Agenda and minutes

Venue: Grey Room - York House

Contact: David Cook  01628 796560

Video Stream: Click here to watch this meeting on YouTube

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Carroll.

2.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 219 KB

To receive any declarations of interest

Minutes:

None received.

3.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 535 KB

To consider the minutes of the meeting held on 27 May 2021.

Minutes:

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the minutes of the meeting held on 27 May 2021 were approved.

4.

Appointments

Minutes:

None

5.

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 35 KB

To consider the Forward Plan for the period July 2021 to October 2021

Minutes:

Cabinet considered the contents of the Forward Plan for the next four months and noted the changes made since last published, including:

 

·        Boulters Lock report not currently required.

·        Review of Council Governance of Prop Co added to July Cabinet.

·        Community Facilities Review moved to August Cabinet.

6.

Cabinet Members' Reports

6a

Library Transformation: Consultation and Recommendations pdf icon PDF 9 MB

Minutes:

Cabinet considered the report regarding the approval to implement the recommended changes to the Library Service delivery model and to adopt the revised Library Transformation Strategy.

 

The Deputy Leader of the Council, Corporate & Resident Services, Culture & Heritage, and Windsor informed Cabinet that That she was proud to bring before Cabinet a paper that will significantly improve our library service.  In January she presented a paper that showed potential saving for the budget build that would go out to consultation.  This paper shows the proposals following that consultation.  It was originally thought that to achieve the required saving we would have to close 4 libraries,  she was please to say that this report did not propose any closure of our libraries but provided instead for a more resilient modern service meeting residents needs.

 

The consultation lasted for 12 weeks with over a thousand responses and 38 engagement sessions were held with hundreds of residents attending virtually.  This was also the first consultation done in British sign language.    The results had been very positive and there had been commitments for £6,500 towards their libraries.  The proposed savings had also been achieved, for example by stopping the container library being moved between sites saved £55k.   we would also be looking at a pop up library in Sunningdale and if successful could be used elsewhere.  The mobile library was to be retired and in its place 50 volunteers would deliver and collect books to those who find it difficult to get to their library.   There would be new partnerships with Parish Council’s and community organisations.

 

As well as the consultation an independent report was commissioned that showed how important the service was and in particular it highlighted Boyn Grove, Dedworth and Eaton Wick.  There was also a lot data on how residents used the service and comparative data that showed we had a higher then average use of the service.   It also demonstrated, as per the CIPFA report, that it was a financially efficient service. 

 

The service will also be improved and this was shown in the strategy at appendix 3.  There had been a lot of successful transformation during the pandemic and this would be built upon such as mitigating isolated disadvantaged and digital exclusion.  It was an exciting time for the service and the main assets were the incredible team. 

 

The Cabinet Member for Finance and Ascot said that the report demonstrated what an excellent service was provided, the needs analysis was a fascinating read.  The transformation strategy would maintain the excellent service whilst delivering the required savings without closing any libraries.  He mentioned how the library in Sunninghill had been established in 1885 as a reading room and as the trust no longer had the resources to keep it open it found support from local parish councils and other local charities.  The consultation had shown how parish councils had chosen to work with the local authority.  They could use the precept to help cover the costs locally. 

 

The Cabinet Member for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6a

6b

Asset Review and Disposal pdf icon PDF 65 KB

Minutes:

Cabinet considered the report regarding the potential use of the Sports Able building.

 

The Leader of the Council and Chairman of Cabinet, Business, Economic Development and Property informed Cabinet that unfortunately, the Trustees announced the closure of the Sports Able Charity early in 2021.  Under the terms of the lease dating back to 1983 the Trustees were able to surrender the lease of the clubhouse premises back to the Council with the Council having pay £100,000 towards the initial construction of the building. The building was vacated at the end of May 2021.

 

Several options for the future use of the building including disposing of the building to Maidenhead Heritage Centre in return for the acquisition of the current Heritage Centre on Park Street.  This would maintain the building for community use and allow the heritage centre to expand its offer.  They have a lot of exhibitions in storage that they currently can not show, such as one of the first fire engines.  The current centre would fall into the York Road development site.  Consideration had also been undertaken from a number of other community groups and if they are not successful we would try and work with them for other solutions, although no guarantees can be given.

 

The Cabinet Member for Planning, Environmental Services and Maidenhead gave a history of the fire engine and how it was one of the first horse drawn engines that had been displayed by Bray Parish Council but was now in storage.  This provided an opportunity for Maidenhead to show its heritage.

