Agenda, decisions and minutes

Cabinet - Thursday, 2nd September, 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber

Contact: Committee Services 

Items
No. Item

40.

MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING pdf icon PDF 218 KB

The Minutes of the meeting of 5 August 2021 are attached to be confirmed and signed as a correct record.

Minutes:

The minutes of 5 August 2021 were confirmed and signed as a correct record.

41.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

To receive any apologies for absence from Members*.

 

*Note: Members are asked to email Committee services in advance of the meeting as soon as they become aware they will be absent.

Minutes:

Apologies had been received from Councillor Bailey.

42.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

To declare disposable pecuniary, and any other interests*.

 

*Note: Members are asked to email Committee Services in advance of the meeting as soon as they become aware they may have an interest to declare.

Minutes:

Councillor Forster declared a pecuniary interest to item 11 that he is a Hampshire County Councillor and responsible for Commercial Strategy and Finance.

43.

CHAIRMAN'S ANNOUNCEMENTS

Minutes:

The Chairman had no announcements.

44.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION (ITEMS PERTAINING TO THE AGENDA)

Minutes:

None.

45.

QUARTERLY BUDGET MONITORING Q1 - OUTTURN pdf icon PDF 153 KB

To present the Quarter One (Q1) forecast of the outturn position against the General Fund revenue budget to give an expectation of possible variances against budget.

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

That Cabinet note

 

i)               the Quarter One forecast for the General Fund Revenue budget.  

ii)              the key reasons for projected variations between actual expenditure and budgeted expenditure. 

Decision:

DECISION

 

Cabinet noted:

i)    the Quarter One forecast for the General Fund Revenue budget.

ii)   the key reasons for projected variations between actual expenditure and budgeted expenditure.

Minutes:

Members were presented with the Quarter One (Q1) forecast of the outturn position against the General Fund revenue budget to give an expectation of possible variances against budget.  Overview and Scrutiny Committee had considered this report at their meeting on 17 August 2021.

 

Members were advised that the report forecast reflected covid restrictions and that the expectations of improvement in recovery would continue to be consistent now restrictions have been lifted after further lockdowns.

 

DECISION

 

Cabinet noted:

i)    the Quarter One forecast for the General Fund Revenue budget.

ii)   the key reasons for projected variations between actual expenditure and budgeted expenditure.

46.

BUDGET AND MEDIUM TERM FINANCIAL STRATEGY pdf icon PDF 295 KB

To consider the emerging budget for 2022/23 and the draft Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS).

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

That the issues around the emerging budget for 2022/23 be discussed and level of savings required noted. 

 

The tier system for rating savings be agreed. 

 

The timetable for 2022/23 budget setting be discussed and agreed. 

 

The reserves policy in Section be discussed and agreed. 

 

Level One savings identified in 8.2 be agreed and implemented through incorporated into future iteration of Medium-Term Financial Strategy. 

 

Agree the preparation of Business Cases for Level Two savings detailed in 8.3 so that these savings can be considered in future by Cabinet. 

 

Agree the provision of £10K to enable the use of independent external consultants, where required, to enable assessment of the Level Two Business Cases. 

 

 

Decision:

DECISION

 

That Cabinet agreed

1.   The tier system for rating savings.

 

2.   The timetable for 2022/23 budget setting.

 

3.   The approach to reserves in Section 6.

 

4.   Level One savings identified in paragraph 8.2 and to be implemented and incorporated into future iteration of Medium-Term Financial Strategy.

 

5.   The provision of Business Cases for Level Two savings detailed in paragraph 8.3 so that these savings can be considered in future by Cabinet.

 

6.   An additional Level Two business case should be prepared to explore a review of the Local Plan, and that pending consideration of this business case, all work on the Shapley Heath Garden Community should in the interim be paused.

 

7.   10K to be made available to enable the use of independent external consultants, where required, to facilitate assessment of the Level Two Business Cases.

Minutes:

Members were advised of the emerging budget for 2022/23 and the draft Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS).  This information had been considered by the Overview & Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 17 August 2021.

 

A programme of potential savings had been identified. These were specifically intended to reduce the pressure on the Council’s annual revenue budget in that they were designed to be structural changes to the Council’s future revenue base budge. These savings had been risk rated and tiered according to several internal and external factors.

 

Level One savings (para 8.2 of the report) were those savings which would have limited impact on the vital services to residents and communities. Level Two savings (para 8.3) were those that will need to be examined in more detail. Ultimately all may not be achievable but at present they presented the best opportunities (beyond level one savings) to make the required structural savings to the annual revenue budget. In some cases, these may require support funding drawn from reserves to secure the longer-term structural change to the Council’ base revenue budget.

