Agenda and draft minutes

Cabinet
Wednesday, 17 July 2019 10.00 a.m.

Venue: District Council Chamber, South Lakeland House, Kendal

Contact: Inge Booth  Senior Committee Services Officer

Items
No. Item

CEX/24

Chairman's Announcement

Minutes:

The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder, having read out health and safety and filming details in respect of the meeting, informed Members that the Deputy Leader and Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder, was not present at the meeting due to the fact that he and the Chief Executive were attending a meeting with Morecambe Bay Members of Parliament to discuss the Lancaster and South Cumbria Economic Region.  He further informed Members that he himself would be unable to attend the next meeting of the Cabinet scheduled to be held on 11 September 2019, as he would be attending a meeting of the District Council’s Network Board.  The September Cabinet meeting would be chaired by the Deputy Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder.

CEX/25

Cabinet Executive Decisions pdf icon PDF 472 KB

To authorise the Chairman to sign, as a correct record, the Executive Decisions made by Cabinet on 26 June 2019.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the Chairman be authorised to sign, as a correct record, the Executive Decisions made by Cabinet on 26 June 2019.

CEX/26

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations by Members of interests in respect of items on this Agenda.

 

Members are reminded that, in accordance with the revised Code of Conduct, they are required to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests or other registrable interests which have not already been declared in the Council’s Register of Interests.  (It is a criminal offence not to declare a disclosable pecuniary interest either in the Register or at the meeting.)

 

Members may, however, also decide, in the interests of clarity and transparency, to declare at this point in the meeting, any such disclosable pecuniary interests which they have already declared in the Register, as well as any other registrable or other interests.

 

If a Member requires advice on any item involving a possible declaration of interest which could affect his/her ability to speak and/or vote, he/she is advised to contact the Monitoring Officer at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That it be noted that no declarations of interest were raised.

CEX/27

Local Government Act 1972 - Excluded Items

To consider whether the item in Part II of the Agenda should be considered in the presence of the press and public.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That, should discussion be necessary, the appendix in Part II of the agenda be dealt with following the exclusion of press and public.

CEX/28

Public Participation

Any member of the public who wishes to ask a question, make representations or present a deputation or petition at this meeting should apply to do so by no later than 0:01am (one minute past midnight) two working days before the meeting.  Information on how to make the application can be obtained by viewing the Council’s Website www.southlakeland.gov.uk or by contacting the Committee Services Team on 01539 733333.

 

(1)        Questions and Representations

 

            To receive any questions or representations which have been received from members of the public.

 

(2)        Deputations and Petitions

 

            To receive any deputations or petitions which have been received from members of the public.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That it be noted that no questions, representations, deputations or petitions have been received in respect of this meeting.

CEX/29

Revenue and Capital Outturn 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 165 KB

To consider the actual income and expenditure for 2018/19, budget variances, contributions to and from reserves and an update to the Capital Programme for carry forwards and other changes.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Summary

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder presented the Revenue and Capital Outturn 2018/19 report which set out the Council’s financial performance for 2018/19 and the impact on reserves.  He thanked the Finance Team for their work and, in particular, for highlighting the challenges in the budgets for the remainder of the year, thereby enabling the Management Team to take corrective action.

 

The report had been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 12 July 2019.

 

Attention was drawn to the net overspend of £131,000 relating Development Control and concern raised regarding the application of conditions attached to planning permissions.  The Director of Customer and Commercial Services extended an offer to discuss the matter of concern following the meeting and undertook, in addition, to provide the relevant information to all Cabinet and Shadow Executive Members.  The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder, with regard to the variance, explained that the shortfall was income-driven and suggested that additional information could be provided to Members.  In response to a further query, the Finance Lead Specialist (Section 151 Officer) explained that, with regard to the areas of development control and building control, there were, for accounting purposes, two cost centres.

 

Discussion turned to Customer Connect and the transitional period and to interactions with the public, which were a key part of the project.  Details were sought on how Customer Connect was impacting on services, and particularly on Development Control.  The Director of Strategy, Innovation and Resources explained that, in terms of design, staffing issues and process would be addressed.  Customer Connect was being used to improve processes and all activities which provided services, advice or guidance to the public would be built into the model.  This was a work in progress, with clear principles having been established.  Members would be kept briefed.

 

The Legal, Governance and Democracy Interim Lead Specialist informed Members of the discussion and comments raised on the report when considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 12 July.

