Agenda and draft minutes

This meeting will be held virtually via Zoom and streamed live. The link for this can be found by clicking on the meeting date, Cabinet - Tuesday, 15th September, 2020 10.00 am

Venue: This will be a meeting held in line with The Local Authorities & Police & Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority & Police & Crime Panel Meetings) (England & Wales) Regulations 2020

Contact: Democratic Services  01775 764626

Link: View Facebook Livestream of the meeting

Items
No. Item

20.

Apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from or on behalf of Councillor Carter, Councillor Lawton and Councillor Worth.

21.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 274 KB

To sign as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 21 July 2020 (copy enclosed). 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 21 July 2020 were agreed, and would be signed by the Leader as a correct record as soon as reasonably practical after the meeting.

 

22.

Declarations of Interest.

(Where a Councillor has a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest the Councillor must declare the interest to the meeting and leave the room without participating in any discussion or making a statement on the item, except where a Councillor is permitted to remain as a result of a grant of dispensation.)

Minutes:

There were none.

 

23.

Questions raised by the public under the Council's Constitution (Standing Orders).

Minutes:

There were none.

 

24.

To consider any matters which have been subject to call-in.

Minutes:

There were none.

 

25.

To consider matters arising from the Policy Development and Performance Monitoring Panels in accordance with the Overview and Scrutiny Procedure or the Budget and Policy Framework Procedure Rules.

Minutes:

There were none.

 

26.

2019/20 Financial Outturn pdf icon PDF 298 KB

To provide information on the outturn financial position of the Council as at 31 March 2020 (report of the Portfolio Holder Finance and the Executive Director Commercialisation (S151) enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Executive Director Commercialisation (S151) which provided information on the outturn financial position of the Council as at 31 March 2020.

 

Clarity was sought regarding the involvement of Members in the preparation of the report.  The Leader confirmed that all Portfolio Holders were afforded opportunities to review their Portfolio Accounts and that there was nothing on the financial records which was beyond the sight of Members should they wish to view the details of the reports.  It was also commented that regular reports to Cabinet on the finances are provided.

 

An update was requested regarding decent homes and timescales regarding re-roofing. The Leader advised that delays had occurred due to the Council seeking to award contracts to localised businesses able to provide competitive quotes.

 

Councillor Newton also commented on the good work regarding the brown bins and whether there was any opportunity to reduce the large queue of residents wishing to join the scheme.  The Portfolio Holder for Place advised that work was currently being undertaken to assist in taking this forward.

 

DECISION:

 

1)    That the report and Appendix A be noted.

 

2)    That the contributions to and use of reserves be agreed in line with para 5.4.2 to 5.4.4 and Appendix A, Tables 3 and 5 of this report.

 

RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL:

 

3)    That the net General Fund overspend of £218k can be funded from the Council Tax Reserve.

 

4)    That the value of reserves listed in Appendix A – Table 4 currently retained in the reserves detailed, £234k, are re-assigned to an Earmarked reserves fund to ensure that those funds are clearly designated to the purpose listed.

 

5)    That the revised General Fund capital programme of £10.386m Appendix A – Table 7 and the revised HRA capital; programme for 2020/21 of £12.077m Appendix A – Table 9 are approved.

 

 

(Other options considered:

  • To note the report and note approve the recommendations detailed in Appendix A.
  • Do nothing

Reasons for decision:

To provide members with information on the Council’s overall financial performance in 2019/20 and to provide an updated financial position on reserves for 2020/21)

27.

2020/21 Financial Report Quarter 1 pdf icon PDF 421 KB

To provide information on the Quarter 1 (to 30 June 2020) financial position of

the Council (report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Executive Director Commercialisation (S151) is enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Executive Director Commercialisation (S151) which provided information on the Quarter 1 (to 30 June 2020) financial position of the Council.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Finance advised that the Covid-19 pandemic had had a considerable impact on the Council, businesses and residents. It was difficult to quantify the financial effects of the pandemic with any certainty, but it was expected to be significant, even after the Government’s emergency Covid-19 funding was taken into account. This continued to be a major area of risk looking forward as part of the Council’s Medium Term Financial Planning and was being closely monitored.

 

Clarification was sought regarding £27k shared service savings from Boston Borough Council on page 43 of the report and £40k for district elections on page 49 of the report.  The Strategic Finance and Compliance Manager advised that the £27k related to the Planning Policy service which was a shared service with Boston Borough Council and the £40k was an annual contribution to reserves, to payback the costs of the 2019/20 elections which had been funded from reserves.

 

 

DECISION:

 

1)    That the report and Appendix A be noted.

 

2)    That the estimated position with regard to the approved contributions to and use of reserves be noted.

