Agenda and draft 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:

There were no apologies for absence received.

2.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 219 KB

To receive any declarations of interest

Minutes:

None received.

3.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 483 KB

To consider the Part I minutes of the meeting held on 24th June 2021.

Minutes:

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the Part I minutes of the meeting held on 24 June 2021 were approved.

4.

Appointments

Minutes:

None

5.

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 39 KB

To consider the Forward Plan for the period August 2021 to November 2021.

Minutes:

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

6.

Cabinet Members' Reports

6a

Draft Corporate Plan framework for Public Consultation pdf icon PDF 449 KB

Minutes:

Cabinet considered the report regarding the adoption of the draft Corporate Plan to go to public consultation. 

 

The Leader of the Council and Chairman of Cabinet, Business, Economic Development and Property informed that he was very pleased to be in a position to present the draft Corporate Plan. It looked to build upon the work already undertaken in terms of the interim strategy adopted in July 2020. In recognition of this significantly changed operating context for the local authority brought about by COVID-19.  There was a need to succeed that interim strategy with a new forward looking Corporate Plan, a plan, which sets out the clear strategic direction of the council over the next period four or five years.

 

The plan was being designed as a evidence based approach with the final plan due to be proposed to full Council for adoption in the autumn. Before that point it would go through a thorough and rigorous scrutiny process. It had already had significant input from all members and our valuable community partners in shaping that draft before us this evening.

 

The plan set out to crystallise focus on the core areas where the council at most needs to drive forward change. But also to help in the crucial allocation of guidance, resources and energy and delivering that change. The administration was committed to creating aa area of opportunity and innovation. They wanted a clear plan, a credible plan and a deliverable plan.

 

Development and deliver needed to follow strong process and good governance

In line with good practice, the objectives, goals, strategies and measures model had been adopted to help formulate the final plan. The purpose of this reports was to propose a draft framework noted as Appendix B for a six week period of public consultation and engagement. This had been drawn up in close consultation with relevant Cabinet Members, the Corporate Leadership Team, Council staff and members of the opposition and indeed our wider partners.

 

The purpose of the next stage of public consultation was to invite residents, partners and businesses into the development of the plan to give tthe opportunity to not only share their views on our framework but strengthen the plan so we truly can deliver a council of opportunity and innovation.

 

The Deputy Leader of the Council, Corporate & Resident Services, Culture and Heritage and Windsor informed Cabinet that she supported the paper and that it was really refreshing that the Council was asking residents, what they think of our proposed Corporate Plan. This shows a huge step forward in transparency, and the way we wish to engage with our residents, and to listen to what they say. So I'll be very interested in in what they do have to say.  She asked how the report and the consultation would be communicated.

 

The Monitoring Officer informed that we had already been out to consultation, in relation to this report. The next stage was rolling out through engagement HQ, which is our electronic platform for engagement,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6a

6b

2021/22 Finance Update - Revenue and Capital pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Minutes:

Cabinet considered the report regarding the latest financial update for 2021/2022.

 

The Cabinet Member for Finance and Ascot informed Cabinet that this was the first finance monitoring report for 2021/22.  Last year’s budget was overtaken by the consequences of the COVID 19 pandemic but turned out better than many would have expected and we established a Covid reserve of £3.8M and increased provisions by about £3.5M.

 

The 2021/22 budget build was undertaken at a time of extreme uncertainty.  The headline in the report was a £244K overspend that reduces reserves to £6.816M and just £100K above the minimum.

 

The monitoring report was not a snapshot of the Councils financial position at the end of May but, based upon the information available at that time, a forecast of the year end outturn. Forecasting was an inexact science so sensibly and in the interests of transparency, where there are risks, these a were identified in the report. A risk is the possibility, not a certainty that something unwelcome could happen and Directors and service leads are focused on eliminating or at least mitigating risks.

 

In AfC there were two new high-cost placements but the decision to move the demography fund and two grants to AfC provides a buffer of £340K to cover future placement risks. Covid increased demand for domestic abuse support and other statutory services, costing an additional £300K. As a result of the removal of a public bus service and risks around savings from the retendering of bus services a pressure of £254K was reported in Home to school transport. The increased requirement for AfC was £659K.