 

Further concern was expressed around Development Control and where planning applications having been granted, developments were not moving forward.  In addition, the need for all Members to understand the planning process was raised and the Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder, in agreement, asked the Customer and Commercial Services and People to seek to arrange and appropriate session for all Members.

 

The Health, Wellbeing and Financial Resilience Portfolio Holder drew attention to the Reserves Summary at Appendix 5 to the report and to the Reserve relating to the Personal Financial Resilience Reserve of £25,000. This was a new reserve which had been created from unclaimed Members’ Allowances and earmarked to improve financial resilience.  The Portfolio Holder stressed that poverty was prevalent in South Lakeland.  She highlighted the fact that the use of foodbanks was on the increase, with extra pressure anticipated during the school summer holidays.  She commended the work being carried out by foodbanks and commented that it was disgraceful that foodbanks were even needed in  ...  view the full minutes text for item CEX/29

CEX/30

2018 - 2019 Annual Treasury Management Report pdf icon PDF 220 KB

To consider the Treasury Management Annual Report 2018/19 and the 2019/20 Strategy Update.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Summary

 

The Treasury Management Annual Report 2018/19 was presented by the Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder.  The report reviewed the treasury activities and the actual prudential and treasury indicators for the 2018/19 financial year, meeting the requirement of the Local Government Act 2003, the CIPFA Code of Practice on Treasury Management and the CIPFA Code for Capital Finance in Local Authorities.

 

The level of external debt had not changed during the year, with borrowing remaining well below the Capital Financing Requirement.  Current debt stood at £12.8m.  Although at year end, the Council had cash and investments of £20.3m, further repayment of debt was not recommended given that current repayment premium would be circa 93%.  The Portfolio Holder highlighted the fact that the Council’s strong cash position was used to keep borrowing down and that it was currently £5.6m under-borrowed.  He drew attention to the significant fluctuations in the Council’s cash flow which emphasised the need for dynamic management of the portfolio, ensuring that cash that was temporarily surplus to requirements was invested for the benefit of South Lakeland.  He also informed Members that the Council’s cash investments had out-performed benchmark rates, generating £223,000 of income to support the core services of the Council.

 

The report had been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 12 July 2019.

 

Decision

 

RESOLVED – That Council be recommended to approve the 2018/19 Treasury Management Annual Report.

 

Reasons for Decision

 

The Treasury Management Framework including Prudential Indicators forms part of the corporate governance arrangements that support all Council priorities.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

There are no alternative options.  The report presents historic data on treasury performance during 2018/19.

CEX/31

Medium Term Financial Plan 2020/21 to 2024/25 pdf icon PDF 219 KB

To consider the draft Medium Term Financial Plan 2020/21 to 2024/25, incorporating the Financial Strategy and the Budget Strategy.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Summary

 

The draft Medium Term Financial Plan, incorporating the Financial Strategy and the Budget Strategy (referred to collectively as the MTFP) was presented by the Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder. The Plan would ensure that the Council had a sound basis for allocating resources and effective financial management over the medium term.

 

The Portfolio Holder informed Members that the numbers within the MTFP were identical to those approved by Council in February 2019.  The key reason behind this was due to the very high level of uncertainty over the Council’s funding, with the timing of Government decisions around Spending Review 2019 and the proposed new local government funding system.  Given this uncertainty, the Council continued to assume that the Local Government Financial Settlement based on “fairer funding” would be implemented.  As part of this, the pooling arrangement for non-domestic rates would be expected to end, along with the New Homes Bonus.  The continuation of the Business Rate Pool was, however, a possibility if changes to local government funding were delayed.  Any previous applications had required a rapid response from all authorities about whether to join or remain in a pool.  The decision to join a pool had been delegated in both 2017 and 2018 and it was, therefore, requested that the same delegations continue for the current year.

 

The Portfolio Holder stressed the fact that, despite the high level of uncertainty, the Council was in a strong position compared to most local authorities, with adequate General Fund balances and reserves, robust financial management practices and an excellent track record in achieving efficiency savings.  He believed that the Council’s decision to pursue the Customer Connect Programme would make a substantial contribution to reducing the deficit over the next five years, however, that there was, in addition, still considerable work to be done, and key risks remained.

 

The overall position would be constantly reviewed and reported over the rest of 2019 and early 2020 as part of the budget process and update reports.

