Agenda, decisions and minutes

Cabinet
Wednesday, 15 December 2010 6:00 pm

Venue: The Jeffery Room, The Guildhall, St Giles Square, Northampton NN1 1DE

Contact: Frazer McGown Email: fmcgown@northampton.gov.uk  01604 837089

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

There were none.

 

 

The Chair announced that item 8- Community Forums Report would be taken immediately after Public Addresses and that in respect of Items 9 and 17- Award of Decent Homes Contract, the private report containing the financial information would be considered first and then the public report would be considered.

2.

Minutes

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting of Cabinet held on 24 November 2010 were agreed and signed by the Chair.

3.

Deputations/Public Addresses

Minutes:

Tony Mallard, in referring to Item 6- PFI Housing and Decent Homes, noted the recriminations concerning the money spent on the unsuccessful PFI bid and also the proposal elsewhere on the agenda to spend £22m on Decent Homes that would not include Eastfield or Thorplands. He had previously asked if there was an alternative if PFI were to fail; this had never been answered. It looked as if Eastfield and Thorplands would now miss out. He queried whether the tenants were the victim of a plot by HCA. He noted that over the next 25 years 2 million homes would be needed nationally. Mr Mallard commented that the residents did not trust the Council and believed that they were constantly under threat.

 

Shayley Watson, in referring to Item 6- PFI Housing and Decent Homes, apologised to the Chair for her outburst at the Cabinet meeting on 10 November 2010: emotions hasd been running high on that evening. Shayley commented that most residents of Eastfield and Thorplands were not sorry that the PFI project had failed, although some had supported it. She stated that the allegations made of herself and others that they had intimidated some residents into supporting the petition against the project were untrue and that, if anything, any intimidation had been the other way around. The Chair thanked Shayley for her apology.

 

Norman Adams, with the agreement of the Chair circulated the text of his address. He first referred to Item 6- PFI Housing and Decent Homes, and questioned whether the substantial spend claimed irrespective of what funding mechanism had been in place, out of the £729,000 spent, was in fact the case. He likened the situation to the Council entering a casino with £1.1m of chips and gambling until the Government then closed that casino by which time the Council had lost £729,000. Norman then referred to Item 9- Award of Decent Homes Contract and noted that work on Phase I had been award to Thomas Vale who had been the subject of an OFT investigation and penalty of over £1m. He noted that the report recommended the award of half of the Phase II contract to Frank Haslam and Co who were also subject to the same OFT investigation as was its parent company. He also referred to an e-mail to the Housing Asset Strategy Manager dated 17 October 2010. Mr Adams noted that the report mentioned the involvement of tenants’ representatives in the process and questioned this as the tenants had not themselves elected “representatives”. On a personal basis he did not recognise anyone that had been selected by the Council.

 

Abigail Chowney, in referring to Item 8- Community Forums Report, stated that she went to Duston School and had been a member of the Youth Forum for six months. She believed that the Forum was important to young people as they often received a bad press and needed to have a voice. She had been involved in the tours of the Guildhall, part of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

8.

Community Forums Report: Period June 2010 to November 2010 pdf icon PDF 199 KB

Report of Chief Executive (Copy herewith)

Decision:

Cabinet recognised and welcomed the work and achievements of the Forums.

Cabinet recognised and endorsed the role of the Forums in assisting the Council to meet the new duties and requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and to become an Excellent council under the Equality Framework for Local Government.

 

Cabinet recognised the project activities delivered under the Money 4 Youth scheme in the first part of 2010-11, and noted that the scheme would likely to be coming to an end from March 2011.

Minutes:

Councillor Hawkins welcomed the report and expressed her appreciation of the work that had been done in difficult times. She congratulated the Community Engagement and Equalities Officer for her work with all the Forums and suggested that Cabinet needed to consider how best to communicate with people and how to make this model available to all wards and all sections of the community.

