Agenda and minutes

Cabinet
Tuesday, 22nd January 2008 10.00 a.m.

Venue: Morecambe Town Hall

Contact: Stephen Metcalfe, Democratic Services, telephone 01524 582073 or email  smetcalfe@lancaster.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

89.

Minutes

To receive as a correct record the minutes of Cabinet held on 11th December 2007 (previously circulated).  

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday, 11th December, 2007 were signed by the Chairman as a correct record. 

90.

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 he had accepted 1 item of urgent business regarding Williamson Park Company Ltd (Minute 95 refers).

 

He also informed of supplementary information that had been circulated since the publication of the Agenda with regard to Grants to Voluntary Organisations – New Service Level Agreements (Minute 94 refers) and the Budget and Policy Framework – Update (Minutes 113 to 116 refers). 

91.

Declarations of Interest

To consider any such declarations. 

Minutes:

Councillor June Ashworth declared a prejudicial interest with regard to the part of the report on Grants to Voluntary Organisations – New Service Level Agreements that referred to Morecambe Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) (Minute 94 refers). 

 

Councillor John Gilbert declared a prejudicial interest with regard to the the part of the report on Grants to Voluntary Organisations – New Service Level Agreements that referred to Lancaster Citizens Advice Bureau  (CAB) (Minute 94 refers). 

 

Councillors Eileen Blamire and Tony Johnson declared prejudicial interests with regard to Williamson Park Company Ltd due to them being members of the Williamson Park Board of Directors (Minute 95 refers). 

92.

Public Speaking

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

Minutes:

Members were advised that there had been 2 requests by members of the public to speak at the meeting in accordance with Cabinet’s agreed procedure, set out in Cabinet Procedure Rule 2.7. 

 

The Chairman advised that he had also agreed to 1 Ward Member speaking at the meeting upon the report regarding Land at Scotforth Road, Lancaster in accordance with Cabinet’s agreed procedure, set out in Cabinet Procedure Rule 2.6. 

93.

Land at Scotforth Road, Lancaster

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Evelyn Archer)

 

Report of Corporate Director (Finance & Performance).  

 

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Evelyn Archer)

 

(Mr. T. Hamilton-Cox and Mr. M. Hardy, who had registered to speak on this item in accordance with the City Council’s agreed procedure, spoke in opposition to the recommendations included in this item in accordance with Cabinet Procedure Rule 2.7.  Councillor Fletcher, in her capacity as Ward Councillor, spoke in opposition to the recommendations in this item in accordance with Cabinet Procedure Rule 2.6). 

 

The Corporate Director (Finance and Performance) submitted a report that enabled Cabinet to consider the tender documents prepared for the site and determine whether the site should be marketed with a view to its disposal. 

 

A supplementary report of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee was circulated at the meeting. 

 

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

 

Option 1 – to approve the tender documents and allow the marketing of the land to proceed. This option would enable the Council to receive a capital receipt for land that currently has no alternative, operational use for the Council. This would be in line with the initial resolution of Cabinet. There remains a major risk however that whilst the site could be marketed, the value would be dependent on the granting of planning permission. The tender details recognise that the granting of planning permission for this site is by no means straight forward and there is therefore a risk that a major receipt may not be forthcoming. In terms of timing, whilst the Council is anticipating a receipt in 2008/09, then subject to an early resolution over the choice of a developer/occupier, it could be anticipated that a receipt may be expected in the final quarter of the 2008/09 financial year. Delays in this process would affect the Council’s funding of the capital programme as indicated in the Financial Implications.

 

Option 2 – not to approve the tender documents. This option would not offer the Council an opportunity to obtain a capital receipt for land that currently has no operational use. The Council’s land would remain for small scale grazing in the immediate future.

 

The preferred officer option was option 1.  This would allow the Council an opportunity to obtain a capital receipt for land that currently has no operational use, provided that a suitable planning permission is forthcoming. 

 

It was moved by Councillor Roger Mace and seconded by Councillor Evelyn Archer: -

 

“(1)   That Cabinet endorses the principles set out in the draft tender brief, subject to:

 

(i)                  the final version explicitly excluding from the land to be offered for sale a narrow strip of land at the southern extremity of the land to be sold and,

 

(ii)                the northern boundary of the land to be offered for sale running in a straight line at right angles from the A6 to a point south of the bridge and, 

 

(2)         That Officers investigate in conjunction with the Footpath Officer, the feasibility of turning the informal path that runs from east to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 93.

94.

Grants to Voluntary Organisations - New Service Level Agreements

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor David Kerr)

 

Report of the Budget & Performance Panel.  

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor David Kerr)

 

(Councillors June Ashworth and John Gilbert had declared prejudicial interests in the following item due to them being representatives on the Lancaster and Morecambe Citizens Advice Bureaux respectively and left the meeting prior to consideration thereof.) 

 

(Councillor Jim Blakely, in his capacity as Chairman of the Budget and Performance Panel, presented the report in accordance with Cabinet Procedure Rule 2.6). 

 

Cabinet considered the recommendations submitted by the Budget and Performance Panel regarding grants to voluntary organisations as part of the budget process. 

 

A supplementary report advising of the recommendations of the Budget and Performance Panel had been circulated prior to the meeting. 

 

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

 

(1)         To agree future funding and Service Level Agreements for 3 years on the same basis as currently for 2008 - 2011.

 

(2)         To agree funding and Service Level Agreements on a revised basis.

 

(3)         To discontinue funding and Service Level Agreements.

 

Option 1 above will have advantages in that renewing Service Level Agreements for a further 3 years will provide continuity, maintain good working relationships with local organisations and assist with the achievement of Council priorities.  Granting a 3 year agreement provides certainty of funding to the voluntary organisations to enable them to plan the provision of services more effectively. 

 

However, there are disadvantages in that tying the Council into an arrangement for a 3 year period could exclude other interested parties and limit the Council’s choice for future years and for this reason Members may wish to consider Option (2) and offer funding for a shorter period of time.  The risk in this instance is that it is less likely that organisations would agree to the provisions of a Service Level Agreement without the certainty of future funding. 

 

Members of the Budget and Performance Panel have spent some time interviewing representatives of each organisation and considering past performance on existing agreements.  Recommendations include variations to the service level agreements and level of funding where appropriate. 

 

Option 3 will provide savings in respect of any Service Level Agreements and associated funding which are discontinued. 

 

Whilst there are risks associated with the commitment of funds to voluntary organisations, the signing of a Service Level Agreement and the revised and improved monitoring procedure introduced following the report of the Grants Task Group (approved by Cabinet on 27th July 2007) will provide some mitigation to the level of risk. 

 

It was moved by Councillor Roger Mace and seconded by Councillor David Kerr: -

 

“That the recommendations, as set out in the supplementary report, be approved, and further that Cabinet ends the system of free parking permits to outside bodies. 

