responsibility for carrying out asylum and immigration checks shifts from recruiting mangers to the HR transaction team. This would be managed within existing staffing and provided a synergy of process with other pre-employment checks already carried out by this team.
Resolved – That the above Asylum and Immigration guidance be approved and adopted.
The following items contain exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).
393 (20) PROPOSED CHANGES TO STAFFING IN THE TRAVEL CHOICE TEAM – The Service Director Highways and Planning submitted a report to seek approval for staffing changes in the shopmobility team within the Travel Choice Section of Highways and Planning.
Resolved – That the recommendations outlined within the report be approved.
394 (21) PROPERTY TRANSACTION SCHEDULE – The Service Director Asset Management and Culture submitted a report seeking for consideration, and where necessary approval, of a schedule containing the terms of all recently negotiated property transactions.
Resolved – That the schedule appended to the report be approved.
395 (22) SMALLHOLDINGS DISPOSAL STRATEGY– The Service Director Asset Management and Culture submitted a report which outlined the progress of the review of the council’s ongoing ownership of its smallholding portfolio.
The object of the report was to note the completion of the review and approve a smallholdings disposal strategy, together with the agreement of terms for the first disposal.
Resolved – (a) That the smallholdings strategy be noted and approved, and (b) that the disposal of the first smallholding outlined within the report be approved.
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Where there is no report this is because it is exempt, as it contains information which is considered to be of a confidential nature, as detailed in the Local Government (Access to Information) Act.