 

Councillor P. D. Varnsverry, as the relevant Portforlio Holder submitted a report that set out the progress of the Council in relation to equalities, diversity and the Community Forums during the second half of 2009-10 and endorsed the comments made by Councillor Hawkins. He commented that the Forums were spearheading engagement with the community using modern approaches and were assisting the Council in it’s wish to achieve excellent status under the equalities framework. The Forums helped with the formation of policy and also acted as an enabling mechanism such as the Youth Forum through the Money4Youth initiative. Facebook was used by other Forums other than the Youth Forum, and had been embraced by the Pensioners and Diverse Communities Forums as well. He referred to the effectiveness of Facebook in generating recent interest in skateboarding and BMX facilities. Councillor Varnsverry thanked all those involved.

 

RESOLVED:     1.   That the work and achievements of the Forums be    welcomed and recognised.

                          2.   That the role of the Forums in assisting the Council to meet the new duties and requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and to become an Excellent council under the Equality Framework for Local Government be endorsed.

 

                          3.   That the project activities delivered under the Money 4 Youth scheme in the first part of 2010-11be recognised, and that the likely end of the scheme from March 2011 be noted.

4.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

None.

5.

Issues Arising from Overview and Scrutiny Committees

5a

Recommendations of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on the Call-In of Cabinet Decision of 3rd November 2010 - Community Management of Community Centres pdf icon PDF 183 KB

Report of Chair of Overview and Scrutiny (Copy herewith)

Decision:

Cabinet noted recommendations 1 and 2 of the Overview and Scrutiny report.

 

Cabinet agreed to proceed and implement recommendation 3 of the Overview and Scrutiny report.

 

Cabinet asked the Chief Executive to further report on recommendation 4, 5 and 6 of the Overview and Scrutiny report.

Minutes:

Councillor Malpas submitted a report from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee in respect of the Call-in of the decision in respect of the Community Management of Community Centres that had taken place on 29 November 2010. He stated that the Call-in had been upheld and that the Committee had felt that the adding of a fourth recommendation at the Cabinet meeting itself on 3 November 2010 had been unreasonable. However, the Committee urged Cabinet to proceed with its first three resolutions. The Committee suggested that the extension of using the framework for other community assets should be the subject of a further, detailed report. In terms of process the Committee had also suggested that Cabinet consider publishing an Addendum, as was the practice at the Planning Committee, where alterations to recommendations were known about sufficiently in advance.  In answer to a question from the Chair, Councillor Malpas confirmed that the intention of having an Addendum was not to prevent changes to recommendations taking place as the result of addresses or debate at Cabinet meetings.

 

Councillor Mildren concurred with the comments made by Councillor Malpas and urged that Cabinet proceed with the first three of its recommendations. He noted the suggestion that Cabinet consider separately the extension of the framework to other community assets.

 

Councillor Clarke recorded his thanks to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for upholding the Call-in. He had believed that at the Cabinet meeting on 3 November a major new recommendation had been introduced after debate and before a decision made. The Council had a Forward Plan that advised Councillors and the public of future Cabinet business but this matter had not been included on it. This seemed an example of the Cabinet just doing what it wanted to. At Call-in it had become clear that there had been different versions of the report and that some Cabinet members had been unsure as to which one was the final version. At the Cabinet meeting on 3 November the Borough Solicitor had had to cobble up some wording to comprise the fourth recommendation. He suggested that Cabinet should do things properly ie the issue should be published in the Forward Plan and a proper report prepared.

 

Councillor Mason commented that she had been unhappy with the introduction of the fourth recommendation so late in the day at the Cabinet meeting and felt that it had been too vague and the proposed delegation had not been clear. Up to that point the Task and Finish Group had worked well cross party and produced a report: the content of the fourth recommendation had not formed part of their consideration.

 

RESOLVED:      1. That recommendations (1) and (2) of the Overview and

                               Scrutiny Committee be noted.

 

                           2. That recommendations 1, 2 and 3 of the Cabinet report to

                               the meeting held on 3 November 2010 be implemented.

 

                           3. That the Chief Executive submit further reports in respect

                               recommendations (4), (5) and (6) of the Overview and

                               Scrutiny Committee report.        

6.

