Agenda and minutes

Cabinet - Wednesday, 5 February 2020 10.00 a.m.

Venue: District Council Chamber, South Lakeland House, Kendal

Contact: Inge Booth  Senior Committee Services Officer

Items
No. Item

CEX/79

Cabinet Executive Decisions pdf icon PDF 327 KB

To authorise the Chairman to sign, as a correct record, the Executive Decisions made by Cabinet on 20 December 2019.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the Chairman be authorised to sign, as a correct record, the Executive Decisions made by Cabinet on 20 December 2019.

CEX/80

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 the following declarations of interest were raised under this item:-

 

(1)        Councillors John Holmes, Janette Jenkinson, Kevin Lancaster and Eric Morrell in Minute No.87; and

 

(2)        Councillor Janette Jenkinson in Minute No.91.

CEX/81

Local Government Act 1972 - Excluded Items

To consider whether the items, if any, in Part II of the Agenda should be considered in the presence of the press and public.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That it be noted that there were no excluded items on the agenda.

CEX/82

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/83

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 60 KB

To note the contents of the Forward Plan published on 7 January 2020.

Minutes:

Reference was made to reports in the press regarding local government reorganisation and the potential effect on forthcoming decisions included within the Forward Plan.  The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder informed Members that there was no effect on current decisions and that discussions on devolution in the North West were purely preliminary at this stage.  In response to a query relating to a briefing by the Chief Executive to staff on 6 February and the potential for Members to be similarly informed, the Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder undertook to review this matter following the Cabinet meeting.

 

RESOLVED – That the contents of the Forward Plan published on 7 January 2020 be noted.

CEX/84

Council Plan Performance Monitoring Report Quarter 3 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 332 KB

To monitor progress against the measures of success as detailed within the Council Plan.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Summary

 

The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder presented an update report on the progress with the Council Plan for Quarter 3 of 2019/20.  The report monitored success of the Council Plan, informed of improvements and ensured that the Council services addressed the needs of residents in an open and transparent way.  The Council was committed to delivering high quality, cost effective services that met the needs of residents and improved quality of life.  The performance management process helped the Council to demonstrate how well it was doing

 

The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder referred to the Climate Emergency and informed Members that the Action Plan had been refreshed based on the outcome of consultation throughout the District.  This dynamic Action Plan would be made available to the public.  He further referred to the fact that officers were working hard on measures to increase Biodiversity.  The Council continued apace to meet the target for affordable homes to rent, and this year would see the delivery of the 500th home.  It was hoped that the target of 1,000 affordable homes to rent would not only be met by 2025 but exceeded.  Work was being carried out on reducing the number of long-term empty homes.  The economy continued to be prosperous, with low unemployment, incomes rising and an increase in the number of jobs created.

 

The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder, however, drew attention to a number of areas of concern, for example, increases in the number of people presenting themselves as homeless, in the number of people attending food banks and in people in poverty, all following national trends.

 

The report also included the Council’s Strategic Risk Register and the Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder pointed out that these risks were all being carefully monitored and managed and did not pose concern.  He referred, however, to the risk relating to the impact of welfare reform on the community and in particular of Universal Credit on rent arrears.  He emphasised the need for the Council to try to help those suffering from the mental stress being caused as a result of the impact.

 

A lengthy discussion ensued during which Portfolio Holders presented information in relation to their areas of remit and responded to queries raised.  The Deputy Leader and Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder acknowledged that a number of houses remained empty as a result of the death of the owner and of those to whom the property had passed not being in a position to move forward for either financial or emotional reasons.  He felt that there could be more that the Council could do in this regard.  The Principal Specialist People suggested the potential to look into the reasons behind long-term empty homes and undertook to provide more information.  It was further suggested that vendors of such homes should be encouraged to seek more realistic prices for the properties.  The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder suggested that this area could  ...  view the full minutes text for item CEX/84

CEX/85

Corporate Financial Update Quarter 3 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 264 KB

To note the projected year end position based on performance to the end of Quarter 3, 2019/20 and to consider a budget virement request.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Summary

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder presented the third quarter financial monitoring report of 2019/20.  The report provided the projected year end position based on performance to the end of Quarter 3 and officers’ planned actions to ensure a balanced budget by the end of the financial year.

 

As a result of the new leadership structure from April 2019, the Finance Team had split and re-allocated the budgets approved in February 2019 to the new Operational Leads and Lead Specialists.  This was a moving situation, and the budgets reflected the current position of services, which had changed from Quarter 1.

