Agenda and minutes

Cabinet
Tuesday, 15th February 2011 10.00 a.m.

Venue: Morecambe Town Hall

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

Items
No. Item

100.

Minutes

To receive as a correct record the minutes of Cabinet held on Tuesday, 18 January, 2011 (previously circulated). 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 18 January 2011 were approved as a correct record.

 

 

101.

Items of Urgent Business Authorised by the Leader pdf icon PDF 93 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman advised that there was one item of urgent business. This was an item regarding Lancaster Market (Minute 109 refers).

102.

Declarations of Interest

To consider any such declarations. 

Minutes:

No declarations were made at this point.

 

 

103.

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.

 

 

104.

Charges for Waste Bins and Boxes pdf icon PDF 84 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Barry)

 

Report of the Head of Environmental Services

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Barry)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Head of Environmental Services which provided details of an option to introduce charges for wheeled bins and recycling boxes as part of the 2011/12 budget setting process.

 

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

 

 

Option 1: Introduce a charge

Option 2: Don’t introduce a charge

Advantages

·         Fewer requests for bins.

·         Saves costs

·         Increased recycling rates.

·         Reduction in calls to Customer Service Centre.

·         Fewer receptacles left out in streets.

·         Maintains status quo

Disadvantages

·         Customer dissatisfaction

·         Increased administration to deal with payment

 

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

·         Doesn’t encourage recycling

Risks

This option could lead to increased incidences of fly tipping.

 

 

 

Councillor Barry proposed, seconded by Councillor Blamire:-

 

“That Cabinet does not approve the introduction of charges to householders for the delivery of wheeled bins and recycling boxes as part of the 2011/12 budget but gives consideration to the possibility of introducing such charges as part of the 2012/13 budget proposals.”

 

Councillors then voted:-

 

Resolved:

 

(7 Members (Councillors Ashworth, Barry, Blamire, Kerr, Langhorn, Robinson and Whitelegg) voted in favour, and 1 Member (Councillor Bryning) abstained.)

 

 

(1)        That Cabinet does not approve the introduction of charges to householders for the delivery of wheeled bins and recycling boxes as part of the 2011/12 budget but gives consideration to the possibility of introducing such charges as part of the 2012/13 budget proposals.

 

 

Officers responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Head of Environmental Services.

 

Reasons for making the decision:

 

The Council has a statutory duty to collect household waste.  The anticipated £56K savings which the introduction of charging for replacement bins and boxes would provide was not considered essential to this year’s budget proposals but could be considered as part of next year’s proposals if necessary.

 

105.

Performance Reward Grant pdf icon PDF 119 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Langhorn)

 

Report of the Head of Community Engagement

 

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Langhorn)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Head of Community Engagement to advise members of the LDLSP Management Group’s proposals for the allocation of the one-off Performance Reward Grant.

 

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

 

Cabinet were advised that 4 initiatives needed to be addressed.  These initiatives were about more than funding projects that deliver benefits– they were about investing in new approaches to delivering services in the long-term.

 

·          The focus on hydroelectricity would facilitate the development of long-term renewable energy initiatives that will leverage initial investment AND provide a long-term benefit for local communities.

·          The ‘warm homes’ matched funding was designed to maximise LSP investment to create a substantial grant pot that wouldl last for several years, and as a trial the work would support increased inward investment across the county

 

·          The social enterprise initiative aimed to create self-sustaining service delivery and enhance the potential of local organisations in supporting their local communities.

 

·          The fund finder initiative would not only aim to bring in the original PRG funding figure of £1 million to the district, but might improve the ability of organisations to successfully bid for their own funds in future.

PRG was a one-off opportunity and these initiatives were designed to ensure that it would meet partner expectations and deliver a lasting legacy in the district. Potential initiatives that would benefit from the unallocated PRG monies were currently being considered by the LSP and authorisation for any proposed use of this will be sought in a subsequent report to Cabinet  

Members were minded to consider the LDLSP proposals in the context of the current economic climate, which is placing considerable pressure on public sector budgets and on many services provided or financed by the public sector.   As an example, the provision of Police Community Support Officers (PCSO’s) in the district was currently under threat as a result of financial pressures.   It might therefore be appropriate to request that the LDLSP reviews its proposals for the use of PRG funds in the light of the current economic situation to ensure that funding is allocated against the most current district priorities and can achieve maximum impact.