PFI Housing and Decent Homes pdf icon PDF 159 KB

Report of Director of Housing (Copy herewith)

Additional documents:

Decision:

Cabinet noted the report.

Minutes:

Councillor Hawkins stated that everyone was aware of the complexity, confusion and disappointment to the people of Eastfield and Thorplands caused by the PFI project. She noted that the Call-in of the Cabinet decision on 10 November had not proceeded but stated that the issue could not be ignored. £729,000 had been spent on it and she hoped that other Councillors would scrutinise this expenditure. PFI had focussed on regeneration, changing environments and this had been confused with Decent Homes. Eastfield and Thorplands appeared now to be off the Decent Homes radar and she asked Cabinet to consider how the two wards could be included in Phase II of Decent Homes. In answer to a question from Councillor B. Markham, Councillor Hawkins commented that as the outline options appraisal had not been made available to her she could not comment on what work could be done under Decent Homes as opposed to the proposal to demolish the flats and maisonettes.

 

Councillor Mildren noted that the Government had abandoned PFI and that the Council had spent £729,00 on it out of a budget of £1.1m. He assumed that the balance would be returned to the HRA. He noted the statement in the report that some of the expenditure would have been necessary whatever funding mechanism had been in place. He also referred to the statement made at Council that demolition/ CPOs were unlikely to proceed. Councillor Mildren wondered if some good might come out of it all as the funding gap to meet the management charges of PFI would no longer have to be met. He hoped that Eastfield and Thorplands could be worked into Phase II of Decent Homes.

 

Councillor Clarke stated that the Administration owed the public an apology for the statement that only a fraction of the £1.1m budget had been spent; £729,000 was a significant proportion. He had cautioned about PFI from when it had first been suggested and believed that the Council’s housing strategy was in tatters. The proposal now seemed to be to go to the HCA for funding to deal with the highest number of properties rather than those with the greatest need: those in the worst condition would be further delayed. He felt that those properties in the worst condition should be dealt with first. The Administration were proposing to spend more money on consultants where they were not needed.

 

Councillor Mason commented that she had been disappointed by the outcome of the PFI project but was appalled by the amount of money spent so far. She was pleased by the proposals in the report but there were many other homes that needed attention but were not covered by the report. She noted that houses on the Eastern District had been built at the same time as each other and were all aging at the same rate. She believed that the mismanagement of the process had upset so many people and that the Council had to learn the lessons from this.

 

Councillor Beardsworth,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Consultation by CLG on the Proposed New Homes Bonus pdf icon PDF 128 KB

Report of Director of Planning and Regeneration (Copy herewith)

Additional documents:

Decision:

Cabinet approved Appendix 1 of the report as the Council’s response to the Department of Communities and Local Government on the consultation in respect of the proposed New Homes Bonus.

 

Cabinet delegated to the Portfolio Holder and the Director of Planning and Regeneration, the ability to incorporate any additional issues and comments into the response to CLG that may be made by consultees prior to the closure of the consultation period.

Minutes:

Councillor Clarke commented that this was another Government initiative: this appeared to work on the basis of “if you take the homes then we’ll give you the money”. Districts around Northampton could build up to the Borough boundary without concern for the effect on the Town. There was a concern that Councils around us would do their own thing and all the work of the Joint Planning Committee would be wasted. This was a perennial issue on which progress never seemed to be made.

 

Councillor Church, as the relevant Portfolio Holder, submitted a report that set out the Government’s proposals to introduce a New Homes Bonus that would create an incentive to reward local authorities that delivered sustainable development. The Council continued to work with other Councils through the West Northamptonshire Joint Strategic Planning Committee: a Joint Core Strategy would be considered by the Committee on 31 January 2010. Some growth was inevitable to meet natural demand. Some development on the Council’s boundaries was also inevitable because of its compact urbanised nature. The response to the Government put forward the point of view that the Council should receive a share of the money from developments adjacent to its boundaries as these would become part of the urban fabric of the Borough and the benefits should accrue to it. This proposal would replace Planning Delivery Grant. The proposal was that the money should be split 80% to districts and 20% to county councils. The response suggested that this should be 100% to districts as they were the Planning Authorities.

