Agenda and minutes

Cabinet
Tuesday, 8th October 2013 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

37.

Minutes

To receive as a correct record the minutes of Cabinet held on Tuesday 3 September, 2013 (previously circulated). 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 3 September 2013 were approved as a correct record.

 

38.

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.

 

39.

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 Localism Act 2011, they are required to declare any disclosable pecuniary 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). 

Whilst not a legal requirement, in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 10 and in the interests of clarity and transparency, Members should declare any disclosable pecuniary interests which they have already declared in the Register, at this point in the meeting. 

In accordance with Part B Section 2 of the Code Of Conduct, Members are required to declare the existence and nature of any other interests as defined in paragraphs 8(1) or 9(2) of the Code of Conduct. 

 

Minutes:

No declarations were made at this point.

40.

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.

 

41.

Funding and Provision of Community Alarm and Telecare Services pdf icon PDF 79 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Leytham)

 

Report of Chief Officer (Health & Housing)

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Leytham)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Chief Officer (Health & Housing) to outline the impact of changes to Lancashire County Council’s funding and provision of community alarm and telecare services on the services provided by Lancaster City Council.

 

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

 

 

 

Option 1: The council seeks to maintain an emergency call centre to provide the services that remain following the loss of the Lancashire Telecare and Supporting People contacts

Option 2: The council  reviews the services provided by the emergency call centre and considers how they could be provided in the future; including the consideration of alternative providers for the services and functions that would remain following the loss of the Lancashire Telecare and Supporting People contacts

Advantages

Local, flexible, responsive service delivered through a valued local knowledge base

Services provided to a specified standard, and achieves value for money

Reduction in costs.

Disadvantages

Service would be provided at a loss and the council would have to fund any deficit - expectation that financial costs of running the emergency call centre would not meet value for money principles. Does not provide for considering a wider range of options.

Potential loss of flexibility and knowledge

Risks

The volume of work would not be sufficient to warrant maintaining the emergency call centre, and its infrastructure. The loss of income from the contacts could not be replaced, and equivalent cost reduction could not be achieved.  The overall financial costs of running the emergency call centre would not meet value for money principles, and so would not be in the best interests of housing rent payers in particular.  Ultimately, risk of failure in the Council’s fiduciary duties, leading to challenge.

Control of future quality and cost of services.

 

The contractual arrangements will need to be robust and clear to ensure that future costs are controlled

 

 

The officer preferred option was option 2 to ensure that an appropriate service provision was maintained to the standard the Council required, achieving value for money and that future costs were controlled.  The loss of the Lancashire Telecare and Supporting People contacts would leave the Council’s emergency call centre in an unsustainable position, and maintaining the centre would not represent value for money. For this reason it was necessary to consider alternative provision for the service areas and work that would remain.

 

Councillor Leytham proposed, seconded by Councillor Smith:-

 

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

 

Councillors then voted:-

 

Resolved unanimously:

(1)                    That  the impact of the announcements of the County Council regarding  the provision of  telecare and community alarm services on the future viability on maintaining the emergency call centre be noted.

(2)                    That the services provided by the emergency call centre be reviewed and consideration given as to how they could be provided in the future.

(3)                    That officers be authorised to take action to ensure appropriate arrangements were  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41.

42.

Budget Update – Funding Prospects 2014/15 Onwards pdf icon PDF 87 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Bryning)

 

Report of the Chief Officer (Resources)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Bryning)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Chief Officer (Resources) to provide an outline update on future funding prospects for General Fund services, in light of the recent Government consultation.

 

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

 

Chief Officers were in the process of identifying many potential areas for saving and these would be reported to Members in due course.

 

Whilst it was considered likely that some could be implemented without having significant impact on services to the public, in total they would not address the Council’s budget deficit.  In order to balance the Council’s books, there would need to be reductions and other changes in services that would have direct, adverse impact on the district and its residents and visitors.  For such areas, therefore, Member prioritisation and direction was required – decisions would not be easy.

 

For these reasons, the following approach was proposed:

 

-        Management Team be tasked with an initial target of £1M recurring savings, from service restructuring, streamlining and any efficiency related proposals – i.e. those that would not have a marked bearing on front line or other service delivery standards.   At this stage, it was considered unfeasible to increase this target any further.  Furthermore, it should be recognised that even these measures would result in some delays in dealing with various work requests, and might well give rise to more complaints.  Whilst the risks attached could be managed to some degree, they could not be avoided entirely. 

 

-        Cabinet be tasked with prioritising service reductions and other similar annual savings in the order of at least £2.5M.  Members were encouraged to identify key areas for saving early on, to give more time to plan and develop options for service withdrawal.

