Policy & Resources Cabinet Member – Minutes – 19 July 2012

6          (6)  Virements 2012-2013 – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report seeking approval for changes to the revenue and capital budgets for 2012/13.

On 21 February 2012 Council approved the revenue and capital budgets for the 2012/2013 financial year.  The report gave details of virements approved by the Director of Policy and Resources 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 Director of Finance under delegated powers be noted, and (b) that the permanent virements outlined in paragraph 3.2 of the report be approved.

7          (7)  Business Rate Relief – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report considering the level of Business Rate relief to be awarded to ratepayers in North Lincolnshire.

The former 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 2004 (minute 128 refers) agreed to adopt a scoring system based on set criteria for the awarding of discretionary rate relief.  On 7 February 2005 (minute 233 refers) and 21 December 2006 he agreed to amend the criteria.  The latest amendment to the criteria was taken by the Policy & Resources Cabinet Member on 25 May 2012 (minute 2 refers).

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.

8          (8) MARKET POSITION STATEMENT 2012 – 2013 – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report seeking approval to introduce a market position statement which would provide details of the council’s planned commissioning and procurement activities for 2012-13.

The Localism Act came into force on 15 November 2011. Among its many provisions the Act provided new powers for local communities. One specific and significant provision was the “Community Right to Challenge”, expected to take effect from 27 June 2012.

The Act provided ‘relevant bodies’ with the right to challenge the running of local authority services where they believed they could do this differently or better. Relevant bodies included voluntary and community organisations, charitable organisations, a group of two or more council employees and parish councils.

It was explained that a “market position statement” was proposed as a tool to assist the council in actively managing the challenge process by outlining its commissioning plans and applicable timescales to the external marketplace.  A copy of the market position statement for 2012-13 was appended to the report for approval.

The council’s market position statement aimed to put the council on the front foot in its approach to managing the Community Right to Challenge process. It was considered that the statement would also assist services with wider commissioning and market development objectives including enhancing transparency and support to voluntary & community organisations.

Resolved – That the market position statement be approved subject to any required amendments.

The corresponding reports of the following items (Minutes 9 and 10 refer) contains exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

9          (9)  CHURCH SQUARE CASHIER SERVICE MIGRATION – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which outlined the planned transfer of the cashiers service from Church Square House to deliver the efficiency saving agreed by Council in the 2012/16 Financial plan.  The report highlighted the steps already taken, the proposed approach and timeline and sought approval for the implementation.

It was explained that under this proposal the public facing service at Church Square House would transfer to the Civic Centre, with a phased transfer of transaction types to other channels. A concerted campaign to raise public awareness of other payment channels, including the extensive network of over the counter services through Paypoint, was planned.

Resolved – (a) That the implementation of the cashiers review be approved, and (b) that the timescale and communication strategy outlined in paragraph 3.6 of the report be approved.

10        (10)  REVIEW OF STRONGER COMMUNITIES –  The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which sought approval for a revised focus and structure for the Stronger Communities Division of Legal and Democratic Services.

A review of the services confirmed the importance of having a central team to give a cross-council focus to promoting and supporting the development of strong, active and engaged communities in North Lincolnshire. A revised and simplified staffing structure had been prepared to better reflect the new focus for Stronger Communities.

The report proposed a revised staffing structure that was most appropriate for future purposes.

Resolved – (a) That the areas of focus for the Stronger Communities Division as outlined within the report be approved, and (b) that the proposed staffing structure for the Division detailed in Appendix 1 to the report be approved and implemented as from 1 October 2012.