Agenda and minutes

Cabinet
Thursday, 18 February 2021 10.00 am

Venue: Remote Meeting

Contact: Stacey Worthington  01952 384382

Media

Items
No. Item

CAB-46

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

None.

CAB-47

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 369 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED – that the minutes of the meeting held on 7 January 2021 be confirmed and signed by the Chair.

CAB-48

Leader's Announcements

Minutes:

The Leader thanked NHS partners, council staff and the community for their efforts in the vaccination roll out. The roll out had got off to a slow start, however, the rates in Telford and Wrekin were now above the national average. The Leader stated that there had been reports of thousands of appointments at the Telford International Centre not being filled due to problems with the national booking system The Leader reiterated the Council’s offer to the Government to support the vaccine roll out in any way possible.

 

CAB-49

2020/21 Financial Monitoring Report pdf icon PDF 457 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Key Decision identified as 2020/21 Financial Management Report in the Notice of Key Decisions published on 9 December 2020.

 

Councillor R C Evans, Cabinet Member: Council Finance & Governance presented the report of the Director: Finance & Human Resources (Chief Financial Officer).

 

The Service & Financial Planning Strategy, also considered at this meeting, set the context of the continuing and prolonged financial challenges facing the Council. The Council had a long track record of sound financial management, however, the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) had a significant impact on the whole country. The UK entered into a first period of initial lockdown in March 2020 and the Council had immediately moved to an emergency response mode, to safeguard the community and employees.

 

During the year, the Council had continued to provide all the usual services, except where they have been suspended due to national or local restrictions (for example, leisure centres and libraries during lockdown periods). The Council had also provided additional support to residents and businesses.

 

This has all been during a period where income streams have been under pressure, as well as following over a decade of severe financial constraints from central Government due to cuts in grants. There had been an increase in demand for many council services, including Social Care provision.

 

The total projected budget pressure was estimated to be £20.55m (including council tax and business rates shortfalls). The Council received £18.97m of Government National Emergency Response Funding, which left a residual pressure of £1.58m. This was a change to the projected position reported to Cabinet in January 2021, however, there had been a further period of national lockdown, which had impacted on the projected calculations. The Council continued to exercise a high degree of financial control through active budget management by Cabinet Members, Senior Managers and budget holders across the organisation.

 

The total pressure of £20.55m included an estimate for potential reductions in council tax and business rates income of £6.1m. The Government announced during the Comprehensive Spending Review that they would investigate a tax income guarantee scheme of 75%, the net shortfall could then be collected over a three year period. 

 

There were a number of variations to the approved budget, many of which related to Covid-19.  Children’s Safeguarding and Family Support continued to be a key area of pressure with additional investment of £0.658m, related to Children in Care Placement costs and £0.311m related to additional staffing costs.

 

Adult Social Care required additional investment of £3.758m, related to increased costs to support care providers and clients, and a further investment of £5.459m for the costs of short term reablement care.

 

Education & Corporate Parenting was also under pressure with a projected overspend of £0.37m.  This was largely due to additional home to school transport costs.

 

The capital programme totalled £63m for 2020/21 which included all approvals since the budget was set.  At the time that the report was compiled, projected spend was 97% of the budget allocation. 

 

Members thanked the officers for their work in producing this report.

 

RESOLVED  ...  view the full minutes text for item CAB-49

CAB-50

Service & Financial Planning Strategy 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Reserved for Council

 

Councillor R C Evans, Cabinet Member: Council Finance & Governance, presented a series of reports of the Chief Executive and the Chief Financial Officer. The reports, detailed the Revenue Budget, medium term Capital Strategy and Programme, the Investment and Treasury Management Strategies and Prudential Indicators. In October 2020, the Council’s Cabinet agreed a refreshed Council Plan to deliver the organisation’s vision to “Protect, Care and Invest to Create a Better Borough”.

 

On 5 March 2020 the Council approved a one year service and financial planning strategy for the current financial year.  The strategy was set after more than 10 years of severe financial constraint from the Governments austerity programme. During this 10 year period, the Council had made ongoing savings of £126.4m in order to set a balanced budget, at a time where there was a growing demand for services.

