Policy & Resources Cabinet Member – Minutes – 6 February 2014

108      (48)  VIREMENTS 2013-2014 – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which sought approval for changes to the revenue and capital budgets for 2013/14.

On 19 February 2013 Council approved the revenue and capital budgets for the 2013/2014 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 Policy and Resources under delegated powers be noted, and (b) that the permanent virements outlined in paragraph 3.2 of the report be approved.

109      (49) NATIONAL NON-DOMESTIC RATE RELIEF APPLICATIONS AND MONITORING  – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which sought a decision on the level of discretionary National Non-Domestic Rate (NNDR) relief to be awarded to ratepayers in North Lincolnshire.  New rate relief applications for the years 2013/14 and 2014/15 had been received, and the recommended level of discretionary relief awarded was based on set criteria.

The Cabinet Member was informed of the latest forecast of the level of Business Rates Collection, its impact on council finances and in addition the report presented the current level of reliefs granted compared to the budget.

From April 2013 the council could retain a portion of the business rates it collected.  The amount retained was made up of the baseline funding allocated to the council each year and a portion of any gain or loss in collection.  If business rates increased the council would retain 37% and a safety net mechanism ensured that the council would at worst retain 92.5% of its baseline funding if business rates fell.

The Council assumption built into the 2013/14 budget was that the council would collect £81.1m and would retain almost £1m of the increase.  The forecast was that the amount the council would collect was £84.1m, around £3m above the level originally assumed.

From April councils funded a proportion of both mandatory and discretionary reliefs.  For the level of collection assumed in the budget it was clarified that the council would fund 37% of all reliefs.  This meant that the level of NNDR reliefs had a much larger impact on the council’s finances than before.

It was proposed that the levels of all mandatory and discretionary reliefs would be reported periodically to inform the cabinet member of the forecast impact on the budget.

The former Policy Committee agreed the legal position and administrative practices for dealing with rate relief on 22 January 1996.  The latest amendment to the criteria was at the Policy and Resources Cabinet Member briefing on 25 May 2012 (minute 2 refers).

Further details were outlined in the report and associated appendices, and also included three new applications for rate relief.

Resolved – (a) That the level of rate relief to each applicant as set out in the attached schedule to the report be awarded, and (b) that the latest position for 2013/14 on business rate collection and reliefs be noted.

110      (50) CONSULTANCY USAGE – QUARTER 3 2013/2014 – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report to advise on the consultancy usage for the third quarter of 2013/2014, to highlight the consultancy usage to support major projects within North Lincolnshire and to advise on the overall effectiveness.

The protocol for managing consultancy expenditure was introduced as part of a package of cost management measures in 2011. The protocol required directorates to report their use of consultants on a quarterly basis.  Following the introduction of the protocol, the council had benefited from a significant reduction in consultancy spend in the region of £708,288 in 2012/13.

The Director of Policy and Resources confirmed that following extensive consultation with all services, the report set out a summary of consultancy usage for quarter 3 in  2013/2014, details of which were presented in Appendix A to the report. Services engaging consultants reported that overall they had been effective.

The report also detailed the projected consultancy spend for Quarter 4 as provided by directorates.

Resolved – That the findings set out in the report for Quarter 3 2013/14 be noted.

111      (51) DATA DE-IDENTIFICATION POLICY – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which sought approval of a corporate data de-identification policy.

It was explained that following the transfer of public health into the council, it had been noted that there was a need to formalise arrangements to protect the confidentiality of service user information and ensure it was protected through the use of appropriate anonymisation, pseudonymisation statistical or aggregation techniques.

It was a legal requirement that when service user data was used for purposes other than direct care i.e. secondary uses, the service user data should not be identifiable unless otherwise legally required such as having obtained the service users consent or Section 251 approval.

This requirement was set out in the Department of Health’s document ‘Confidentiality: the NHS Code of Practice’, which stated the need to ‘effectively anonymize’ data prior to the non-direct care usage being made of the data.

The policy had been developed to set out our arrangements for data de-identification and was appended to the report.

Resolved – (a) That the data de-identification policy be approved, and (b) that the six month trial of the 2011 census anonymisation & pseudonymisation software be authorised.

112      (52) SECURITY INCIDENT AND DATA BREACH POLICY – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which sought approvalofthe Security Incident and Data Breach Policy, created by merging the Data Breach Policy agreed in 2012 and the IT Security Incident Procedure.

The cabinet member was advised that the change retained the Data Breach element of the original policy but in addition provided a procedure for the handling of serious security incidents that did not involve a data breach.

Further details were outlined within the report and the revised policy was appended to the report.

Resolved – That the implementation of the Security Incident and Data Breach Policy be approved.

113      (53) INFORMATION GOVERNANCE UPDATE – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report to provide an update on progress with recent and future developments on Information Governance.

The report highlighted that the council had a legal obligation to comply with Information Governance legislation including the Data Protection Act 1998, Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2005. The integration of Public Health into the council in April 2012 required the council to provide assurance to the NHS that it had in place suitable Information Governance policies, procedures and processes.

Details of the progress and also of the planned developments were outlined within the report.

Resolved – (a) That the recent progress made and planned developments on Information Governance be noted, and (b) that the Policy and Resources Cabinet Member receive Information Governance update reports in April and October each year.

The corresponding report of the following item (Minute 114refers) contains exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

114      (54) CONTRACT FOR THE SUPPLY OF LIQUID FUELS 2014-2015 – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report to notify the Policy & resources Cabinet Member of the award of the corporate liquid fuel contract for the period ending 30 September 2015.

It was explained that the call-off pricing agreement for liquid fuels under the Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation, (YPO) regional framework which covered the supply of diesel, heating oil/red diesel and kerosene had been refreshed.  The new contract, which would expire on 30 September 2015, supplied two schools with kerosene and c. 10 schools with heating oil in addition to the council’s liquid fuel needs.

Further details were outlined within the report.

Resolved – That the award of contract for the supply of liquid fuels for the period ending 30 September 2015 be noted.

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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.