 

By way of amendment it was moved by Councillor Tony Johnson and seconded by Councillor Roger Mace: -

 

“That the following resolution replaces recommendations (5) and (6):

 

(5)     That Cabinet approve the proposed grant awards for Lancaster and Morecambe CABs, as recommended by the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 94.

95.

Item of Urgent Business - Williamson Park Company Ltd

Minutes:

(Cabinet Members with Special Responsibility Councillor Evelyn Archer and Maia Whitelegg)

 

(Councillors Eileen Blamire and Tony Johnson declared prejudicial interests in the following item due to being members of the Williamson Park Board of Directors and left the meeting prior to consideration thereof.) 

 

In accordance with Section 100B (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the Chairman agreed to consider the report as an item urgent business as it may have budget implications for the Council that needed to be considered as part of the 2008/9 budget process. 

 

The Corporate Director (Finance and Performance) submitted a report that gave consideration to the recommendations of the Williamson Park Board that had met on 10th January 2008 in respect of their considerations regarding the future management arrangements of the Company. 

 

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

 

To continue with the existing arrangements is not an option and therefore there are only 2 realistic alternatives

 

Option 1 - To agree to the request from the Williamson Park Board. 

 

This would mean Williamson Park retaining its existing company status but with support arrangements formalised through service level agreements.

 

As officer support to the Company has been on an ad hoc basis, there is no detailed record of the level of support that has been provided to date. This option would therefore require officers from both the Council and the Company to meet to scope and cost up the arrangements that would be required in order for the Company to achieve its business plan objectives.

 

Until this exercise has been undertaken, it is impossible to say if the Council would incur additional costs. If indeed the required support could not be provided from within existing resources or accommodated within service business plans, then it is certain that additional costs would be incurred.

 

 

Option 2 – Decide to dissolve the company and bring the operation back into the Council.

 

This would mean dissolving the company and transferring the Parks staff and budgets to the City Council. In effect, the Parks operation would be subsumed into the Council’s existing services. The Council would then be responsible for reviewing and delivering the Company’s existing business plan objectives. 

 

It is likely that the transfer of staff would take place under TUPE conditions and this transfer could incur costs in relation to any improvements in staff conditions of service that may be required. 

 

Bringing the Company back into the Council would also require consideration of the same officer support requirements as referred to in option 1 but maybe not on the same scale. 

 

It is further likely that the dissolution of the company would itself have costs attached but these have not been costed at this stage. 

 

There were no preferred officer recommendations. 

 

It was moved by Councillor Roger Mace and seconded by Councillor Abbott Bryning:-

 

“That Option 1 as an in principle decision, as set out in the report, be approved.” 

 

Members then voted as follows. 

 

Resolved:

 

(6  ...  view the full minutes text for item 95.

96.

Planning Delivery Grant Allocation 2007/8

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Eileen Blamire)

 

Report of the Head of Planning Services. 

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Eileen Blamire)

 

The Head of Planning Services submitted a report upon the securement of an agreement for the expenditure of the 2007/8 Planning Delivery Grant allocation. 

 

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

 

Option 1:  To agree the distribution of Planning Delivery Grant as suggested in the report.  This option supports the Service Management Team’s objectives in making investments which maintain the improvements already undertaken in recent years and ensure that the Service is ready to respond to the significant planning challenges facing the Council in the future. 

 

Option 2:  To treat this year’s Planning Delivery Grant as a significant revenue income and use it to subsidise current Service delivery and ease pressure on the Revenue budget generally.  This option would have the benefit of easing this year’s budget position, but would either result in new growth items having to be generated to deliver the essential Service infrastructure improvements which Government performance targets demand, or an abandonment of programmed improvements.  The later scenario would result in the Council’s performance position slipping back  and affect the potential for receiving future grant applications.  It would also increase the risk of the City Council being listed again as a Best Value Planning Authority and affect future CPA assessments.

 

Option 3:  To agree to some of the expenditure headings but retain a proportion of the grant to cover costs incurred in planning appeal.  This option would involve using £78,000 of the grant to cover the costs awarded against the Council in the Mayfield Chicks planning appeal, as was considered in the corporate performance review team (PRT) report.  The use of this amount of the funds would require some of the items identified in the report being dropped.  Although all the items identified for investment are important, those less crucial to maintaining business performance, which would need to be forgone to release funds to pay the costs, are item b) Revised Conservation Area Appraisals and item i) part time Section 106 Contributions officer.  Dropping these two items would release £80,000 to cover the costs.  This would obviously mean delaying business development in the area of Conservation Area Appraisals and income generation through Section 106 contributions.  However, this is a matter for Members to decide and the option is a viable alternative.

 

The preferred Officer option was option 1.  Planning Delivery Grant is awarded to help Local Planning Authorities invest in improving their services and giving them the capacity to operate effectively in place shaping and delivering the sustainable communities agenda.  Just as importantly it is a grant rewarding the performance of the Council’s Officers and they are highly motivated by seeing significant investment returns for their efforts.   This Council is aiming to improve its CPA rating; continuing improvement in Planning, one of its most high profile Services, is important to achieve this. 

 

It was moved by Councillor Eileen Blamire and seconded by Councillor John Gilbert:-

 

“That the recommendations, as set out  ...  view the full minutes text for item 96.

97.

Fees and Charges 2008/09 - Health & Strategic Housing

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor David Kerr)

 

Report of the Corporate Director (Community Services).

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor David Kerr)

 

The Corporate Director (Community Services) submitted a report that had been prepared as part of the 2008/09 estimate procedure and set out options for increasing the level of fees and charges. 

 

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

 

(i)            To approve either the 2.5% or 4.5% increase in fees for Environmental Health charges.

 

(ii)          To approve the fee increases for HMO licensing and APS fees. 

 

(iii)         To approve a different fee structure for HMO licensing and APS fees. 

 

(iv)        Increase the fee for rats, mice and fleas in line with the other increases, or a different amount.  This would make the collection of the fee on site slightly more time consuming and inefficient for the Pest Control Officers. 

 

The preferred officer options were options (i) and (ii) for reasons set out in the report. 

 

It was moved by Councillor Roger Mace and seconded by Councillor David Kerr: -

 

“That the recommendations, as set out in the report, be approved, subject to the increase in fees and charges being 2.5% and that charges for the removal of wasp infestations in domestic properties be not increased.” 

 

Resolved Unanimously:

 

(1)               That Cabinet increases the Health and Strategic Housing’s fees by 2.5%, as set out below, with the exception of fees for rats, mice or fleas, which remain at £20.00, with a reduction to £10.00 for customers in receipt of Council Tax and/or Housing Benefit and that charges for the removal of wasp infestations in domestic properties be not increased.  

