Agenda and minutes

Cabinet
Tuesday, 14th February 2012 10.00 a.m.

Venue: Lancaster Town Hall

Contact: Liz Bateson, Democratic Services - telephone (01524) 582047, or email  ebateson@lancaster.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

86.

Minutes

To receive as a correct record the minutes of Cabinet held on Tuesday, 17 January  2012 (previously circulated). 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 17 January 2012 were approved as a correct record.

 

87.

Items of Urgent Business Authorised by the Leader

To consider any such items authorised by the Leader and to consider where in the agenda the item(s) are to be considered. 

Minutes:

The Chairman advised that there were no items of urgent business.

88.

Declarations of Interest

To consider any such declarations. 

Minutes:

Councillor Hanson declared a personal and prejudicial interest with regard to the Accommodation Report, in view of her role as a Morecambe Town Councillor and the reference to the town council’s use of Morecambe Town Hall. (Minute 90 refers).

 

Councillor Barry declared a personal interest with regard to the Budget and Policy Framework Update, in view of his being a member of the Allotment Association and reference to Allotment funding within the report. (Minute95 refers).

 

89.

Public Speaking

To consider any such requests received in accordance with the approved procedure. 

 

Minutes:

Members were advised that there had been no requests to speak at the meeting in accordance with Cabinet’s agreed procedure.

 

The Chairman advised the meeting of a revision to the order of the agenda and Item 10: Accommodation would be considered first.

90.

Accommodation pdf icon PDF 116 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Hamilton-Cox)

 

Report of the Head of Property Services

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Hamilton-Cox)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Head of Property Services to consider a variety of accommodation issues that have arisen since the undertaking of the major building works in 2011.

 

The options, options analysis, including risk assessment and officer preferred option, were set out in the report as follows:

 

The report provided Cabinet with options for:

·         the refurbishment of Morecambe Town Hall Council Chamber;

·         increasing the room booking appeal for multiple uses of Council Chamber and the 1st floor committee rooms by the installation of additional toilet facilities,

·         the allocation of rooms with Morecambe & Lancaster Town Halls

·         security upgrades to both Morecambe and Lancaster Town Halls

 

Improving Security to Morecambe Town Hall/ Lancaster Town Hall/ White Lund Depot

 

Morecambe Town Hall

Following the office remodelling to Morecambe Town Hall there was a need to upgrade and improve the security throughout the building. At this stage there were two options to consider at Morecambe Town Hall:

 

Option A upgrade existing door entry key pad system linked to the fire panel to allow door to fail open and upgrade CCTV to the inside and outside of the building. This would improve the security to the main staircase and first floor corridor and to all the exterior of the building.

 

Option B was a computer controlled management security system. This would be based on a Key Fob/ID card system that would be placed against a “reader” which authorises access into the building. The “reader” is connected to computer software which records the presence of an individual in the building.

      

Burglar Alarm System: At present Morecambe Town Hall has only a limited burglar Alarm to the Ground floor Customer Services area. The report sought approval to install a wireless system throughout the building giving full intruder protection.

 

Option

Cost

OPTION A Upgrade Door Key Pad System

£3000.00

 

OPTION B Full key fob security system

£12,800.00

13 no CCTV inside & out

£13,000.00

Burglar Alarm (wireless)

£5,000.00

 

Preferred option: It was recommended that finance was approved to upgrade the Door Keypad System and to install additional CCTV cameras, together with the installation of a wireless burglar alarm system throughout the building at a combined cost of £21,000.00.

 

Lancaster Town Hall

There was a need to increase the security system to Lancaster Town Hall (LTH). At LTH the CSC record visitors to the building and issue passes but as many offices or function rooms within the building have little or no door security; visitors can accidentally access these offices or function rooms.  At this stage there were two options to consider:

 

Option A - Keypad & Additional CCTV:This option looked at introducing new key pads to office/corridor doors with no security and upgrading the office/corridor doors with key entry pads and linking the whole system to the fire panel to allow doors to fail open.

 

Option B - Full key fob security system: Due to the position of Male and Female lavatories to the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 90.

91.

Charges for Bins and Boxes pdf icon PDF 100 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Smith)

 

Report of the Head of Environmental Services

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Smith)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Head of Environmental Services to provide details of an option to introduce charges for wheeled bins and recycling boxes as part of the 2012/13 budget setting process.

