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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - County Hall, Bythesea Road, Trowbridge, BA14 8JN. View directions

Contact: Stuart Figini  Email: stuart.figini@wiltshire.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

149.

Apologies

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllr Richard Clewer.

150.

Minutes of the previous meeting

To confirm and sign the minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 8 October 2019, previously circulated.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 8 October 2019 were presented.

 

Resolved:

 

To approve as a correct record and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 8 October 2019.

 

 

151.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of disclosable interests or dispensations granted by the Standards Committee.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Allison Bucknell declared a personal interest in relation to agenda item 6 – Proposals for Special Schools in the North of Wiltshire, as she was a Trustee of Wiltshire Portage, a special needs charity. Cllr Bucknell remained in the meeting a took part in the debate and voted on the proposals.

 

 

 

 

 

152.

Leader's announcements

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no Leader announcements.

 

 

 

 

 

153.

Public participation and Questions from Councillors

The Council welcomes contributions from members of the public. This meeting is open to the public, who may ask a question or make a statement. Questions may also be asked by members of the Council.  Written notice of questions or statements should be given to Stuart Figini of Democratic Services stuart.figini@wiltshire.gov.uk/  01225 718221 by 12.00 noon on 13 November 2019. Anyone wishing to ask a question or make a statement should contact the officer named above.

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

1.    Colin Gale, on behalf of Pewsey Community Area Partnership, Pewsey parish Council, and Campaign to Protect Rural England asked a number of questions about the final report of the Public Consultations Task Group.

 

The Leader confirmed that Mr Gale had received responses to his questions and these had been published on the Council’s website prior to the day of the meeting. Mr Gale then asked a number of supplementary questions. The Leader confirmed that written responses would be available shortly.

 

The Leader thanked Mr Gale for his questions.

 

2.    Ian Scott representing the National Education Union read out a statement about Preshute School and a request to meet with the Cabinet member for Children, Education and Skills to discuss additional funding to support the new leadership of the school for some unique one-off expenditure.   

 

The Leader confirmed that the Cabinet Member would be in contact with Mr Scott about this matter.

 

 

 

154.

Proposals for special schools in the north of Wiltshire

    Report by Executive Director Terence Herbert.

 

 

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Pauline Church, Cabinet member for Children, Education and Skills presented a report detailing the responses from the Representation phase of the consultation on a proposal to close three special schools, Rowdeford, St Nicholas and Larkrise, and open a new amalgamated school across all three existing sites.

 

Cllr Church reminded the Cabinet that they had considered the matter at their meetings held on 27 November 2018 and 22 May 2019. Since the Cabinet meeting in May 2019, the Council issued a Statutory Notice regarding the closure of the three schools and the opening of one new amalgamated maintained school, with a consultation period held during September 2019. The details of which were included in the report.  Cllr Church thanked all those who were involved and responded to the consultation and indicated that their involvement in the process had changed the Councils view of the way forward and signalled a move away from closing Larkrise and St Nicholas Schools to a three site solution.

 

Cllr Church reminded the meeting that there would be further consultation at a later stage in the build (anticipated to be in 2022/23) to consider, based primarily on demand and the views of stakeholders at that time, the requirement for sites in the future.The Council anticipated a total investment of up to £35 million in a purpose built Centre of Excellence at Rowde. The current proposals, which would reduce overcrowding, were financially sustainable.   

 

A number of statements and questions were received from school representatives and the public in relation to the proposals, copies of which are attached at Appendix 1 to these minutes.  In response to the statements and questions, Cllr Church explained that additional capital funding was available for necessary investment for Larkrise and St Nicholas, appropriate training, support and funding would be delivered to enable a smooth transition, confirmed the future link between special schools, mainstream education and the Inclusion and SEND strategy which is in consultation, consideration of speed limits outside Rowdeford school and the necessary physical changes to the Rowdeford site.    

 

In addition to the above representations, the Leader welcomed the views of Councillors on the following issues:

 

·         Expectation setting and the delivery of a three site school solution not being guaranteed in perpetuity

·         Number of places and if they are sufficient

·         The pressing need to find additional places for September 2020 which can offer opportunities for movement across the three school sites this September

·         Overall cost of the project acknowledging both the lower and higher thresholds within the report and the potential to draw in additional funds if further places were needed

·         Additional capital investment at Larkrise and St Nicholas

·         The need for resource bases to enable young people to be taught in their local communities, for both primary and secondary and alongside mainstream where appropriate.

