West Berkshire Council

Agenda, decisions and minutes

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Items
No. Item

38.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 109 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 26 July 2018.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 26 July 2018 were approved as a true and correct record and signed by the Leader, subject to the following amendments:

Item 28 – Public Questions

The first sentence ‘There were no public questions submitted.’ was deleted.

Item 34 – Member Questions

The first sentence ‘There were no Member questions submitted.’ was deleted.

For both of these items, the link to the full transcription of the question and answer sessions needed to be enabled.

39.

Declarations of Interest

To remind Members of the need to record the existence and nature of any personal, disclosable pecuniary or other registrable interests in items on the agenda, in accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest received.

40.

Public Questions

Members of the Executive to answer questions submitted by members of the public in accordance with the Executive Procedure Rules contained in the Council’s Constitution.

Minutes:

A full transcription of the public and Member question and answer sessions are available from the following link: Transcription of Q&As.

40.(a)

Question submitted by Ms Julie Wintrup to the Leader of the Council

In what ways have you responded to the 21 recommendations made by the Communities and Local Government Select Committee Report, December 2017, ‘Effectiveness of local authority overview and scrutiny committees’?

Minutes:

A question standing in the name of Ms Julie Wintrup on the subject of the ways in which the Council had responded to the 21 recommendations made in the Communities and Local Government Select Committee Report ‘Effectiveness of local authority overview and scrutiny committees’ would receive a written answer from the Leader of the Council.

40.(b)

Question submitted by Ms Julie Wintrup to the Leader of the Council

“In light of recommendation 18 of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee Report, December 2017, “Effectiveness of local authority overview and scrutiny committees”, how are you specifically promoting the role of the public in scrutiny?”

Minutes:

A question standing in the name of Ms Julie Wintrup on the subject of how the role of the public in scrutiny was being promoted as per recommendation 18 of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee Report ‘Effectiveness of local authority overview and scrutiny committees’ would receive a written answer from the Leader of the Council.

40.(c)

Question submitted by Mr Chris Turner to the Portfolio Holder for Children, Education and Young People

“What is the Council doing to support Kintbury Pre-School to ensure improvements following their OFSTED report so that early years provision can still be provided in the village?”

Minutes:

A question standing in the name of Mr Chris Turner asking what the Council was doing to support Kintbury Pre-School to ensure improvements following their Ofsted report was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Children, Education and Young People.

40.(d)

Question submitted by Ms Carolyne Culver to the Portfolio Holder for Planning, Housing and Waste

What proportion of households in West Berkshire have signed up for the £50 garden waste collection scheme?

Minutes:

A question standing in the name of Ms Carolyne Culver asking what proportion of households in West Berkshire had signed up for the £50 garden waste collection scheme was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Planning, Housing and Waste.

40.(e)

Question submitted by Ms Carolyne Culver to the Portfolio Holder for Highways and Transport, Environment and Countryside

“What representations has the Council’s Executive made to Richard Benyon MP calling for more funding from central government to support people living in rural areas with transportation?

Minutes:

A question standing in the name of Ms Carolyne Culver asking what representations had the Council's Executive made to Richard Benyon MP calling for more central government funding to support people living in rural areas with transportation was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Highways and Transport, Environment and Countryside.

41.

Petitions

Councillors or Members of the public may present any petition which they have received. These will normally be referred to the appropriate Committee without discussion.

Minutes:

There were no petitions presented to the Executive.

42.

Key Accountable Performance 2018/19: Quarter One (EX3420) pdf icon PDF 363 KB

(CSP: BEC, SLE, P&S, HQL, MEC, BEC1, BEC2, SLE1, SLE2, P&S1, HQL1, MEC1)

Purpose:  To report quarter one outturns for the Key Accountable Measures (KAMs) which monitor performance against the 2018/19 Council Performance Framework; to provide assurance that the objectives set out in the Council Strategy 2015-2019 and other areas of significant activity are being managed effectively; to present, by exception, those measures which are predicted to be ‘amber’ (behind schedule) or ‘red’ (not achievable) at year end, and provide information on any remedial action taken and the impact of that action; to recommend changes to measures/targets, as requested by services.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved that:

 

·         Progress against the Key Accountable Measures (KAMs) and key achievements in all services be noted.

·         Those areas reported as ‘amber’ and ‘red’ had been reviewed to ensure that appropriate actions are in place:

 

Amber:

1)        (LRIER) London Road Industrial Estate redevelopment 2018/19 milestone: Create and gain approval for the business plan.

2)        Average number of days taken to make a full decision on new Benefits claims.

3)        % of clients with Long Term Service (LTS) receiving a review in the past 12 months.

4)        % of ‘major’ planning applications determined within 13 weeks or the agreed extended time.

5)        % of ‘minor’ planning applications determined within 8 weeks or the agreed extended time.

6)        % of ‘other’ planning applications determined within 8 weeks or the agreed extended time.

