Agenda and draft minutes

Note that this agenda was republished on 10 February 2021. 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, 16th February, 2021 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

58.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 187 KB

To sign as a correct record the minutes of the following meetings: 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the following meetings were agreed as a correct record, and signed by the Leader:

 

·         Cabinet – 15 December 2020

·         Special Cabinet meeting – 12 January 2021

·         Special Cabinet meeting – 26 January 2021

59.

Declarations of Interest.

(Where a Councillor has a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest the Councillor must declare the interest and leave the meeting 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:

Councillors Alcock and Coupland did not have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest, but in the interests of transparency declared that, in relation to agenda items 12 and18, they were on the Board of Directors of Welland Homes Ltd.

 

Councillor Grocock did not have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest, but in the interests of transparency declared that, in relation to agenda items 12 and 18, he was a Shareholder Representative for Welland Homes Ltd.

 

The Leader of the Council declared an interest in relation to agenda items 12 and 18 - although he did not know the builder in question, it was likely that he would know of, have connection to or be in competition with individuals involved and would therefore not take part in the discussion.  He left the meeting during consideration of these items.

 

The Leader of the Council declared an interest in relation to agenda items 13 and 19 as they related to the purchase of new properties, and he was likely to know individuals involved.  He would take no part in the discussion, and left the meeting during consideration of these items.

60.

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

Minutes:

There were none.

61.

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

Minutes:

There were none.

62.

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.

63.

Q3 Performance Report pdf icon PDF 102 KB

To provide an update on how the Council is performing for the period 1 October 2020 to 31 December 2020 (report of the Executive Director Commercialisation (S151) enclosed)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Deputy Leader of the Council which provided an update on how the Council had performed for the period 1st October 2020 to 31st December 2020.

 

Member were advised that it was generally a positive report, with the following notable achievements:

·         The Waste Collection Service had achieved its highest collection rate since mid-2016, which was a very encouraging achievement, particularly in view of the ongoing Covid pandemic and the recent bad weather;

·         The percentage of calls answered by the Customer Contact Service was 93.5%;

·         There had been an improvement in Council-wide sickness of approximately 25%, in terms of days lost per full-time equivalent.

 

Unfortunately, the incidence of fly tipping continued to increase, rising by 98 incidents since the last quarter.  The East Coast Community Safety Partnership was working with partners and Lincolnshire Police to introduce cameras, and using the evidence from them to assist in identifying perpetrators.  Lincolnshire Police were stopping vehicles more regularly, there was increased inter-agency work across the county to share intelligence, and social media was being used on a regular basis to highlight the issue of fly tipping. Unfortunately, investigations had been impacted as a result of courts being closed as a result of the Covid pandemic – there was a significant backlog which had had a detrimental impact on the Council taking cases through for prosecution, but as the Covid situation improved, the backlog of cases for prosecution should also improve.

 

DECISION:

 

That the contents of the report be noted.

 

(Other options considered:

  • Do nothing

Reasons for decision:

  • To ensure that the Council’s performance is properly scrutinised.)

64.

2020/21 Finance Report Quarter 3 pdf icon PDF 296 KB

To provide information on the Quarter 3 (to 31 December 2020) financial position of the Council (report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance, Strategy and Partnerships, and the Executive Director Commercialisation (S151) enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance, Strategy & Partnerships and the Executive Director – Commercialisation (S151) which provided information on the Quarter 3 (to 31 December 2020) financial position of the Council.

 

Members were advised that the wording in recommendation 3 of the report needed to be changed to the following:

 

·         That the General Fund and Housing Revenue Account Capital Programme be approved as set out in tables 5 and 7 of Appendix A.

 

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.

 

RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL:

 

3)    That the General Fund and Housing Revenue Account Capital programme be approved as set out in tables 5 and 7 of Appendix A.