 

It was believed that there would be requests for some children to repeat an academic year, is unprecedented, and number of parents opting to educate their children at home could add to costs. Cllr. Carroll may choose to comment on these points.

 

ASC is projecting an overspend of £618K; there are many moving parts but the major drivers are an increase in older people needing care and those requiring support for Mental Health issues, the cost of care has also increased.

 

The transformation team continue to work hard and now COVID 19 restrictions have been lifted, projects designed to reduce cost and improve the quality of life of care users are underway which will assist in meeting savings targets. Re-ablement focusses resource on people when they leave hospital, so they quickly regain their life skills and independence and are able remain in their homes and manage their own lives.  A great scheme that improves people’s quality of life and reduces cost.

 

The installation of technology in people’s homes has commenced. Sensors raise an alert if it appears a person has fallen or become immobile. Sensors on kitchen appliances monitor when they have been used. So, eating and drinking habits of elderly people may be tracked. This information is monitored and interventions made when necessary. So, prevention not cure.

 

When setting the budget, A major challenge for our Director of Recourses and Head  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6b

6c

Nicholsons Quarter Appropriation pdf icon PDF 566 KB

Minutes:

Cabinet considered the report regarding approval for the appropriation of council-owned land.

 

The Leader of the Council and Chairman of Cabinet, Business, Economic Development and Property informed Cabinet that He had great pleasure in presenting the report before which marked another key milestone in the delivery of this seismic regeneration project. A project that the Times national newspaper has called a blueprint for the future of town centre regeneration post COVID or others have dubbed the conversion of a shopping centre town centres concept.

Two years ago, we approve the sale of the council's freehold interest in parts of the Nicholsons Shopping Centre following its fall into administration and Central House and to enter into an agreement to relocate the existing carpark as part of the new master plan for the regeneration of that quarter of the town centre. I was very pleased to see resolution by councillors to grant planning consent for that developments, which was approved by the then Borough Wide Planning Committee in March 2021, not February as in the report.  There was unanimous support across all parties present.

 

To deliver any significant regeneration scheme, there are various mechanisms that a local authority can and indeed often should invoke progress, speed delivery of the scheme, but also to provide much needed competence to all parties as part of the process. It has been necessary for us to assist the development to not only invoke our powers of compulsory purchase, but further to that, and the paper before us this evening, the ability or the local authority to interfere with a number of existing third party rights across the site, including rights and servicing, rights of lights, rights of access, etc. We also require these rights for the construction of the new Broadway car park as well as to facilitate the broader delivery of the scheme.  The use of appropriation will not only increased certainty, and deliverability of the scheme, but it will also enable us to continue with pace to make sure that all the benefits are brought about in the shortest reasonable timeframe.

 

The use of powers of appropriation will result in those affected parties being entitled to compensation based upon the reduction of their property and loss of his performance rights. We do have the power and the Housing and Planning Acts 2016 section 203 to use as an appropriation to lawfully interfere with the rights of other parties.

 

To invoke said section of that particular act, we must hold the land for planning purpose.   Council which owns the freehold interest in the shopping centre does not presently hold the land for this purpose. So we need to formally change this process known as appropriation, which we are being asked this evening to approve following the appropriation of land should this report be agreed the council will then enter into a series of transfers to the developer as part of the land transfer agreements.

 

The Cabinet Member for Planning, Environmental Services and Maidenhead informed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6c

6d

Medium Term Financial Plan 2022/23 - 2026/27 pdf icon PDF 288 KB

Minutes:

Cabinet considered the report regarding the proposed revision to the Medium Term Financial Plan.

 

The Lead Member for Finance and Ascot informed Cabinet that This was a refresh of the MTFP published with the budget in March this year but runs for 5 years from 2022/23 to 2026/27. It represents the financial plan to deliver against the MTF strategy which remained unchanged.

 

The purpose of the report was to set the financial criteria necessary to commence the development of the 2022/23 budget.  The report indicates that in 2022/23 a Covid related loss of income from parking and leisure was likely to be £1.1M.

Some of the assumptions were;

  • Council tax levels increase in line with national limits of 2%.
  • Interest rates continue at 0.6% per annum, as advised by our Treasury Management advisers.
  • £2.2m of RSG grant protection continues for 2022/23
  • Inflation rises to 3% later this year, before falling back to 2% in future

years

  • That any growth requirements from new legislation would be fully

compensated through new burdens funding. Free Green bins could be an example.

