Corporate & Community Services Cabinet Member – Minutes – 5 October 2011

5  (5)  COMMUNITY RECOVERY PLAN – The Directors of Corporate and Community Services and Neighbourhood and Environmental Services submitted a joint report to provide the Cabinet Member with an update on community recovery and the revised Community Recovery Plan produced following Exercise Watermark in early 2011. 

Following the 2007 floods, a Corporate Flood Recovery Plan was produced by North Lincolnshire Council that linked into a Multi-Agency Flood Forum. This was approved by Cabinet in July 2009. In September 2010, a Community Recovery Plan in relation to all recovery aspects, not just from flooding, was drafted by Humber Emergency Planning Service on behalf of North Lincolnshire Council. This document set out the procedures required by North Lincolnshire Council to undertake community recovery following an emergency. It focused primarily on the actions that needed to be taken following the initial emergency response. 

In March 2011, North Lincolnshire Council and its partners took part in Exercise Watermark, a national exercise involving a series of exercises and scenarios which sought to test local plans and preparedness for an emergency incident. A series of revisions, changes and improvements were subsequently suggested to make the plan more practically usable. The revised Community Recovery Plan reflects this. The plan has been revised and rewritten following feedback and the outcomes of consultation following Exercise Watermark. 

Resolved – (a) That the report be noted, (b) that a further report be received by the Cabinet Member on 18 October following further consideration of the issues detailed within, and (c) that the Community Recovery Plan be reviewed on an annual basis. 

6  (6)  GENDER REASSIGNMENT –  The Director of Corporate and Community Services submitted a report seeking approval for the revised Gender Reassignment guidance.  

The Equality Act 2010 provided a new cross-cutting legislative framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all. Its aim was to update, simplify and strengthen the previous legislation and to deliver a simple, modern and accessible framework of discrimination law which protected individuals from unfair treatment and promoted a fair and more equal society. As a result of the Act it had been necessary to update the Gender Reassignment guidance as the Act stipulated that an individual need not be under medical supervision for protection from discrimination to apply. 

Further information had been included in the guidance to ensure fair treatment of employees undergoing gender reassignment and to support managers in dealing with the process. A glossary had been added as an appendix to explain the terminology used in the guidance. 

Resolved – That the revised guidance be approved and adopted. 

7  (7)  REVIEW OF LIBRARY OPENING HOURS – The Director of Corporate and Community Services submitted a report for consideration of changes to opening hours at the four largest libraries in North Lincolnshire – Central, Brigg, Barton and Ashby. 

The report outlined that North Lincolnshire Council operated a network of one central library, 14 branch libraries and two mobile libraries.  These libraries were open to the public for a total of 387.5 hours per week, with 336 open hours across static libraries and 51.5 mobile library hours per week. 

The Director Corporate and Community Services explained that over the last six years the library service had modernised and rationalised its static library provision through a series of transformational developments.   These included refurbishment or relocation of Central, Barton, Ashby, Crowle and Winterton libraries, with increased co-location with other services and some generic working.  Self-service facilities had been introduced in six libraries, and one library had transferred to a community-run delivery model.  In addition, there had also been a significant increase in capacity to develop and deliver 24/7 library services online. 

Service staff had started to look at opening hours across the library network.  The first phase of this work had been to review opening hours at the four largest libraries in the network – Central, Brigg, Barton, Ashby.  It was explained that these libraries had been operating with self-service facilities for over 15 months and it was considered that it was timely to look at service take up and patterns of use at these libraries in that context.  

Service managers had spoken to staff on an ongoing basis about levels of take up across the existing opening hours and these views had been taken into account in developing options for future opening hours. 

* Resolved – (a)  That the options for developing changes to library opening hours set out within the report be noted, and (b) that a further report on these issues following development of and consultation on specific proposals for changes to library opening hours be received for consideration. 

* (The above decision having been called in and considered by the Corporate Scrutiny Panel was referred back to the cabinet member to consider confirming the original decision or agreeing to change the decision having considered representations made by the panel) 

8  (8)  MOBILE LIBRARY SERVICE – The Director of Corporate and Community Services submitted a report which outlined options for the future delivery of mobile library services. 

The two mobile libraries operated 21 routes over a fortnight period and provided 51.5 service hours per week to 63 predominantly rural communities in North Lincolnshire. It was explained that most communities received fortnightly visits.  Broughton had a two-day weekly service and Burton on Stather a one-day weekly service. The mobile library service in addition provided one day of service per week to North East Lincolnshire.  

The Director Corporate and Community Services advised the cabinet member that North East Lincolnshire was withdrawing this service from 31 October 2011 and that this would result in a loss of £24,500 income per year for the service. 

The two existing mobile vehicles had been in service since 1999, both of which were experiencing increasing downtime for necessary repairs and maintenance. One replacement vehicle was being built and was scheduled for completion by the end of December. The new vehicle would have internet access via satellite, which would offer an enhanced service for mobile library users and it was anticipated that the new mobile would incur higher costs than the existing vehicles. 

Resolved – (a) That the options for future mobile library provision set out within the report be noted, and (b) that a further report on these issues following development of and consultation on specific proposals for changes to the mobile library service be received for consideration.

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.