 

3)    That the General Fund and Housing Revenue Account Capital programme be noted as set out in tables 5 and 6 of Appendix A.

 

(Other options considered:

  • Do nothing

Reasons for decision:

  • To provide timely information to Members on the overall financial position of the Council)

 

28.

Local Council Tax Support Scheme 2021/22 - Consultation pdf icon PDF 118 KB

To consider options for the local Council Tax Support scheme for 2021/22 (report of the Portfolio Holder Finance enclosed).

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance which considered options for the Local Council Tax Support scheme 2021/22.

 

DECISION:

 

That Cabinet approved the consultation on the following:

 

a)    Continuation of the current Council Tax Support scheme, including uprating in line with DWP’s annual update of allowances and premiums for housing benefit for 2021/22.

 

b)    Extend the backdating period for working age claimants from one month to three months.

 

(Other options considered:

  • Option 2 No Change – Continuation of the current scheme into 2021/22, uprated in line with DWP updating of allowances and premiums for housing benefit.

Reasons for decision:

  • The recommended option for consultation would provide continuity for customers at a time they might be experiencing change in circumstances due to COVID-19.
  • This approach will continue to see South Holland’s scheme for 2021/22 modelled on the previous national Council Tax Benefit scheme, keeping administration broadly consistent with administration of Housing Benefit. In 2020/21 this Council made scheme changes which link the CTS application with the Universal Credit award, and has introduced a threshold where frequent earnings changes do not result in revised Council Tax bills. Whilst there are a number of different schemes emerging nationally, including income banded schemes which simplify the scheme, many schemes will see losers and gainers. Whilst a no change scheme will not bring administrative efficiencies, it will retain CTS at current levels and in doing so provide a consistent level of support for recipients.)

 

29.

Debt Write Off pdf icon PDF 92 KB

To seek approval for the write-off of uncollectable debt (report of the Portfolio Holder Finance and the Executive Director Commercialisation (S151) enclosed).

 

(Please note that the appendices to this report are not for publication by virtue of Paragraphs 1 (Information relating to any individual), 2 (Information which is likely to reveal the identity of any individual) and 3 (Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)) in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, and are therefore attached to this agenda as item 13).

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the joint report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Executive Director Commercialisation (S151) which sought approval for the write-off of uncollectable debts.

 

Members noted that the report contained a breakdown of the individual debts within Appendices A – D, and the Operational Debt Write Off Policy, which were not for publication by virtue of Paragraphs 1 (Information relating to any individual), 2 (Information which is likely to reveal the identity of any individual) and 3 (Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).

 

Members agreed that only the principles of the report would be discussed and there was therefore no need for the meeting to go into private session.

 

Confirmation was requested as to whether debts owed to the council could be put as a charge on the property.  It was confirmed that it would be considered where appropriate. 

 

Councillor Gambba-Jones asked for clarification regarding why the Council was liable for some of the housing payment debt rather than Central Government. The Head of Revenues and Benefits advised that whilst the Council delivered the benefit service on behalf of DWP, there were also subsidy arrangements in place where central Government would pay an amount as a subsidy and overpayments were collected and retained by the Authority.  This was down to the subsidy arrangements between Central Government and the Authority.

 

 

DECISION:

 

That the following debts be written off:

 

Council Tax                                                         £3,890.04

Business Rates                                                   £8,756.08

Housing Benefit Overpayments                          £8,076.71

Sundry Debt                                                        £9,901.28

 

Total:                                                                 £30,624.11

 

(Other options considered:

  • Do nothing; or
  • Approve the recommendations with amendments

Reasons for decision:

  • All recovery methods available had been considered and where appropriate pursued before making the decision to write off.
  • Officer time can be maximised on greatest returns, at the same time as ensuring robust procedures for debt management are in place across all revenue streams.)

 

30.

Any other items which the Leader decides are urgent.

 

 

Note:         (i)      No other business is permitted unless by reason of special circumstances, which shall be specified in the Minutes, the Leader is of the opinion that the item(s) should be considered as a matter of urgency. 

 

(ii)     Any urgent item of business that is a key decision must be dealt with in accordance with the Constitution’s Access to Information Procedure Rules.

Minutes:

There were none.

 

31.

To consider resolving that, under section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1,2 and 3 of part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.

32.

Debt Write Off

Appendices to the report at agenda item 10 are enclosed.

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Executive Director Commercialisation (S151) which sought approval for the write off of uncollectable debt.

 

DECISION:

 

That the amounts identified in this report are approved for write off.

 

(Other options considered:

  • Do nothing

Reasons for decision:

  • All recovery methods have been considered and where possible pursued, before making the decision to write-off. Officer time can be maximised on greatest returns, at the same time as ensuring robust procedures for debt management are in place across all revenues streams.)