 

Councillor Langhorn proposed, seconded by Councillor Kerr:-

 

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

 

By way of an amendment, which was accepted as a friendly amendment by the proposer and seconder of the original proposition, Councillor Blamire proposed a further recommendation:

 

“That a request be made to the Chair of the LDSLP Management Group to convene a special meeting of the Management Group prior to the Budget Council meeting in early March to review the LDLSP's spending priorities both in respect of PRG funding and any future second homes funding.”

 

Councillors then voted on the proposition, as amended:-

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

(1)        That Cabinet note the extra PRG of £169,062 allocated to each district.

 

(2)        That the decision  ...  view the full minutes text for item 105.

106.

Corporate Review of Service Level Agreements pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Report of the Head of Community Engagement

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet received a report from the Head of Community Engagement which provided an update and findings on a review into SLA’s (Service Level Agreements).  The report recommended some short term actions to improve management arrangements and also the principles of an overall approach to the council’s future arrangements for the efficient management of it’s investment and support for external organisations, in order to maximise impact.

 

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

 

 

Option 1: Agree Recommendations

Option 2: Do Nothing

Advantages

Potential for a much higher impact as a result of the council’s investment.

Opportunity for possible savings in the future without loss of services.

Efficiency achieved as a result of more consistent corporate management arrangements.

Increased impact and efficiency achieved by potential joint investment and shared management arrangements.

Will not require significant investment in officer time.

Disadvantages

Development of a consortium approach by sector will require significant investment of officer time in the early stages although has the potential to create efficiency later.

The council could fail to maximise its investment in VCFS and other external organisations and there is continuing inefficiency and duplication in both funding and administration.

Risks

New ways of working may take some time to develop and partners may need some support to build capacity given that not all organisations are at the same level of maturity.

Collaborative working arrangements may be difficult to achieve in some cases.

Officer time spent on development of proposals is not available for other activities.

The council could appear inconsistent in the manner in which it provides support to VCFS and other external organisations.

 

The officer preferred option is Option 1.  The review of SLA’s highlighted a number of issues as detailed in this report.  However, there is no doubt that many of the services currently funded by the council via its SLA’s are valuable and have an impact on our local communities.  Whilst this report suggests some immediate actions that can lead to fairly quick overall improvements, there is an opportunity to look further ahead and to prepare for some more significant changes in the medium term future.  This work will take longer to develop but could allow the council to be better placed in the future to achieve more from its investments, to have the management tools necessary to support key services through a commissioning framework and to be able to support external partners to develop the collaborative approaches they will need in the years to come.  The report therefore recommended that the current investment in SLA’s was maintained whilst the work required to develop the medium term proposals was undertaken. Future reports to Cabinet will provide further information on the proposed approaches.

 

Councillor Whitelegg proposed, seconded by Councillor Langhorn:-

 

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

 

By way of amendment Councillor Robinson proposed:

 

“That recommendation (1) be amended with the words ‘and give notice  ...  view the full minutes text for item 106.

107.

Wellbeing Fees and Charges pdf icon PDF 89 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Ashworth)

 

Report of the Head of Community Engagement (to follow)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Ashworth)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Head of Community Engagement which had been prepared as part of the 2011/12 estimate procedure and set out options for increasing the level of fees and charges at Salt Ayre Sports Centre, Community Pools and Platform.

 

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

 

 

Option 1

To approve the increase in fees as recommended in the report

Option 2

To approve a different percentage increase.

Option 3

To do nothing and retain the existing fees and charges.

Advantages

This option makes a small additional contribution to the 2011/12 budget process, whilst retaining fees at competitive levels.

 

This therefore takes into account inflation and the implications of the increase in VAT.

This option potentially allows for a greater increase in revenue if an increase of greater than the recommended percentage is approved, therefore making a greater contribution to the 2011/12 budget process.

This option would mean no price increases for customers.

 

This could have a positive effect on income generation should the trend for throughput increase significantly as a result of no increases.

Disadvantages

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

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

 

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

 

 

No opportunity to raise additional revenue through fees and charges in areas that may stand an increase.

 

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

 

Risks

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

The officer preferred option was Option 1.  This option allowed for increased revenue whilst retaining fees at affordable and competitive levels. The flexibility for the Head of Community Engagement to set maximum prices in line with particular promotions for activities would help to respond to changes in market demand throughout the year and this was noted on the Appendix to the report.  For future years, it was anticipated that there would be changes to introduce a clearer policy for the setting of fees and charges generally, supported by updates to the Scheme of Delegation.  This was currently being developed for consideration by Members in due course and would be considered  ...  view the full minutes text for item 107.

108.

Climate Change Invest to Save Projects pdf icon PDF 120 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Barry)

 

Report of the Heads of Property Services and Community Engagement

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Barry)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Heads of Property Services and Community Engagement to seek Cabinet’s recommendations in respect of the four potential projects identified in the report.