·         The relevance of this project being a maintained school

·         The need to invest in transition with staffing and support to families and children/young people

·         Public, carers and educational establishment views taken on board

·         Confirmation that the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 154.

155.

Treasury Management Mid year

Report by Executive Director Alistair Cunningham OBE.

 

 

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Simon Jacobs presented a report which advised on treasury management activities ensuring that the Council is implementing best practice in accordance with the Prudential Code for Capital Finance in Local Authorities.

 

Cllr Jacobs explained that the Council had not taken out any external borrowing during 2019/20, there was a projected underspend in respect of interest receivable/payable of £0.428m, and the council had not breached any of its performance indicators for the half year up to 30 September 2019.

 

In response to questions from Councillor Ian Thorn, Chair of the Financial Planning Task Group about (i) the £0.428m underspend in respect of interest receivable/payable, (ii) the likely impact of the interest rate increases on the Public Works Loan Board over the short and medium term; and (iii) the rescheduling of debt. Councillor Jacobs reported that (i) the figure was attributable to a reduction in the amount of borrowing originally anticipated by the council; (ii) the rise in interest rate from 1.8% to 2.8% was a not anticipated although the impact has been mitigated as the Council were working to an interest rate of 2.6%; and (iii) debt rescheduling opportunities had been limited in the current economic climate with the last rescheduling of debt undertaken in March 2019 . 

 

In response to a question from Cllr Sturgis about the present national situation with regards to Brexit, and whether a further report would be presented.  Cllr Jacobs reported that any further reports would be influenced by the outcome of the General Election scheduled for 12 December 2019.

 

Resolved:

 

1. To note:

 

i.  that the contents of this report are in line with the Treasury Management Strategy 2019/2020.

 

ii.    the performance of the Council’s investments and borrowings against the parameters set out in the approved Treasury Management Strategy for 2019/2020.

 

 

2. To recommend Full Council approve revised counter party limits of:

 

  • £10.000 million with HSBC in respect of fixed term investments
  • £10.000 million with HSBC in respect of balances held on an overnight basis

 

 

Reasons for Decision:

 

To give members an opportunity to consider the performance of the Council in the period to 30 September 2019 against the parameters set out in the approved Treasury Management Strategy for 2019/2020.

 

To improve the operational framework within which officers can place both overnight and external investments.

 

 

156.

Budget Monitoring, Performance & Risk Management 2019/20 Q2

Report by Executive Directors Dr Carlton Brand, Alistair Cunningham OBE and Terence Herbert.

 

 

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Simon Jacobs, Cabinet Member for Finance and Procurement, presented a report which presented the report which (i) advised on the Budget Monitoring, Performance & Risk Management position 2019/20 Quarter 2 (30 September 2019) for the financial year 2019/20 with suggested actions as appropriate; (ii) Provided information about the position of the 2019/20 revenue and capital budgets as at quarter 2 (30 September 2019), including highlighting any budget changes; and (iii) provided an update on the progress against the stated aims in the Council’s Business Plan including measures from the corporate performance framework as well as the latest version of the Council’s strategic risk register as at the end of September 2019.

  

Cllr Jacobs explained that (i) the report brings together, regular reports on Budget Monitoring and Performance & Risk Management, combining key information to give a complete picture of financial and non-financial performance; (ii) forecasts indicated a general fund variance of £2.678m, being 0.8% of the Council’s net budget, and Directors and Heads of Service were identifying compensating actions to bring this back into a balanced year end position; (iii) the Dedicated Schools Grant coming under increased pressure in Wiltshire as it is across the country, with a current forecast for a £5.9m overspend, although mitigation plans are in place to address the overspend.

 

In response to comments and questions from Cllr Ian Thorn, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, about (i) the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG); (ii) underspends and whether these could have been forecast; and (iii) increasing the frequency of budget updates to Cabinet. Cllr Jacobs and the Leader of the Council reported on (i) comparisons with the previous years DSG overspend and how this could be addressed both locally and nationally; (ii) the variances with the Corporate budget relate to the receipt of several additional one off funding from government throughout the financial year; (iii) improvements to budget reporting was being planned.