 

Mr Hill addressed Cabinet and informed that Its good to see the building has a sustainable use and he was sure that the heritage centre would be pleased to move there.  He did have concern about the loss of community space as the report did mention groups that had come forward such as the Hindu Society and Sporting Mind but there was no mention of this in the equalities impact assessment for disability or religious impact.  Although its an empty building he thought some consideration should be given to potential us and impact.

 

The Chairman said that if the paper was approved he hoped the negotiations with the heritage centre would be concluded and the building would remain as a community facility and would help educate children and be a visitor attraction.    He had been approached by other community groups but he had to balance what was best for the site and its community value. 

 

The Director of RBWM Property Company addressed the equality’s impact assessment and informed that they had looked at the existing use of the building and if Sports Able leaving disadvantaged groups.  As Sports Able had been successful within the borough there were plenty of facilities remaining for those with disabilities.  With regards to incoming use there was nothing to suggest that the heritage centre would not provide for all user groups.  The building would remain accessible and thus no adverse impact was identified. 

 

Mr Sharma addressed Cabinet  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6b

6c

2020/21 End of Year Data and Performance Report pdf icon PDF 3 MB

Minutes:

Cabinet considered the report regarding the 2020/21 End of Year Data & Performance Report

 

The Cabinet Member for Corporate & Resident Services, Culture & Heritage and Windsor informed Cabinet that in July 2020 Cabinet approved a new Interim Council Strategy 2020/21 for immediate adoption on the basis that the Covid-19 pandemic has significantly altered the context in which the council is currently operating.

 

The Interim Council Strategy clarifies the three revised priorities to which the council is responding.  The three revised priorities for 2020/21 were:

 

·        Covid-19 objectives: focusing on the immediate response, long-term recovery, and new service requirements.

·        Interim Focus Objectives 2020-21: focusing on revised service operating plans, development of the Transformation Strategy, Climate Strategy, Governance, and People Plan.

·        Revised Medium Term Financial Strategy: focusing on the impact of Covid-19, economic downturn, and government policy.

 

All performance reports for Q2 2020/21 onwards had been refocused to provide insights into the Interim Council Strategy’s three priorities and how they were progressing.

 

The global pandemic has been life-changing for many and our thoughts with those families affected.  As a council our response to the pandemic has been to protect our residents and the vulnerable this has been achieved particularly by galvanizing the community in action, together to work and support those needing help and clinically vulnerable officially there were eight thousand shielding but many more needed help 76 incredible community-based initiatives arose to help across whole borough and they must be highly commended.  The council strategically facilitated this with practical and financial help, a new database Leon was developed by the council and this was crucial to the council's success of this response £45,000 pounds was given to local groups

 

Supporting vulnerable individuals and families and the further £230,000 pounds was distributed through food vouchers over the Christmas holidays, winter half term and easter holidays supporting 2037 children. Credit goes to the Democratic Team who arranged hundreds of meetings virtually allowing better engagement.   We also had a number of champions who allowed important Covid messages to reach our residents.  The leisure centres were brilliant in dealing with a lateral flow testing giving residents another extra layer of protection and ensuring the virus is detected quickly.

 

The council worked across the Thames alley authorities and organizations to determine the best practices for the Royal Borough recovery strategy which was approved in September 2020. The library and customer service supported superbly with over 20 000 phone calls made to vulnerable residents many other services work long and difficult hours delivering their services to residents at the time of a global pandemic. There is still a lot of work continuing these areas as we slowly open up but the community resilience has given way to a new model of working and improving culture.

 

The impact of Covid on the community and the economy has been felt in a number of areas of the council’s operations, and this has been reflected in the council’s key performance indicators A key issue across the borough has been the disruption to household  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6c

6d

Sufficiency Strategy for Children Looked After, 2020 To 2025 pdf icon PDF 667 KB

Minutes:

Cabinet considered the report regarding the Sufficiency Strategy for Children Looked After, 2020 To 2025.

 

The Chairman reported that the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Children Services, Health and Mental Health was not able to present the report due to Government commitments.

 

The Chairman informed Cabinet that the Sufficiency Strategy outlines how the Royal Borough will ensure that children and young people who need to be in care, can grow up in high quality homes that meet their immediate needs and provide them with permanence at the earliest opportunity.

 

It sets out how the Council will meet the placement and housing needs of these children and young people, including increasing opportunities for children to live in local foster families, developing local residential care provision and supported accommodation, and by commissioning specialist placements where this is required.