 

The Chair noted that the report was a consultative document and that the Council’s proposed response was set out in Appendix 1.     

 

RESOLVED:       1. That Appendix 1 of the report be approved as the Council’s response to the Department of Communities and Local Government on the consultation in respect of the proposed New Homes Bonus.

 

                            2. That  the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Regeneration and the Director of Planning and Regeneration, be delegated the ability to incorporate any additional issues and comments into the response to CLG that may be made by consultees prior to the closure of the consultation period.

16.

Exclusion of Public and Press

THE CHAIR TO MOVE:

“THAT THE PUBLIC AND PRESS BE EXCLUDED FROM THE REMAINDER OF THE MEETING ON THE GROUNDS THAT THERE IS LIKELY TO BE DISCLOSURE TO THEM OF SUCH CATEGORIES OF EXEMPT INFORMATION AS DEFINED BY SECTION 100(1) OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972 AS LISTED AGAINST SUCH ITEMS OF BUSINESS BY REFERENCE TO THE APPROPRIATE PARAGRAPH OF SCHEDULE 12A TO SUCH ACT.”

Minutes:

The Chair moved that the public and Press be excluded from the following item of business (Award of Decent Homes Contract) on the grounds that there was likely to be disclosure to them of such categories of exempt information as defined by Section 100(1) of the Local Government Act 1972 as listed against such items of business by reference to the appropriate paragraph of Schedule 12A to such Act.

 

The Motion was Carried.

17.

Award of Decent Home Contract

B Report of Director of Housing (Copy herewith)

Decision:

Cabinet considered the confidential information provided in the private addendum to the public report and took the information fully into account when they made the decision on the corresponding item on the public agenda (Item 9).

Minutes:

Councillor Beardsworth, as the relevant Portfolio Holder, submitted a report that set out the commercially sensitive appendices to the public report concerning the award of the Phase II Decent Homes Contract.

 

The Chair commented that the process for Phase II had started in February 2009. It had been long and detailed.

 

In answer to a question from Councillor Perkins it was noted that local contractors had been encouraged to be involved and that the winning contractors would be encouraged to use local labour. This could not, legally, be made a requirement. 

 

RESOLVED:      That the confidential information provided in the private addendum to the public report be noted and taken into account in making the following decision in respect of Item 9- Award of Decent Homes Contract.

 

The Chair moved “That the public and press be readmitted to the remainder of the meeting.”  The motion was carried.

9.

Award of Decent Homes Contract pdf icon PDF 166 KB

B Report of Director of Housing (Copy herewith)

Decision:

Cabinet awarded contract A for the North and Central areas to the Lovell Partnership Limited and that Contract B for the South and East areas was awarded to Frank Haslam Milan and Co Ltd. each contract to be worth £11 million over the next three years, covering 3,600 properties.

Minutes:

Councillor Hawkins referred to paragraph 3.8 of the report and the statement that Eastfield and Thorplands were not included. She commented that as PFI was now no longer available the residents of Eastfield and Thorplands would expect something to be done about their homes. She expressed the hope that Ward Councillors would be involved. If Eastfield and Thorplands were not to be included, an indication of where they fitted into the wider scheme of things would be appreciated.

 

Councillor Mildren commented that the Council had to act with due probity in mind and referred to Norman Adams address and the list of companies that had attracted the attention of the OFT. In probity terms the Council needed to be assured of the highest standards.

 

Councillor Clarke commented that his constituents in Spring Boroughs would ask about replacement windows and damp: were they to be placated by comments that others were getting new kitchens and bathrooms? Fundamental issues were not being addressed. The Council was proposing to award part of the contract to a company caught out by the OFT for price fixing. A number of Councils had said that they would not deal with the companies exposed by the OFT, however, the recommendation to the Cabinet was to award part of the contract to a company named by the OFT. Cabinet needed to make a moral judgement.

 

Councillor Malpas noted that there were very few Council houses in Billing and Little Billing that were included on the list in the report but that the many Council houses in Bellinge were not included. He also noted the many Council houses built on rafts in Standens Barn that now required remedial works that were also not included and enquired when these two areas would be dealt with.

