Agenda and draft minutes

Cabinet - Tuesday, 13th July 2021 5.00 p.m.

Venue: Morecambe Town Hall

Contact: Liz Bateson, Democratic Services - email  ebateson@lancaster.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

12.

Minutes

To receive as a correct record the minutes of Cabinet held on Tuesday, 8 June 2021 (previously circulated). 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 8 June 2021 were approved as a correct record.

 

13.

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:

14.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations by Councillors of interests in respect of items on this Agenda. 

Councillors 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 9 and in the interests of clarity and transparency, Councillors 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, Councillors 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:

15.

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.

 

16.

Provisional General Fund Outturn 2020/21

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Whitehead)

 

Report of the Chief Finance Officer (report to follow)

Minutes:

The Chair informed Members that this item had been deferred. Cabinet would receive a briefing on Outturn before the affordable priorities meeting with a formal report tabled at September Cabinet before being considered by the Budget & Performance Panel.

At this point the Chair advised the meeting that she intended to re-order the agenda so as not to unduly detain Iain Gamble from Brabners who had been invited to respond to questions in relation to the exempt Eden report.

17.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

This is to give further notice in accordance with Part 2, paragraph 5 (4) and 5 (5) of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012 of the intention to take the following items in private. 

 

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(s) of business, on the grounds that they could involve the possible disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of that Act.” 

 

Members are reminded that, whilst the following items have been marked as exempt, it is for Cabinet 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 also whether the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.  In considering their discretion Members should also be mindful of the advice of Council Officers. 

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Hamilton-Cox and seconded by Councillor Lewis:-

 

“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 paragraph 3 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 paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of that Act. 

 

18.

Eden Project North

(Cabinet Members with Special Responsibility Councillors Jackson & Hamilton-Cox)

 

Report of Chief Executive  (report published on 9 July 2021)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Cabinet Members with Special Responsibility Councillors Jackson & Hamilton-Cox)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Chief Executive which was exempt from publication by virtue of paragraph 3, of Schedule 12a of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

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

 

It was proposed by Councillor Jackson, seconded by Councillor Hamilton-Cox and:-

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

The resolution is set out in a minute exempt from publication by virtue of paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act, 1972.

 

Officer responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Chief Executive

 

Reasons for making the decision:

 

The decision is consistent with Council priorities.  Exactly how the decision fits with Council priorities is set out in the exempt minute.

 

 

Iain Gamble left the meeting and the Chair revised the order of the agenda to enable the two exempt Shared Services reports to be considered at that point.

19.

Shared Services Agreement - Revenues and Benefits

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Whitehead)

 

Report of Director of Corporate Services

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Whitehead)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Director of Corporate Services which sought approval for the continuation of the existing shared service arrangement with Preston City Council; to establish a Joint Committee of representative members from both authorities and through delegations to that Joint Committee, to provide revenues and benefit functions for both Councils.  The report was exempt from publication by virtue of Paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act, 1972.

 

The Chair asked that her thanks be conveyed to the Revenues and Benefits staff for the work undertaken during lockdown with regard to the distribution of grants and benefits.

 

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

 

Option 1: To agree the continuation of the shared service arrangements with Preston City Council, in relation to the Council’s Revenues and Benefits functions


 Advantages: Strong record of business transformation

 Exceeded budget savings targets with further opportunities for economies of scale Strong governance arrangements in place

Continuity of service delivery, Retain local knowledge in a critical service


 Disadvantages: None identified


Risks: Government re-organisation could temporarily disrupt the arrangement at any point, but the risk is mitigated by the option of a two year notice period which can be served by either Council at any time.


Option 2: To not agree the continuation of the shared service arrangements with Preston City Council and instead instruct Officers to consider alternative options of service delivery.


Advantages: None identified


Disadvantages: Additional cost elements in unravelling existing arrangements

 No continuity in service delivery

A break up of the partnership would create uncertainty and insecurity for staff within the shared service with the likelihood of losing key staff to longer term opportunities.


