Decisions

Decisions published

14/07/2020 - Property Investment Strategy: Investment Proposals ref: 1368    Item Called In

To consider the Phase 3 Business Case on subject assets approved by the council's Capital Strategy Group as suitable acquisitions to support the Funding the Future strategy and a range of wider council economic, social and environmental priorities. Members are asked to approve the final actions necessary to formally secure the subject assets via completion of the agreed contractual terms of sale.

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 14/07/2020 - Cabinet

Decision published: 22/07/2020

Effective from: 30/07/2020

Wards affected: (All Wards);

Lead officer: Paul Rogers


14/07/2020 - Co-Op Building Refurbishment for Community Business Hub ref: 1369    Recommendations Approved

Following endorsement by Capital Strategy Group, Cabinet are asked to consider bringing forward the Co-Op Building Refurbishment project from the Development Pool into the main Capital Programme.

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 14/07/2020 - Cabinet

Decision published: 22/07/2020

Effective from: 30/07/2020

Wards affected: Harbour Ward;

Lead officer: Thomas Brown


14/07/2020 - Eden Project North ref: 1370    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 14/07/2020 - Cabinet

Decision published: 22/07/2020

Effective from: 30/07/2020


14/07/2020 - Developing a Homes Strategy for Lancaster District ref: 1365    Recommendations Approved

This report is the first of a series of reports to update Cabinet on progress on the draft Homes Strategy 2020-25 and to seek in principle support to advance a number of housing priorities identified and seek authority to set up a LATCo.

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 14/07/2020 - Cabinet

Decision published: 22/07/2020

Effective from: 30/07/2020

Decision:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Caroline Jackson)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Director for Communities and the Environment to enable Cabinet to agree the key elements that will comprise the Homes Strategy. A Homes Strategy for the Lancaster District was currently being drafted. The report provided evidence of need and sought agreement for the four strategic housing projects that will meet those needs. It also sought in principle agreement for the  financial and borrowing mechanisms required in order to deliver against these priorities as well as proposing that the council moves forward with setting up a Local Housing Company (LATCo) as a means of generating the finance to support housing and regeneration activities outside of our current social housing provision.  

 

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

 

Option 1: Cabinet endorse the four strategic projects identified in the report, approve the initial feasibility costs associated with setting up the LATCo and agree to using the existing HRA headroom to generate the necessary development finance.

 

Advantages: Will be instrumental in delivering against the council’s re-affirmed priorities. Maximises the borrowing opportunities available to the council.  Could generate some surpluses.  Diversifies the council’s existing housing portfolios.  The council is more able to meet a growing local housing need.  

 

Disadvantages: Some initial set up costs will be required.  

 

 Risks: New area of business for the council particularly if new forms of tenure are being created.  Different governance arrangements for the LATCo.  Lack of development experience/skills/capacity within the council’s existing structure.  

 

Option 2: Do not proceed with the strategic priorities identified or utilise the borrowing options.  

 

Advantages: No risk or exposure to the council.  The council could continue to work in an existing enabling capacity through partnerships to achieve some but not all of the desired outcomes.  

 

 Disadvantages: No specialist legal and financial advice will be obtained therefore the council cannot fully consider its options.  The council is not delivering against its own key priorities or positively contributing to the provision of good quality housing locally to meet a wide range of need or proactively contributing towards climate change.   No opportunities to generate surpluses as part of the council’s investment strategy.

 

 Risks: Could give rise to significant problems if the required investment into the council’s existing stock is not carried out in a timely way.  Reputational damage.  Loss of opportunity.  

 

 

The officer preferred option is Option 1.   Setting up the LATCo and utilising prudential borrowing provides a number of potential benefits and opportunities for the council in relation to diversification of its existing role, increasing its landlord capacity, offers greater opportunities to cross subsidise mixed tenure schemes which will meet a local need, creates more potential to provide new build residential development that contribute positively towards climate change and improving the thermal efficiency of existing dwellings within areas of significant need. Borrowing through the HRA provides the opportunity to increase and improve the council’s existing social housing portfolio and diversify its local housing offer.  Should this report be approved, the consultants reports will be brought back to Cabinet for authority to set up the LATCo and fully costed development proposals for each of the four housing priorities will also be reported in due course.

 

Councillor Caroline Jackson proposed, seconded by Councillor Hamilton-Cox:-

 

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

 

Councillors then voted:-

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

(1)  That Cabinet endorse the four strategic housing projects identified in the report.

