Agenda for Cabinet on Wednesday 14th October 2020, 6.00 p.m.

Agenda and minutes

Cabinet - Wednesday 14th October 2020 6.00 p.m.

Venue: Virtual Meeting - Skype - Virtual. View directions

Contact: Amanda Scarce 

Media

Items
No. Item

31/2020

To receive apologies for absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

 

 

32/2020

Declarations of Interest

To invite Councillors to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Other Disclosable Interests they may have in items on the agenda, and to confirm the nature of those interests.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest on this occasion.

 

 

33/2020

Minutes pdf icon PDF 245 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting of Cabinet held on 9th September 2020 were submitted.

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of Cabinet held on 9th September 2020 be approved as a true and correct record.

 

 

34/2020

Any recommendations from the Overview and Scrutiny Board meeting held on 12th October 2020

(these will be tabled at the meeting)

 

 

Minutes:

Officers confirmed that there were no recommendations from the Overview and Scrutiny Board meeting held on 12th October 2020 for consideration by Cabinet.

 

 

35/2020

Planning for the Future - Government White Paper (Council Response) pdf icon PDF 229 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Planning and Regulatory Services advised that this was a topic report in current circumstances and asked the Strategic Planning and Conservation Manager to take Members through the report.

 

The Strategic Planning and Conservation Manager advised that there had been detailed discussions of this items at the Strategic Planning Steering Group (SPSG).  There were two recommendations which referred to the response to the Planning for the Future White Paper and the response to the Changes to the Planning System.  The White Paper was taken first, and the Strategic Planning and Conservation Manager gave a brief summary of the response, which covered the following areas:

 

·         It contained 3 pillars of proposals with 24 further pillars leading from the main areas.

·         The focus was to speed up the planning system and make it simpler and affectively there was a strong focus on house building.

·         There was a significant change from where the local authorities were at the moment and these would have an impact on this Council as it progressed through its current review.

·         The main issue was the change in the allocations – as currently there was much more scope in respect of other policies.  The proposals broke it down into three areas; growth, renewal and protection.

·         The response was a balanced one as far as possible, although there were some issues and the responses tried to pick up the technical issues.

·         More clarity was needed in respect of the 3 pillars, as the “devil was in the detail”.

·         There were some issues around setting development management issues nationally and the Strategic Planning and Conservation Manager explained this in more detail.

·         The removal of the duty to co-operate was a positive element as this was something which had not really worked in the vast majority of places.

·         There was support for the simplified sustainability test, which would reduce the work needed.

·         The standardised methodology - there would be varying views in respect of this as to whether the results would mean the figures were either too big or too small, so this was also a contentious issue.  Clarity and certainty were the key in order for everyone to be able to deliver the required numbers.

·         Affordability issues were discussed in respect of housing and the link to employment.

·         There were a number of technical issues which needed to be considered, for example speeding up the process but this should not be to the detriment of the decision that were made.  The resource and the technology were also needed in order to achieve this.

·         There were substantial changes in respect of the timescale, which were welcomed.  Whilst this was supported, consideration also needed to be given to the consultation process, which should not be weakened, as there was much benefit from the face to face consultation which currently took place.

·         The infrastructure delivery and funding also carried with it a number of issues, which gave certainty and clarity, but it should be made sure that the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35/2020

36/2020

Recovery and Restoration Plan pdf icon PDF 167 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Transformation, OD and Digital Services explained that the purpose of the report was to introduce the Council’s approach to recovery and restoration, particularly in light of the current pandemic.  It was acknowledged that whilst the pandemic was still on going there was a real need to plan for the future recovery.  It was noted that the deliver of services had been maintained it had become clear that both local and national economies had been badly effected by the present situation and lockdown.  In order to try and address some of those issues a Bromsgrove Economic Recovery Plan was being developed together with a much wider County focused recovery plan and the intention was that this Recovery and Restoration Plan would sit along side those documents.  This document had been built around the Council’s strategic purposes and included some of the priorities in the Council Plan, key recovery actions together with some recommendations from the recent Corporate Peer Challenge Review which had taken place earlier this year.  As the council Plan was drafted before the onset of the Pandemic and it is likely that the Council’s priorities will have changed.   A review of the Council Plan would therefore take place in early 2021 to ensure that the priorities and focus were relevant to, hopefully the post Covid position.  It was noted that all Heads of Services had been involved in the construction of the Recovery and Restoration Plan.