 

The options, options analysis, including risk assessment and officer preferred option, were set out in the report as follows:

 

 

Option 1: Introduce a charge

Option 2: Don’t introduce a charge

Advantages

·         Fewer requests for bins.

·         Saves costs

·         Increased recycling rates.

·         Reduction in calls to Customer Service Centre.

·         Fewer receptacles left out in streets.

·         Maintains status quo

Disadvantages

·         Customer dissatisfaction

·         Increased administration to deal with payment

 

·         No control over supply of bins and boxes which then impacts on overall waste budget.

·         Does not encourage recycling

Risks

·         This option could lead to increased incidences of fly tipping

This option could lead to not achieving recycling and waste reduction targets.

 

Option 1 was the officer preferred option.  The introduction of charges to cover the costs of deliveries of wheeled bins and recycling boxes together with the associated administration would save costs, support our enforcement activities and potentially lead to enhanced recycling rates. 

 

Councillor Smith proposed, seconded by Councillor Bryning:-

 

“(1)      That Cabinet does not approve the introduction of charges to householders for the delivery of wheeled bins and recycling boxes as part of the 2012/2013 budget.

 

(2)        That the costs of replacing wheeled bins and recycling boxes be monitored and reported to Cabinet on a monthly basis and consideration given to the possibility of introducing such charges as part of the 2013/14 budget process if requests for replacement continue to rise.”

 

Councillors then voted:-

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

(1)        That Cabinet does not approve the introduction of charges to householders for the delivery of wheeled bins and recycling boxes as part of the 2012/2013 budget.

 

(2)        That the costs of replacing wheeled bins and recycling boxes be monitored and reported to Cabinet on a monthly basis and consideration given to the possibility of introducing such charges as part of the 2013/14 budget process if requests for replacement continue to rise.

 

 

Officers responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Head of Environmental Services

 

Reasons for making the decision:

 

The Council has a statutory duty to collect household waste.  The anticipated savings which the introduction of charging for replacement bins and boxes would provide was not considered essential to this year’s budget proposals. The decision provides an opportunity to raise public awareness of the costs of replacing these receptacles and through monitoring the requests for replacements on a monthly basis Cabinet can give consideration to introducing such charges as part of the 2013/14 budget process if requests for replacement continue to rise.

 

 

 

The Heads of Environmental Services and Property Services left the meeting at this point.

92.

Community Engagement – Wellbeing pdf icon PDF 139 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Sands)

 

Report of the Head of Community Engagement

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Sands)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Head of Community Engagement which set out options for increasing the level of fees and charges at Salt Ayre Sports Centre, Community Pools, Recreation Grounds, Williamson Park and Platform.

 

The options, options analysis, including risk assessment and officer preferred option, were set out in the report as follows:

 

 

Option 1

To approve the increase in fees as recommended in the report

Option 2

To approve a different increase (either in percentage or £ income terms).

Option 3

To do nothing and retain the existing fees and charges.

Advantages

This option makes a small additional contribution to the 2012/13 budget process, whilst retaining fees at competitive levels.

 

 

This option potentially allows for a greater increase in revenue, therefore making a greater contribution to the 2012/13 budget process.

This option would mean no price increases for customers (and so the ‘subsidy’ of associated services by all council tax payers would increase, irrespective of whether they use those services or not).

 

This option could, potentially, have a positive effect on income generation should throughput increase significantly as a result of no increases, but there is no strong evidence to support this.

Disadvantages

 

Any increase in fees is likely to be unpopular with customers.

Alternatively, if an increase less than the 2.6% general inflation assumption is approved, it would not meet the current budget requirements, and revenue raising opportunities would be lost.

 

An increase in fees above the recommended amount is likely to meet with customer resistance.

 

This could result in reduction in income generation and as such customer dissatisfaction that may be difficult to respond to.

 

Lost opportunity to raise additional revenue through fees and charges in areas that may stand an increase.

 

This option will not meet the current budget requirements, requiring additional income or savings to be generated from other activities / services undertaken by the council.

 

Risks

There is always a risk that customers will choose not to access services especially with any increase in charges.

