Agenda for Cabinet on Wednesday 7th July 2021, 6.00 p.m.

Agenda and minutes

Cabinet - Wednesday 7th July 2021 6.00 p.m.

Venue: Parkside Suite - Parkside

Contact: Jess Bayley-Hill 

No. Item


To receive apologies for absence


There were no apologies for absence.




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.


There were no declarations of interest.




To confirm the accuracy of the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 31st March 2021 pdf icon PDF 211 KB


The minutes of the meeting of Cabinet held on 31st March 2021 were submitted.


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of Cabinet held on 31st March 2021 be approved as a correct record.


Minutes of the meetings of the Overview and Scrutiny Board held on 29th March 2021 and 26th April 2021 pdf icon PDF 404 KB

(a)       To receive and note the minutes

(b)       To consider any recommendations contained within the minutes


Cabinet is asked to note that the recommendations from the Board made on 29th March 2021 in respect of the Impact of Flooding Task Group and will be considered during the debate around that item, which is on the agenda for this meeting.


During that meeting of the Board, an amendment was made to recommendation 5 (c) of the Impact of Flooding Task Group.  This amended wording has been incorporated into the version of the report that is attached for Cabinet’s consideration.


The Libraries Task Group’s final report was also considered at the meeting of the board held on 29th March 2021.  This report will be scheduled for Cabinet’s consideration in September 2021.


There were no recommendations arising from the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Board held on 26th April 2021 for Cabinet’s consideration.

Additional documents:


The minutes of the meetings of the Overview and Scrutiny Board held on 29th March and 26th April 2021 were submitted.  The Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Board, Councillor C. Hotham, attended the meeting to present the minutes for Members’ consideration. 


Cabinet was advised that at the meeting of the Board held on 29th March 2021, Members had considered data arising from the Council’s staff survey and in relation to employees’ mileage claim forms.  Unfortunately, this had included data relating to staff employed by Redditch Borough Council, so the Board had requested further information that focused on the experiences of staff employed by Bromsgrove District Council.  The Board had welcomed news that home working arrangements had been successfully rolled out during the Covid-19 pandemic.  Green Homes Funding had also been discussed at the meeting. 


Members were asked to note that at the March meeting of the Board two final reports submitted by scrutiny Task Groups, focusing on flooding and the impact of changes to library services, had been considered.  Whilst the report in respect of flooding was due to be discussed by the Cabinet in July, alongside a scrutiny Task Group report focusing on equalities, a decision had been taken, following consultation with the Chairman of the Board, to postpone consideration of the report from the Libraries Task Group until September 2021, so that the Chairman of the group could attend to present the group’s findings.


During the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Board held on 26th April 2021, Members had received a presentation focusing on the work of the North Worcestershire Community Safety Partnership in Bromsgrove District.  Whilst this had been an interesting update, Members had concluded that it would be useful in future to receive information in advance on this subject for inclusion in the agenda.  The Board had also discussed fireworks, particularly the impact that noisy fireworks could have on pets.  The Council was undertaking a procurement process in respect of fireworks and it was anticipated that attempts would be made to procure quieter fireworks.  The April meeting of the Board had concluded with a discussion of the content of the Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report 2020/21 and this was due to be presented for Members’ consideration at the following Council meeting on 14th July 2021.


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meetings of the Overview and Scrutiny Board held on 29th March and 26th April 2021 be noted.




Equalities Task Group - Final Report pdf icon PDF 121 KB

Additional documents:


The Chairman of the Equalities Task Group, Councillor P. McDonald, attended Cabinet to present the group’s final report.  Members were advised that the aims of the investigation were to ensure that employees at both the Council and staff employed by contractors received fair treatment.  Councillor McDonald commented that the group had held numerous meetings and had interviewed both Council Officers and Trades Union representatives.  The recommendations that had been proposed by the group had been agreed unanimously by the Members serving on the investigation.


The Portfolio Holder for Finance and Enabling outlined a response on behalf of Cabinet, by addressing each recommendation in turn.


In respect of the first recommendation, which proposed that an annual Equalities Report be prepared for 2021 and annually thereafter, Members were advised that an annual equalities report would support the Council to demonstrate compliance with the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED), as set out in the Equality Act 2010.  The PSED was made up of a general equality duty, which was supported by further duties; to publish equality information at least once a year, to show how the Council had complied with the equality duty and to prepare and publish equality objectives at least every four years.  In this context, Cabinet supported the group’s first recommendation.


The group’s second recommendation proposed that IOS certification, or equivalent, be included in the Contractors’ Questionnaire in respect of equalities.  Members were advised that ISO certification was available for a multiplicity of different things, but the Council’s Legal department had been unable to identify a specific ISO relating to equalities.  This had been discussed with Councillor McDonald, as Chairman of the Task Group, and he had suggested that if there was no specific ISO for this purpose then contractors should be required to hold an ISO relevant to their industry.  However, the Council’s Legal Department had concluded that the Council was not qualified to assess, for each contract, the relevant ISO that should apply.  Furthermore, it had been identified that the ISO certification process could be a lengthy and financially costly process and not something that companies in all sectors would expect to undergo as a matter of course.  There was a risk that a requirement for ISO certification could exclude smaller operators from Council procurement and for some contracts, there was a risk that no operators would be able to submit a bid in the procurement process.  In recent months, the Council had procured community transport, Christmas lights and mobility scooter services in smallscale contracts and the majority of the successful bidders had been small, local businesses.  It was considered unlikely that any of these businesses would have secured ISO certification.  For these reasons, Cabinet would not be approving this recommendation.