 

Councillor Beardsworth, as the relevant Portfolio Holder, submitted a report that sought the approval to the appointment of two contractors for Phase II of Decent Homes the total value of the works being £22m over three years. The process had followed the Housing Asset Strategy and had included tenant volunteers who had been trained and given up their own time to be involved. Phase I which had improved 640 homes was nearing completion. Phase II would improve 3,600 homes. Combined this would deal with 25% of the homes needing to be brought up to the Decent Homes standard. Tenants had visited the prospective contractors and spoken to tenants elsewhere who had experience of them and had reached the same conclusions as the Council in respect of whom the contracts should be awarded to. There may be flexibility within the contracts to allow some homes from Bellinge, Blackthorn, Eastfield and Thorplands to be included. It was noted that the contractors would be encouraged to use local labour but this could not be made a requirement.

 

The Chief Executive noted that Frank Haslam Milan and Co Limited and their parent company, Keepmoat Limited had been investigated by the OFT, but had not been fined. He referred to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Robinson House pdf icon PDF 154 KB

B Report of Director of Housing (Copy herewith)

Decision:

Cabinet approved the disposal of Robinson House to Registered Social Landlord (RSL) partner Orbit Homes.

 

Cabinet authorised the Director of Housing, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Housing and the Borough Solicitor, to agree the heads of terms, the terms of lease and to effect the disposal.  

Minutes:

Councillor Clarke commented that he was delighted that the site of Robinson House was coming back into use. The Administration had said that the building was not fit for use but following a Call-in had had to backtrack. He was pleased that the residents of the area were pleased to have been involved and hoped that Orbit would manage it better than the Council had done.

 

Councillor welcomed the report that had taken a long time to reach this stage. The residents and Residents Association were pleased to have been involved and were happy with the proposal for 2 and 3 bed homes for rent and shared ownership.

 

Councillor Beardsworth, as the relevant Portfolio Holder, submitted a report that set out the results of the “Design and Finance” competition and proposed the transfer of Robinson House to an RSL. She noted that this was an example of looking at different ways of supplying new homes in the challenging economic climate. A local resident had chaired the panel that had chosen the RSLs to proceed with and one of the Ward Councillors had also been on the panel. This demonstrated good public involvement. It was also the first test of the RSL Framework and eight from the approved list had responded to this project. It was noted that Robinson House would be demolished and that the new homes would be built to sustainable level 4.  

 

RESOLVED:       1. That the disposal of Robinson House to Registered Social Landlord (RSL) partner Orbit Homes be approved.

 

                            2. That the Director of Housing, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Housing and the Borough Solicitor, be authorised to agree the heads of terms, the terms of lease and to effect the disposal.  

11.

Property Disposal Programme - 2010/11 Various Properties - Tranche 4 pdf icon PDF 2 MB

B Report of Planning and Regeneration (Copy herewith)

Decision:

Cabinet approved the disposal of the freehold property identified in Appendices 1 & 2 of the report, being

 

(a)   Weston Favell Office

(b)   Land at Wallace Road

(c)   Land at rear of 85 Wheatfield Road

 

as the Fourth Tranche in implementing a broader programme of disposal of assets considered surplus to this Council’s requirements

 

Cabinet delegated to the Director of Planning and Regeneration the power to

negotiate the terms of the disposals in consultation with the Portfolio holder for Finance.

Minutes:

Councillor Mildren in referring to the proposed disposal of land at the rear of 85 Wheatfield Road, asked if the Cabinet were concerned about a HIMO being developed. In respect of the proposed disposal of the former Weston Favell housing office he asked whether Cabinet had thought of possible uses that might be made of the building and consequently whether any covenants were required.

 

Councillor Clarke remarked that the Council had a Town Centre First policy and that the former Weston Favell housing office was a prime retail property. He would have thought covenants would have been placed on it, but apparently that would not be the case. He had corresponded with the Asset Manager who had indicated that it was their primary duty to achieve best value for the Council. This did not sit well with the Town Centre First policy: and he believed that the building should be used for offices only.