 

(2)  That Cabinet approves the Capital Strategy Group’s recommendation to use up to    £50K funding from reserves for the initial specialist legal and financial advice required to set up a Local Housing Company (LATCo). 

 

(3)  That, subject to a business case being made, a Housing Stock Condition Module    be purchased to provide a comprehensive dwelling stock and energy efficiency database at address level based on cost estimates of £67K.

 

(4)  That the findings and the preferred vehicle model be reported back to Cabinet for further approval.

 

(5) That in principle support be provided to using the existing HRA headroom to generate the necessary development finance for schemes identified subject to detailed proposals being brought back to Cabinet.  

 

(6) That Cabinet provides authority to consult residents on options to regenerate Mainway estate.

 

Officer responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Director for Communities and the Environment

 

Reasons for making the decision:

 

The decision is consistent with the Council Priorities – Happy and Healthy Communities, a Sustainable District, an Inclusive and Prosperous Local Economy.  The decision fits with the Local Plan and contributes towards the provision of housing to meet a locally identified need and opportunities to increase the choice and supply of affordable housing. The decision also links directly to the emerging Homes Strategy for Lancaster district which is currently being prepared. 

Wards affected: (All Wards);

Lead officer: Kathy Beaton


14/07/2020 - CCTV - Change of Supplier ref: 1367    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 14/07/2020 - Cabinet

Decision published: 22/07/2020

Effective from: 30/07/2020

Decision:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Sinclair)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Director of Communities and the Environment which set out the business case to modify the Public Space and White Lund Depot CCTV model from a 4G cellular network to Wi-Fi with an aim of reducing operating costs and generating financial efficiencies from 21/22 onwards. The report provided Cabinet with detailed information on the financial, governance and operational aspects of operating CCTV and included recommendations to merge all corporate CCTV onto a single cloud-based platform.

 

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

 

 

Option 1: Transfer CCTV onto a Wi-Fi network

 

Advantages:

 

Significantly reduces ongoing revenue costs

Provides flexibility to add additional cameras to the network at a reduced cost

Provides the ability to offer public access to Wi-Fi at various points

Option to increase image quality due to higher available bandwidth

Single cloud-based platform improves corporate compliance

 

 Disadvantages:

 

One off £58,700 required from reserves to fund infrastructure and camera modifications.

 

Risks:

 

Timescales. Work is expected to take more than six weeks

Considering the above, a monthly rolling 4G contract may be required until instillation is complete

 

Option 2: Retain CCTV on 4G cellular network

 

 Advantages: 

 

Limited changes required. 

 

Disadvantages:

 

Significantly higher revenue costs

 

Risks:

 

Additional resource requirements to focus on compliancy improvements across council venues using various systems

 

 

The officer preferred option was Option 1.  Wi-Fi networks provide the council with an   opportunity to reduce the operating costs of the public space and White Lund Depot CCTV systems and have the added benefit of offering the public with access to the network at key points. The project will consider the future use of council assets and build in appropriate measures if offices are repurposed, sold, or leased. Options for relocating the point to point antennas and break out points will be developed. Additionally, it will be important to ensure that all P2P antennas are located on city council property, with the necessary permission and planning consent where appropriate.  The use of a 4G network is still advantageous where cameras need to be regularly moved and deployed i.e. environmental enforcement, fly tipping applications. These specialised applications can be delivered within existing budgets.

 

Councillor Sinclair proposed, seconded by Councillor Reynolds:-

 

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

 

Councillors then voted:-

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

(1)             That Cabinet agree to the council wide CCTV model outlined in the report to reduce operating costs and generate financial efficiencies from 2021/22 onwards.

 

(2)        That officers are delegated to commence on the preparation and implementation of such a system, in line with the costs contained within the report.

 

(3)        That £58,700 be allocated from the invest to save reserve in the current year, to be repaid from ongoing revenue savings in 2021/22.

 

(4)        That the general fund and housing revenue account be updated to include the new financial model regarding CCTV as part of the forthcoming 2021/22 budget process.

 

 

Officer responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Director of Communities and the Environment

 

Reasons for making the decision:

 

The current CCTV contract is due to expire on 28th August 2020. The proposal from the supplier evaluated to provide best value is to build on the advantages of the current model and retain a cloud-based CCTV solution using a more cost-effective method of transferring data to the cloud. The decision enables the invest to save reserve to be utilised to deliver the project in 2020/21, prior to the expiry of the current contract.

 

The decision is consistent with the following Council priorities and cross-cutting themes:

 

 A Co-operative, Kind and Responsible Council specifically embracing innovative ways of working to improve service delivery and the operations of the council.

