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:

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 376 KB

To consider the Part I minutes of the meeting held on 22nd July 2021.

Minutes:

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the Part I minutes of the meeting held on 22 July 2021 were approved.

 

Cllr Price requested that under the Financial Update that ‘if there were no objection they would be’ be removed as it was not said.  The Chairman replied that the written answers to public questions had been published.  As Cabinet had no objections it was approved to amend the minutes accordingly. 

4.

Appointments

Minutes:

None

5.

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 39 KB

To consider the Forward Plan for the period October 2021 to January 2022.

Minutes:

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

 

·       Bus Service Improvement Plan added to October 2021.

·       West Windsor Stakeholders Masterplan to October 2021.

·       Demand for School Places moved to November 2021.

·       New Primary School Places Maidenhead moved to November 2021.

6.

Cabinet Members' Reports

6a

Battlemead Common pdf icon PDF 317 KB

Minutes:

Cabinet considered the report regarding the proposed accessibility to Battlemead Common.

 

The Lead Member for Climate Change, Sustainability, Parks and Countryside informed Cabinet that it gave her great pleasure to propose this paper. It had been three years since the common had been purchased by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in December 2018, comprising of 110 acres mostly farmland with a willow wood to the south.  When purchased it was to be used for public open space.

 

Friends of Bethelmead Common was set up in June 2018 to offer guidance, advice and recommendations to the council. Since then, the Council had adopted its Environments and Climate Strategy. A Steering group had been set up in March 2021 to help guide decision making. During the course of  three years many surveys have been undertaken, eventually, after many discussions, we are ready to make our recommendations.

 

There were groups who had apposing views on the way forward between public access verses maintaining protection for several years and not having public access.  There were those that wished to have the common open to all with dogs off leads, but we also need to be mindful of protecting the wildlife.  She mentioned that she walked regularly along the boundary and had to remove a ear that had been killed by a dog. 

 

The Lead Member said that she had listened to all the discussions and all were very passionate.  She had also had discussions with a director of Britain Rewilding, the Chairman of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the local MP.  Taking onboard the different views she believed that the recommendations in the report protected the habitats and species, raise awareness of the local environment, increased biodiversity and provided an opportunity for education.  She looked forward to working with Friends of Battlemead Common. 

 

The Deputy Leader of the Council, Corporate & Resident Services, Culture & Heritage, and Windsor informed that she endorsed and supported the paper. I think it's absolutely fantastic that the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead purchased the land for public open space. It showed a great commitment to green open spaces for our residents, especially during lockdown. I think the green open space was much valued and much needed by lots of people as they were going through the pandemic, to have the space which was an absolutely stunning place and also protected the green space between two big towns.

 

Phoebe Ibison, addressed Cabinet with regards to a petition submitted on this topic.  She informed that her generation, as well as your descendants, who have to live through the repercussions of your actions, as well as the actions of other governmental leaders. We need to shift behaviours of local residents through education, so that we can all have the access to resources to fully comprehend the co-dependent relationship between humans and nature.

 

We set an example by counsel. We want to support encourage counsel during future decisions, which will have an impact on the nature.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6a

6b

2021/22 Finance update report - Revenue and Capital Month 4 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Minutes:

nnCabinet considered the latest financial update report.

 

The Lead Member for Finance and Ascot informed Cabinet that the prediction that Covid would cast a long dark shadow over this year’s budget was correct.  The headline at month 4, after some support from Covid and transformation funding, was an overspend of £343K with general reserves just £16K above the minimum. Cabinet can be assured that we are looking at all options to manage and mitigate overspends.

 

Children’s services, not just in Windsor and Maidenhead but across the Country, had experienced an increase in the number of referrals, the number of children with Education and Health Care Plans and the number of children in care. This had led to a projected overspend of £1,473M.

 

The report informed that parents experiencing domestic abuse, mental health difficulties or substance misuse were the most common reasons why children come to the attention of children’s social care services. These issues were exacerbated by Covid, an impact that is likely to persist for some years. As a consequence, it was necessary to retain child facing posts adding £300K to budgeted costs.