 

Councillor Perkins, as the relevant Portfolio Holder, submitted a report that sought authority to dispose of Weston Favell Office, land at Wallace Road and land at the rear of 85 Wheatfield Road. He commented that this was the fourth tranche of the programme to rationalise the Council’s property holdings and that each of the proposed disposals set out in the report fulfilled the criteria set out in the Asset Management Strategy. He noted that Ward Councillors had been consulted and noted that the comments received and detailed in the report were issues that would be resolved during any subsequent planning process. He observed that in respect of the land at the rear of 85 Wheatfield Road there was no existing building and that in respect of the former Housing Office at Weston Favell, the building was located within the retail area: as  retail it would most likely attract a higher value than as an office. Any change of use would be a matter for planning and the Council’s position would be protected if a higher value were to be achieved. Councillor Perkins observed that the Town Centre First policy would be a consideration that any prospective purchaser would have to take into account.

 

Councilor B. Markham commented that the Town Centre First Policy did not mean “Town Centre Only”.     

 

RESOLVED:       1. That the disposal of the freehold property identified in Appendices 1 & 2 of the report, being

 

                           (a)   Weston Favell Office

                                (b)   Land at Wallace Road

                           (c)  Land at rear of 85 Wheatfield Road

 

                                 Be approved as the Fourth Tranche in implementing a broader programme of disposal of assets considered surplus to this Council’s requirements

 

                            2. That the Director of Planning and Regeneration be authorised to negotiate the terms of the disposals in consultation with the Portfolio holder for Finance.

12.

Energy Reduction Briefing pdf icon PDF 135 KB

Report of Director of Environment and Culture (Copy herewith)

Decision:

Cabinet noted the contents of the report

 

Cabinet authorised the Director of Environment and Culture to implement any changes required to secure compliance with the Carbon Trust Standard.

Minutes:

Councillor Crake, as the relevant Portfolio Holder, submitted a report that updated progress of the Council’s energy and carbon management programme, confirmed the application for approval under The Carbon Trust Scheme had been made, an update of progress of energy reduction achieved under the 10:10 campaign and changes to the Carbon Reduction Commitment announced as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review. She commented that there was no further news in respect of the 10:10 campaign but thanked everyone who had been involved.

 

Councillor P. D Varnsverry commented that this was a good news story and that the Council had exceeded the standards set by a large margin.

 

Councillor B. Markham commented that the closure of Cliftonville House during the following year would help to further improve the Council’s carbon reduction.

 

The Chair commented that the report was significant and left a legacy of improvement to the Town and gave a lead to the wider community: he concurred with the thanks expressed by Councillor Crake to all those who had been involved.   

 

RESOLVED:          1.    That the report be noted.

 

                               2.    That the Director of Environment and Culture be authorised to implement any changes required to secure compliance with the Carbon Trust Standard.

13.

New Homes Bonus

Duplicate of Item 7

Decision:

Duplicate of Item 7

Minutes:

Duplicate of Item 7

14.

HRA Settlement and Rent Determination pdf icon PDF 129 KB

Report of Director of Finance and Support (Copy to follow)

Additional documents:

Decision:

Cabinet noted the impact of the Draft HRA Subsidy determination as set out in the Briefing Note (Appendix 1) of the report

Cabinet noted the NBC response to the Draft HRA Subsidy Determination (Appendix 2) of the report.

Minutes:

Councillor Mildren noted that the suggested response to the consultation asked the Government to reconsider the Subsidy Determination. He recalled that the previous Government had reduced a proposed increase two years previously following consultation. The increase in negative subsidy would leave the Council worse off by £.5m. Tenants were already facing an increase in VAT in January and a 1% increase in National Insurance contributions from April. He believed that the worst off would suffer the most from this.