Risks: There are implications for the Council if the arrangement doesn’t proceed with the risk of losing key staff and the additional costs in achieving a reduction in HR resources.

 

The need to increase ICT support, storage capacity and infrastructure to re-establish the revenues and benefits service in the City Council environment.

 

The officer preferred option is Option 1, as this provides continuity and is considered the most cost effective option, retaining existing staff whilst providing the opportunity for further economies of scale.

 

Councillor Whitehead proposed, seconded by Councillor Lewis:-

 

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

 

Councillors then voted:-

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

(1)             That Cabinet agrees to the continuation of the shared service arrangements with Preston City Council, in relation to the Council’s Revenues and Benefits functions and that a further Shared Revenues and Benefits Service Agreement with Preston City Council be entered into on an outline 10 year basis, underpinned by a rolling 2- year notice period, to commence on 1 July 2021.

 

(2)   That Cabinet agrees to the following:

 

(i)               to establish a Shared Revenue and Benefits Service Joint Committee to carry out the delegated revenues and benefits functions on behalf of Preston City Council and Lancaster City Council;  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.

20.

Shared Services Agreement - Fraud Investigation Services

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Whitehead)

 

Report of Director of Corporate Services

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Whitehead)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Director of Corporate Services which sought approval for the continuation of the existing cost sharing arrangement with Preston City Council and Fylde Borough Council to provide a Corporate Enquiry Team, to help prevent and detect fraud in the local authority area.  The report was exempt from publication by virtue of Schedule 12A, Paragraph 3 of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

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

 

Option 1: To agree the continuation of the cost sharing arrangement with Preston City Council and Fylde Borough Council, in relation to the Council’s counter fraud activities


Advantages: Objective for the team to be self-financing Flexibility and responsiveness to changing levels of demand/need within the partner organisations.

Existing links and collaboration with Internal Audit

The retention of qualified staff with proven expertise in the fraud environment


Disadvantages: None identified


Risks: Failure to achieve self-financing objective


Option 2: To not agree the continuation of the shared service arrangements with Preston City Council and Fylde Borough Council, and instead instruct Officers to consider alternative options to prevent and detect fraud in the local authority environment.


Advantages: None identified


Disadvantages: Shortage of specialist counter fraud skills within the Council

Lost opportunity for tackling fraud in a cost-effective, collaborative manner.

Inevitable disruption No continuity in service delivery

A break up of the partnership would create uncertainty and insecurity for staff within the shared service with the likelihood of losing key staff.


Risks: There are implications for the Council if the arrangement doesn’t proceed with the risk of not having an adequate deterrent in place to prevent fraud if experienced staff are lost, nor the resources in place to investigate fraudulent activity.

 

The officer preferred option is Option 1. The landscape in which Councils operate has changed as a result of Covid-19; there now being a higher profile regarding fraud and its impact on public funds generally, at a time when Councils and other public bodies are facing huge financial challenges. Continuation of the cost sharing arrangement for counter fraud services ensures the Council is resourced to prevent fraud from occurring, and where prevention is not possible, is resourced to provide a proportionate response, enabling the timely and effective detection, investigation and prosecution of fraudsters.

 

Councillor Whitehead proposed, seconded by Councillor Brookes:-

 

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

 

Councillors then voted:-

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

(1) That Cabinet approves the continuation of the cost sharing arrangement with     Preston City Council and Fylde Borough Council on an outline 10 year basis underpinned by a rolling 1-year notice period, for services in relation to counter fraud activity.

 

Officer responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Director of Corporate Services

 

Reasons for making the decision:

 

The decision is consistent with the corporate priority of being a responsible Council, protecting the public purse, with an ambition to create an “Inclusive and Prosperous Local Economy”.  The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.