 

4)    The NNDR S31 grant for expanded retail relief and the nursery reliefs in 2020/21 is carried forward in reserves to cover the NNDR deficits recognised in 2021/22 (as detailed in section 5.3.1)

 

5)    That the income received from the NNDR & Council Tax income compensation scheme be carried forward in a reserve to cover the deficits recognised in future years (as detailed in section 5.3.2)

 

(Other options considered:

  • Do nothing

Reasons for decision:

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

65.

2020/21 Final Budget, Medium Term Plan and Capital Strategy pdf icon PDF 313 KB

To consider the Final General Fund and Housing Revenue Account 2021/22 revenue and capital estimates and the Final Financial Medium Term Plan (for recommendation to Council) (report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance, Strategy and Partnerships and the Executive Director Commercialisation (S151) enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance, Strategy & Partnerships and the Executive Director – Commercialisation (S151) which considered the Final General Fund and Housing Revenue Account 2021/22 revenue and capital estimates and the Final Financial Medium Term Plan for recommendation to Council.

 

The Portfolio Holder highlighted the following areas:

 

·         The process of bringing the budget together had been a difficult one, with criteria changing on a weekly basis. 

·         The budget was based on the assumptions known at the time of writing and included any impact that Covid-19 might have on next year’s or future year’s budgets;

·         Since the report had been published, the Local Government Settlement for 2021/22 had been announced and approved and there had been no material changes to any applicable numbers presented within the report;

·         Since the draft budget had been presented to Cabinet on 12 January, staff had finalised estimates, included savings proposals, and considered feedback from Budget consultation and scrutiny.  This had resulted in some changes to the budget, including revision to Business Rates and Council Tax income projections and amendments to forecasts for investment income and industrial units;

General Fund

·         There was continued and unprecedented uncertainty around business rates and the fair funding review and a prudent position on estimates going forward had been taken;

·         The budget requirement for 2021/22 was £12.4million, which included an initial savings target of £1.67 million;

·         Numerous savings and income generating opportunities had been identified, and these continued to be explored;

·         Savings requirements had arisen due to a number of historic budget variations (reduction in Planning fee income, cost of fleet maintenance, inclusion of the Pride initiative to base budget, impact of an assumed 2% staff pay award, minimal increase in funding due to delay of fair funding review, and increased cost of homelessness).  In addition to these, the following assumptions were also built into the base budget to support the bottom lines savings figure - Business Rates (South Holland was not in the pool for 2021/22 and assumptions were based on 2020/21 activity with an increased allowance for closed businesses); reduced income from the recovery of new housing benefit overpayment due to continued move to universal credit;  Drainage Board levies increased by 2%; and the 2021/22  RSG and RSDG funding confirmed for a further year.    

·         The proposed Council Tax increase of £4.95 on a Band D would go some way to offset these pressures

Covid-related factors that would impact the budget going forward

·         A Covid-related budget was included in the estimates, with a reduced interest rates forecast on investments, which was expected to continue for at least the next 2 years;

·         Based on 2020/21, it was anticipated that the following areas would incur additional Covid costs – leisure services, the South Holland Centre, waste management, fees and charges, Business Rates and Council Tax – these were all major items that could affect the Budget going forward

·         The Government were providing Covid support packages for 2021/22 to mitigate these pressures – part  ...  view the full minutes text for item 65.

66.

Discretionary Council Tax Discount - Police Special Constabulary pdf icon PDF 86 KB

To consider the introduction of a Council Tax discount for members of the Police Special Constabulary (report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance, Strategy and Partnerships, and the Executive Director Commercialisation (S151) enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance, Strategies & Partnerships and the Executive Director – Commercialisation (S151) which considered the introduction of a Council Tax discount for members of the Police Special Constabulary.

 

Members felt that it was important to recognise the efforts of the Police Special Constabulary who volunteered to undertake an important job for the community.