 


 

HEALTH AND STRATEGIC HOUSING

 

FEES AND CHARGES FOR THE YEAR 2008/9

 

OPTION FOR CEMETERY CHARGES

 

 

Present Charge

 

£

2.5% Option

Proposed

Charge

£

 

 

 

Exclusive Right of Burial:

i)   For the exclusive right of burial for a period of 75 years from the date of purchase, of a single earthen grave, walled grave or vault

 

 

500.00

 

 

512.50

 

 

 

ii)  Exclusive right of burial in a woodland area

-          2 space

-          1 space

 

500.00

250.00

 

512.50

256.25

Transfer of Grave Deed

Legal Costs

 

 

 

 

Duplicate Grave Deed

73.50

75.25

 

 

 

Searches – hourly rate

33.00

33.75

 

 

 

Interment Charges

 

 

(a)       For the interment in a grave or woodland site either where the exclusive right of burial HAS or HAS NOT been granted:-

 

 

 

 

 

i)          of the body of a child whose age at the time of death exceeded one year but did not exceed 16 years.

 

150.75

 

154.50

 

 

 

ii)  of the body of a person whose age at the time of death exceeded 16 years.

508.75

521.50

 

 

 

iii) interment of cremated remains

122.00

125.00

 

 

 

iv)interment of cremated remains under headstone

185.75

190.50

 

 

 

(b)There is no charge for the interment or burial of cremated remains of a non-viable foetus, the body of a still-born child or a child whose age at the time of death did not exceed one year.

 

 

Scattering of Cremated Remains

31.75

32.50

 

 

 

Use of Cemetery Chapel

83.50

85.50

 

 

 

 

 

 

Present Charge

 

£

2.5% Option

Proposed

Charge

£

Walled Graves & Vaults:

 

 

 

 

 

     For  ...  view the full minutes text for item 97.

98.

Annual Review of Parking Fees and Charges

(Cabinet Members with Special Responsibility Councillors John Gilbert and Roger Mace)

 

Report of the Head of Property Services.  

Minutes:

(Cabinet Members with Special Responsibility Councillors John Gilbert and Roger Mace)

 

The Head of Property Services submitted a report that gave consideration to the Annual Review of Parking Fees and Charges for 2008/09. 

 

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

 

The following options have been put forward for consideration in light of the discussions with the Chamber Groups and the need to meet the budgetary commitments. The options are limited to minor changes rather than across the board increases in the anticipation that the additional usage previously mentioned can bemaintained. However, Cabinet needs to be aware of the risks associated with this assumption combined with relying on some tariff increases raising the required additional income and the introduction of a new tariff. The traffic and parking implications are highlighted where applicable.

 

Please note that an allowance for resistance has now been included in the following Pay and Display projections.

 

Option 1

 

Pay and Display – Short Stay

 

Tariff Description

Tariff

Additional Income

Introduce Up to 4 hours

(assumes no increased sales and 10% change from up to 3 and over 3 hour tariffs)

£3.20

£6,600

Amend Over 3 hours to Over 4 hours

and increase charge by £1.00

£8.00

£8,000

 

Public Permits

 

Increase General and Specific by 5% in line with table at 3.3

£11,700

 

This option provides the additional tariff of Up to 4 hours that is effectively a 3 to 4 hour charge. As indicated the estimates assume 10% of existing 3 hour and Over 3 hour customers will elect to stay longer in the new Up to 4 hour category. This new tariff may attract some customers from the existing long stay Up to 5 hour category in Lancaster and this would transfer vehicles from long stay to short stay car parks. If successful, the new tariff may affect the turnover of spaces at peak periods although this may not necessarily affect income. Clearly there are risks associated with introducing a new tariff and this tariff or charge may need to be reviewed next year if there is a subsequent adverse variance.

 

This option also includes increasing the amended Over 4 hour tariff from £7.00 to £8.00 to discourage long stays on short stay car parks. However, this is estimated to only raise an additional £8,000.

 

A 5% increase in public permits is broadly in line with inflation and this reduces the level of discount offered to commuters compared with daily parking costs. However, the same level of sales is anticipated and this does not discourage further reductions in commuting and the use of long stay car parks.  

 

This option does not achieve the budgetary commitment with an estimated shortfall of £26,400.

 

Option 2

 

Pay and Display – Short Stay

           

Tariff Description

Tariff

Additional Income

Increase Up to 2 hours by 0.10p

£1.70

£30,000

Introduce Up to 4 hours

(assumes no increased sales and 10% change from 2 and over 3 hour tariffs)

£3.20

£6,600

Amend Over 3  ...  view the full minutes text for item 98.

99.

The Dome, Morecambe - Options

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Maia Whitelegg)

 

Report of the Head of Cultural Services. 

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Maia Whitelegg)

 

The Head of Cultural Services presented a report that gave consideration to options for the future of the Dome. 

 

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

 

Option A         Closure and demolition of the Dome, with no transfer of events.

 

In option A an estimate for demolition of the Dome (“to one metre below ground level, grubbing up and sealing off of services, removal of debris and arisings off site, etc”) has been received from Birse Civils Limited. At December 2006 prices the total cost estimate stood at £79,400 (£83,400 at 2008/2009 prices). This capital growth has yet to be highlighted as an item for the Capital Programme and approval would be dependent on a project appraisal.

 

Assumptions;-

 

·         Cessation of all operations at Dome.

 

·         One permanent staff member subject to redeployment, with effect from April 1st 2008. Staff member may alternatively take redundancy option which would result in subsequent redundancy costs.

 

·         Effective 1st April 2008, subject to no contractual costs relating to cancellation of existing bookings.

 

·         Pumping Station expenditure (see paragraph 2.10)

 

Projected revenue savings of £103,900 best case and £58,900 worst case scenario based on 2008/09 draft estimates. The projected savings for 2009/10 and 2010/11 are £114,300 and £122,000. A breakdown of the Option A financial appraisal was attached as an appendix to the report. 

 

Risks:-

 

·               The above would have a potentially damaging impact on the reputation of the Council and district. The closure of the Dome and no transfer of events would be viewed negatively in terms of the impact that shows and events make to the district and undermine the events strategy undertaken since the creation of Cultural Services. High profile event/shows such as those undertaken in 2007/2008, including; - the “Arctic Monkeys”, “Athlete”, and “Reverend & the Makers” would cease through the loss of the existing revenue budget.

 

·               The above assumes an effective date of the 1st April 2008, and no contractual costs relating to cancellation of existing bookings. However, based on existing bookings scheduled for the Dome in 2008/2009, the potential maximum estimated contractual costs of cancellations, to-date have been calculated at £45,000. Pending Cabinet’s decision with regards to a preferred option on the future of the Dome, to avoid the risk of reputational damage the above is hypothetical, as no event promoter or organiser has yet been contacted with a view to negotiating an alternative venue (which could offset some of the potential contractual cancellation costs). However, if the decision was taken now to close the Dome with effect from April 2009, there would be no contractual costs relating to cancellation of bookings, as to-date no bookings have been confirmed for 2009/2010. A decision should be made to coincide with the end of the 2008/2009 season to ensure no commitments are made for events to be held in 2009/2010.