The response to this recommendation was briefly debated and as part of that process it was noted that the average cost of ISO certification was £7,000.  Concerns were raised that this would be expensive for smaller companies as well as businesses that were struggling due to the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5/21


Impact of Flooding in the District Task Group pdf icon PDF 119 KB

Additional documents:


The Chairman of the Impact of Flooding in the District Task Group, Councillor R. Hunter, presented the group’s final report for Cabinet’s consideration.  Members were advised that the group had aimed to bring forward proposals that would help to prepare the District for any future risks of flooding.  A range of Officers had been interviewed during the review and the group’s proposals were based on the evidence that had been gathered.  In particular, Councillor Hunter emphasised the group’s conclusion that developers needed to be encouraged to use the most advanced methods to prevent flooding and that this should be emphasised in the Local Plan.  Councillor Hunter thanked the other members of the group who had participated in the review, Councillors A. Beaumont, S. Colella, C. Spencer and H. Rone-Clarke, for their hard work as well as the Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services, Councillor M. Sherrey, for providing evidence.  Officers were also thanked for their support, particularly the Democratic Services Officer, the Environmental Services Manager and the Senior Water Management Officer.


The Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services subsequently presented the Cabinet’s response to the Impact of Flooding in the District Task Group’s final report.


In response to the group’s first recommendation, which proposed that a business case should be prepared regarding the potential for two additional land drainage operatives to be employed in Bromsgrove, Cabinet was informed that the Senior Water Management Officer was in the process of preparing a maintenance plan covering both Council owned assets and partner’ assets.  It was anticipated that this plan would provide accurate information about what resources were required to manage assets in the District moving forward.  The North Worcestershire Water Management team and Bromsgrove District Council would be communicating with other organisations that owned assets in the District, including Worcestershire County Council and Bromsgrove District Housing Trust (BDHT), to establish how those organisations planned to fulfil their maintenance responsibilities in respect of their assets.  As part of this process, opportunities to work in partnership would be discussed.  The review work underpinning the plan had been ongoing for approximately 18 months and it was anticipated that this work would be completed by September 2021.  In this context, Members were advised that this recommendation would not be accepted at this time.


In relation to the group’s second recommendation, which proposed a publicity campaign to raise the profile of the North Worcestershire Water Management service, Members were informed that responsibilities for land drainage were shared between a number of organisations.  This included Worcestershire County Council, the North Worcestershire Water Management service, the Environment Agency and Severn Trent Water.  Consequently, a publicity campaign that focused on the role of the North Worcestershire Water Management team would only provide a partial overview of the system.  For this reason, Cabinet would be rejecting the recommendation.  However, Cabinet was proposing that the Council should work with the North Worcestershire Water Management team to make sure that the Council’s website clarified responsibilities and provided accurate contact details. It was also noted that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6/21


Local Development Scheme - Bromsgrove District Council pdf icon PDF 235 KB

Additional documents:


The Portfolio Holder for Planning and Regulatory Services presented the Local Development Scheme report for Cabinet’s consideration.  Members were advised that the focus of the report was on the timetable in respect of the Local Development Scheme.  Further reports on this subject would be reported for Members’ consideration later in the year.


RECOMMENDED that Appendix A: Bromsgrove District Council Local Development Scheme 2021 is approved as the Council’s programme for plan-making, effective as of 8th July 2021.




Members' ICT Policy pdf icon PDF 125 KB

Additional documents:


The ICT Transformation Manager presented the Members’ ICT Policy for Cabinet’s consideration.  Members were advised that the policy had been updated, following changes in 2020 to the IT equipment and software provided to Members to discharge their roles as elected Councillors.


During 2020/21, Members had been provided with an opportunity to replace the ipads that had previously been used for Council business with alternative equipment.  This had been necessary to ensure that Members could participate in virtual meetings effectively during the pandemic, initially on Skype for Business and later on Microsoft Teams.  Some Members had opted to receive a Council laptop or Surface Pro device whilst other Councillors were using their own equipment, in accordance with the Bring Your Own Device policy, and these two choices were reflected in the updated policy. 


Reference to the Blackberry software that had previously been used for Members’ ipads had been removed from the policy as this was no longer required.  The policy had also been updated to reflect the fact that Members’ emails would be deleted automatically after two years.


The local authority would cover the insurance costs of the Council equipment in the event of loss or damage.  There would be an excess charge of £100 which would need to be covered from within existing budgets.  When the equipment that Members were using started to be considered no longer fit for purpose, a capital bid would be submitted to pay for Members to receive new, replacement equipment.


The equipment and software that had been provided to Members would enable them to continue to participate in virtual meeting and potentially in hybrid meetings in the future.  The Chairman noted that virtual and hybrid meetings were not currently permitted under the legislation for formal Committee meetings, though Members would welcome the opportunity to participate in hybrid meetings should legislative changes occur.


RESOLVED that the proposed Members’ ICT Policy be agreed and implemented for all Members and that the options within it be made available to Members.