 With the consent of the meeting, the press and public were re-admitted at this point and the Chair confirmed a further re-order to the agenda with the Climate Emergency Review of the Local Plan brought forward for the convenience of the officers in attendance for that item.

21.

Climate Emergency Review of the Local Plan for Lancaster District - Preparation of a Consultation Draft (Regulation 18) pdf icon PDF 474 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Dowding)

 

Report of Director for Economic Growth & Regeneration 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Dowding)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Director for Economic Growth & Regeneration which set out progress on the preparation of the Climate Emergency Review of the Local Plan (CELPR) following its adoption by Council on the 29th July 2020. The report sought the endorsement of Cabinet for progress made to date in the process of reviewing the content of the Local Plan documents and approval for the publication of the draft documents for a period of consultation under Regulation 18 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012.

 

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

 

Option 1: Publish and consult on the draft policies contained in the CELPR.


Advantages: By publishing the draft revised CELPR documents for consultation under Regulation 18 the Council can make progress with its ambitious timetable for the Local Plan Review and help ensure that better outcomes from development for climate change mitigation and adaptation are achieved as promptly as plan preparation processes permit.


Disadvantages: None apparent.


Risks: None


Option 2: Do not publish and consult on the draft policies contained in the CELPR.


Advantages: None apparent.


Disadvantages: This option would be contrary to the Council’s published timetable for preparing the CELPR as set out in the published Local Development Scheme as approved by Council in July 2020 (and subsequently kept up to date). The Council will not make progress on the objective of helping to address the Climate Emergency Declaration promptly by promptly reviewing the adopted Local Plan. Resources, including significant officer time spent on the review to date would not have been usefully deployed.


Risks: This option would present several risks including:

- Delays in eventually adopting a revised plan means that development proposals will continue to be determined in the context of the existing adopted policies rather than in the context of policies that take better account of the challenge of climate Change.

 - Reputational damage to the Council from not following through with a consultation on a Draft Plan that it has made prior public commitment to undertake.

- Delay in advancing the process may mean that the externally procured evidence may become out of date and will need to be refreshed again; incurring further costs and delays.

 

Councillor Dowding proposed, seconded by Councillor Frea:-

 

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

 

Councillors then voted:-

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

(1)     That the Council undertakes public consultation on the draft revised versions of the Local Plan documents; specifically, Part A: Strategic Policies & Land Allocations DPD and Part B: Development Management DPD; and,

 

(2)  That the Council publishes the background evidence and supporting material   which have informed the Local Plan Review process to date, including Sustainability Appraisal and Habitats Regulation Assessment.

 

Officer responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Director for Economic Growth & Regeneration

 

Reasons for making the decision:

 

The purpose of the Climate Emergency Review of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

Release of Capital Programme – Development Pool allocation for the purchase of an electric van for the Engineering Team within Property, Investment and Regeneration pdf icon PDF 538 KB

(Cabinet Members with Special Responsibility Cllrs Hamilton-Cox & Whitehead)

 

Report of Director for Economic Growth & Regeneration  (report published on 6 July 2021)

Minutes:

(Cabinet Members with Special Responsibility Councillors Hamilton-Cox & Whitehead)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Director for Economic Growth & Regeneration to request the release of £15K of allocated budget within the Capital Programme – Development Pool.

 

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

 

Options Analysis Option 1 – Continue with current diesel van hire arrangement (do nothing)


Advantages: Current van is fit for purpose for transportation, maintenance, and monitoring activities.


Disadvantages: Takes no action to tackle climate emergency and the goal of being net zero carbon by 2030.


Risks: The approach is different to that being applied to other fleet/hire vehicles and the Council is not seen to lead by example by switching to EV.


Options Analysis Option 2 – Switch to a EV hire vehicle


Advantages: Helps to achieve the Councils zero carbon priorities


Disadvantages: Hire of like for like EV vehicle would be a substantial increase in current annual hire costs for a diesel vehicle.