 

 Providing value for money and ensuring that we are financially resilient and sustainable.

 

 Contributing to local wealth building and providing social value

 

 Community Safety

 

 

 



14/07/2020 - Procurement Strategy ref: 1366    Recommendations Approved

The report will seek approval of a revised Procurement Strategy and action plan. The new strategy will incorporate the key principles of ensuring that procurement decisions are made having regard to the climate emergency and to the concept of Community Wealth Building.

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 14/07/2020 - Cabinet

Decision published: 22/07/2020

Effective from: 30/07/2020

Decision:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Reynolds)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Director of Corporate Services which sought approval of a revised strategy and action plan for procurement to cover the next four years. Whilst the strategy maintained a focus on value for money in procurement decisions, it also set out the importance of the Council’s procurement to the local economy and an ambition to maximise expenditure with local organisations, enhance community wealth building and seek increased social value from spending decisions.

 

The Cabinet member with responsibility confirmed that consideration would be given to involving and updating the Budget & Performance Panel in relation to the process and procedure.

 

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

 

Option 1: Cabinet endorse the Procurement Strategy and action plan.

 

Advantages: This will allow early adoption and completion of the action plan which will enable more pro-active procurement which supports the delivery of wider community benefits which address the climate emergency and community wealth building aspirations.

 

Disadvantages: None identified.  

 

Risks: Potential for sub-optimal procurement decisions if processes for incorporating social value are not clear and consistent.  

 

Option 2: Do not agree the Procurement Strategy and action plan.  

 

Advantages: No changes to existing processes which are well established which focus on cost and quality (but not social value) and make use of national frameworks to deliver a combination of low cost and quality.

 

Disadvantages: Council will miss out on opportunity to address key corporate themes including climate emergency and community wealth building in procurement decisions and the wider social, economic and environmental benefits which would accrue from their incorporation in the assessment process.

 

Risks: Council may be assessed as not meeting its own corporate priorities and those set out in the National Procurement Strategy.

 

The officer preferred option is Option 1. Approval of the Procurement Strategy will allow for the action plan to be implemented which will deliver a more proactive approach to procurement and demonstrable improvements in social value arising from expenditure decisions.

 

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

 

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

 

Councillors then voted:-

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

(1)             That the Procurement Strategy and action plan for 2020-2024 be adopted.

 

Officer responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Director of Corporate Services

 

Reasons for making the decision:

 

The Procurement Strategy will assist in the delivery of the Council’s recently adopted priorities:

 

An Inclusive and Prosperous Local Economy

 advocating for fair employment and just labour markets that increase prosperity and reduce income inequality

  supporting new and existing enterprises in sustainable innovation and the strengthening of local supply networks 

 

The objectives set out in the Procurement Strategy cover the maximisation of social value benefits. This will include incorporating adoption of fair work charter in the evaluation criteria. The objectives also set out how the Council will support local businesses and this will include developing local frameworks and supply chains.

 

A Sustainable District

  net zero carbon by 2030 while supporting other individuals, businesses and organisations across the district to reach the same goal

 

Minimisation of environmental impact will be incorporated into evaluation criteria.

 

A Co-operative, Kind and Responsible Council

  providing value for money and ensuring that we are financially resilient and sustainable 

 

The objectives set out in the Procurement Strategy cover maximising value for money as well as delivering wider economic, environmental and social outcomes. In addition to assisting the delivery of priorities, the Procurement Strategy will focus on the key corporate themes of Climate Emergency and Community Wealth Building via the adoption of relevant measures to be included in evaluation criteria.

 


Wards affected: (All Wards);

Lead officer: Daniel Bates


14/07/2020 - Adopt Homelessness Strategy ref: 1363    Recommendations Approved

Purpose of the Report - Member to formally agree to adopt the Homelessness Strategy & Action Plan

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 14/07/2020 - Cabinet

Decision published: 22/07/2020

Effective from: 30/07/2020

Decision:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Caroline Jackson)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Director of Communities and the Environment which sought approval of the revised Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Strategy 2020-23.

 

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

 

Option 1: Do not approve the revised Homeless and Rough Sleeper Strategy

 

Advantages: No notable advantages

 

Disadvantages: Not able to carry out our statutory duties to prevent homelessness. Increased statutory homeless applications, increase in rough sleeping, increased health inequalities and increase in use of temporary accommodation costs.

 

Risks: Legal Challenge – the Council would be in breach of its legal requirements and could face censure (and the loss of funding support) from Government. Increased costs to the Council through increasing levels of homelessness and rough sleeping as well as worsened outcomes for local residents.