 

Regarding income generation, the introduction of new charges was one area that Members might wish to consider.  Alongside this, reviews of existing charges would be undertaken by Officers in the normal way, where there was expected to be continuity of service.  The Officers’ aim would be to achieve (at least) a break-even position where there was discretion to do so, or review the service provision further.  Overall however, the scope for increasing income generation was thought to have only limited impact on addressing the budget deficit.

 

For invest to save ideas, with the exception of renewable energy, this needed no other specific consideration as inevitably, many savings options would involve up front costs anyway.

 

Arrangements were in hand to ensure that all associated budget proposals were developed and appraised in a robust manner, drawing on management and other information as appropriate.

 

Thefollowingoptions wereavailable to Cabinet:-

 

(1)               Approve the proposals set out above for identifying savings proposals.

(2)               Identify and adopt an alternative approach, with the aim of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 42.

43.

Wind Turbine Developments and Separation Distances pdf icon PDF 91 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Hanson)

 

Report of the Chief Officer (Regeneration and Planning

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Hanson)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Chief Officer (Regeneration & Planning) to enable Cabinet to consider the petition submitted to Annual Council asking that the City Council as Local Planning Authority introduce a revised Development Management policy relating to wind turbines which introduced a minimum safeguarding distance between turbines and dwellings.

 

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

 

Option 1 -   Not to introduce an amended policy.  This option might still be challenged by groups opposing wind turbine development through the examination of the Development Management Development Plan Document, but was more likely to be found as a favourable approach by the Secretary of State.  The approach would be unpopular with some local communities including some Parish Councils as the view might be taken that the Council had declined to tighten the constraints imposed on wind farm developments.  This option would however be expected to receive support from the Secretary of State and the Planning Inspectorate, and avoid costs awards against the Council at appeal if it ignored national policy guidance.

 

Option 2 - To undertake a revision to the existing Development Management policy, as advocated by the petitioners, (and not by officers) to aim to include a minimum separation distance.  This option would in principle seek to satisfy the pressures being applied on the City Council to take this action, but would not be found acceptable by the Secretary of State.  Equally, opposition groups to turbine developments were not guaranteed to be satisfied if any spacing distances were not perceived by them to be adequate.  The creation of an appropriate evidence base would take time and impose a further funding burden on the existing Local Plan budget.  It would need a decision from Council to amend the policy and delay the progress of the Development Plan Document to adoption and place the Council at risk of costs awards against it at appeal for ignoring national policy guidance. 

 

Following the publication of the most recent guidance from the Government on 29th July 2013 the Officer recommendation was Option 1.        

 

Councillor Barry proposed, seconded by Councillor Hanson:-

 

“That the recommendation, as set out in the report, be approved.”

 

Councillors then voted:-

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

(1)        That Cabinet note the new guidance from DCLG on renewable and low carbon energy and that its revised policy in the publication version of the Development Management Development Plan Document complied with that guidance.  Furthermore it did not take steps to introduce separation distances between wind turbines and residential properties as to do so would be to ignore published national planning guidance.

 

Officer responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Chief Officer (Regeneration & Planning)

 

Reasons for making the decision:

 

The development of renewable energy is supported in the Council’s Corporate Plan and the Local Development Framework Core Strategy.  Wind turbine developments have significant impacts predominantly on rural communities and require careful balance between the national and local community  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43.

44.

Urgent Business Report pdf icon PDF 55 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Blamire)

 

Report of the Chief Officer (Governance)

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Blamire)

 

The Chief Officer (Governance) submitted a report informing Members of actions taken by the Chief Executive, in consultation with the relevant Cabinet Members in accordance with the scheme of delegation.

 

Councillor Leytham proposed, seconded by Councillor Hanson:-

 

“That the recommendation, as set out in the report, be approved.”

 

Councillors then voted:-

 

Resolved unanimously:

(1)        That the actions taken by the Chief Executive, in consultation with the relevant Cabinet Members in accordance with the Scheme of Delegation, in respect of the following, be noted:-

1.1       Request for the City Council to give agreement for an application to be made to the DCLG to fund a project to tackle problematic houses in multiple occupation

(1)  That the Chief Executive under urgent business agrees to Lancaster City Council submitting an application to the DCLG Rogue Landlords funding, subject to there being no additional cost implications for the City Council.

(2)  That the General Fund Revenue Budget be updated accordingly, split across relevant financial years, in the event that the application was successful. 

(3)  That consultation be undertaken with a view to waiving call in, in accordance with Overview & Scrutiny Procedure Rule 17, to enable the decision to be implemented immediately. 

Officer responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Chief Officer (Governance)

 

Reasons for making the decision:

 

The decision fulfils the requirements of the City Council’s Constitution in advising Cabinet of urgent decisions taken by the Chief Executive in accordance with the City Council’s Scheme of Delegation.