 

The Portfolio Holder thanked officers for their work.

 

The Legal, Governance and Democracy Interim Lead Specialist informed Members of the discussion and comments raised on the report when considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 12 July.

 

The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder informed Members that concerns had been raised at the recent Local Government Association Annual Conference with regard to the issue of Brexit and departure from the European Union.  His notes of the Conference were due to be circulated to all Members.

 

Attention was drawn to the Consumer Price Index graph shown at paragraph 5.1 of the MTFP and, in response to a query, the Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder explained that 2% was the Bank of England’s target rate for inflation.  He pointed out the many uncertainties which could arise from a disorderly Brexit, with the potential for a decline in sterling and a significant pick-up in inflation.  Some of the constraints around funding and thresholds would change as a result, and this  ...  view the full minutes text for item CEX/31

CEX/32

Annual Procurement Update 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 155 KB

To consider the Annual Report and a review of the 2019/20 Procurement Schedule.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Summary

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder presented a report which provided an update on progress across the procurement function and against the Sustainable Procurement and Commissioning Strategy 2016-2019.

 

The Portfolio Holder highlighted the importance of the procurement function and drew attention to the small team which, at a time of significant transformation, had continued to deliver both programmes and advice to ensure that the Council achieved best value and was compliant with procurement rules.  He referred to the 2018/19 Procurement Schedule which had included 86 projects, highlighting the retendering of insurance contracts which had generated cash savings; numerous procurement projects associated with the Council’s investments in playgrounds; work around key capital investment projects, for example Grange Lido and Kendal Town Hall/South Lakeland House; and property-related procurement activity.  This work had allowed the Council either to directly reduce costs or to offset inflationary pressure.

 

An updated Procurement Schedule for 2019/20 was attached at Appendix 2 to the report which included some additional procurement exercises not approved in February 2019.

 

The Portfolio Holder further explained that the procurement function within the Council had also been working to improve processes.  The Council was now using the Bloom Procurement Services framework for certain projects, giving benefits in being a quicker and more flexible route to market.  Although the key objective of the procurement function was to deliver value for money, the Portfolio Holder was pleased to advise that discussions were ongoing around the introduction of a social value policy that would assist in being able to judge future procurement tenders for their socio, economic and environmental impacts, including that on the local supply chain.

 

The report had been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 12 July 2019.

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder congratulated the Finance Team for their work on this important function of the Council.

 

Members echoed thanks and welcomed the report.

 

In response to a query, the Finance Lead Specialist (Section 151 Officer) explained that “the Chest” was a mechanism by which the tender process was undertaken, used by the Council together with other authorities as a single point for the submission of electronic tenders.  She explained, however, that there were quicker framework routes through which to process smaller contracts, for example Bloom Procurement Services.  Decisions on which route to follow were taken on a contract by contract basis.

 

Reference was made to the updated Procurement Schedule 2019/20 at Appendix 2 to the report and to the item regarding disposal of green waste in Ulverston and the Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder suggested that queries in relation to this matter should be put in writing.

 

A query was raised with regard to the efforts made by the Council to increase the number of contractors prepared to tender for works and as to whether the level of competition was satisfactory.  The Finance Lead Specialist (Section 151 Officer), although unable to provide individual statistics, explained that there was a wide range in the number of  ...  view the full minutes text for item CEX/32

CEX/33

Management of Kendal Markets pdf icon PDF 249 KB

To consider whether to proceed to Stage 2 of a two stage procurement process for the management of Kendal Indoor and Outdoor Markets.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Summary

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder reported that, at CEX/104 (2018/19), Cabinet had given approval for officers to invite Expressions of Interest (EOI) and preferred operating models from the private sector with regard to the running of Kendal Market.

 

A total of 13 interested parties had downloaded the EOI documents, however, only a limited number of companies had subsequently formally registered their interest.  Members were provided with a summary of the points made within the EOIs.  Importantly, those who had submitted EOIs had indicated the importance of retaining the feel of a traditional market whilst also adding quirky or niche offers in order to compete with the high street and internet.  Works to the indoor market were likely to be over a two to three year period and would look to include and consult with traders on their proposed vision.  The interested parties would want to work with the existing traders who would need to be willing to improve the look/offer of their stalls and merchandise in line with the new vision for the markets.