 

·               Permanent staff member could take statutory redundancy if redeployment not successful which would result in a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 99.

100.

Corporate Property Strategy

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Evelyn Archer)  

 

Report of Corporate Director (Finance & Performance). 

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Evelyn Archer)

 

The Corporate Director (Finance and Performance) submitted a report that gave consideration to a revision to the Corporate Property Strategy to allow consideration of sales of property at less than market value. 

 

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

 

Option 1 - To update the Corporate Property Strategy to provide a framework for allowing consideration of disposal of assets at less than market value, in support of well being powers. The updating of the Strategy bears no risks in itself. Any risks would arise in individual cases should the Council wish to consider the use of the General Disposal Consent to sell land at an under value. 

 

Option 2 – To update the Corporate Strategy in a manner that reflects Cabinets wishes. This would give the opportunity to consider whether the amount of “under value” referred to in the General Consent is appropriate for the City Council as a District Council. Under the consent, which is available to all authorities regardless of size, the maximum under value is £2m and Cabinet may wish to consider whether a lower value would be appropriate to the City Council. In addition, members may wish to consider whether any additional criteria would be relevant to add into the Corporate Strategy, or whether any are considered to be not relevant. Risks in this option are as identified in option 1. 

 

Option 3 – Make no changes to the Corporate Strategy as currently written until the revised Government guidelines are in place. The existing Strategy would still be in place as would the General Consent, and the Council could consider how to deal with individual cases as they arose. Risks in this option are as identified in option 1. 

 

Option 4 – Confirm the Corporate Property Strategy in its current format and not utilise the discretion of the Council to utilise the provisions of the General Disposal Consent should it be so minded. 

 

The officer preferred option was option 1 in which Cabinet is asked to update the Corporate Property Strategy to provide a framework for allowing consideration of the disposal of assets at less than market value in support of the “well being powers” under the provisions of the ODPM Circular 06/2003 Local Government Act 1972: General Disposal Consent (England) 2003. 

 

It was moved by Councillor Roger Mace and seconded by Councillor John Gilbert: -

 

“That there be no change to the Property Strategy at this time, pending the more extensive review of the Strategy that is expected to be undertaken in the near future.” 

 

Members then voted as follows. 

 

Resolved Unanimously:

 

(1)         That there be no change to the Property Strategy at this time, pending the more extensive review of the Strategy that is expected to be undertaken in the near future.

 

Officers responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Corporate Director (Finance and Performance). 

Head of Property Services. 

 

Reason for making the decision:

 

The decision for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 100.

101.

Children and Young People Strategic Plan

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Maia Whitelegg)

 

Report of the Corporate Director (Finance and Performance). 

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Maia Whitelegg)

 

The Corporate Director (Finance and Performance) submitted a report that sought Cabinet’s approval of a Children and Young People Strategy. 

 

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

 

1       To approve the Strategic Plan and refer the growth bids to the budget process.

 

Operational Risk

 

There is a statutory duty to co-operate with named agencies that are involved with children and young people. 2008 will see the emergence of a local Lancaster District Children’s Trust.

 

As well as not complying with legislation, not having such an integrated documented strategic approach to these issues puts at risk our ability to ensure the well being of children and young people in our district as well as diluting the Council’s impact and influence on the development of a local children’s trust.

Financial Risk

It should be noted that a number of growth bids have been submitted to assist in delivery of elements of the plan, most notably a bid in support of the recommended re-designation of the Children and Young People Manager post from part time to full time. In addition further smaller bids have been submitted to provide a small operating budget for the CYP team (none exists at present), funding to support development of our responses to the emerging local children’s trust and Year 1 funding to support establishment of the Young Advisors Scheme (referred to in the Plan). Failure to support these bids willhinder delivery of the Plan in terms of what is achievable within reasonable timescales with the resources available.

 

2.      To recommend amendments to the Strategic Plan prior to its approval recognising the operational and financial risks identified above.

 

Key documents are currently under revision and this strategy, if adopted, will be revised to take account of the Council’s Corporate Plan for 2008/09 and the new Lancaster District Sustainable Community Strategy, as well as the outcome of the budget process.

 

The preferred officer option was option 1, that the Strategic Plan be approved as drafted and thereafter widely disseminated across the Council and regularly updated as and when future policy and operating arrangements are developed.

 

It was moved by Councillor Maia Whitelegg and seconded by Councillor David Kerr: -

 

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

 

By way of amendment, which was accepted by the mover and seconder of the original proposition as a friendly amendment, it was moved by Councillor Mace: -

 

“That Cabinet refers the Strategy to the LSP as the Council’s contribution to the negotiation of the Children and Young People component of the LSP’s Sustainable Community Strategy.” 

 

Members then voted upon the proposition, as amended. 

 

Resolved Unanimously:

 

(1)     That the Children and Young People Strategic Plan be approved and that the growth bids be considered as part of the 2008/09 budget process. 

 

(2)     That Cabinet refers the Strategy to the LSP as the Council’s contribution to the negotiation of the Children and Young People  ...  view the full minutes text for item 101.

102.

Galgate Community Rooms

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Tony Johnson)

 

Report of the Head of Economic Development and Tourism. 

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Tony Johnson)

 

The Head of Economic Development and Tourism submitted a report that advised that Ellel Parish Council had requested short term, repayable financial assistance pending receipt of Pathfinder in Practice funding towards the development of Community Rooms in Galgate.  The report outlined the background to the request, noted the potential joint arrangement with Lancashire Economic Partnership and raised the implications of funding such requests. 

 

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

 

Option

Advantages

Disadvantages

Risks

1. Refuse the request to provide short term finance

Avoids setting precedent for similar requests

Substantial external funding for community project not taken up

 

City Council perceived as unsupportive

No financial risk to the City Council

 

Project potentially put at risk as unable to bridge period  pending receipt of PiP funding

2.  Provide short term repayable funding, jointly with LEP, against contractor invoices and charge interest of approx £900-1000

Project able to proceed as planned.

 

City Council perceived as supportive of rural community projects

 

No financial loss to the City Council when loan repaid in full

Increases overall project costs to the Parish Council

 

Depending on LEP approach, there may be a mismatch in the handling of interest on the loan

Whilst the offer of PiP funding has been secured, payment will be subject to the project meeting the terms and conditions set by the funder.  It is conceivable that payment of PiP grant could be withheld and repayment to the City Council delayed.

 

Risk of setting precedent

3.  Provide short term repayable funding, jointly with LEP, against contractor invoices and forego interest of approx £900-1000

Project able to proceed as planned

 

City Council perceived as supportive of rural community projects

 

Loss of interest on the funding provided

Whilst the offer of PiP funding has been secured, payment will be subject to the project meeting the terms and conditions set by the funder.  It is conceivable that payment of PiP grant could be withheld and repayment to the City Council delayed.