 

Councillor Clarke commented that the proposal would mean a £5+ per week rent increase for many tenants. He believed that this was indefensible in the current economic climate. He noted that Councillor Beardsworth had objected to a smaller increase two years ago and that Councillor Woods at that time had described it as “obscene and a stealth tax”. He queried what the Aministration’s response would be this time. The Chair asked Councillor Clarke whether he was advocating that rents should not go up in which case the Council would have to pay the Government an additional £2.9m. Councillor Clarke commented that the Administration should be lobbying, with their colleagues, for the increase to be reduced and for the increase in rents to 80% of market rents to be reconsidered. He believed that the public would have more respect for those would spoke the truth than those that merely followed the party line.

 

Councillor Mason stated that she did not agree with the proposed increases at a time when unemployment was increasing and fuel costs were going up. The enforced rent increase by the Government would only make things worse. The Government spoke about Localism but their proposal was an attack on localism. She was horrified by the figures. In answer to a question from the Chair she stated that the Council did not have much choice in the matter but did not have to accept it happily.

 

Councillor Perkins, as the relevant Portfolio Holder, submitted a report that set out the key issues that arose from the CLG announcement of the Draft HRA Subsidy Determination for 2011/12 and the proposed response to the consultation on it. He commented that the proposed settlement showed how absurd the HRA was. At best the Council would lose £.5m. Rent convergence was a long standing Government policy and it did help to fund Decent Homes. If the HRA were scrapped the increase in subsidy would most likely increase the Council’s proportion of debt. He did not believe that anyone would be happy about the situation.

 

Councillor Beardsworth commented that she had been outraged the previous year and had been pleased that the previous Government had helped. The Council would lobby through its MPs against the. She was horrified like everyone else and noted the proposed response to the Government appended to the report.

 

Councillor Church commented that he had campaigned against the negative subsidy system for many years and believed that this year the Government had got it wrong. He noted that the recently published  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.

15.

Performance

15a

Corporate Plan Progress Report - October pdf icon PDF 195 KB

Report of Chief Executive (Copy herewith)

Additional documents:

Decision:

Cabinet noted the contents of the report.

Minutes:

Councillor Mildren noted the slight worsening of the payment of invoices and commented that prompt payment would assist small businesses.

 

Councillor B. Markham, as the relevant Portfolio Holder, submitted a report that set out the Council’s progress against the priorities set out in the Corporate Plan. He noted the achievements of the Housing Gateway Services and the partnership with Chelton Brown. He also noted that relet times in October had fallen below the 20 day target for the first time but that this was not yet a consistent position. He commented that Housing Benefit Claims were still being processed within the 10 day target despite an increase in demand due to the economic situation.

 

The Chair commented that the payment of invoices had been affected by a blip with the IBS system but this had now been resolved and performance was expected to improve from now on.     

 

RESOLVED:   That the report be noted.

15b

Finance Monitoring Dashboard to the End of October 2010 pdf icon PDF 188 KB

B Report of Director of Finance and Support (Copy herewith)

Additional documents:

Decision:

1.      Cabinet noted the forecast position of £495k under spend for general fund (including debt financing) as at the end of October 2010.

2.      Cabinet noted the forecast position of £781k under spend for HRA fund (including recharges) as at the end of October 2010.

3.      Cabinet noted the Capital Programme monitoring position as at the end of October 2010 including forecast outturns, revenue expenditure funded by capital and slippage into 2010-11, and the related funding as set out at appendices 3a and 3b to the report.

4.      Cabinet noted the position reported on the key financial indicators reported at paragraphs 3.2.1 to 3.2.3 in the report.

5.      Cabinet approved the following variations to the capital programme 2010-11.

 

Scheme Reference, and Description

2010-11

£

Future Years

£

Funding Source

HRA

2009-10/HRA04 V08

Decent Homes

180,000

0

30k Revenue

150k MRA

2009-10/HRA05 V04

Garage Roofs and Doors

(30,000)

0

Revenue Contribution

2009-10/HRA15 V04

Lift refurbishment

(150,000)

0

MRA

Minutes:

Councillor Mildren noted that there were still four outstanding audit issues in respect of Landscapes and that some savings in Environment Services would not be achieved although other, compensating, measures had been taken. He asked if this would impact on future years.