 

The report and appendices included details relating to the revenue budget, capital expenditure, collection of Council Tax and business rates and the Council’s current position with regard to debt collection.

 

Appendix 1 set out the revenue variances to date.  The approved net revenue budget for 2019/20 set by Council in February 2019 had been £14m, which had included a Customer Connect savings target of £740,000 and a vacancy factor savings target of £593,000.  Additionally, carry forward requests of £510,000 had been approved by Cabinet on 24 April 2019.  Expenditure budgets had been increased in accordance with those approved carry forwards along with the matching funding from reserves.  Overall, at the end of Quarter 3, budget monitoring had identified a forecast year-end underspend of £15,000.  Trends identified in these budget monitoring results had been fed into the 2020/21 budget setting process.

 

Appendix 2 set out the position on the Capital Programme. The capital budget for 2019/20 approved by Council in November 2019 had been £6.988m.  Table 4 in the report summarised requests to update the Capital Programme totalling £140,500 as a result of additional external funding for several schemes.  Expenditure against the Programme to the end of Quarter 3 had been £3.206m.

 

Appendix 3 provided an update on Treasury Management for the quarter.  Investments had performed better than the relevant benchmarks.  No repayment of existing borrowing or new borrowing was anticipated up to the end of the financial year.

 

As part of Phase 1 of the Customer Connect Programme, there were a number of transition costs resulting in an overspend in service budgets.  Following appointments to Phase 2, the redundancy cost budget had been underspent, and it had been agreed with the Customer Connect Board and the Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder to use £213,540 (as identified in Period 7 monitoring) of this to cover the Phase 1 transition costs.  Whilst still being used to cover staff costs related to Customer Connect, due to the use not being exactly as initially indicated, it was felt appropriate, for transparency and completeness, to also seek approval from Council, as the amount was over the £100,000 limit identified in the Financial Procedure Rules.

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder, in closing, thanked officer in the Finance Team for their work in producing the report.

 

Reference was made to paragraph 3.1.1 of the report and the fact that Phase 2 of the Customer Connect  ...  view the full minutes text for item CEX/85

CEX/86

Review of the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme pdf icon PDF 291 KB

To consider renewing South Lakeland District Council’s Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2020/21.

Minutes:

Note – At this point in the proceedings, Linda Fisher, Legal Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer) declared a personal interest in this item of business by virtue of the fact that she was a Trustee of the War Widows Association.  She remained in the Chamber during the discussion and voting on the item, although with no voting rights as an officer of the Council.

 

Summary

 

On 1 April 2013, the national Council Tax Benefit Scheme had been abolished and replaced with a locally-determined scheme known as the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme.  South Lakeland District Council had introduced a scheme that mirrored the previous national scheme, which meant that nobody was worse off under the Local Scheme and that the most vulnerable people in the District were protected from any reductions in support.

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder presented a detailed report, informing Members that the Local Government Finance Act 2012 (as amended) required Local Authorities to approve their Council Tax Reduction Scheme on an Annual Basis by the 11 March for the following financial year.

 

After considering options for change, including the additional income, costs and risks associated with any changes, it was expected that the current Scheme would continue unchanged for the financial year 2020/21.  This was with the exception of applying the annual upratings and other minor income and capital disregards, and treatment of persons from abroad aligned to other means tested benefit schemes as detailed in the recommendations contained within the report and reflecting the issues set out at Section 3.7 to the report.

 

Attention was drawn to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme (Prescribed Requirements) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 which had come into force on 11 February 2020 and to minor amendments contained therein.  Equalities impacts had been outlined within the report.

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder stressed the fact that the overall cost of the Scheme to the Authority of the Scheme was significant but supported the Council’s objective of alleviating poverty.  This was not something that the Council had to do, but chose to, in so doing helping to protect the poorest and most vulnerable residents in the District.

 

He added that it was expected that a review of South Lakeland’s Council Tax Reduction Scheme was due to be undertaken, probably as part of a wider Cumbria review, to assess the impacts on the Scheme of the roll-out of Universal Credit.

 

Members were proud of the Scheme which supported the Council’s commitment to enable the most vulnerable resident to survive and flourish.  The Scheme continued to garner cross-party support.