 

Once the terms and scope of the procurement had been agreed, an invitation to tender would be issued.  The process would be open, fair and transparent and would ensure that best outcomes and value for money were achieved in order to meet the Council’s objectives.  A further report would then be brought back to Cabinet.

 

In presenting the report, the Portfolio Holder highlighted the importance of a successful market as a major asset for the town, providing services to residents, opportunity for local business and an attraction for visitors.  He pointed out that Kendal Market, for which the Council held the Charter, was not currently fully exploiting its potential, with the number of people visiting the market having declined and the customer base aging.  Consultation with stakeholders had further confirmed the need for a new strategy with the rejuvenation of the market. It was stressed that stallholders were being kept informed of developments.

 

Attention was drawn to the fact that Kendal was a market town and that the market was key, bringing both social and economic benefits to the area.

 

Decision

 

RESOLVED – That procurement exercise be approved and the terms and scope be delegated to the Director Customer and Commercial Services in consultation with the Portfolio holder for Finance and Resources and the Portfolio holder for Economy, Culture and Leisure.

 

Reasons for Decision

 

To assist in the delivery of the Council Plan priorities, as follows:-

 

Economy and Culture

 

·        Engagement with the private sector and public sector partners will be central to our approach to helping grow and develop the economy.

·        We will when opportunities present themselves make best use of our property portfolio to support economic growth, through the use of our current and future asset base.

·        Using culture and built heritage to support our unique offer.

·        Developing town centres which are attractive and accessible for living, working, culture and leisure.

 

Health and Environment

 

·        We will encourage best use of our distinctive environment  ...  view the full minutes text for item CEX/33

CEX/34

Press and Public

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That, under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that Appendix 1 to the report involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 1 of Schedule 12 A of the Act as amended by the Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006 by virtue of the Paragraph indicated.

CEX/35

Council property at Dowker Lane, Kendal pdf icon PDF 460 KB

To consider the boundary of the Council’s ownership at Dowker Lane.

 

Please note Appendix 1 to the report - Part II- Business Case and Site Plan

 

Note – In accordance with Section 100B(2) of the Local Government Act 1972, copies of this appendix are excluded from inspection by members of the public as the report contains information as described in Schedule 12A of the Act, as amended by the Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006, as follows:-

 

- Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).  (Paragraph 3)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Summary

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder informed Cabinet that the food retailer and local business Booths, owned part of the car parking area on Dowkers Lane, Kendal.  South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) owned the larger part of the car park and managed all car parking on the site, including the areas owned by Booths for an agreed annual management fee.  In total there were 111 bays, with SLDC having 87 bays and Booths having ownership of the remaining 24 bays.  In addition to the 24 car parking bays owned by Booths, there was also a small garage on the site which was leased to Kendal Town Council.

 

Booths had indicated that they wished to dispose of their interest at Dowkers Lane and, through negotiations with the Council’s property advisors, had come to an agreement for the value noted in the business case within the Part II Appendix 1 to the report.

 

Details of current gross and net income generated from the car park together with the management charges of SLDC car park team, were provided within the report.  The management fee charged against the gross income from the car park areas was based on a pro-rata allocation of the gross income derived from the site.  The basis of the management fee charged was that of the agreed apportionment of Council overheads and charges relating to the management of Kendal car parks.  It was very unlikely that the management costs experienced by the Council car park team would decline should the acquisition of the Booths interest not happen.  Thus, in this scenario, the Council would be left with costs of over £10,000 per annum, and no corresponding income stream against which to allocate these charges.

 

There was not one prescribed method to assess the value of the car park to the Council.  The gross income was one option whilst valuation practice would usually seek to value the net or free cash flows.  This had, therefore, resulted in a range of values being considered for the car park interest.

 

The garage on the site was currently leased to Kendal Town Council at a rent of £2,600 per annum, which had been calculated as part of the overall valuation.

 

The asset was currently being advertised on the market by the agent for Booths.  If the asset was still on the market on approval of the budget to proceed, the next step would be to instruct Legal Services, and transfer the asset into the Council car park portfolio at the earliest possible date.  Subject to approval and acceptance, it as expected that completion could take place within eight weeks of the reaching exclusive agreement terms with the vendor.  Once within the portfolio, the management charges and income allocation would fall away, and the Council would obtain full rights to all income generated at the site on all 111 parking bays.

 

Note – The business case and site plan were shown at Appendix 1 to the report in Part ll of the Agenda which  ...  view the full minutes text for item CEX/35