 

Risk of setting precedent

4.  Approach Lancashire County Council with a view to the required finance being met equally with LEP and the City Council

Potential to reduce the commitment of resources and risk for the City Council

LEP initially approached the County Council which indicated that it would not be able to provide support from the Rural Development Budget (the most appropriate budget) in the current financial year.  The timescale required for any further approaches and consideration by the County Council probably dictates against this option being taken forward.

Risk of delay in confirming the availability of short term funding on a tripartite basis

 

The preferred officer option was option 3.  If Members wished to support the request for short term finance, it should be noted that Lancashire Economic Partnership do not generally charge interest on the finance   provided.  If this is LEP’s confirmed approach in this instance, Members may wish to adopt a consistent approach ie Option  ...  view the full minutes text for item 102.

103.

Customer Service Centres

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Evelyn Archer)

 

Report of the Corporate Director (Finance and Performance)

 

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Evelyn Archer)

 

The Corporate Director (Finance and Performance) submitted a report that updated Members on the progress within the Customer Service Centres and to consider the ways of accessing the Lancaster Town Hall. 

 

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

 

Public Access to Lancaster Town Hall

 

Option 1 – leave the front doors open. This would possibly retain a situation where some customers may think that the front doors still provide access to the Town Hall and therefore make an unnecessary trip up the front steps only to find the doors are closed and access is required around the side of the Town Hall. This option does allow the existing doors to be retained for fire exit purposes and still gives an impression that the Town Hall is open for business. 

 

Option 2 – close the front doors. The doors would be opened for civic occasions and for evening and weekend meetings as required. The doors would also have to be altered at a budget cost of £8,000 + VAT to allow for their emergency use as a fire escape. 

 

Staff and Member Access to Lancaster Town Hall

 

Option 1 – implement a new controlled access scheme into Lancaster Town Hall. This system would allow for a much improved security access to the Town Hall which can be adapted to be used in other buildings as part of the Access to Services review. More importantly, it has the key benefit of improving emergency evacuation procedures. Funding is already available within the Customer Service Centre budget as set out in the Financial Implications section of the report. 

 

Option 2 – retain existing access arrangements for staff and Members. A saving in the Customer Service Centre budgets would be made amounting to £11,100. This would not lead to any improvements in access arrangements and retains the existing  safety risk to visiting staff/ members in that they cannot easily be identified as being present in the building during an emergency evacuation. In addition, should any legal action be taken against the Council for having insufficient evacuation procedures, it is likely that the Council’s defence would be inadequate. For instance, a member of staff injured as a result of being untraced in an emergency, would have a reasonable case for negligence against the authority. 

 

The officer preferred options were set out in the report as follows: 

 

Public Access to Lancaster Town Hall

 

Cabinet are asked to determine their preferred option in respect of the front doors at Lancaster Town Hall. 

 

Staff and Member Access to Lancaster Town Hall

 

Option 1 was the preferred option as this would be more user friendly and provide improved security and evacuation procedures within a budget that is available.  

 

It was moved by Councillor Evelyn Archer and seconded by Councillor David Kerr: -

 

“(1)   That there be no change to the current arrangements for the front door of Lancaster Town Hall, but  ...  view the full minutes text for item 103.

104.

Cabinet Public Speaking

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Roger Mace)

Report of the Head of Democratic Services

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Roger Mace)

 

The Head of Democratic Services submitted a report that reviewed the procedure for public speaking at meetings of Cabinet meetings. 

 

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

 

Public Speaking at Cabinet meetings:

 

Option No.

OPTION

IMPLICATIONS AND RISK ANALYSIS

1

That the current arrangements be continued, with the Council Business Committee being recommended to consider allowing members of the general public to speak on items of urgent business or items submitted after the publication of the Agenda, as detailed within the report.  In considering this option Cabinet may feel it to be appropriate to make recommendations on the amendment of Cabinet Procedure Rules for Ward Councillors speaking to be in line with those of the general public (i.e. with the same deadlines).  This could involve extending the deadline for reports that are submitted late, or are to be considered as urgent business until 12 Noon on the Monday prior to the meeting, or other time that Members may feel appropriate. 

Cabinet may also wish to incorporate Rules relating to speaking on more than one occasion being introduced in order to bring into line with those of the Planning Committee. 

This would mean that members of the public and Ward Councillors would be allowed to speak at meetings of Cabinet on all items of business that are known to require a decision prior to the meeting.  A report would need to be submitted to the Council Business Committee on any Cabinet recommendations that would require amendment to the City Council’s Constitution. 

 

Allowing the general public and/or Ward Councillors to speak on urgent business items or reports submitted after the publication of the Agenda would, with such a late deadline, not give Officers enough time to re-order the Agenda and notification of speakers would need to be given at the meeting. 

 

 

 

 

 

Adopting procedures in accordance with those of the Planning Committee would make the Council’s Rules consistent and would also ensure that there was no duplication in making a repeated address to Cabinet. 

2

That the existing procedure be continued with no alterations. 

This approach would support the public being allowed to speak at meetings of Cabinet on any topic within the Council’s area of responsibility and ensure that there was an element of consistency with other meetings of the Council.  However, it would not support the public or Ward Councillors speaking on urgent business items or reports submitted after the publication of the Agenda where the content of the report is unknown when the deadline for speaking has passed. 

 

There would be benefits such as savings on printing costs that would be required with a new leaflet and meetings of Cabinet may be shorter with the possibility of fewer public speakers. 

3

That Cabinet make alternative recommendations on the process. 

Any alternative proposals may require a more detailed report to consider the implications of the proposals. 

 

The preferred officer option was option 1 to continue  ...  view the full minutes text for item 104.

105.

Allocation of Cabinet Appointments and consideration of Overview & Scrutiny Referral

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Roger Mace)

Report of the Head of Democratic Services

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Roger Mace)

 

The Head of Democratic Services submitted a report that advised of the recommended reallocation of Cabinet responsibility for AONB issues and of a recommendation from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee regarding a Champion for mental health matters. 

 

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

 

With regard to the appointment of Cabinet Members as Council representatives it is for Cabinet to approve the replacement of Councillor Eileen Blamire by Councillor Tony Johnson. 

 

It was for Cabinet to consider appointing, or not appointing, a Cabinet Member as champion for mental health matters, in accordance with the referral from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. 

 

There are no officer preferred options.  However, in relation to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee recommendation regarding the appointment of a Champion for mental health matters, Cabinet should be aware that the Council did not focus its services around people’s special needs and there would be no identifiable benefit in selecting one particular client group in this way. 

 

It was moved by Councillor Roger Mace and seconded by Councillor Abbott Bryning:-

 

“That recommendation (1), as set out in the report, be approved and that Cabinet does not appoint a Champion for mental health matters.” 

 

Members then voted as follows.