 

Councillor Clarke commented that the situation over the funding of the Cooper Street flats windows was still no clearer. He reminded Cabinet that £800,000 had been taken from the Cooper Street flats window replacement programme and vired to replace the heating systems at the Cooper Street flats. £400,000 had been spent on the heating systems and the £400,000 underspend then vired to disabled facilities grants rather than being placed back to the budget for the Cooper Street flats window replacement programme. However, this virement to the disabled facilities grants budget had not been spent, but it seemed to have disappeared. He asked where this money had gone.

Councillor Perkins, as the relevant Portfolio Holder, submitted a report that set out the overall financial position of the Council in respect of the General Fund and HRA revenue and capital, General Fund savings and efficiency targets, Treasury Management and Corporate Income Collection and Internal Audit recommendations. He noted the current projected underspends for the General Fund and the HRA and the variation to the Capital Programme to increase the Decent Homes Budget by £180,000. He commented that Savings and Efficiencies were the only issue affecting the Dashboard but that Management Board had taken action to deal with this. In respect of Treasury Management he noted that the IBS issue had now been rectified and that Council Tax collection, whilst just below target, was higher than at the same time the previous year. In respect of the Cooper Street flats window replacement programme, e-mails had been sent to Councillor Clarke explaining the situation, however if he required more information he only had to ask.

RESOLVED:    1.That he forecast position of £495k under spend for general  fund (including debt financing) as at the end of October 2010 be noted.That the forecast position of £781k under spend for HRA fund (including recharges) as at the end of October 2010 be noted.

                   3.  That the Capital Programme monitoring position as at the end of October 2010 be noted including forecast outturns, revenue expenditure funded by capital and slippage into 2010-11, and the related funding as set out at appendices 3a and 3b to the report.

4.      That the position reported on the key financial indicators reported at paragraphs 3.2.1 to 3.2.3 in the report be noted.

5.      That the following variations to the capital programme 2010-11 be approved:

 

Scheme Reference, and Description

2010-11

£

Future Years

£

Funding Source

HRA

2009-10/HRA04 V08

Decent Homes

180,000

0

30k Revenue

150k MRA

2009-10/HRA05 V04

Garage Roofs and Doors

(30,000)

0

Revenue Contribution

2009-10/HRA15 V04

Lift refurbishment

(150,000)

0

MRA

15c

Treasury Management Mid Year Report 2010-2011 pdf icon PDF 208 KB

Report of Director of Finance and Support (Copy herewith)

Additional documents:

Decision:

1.      Cabinet recommended to Council that they note the Council’s treasury management activities and performance for the period 1 April to 30 September 2010.

 

2.      Cabinet recommended to Council that they note the change to the Council’s Investment Strategy detailed at paragraphs 3.2.27 to 3.2.28.

  1. Cabinet recommended to Council that they approve revisions to the Council’s prudential indicators for 2010-11 for Capital Expenditure and the Capital Financing Requirement as set out at paragraphs 3.2.51 and 3.2.54.

Minutes:

Councillor Perkins, as the relevant Portfolio Holder submitted a report, that set out performance of treasury management activities, including borrowing and investments, a change to the Council’s Investment Strategy authorised by the Chief Financial Officer and that sought approval to revisions to the Council’s Prudential Indicators for Capital Expenditure  and the Capital Financing Requirement for 2010-11. He commented that the Council had a total of £78m invested and noted the report to Council concerning the breach in policy in order to better balance the Council’s investment risks. Appendix G of the report showed investment returns significantly and consistently above base rate. Long term debt totalled £32m and approximately half of the loans would be redeemed by 2014/15. The Prudential Indicators were appended to the report.

 

RECOMENDED:    1.That the Council’s treasury management activities and performance for the period 1 April to 30 September 2010 be noted.

 

                               2. That the change to the Council’s Investment Strategy detailed at paragraphs 3.2.27 to 3.2.28 of the report, be noted.

 

3.      That the revisions to the Council’s prudential indicators for 2010-11 for Capital Expenditure and the Capital Financing Requirement as set out at paragraphs 3.2.51 and 3.2.54 of the report be approved.