 

Red:

1)        % of WBC provider services inspected by Care Quality Commission (CQC) that are rated good or better by CQC in the area of “safe”.

 

·         It be noted and approved that the target for “Delayed Transfers of Care” would be set nationally during Quarter Two.

·         The KPI “% of high priority Disabled Facilities Grants approved within 9 weeks of receipt of full grant applications” be removed and a more meaningful alternative investigated.

·         The number of people aged 16-24 and 16-64 who claim Claimant Count would be reported as a measure of volume, instead of those just claiming Jobseekers Allowance to reflect the move towards Universal Credit.

 

This decision is eligible to be ‘called-in’.  However, if the decision has not been ‘called-in’ by 5.00pm on 13 September 2018, then it will be implemented.

Minutes:

The Executive considered the report (Agenda Item 6) which outlined quarter four outturns for the Key Accountable Measures (KAMs) which monitored performance against the 2018/19 Council Performance Framework; which sought to provide assurance that the objectives set out in the Council Strategy and other areas of significant activity were being managed effectively; which presented, by exception, those measures that were predicted to be ‘amber’ (behind schedule) or ‘red’ (not achievable) by year end together with information on any remedial action being taken and its impact; and which recommended changes to measures/targets as requested by services.

Councillor Rick Jones presented the report in the absence of Councillor Dominic Boeck. He reported that the Council set itself challenging targets and performance against these, irrespective of the results, was outlined in this open and honest report.

Overall, the Council’s performance was good, the majority of measures were ‘green’ and improvements were being seen. Councillor Rick Jones particularly highlighted the improvements made in reducing the number of delayed transfers of care (DToC).

Four measures were reported as ‘amber’ and there was a single ‘red’ indicator, however actions plans were in place in each of these cases.

Councillor Rick Jones next made reference to the Performance Scorecard. This summary page reported the priority for improvement of ‘Safeguarding Children and Adults’ as being green/red and Councillor Jones gave some clarity on this. Firstly, the Council’s target in this very important area was 100% and therefore rightly challenging. Councillor Rick Jones then explained that in relation to Safeguarding Children, the Council’s performance was entirely green. This was also the case for Safeguarding Adults but with one exception – the Birchwood Care Home, as the home had received a Care Quality Commission (CQC) rating of ‘Requires Improvement’. However, rapid improvements were being made under a strong action plan.

Councillor Alan Macro noted from the Scorecard that the Council’s net budget for 2018/19 was stated as £125.4m. However, this was stated as £119.4m in the Quarter One Financial Report and there was therefore an error to be corrected.

Also in the Scorecard, staff turnover of 14.5% was reported which he felt to be of concern. Councillor Macro asked what efforts were being made to improve this and how would issues highlighted in the Employee Attitude Survey be addressed. Councillor Graham Jones responded to this point and stated his view that this was a low rate of turnover for such a large organisation. This percentage would also be considered as low in the private sector. Councillor Rick Jones would ask Councillor Boeck to respond more fully to these questions.

Councillor Macro noted the reduction in the number of planning applications received since the same period last year and queried the reasons for this decrease. He followed this by asking if the proposed recruitment of three Planning Officers was still planned. Councillor Hilary Cole advised that there was not a clear view on the reasons for this reduction. She added that the Planning Service was currently understaffed and staffing requirements were  ...  view the full minutes text for item 42.

43.

Revenue Financial Performance Report - Quarter 1 of 2018/19 (EX3561) pdf icon PDF 169 KB

(CSP: MEC)

Purpose:  To inform Members of the latest revenue financial performance for 2018/19.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved that the report be noted, in particular the continued challenge of managing pressures in Adult Social Care, which are shared nationally, and the mitigation that is proposed in year to reduce the current end of year projection.

 

This decision is not subject to call in as:

 

·      Report is to note only

 

therefore it will be implemented immediately.

Minutes:

The Executive considered a report (Agenda item 7) which informed Members of the latest revenue financial performance for 2018/19. The current financial forecast was an overspend of £1.3m against a net revenue budget of £119.4m. This figure took account of a number of mitigation strategies, notably the in year reduction of expenditure, where appropriate, across the Council and in particular in Adult Social Care (ASC). Members were particularly asked to note the continued challenge of managing pressures in ASC, which were shared nationally, and the mitigation that was proposed in year to reduce the current end of year projection.

Councillor Anthony Chadley explained that costs for ASC were significant and concerned a relatively small number of residents. A change in the circumstances of a client could create a significant financial impact, however the costs of care needed to be met. Unfortunately, the funding that had been modelled for ASC was not sufficient to meet increasing costs, however mitigating actions had been and would continue to be taken and central government would be lobbied for additional funding. This included applying to remain in the Business Rates pilot, but there would be competition for this from other local authorities as a shortfall in ASC funding was a national issue.