 

Resolved Unanimously:

 

(1)         That Councillor Tony Johnson replaces Councillor Eileen Blamire as the Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility for AONB issues and be appointed as the Council’s Representative on the Arnside and Silverdale AONB Unit, and Arnside and Silverdale AONB (Forum, Countryside Management Service and Limestone Heritage Project) and the Forest of Bowland AONB Advisory Committee. 

 

(2)     That Cabinet does not appoint a Champion for mental health matters. 

 

Note:  Councillor David Kerr was not present when the vote was taken. 

 

Officers responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Chief Executive. 

Head of Democratic Services. 

Head of Planning Service. 

 

Reason for making the decision:

 

The appointment of a Member with special responsibility for AONB issues is in accordance with the previous request from Council and it is for Cabinet to appoint a Councillor to the position.  In relation to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee recommendation regarding the appointment of a Champion for mental health matters, Cabinet notes that the Councillors who represent the Council on the LSP Executive have a role in mental health matters. 

 

106.

Star Chamber

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Roger Mace)

 

Report of the Corporate Director (Finance and Performance).  

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Roger Mace)

 

The Corporate Director (Finance and Performance) submitted a report that updated Members on the Star Chamber meetings held since the last report to Cabinet of 11th December 2007. 

 

It was moved by Councillor Roger Mace and seconded by Councillor Abbott Bryning:-

 

“That the report be noted.” 

 

Resolved Unanimously:

 

(1)     That the report be noted. 

 

Officer responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Corporate Director (Finance and Performance). 

 

Reason for making the decision:

 

The decision notes the issues considered at the most recent meetings of the Star Chamber. 

107.

Urgent Business Report

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Roger Mace)

Report of the Chief Executive

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Roger Mace)

 

Cabinet considered a report that advised Members of action taken by the Chief Executive, in consultation with the Leader and relevant Cabinet Members. 

 

It was moved by Councillor Roger Mace and seconded by Councillor John Gilbert: -

 

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

 

Resolved Unanimously:

 

(1)  That the actions taken by the Chief Executive, in consultation with the Leader, the relevant Cabinet Member and the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee in accordance with the Scheme of Delegation, in relation to the following matter, be noted:

 

(1)     Health and Strategic Housing Fees and Charges 2008/09. 

 

Officer responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Chief Executive. 

 

Reason 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. 

 

108.

Lancaster Market

Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Evelyn Archer)

 

Report of the Corporate Director (Finance and Performance).  

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Evelyn Archer)

 

The Corporate Director (Finance and Performance) submitted a report that advised Members of the current situation at Lancaster Market and provided options for the Council to consider in terms of the future of the Market. 

 

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

 

Option 1 – No Change. The Council would continue to operate the market and this would result in a continued deficit being incurred at the market in excess of £400,000. However, a recent announcement has been made which has indicated that the freehold of the market is to be sold which may result in some changes to the form of the landlord’s management. At the time of writing, this is most likely to be a sale of the whole Marketgate Shopping Centre rather than just the Market Hall building. It may be that from the sale, there could be some reductions in the level of service charge payable by the Council. Alternatively, charges could increase, though this would have to be agreed with the City Council. Until the new landlord is in place, no estimate can be given, but a substantial deficit will remain for the Council. 

 

Option 2 – The Council to acquire the freehold of the market. This option has arisen as a result of the recent inclusion of the freehold of the market building in a public auction. Had the auction proceeded, this option would have been a possibility in that the Council could consider the cost of borrowing against the cost of renting the building. However, the freehold of the market was withdrawn from the auction and at this time, this option is not available to the Council as the existing landlord is understood to be including it in a sale of the whole Marketgate Shopping Centre. Should such a sale fail, or if a new landlord wished to rationalise the property holding, this option may become possible at sometime in the future. 

 

Option 3 – Increase Income. This has been the policy of the Council for the last 2.5 years. It is clear that the demand for stalls in the market is limited and whilst new traders arrive, existing traders leave. This gives limited opportunity for increased income. Rental levels are at a point where there is little scope for an increase without the real potential for traders leaving the market resulting in a worse position for the Council. Option 3 is directly linked to options 4 and 5 below. 

 

Option 4 – Reduced expenditure. A complete look at the expenditure has been undertaken which has shown that there is limited scope for further reductions. A high proportion of expenditure is taken up by the rent and service charges payable to the Council’s landlord which amount to approximately £506,200 per annum with a rent review outstanding which could lead to an increase in this amount. As an alternative, the Council has considered a proposal by the Landlord  ...  view the full minutes text for item 108.

109.

Morecambe Football Club

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Evelyn Archer)

 

Report of the Corporate Director (Finance and Performance). 

 

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Evelyn Archer)

 

The Corporate Director (Finance and Performance) submitted a report that gave consideration to the details for Morecambe Football Club to redevelop land at Westgate, Morecambe for a new stadium and ancillary facilities, including the need for land disposals. 

 

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

 

Option 1 – to proceed with the negotiations with Morecambe Football Club to sell the land at Westgate, subject to the provision of alternative facilities for Westgate Wanderers. This would be subject to a full set of Heads of Terms being provided to Cabinet to provide the basis of a development agreement. It is clear that there is still much work to be done to ensure the agreement of all parties and there is a risk that the transactions may not proceed. This option does, however, potentially secure the futures of both Morecambe FC and Westgate Wanderers, and would result in a capital receipt to the Council.  If this is the preferred option chosen by Cabinet Members are asked to refer to the exempt report. 

 

Option 2 – do nothing. This would result in Morecambe FC remaining in their current facilities at Christie Park and the reduction of benefits to the local community. As in option 1, this would leave the Council with the potential for a future capital receipt, but in the meantime, Westgate Wanderers would be unaffected and the Council’s rental income would remain. 

 

The preferred officer option was option 1 as this would give the opportunity to improve the futures of both Morecambe FC and Westgate Wanderers, whilst also providing the Council with a capital receipt. 

 

(The meeting adjourned at 2.30 p.m. and re-convened at 2.40 p.m).

 

It was moved by Councillor Roger Mace and seconded by Councillor Evelyn Archer: -

 

“That the resolution passed at Cabinet on 24th July 2007 be confirmed, which facilitates negotiation between the parties to draw up a detailed proposal and Cabinet further resolves: 

 

(1)     That any disposal of City Council land negotiated as part of the proposal be at full value. 

 

(2)     That the Trustees of Christie Park be included in the discussions. 

 

(3)     That the County Council and Ward Councillors be included in the discussions with regard to any relocation of Westgate Wanderers.” 

 

Members then voted as follows. 

 

Resolved:

 

(9 Members voted in favour (Councillors Evelyn Archer, June Ashworth, Jon Barry, Eileen Blamire, Abbott Bryning, John Gilbert, David Kerr, Roger Mace and Maia Whitelegg) and 1 Member abstained from voting (Councillor Tony Johnson) 

 

That the resolution passed at Cabinet on 24th July 2007 be confirmed, which facilitates negotiation between the parties to draw up a detailed proposal and Cabinet further resolves:

 

(1)     That any disposal of City Council land negotiated as part of the proposal be at full value. 