 

DECISION:

 

That the introduction of a 25% Council Tax Discount as a ‘class of case’ for members of the Police Special Constabulary, administered under the discretionary provisions of Section 13A (1) (c) Local Government Finance Act 1992, be approved.

 

(Other options considered:

  • Do nothing – do not progress with the introduction of a discount scheme for SC’s, the Local Council Tax Support (CTS) scheme already exists to provide support to low income/benefit households, and this scheme is accessible to all residents with a Council Tax liability, including SC’s.

Reasons for decision:

  • Members of the Special Constabulary who reside in South Holland would benefit from a reduction in their Council Tax, in recognition of the service they provide in Lincolnshire and in turn providing an incentive for recruitment and retention.)

67.

Debt Write Off pdf icon PDF 104 KB

To seek approval for the write-off of uncollectable debts (report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance, Strategy and Partnerships, 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 17).

 

Minutes:

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

 

Members noted that the report contained a breakdown of the individual debts within Appendices A – C, 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.

 

The report highlighted the impacts on collection and enforcement of Council Tax and Business Rates as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Not all of the debts that were proposed to be written off would be a cost to South Holland District Council – the indicative total cost to the council was £12,556..

 

DECISION:

 

That the amounts identified in the report, as detailed below, be approved for write-off:

 

Council Tax                                         £9,803.88

Business Rates                                   £24,872.58

Sundry Debt                                        £1,607.36

Total                                                    £36,283.82

 

(Other options considered:

  • Do nothing

Reasons for decision:

  • All recovery methods have 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.

68.

Welland Homes Business Plan Update pdf icon PDF 221 KB

To present to the Council, as sole shareholder for Welland Homes Ltd, an updated Welland Homes Business Plan and a proposal from the Company to purchase four houses for the purposes of market rental investment (report of the Portfolio Holder for Assets and Planning and the Executive Director Commercialisation (S151) enclosed.

 

(Please note that the appendices to this report are not for publication by virtue of Paragraph 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 18).

 

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Portfolio Holder for Assets & Planning and the Executive Director – Commercialisation (S151) which presented an updated Welland Homes Business Plan and a proposal from the Company to purchase four houses for the purposes of market rental investment.

 

Members wished to discuss the information included within the exempt appendix to the report, prior to agreeing the recommendations.  It was therefore agreed that the item be deferred until later in the meeting, and that discussion on the report, and agreement of the recommendations be undertaken in confidential session, once all open items on the agenda had been considered.

 

(The Leader left the meeting at the start of consideration of this item, and re-entered the meeting following completion of the discussion).

69.

Acquisition project to purchase S106 units pdf icon PDF 294 KB

To set out the details of the potential for the authority to acquire seven s106 homes on a development site in the district (report of the Portfolio Holder for Assets and Planning and the Executive Director Commercialisation (S151) enclosed).

 

(Please note that the appendix to this report is not for publication by virtue of Paragraph 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 is therefore attached to this agenda as item 19).

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Portfolio holder for Assets & Planning and the Executive Director – Commercialisation (S151) which set out details of the potential for the authority to acquire seven s106 homes on a development site in the district.

 

DECISION:

 

1)    To approve the business case and approve the acquisition of the seven identified properties, for the HRA.

 

2)    To delegate to the Executive Director – Commercialisation (S151) to agree the contractual matters (including any terms and conditions which may represent a minor variation to the scheme approved in the business case) such as signing the contract/transfer document and other incidental actions that may be required and approving the associated due diligence and valuation required to purchase the properties.

 

RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL:

 

3)    To amend the Capital Programme to identify this project as an approved scheme in the 2020/21 Budget.

 

(Other options considered:

  • Do nothing – Under this option, the authority would not proceed to purchase the properties and as a consequence officers would seek to identify alternative appropriate schemes for consideration by Cabinet and Council.