 

Option 2:        Approve the revised Homeless and Rough Sleeper Strategy

 

Advantages: The Strategy Policy has been independently reviewed and is compliant with current legislation and good practice.  Reduce homelessness, prevents homelessness and rough sleeping and ends the use of Bed and Breakfast for all.

 Disadvantages: No notable disadvantages

 

Risks: Targets set within the strategy are not met – mitigation of this will be through regular monitoring by multi-agency Homelessness Forum as well as Homelessness Advisory Group.

 

 

The Officer preferred option is Option 2.  If the Strategy is approved and adopted this will give officers and partners a clear framework and action plan to work together in collaboration to reduce homelessness and end rough sleeping.  In response to questions Officers confirmed that a summary would be provided to Cabinet members detailing the various specific projects identified for additional funding.  It was also confirmed that ‘pets’ would be included in the strategy and a briefing would be arranged prior to the final review.

 

Councillor Jackson proposed, seconded by Councillor Sinclair:

 

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

 

Councillors then voted:-

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

(1)   That the revised Homelessness & Rough Sleeper Strategy and action plan for the  next four years be approved and adopted.

 

Officer responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Director of Communities and the Environment

 

Reasons for making the decision:

 

The decision is consistent with the Council Plan and contributes to the Council’s approved priorities including a sustainable District and Happy and Healthy Communities.  The decision is also consistent with the Local plan and will contribute directly to the Homes Strategy 2020-2025, which is currently being drafted, providing access to more accommodation options in the private sector and developing Housing First and a social lettings agency in partnership with housing providers.

 

Wards affected: (All Wards);

Lead officer: Sharon Parkinson


14/07/2020 - Allocation of Commuted Sums Funds to Lune Valley Community Land Trust ref: 1364    Recommendations Approved

The report seeks approval from Cabinet to award a grant of commuted sums to Lune Valley CLT to implement a new scheme of affordable housing in Halton and amend the council's existing policy on commuted sum payments.

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 14/07/2020 - Cabinet

Decision published: 22/07/2020

Effective from: 30/07/2020

Decision:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Caroline Jackson)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Director for Economic Growth & Regeneration which sought approval to award commuted sums funds (Section 106 Developer Contributions) to Lune Valley Community Housing Trust to bring forward a new scheme of affordable housing in Halton and to amend the existing policy on the allocation of commuted sums.

 

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

 

Option 1: Approve the request for grant funding and amend the existing commuted sums policy

 

Advantages: The grant will enable Lune Valley CLT to bring their scheme into fruition and create a suitable community led housing model.  It will result in a further 20 units of affordable housing being provided to meet a local need.  Supporting this scheme will encourage other community groups to bring schemes forward and provides an additional source of funding if required if monies are available.  The scheme will achieve exemplar standards and contribute positively towards the council’s priorities around climate change.  

 

Disadvantages: The grant funding could be used to support other affordable housing schemes not yet identified. 

 

Risks: The risks to the council would be minimal if sufficient controls are placed on the allocation of the commuted sum payment.  A binding agreement would be entered into between Lune Valley and Lancaster City Council which sets out how the commuted sum payment must be used, and the payment will only be made when all other conditions are satisfied.  An Exclusivity Agreement/Heads of Terms were entered into between Lune Valley CLT and South Lakes Housing in March 2020 which reduce any perceived risks of the scheme not proceeding as intended.  As long as schemes are delivering affordable housing (with additional controls through the planning consent), there should be no additional risks in awarding commuted sums to community groups.   

 

 

Option 2: Do not approve the grant funding and do not alter the existing commuted sums policy

 

Advantages: The funding could be used to support other affordable housing schemes being brought forward by Registered Providers only.

 

Disadvantages: The council has already committed £267K Community Housing Fund to support the delivery of this project.  If the commuted sums payment was not approved, the scheme would ultimately be at risk and may not be delivered.  This would be a significant loss of opportunity, with some reputational damage. If the policy is not amended, it limits the funding available to support community led housing developments.  

 

 

Risks: Whilst there is usually no set time limit placed upon the council to spend commuted sums funds, there is a general expectation that the monies are put to good use by councils and allocated within a reasonable period of time to minimise the risk of any future challenges being made. 

 

The officer preferred option is Option 1.  If the grant is approved, it will allow Lune Valley CLT and South Lakes Housing to bring this community led housing development into fruition as outlined within the report.  In order to minimise any perceived risk, the grant funding will only be paid when the conditions set out in recommendation 2 have been satisfied.