 

The most significant risks were;

  • Inflation which could peak at the wrong time and increase the cost of contracts.
  • Any significant Government funding changes.
  • Legislation that adds a financial burden to the Council with no compensating income.
  • The rate of flow of Capital receipts which could increase interest costs.

 

Savings for the 4 years from 2022/23 to 2025/26 are little changed increasing from £12.9 M to £13.2M.  Adult Social Care Precept was factored into the MTFP but for interest, a 1% precept would deliver £780K and 3% £2.34M.

The Chairman said that we had made considerable progress over the last couple of years in terms of rebuilding and strengthening our financial position. But it's also fair to say that there was a great deal of hard work still to be done.  The Royal Borough like all English councils is facing significant financial pressures, both as a result of the covid 19 pandemic, albeit as ever grateful for governmental support.  Questions remain going into the future in terms of the legacy of the pandemic and the associated impact particularly amongst certain groups within society, but also to reflect the fact that we are facing particular demographic pressures, growth pressures that we have faced for the last number of years.

 

He mentioned the excellent work Cabinet were doing in lobbying Government around national pressures that we faced as well as pushing hard in facing the challenges ahead as well as focusing on all of the priorities that had been identified earlier.  He looked forward to setting the budget and to genuinely debating credible alternatives to our proposals when we get to that stage.

 

Mr Hill addressed Cabinet and said that RBWM’s reserves had been dipped into again this year, falling to around £6.8m, at paragraph 5.4 you note that you have insufficient reserves to sustain a budget deficit without achieving substantial savings. But you are only projecting to hit 80% of the savings targets  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6d

6e

Review of Council Governance of PropCo

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet considered the report regarding the review of governance arrangements between the Council and the RBWM Property Company.

 

The Leader of the Council and Chairman of Cabinet, Business, Economic Development and Property informed that before Cabinet considered the report he wanted to say that this was not a review of the RBWM Property Company, but the relationship with the Council.  The property company had achieved a considerable number of successes since its inception, both in terms of actually delivering its core business of affordable housing, but also assisting and facilitating the unlocking of several large scale regeneration projects.

 

A very prime example of its success had been such creativity and innovation, for example, in two of the recent reports that was presented before Cabinet, one was the Maidenhead Heritage Centre and former Sports Able building, but more recently, the successful relocation of the Maidenhead Community Centres, which he had the great pleasure of visiting along with Councillor Hill earlier in the week. This showed the added value to company provided.

 

In June 2020, CIPFA reported to Cabinet on their governance review including financial management arrangements of the Council and an action plan was developed to respond to issues that they raised.  One of the actions identified was to review current partnership arrangements with the property company and to identify common purpose and goals for both partners. 

 

The Council commissioned 31ten Consulting Limited to undertake a review of the current governance arrangements in the Council for managing the RBWM Property Company. They were asked to highlight both best practice examples as well as areas where the current arrangements could be improved. 

 

As part of the process a number of elected members, senior officers and key partners were interviewed, which included a mix of both Cabinet Members and opposition Members.  Cabinet would be requesting that Corporate O&S Panel to consider and monitor the proposed action plan.  Scrutiny was a core requirement and was an important element in reviewing the arrangements and progress made around governance.  The report also recommended that the companies focus be brought back to its original incepted in 2016, which was to provide and indeed manage a pipeline of affordable homes, as well as including consultancy support to the council for our property arrangements.

 

The Cabinet Member for Finance and Ascot said he just wanted to recognise how, over the years, the property company had quietly shifted from its initial objective to something rather different. That said he had nothing but good words about the company.   It enabled the council to achieve certain things that they would never have achieved without that involvement.

 

The Cabinet Member for Housing, Sport & Leisure, and Community Engagement said it was absolutely superb to see that the profit company being returned to its original ambition of delivering council owned and council run housing.  There will always be a need for council owned stock within local authority areas to support some of our most vulnerable residents. For the first time the Housing Strategy is  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6e

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.

Minutes

To consider the Part II minutes of the meeting held on 24th June 2021.

9.

Cabinet Members' Reports

9a

Re-Tender of the Council's Building Cleaning Contract