 

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

 

 

Option 1 - Replacing the boilers at Lancaster Town Hall - (Appendix A to the report)

 

The existing gas fired boilers and ancillary plant-room pipe-work, pumps; controls etc which provide heating and hot water to Lancaster Town Hall are now approaching the end of their economical life. Due to the age and condition of the existing boiler room plant it  was recommended in the 2006 condition survey that they be urgently replaced with new energy efficient technology and, if possible, a renewable energy source.

 

Property Services commissioned Capita Symonds to examine various options for the replacement of the boiler room heating plant. Their report identified renewable options that may be incorporated as part of the replacement works in order to reduce the building energy consumption.

 

The heating / renewable options reviewed in Capita Symonds report are noted below:

·         Gas fired condensing boiler plant with solar thermal installation to provide domestic hot water.

·         Biomass boiler with secondary gas fired condensing boiler plant.

·         Combined heat and power (CHP) with gas fired condensing boiler plant.

·         Ground Source Heat pumps with gas fired condensing boiler plant.

·         Air Source Heat pumps with gas fired condensing boiler plant.

 

Capita Symonds concluded that the preferred heating replacement option which could be considered viable for Lancaster Town Hall was:

 

Gas fired condensing boiler plant with solar thermal installation

 

·         This option would involve replacing gas fired boilers including gas train, controls, flue, plant-room pipe-work, valves, insulation, pumps and pressurisation unit. Installing solar thermal panels on the flat roof area above Ashton Hall. Replacing existing calorifiers with a solar pre heat cylinder and indirect calorifier.

·         Budget cost: £150,000 to £200,000

 

Potential savings

 

Current annual gas usage:                 646,950 kWh

Current annual gas bill:                       £17,808.82

 

Potential annual saving from solar thermal installation: (11,091) kWh

 

Potential annual saving from new boiler Installation: (32,348) kWh

 

Total annual KWh saving:                   (43,439) kWh

 

Estimated revised annual usage:       603,511 kWh

 

Estimated annual gas bill:                   £16,613.06

 

Estimated annual financial saving: £1,195.76 pa

 

Capita Symonds further recommend that the following works are also considered although at this stage there is no estimation of cost. Indeed some of the items are being included as part of the works currently being undertaken to the roof of the Town Hall

 

·         Reduce air permeability through the building façade.

·      Increase the building insulation.

·         New control system / incorporate weather compensation and building heating zones.

·         Replace existing pumps with new variable speed units.

·         Install thermostatic radiator valves (TRV’s).

 

As an invest to save project, the savings in terms of financial and KWh’s appear to be low for a large capital investment. However, as the boilers are coming to the end of their life and could fail  ...  view the full minutes text for item 108.

The meeting adjourned at 11.55am and reconvened at 12.07pm.

109.

ITEM OF URGENT BUSINESS - LANCASTER MARKET

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Barry)

 

In accordance with Section 100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the Chairman agreed to consider the report as an item of urgent business as a decision was required prior to the next meeting of Cabinet in March.

 

Cabinet received a report from the Head of Property Services to consider recommendations for the future of Lancaster Market.

 

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

 

 

Option 1: Retain Lancaster Market & invest in improvements as set out in the NCS report

Option 2: consider relocating the market into the City Museum building

Option 3: Do no further improvement work to the market

Advantages

This would provide an opportunity to reinvigorate the market and potentially bring in new tenants

The market would be in an excellent retail location.

 

A new use which is income producing would be found for the museum building

 

Letting the market building to a single retailer should substantially reduce the deficit incurred in that building

There would be no change to the market building although there would have to be money spent on replacing the lighting system as well as other essential health and safety related works as they arise.

 

 

Disadvantages

There would be a substantial cost to the council and no guarantee that the scheme would be a success or that the council’s existing deficit would be reduced.

There are substantial costs in undertaking both the works to the museum and to the market hall building.

 

Appropriate retailers would have to be found for the market hall building.

 

No direct link to passenger transport or car parking.

 

The amount of space in the museum is much smaller than in the existing market hall building which could prove to be a problem with traders.

Reduction in trader numbers could occur as a result of the rent arrears situation.

 

The council’s deficit could potentially increase as a result of reduced trader numbers as well as ongoing general deterioration of the current market hall.

Risks

There is a risk that reduced numbers of traders would continue in the market as a result of the rent arrears in some cases. This could lead to the market going in a downward spiral prior to refurbishment works being undertaken.