 

The Cabinet noted that the Financial Planning Task Group, at its meeting held on 13 November 2019, considered the report and (i) suggested that a summary section indicating movement as compared to the previous year would be useful and (ii) noted that the overspend represented growth beyond the demand projections and that budget savings were being delivered.

 

Resolved:

 

  1. To note:
    1. that the budget is forecast to breakeven by the end of the financial year with the General Fund Quarter 2 projected year end outturn being an overspend risk of £2.678 million, before management actions are made.
    2. the HRA Quarter 2 projected year end outturn is online.
    3. the 2019/20 capital programme as at quarter 2 (30 September 2019) has been revised to a budget of £158.696 million (including requested additions).
    4. outturns against the selected performance measures in relation to the Council’s Business Plan.
    5. the scoring and commentary on the Strategic Risk Register.

 

  1. To approve the budget virements in the revenue budget and capital programme, per Appendices C, D & E.

 

  1. To recommend Full Council to approve additions  ...  view the full minutes text for item 156.

157.

Accommodation and Support for Care Leavers

    Report by Executive Director Terence Herbert.

 

 

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Pauline Church, Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Skills, presented a report providing proposals for the recommissioning of accommodation and support for care leavers and other vulnerable people, whose needs cannot be met in supported housing provision.

 

Cllr Church explained that majority of accommodation and support packages for care leavers were sourced through a regional framework, led by South Gloucestershire Council.  Only two of the providers had a Wiltshire presence, meaning too many young people were being placed outside of Wiltshire, where it was more challenging to provide support they needed. It was noted that Framework placements were also significantly more expensive than block packages, causing additional pressures on the placement budget.

 

Resolved:

 

  1. That approval be granted to commission a 25-bed block contract capacity for vulnerable young people.

 

  1. That further decisions about the length and specifics of the contract(s) be delegated to the Director of Commissioning in consultation with the Cabinet member for Children, Education and Skills.

 

  1. That an opportunity to commission the contract(s) in partnership with Swindon Borough Council be delegated to the Director of Commissioning in consultation with the Cabinet member for Children, Education and Skills.

 

 

Reason for Decision:

 

The purpose of this proposal is to increase the availability and quality of

accommodation and support for care leavers and homeless 16-17 year olds,

within Wiltshire. It is also designed to reduce unnecessary spend on post-16

placements.

 

 

 

158.

Intermediate Care Bed Service

    Report by Executive Director Dr Carlton Brand.

 

 

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Public Health and Public Protection, presented a report which outlined progress made in completing a review of intermediate care (IC) bed capacity and recommended a model for the specification of a new service from April 2020.

 

Resolved:

 

  1. Approves that officers develop a varied short-term bedded accommodation environment of intermediate care and system flow beds.

 

  1. Approves the procurement of intermediate care beds on a three-year contract term (with the option of a two-year extension period) with a view to implementing the new contract in time for commencement in Q1 of 2020/21. The procurement will stipulate that providers will be proactive in supporting the development of the new varied, short-term bedded environment by Q3 of 2020/21, as well as continuing to deliver the required beds within it.

 

  1. Approves delegated authority for Helen Jones, Director of Joint Commissioning, in consultation with Cabinet member for Adult Social Care, Public Health and Public Protection, the Director of Legal, Electoral and Registration Services and Interim Director, Finance and Procurement to approve the execution of new contracts for Intermediate Care Bed Services on behalf of Wiltshire Council.

 

Reasons for Decision:

 

The current contracts that end on 31 March 2020 have been extended twice as an exemption and may not be extended further. It is therefore essential that procurement begins within an appropriate timescale to implement the new service from 1 April 2020.

 

This approach represents a new way of working to develop flexible and

deliverable processes that ensure patient flow is improved through all bedded

accommodation.

 

 

 

159.

Proposals to amend the Council Tax Reduction Scheme (Post Consultation) 2020

      Report by Executive Director Alistair Cunningham OBE.

 

 

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Simon Jacobs, Cabinet Member for Finance and Procurement, presented a report which sought agreement to proposals to make changes to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTR) with effect from April 2020.

 

The Leader referred to a response from Citizens Advice Wiltshire, who expressed support for certain elements of the proposed scheme and also highlighted a number of concerns. The Leader asked for a copy of their letter to be forwarded to the Head of Revenues and Benefits for further consideration. 