 

Decision

 

RESOLVED – That Council be recommended that the current Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme is the most appropriate scheme for this Council for the financial year commencing 1 April 2020, subject to the Finance Lead Specialist (Section 151 Officer), in consultation with the Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder, being authorised to:-

 

(1)        make all necessary updates to this Council’s Council Tax Reduction Scheme to comply with any statutory requirements that  ...  view the full minutes text for item CEX/86

CEX/87

2020/21 to 2024/25 Draft Budget pdf icon PDF 261 KB

To consider the draft budget proposals for the financial years 2020/21 to 2024/25.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Note – Councillor John Holmes declared a non-pecuniary interest in this item of business by virtue of the fact that he was a Director on the Board of South Lakes Housing.  Councillors John Holmes, Janette Jenkinson, Kevin Lancaster and Eric Morrell reserved their positions by virtue of the fact that they were Members of the Planning Committee which was due to consider a planning application relating to the Grange Lido.  All remained in the Chamber during the discussion and voting on the item, although Councillors Holmes, Jenkinson and Lancaster having no voting rights as Members of the Shadow Cabinet.

 

Summary

 

The Finance Portfolio Holder presented the latest 2020/21 to 2024/25 Five Year Draft Budget.  A balanced budget for 2020/21 was presented, including an increase in the Band D Council tax of 2%.

 

The completion of the Customer Connect Programme had substantially reduced future budget deficits.  A one-year Local Government finance settlement had the potential for additional, one-off income in 2020/21.  Options still needed to be developed to use this additional funding to mitigate the expected funding reductions from 2021.

 

The Council, at its meeting on 23 July 2019, had agreed to the proposed Budget Strategy for the current year’s budget process as part of the Medium Term Financial Plan.  The Budget Strategy set out some broad principles which were being used in the preparation of the 2020/21 – 2024/25 Budget.

 

Final Local Government finance settlement figures had not yet been received.  It was, therefore, being requested that any further necessary amendments be delegated to the Leader and the Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder, in consultation with the Section 151 Officer, prior to consideration of the report at the Council meeting on 25 February 2020.

 

The report included a summary position.  The Medium Term Financial Plan provided a summary five year annual position which included a projection of the overall surplus or deficit on the General Fund Revenue Budget.  The assumptions and financial implications were kept constantly under review as circumstances changed.  A summary of the known changes at this stage was provided at Table 1 of the report, with a more detailed analysis of expenditure and income at Appendix 2a to the report.  Table 1 set out the summarised estimated annual General Fund Budget requirement across the review period, including the projected surplus for 2020/21 and future year deficits.  Appendix 3a to the report provided more detail and a reconciliation of the latest projected deficits compared to previous deficit projections.

 

The projections all included the full Customer Connect savings delivered to date.  In addition, the one-off Local Government finance settlement and deferment of the new funding model until at least April 2021 left the Council with substantial additional one-off income of around £1.0m for 2020/21, turning a projected budget deficit into a budget surplus.  The projected annual revenue surplus totalled circa £47,000 in 2020/21, but this was a one-year only surplus with a projected deficit for £0.9m in 2021/22 rising to circa £2.7m by 2024/25.

 

Work was underway to resolve  ...  view the full minutes text for item CEX/87

CEX/88

2020/21 Procurement Schedule pdf icon PDF 123 KB

To consider the Procurement Schedule for 2020/21.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Summary

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder reported that, since April 2016, the Council’s Constitution had permitted officers to conduct and conclude the contracting processes without further approval, providing it was in line with the Procurement Schedule, to be approved by Council at least annually.  Where a procurement process was over budget, then approval would still be required in accordance with the Financial Procedure Rules.  Where an officer sought approval for a waiver or exemption under the Contract Procedure Rules, this was also included in the Procurement Schedule.

 

The Procurement Schedule for 2020/21 was attached at Appendix 1 to the report.  There were 109 procurement projects identified, which was considerably higher than the 77 procurement exercises originally approved for 2019/20.

 

The report had also been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 17 January 2020.

 

In presenting the report, the Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder informed Members that the list would continue to evolve during the forthcoming year and indeed that there were two car park projects that needed to be removed from the Schedule at Appendix 1 to the report.  No work was now planned at Rydal Road, as this was not currently economically viable.  Work on Braithwaite Fold Car Park would not proceed, given the work on the Glebe Masterplan outlined elsewhere within the Schedule.  Furthermore, there would be an addition with regard to the Council’s work in relation to the Environment Agency flood alleviation scheme which had been agreed on the previous day.  The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder thanked all officers involved.