 

 

There is always a risk that customers will choose not to access services if fees are too high or move to one of the key competitors in the district.

 

There is a risk that even current income levels will fail to be achieved if fees are perceived to be too high.

 

This option increases the difficulties of securing a viable budget at a time when additional income and savings are required.

 

There is no compensating increase in throughput and the Council suffers loss of income.

 

Perceived greater unfairness by tax payers generally.

 

 

The officer preferred option was Option 1.  This option allowed for increased revenue whilst retaining fees at affordable and competitive levels. The flexibility for the Head of Community Engagement to reduce charges from their maximum figure in line with particular promotions for activities would help to respond to changes in market demand throughout the year and this was noted on the appendix to the report.

 

Councillor Sands proposed,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 92.

93.

Draft Corporate Plan 2012/15 pdf icon PDF 119 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Blamire)

 

Report of the Head of Community Engagement

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Blamire)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Head of Community Engagement to provide Cabinet with the opportunity to consider Priorities and Actions for the Corporate Plan for the three year period commencing 2012 – 2015.

 

The options, options analysis, including risk assessment and officer preferred option, were set out in the report as follows:

 

The report presented three options for Cabinet members’ consideration.  The options were all based around current priority areas, including the 14 additional priority areas recommended by Cabinet. 

 

Option 1:   Develop the 2012 – 15 Corporate Plan around four Corporate Priorities;

·                     Economic Growth

·                     Health and Well Being

·                     Clean, Green and Safe Places

·                     Community Leadership

                      Working in Partnership and Managing the Council’s Resources to be treated as themes that supported all priorities.

Appendix A to the report set out these corporate priorities, related actions and cross cutting themes for consideration.

 

Option 2:   Current Corporate Priorities were retained and members considered   where existing and planned future areas of work best fit.

 

Option 3:   Cabinet considered alternative Priorities.

 

The officer preferred Option was Option 1, which more closely reflected the council’s current aspirations and direction of travel.

The Corporate Plan was a central part of the council’s Policy Framework stating the key priorities, the actions that were necessary to deliver the priorities and the outcomes that the council hoped to achieve for the district.  The council’s strategic planning arrangements created an opportunity each year to consider the changing needs and aspirations of local communities and shifting priorities, opportunities and challenges and to refresh the Corporate Plan to reflect these.  The draft budget information and options set out in the Budget and Policy Framework Update also needed to be considered for the development of the council’s Corporate Plan for 2012 – 2015.

It had been recognised that some priority areas did not fit comfortably within the existing agreed Priorities.  Proposals to address this have been prepared for cabinet members’ consideration with a view to developing recommendations for full council.


Councillor Leytham proposed, seconded by Councillor Sands:-

 

“(1)      That the recommendations, as set out in the report, be approved.”

 

By way of an amendment which was accepted as a friendly amendment by the proposer and seconder of the original motion, Councillor Barry proposed:

 

“That an additional recommendation be added that Environmental Sustainability is treated as a theme that underpins all Corporate Priorities to ensure that the Council minimises its use of energy, promotes sustainable energy generation, uses local businesses and resources where possible, has high environmental standards and promotes the use of green jobs in the district.”

 

Councillors then voted on the proposals, as amended:-

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

(1)        That Cabinet approves four Corporate Priorities for the council’s Corporate Plan 2012 – 2015 as Economic Growth; Health and Well Being; Clean, Green and Safe Places; Community Leadership.

(2)        That Working Together in Partnership is treated as a theme that underpins all Corporate Priorities as a way of achieving added value and efficiencies across all operational  ...  view the full minutes text for item 93.

Councillor Hamilton-Cox left the meeting during the discussion of this item and was not present to participate in the vote.

94.

Museums Service pdf icon PDF 99 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Sands)

 

Report of the Head of Community Engagement

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Sands)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Head of Community Engagement to update members on the review of the Museums Partnership and agree future management responsibilities.

No options were being put forward at the moment. The recommendation was to continue negotiations for a further year. The City Council was not yet in a position to respond to any changes to the current arrangements. 

In taking forward negotiations with Lancashire County Council the focus would be on the following areas:

 

§         Value for money considerations – such as could the per capita subsidy be reduced by either increasing visitor numbers or reducing costs by identifying efficiency or other savings that might be achieved as part of any new arrangements.