 

Cllr Jacobs explained that the proposals were based on a simplified way of determining entitlement to council tax reduction know as de-minimus level, therefore limiting the number of changes to entitlement, offer a greater level of certainty for those in receipt of CTR and continue to protect low-income households from increases in Council Tax.

 

Cllr Ian Thorn, Chair of the Financial Planning Task Group, indicated that the Task Group at their meeting on 13 November 2019 welcomed the report, and were reassured by the engagement with the voluntary sector on the proposals and liaison with other councils.  The Task group also noted that there would be a review of the revised scheme in six months. Cllr Thorn, as Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group expressed his delight that a positive decision would be made by the Cabinet and congratulated officers for their work on the revised scheme proposals.

 

Cllr Carole King, as a member of a small debt management group, thanked Citizens Advice Wiltshire for their comments.

   

Resolved:

 

To recommend that Council agree to the change to the Council Tax Reduction scheme as set out in the conclusion of this report. If agreed the change will take effect from April 2020.

 

 

Reasons for Decision:

 

It is an annual requirement for the council to review its local CTR scheme and make recommendations for change as required. Since its introduction in April 2013, the scheme has been subject to minor amendment, but the core elements have been retained. However, in the last 24 months there have been significant increases in the number of households in receipt of Universal Credit (Full Service). For the purposes of assessing entitlement to CTR, Wiltshire Council treats Universal Credit (UC) as an income.

 

The Department of Work and Pensions notifies the council when there is any change to a household’s entitlement to UC. Typically, the council is sent 5,000 notifications per month. These are sent directly to the Council, by the Department of work and Pensions and contain information they have gathered from a variety of sources, including HMRC. The CTR scheme was not designed to accommodate this level of information. It is too sensitive to minor changes in monthly entitlement, which trigger reassessment of claims and recalculation of council tax bills. It was felt that without intervention, the current scheme would cause significant confusion for the customer, increase the risk of indebtedness and increase the costs of administering the collection of council tax.

 

 

160.

Household Waste Management Strategy

    Report by Executive Director Alistair Cunningham OBE.

 

 

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Bridget Wayman, Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Waste, presented a report which (i) provided an updated draft of the Household Waste Management Strategy 2017-27 (ii) Reported on performance of the waste management service during 2018-19 and (iii) Proposed an action plan for the waste management service for 2019-20, prior to referral to full Council for approval.

 

Cllr Wayman raised the following matters during the course of her presentation of the report: Engagement with the Environment Select Committee, the Strategy remaining central to environmental legislation, prioritising waste management practices which are more environmentally sustainable, the various government consultations detailed in the report and responses received, the publication by the government of the Environment Bill in October 2019 and the requirement to collect food waste at least once a week, recycling performance during 2018/19, deposit return scheme, key performance indicators, Annual Action Plan 2019/20 and references to the introduction of changes to the kerbside collection of recyclable materials.

       

Cllr Ian Thorn raised issues in connection with the collection of food waste and the potential for varying the waste contract to take this into account, the need for more background detail in relation to performance indicators, and a clearer explanation of timescales and how they would be achieved.  In response, Cllr Wayman explained that the Environment Bill had not been introduced by the government at this stage and that any new elements of the waste contract would be incorporated prior to its next tendering process in 2026. She also indicated that further information was expected from government about the collection of food waste.

 

In additional the following matters were raised about the Strategy, the style of wording used, fly-tipping, litter on roads and recycling rates and historical figures for the composition of waste collections. Cllr Wayman noted that the wording used in certain sections of the Strategy could be slightly clearer and that a number of councils were experiencing lower recycling rates.  

 

The Cabinet noted that the Environment Select Committee had considered and endorsed the Strategy at its meeting held on 23 April 2019, and the work being undertaken around fly-tipping and the use of overt and covert surveillance.

 

Resolved:

 

That Cabinet:

 

  1. Notes and approves the draft Strategy; and

 

  1. Recommends that full Council approves the draft Strategy as part of the Council’s Policy Framework.

 

Reasons for Decision:

 

There are significant changes anticipated in the legislative framework which

governs the delivery of waste management services which would result in the

council having to make decisions about the services it delivers in order to

remain compliant with statutory requirements. This could impact on the waste

and recycling services delivered to all Wiltshire households. It is therefore

appropriate that the strategy be approved by full Council to ensure that all

aspects of the council abide by the strategy with any proposed deviations

having to be approved by a majority of full Council.

