Agenda and minutes

Cabinet - Tuesday, 20th November, 2012 6.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, Priory Road, Spalding

Contact: Amanda Taylor  01775 764837

Items
No. Item

32.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 37 KB

To sign as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 4 September 2012.  (Copy enclosed.) 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 4 September 2012 were signed by the Leader as a correct record, subject to amending the attendance details as Ladey Adey was a representative of the South Lincolnshire Community Voluntary Service and not the Citizens Advice Bureau as stated.

33.

Members' Interests

(Members are no longer required to declare personal of prejudicial interests but are to declare any new Disclosable Pecuniary Interests that are not currently included in their Register of Interests.

 

Members are reminded that under the Code of Conduct they are not to participate in the whole of an agenda item to which they have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest.  In the interests of transparency, members may also wish to declare any other interests that they have, in relation to an agenda item, that supports the Nolan principles detailed within the Code of Conduct.)   

 

Minutes:

No interests were declared.

34.

Questions raised by the public under Cabinet Procedure Rule 2.4

Minutes:

No questions were raised by the public under Cabinet Procedure Rule 2.4.

35.

matters which have been subject to call-in

Minutes:

There were no matters subject to call-in.

36.

matters arising from the Policy Development and Performance Monitoring Panels

Minutes:

There were no matters arising from the Policy Development and Performance Monitoring Panels.

37.

Community Development Strategic Grants Review pdf icon PDF 51 KB

To report on the review of South Holland District Council’s Community Development teams grants programmes and make recommendations to ensure funding focuses on delivering the Councils corporate priorities and agreed outcomes.  (Joint report of the Deputy Leader of the Council/Portfolio Holder for Localism and Big Society and the Community Development Manager enclosed.)

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the joint report of the Deputy Leader of the Council/Portfolio Holder for Localism and Big Society and the Community Development Manager which provided information on the review of the Council’s grants programmes and sought agreement to ensure that funding focussed on delivering the Council’s corporate priorities and agreed outcomes.

 

Councillor P S Przyszlak requested that consideration be given to the reserves when looking at grants.

 

Members discussed the mention of Designated Councillors’ Budgets within the reports.  Councillor C N Worth advised that there were some very small grant schemes which were currently approaching members regarding their budgets.  Councillor R Gambba-Jones stated that some members had struggled in the past when spending their budgets, and that knowing the validity and worth of the groups that were approaching them would be useful.  Councillor Worth suggested that members liaise with the Community Development Officer who had a lot of background information and could assist with match funding etc. 

 

DECISION:

 

a)      That, during 2013/14, in principle the Council continued to fund key viable partner organisations that met its corporate priorities;

 

b)      That the Council move towards a more outcomes based approach to funding and that appropriate performance management systems be established from 2013/14;

 

c)      That the Deputy Leader of the Council, the Chairmen of the Performance Monitoring and Policy Development Panels and Deputy Chief Executive be given delegated authority to approve core funding based on delivery against corporate priorities, sustainability of the organisation and financial position; and

 

d)      That the Deputy Leader of the Council be given delegated authority to define the outcomes for future funding and information required by the Council to evidence the impact on local communities.

 

(Other options considered:

  • Not to approve the recommendations;
  • To use any savings identified to provide additional financial assistance to existing recipients;
  • To use any savings identified to provide additional financial assistance to organisations not currently in receipt of funding but that can deliver similar services;
  • To use current funding to commission services based on delivering pre-determined outcomes;
  • To utilise the community development budget to create an open grants programme; and
  • In order to mitigate risks against any potential grant reductions and community support, grants could be signposted towards other grants including Designated Councillors’ Budgets.

Reasons for decision:

  • To ensure that groups and organisations funded help deliver the Councils corporate priorities;
  • To ensure compliance with current contractual obligations;
  • To enable more effective use of officer time to focus on delivering their current work programmes;
  • Funding advice and support could be provided by other external partners;
  • Financial contributions agreed would help lever in significant amounts of external funding and generate substantial figures of volunteer value;
  • Ensure that all future funding commitments were cost effective;
  • Alternative funding sources were available for activities and services previously funded, including Designated Councillors’ Budgets; and
  • To ensure the Council could demonstrate transparency in its funding allocations.)

38.

Review of Charging Policy for Homes Connected to the Council's Sewage Treatment Works pdf icon PDF 76 KB

To seek approval to make changes to the current charging policy.  (Joint report of the Portfolio Holder for Housing Landlord and the Interim Housing Manager enclosed.)

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the joint report of the Portfolio Holder for Housing Landlord and the Housing Manager which sought approval to make changes to the current charging policy for homes connected to the Council’s sewage treatment works.

 

The Leader requested officers ensure that the costs incurred were proportionate to what needed to be incurred, and that Legal advice be sought in order to minimise liability regarding leases, deeds and covenants etc.  He suggested that there may be scope to collect from properties that had gone through the Right To Buy process.