 

§         A clear strategy to be developed for the future management of City, Maritime and Cottage Museums and within that, the relationship with the Judges Lodging Museum and eventually the Castle.

 

§         Development of clearer cohesive arrangements around programming and pricing.

 

§         Whilst retaining a shared approach with the County Council County there would need to be a clearer understanding of the direct services provided and their true costs.

 

  • Issues such as information technology provision, financial management systems, procurement, inventories of equipment and tools, subcontracts etc would need to be considered as part of any new arrangements.

 

Councillor Sands, seconded by Councillor Hanson:

 

“(1)      That the recommendations, as set out in the report, be approved.”

 

Councillors then voted:-

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

(1)                    That the City Council continues with the existing partnership agreement with Lancashire County Council for a further year in order to continue ongoing dialogue aimed at developing a new shared service arrangement for the museums service in the district.

(2)                    That further reports are brought back to members during 2012/13 presenting more detailed information that will form the basis of the new arrangements prior to their implementation.

Officers responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Head of Community Engagement

 

Reasons for making the decision:

 

Management of the Museums was an important element of the Council’s priorities of Economic Regeneration and is cited within the Corporate Plan: ‘An improved future for the district’s museums is secured.’  The decision will enable focused negotiations to be taken forward with Lancashire County Council.

95.

Budget & Policy Framework Update - General Fund Revenue Budget and Capital Programme pdf icon PDF 137 KB

(Cabinet Members with Special Responsibility Councillors Blamire & Bryning)

 

Report of Head of Financial Services

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Cabinet Members with Special Responsibility Councillors Blamire & Bryning)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Head of Financial Services to inform Cabinet of the latest position following Council’s consideration of the Budget and Policy Framework at its meeting held on 01 February, and to make recommendations back to Council in order to complete the budget setting process for 2012/13.

 

The options, options analysis, including risk assessment and officer preferred option, were set out in the report as follows:

 

Cabinet was now requested to finalise its preferred revenue budget and capital programme proposals for referral on to Council, using the latest information available and taking account of the decisions already taken by Cabinet earlier in the meeting.

 

A separate updated schedule of proposals was circulated and discussed during the meeting.  In particular, specific consideration was given to managing the capital financing risks surrounding the capital programme and their potential effects.  Advice was sought from the Head of Financial Services, who outlined the provisions within existing Financial Regulations to help manage such situations.  In addition a further report on the General Fund capital position would be scheduled for April Cabinet, when there should be more clarity on timescales and resulting risks.  This would provide an opportunity to take action if needed to protect the Council’s financial position.

 

Revenue Budget

As Council had now determined the City Council tax rate for 2012/13, there were no options to change the total net revenue budget for next year (recommended at £20.190M) but Cabinet now needed to put forward detailed budget proposals that add back to that amount. Detailed options would be dependent very much on Members’ views on spending priorities.  Taking account of these, the Head of Financial Services (as s151 Officer) continues to advise that wherever possible, emphasis should be on achieving recurring reductions to the revenue budget.

 

Capital Programme

Cabinet could adjust its capital investment and financing proposals to reflect spending commitments and priorities but overall its proposals for 2011/12 and 2012/13 must balance.  Whilst there was no legal requirement to have a programme balanced over the full 5-year period, it was considered good practice to do so – or at least have clear plans in place to manage the financing position over that time.  Inevitably capital investment needs and funding opportunities would change, but it was important to consider and manage stakeholder expectations regarding investment too.

In deciding its final proposals, Cabinet was asked also to take into account the relevant basic principles of the Prudential Code, which were:

-          that the capital investment plans of local authorities are affordable, prudent and sustainable, and

-          that local strategic planning, asset management planning and proper options appraisal are supported.

 

Budget Framework (Reserves and Provisions / MTFS)

Given known commitments, risks and approved council tax targets there was little flexibility in financial terms, but Cabinet could consider different arrangements for approving the use of various reserves, or consider different budget strategies for future years.  On the whole, however, the current arrangements had worked  ...  view the full minutes text for item 95.

96.