 

161.

Disposal Programme

    Report by Executive Director Alistair Cunningham OBE.

 

 

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Toby Sturgis, Cabinet Member for Spatial Planning, Development Management and Investment presented the report about the current position in respect of capital receipts and confirmed the freehold interest in the assets to be sold to either generate capital receipts in support of the Council’s capital programme or reuse to generate income for the Council. 

 

Cllr Sturgis responded to questions in relation to (i) Christie Miller site and the need to resolve issues relating to covenants prior to marketing the site, and (ii) keeping local members informed of progress in relation to the vacant land at Castledown, Ludgershall.  

 

The Leader reminded the Cabinet that they had approved a revised approach to the disposal of surplus assets at their meeting on 26 March 2019. He confirmed that once an asset was declared surplus it would then be considered by the Asset Gateway Group to determine the best financial return for the Council, during which time other uses of the site would be considered. 

 

Resolved:

 

  1. That the position in respect of disposals for financial years 2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22 be noted.

 

  1. That the freehold interest of the 6 assets to be sold by the Council be confirmed.

 

  1. To authorise the Director for Housing and Commercial Development to dispose of the freehold interest in the assets or in his absence the Corporate Director for Growth, Investment and Place.

 

 

Reasons for Decision:

 

To note the current position in respect of capital receipts and confirm the

freehold interest in the assets can be sold to either generate capital receipts in

support of the Council’s capital programme or reuse to generate income for the

Council.

 

162.

Urgent Items

Any other items of business, which the Leader agrees to consider as a matter of urgency.

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

163.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

This is to give further notice in accordance with paragraph 5 (4) and 5 (5) of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012 of the intention to take the following item in private.

 

 

To consider passing the following resolution:

 

To agree that in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 to exclude the public from the meeting for the business specified in Item Number 16 because it is likely that if members of the public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in  paragraph 4 of Part I of Schedule 12A to the Act and the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information to the public.

 

Reason for taking item in private:

Paragraph 4 - information relating to any consultations, or contemplated consultation or negotiations, in connection with any labour relations matter arising between the authority or a Minister of the Crown and employees of, or office holders under the authority.

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

To agree that in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 to exclude the public from the meeting for the business specified in Minute Number 164 because it is likely that if members of the public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in paragraph 4 of Part I of Schedule 12A to the Act and the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information to the public.

 

 

164.

Proposed Change to the Senior Leadership Structure

Report by the Leader of the Council.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council presented a report seeking Cabinet’s approval to take steps to make changes to the senior management structure of the Council at tier 1 following discussion with the current Executive Directors.

 

Resolved:

 

1.    That Cabinet:

         a)        Approve the proposed changes to the structure of the council at the top tier (Executive Director), and as outlined in appendix 1 and paragraphs 9 – 14. This is on theunderstanding that a review of the roles and responsibilities of Directors at tier 2 will be carried out by the Executive Directors to determine the proposed interim and permanent designation of the statutory roles of DCS, DASS, ERO & RO. This will be done following discussion and agreement with the Head of Paid Service, and afterconsultation with the Leaderand Cabinet.

 

         b)        Recommend that Full Council approves the proposed permanent changes to the designation of the statutory roles once this review has been completed.

2.    If approved, the Leader of the Council proposes that cabinet note that:

 

         a)        Initial consultation on proposals to implement a new structure will start immediately.

 

         b)        Once a new structure is confirmed following consultation, that steps to seek approval of the appointment of Executive Directors by the Officer Appointments Committee will take place, and if appropriate steps to approval the redundancy of an Executive Director by the Senior Officers Employment Sub-Committee will also take place.

 

Reason for Decision:

The proposed changes will reduce the number of Executive Directors from three to two, with responsibility for People and Place. This increased focus on People and Place is consistent with the approach in a large number of large shire and unitary councils and will align with Council priorities.

 

 

(Note:

 

1.    The Cabinet received legal advice from the Council’s Monitoring Officer in relation to those members and officers allowed to remain in the meeting for the discussion on this matter.

 

2.    Cllr Hubbard expressed his disappointment at not being able to access the exempt report and attend the discussion, as had been permitted during similar items previously considered by Cabinet and he felt that the process was not transparent and open at this stage.)

 

 

 

 

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