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder undertook to arrange for a written response to a query raised regarding the inclusion on the Schedule of the disposal of green waste in Ulverston, two year extension of contract, and as to whether the projected reduction in income from sales of recyclates referred to within the Corporate Financial Update Quarter 3, 2019/20 report would have an impact on what was being procured.  In response to a further query regarding inclusion on the Schedule of an item relating to Ulverston Leisure Centre and plans for its announcement, the Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder suggested that that all Members should be provided with information in this regard.  The Director of Strategy, Innovation and Resources explained that the item within the Schedule related purely to design and build and that further decisions had yet to be made.  He suggested, however, that an update could be included within the portfolio holder’s next executive report to Council.  An additional query having been raised, the Director of Strategy, Innovation and Resources undertook to ensure that information on consultation with users and the local community was included within the executive report.

 

Decision

 

RESOLVED – That Council be recommended to approve the Procurement Schedule for 2020/21 attached at Appendix 11 to the report.

 

Reasons for Decision

 

Individual proposals within the Procurement Schedule reflect Council plan priorities and budget proposals.

 

It is expected that Council will ensure Value for Money in the provision  ...  view the full minutes text for item CEX/88

CEX/89

Treasury Management and Capital Strategies 2020/21 - 2024/25 pdf icon PDF 155 KB

To consider the Treasury Management and Capital Strategies for 2020/21 – 2024/25.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Summary

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder presented a report setting out the Council’s Treasury Management Strategy for 2020/21 to 2024/25 and the Capital Strategy for 2020/21 – 2033/34. The Strategies had been updated to reflect the 2019/20 Budget and Capital Programme.

 

The strategies fulfilled five key legislative requirements relating to the setting of prudential indicators, the Council’s Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) Policy, the Treasury Management Strategy Statement the Investment Strategy and the Capital Strategy, details of which were provided.

 

The report reflected the budget proposals which had been approved for consultation by Cabinet on 20 December 2019.

 

The Treasury Management Strategy was based on the proposed Capital Programme for 200/21 – 2024/25 which had been considered at Minute CEX/87 above.

 

The Capital Strategy included potential capital expenditure not currently in the proposed Programme and arising from the review of Council Assets in 2018/19, adjusted for any proposal brought as part of the 2020/21 Capital Programme.  The resulting indicators in the Capital Strategy were, therefore, higher as it included potential expenditure and borrowing which might not arise, depending on future decisions around service delivery.  For example, the 2020/21 Capital Programme included a programme of works to the shopping centre car park which would extend its life beyond the Capital Strategy timeframe.  This had resulted in £12m of spend for 2029-30 – 2033/34 being removed from the longer term Programme.  The Capital Strategy would assist in ensuring that the Council had funds available in the future to meet future opportunities which might arise.  It also considered organisational issues, including how the Capital Programme would be prioritised and considerations, including capacity to deliver.

 

The report had also been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 17 January 2019.

 

Decision

 

RESOLVED – That the Treasury Management and Capital Strategies and the authorised borrowing limits within the report be noted and recommended to Council for approval.

 

Reasons for Decision

 

These arrangements enable the priorities of the Council Plan to be achieved.  The Strategies ensure that the Council has robust arrangements for investing and that it only borrows where it is appropriate and affordable.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

No alternative options are proposed.  The Treasury Management Framework, in particular, is driven largely by legislation and external guidance and reflects the 2018/20 budget.

CEX/90

Affordable House Price Review pdf icon PDF 133 KB

To consider the annual review of the affordable discounted sale house prices.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Summary

 

The Deputy Leader of the Council and Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder presented a report explaining that, each year, the Council reviewed the discounted for sale affordable house prices which were published on the Council’s Website.  This was important, as these prices formed a central element in housing developers’ calculations as to the financial viability of building new housing scheme and meeting the Council’s Local Plan Policy requirements and the policy requirements of the Lake District National Park Authority.  The Council’s discounted sale prices were also used by the Lake District National Park Authority in South Lakeland.

 

The report detailed other factors which had to be taken into consideration, such as the Housing Register, income data, employment statistics, street value data and house price data.  The house price to income ratio in South Lakeland showed a slight increase from 2018, so there was still a pressing need for affordable housing.  As there was a significant difference in workplace income, it was not felt unreasonable to apply the CPI (Consumer Price Index) (inclusive of housing costs) increase of 1.7% to the affordable house prices.