The main risks are that the market would not be successful in the new location after substantial investment has been made. In addition finding a retailer for the market hall building may prove to be problematical, leading to increased costs for the council in the short to medium term through ongoing rent, service charges and reduced income.

The council’s deficit could increase significantly

 

 

Option 2 was the officer preferred option: to investigate further the opportunity of moving the Lancaster indoor market into the museum building on Market Square.  On the assumption that the Council still desired a thriving indoor market in line with the decisions taken back in March 2010, it was evident  ...  view the full minutes text for item 109.

110.

Budget Update Report 2011/12 pdf icon PDF 149 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Langhorn)

 

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive and Head of Financial Services (to follow)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Langhorn)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Head of Financial Services with regard to the latest position following Council’s consideration of the Budget and Policy Framework at its meeting held on 02 February, and to make recommendations back to Council in order to complete the budget setting process for 2011/12.

 

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

 

Cabinet was requested to finalise its preferred revenue budget and capital programme proposals for referral on to Council, using the latest information as set out in the report attached to the agenda.

 

Revenue Budget

As Council had now determined the City Council Tax Rate for 2011/12, there were no options to change the total net revenue budget for next year (recommended at £21.481M) but Cabinet now needed to put forward detailed budget proposals that added back to that amount.  Detailed options would be dependent very much on Members’ views on spending priorities.  The Head of Financial Services (as s151 Officer) advised that emphasis should be very much on achieving recurring reductions to the revenue budget.

 

Capital Programme

Cabinet might adjust its capital investment and financing proposals to reflect spending commitments and priorities but overall its proposals for 2010/11 and 2011/12 must balance.   Whilst there was no legal requirement to have a programme balanced over the full 5-year period, it was considered good practice to do so – or at least have clear plans in place to manage the financing position over that time.  Inevitably capital investment needs and funding opportunities would change, but it was important to consider and manage stakeholder expectations regarding investment too. Setting a balanced capital programme was an iterative process, essentially balancing service delivery impact and aspirations against what the Council could afford.  The programme attached to the report represented the outcome of the work undertaken to date.

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

 

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

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

 

Future Years’ Council Tax Targets

It was felt that there was little scope for increasing Council Tax increases targets above 2.5% for 2012/13 and beyond, assuming that the Council wishes to avoid any form of challenge.  In considering any lower target, Members should have regard to the impact on service delivery, the capacity to make savings or to provide for growth, and the impact on subsequent years – as well as the implications for tax payers.

 

Housing Revenue Account Budget

The extent to which Cabinet’s earlier decision on housing rents had bearing on the debate and outcome of Council needed careful consideration.  Outline options for resolving the HRA position were set out below.

 

Option 1:  To retain existing Revenue Budget proposals and refer them back to Council.

As previously  ...  view the full minutes text for item 110.

111.

Treasury Management Strategy 2011/12 pdf icon PDF 91 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Langhorn)

 

Report of the Head of Financial Services (to follow)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Langhorn)

 

The Head of Financial Services presented a report which set out the position regarding the 2011/12 to 2013/14 Treasury Management Strategy for Cabinet’s approval.

 

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

 

As part of the adoption of the CIPFA Code of Practice on Treasury Management (2009) it is a statutory requirement that the Authority has aTreasury Management Strategy Statement and Investment Strategy.  In this regard, Cabinet may put forward alternative proposals or amendments to the proposed documents, but these would have to be considered in light of legislative, professional and economic factors, and importantly, any alternative views regarding the Council’s risk appetite.  As such, no further options analysis is available at this time.

 

Furthermore, the Strategies must fit with other aspects of Cabinet’s budget proposals, such as investment interest estimates and underlying prudential borrowing assumptions, feeding into Prudential and Treasury Management Indicators.  It should be noted that the Prudential Indicators were also covered in the Budget report elsewhere on the agenda.

 

The Officer Preferred Options were reflected in the recommendations to the report.  This is based on the Council continuing to have a low risk appetite regarding investments, and it takes into account the requirements of the Code.

 

Councillor Langhorn proposed, seconded by Councillor Kerr:-

 

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

 

Councillors then voted:-

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

(1)        That the monitoring report as set out at Appendix A to the report be noted and referred on to Council for information.

 

(2)        That Council be recommended to approve the Treasury Management Strategy for the period 2011/12 to 2013/14 as set out in Appendix B, to the report, incorporating the Investment Strategy and Treasury Management Indicators, and as updated for Cabinet’s final budget proposals.

 

 

Officers responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Head of Financial Services

 

Reasons for making the decision:

 

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