 

The Executive Director of Children’s Services informed that the report had been produced in partnership with AFC.  There had been a delay in producing the strategy due to the Pandemic.    As corporate parents, the Royal Borough was committed to ensuring children and young people in care achieve the best possible outcomes and are well prepared and supported to move confidently into adulthood with the support they need. 

 

There had been a focus on sharper commissioning and securing local placements and the development of Achieving for Children’s independent fostering agency and an in-house residential children’s home, Hope House in Teddington, has helped to increase in house provision but further work was required to ensure there are sufficient local housing and care placements for the Royal Borough’s children in care. 

 

Because of the trauma coming into care may require initial therapeutic care before a child’s placement is found.  Paragraph 2.6 of the report showed the Sufficiency Strategy outlines 11 priorities to improve the availability of housing and care placements for the children in care.

 

Cllr Tisi mentioned that she would encourage people to consider becoming foster parents and was pleased to see the in house fostering agency.  She mentioned that the report says that demand would outstrip supply and it costs more to place children further away.  We do not currently have a foster home within the borough and if going down the same line as Richmond it seems we will have a small home.   Children have better outcomes if in a foster care placement.  She asked if there was a conflict with the need to save money against providing the best for our young people. 

 

The Executive Director replied that she was absolutely right that we have to make sure that any provision is the right provision for a young person to give them the best quality care.  What we have experienced through AFC is they have been able to provide a stable group of professionals working around those young people who have not been walked away from.  The support provided was not a cheap option but what it shows is a commitment to those young people and that we can help them transfer  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6d

6e

Bus Enhanced Partnerships pdf icon PDF 10 MB

Minutes:

Cabinet considered the report regarding the proposed introduction of Bus Enhanced Partnerships.

 

The Cabinet Member Transport, Infrastructure and Digital Connectivity informed Cabinet that in March 2021, the Government announced a new national bus strategy ‘Bus Back Better. This was followed by guidance on Bus Service Improvement Plans in May 2021.  The strategy and guidance require Local Transport Authorities across the country to commit to a new model for operating bus services by June 2021 and to produce a Bus Service Improvement Plan by October 2021.  This report was being presented as an urgent item,and had been approved so by the O&S Chairman, so we could meet the Governments timescale.

 

It was important for the council to meet the prescribed timescale to continue to receive the COVID-19 Bus Services Support Grant or any new sources of bus funding from the Government’s £3bn budget.  This means that if we do not enter into enhanced partnerships, the council will miss out on significant existing and future funding streams.

There was a requirement to enter into statutory enhanced partnerships or franchising agreements if we wish to receive new funding to deliver improvements.  This presents an opportunity for the Council to work with bus operators on ticketing, fares, timetables, routes and infrastructure.  At this stage, no further detail has been provided.

Cllr Werner said that he welcomed the government looking to de regulate the bus services and the Cabinet  Member for doing this.  He asked that the recommendations were for the Cabinet Member to introduce the agreement and not to change current routes without further consultation.  He mentioned that in his ward there used to be a bus every 30 minutes but when this was changed to every one hour it diminished its effectiveness and increased car journeys.  We need better bus services and an effective impact on climate change.  There needed to be effective consultation o what services are required and when, for example an effective night service.

 

The Cabinet Member replied that this was an enabling decision to engage with the Government to gain funding.  There will be further consultation to have a bus service that is both fit for today but also the future.  It was important that need was identified. 

 

Resolved unanimously:  that Cabinet notes the report and:

 

i)             Approves the transition to the model of Enhanced Partnerships for bus services within the Royal Borough.

 

ii)           Delegates authority to the Head of Infrastructure, Sustainability and Economic Growth in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Transport, Infrastructure and Digital Connectivity, to enter into appropriate agreements with bus operators.

 

6f

Appointments to Outside and Associated Bodies pdf icon PDF 167 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet considered the report regarding the appointment to outside bodies and associated bodies.

 

The Leader of the Council and Chairman of Cabinet, Business, Economic Development and Property outlined the purpose of the report and that recommended appointments were attached as appendix 1.

 

The Deputy Leader of the Council, Corporate and Resident Services, Culture and Heritage and Windsor seconded the recommendations and said it had been a privilege to be a representative on outside bodies and working with our communities.

 

Resolved unanimously: that Cabinet notes the report and:

 

i)             Appoints representatives to serve on the organisations listed in Appendix 1.