 

(2)     That the Trustees of Christie Park be included in the discussions. 

 

(3)     That the County Council and Ward Councillors be included in the discussions with regard  ...  view the full minutes text for item 109.

110.

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 items 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 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:

The Chairman asked for any further declarations of interest from Cabinet Members regarding the exempt report.  No further declarations were made at this point. 

 

It was moved by Councillor Tony Johnson and seconded by Councillor Eileen Blamire: -

 

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 ground 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 ground that it could involve the possible disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of that Act. 

 

111.

Disposal of Land at Wellington Terrace, Morecambe

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Evelyn Archer)

 

Report of the Corporate Director (Finance and Performance). 

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Evelyn Archer)

 

The Corporate Director (Finance and Performance) submitted a report that requested Cabinet to give consideration and approve the disposal of land at Wellington Terrace, Morecambe. 

 

The options, options analysis, including risk assessment, and preferred Officer option were set out in the report for Members’ consideration. 

 

It was moved by Councillor Jon Barry and seconded by Councillor John Gilbert: -

 

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

 

Resolved:

 

(9 Members voted in favour (Councillors Evelyn Archer, June Ashworth, Jon Barry, Eileen Blamire, Abbott Bryning, John Gilbert, Tony Johnson, David Kerr and Maia Whitelegg) and 1 Member abstained from voting (Councillor Roger Mace)

 

(1)     That Cabinet approves the sale of the land at Wellington Terrace, Morecambe on the terms and conditions as set out in the report. 

 

(2)     That any capital receipts obtained should be taken into account in assessing the funding available for the 2008/09 Capital Programme. 

 

Officers responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Corporate Director (Finance and Performance). 

Head of Financial Services. 

Head of Property Services. 

 

Reason for making the decision:

 

The decision will allow a development opportunity to take place in this area of Morecambe, which will have community and economic benefits. 

 

At this point the press and public were re-admitted to the meeting. 

 

112.

Adjournment of Meeting

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Roger Mace and seconded by Councillor Tony Johnson: -

 

“That the meeting stand adjourned and the remaining items of business be considered at a re-convened meeting of Cabinet to be held on Wednesday, 24th January, 2008, commencing at 10.00 a.m. at Lancaster Town Hall.” 

 

Members then voted as follows. 

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

(1)     That the meeting stand adjourned and the remaining items of business be considered at a re-convened meeting of Cabinet to be held on Wednesday, 24th January, 2008, commencing at 10.00 a.m. at Lancaster Town Hall. 

 

The meeting reconvened at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 24th January, 2008. 

 

PRESENT

 

Councillors Roger Mace (Chairman), Evelyn Archer, June Ashworth, Jon Barry, Eileen Blamire, John Gilbert, Tony Johnson. David Kerr and Maia Whitelegg. 

 

In attendance: -

 

Mark Cullinan - Chief Executive

Roger Muckle - Corporate Director (Community Services)

Peter Loker - Corporate Director (Finance and Performance)

Richard Tulej - Head of Corporate Strategy (part)

Nadine Muschamp - Head of Financial Services and Section 151 Officer

Stephen Metcalfe - Principal Democratic Support Officer

 

Apologies for Absence: -

 

It was noted that Councillor Abbott Bryning would not be in attendance at the commencement of the meeting. 

 

113.

Budget and Policy Framework Update

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Roger Mace)

 

Joint report of the Corporate Director (Finance and Performance) and Head of Financial Services. 

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Roger Mace)

 

The Corporate Director (Finance and Performance) and Head of Financial Services submitted a joint report that sought Cabinet’s approval of the draft 2008/9 Budget and Policy Framework proposals to be used in a limited consultation exercise in accordance with the agreed timetable prior to submission to Council. 

 

Cabinet also considered supplementary reports that had been circulated prior to the meeting. 

 

It was moved by Councillor Roger Mace and seconded by Councillor Tony Johnson:-

 

“(1)   That the City Council priorities, set out on pages 170 to 172 of the Agenda, be amended by inserting the words “all” in 6.3 in replacement of the words “our diverse communities” and by amending the final sentence in section 6.3 to become: “Develop Civic Pride targets relating to opportunities for the celebration (in 2009) of the centenary of the opening of Lancaster Town Hall, the celebration of the centenary of the donation of Williamson Park to the City, and 75 years since the opening of Morecambe Town Hall.” 

 

(2)     That the priorities, as amended, be endorsed for recommendation by Council.” 

 

By way of amendment it was moved by Councillor Jon Barry and seconded by Councillor Maia Whitelegg: -

 

“That the words “and action on Climate Change” be added to “6 Support sustainable communities” contained within Lancaster City Council’s Draft Corporate Priorities for 2008/11, contained on page 170 of the Agenda.” 

 

Note:  Councillor Abbott Bryning in attendance. 

 

7 Members (Councillors Evelyn Archer, June Ashworth, Jon Barry, Eileen Blamire, Abbott Bryning, David Kerr and Maia Whitelegg) voted in favour of the amendment and 2 Members voted against (Councillors Tony Johnson and Roger Mace), whereupon the Chairman declared the amendment to be carried. 

 

Note:  Councillor Abbott Bryning did not vote. 

 

Members then voted as follows on the proposition, as amended:

 

Resolved Unanimously:

 

(1)     That Cabinet approves the draft 2008/9 Corporate Plan, as amended, as a basis for consultation in accordance with the agreed timetable. 

 

(2)     That the draft 2008/9 Corporate Plan and revenue and capital budget proposals be referred to Council for their consideration on the 6th February 2008. 

 

Note:  Councillor Abbott Bryning did not vote. 

 

Officers responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Corporate Director (Finance and Performance). 

Head of Financial Services. 

 

Reason for making the decision:

 

The decision enables Cabinet to continue its schedule of consultation and to recommend a draft 2008/9 Corporate Plan and revenue and capital budget proposals for the forthcoming year to Council for its consideration on the 6th February 2008. 

 

114.

Budget and Policy Framework - General Fund Revenue Budget

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Roger Mace)

 

The Corporate Director (Finance and Performance) and Head of Financial Services presented a joint report that provided information on the latest budget position for current and future years, to allow Cabinet to make recommendations to Council on Council Tax levels for 2008/09. 

 

A revised Appendix F was circulated at the meeting for Members’ consideration. 

 

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

 

Options were dependent very much on Members’ views on spending priorities balanced against Council Tax levels.  As such, a full options analysis could only be undertaken once any alternative proposals were known and it should be noted that Officers may require more time in order to do this.  Outline options were highlighted within the report, however.

 

        With regard to the Revised Budget and resulting underspending, Cabinet could consider other proposals that may influence the Revised Budget for the year, or it could consider leaving the underspent resources in General Fund Balances.