Risks: The approach is different to that being applied to other fleet/hire vehicles and the Council is not seen to lead by example by switching to EV.


Options Analysis Option 3 – Purchase a EV hire vehicle from the Council Capital Programme


Advantages: Helps to achieve the Councils zero carbon priorities

Utilises revenue savings on current contract hire budget within 5 years

Leaves residual value at the end so more cost effective than hiring


Disadvantages: None


Risks: n/a

 

 

The officer preferred option was Option 3.

 

Councillor Hamilton-Cox proposed, seconded by Councillor Whitehead:-

 

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

 

Councillors then voted:-

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

(1)   That Cabinet approves the release of £15,000 from the development pool section of the general fund capital programme for the purchase of an electric van for the Engineering team and notes that the purchase cost is likely to be in the region of £18,000.

 

(2)  That the general fund revenue and capital budgets are updated as appropriate, as part of the forthcoming budget exercise.

 

Officer responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Director for Economic Growth & Regeneration

Chief Finance Officer

 

 

Reasons for making the decision:

 

The decision is consistent with Council Priorities as switching from diesel aligns with the Council’s aim towards carbon zero. The engineering team currently have access to a Peugeot Partner diesel van on a long-term hire agreement. Transferring to its electric van equivalent on hire is not cost effective so an allocation was made in the GF Capital Programme Pool of £15,000 to purchase a van outright as part of the council’s vehicle capital programme. This will generate annual revenue savings within the coast protection budget area of approximately £3,000 per annum, subsequently leading to a minimal cost over the life expectancy of the vehicle.

 

23.

Release of Capital Reserves for the South Lancaster Growth Catalyst (HIF Programme) pdf icon PDF 535 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Cllr Whitehead)

 

Report of Director for Economic Growth & Regeneration  (report published on 9 July 2021)

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Whitehead)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Director for Economic Growth & Regeneration to request the release of the allocated budget of £4.6M from the Capital Programme.

 

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

 

Option 1. Do Nothing/ Defer


Advantages - None


Disadvantages - May miss the milestone deadlines contained in the main Grant Determination Agreement (GDA) between Lancashire County Council and Homes England.


Risks - Failure to meet GDA milestones may put at risk the £140M HIF settlement.


 Option 2 Approve


Advantages - Governance approvals and funding commitments will be in place in accordance with and subject to the approval of the Collaboration Agreement. It will be compliant with the GDA funding milestones.


Disadvantages - None


Risks - None

 

 

Councillor Whitehead proposed, seconded by Councillor Lewis:-

 

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

 

Following much discussion and in view of the concern raised by some members regarding the lack of a business case and limited detail within the Budget report, the Chair advised the meeting that she was minded to suggest an amendment that the money be released subject to a full business case. After further consideration the Chair acknowledged that such an amendment was not appropriate.

 

Councillors then voted:-

 

Resolved:

 

(5 Members (Councillors Heath, Lewis, Matthews, Thornberry & Whitehead) voted in favour, 4 Members (Councillors Brookes, Dowding, Hamilton-Cox & Jackson) voted against and 1 Member  (Councillor Frea) abstained.)

 

(1)             That in order to meet the requirements of the Collaboration Agreement with Lancashire County Council, Cabinet approves the release of the allocated budget of £4.6M from the development pool section of the general fund capital programme, which represents the local match funding element of the Housing Infrastructure Fund for the South Lancaster Growth Catalyst, a partnership with Lancashire County Council and Homes England.

 

Officers responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Director for Economic Growth & Regeneration

Chief Finance Officer

Reasons for making the decision:

 

The decision will enable Lancaster City Council, as part of the Collaboration Agreement between the City Council and Lancashire County Council, to demonstrate that it has the necessary governance and funding approvals in place and that budgets can be committed without the need for further approvals. The decision is a matter of governance and only commits the release of capital reserves once the Collaboration Agreement has been signed and approved by Council.