 

It was recommended that the Level One savings be agreed and incorporated into the MTFS without further review. With respect to Level Two savings, it was recommended that business cases were to be worked up on all Level two savings; with the outcome of those business cases presented to Cabinet in November for decision.

 

Some of the Business Cases would require the use of external consultants to aid clear and independent evaluation. This is especially important for the review of Senior Management and also the Member and Staff allowances which would benefit from external assessment and benchmarking. To allow for this, a provision of £10K was requested to help bring forward the Business Cases.

 

Member’s recognised that it was unlikely that the Level One and Two savings identified within the report would sufficiently close the gap needed to meet a balanced budget for 2022/2023. The extent of any potential budget ‘gap’ would depend upon any announcement by the government in late autumn of the 2022/2023 settlement. Depending upon the settlement outcome a further report identifying potential Level Three savings will be presented to Cabinet in November 2021 for consideration.

 

It was noted that the potential for further commercialisation projects have not been taken into consideration and there is still potential for further commercialisation benefits.

 

A question was raised about the level of expenditure on the Shapley Heath Garden Community. It was explained that this expenditure is offset from a drawdown on reserves and partial funding by grants.  This medium term financial strategy is for structural and ongoing deficit only. 

 

It was agreed that an additional business case should be explored to bring forward a review of the Local Plan. Whilst the business case was being considered, all activity relating to the Garden Community project should in the interim be paused.

 

The Chairman summarised the need to balance the budget and make tough decisions and approved the kick start of drawing up  ...  view the full minutes text for item 46.

47.

STATEMENT OF COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT (SCI) pdf icon PDF 893 KB

To update the Council’s Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) in respect of consultation procedures for planning applications and various updates in relation to planning policy.

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

That Cabinet:

 

Adopts the updated Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) as set out at Appendix A, and

 

Authorises the Head of Place in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Place to make any minor alterations and corrections to the SCI if required prior to publication on the Council’s website

Decision:

DECISION

 

Cabinet:

1.   Adopted the updated Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) as set out at Appendix A, and

 

2.   Authorised the Head of Place in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Place to make any minor alterations and corrections to the SCI if required prior to publication on the Council’s website.

Minutes:

Members considered the Council’s Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) in respect of consultation procedures for planning applications and various updates in relation to planning policy.

 

Members were informed of two substantive changes. The first being statutory site notices to be maintained and the reduction in the consultation period for statutory consultees from 4 weeks to 3 weeks.  These changes are due to recommendations from the Peer Review and the subsequent development management improvement action plan.

 

DECISION

 

Cabinet:

1.   Adopted the updated Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) as set out at Appendix A, and

 

2.   Authorised the Head of Place in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Place to make any minor alterations and corrections to the SCI if required prior to publication on the Council’s website.

48.

HOUSING COMPANY PANEL pdf icon PDF 140 KB

The purpose of this report is to confirm the Overview and Scrutiny Committee nominations for the Hart Property Management Company Scrutiny Panel and also to agree an update to the Key Worker lettings policy. 

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

That Cabinet agrees

 

A.    that Cllrs Davies, Farmer, Harward, and Smith comprise the 2001/2022 Hart Property Management Company Scrutiny Panel which shall meet once a year to oversee company activity, provide strategic guidance, and advise the Council in its capacity as shareholder. 

 

B.    that the definition of ‘Key worker’ status in the adopted Lettings Policy should include reference to

 

a.    essential full time charity staff delivering key frontline services in the local Charity sector, 

b.    those employed in the Prison and Probation services and 

c.     workers maintaining border security  

 

C.   the Head of Corporate Services be authorised to make future minor adjustments to the Local Lettings Plan as an when appropriate. 

 

Decision:

DECISION

 

That Cabinet agreed:

A.  that Councillors Davies, Farmer, Harward, and Smith comprise the 2001/2022 Hart Property Management Company Scrutiny Panel which shall meet once a year to oversee company activity, provide strategic guidance, and advise the Council in its capacity as shareholder.

 

B.  that the Edenbrook Flats Lettings Plan definition of ‘Key worker’ status in should include reference to

a.   essential key workers employed by a charity registered by the Charity Commission for England and Wales

b.   those employed in the Prison and Probation services and,

c.   workers maintaining border security.

 

C.  The Head of Corporate Services be authorised to make future minor adjustments to the Local Lettings Plan as an when appropriate.

Minutes:

This report confirmed the Overview and Scrutiny Committee nominations for the Hart Property Management Company Scrutiny Panel

 

Members also agreed to the proposed modifications to the Edenbrook Flats Letting Policy but subject to any key worker from the charity sector being employed by a charity registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales.