 

DECISION:

 

a)      That delegated authority be given to the Housing Manager to commission further legal investigation work into introducing increased charges to private homeowners connected to the Councils sewage treatment plants;

 

b)      That, subject to the detailed legal investigation concluding that charges for private homeowners can be increased, delegated authority be given to the Housing Manager to pursue the option to recover the full shortfall amount by increasing the charges for both private homeowners and Council tenants;

 

c)      That delegated authority be given to the Housing Manager to amend charges to Council tenants to fully recover the costs of the operating of the drain clearance service; and

 

d)      That delegated authority be given to the Housing Manager, in liaison with the Portfolio Holder for Housing Landlord, to deal with any matters arising.

 

(Other options considered:

  • Not to approve the recommendations;
  • To recover the full shortfall amount by increasing the sewage charges for Private customers only; and
  • To recover the full shortfall amount by increasing the charges for Council tenants only.

Reasons for decision:

  • To potentially reduce/remove the financial burden placed upon the Housing Revenue Account for the Council’s sewage and drainage related work.)

39.

Proposals from the Localism Act: Allocations and a new approach to Tenancy Management pdf icon PDF 40 KB

To approve the new Allocations Policy and Tenancy Strategy.  (Joint report of the Portfolio Holder for Housing Landlord and the Interim Housing Manager enclosed.)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the joint report of the Portfolio Holder for Housing Landlord and the Housing Manager which sought approval of the new Allocations Policy and Tenancy Strategy.

 

Councillor Gambba-Jones referred to the statement regarding armed forces personnel, on page 50 of Appendix B, and queried where the five year figure had come from.  The Assistant Housing Manager advised that the five year figure had been recommended by the British Legion.  Councillor Przyszlak suggested that it would be more appropriate to word it as a minimum of five years and not five years exactly.

 

Councillor H R Johnson referred to page 45 of Appendix B and queried how the figure of £65k had been worked out.  The Assistant Housing Manager explained that the figure referred to the total household income of the two main earning adults.  Councillor A M Newton referred to page 45 of Appendix B and queried whether the figure of £75k was too low.  Members requested that the rationale be given for all the figures mentioned. 

 

Councillor Newton referred to the statement regarding applications made by staff, elected members and their families, on page 50 of Appendix B, and queried what would happen should someone be directly related to the Housing Manager.  The Leader stated that the application would have to be dealt with by the next senior officer.

 

RECOMMENDED TO FULL COUNCIL:

 

That, subject to the above actions being dealt with, the new Allocations Policy and Tenancy Strategy be approved.

 

(Other options considered:

  • Not to approve the recommendations; and
  • To approve the recommendations with amendments.

Reasons for decision:

  • To ensure that South Holland District Council complied with the Localism Act 2011 and took advantage of the opportunities that the Act now provided.)

40.

Corporate Health and Safety Policy pdf icon PDF 29 KB

To present the revised Health and Safety Policy Statement for South Holland District Council for approval.  (Joint report of the Portfolio Holder for Internal Services, Performance and Business Development and Interim Human Resources Manager enclosed.)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the joint report of the Portfolio Holder for Internal Services, Performance and Business Development and the Human Resources Manager which sought approval and adoption of the revised Health and Safety Policy Statement for South Holland District Council.

 

Councillor G J Taylor explained that, in addition to having a formal policy in place, it was also very important to have a common sense approach regarding health and safety.

 

Councillor Worth queried the need for the Deputy Leader of the Council to sign off the Policy in addition to the Leader.  Councillor A Harrison stated that on 14 November 2012 the Policy Development Panel considered the report on the revised Health and Safety Policy Statement, and members had agreed that there was no need for the Deputy Leader of the Council to sign off the Policy.  She added that the Panel had supported the recommendations and agreed that they go forward to Cabinet and full Council for approval.

 

RECOMMENDED TO FULL COUNCIL:

 

That the revised Health and Safety Policy Statement for South Holland District Council, attached as Appendix A within the report, be approved and adopted. 

 

(Other options considered:

  • To recommend to Council amendments to the proposed, revised Health and Safety Policy as a replacement for the 2009 Health and Safety Policy; and
  • Not to recommend to Council amendments to the proposed, revised Health and Safety Policy as a replacement for the 2009 Health and Safety Policy.

Reasons for decision:

  • There were significant legal implications if an up to date and robust Health and Safety Policy was not in place;
  • Having a Health and Safety Policy in place provided a clear commitment and direction for South Holland District Council to follow.)

41.

Financial Performance Quarter 2 2012-13 pdf icon PDF 26 KB

This report provides information on the forecast full year financial position of the Council as at 30 September 2012.  (Joint report of the Deputy Leader/Portfolio Holder for Strategic Finance and Democratic Services and the Assistant Director Finance (S151) enclosed.)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the joint report of the Deputy Leader/Portfolio Holder for Strategic Finance and Democratic Services and the Assistant Director Finance (S151) which detailed information on the forecast full year financial position, as at 30 September 2012, and sought approval of recommendations detailed in the appendix within the report.