 

The Council agreed a one year budget strategy for 2020/21 as the Government had proposed to make major changes to the local government finance system, however, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this has been postponed and the spending review announced on 25 November 2020 covered a period of one year.

 

In view of this significant uncertainty over the future of local government finance and what resources may be available to the Council beyond the following year, and the uncertainties caused by Covid-19, a one year service and financial planning strategy for 2021/22 is again proposed. However, because capital projects needed to be planned over a longer time horizon new capital investment proposals were included for 2021/22 and the following two years.

 

The report identified key strategies including:-

 

·         Increasing Council Tax for 2021/22 by 1.99% and that the Government’s additional 3% “Adult Social Care precept” be applied.  This gave a total increase of 4.99%, raising £3.64m in total. 

·         Doubling the provision of the Council Tax Reduction Hardship Assistance Scheme to help residents who need support during this time.

·         The Adult Social Care precept would raise £2.188m which would be fully invested into Adult Social Care Services.

·         Extra investment of £1m spread over to 2021/22 and 2022/23 to support crime an anti-social behaviour initiatives.

·         A packet of budget savings, including additional income generated by the Council’s commercial activities, totalling £5.9m in 2021/22, rising to £7.139m in 2022/23.

·         Prudent use of £0.173m of available revenue balances to ensure a balanced budget for 2021/22.

·         A programme of capital investments totalling more than £228.532m as set out in the Capital Strategy and Capital Programme reports which included:-

·         £65.3m investment into NuPlace, the Council’s wholly owned housing company.

·         £40.7m for highways and transport schemes, including improvements to the A442 and funding for repair of potholes, footways and drainage schemes.

·         £25.7m for education capital projects, including an expansion project for secondary school places in the Borough.

·         £9.95m into the Stronger Communities Programme, focused on bringing brownfield sites back into use, and providing a stimulus for the delivery of the Station Quarter.

·         £9.65m investment into the Council’s Property Investment portfolio, which will attract new jobs  ...  view the full minutes text for item CAB-50

CAB-51

Procurement Update pdf icon PDF 270 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Key Decision identified as Procurement Update in the Notice of Key Decisions published on 20 January 2021.

 

The Cabinet Member for Council Finance and Governance presented the procurement update report. The report highlighted the work of officers in relation to the Procurement Policy Notice and supplier relief throughout the COVID pandemic. The report outlined changes to public procurement rules following the UKs exit from the European Union.

 

The Leader of the Conservative Group asked if the proposed procurement of fleet buses would be hybrid or electric vehicles, it was confirmed that these were being looked into, however, the Council needed to ensure that the vehicles procured functioned correctly and met the needs of the service.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

a)    The procurement updates in this report be noted

b)   The Procurement Intentions Document (Attached as Appendix A to the report) be noted

 

CAB-52

Creating a Better Borough - The Telford Land Deal pdf icon PDF 4 MB

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member: Economy, Housing, Transport & Infrastructure presented the report of the Director: Prosperity and Investment. The report set out the achievements of the Telford Land Deal, which delivered local jobs and created growth in the Borough.

 

The Council entered into a 10 year land deal with Homes England in April 2015. The Deal had now been in place for 5 years and had seen the development of:

·         24 new commercial sites

·         14 sites for residential development delivering 753 new homes

·         Enabled 1389 new jobs.

·         Cumulatively had brought forward 23 hectares of brownfield land for development

·         Delivered gross sales income of £31.4m

·         Attracted private sector investment of over £254m.

·         The developments would generate business rates of c £2.5m and council tax of c £0.94m.

 

Cabinet Members praised the Land Deal as a success story, bringing jobs and homes into the Borough.

 

The Leader of the Conservative Group stated that, due to the economic uncertainties around Brexit and the pandemic, the Council should tread cautiously to ensure the units were not a liability. It was noted that there was a significant level of demand for units and that a mix of units were being brought forward.

 

RESOLVED that the outcomes achieved since the Land Deal commenced as set out in section 4 of the report be noted

 

CAB-53

Creating a Better Borough - The Telford Growth Fund pdf icon PDF 991 KB

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member: Neighbourhood, Commercial Services and Regeneration presented the report of the Director: Prosperity and Investment. The report outlined the achievements of the Council’s Growth Fund investments, supporting economic growth.