Reasons for decision:

  • A return on investment, and the generation of capital receipts from the sale of the initial tranche of shared ownership properties. As set out within the financial evaluation (Appendix A), there is a positive business case associated with the proposed investment.
  • The delivery of 7 additional bungalows into the HRA. This includes homes to meet the needs of those who require low cost rented accommodation, and those who require support to access the ‘housing ladder’.
  • Meeting housing need. The homes proposed will meet housing need in a location where there is evidence of a need for additional affordable homes.
  • The replacement of homes sold through Right to Buy. On average, 23 Council homes have been purchased by tenants each year since 2017, by virtue of the Right To Buy. Since 1st April 2020, a further 11 properties have been sold to tenants. The delivery of new affordable homes can replace those homes lost each year, mitigating the impact of these losses on the HRA business plan.
  • The new homes can be part-funded from the time limited RTB receipts. Investing the RTB receipts on new rented housing ensures that the receipts do not have to be returned to Government. Additionally, the return to SHDC will increase as the direct capital invested decreases.
  • Market confidence. The Council acting as a proactive purchaser of s106 properties, will provide confidence to local developers of the authority’s aspiration to facilitate sites to come forward and also of the demand for S.106 affordable homes.)

 

(The Leader left the meeting at the start of consideration of this item, and re-entered the meeting following completion of the discussion).

70.

Acquisition Project to purchase s106 rented units pdf icon PDF 204 KB

To set out details of the potential for the authority to acquire three S106 homes for affordable rent tenure, on a development site in the district (report of the Portfolio Holder for Assets and Planning and the Executive Director Commercialisation (S151) enclosed.

 

(Please note that the appendix to this report is not for publication by virtue of Paragraph 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 is therefore attached to this agenda as item 20).

Minutes:

Members were advised that this item had been withdrawn from the agenda, and would be considered at a future meeting.

71.

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.

72.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

To consider resolving 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 and 3 of part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.

Minutes:

DECISION:

 

Under section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public were excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.

73.

Welland Homes Business Plan Update

Exempt appendices to the report at agenda item 12 enclosed.

Minutes:

Members considered a proposed new business scheme in respect of the acquisition, by Welland Homes, of four properties located in Holbeach for open market rent.  The Board of Welland Homes had approved the business case but, as sole shareholder, the business case and associated changes to the Welland Homes Business Plan required Council approval. 

 

In assessing the proposal, members had regard to the content of the exempt appendix, a financial evaluation of the business case.

 

DECISION:

 

1)    To approve the business case for the acquisition by Welland Homes Ltd of four houses, for the purposes of a market rental investment.

 

2)    That, subject to the refreshed business plan and budget being approved by the Council in accordance with recommendation 3 below, delegated authority be granted to the Executive Director - Commercialisation (the S151 Officer), to (i) approve the terms of any loan agreements required; (ii) approve the value and the profile of any periodic cash flow payments to be made to the Company; as required to support the Company in the acquisition of the proposed investment properties.

 

RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL:

 

3)    That the updated Welland Homes Business Plan be approved, and included as an amendment in the SHDC Quarterly report to members for quarter 1 2021/22.

 

4)    To reaffirm the delegated authority, granted by Council on 25th March 2015, to the Executive Director – Commercialisation (the S151 Officer), to approve the final mix of use of reserves and borrowing in line with the business plan and Council Treasury Management Strategy.

 

(Other options considered:

  • Do nothing – without the approval of the shareholder, Welland Homes would be unable to proceed with the proposed investment which would in turn limit the delivery of housing from Welland Homes under the existing Business Plan and leave the Company unable to deliver forecasted returns.

Reasons for decision:

  • Supports the delivery of the wider Welland Homes Business Plan, which will in turn support the delivery of savings targets set out in the Council’s Medium Term Financial Plan;
  • Increases housing supply to address demand;
  • Boosts to the local economy;
  • Improves the quality of rented sector accommodation; and
  • Generates income for the Council.)

 

(The Leader left the meeting at the start of consideration of this item, and did not return as this was the final item for discussion).