 

DECISION

 

That Cabinet agreed:

A.  that Councillors Davies, Farmer, Harward, and Smith comprise the 2001/2022 Hart Property Management Company Scrutiny Panel which shall meet once a year to oversee company activity, provide strategic guidance, and advise the Council in its capacity as shareholder.

 

B.  that the Edenbrook Flats Lettings Plan definition of ‘Key worker’ status in should include reference to

a.   essential key workers employed by a charity registered by the Charity Commission for England and Wales

b.   those employed in the Prison and Probation services and,

c.   workers maintaining border security.

 

C.  The Head of Corporate Services be authorised to make future minor adjustments to the Local Lettings Plan as an when appropriate.

49.

WEBSITE REDESIGN PROJECT pdf icon PDF 293 KB

To seek Cabinet endorsement of the proposed website redesign project and to enable it to commence the procurement process.

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

That Cabinet approves the commencement of the website redesign project subject to a further report to Cabinet to confirm costings and specification following the completion of the procurement exercise. 

Decision:

DECISION

 

Cabinet approved the commencement of the website redesign project subject to a further report to Cabinet to confirm costings and specification following the completion of the procurement exercise.

Minutes:

Overview and Scrutiny Committee had considered this report at their meeting on 17 August 2021 and requested more frequent decision stages, emphasis on carbon neutral and climate change implications that the project may incur and a clearer indication of the total cost of the whole project and Cabinet’s approval was requested to endorse the proposed website redesign project and procurement process.

 

Concerns were raised over the procurement timeline of replacing the content management system (CMS) suggesting September with contract selection in October, being too aggressive, if this is achievable and without incurring any risks before evaluating needs and defining requirements.  Members were advised that market testing had taken place including conversations with suppliers for security assessments within the digital experience platform.

 

To summarise, the Chairman felt confident that the soft market testing undertaken had provided reassurances with research and understanding our requirements, and the success or failure of this project will be the feedback from our customer’s experience.  He supported bringing analytical statistics to Cabinet in future.

 

DECISION

 

Cabinet approved the commencement of the website redesign project subject to a further report to Cabinet to confirm costings and specification following the completion of the procurement exercise.

50.

CEV FUNDING pdf icon PDF 227 KB

During 20/21 the council was awarded a total £247k by Hampshire County Council to deliver the Hart Response Hub and associated services to our clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) residents. Much of this was spent during the financial year, and the rest was placed in ear marked reserves so that it could be spent on projects that would be mobilised during 21/22.

The purpose of this report is to seek Cabinet approval for the remaining grant funding to be moved from capital to revenue budgets so that it can used to deliver the projects set out in the agreed Supporting Communities Plan, delivering the “Here for Hart “programme.

RECOMMENDATION

It is recommended that Cabinet approve the transfer of the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) monies (£143,421) from ear marked reserves into a revenue budget line and that the Head of Community Services be authorised to use the funds to support the delivery of the Supporting Communities Plan and the Here for Hart programme.

Decision:

DECISION

 

Cabinet approved the transfer of the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) monies (£143,421) from ear marked reserves into a revenue budget line and that the Head of Community Services be authorised to use the funds to support the delivery of the Supporting Communities Plan and the Here for Hart programme.

Minutes:

During 20/21 the council was awarded a total £247k by Hampshire County Council to deliver the Hart Response Hub and associated services to our clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) residents. Much of this was spent during the financial year, and the rest was placed in earmarked reserves so that it could be spent on projects that would be mobilised during 21/22.

 

This report required Cabinet’s approval for the remaining grant funding to be moved from capital to revenue budgets so that officers can use it to deliver the projects set out in the agreed Supporting Communities Plan, delivering the “Here for Hart “programme.

 

Members asked for reassurance that these projects are all targeted to support the clinically extremely vulnerable residents in our community and expectations to spend and utilise the remainder of the grant given on this project will ensure social inclusion.

 

DECISION

 

Cabinet approved the transfer of the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) monies (£143,421) from ear marked reserves into a revenue budget line and that the Head of Community Services be authorised to use the funds to support the delivery of the Supporting Communities Plan and the Here for Hart programme.

51.

CABINET WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 164 KB

To consider and amend the Cabinet Work Programme.

Minutes:

The Cabinet Work Programme was considered and amended:

 

Topics considered were:

    Re-engaging the Civic Quarter Regeneration Working Group.

    Waste management and food waste recycling for future inclusion.

 

Amendments:

    To push back The Harlington Lease to November.

    Update in November on the current actions being taken by the Council to address the climate emergency and the plan to measure annual District wide progress towards meeting the 2040 carbon neutral target.