 

It was proposed that subsequent affordable house price reviews followed the same approach and were reviewed on an annual basis.  These annual reviews would need to be considered by the Portfolio Holder’s Housing Advisory Group.  It was further proposed that annual reviews were subsequently signed off by the Director of Customer and Commercial Services, however, that any significant variation to the methodology or significant external factors that could affect this methodology would be reported back to Cabinet.

 

The Deputy Leader and Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder stressed the fact that, despite all being done, there was an increased demand for affordable housing across the District.

 

In response to a request for a breakdown in the levels of need for households on the Housing Register and the Principal Specialist People having confirmed that it was possible to provide this type of information, the Deputy Leader and Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder undertook to include within his next executive report to Council headline figures in terms of housing need.  Concerns were raised regarding the increasing costs associated with building houses, the potential not to meet the Council Plan target for 1,000 affordable homes for rent by 2025, the fact that the best development sites had already been taken up and an increase in viability assessments submitted by developers in order to attempt to reduce the affordability element of individual developments.  In response, the Deputy Leader and Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder informed Members that he remained confident that the target for affordable homes would be met.  Developers had indicated an increase in the cost of building materials and labour, however, he questioned whether developers may be paying too much for land.  He also expressed disappointment with regard to planning permission being granted for applications including viability assessments.

 

Decision

 

RESOLVED – That

 

(1)        the proposed new affordable house prices shown at Appendix 1 to the report be approved for  ...  view the full minutes text for item CEX/90

CEX/91

Ulverston Business Improvement District Renewal pdf icon PDF 240 KB

To consider support for the renewal of the Ulverston Business Improvement District.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Note – Councillor Janette Jenkinson declared a non-pecuniary interest in this item of business by virtue of the fact that she was the Council’s representative on the Board of the Ulverston Bid.  She remained in the Chamber during the discussion and voting on the item, although with no voting rights as a Member of the Shadow Cabinet.

 

Summary

 

The Economy, Culture and Leisure Portfolio Holder introduced a report seeking Cabinet’s support for the renewal of the Ulverston Business Improvement District (BID).

 

Ulverston BID had started a five-year term from 3 September 2015 after securing a favourable outcome at ballot on 26 March 2015.  The proposed boundary had been defined at that time, and included 482 eligible hereditaments with a total rateable value of £8,700,275.  Current figures for 2019/20 showed there now to be 509 eligible hereditaments within this boundary, with a total rateable value of £8,709,100.

 

The Council had received formal notification from Ulverston BID to seek a ballot for its renewal, as well as its proposed 2020-2025 Business Plan which was attached at Appendix 1 to the report.  The renewal was not considering any changes to the current BID boundary, hereditaments or percentage rate of levy.  If the business community voted to renew the Ulverston BID, it would raise circa £108,863 per annum over the five-year period.

 

Details of the Council’s responsibilities in relation to BID proposals or renewals were provided within the report and it was considered that this BID renewal met all requirements.  Also provided within the report was information relating to the holding of BID ballots and the Council’s responsibility following a successful BID.  Attention was also drawn to the fact that there were 12 Council hereditaments in the proposed BID area, meaning that the Council would have 12 votes available in a BID ballot.

 

Attention was drawn to a typographical error within the report at paragraph 7.4 and to the fact that the total levy payable by South Lakeland District Council represented £2,276.91 per year for five years and not £8,481.50 as stated.

 

The Economy, Culture and Leisure Portfolio Holder closed, commending the positive work of the BID.

 

Councillor Janette Jenkinson, the Council’s appointed representative on the Ulverston BID Board, spoke in support of the BID, thanking the officers involved for a good report and praising the excellent work being carried out by the BID.  The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder thanked Councillor Jenkinson for her service to the BID Board.  Councillor Mark Wilson, an Ulverston East Ward Member, also expressed support for the renewal of the BID.

 

Decision

 

RESOLVED - That

 

(1)        the renewal of the Ulverston Business Improvement District be supported and it be agreed that the 2020-2025 Business Plan (Appendix 1) meets the required regulatory requirements;

 

(2)        the Ballot Holder be instructed to formally manage the ballot process in accordance with the BID Regulations;

 

(3)        the Chief Executive or his designated officer be authorised to vote ‘Yes’ in relation to the District Council’s votes as a National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDR)  ...  view the full minutes text for item CEX/91