 

Members noted that the recommendations were detailed within page 104 of Appendix A.  

 

RECOMMENDED TO FULL COUNCIL:

 

a)      That the report and appendix be noted;

 

b)      That the following recommendations, detailed in Appendix A within the report be approved:

 

  • Increase the budget on the Spalding Water Taxi Project by £4000, to be funded from Section 106 monies;

 

  • Increase the budget on Manor House, Crowland by £4000, to be funded from Revenue Resources; and

 

  • Increase the budget for the Decent Homes Unfit and Disrepair programme by £100,000 due to the increased demand for loans, to be funded from the Regional Housing fund.

 

(Other options considered:

  • Not to approve the recommendations; and
  • To approve the recommendations with amendments.

Reasons for decision:

  • To provide timely information to members on the overall finances of the Council and to make the best use of resources available.)

42.

General Fund Draft Estimates and Financial Medium Term Plan pdf icon PDF 27 KB

To consider the General Fund draft revenue and capital estimates and the draft financial medium term plan. (Joint report of the Deputy Leader/Portfolio Holder for Strategic Finance and Democratic Services and the Assistant Director Finance (S151) enclosed.)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the joint report of the Deputy Leader/Portfolio Holder for Strategic Finance and Democratic Services and the Assistant Director Finance (S151) which sought approval of the draft General Fund revenue and capital estimates and the draft medium financial term plan to be released for consultation.

 

Councillor Przyszlak explained that further information was still required.  However he suggested that the draft General Fund revenue and capital estimates and the draft medium financial term plan be taken to consultation in order to provide an indication.  The Chief Executive mentioned that, thanks to Deputy Chief Executive and the Assistant Director Finance (S151), the need to find £1m had been reduced to £393k in order to balance the next years budget. 

 

DECISION:

 

That the draft General Fund revenue and capital estimates and the draft medium financial term plan be approved and released for consultation.

 

(Other options considered:

  • Not to approve the recommendations; and
  • To approve the recommendations with amendments.

Reasons for decision:

  • To comply with the budgetary and policy framework.)

43.

Write Offs pdf icon PDF 31 KB

To recommend writing off irrecoverable debts (Joint report of the Portfolio Holder for Strategic Finance and Democratic Services and the Assistant Director Finance (S151) enclosed.)  (Please note that the appendices associated with 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 an 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 16.)

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the joint report of the Deputy Leader/Portfolio Holder for Strategic Finance and Democratic Services and the Assistant Director Finance (S151) which sought approval to write off irrecoverable debts.

 

Members noted that the appendices were not for publication by virtue of Paragraphs: 1 (information relating to any individual), 2 (information which is likely to reveal the identity of an 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.  The appendices were therefore attached to the agenda as item 16, should members wish to discuss in further depth.

 

Councillor Przyszlak stated that the actual cost to South Holland taxpayers was not quite as much as that stated within the report.  He explained that the Non Domestic Rates were collected on behalf of Central Government and only 10% of the Council Tax figure was kept by the District Council.   

 

DECISION:

 

That the following debts be written off:

Council Tax                            -           £1,260.33

Non Domestic Rates            -           £41,790.14

Sundry Debtors                     -           £1,272.60

Former Tenant Arrears         -           £9,218.44

Total                                       -           £53,541.51

 

(Other options considered:

  • Not to approve the recommendations; and
  • To 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.)

44.

Exclusion of Press and Public

Minutes:

DECISION:

 

That, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.

45.

Write Offs

Appendix. (Enclosed).

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the appendices relating to the joint report of the Deputy Leader/Portfolio Holder for Strategic Finance and Democratic Services and the Assistant Director Finance (S151) which sought approval to write off irrecoverable debts.

 

This item had been dealt with under agenda item 13. 

46.

Review of Supported Housing

To seek approval to modernise the Supported Housing Service.  (Joint report of the Portfolio Holder for Housing Landlord and the Interim Housing Manager enclosed.)

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the joint report of the Portfolio Holder for Housing Landlord and the Housing Manager which sought approval to modernise the Supported Housing Service.

 

RECOMMENDED TO FULL COUNCIL:

 

a)      That the Supported Housing Team functions be separated out to ensure that landlord and supported people functions were independent;

 

b)      That additional reports be commissioned on the future supply and demand for sheltered housing and any opportunities for Nene House;

 

c)      That, subject to Lincolnshire County Council confirming a successful bid as outlined within the report, members approve option 4 within the report; and

 

d)      That, should the revised bids as outlined within the report prove unsuccessful, the future provision of sheltered housing and lifeline management within the South Holland District be commissioned by Lincolnshire County Council as outlined within the report.

 

(Other options considered:

  • Not to approve the recommendations; and
  • To approve the recommendations with amendments.

Reasons for decision:

  • To ensure that any further provision of sheltered housing and lifeline management is appropriately funded and reflected both the supply and demand for services.)