 

        In terms of surplus balances generally, it could consider retaining balances at a higher level than the minimum or a different phased use of balances.

 

        Regarding Council Tax increases, various options were set out at section 6 of the report.  In considering these, Members should have regard to the impact on service delivery, the need to make savings or provide for growth, the impact on future years and the likelihood of capping.

 

        With regard to special expenses and other items for noting, no options were presented. 

 

With regard to options to produce a budget in line with preferred Council Tax levels, any proposals put forward by Cabinet should be considered alongside the development of Cabinet priorities, and emphasis should be very much on achieving recurring reductions to the revenue budget, and avoiding any “unidentified” savings targets that undermine the robustness of the budget and financial planning arrangements generally. 

 

Under the Constitution, Cabinet was required to put forward budget proposals for Council’s consideration, in time for them to be referred back as appropriate.  This is why recommendations were required to feed into the Council meeting on 6th  February, 2008 prior to the actual Budget Council. 

 

The Officer Preferred options were as reflected in the report’s recommendations. 

 

It was moved by Councillor Roger Mace and seconded by Councillor Evelyn Archer: -

 

“That the recommendations (1) to (8), as set out in the report, together with the following additional recommendations, be approved. 

 

9 (a)  That Cabinet approve the savings and growth proposals set out in the revised Appendix F to be included in the revenue budget recommendations to Council on February 6th 2008. 

 

9 (b)  That Cabinet recommend to Council that the City Council Tax increase for 2008/09 be 4.5% for the non-parished areas of the district. 

 

9 (c)  That, in the event that there be a net budgetary impact arising from the issues referred to in paragraph 3.4 of the report, or the actual revenue finance settlement, it  ...  view the full minutes text for item 114.

115.

Budget and Policy Framework - General Fund Capital Programme

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Roger Mace)

 

(Mark Cullinan declared a personal interest in that part of the report that referred to Luneside East)

 

The Corporate Director (Finance and Performance) and Head of Financial Services presented a joint report that provided the latest information on the General Fund capital position for both current and future years, to allow Cabinet to make progress in developing its capital investment proposals and the supporting Investment Strategy. 

 

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

 

Funding Assumptions and Achieving a Balanced Capital Programme

 

The broad options for achieving a balanced programme are set out below and are very much dependent on Members’ views on spending priorities.  As such, a full options appraisal and risk assessment cannot be completed until budget proposals are known in more detail.  That said, the basic options include:

-            removing schemes from the draft programme, taking account of service needs and priorities;

-            reducing proposed net expenditure on schemes, where possible;

-            generating additional capital resources (e.g. receipts, direct revenue financing or borrowing), within affordable limits.

-            deferring projects into later years – although this would not help with the overall five-year programme unless schemes were deferred until after 2012/13.

 

As referred to in earlier reports, setting a balanced Capital Programme is an iterative process, essentially balancing service delivery impact and aspirations against what the Council can (and is prepared to) afford.

 

In deciding the way forward, Cabinet is asked also to take into account the relevant basic principles of the Prudential Code, which are:

 

-          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.

 

Noting the Actions of the Head of Financial Services regarding Vehicle Acquisitions

 

The only alternative option would be to defer noting the actions, pending receiving further information. 

 

The Officer preferred options were as set out in the recommendations of the report. 

 

It was moved by Councillor Roger Mace and seconded by Councillor Evelyn Archer: -

 

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

 

Members then voted as follows:

 

Resolved:

 

(8 Members (Councillors Evelyn Archer, June Ashworth, Eileen Blamire, Abbott Bryning, John Gilbert, Tony Johnson, David Kerr and Roger Mace) voted in favour and 2 Members (Councillors Jon Barry and Maia Whitelegg) abstained from voting

 

(1)     That the draft Capital Investment Strategy be updated to reflect the changes in financing assumptions, as outlined in sections 1.1 to 1.5 of the report. 

 

(2)     That Cabinet notes the delegated actions of the Head of Financial Services with regard to the funding of vehicle acquisitions as outlined in section 1.4 (iii) of the report. 

 

(3)     That Cabinet notes the latest position regarding the General Fund Capital Programme and funding assumptions from 2007/08 onwards, together with the work ongoing, and takes action to ensure that a fully balanced Programme is presented for Cabinet’s consideration at the February meeting, for subsequent  ...  view the full minutes text for item 115.

116.

Budget and Policy Framework - Housing Revenue Account Budget and Capital Programme

Minutes:

(Cabinet Members with Special Responsibility Councillors John Gilbert and David Kerr)

 

The Corporate Director (Finance and Performance) and Head of Financial Services presented a joint report that updated the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) revised budget position for the current year and set out the recommended budget for 2008/09 and future years.  It also set out the updated Capital Programme for 2007/08 and a proposed programme to 2012/13. 

 

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

 

With regard to the Revised Budget Cabinet could consider other proposals that may influence the Revised Budget for the year and the call on revenue balances.

 

The options available in respect of the 2008/09 rent increase are to:

 

i)              Set the average housing rent at 5% as proposed in paragraph 2.3.1 to the report;

 

ii)             Set the rent at a lower level: this would reduce the income available to the Housing Revenue Account;

 

iii)           Set the rent increase at a higher level, up to 5.5%, i.e. within the Limit Rent

 

iv)           Set the rent increase at a level higher than 5.5%, i.e. above the Limit Rent.  Although this would generate additional income, around 60% of that income would have to be paid over to the Government through Rent Rebate Subsidy Limitation.

 

The options available in respect of the minimum level of HRA balances were to set the level at £350,000 in line with the advice of the Section 151 Officer, or to adopt a different level.

 

The options available in respect of the revenue budgets for 2008/09 to 2010/11 were to recommend the budget as set out to Budget Council for approval, or to consider other proposals for incorporation.

 

The options available in respect of the Capital Programme were:

 

i)              To approve the programme in full, with the financing as set out;

 

ii)             To incorporate other increases or reductions to the programme, with appropriate sources of funding being identified.

 

Any risks attached to the above would depend very much on what supported measures Members proposed, and their impact on the Council Housing Service.  As such, a full options analysis could only be undertaken once any alternative proposals were known.  It should be noted that Officers may require more time in order to do this. 

 

The Officer Preferred options were to approve a 5% increase in average rents, and to approve the draft revenue and capital budgets as set out in the appendices.  These were as reflected in the recommendations of the report. 

 

It was moved by Councillor John Gilbert and seconded by Councillor David Kerr: -

 

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

 

By way of amendment it was moved by Councillor Jon Barry and seconded by Councillor Maia Whitelegg: -

 

“That the rent increase be 4.5% and the shortfall of £60,000 come from the Supervision and Management expenditure.”

 

Upon being put to the vote 2 Members (Councillors Jon Barry and Maia Whitelegg) voted for the amendment and 8 Members (Councillors Evelyn Archer,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 116.