 

ii)           Delegates authority to the Head of Governance, in consultation with the Leader of the Council and Leaders of the Opposition Groups, to fill any ad hoc vacancies that might arise through the year from nominations received or make any changes to appointments as required.

 

iii)         Notes the feedback received from a consultation with all associated and outside bodies and agrees to permanently reduce council representation on the organisations listed in Appendix 1.

6g

Affordable Housing Maidenhead pdf icon PDF 265 KB

Minutes:

Cabinet considered the report regarding the acquisition of 18 shared ownership homes.

 

The Leader of the Council and Chairman of Cabinet, Business, Economic Development and Property informed that he was not going to go into too much detail as this was subject to a live planning application.  He did inform that in March 2015 Cabinet approved the sale of the land at Ray Mill Road East to CALA Homes in a subject to planning land transaction.  Part of the agreement gave ownership of 20 social rent properties, the council also purchased 17 shared ownership homes.  Following this agreement CALA had submitted their planning application that had an additional shared ownership property.  This report is requesting the ability to purchase this additional home.

 

The Cabinet Member for Housing, Sport & Leisure, and Community Engagement said he seconded the report as he welcomed the additional social housing for our residents managed by the RBWM Property Company.

 

Resolved unanimously:  that Cabinet notes the report and:

 

i)                 Agree that RBWM Property Company, acting on behalf of the Council, can progress with the offer to acquire 18 no. Shared Ownership Homes from CALA Homes.

ii)               Agree the reallocation of funds within the Affordable Key Worker Housing budget to enable the purchase of 18 no.  Shared Ownership homes. 

iii)             Agree the transfer of the 18 Shared Ownership homes to the RBWM Property Company, subject to Secretary of State approval.

 

6h

New upper school places in Windsor pdf icon PDF 5 MB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet considered the report regarding additional school places at Windsor Girls School.

 

The Chairman reported that the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Children Services, Health and Mental Health was not able to present the report due to Government commitments.

 

The Chairman reported that the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead had carried out public consultation on a proposal to expand Windsor Girls’ School from 208 to 230 places per year group from September 2022. This report sets out the positive response to that consultation.  There had also been a petition relating to school provision in Windsor; Mr Swann, lead petitioner, was not able to attend the meeting but he had sent in a video that had been circulated to Cabinet and all RBWM members along with its transcript that had also been placed on the RBWM website. 

 

The Executive Director for Children’s Services informed that there would be a shortfall in places for Windsor and that we had a statutory provision to supply them.   it's one of those situations where we have to make sure that there isnot one too few but we can have a few More hence rounding it up and by rounding it and by rounding up to 230 we give the girls school the best chance to run an economic class size of best use of public money to pay for their teachers and their resources so we are proposing following our  consultation we're proposing to support wings or girls schools with six further classrooms and some extensions to their pitches and their parking to enable the site to work.

 

The petitioner Mr Swann noted that the Windsor system had limited co education options.  Windsor Boys and Girls were both part of the Windsor Learning Trust and they provide a range of services for young people of all sorts of needs. The petitioner made notes about how we might deal with young people who are unsure about their gender but the director was very confident having spoken to the Chief Executive of the trust that the schools made great provision today for those young people but do recognize that it is an emerging issue something we perhaps should consider.

 

The petitioner also made the point about the use of Church Mead School and how it was a distance to travel and did not go with a three teer system.  It was clear to buils another school in Windsor that's co-educational we would have to be adding another 200 places a year and we do not have the need or capital funding.  The new school would also be short of revenue funding without pupil need. 

 

The Executive Director could see the general pros and cons for co-education education and individual gender and it's a conversation we're happy to engage in going forward but for tonight if we don't make a decision to extend the Windsor Girls school for next year we will fall short of our statutory duty to ensure there are sufficient places, this report  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6h

7.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972 - EXCLUSION OF THE PUBLIC

To consider passing the following resolution:-

 

“That under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the remainder of the meeting whilst discussion takes place on items 8-9 on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1-7 of part I of Schedule 12A of the Act"

Minutes:

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That under Section 100(A)(4) od the Local Government Act 1972, the public were excluded from the remainder of the meeting whilst discussion took place on the grounds that they involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1 and 3 of part I of Schedule 12A of the Act.

8.

Cabinet Members' Reports

8a

Asset Review and Disposal

8b

Land Option

8c

New upper school places in Windsor

8d

Affordable Housing Maidenhead