Councillor Chadley added that the Council had an excellent record of balancing its budgets. He also pointed to the successful implementation of the Property Investment Strategy with the income target being exceeded. The Council was also on target to achieve anticipated income from green waste charging and he expected that this would soon be reported as ‘green’.

Councillor Alan Macro noted the ASC overspend of £2.4m, which was the figure prior to any mitigation measures, and queried when the ASC risk reserve would be utilised as well as the criteria for its use. He asked whether it would be used prior to taking the step referred to of slowing down activity and expenditure.

Councillor Graham Bridgman explained that risk reserves had been established to meet specific identified risks in the budget and were contingency funds to meet unpredicted costs. He also made the point that the timing for the deployment of risk reserves would not alter the outturn position for the financial year and it was felt to be at too early a stage in the financial year to do so. Mitigating measures needed to be implemented in the first instance rather than automatically turning to the risk reserve, this was particularly important when considering that the amount set aside for predicted risks was not sufficient to meet the forecast position due to the level of in-year pressure.

Councillor Bridgman then built on the comment made by Councillor Chadley that a small number of new clients and those with a change in their circumstances could make a vast difference to costs and therefore the ASC outturn. As an example of this he highlighted the cost of residential care placements which was in the region of £1m and was for just less than 25  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43.

44.

Capital Financial Performance Report - Q1 of 2018/19 (EX3591) pdf icon PDF 61 KB

(CSP: MEC)

Purpose: To inform Members of the progress with major capital schemes and forecast spend against the 2018/19 approved capital budget.  

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved that progress against the Council’s Capital Programme and expenditure against the approved capital budget be noted.

 

This decision is not subject to call in as:

 

·      Report is to note only

 

therefore it will be implemented immediately.

Minutes:

The Executive considered a report (Agenda Item 8) which informed Members of the progress made with major capital schemes and forecast spend against the 2018/19 approved capital budget.

Councillor Anthony Chadley highlighted that at the end of Quarter One, a total spend of £81.6m was forecast against the revised capital budget of £84.2m and 37.1% of the revised budget had been committed. It was positive to note this forecast level of expenditure on capital infrastructure projects.

There had been an increase in the capital budget, but this was solely due to the reprofiling of funds from the previous financial year.

Councillor Alan Macro questioned the reasons behind the considerable delay with the delivery of the contracts with British Telecom and Gigaclear for Phase Three of the Superfast Broadband project, and what action was being taken as a result. Nick Carter explained that the primary reason was the fact that both providers were having difficulty with appointing sub-contractors to do the work due to current difficulties in the market.

Remedial plans were in place with both providers and this included a revised timeframe. There was confidence that the revised timeframe would be met.

RESOLVED that Members noted the report.

Other options considered N/A – factual report for information.

45.

Treasury Management Annual Report 2017/18 (EX3630) pdf icon PDF 55 KB

(CSP: MEC)

Purpose: To inform Members of the treasury management activity and performance of the Council’s investments for the financial year 2017/18.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved that the report be noted.

 

This decision is not subject to call in as:

 

·      Report is to note only

 

therefore it will be implemented immediately.

Minutes:

Councillor Anthony Chadley presented the report (Agenda Item 9) which informed Members of the treasury management activity and performance of the Council’s investments for the financial year 2017/18.

He explained that both himself and Councillor Lee Dillon formed the Treasury Management Group and this group would continue to scrutinise and review the Council’s investments and borrowing activity.

RESOLVED that Members noted the report.

Other options considered: Not applicable.

46.

Members' Questions

Members of the Executive to answer questions submitted by Councillors in accordance with the Executive Procedure Rules contained in the Council’s Constitution. (Note: There were no questions submitted relating to items not included on this Agenda.)

Minutes:

There were no Member questions submitted.

47.

Exclusion of Press and Public

RECOMMENDATION: That members of the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items as it is likely that there would be disclosure of exempt information of the description contained in the paragraphs of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 specified in brackets in the heading of each item. Rule 8.10.4 of the Constitution refers.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that members of the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the under-mentioned item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as contained in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended by the Local Government (Access to Information)(Variation) Order 2006. Rule 8.10.4 of the Constitution also refers.

48.

Insurance Tender Award (EX3634)

(Paragraph 3 – information relating to financial/business affairs of particular person)

(CSP: MEC)

Purpose:  To inform the outcome of the tender process and to seek delegated authority to award the contract.

Decision:

Resolved that the recommendations in the exempt report be approved.

 

This decision is not subject to call in as:

 

·      a delay in implementing the decision could compromise the Council's position.

 

therefore it will be implemented immediately.

Minutes:

(Paragraph 3 – information identifying the financial/ business affairs of a particular person)

The Executive considered an exempt report (Agenda Item 12) which sought approval to award the contract for insurance services.

RESOLVED that the recommendations in the exempt report be agreed.

Other options considered: as outlined in the exempt report.