 

There had been a small increase of the number of children in care but the increased complexity of need and competition for care places with appropriate providers had pushed up costs. Two years ago, the highest cost placements were £250K a year now they were £500K. Putting that into perspective currently we could only rely upon a 2% Council tax rise or increased income of £1.5 M a year, one third of that could be absorbed by just one high need child.

 

Actions were being taken to manage costs and a programme to incentivise foster carers was being developed. Local Foster Carers can save £12K per placement a year with the added benefit of children living closer to their support networks.  A more robust process had been introduced to review those children who were in placements to ensure the care they received was matched to their need.

 

Children’s services were about keeping Children safe to be able to enjoy their lives and fulfil their potential. The UK was amongst the best at achieving this objective and under Cllr. Carroll’s leadership we were amongst those rated to be good at it.

 

Adult Services were projecting an overspend of £684K the most significant cost was homecare where despite funding from the NHS Frimley CCG of more than £1.2M to facilitate hospital discharges and offer free nursing care an overspend of £516K was forecast.

 

The Adult Social Care budget was set at the commencement of this financial year based upon the 1,000 residents using services at average costs. At the end of July that number had increased by 14% to 1140 and average costs for both older people’s care and care for those with physical disability rose by 20%. However, Adult Social Care had a track record of delivering against their savings and para 9.9 on page 65 of the report demonstrates success of the project to ensure  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6b

6c

Climate Change Leadership pdf icon PDF 328 KB

Minutes:

Cabinet considered the report regarding the set up an independent Climate Partnership within the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

 

The Lead Member for Climate Change, Sustainability, Parks and Countryside informed Cabinet that the partnership would oversee the delivery of the Environment and Climate Strategy by bringing together private and public sector organisations as well as community groups.  By utilising the knowledge and expertise of organisations across the Borough, it will better support delivery of the outcomes set out in the strategy as well as allowing the council to deliver on its own actions and commitments within the strategy.  It was planned that the partnership would become self funding.  The Council had three officers whose main responsibility was sustainability and climate change and this would allow them to spend more time on the council’s responsibilities to this cause.  It was planned to have a secretariat in place to support the new body if approved.  The partnership itself would have a three-tiered structure, with the executive providing a leadership role, the network providing a means of knowledge sharing and a community forum to provide broad and inclusive engagement.

 

The Lead Member for Finance and Ascot informed that the management of Climate Change was the biggest and most multi-faceted project ever undertaken and he was pleased that we had the foresight to arrive at the conclusion that this cannot be addressed by the Council or for that matter any other organisation on its own.

 

The proposal to set up a Borough Wide Climate Partnership with the Council owning the agenda and supported by a Council secretariat offered the greatest opportunity for success. All businesses have a social responsibility and must accept the requirement to manage their carbon footprint down. Bringing together businesses with a common object and agenda into a single organisation would be very powerful.

 

Working alongside public sector and community organisations this should lead to shared experience, shared learning, potentially shared resource and best address the four strategic themes: energy, circular economy, natural environment and transport. Furthermore, there was the possibility of the RBWM partnership gaining a seat on or close to the top table.

 

This would in no way undermine the work of community groups rather it has the potential to help them drive forward and expand the most promising projects.

This was a very exciting proposal which will require considerable effort to get off the ground but has the potential to be a game changer and deserves our support.

 

The Lead Member for Transport, Infrastructure, and Digital Connectivity said that again there was pragmatism being put before Cabinet.  What was in the Council’s control would be effectively actioned, however the majority of actions sat outside the Council’s control.  It was important to engage in the way this paper proposed. This was a commitment to deliver the council’s target and the mechanism to do so. 

 

Cllr W Da Costa said that he appreciated the work put into these proposals.  There was a climate emergency and it was declining  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6c

6d

Community Facilities Review

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman informed that due to the late publication of the report he was deferring the item until October 2021 Cabinet and recommended that the appropriate scrutiny panel reviews the report.

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 of Cabinet held on 22nd July 2021.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the Part II minutes of the meeting held on 22 July 2021 were approved.

 

9.

Cabinet Members' Reports

9a

Community Facilities Review

Minutes:

Item withdrawn.