 

The Leader commented that the report had been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Board on 12th October, with no concerns being raised.  It was a good plan and confirmed that the Council Plan would be fully reviewed in 2021.

 

The Chief Executive thanked the Management Team for work so hard, not just in respect of the Plan but also the work over the last six months.  The Plan as it stood at the moment, but as part of the recommendations there was scope for it to be revised and reviewed in the future, which was important in light of the present circumstances.  The Plan placed the Council in a good position to move forward and addressed the elements in the Corporate Peer Challenge, which was a far reflection of the Council at that time, but it had already moved on in respect of a number of issues, as would be expected.

 

The Leader took the opportunity to pay tribute to both Officers and Members for how they had approached the Covid-19 situation.  They had been proactive and despite a very stressful time had protected frontline services and been able to support residents.

 

The Deputy Leader raised a number of points, and made particular reference to the Planning Consultation document, and how the Recovery and Restoration Plan reinforced s common strand through the Council on what it was trying to deliver.  He asked for feedback in respect of concerns around people losing their jobs now and ain the future due to the pandemic and support that could be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 36/2020

37/2020

Medium Term Financial Plan 2020/21 to 2024/25 - Update pdf icon PDF 430 KB

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder for Finance and Resources suggested that the papers spoke for themselves, but the areas which need to be considered in more detail were listed on page 82 of the agenda pack. 

 

The Head of Finance and Customer Services that the report highlighted the parameters that would be used for setting the Medium Term Financial Plan and that as referred to everyone was going through a period of great uncertainty.  The spending review was likely to be only for one year, clarification on New Homes Bonus was still uncertain and the Fairer Funding Review remained unclear.  It was therefore difficult to set a four year plan, however the key objectives would remain the same in order to meet the Council’s Strategic Purposes and maintain balances at £2m.  the Council would also try to maximise investments and income opportunities and focus on being commercial.  There would be a review of the vacant posts, review of fees and charges, identification of savings and pressures to the budget and a review of reserves.  In previous years it was noted that there had been issues with the capital programme, a lot of work had been done on this in the previous year and had continued this year.  It was anticipated that at Quarter 2 this would be closer to what had been forecast and this would be reviewed and reduced if necessary as it was not acceptable to keep rolling those forward as it impacted on borrowing and forecasting.  Budget Managers would also be encouraged to take ownership of fees and charges and to do a proper review with a business case.  It was accepted that this would be difficult this year with the Covid-19 situation, but it would be a work in progress.

 

The overspend was largely due to the car parking position, which everyone was aware of and it was expected that some of this would be claimed back form Central Government and an application had been put in.  The Council had received a Covid-19 support grant of £1.1m and it was confirmed that the pay award had bene agreed at 2.75%.  It would be prudent to use a figure of 2% going forward.

 

The graph at 3.11 of the report showed the gaps that would need to be addressed, although it was confirmed that the Council had sufficient reserves to cover these if necessary.  However, budget Managers were being contacted to see whether further efficiency savings could be made and excess budgets removed. Reference was made to those who had been significantly under budget the previous year and look at pushing to reduce the budget or if they were carrying a lot of vacancies to delete those posts.  This was not good practice and work was being done at CMT to ensure there was an improvement and the budgeting more accurate.

 

The Deputy Leader asked about the implication of the current situation on the Council Tax position and the need for support to be put in place.  It was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 37/2020