 

The fund supported a range of developments, including Southwater and companies at Hortonwood West and T54. Cumulatively, the Fund had delivered a gross return of 7.2%, 4.6% after borrowing, with over 50% linked to long term lettings of up to 15 years. The Fund was supporting the delivery of employment space at Ni-Park in Newport.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

a)    The outcomes of the Growth Fund investments to date as set out in section 4 of this report be noted

b)   the allocation of £9.65m from the Growth Fund and Regeneration and Investment Fund to support the developments set out at paragraph 6.0 of the report be noted and authority be delegated to the Director: Prosperity & Investment, in consultation with the Director: Finance & HR and the Cabinet Member: Council Finance & Governance, to consider business cases through the Fund

 

CAB-54

Telford & Wrekin Safer Communities Programme pdf icon PDF 430 KB

Minutes:

The Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Enforcement, Community Safety and Customer Services presented the report of the Director: Neighbourhood & Enforcement Services. The report outlined the proposed £1.5m investment into the Safer Communities programme, of which £1m would be allocated from the Council, with the Police and Crime Commissioner contributing a further £500,000.

 

The programme sought to address the root cause of crime. There would be an increase in the number of Neighbourhood Enforcement Officers, and the number of police officers in the borough had increased by 60 since 2016. The programme run for two years from April 2021, however, it was envisaged that engagement and monitoring would continue into future years.

 

Members welcomed the report.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

a)    the approach and investment in the new Telford & Wrekin Safer Communities programme as outlined in the report be endorsed.

b)   authority be delegated to the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Enforcement, Community Safety & Customer Services, in consultation with the Director: Neighbourhood & Enforcement Services to approve the areas identified following the data review to benefit from the Safer Communities investment.

c)    Authority be delegated to the Deputy Leader & Cabinet Member for Enforcement, Community Safety & Customer Services in consultation with the Director: Neighbourhood and Enforcement Services to finalise the series of social measures that will help to monitor and evaluate the impact of the Safer Communities investment programme.

 

CAB-55

Safer, Cleaner Neighbourhoods Through Appropriate Use Of Our Enforcement Powers pdf icon PDF 857 KB

Minutes:

Key Decision identified as Safer, Cleaner Neighbourhoods Through Appropriate Use of Our Enforcement Powers in the Notice of Key Decisions published on 9 December 2020.

 

The Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Enforcement, Community Safety and Customer Services presented the report of the Director: Neighbourhood & Enforcement Services. The report highlighted the enforcement duties fulfilled by the Council spanning a number of services.

 

Civil Parking Enforcement had been in place in the Borough for one year. The Council had suspended parking enforcement during the first national lockdown, in response to government guidance, CPE had resumed with the easing of restrictions. There had been over 500 informal warnings given and 2565 penalty charge notices issued. The enforcement team had engaged with Town and Parish Councils to create Community Action Teams to expand enforcement to a wider range of issues.

 

The report summarised the proposed next steps, which included the commencement of the Community Action Teams from April 2021 to address areas of specific concern and a fly tipping strategy.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

a)    the steps taken and the results of the first full year of Civil Parking Enforcement from 31 January 2020 be noted

b)   the success of enforcement activity undertaken in 2020 be noted and the new areas of focus proposed for 2021 as featured in section 11 of the report be endorsed

c)    authority be delegated to the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Enforcement, Community Safety and Customer Service, in consultation with the Director: Neighbourhood & Environmental Services, to approve and adopt a new Fly Tipping Strategy.

 

CAB-56

Draft Learning Disability Strategy pdf icon PDF 495 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Key Decision identified as Draft Learning Disability Strategy in the Notice of Key Decisions published on 9 December 2020.

 

The Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care presented the report of the Director: Adult Social Care. During 2020, the Council had undertaken a series of engagement exercises to co-develop a new Learning Disability Strategy for the next 5 years. The draft strategy had been informed by service users, their families and carers and professionals. The report provided an overview of the draft strategy, as well as the proposed consultation questions.

 

Members welcomed the report.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

a)    the content of the report and appendices be noted

b)   the consultation on the draft Learning Disability Strategy be endorsed and approved.