 

Councillor Caroline Jackson proposed, seconded by Councillor Dave Brookes:-

 

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

 

Councillors then voted:-

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

(1)             To amend the existing commuted sums policy to allow community groups to receive  grant funding as well as other social housing providers.

 

(2)             To award a commuted sums payment of £375K to Lune Valley CLT for the acquisition of a site in Mill Lane Halton, subject to confirmation that the scheme qualifies for the required level of capital grant funding and being granted planning permission. 

 

(3)        That all future allocations of commuted sums payments are approved through Individual Cabinet Member decision by the Cabinet Member for Housing in accordance with the original Cabinet decision in 2009, and within any limits on Cabinet members’ spending powers as stated in the constitution.

 

 

Officer responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Director for Economic Growth & Regeneration

 

Reasons for making the decision:

 

The decision is consistent with the Council Plan with the potential to directly contribute to the Council’s approved priorities which includes a Sustainable District, an Inclusive and Prosperous Local Economy and Happy and Healthy Communities.   The decision is also consistent with the Local Plan and will directly contribute to increasing the supply of housing in Lancaster district on an allocated housing site and contribute towards the increase of affordable housing to meet a local need.   In addition, the recommendations directly contribute to the Housing Strategy 2020-2025 which is currently being drafted, by increasing the provision of affordable housing through community led models.

 

Wards affected: Halton-with-Aughton Ward;

Lead officer: Kathy Beaton


14/07/2020 - Urgent Business - Discretionary Grants Scheme ref: 1362    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 14/07/2020 - Cabinet

Decision published: 22/07/2020

Effective from: 14/07/2020

Decision:


(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Hamilton-Cox)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Director of Corporate Services to consider options for the disbursement of the remainder of the Discretionary Business Grants allocation and to suggest an approach to allocate remaining monies. The Government allocated £1.68m to Lancaster City Council to disburse to businesses affected by COVID via an adopted Discretionary Grants Scheme. The scheme, which closely followed Government guidance, closed on 30 June with balances remaining.

 

 

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

 

Option 1: Cabinet agree the proposals set out in Appendix A.

Advantages: This will allow for the swift allocation of the remaining grant in a way which maximises its effectiveness and provides support to businesses which are suffering due to the COVID crisis.

 

Disadvantages: None identified.  

 

Risks: As the funding is limited and the demand for support much greater than the available funding, there remains a risk that some types of businesses will not receive financial support. The options in the report attempt to address this risk as far as this is possible within the limited financial allocations.  

 

Option 2: Do not agree the proposals set out in Appendix A

Advantages: None

 

Disadvantages: The grant is not allocated and is paid back to Government and businesses do not receive support.

 

Risks: Compounding of already considerable risk to local economy as businesses struggle due to the COVID crisis.

 

 

The officer preferred option is Option 1. Approval of options will allow the process to be re-opened and grants to be awarded to eligible businesses. It is recognised that appendix A proposes a number of options and allocations and that Cabinet might want to select some but not all of these options. Accordingly, it is important that any amendment to the proposals following discussion is recorded clearly in the Cabinet decision. 

 

The Chair of Overview and Scrutiny has agreed to waive ‘call-in’ for any decision made. The Chief Executive is content with the decision to waive ‘call-in’. Special Urgency in accordance with Rule 15 of the Access to Information Rules has been invoked as any delay in decision making in this regard would seriously prejudice the public interest.

 

Councillor Hamilton-Cox proposed, seconded by Councillor Caroline Jackson:-

 

 

“That the proposals as set out in the report be approved with recommendation (1) amended to exclude allocation to businesses with a rateable value in excess of £51K.” 

 

Councillors then voted.

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

(1)             That the proposals as set out in Appendix A to the report and corresponding allocations be approved with businesses with a rateable value in excess of £51K excluded from the allocation. 

 

(2)             That the agreement of the final scheme be delegated to the Portfolio Holder for Sustainable Economic Prosperity and the Leader in consultation with the Directors of Economic Growth & Regeneration and Corporate Services.

 

 

Officers responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Director of Corporate Services

Director for Economic Growth & Regeneration

 

Reasons for making the decision:

 

The decision enables the Council to distribute the full grant to support businesses impacted by the COVID crisis whilst having regard to maximising support in an equitable and effective manner and is consistent with the Council’s Inclusive and Prosperous Local Economy priority.  The agreement of the Chair of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee to waive call-in enables the decision to be implemented with immediate effect.