Treasury Management Framework 2012/13 pdf icon PDF 82 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Bryning)

 

Report of Head of Financial Services

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Bryning)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Head of Financial Services which set out the 2012/13 Treasury Management framework for Cabinet’s approval and referral on to Council.

 

The options, options analysis, including risk assessment and officer preferred option, were set out in the report.

 

The CIPFA Code of Practice on Treasury Management (“the Code”) required that a strategy outlining the expected treasury activity for the forthcoming 3 years be adopted, but that it be reviewed at least annually.  It needed to cover various forecasts and activities.  The proposed Strategy for 2012/13 to 2014/15 was set out at Appendix B to the report. This document contained the necessary details to comply with both the Code and Government investment guidance.  Responsibilities for treasury management were set out at Appendix Cand the updated policy statement was presented at Appendix D to the report.

 

Cabinet could put forward alternative proposals or amendments to the proposed Strategy in Appendix B to the report, but these would have to be considered in light of legislative, professional and economic factors, and importantly, any alternative views regarding the Council’s risk appetite.  As such, no further options analysis was available at this time.

 

Furthermore, the Strategy needed to fit with other aspects of Cabinet’s budget proposals, such as investment interest estimates and underlying prudential borrowing assumptions, feeding into Prudential and Treasury Management Indicators. 

 

The officer preferred option was for Cabinet to approve the framework as attached, for referral on to Council.  This was based on the Council continuing to have a low risk appetite regarding investments.

 

Councillor Bryning proposed, seconded by Councillor Barry:-

 

“(1)      That the proposals, as set out in the report, be approved.”

 

Councillors then voted:-

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

(1)        That Council be recommended to approve the Treasury Management Framework as reflected in Appendices B to D to the report, and as updated for Cabinet’s final budget proposals.

 

Officers responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Head of Financial Services

 

Reasons for making the decision:

 

As part of the adoption of the CIPFA Code of Practice on Treasury Management it is a statutory requirement that the authority has a Treasury Management Strategy Statement and Investment Strategy. The decision based on the Council continuing to have a low risk appetite regarding investments, takes into account the requirements of the Code.

The meeting adjourned at 11.30am.  The Head of Financial Services and Head of Community Engagement left the meeting at this point.  The Internal Audit Manager joined the meeting when it reconvened at 11.40am.

97.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

Members are asked whether they need to declare any further declarations of interest regarding the exempt reports. 

 

Cabinet is recommended to pass the following recommendation in relation to the following items:- 

 

“That, in accordance with Section 100A(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 they could involve the possible disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 1 & 2 of Schedule 12A of that Act.” 

 

Members are reminded that, whilst the following items have been marked as exempt, it is for the Council itself to decide whether or not to consider each of them in private or in public.  In making the decision, Members should consider the relevant paragraph of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, and should balance the interests of individuals or the Council itself in having access to information.  In considering their discretion Members should also be mindful of the advice of Council Officers. 

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Bryning and seconded by Councillor Barry:-

 

“That, in accordance with Section 100A(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 it could involve the possible disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1 and 2 of Schedule 12A of that Act.”

 

Members then voted as follows:-

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

(1)        That, in accordance with Section 100A(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 it could involve the possible disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1 and 2 of Schedule 12A of that Act. 

 

 

98.

Senior Management Structure Review

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Blamire)

 

Report of the Chief Executive

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Blamire)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Chief Executive which was exempt from publication by virtue of paragraphs 1 and 2 of Schedule 12a of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

The options were set out in the exempt report:

 

Councillor Hanson proposed, seconded by Councillor Leytham, option 2 of the recommendations as set out in the exempt report.

 

Councillors then voted:-

 

(5 Members (Councillors Blamire, Brying, Hanson, Leytham and Sands) voted in favour of the proposition and 2 Members (Councillors Barry and Smith) abstained.  (Councillor Smith abstained in view of his being a member of the Personnel Committee which would be considering the implication of this decision in due course).

 

Resolved:

 

 (1)       The resolution is set out in a minute exempt from publication by virtue of paragraphs 1 & 2 of Schedule 12a of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

Officers responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Chief Executive

 

Reasons for making the decision:

 

The reasons for making this decision are set out in a minute exempt from publication by virtue of paragraphs 1 & 2 of Schedule 12a of the Local Government Act 1972.