Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Virtual Meeting - Online access

Contact: David Cook  01628 796560

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Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence

Minutes:

No apologies for absence were received.

2.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 219 KB

To receive any declarations of interest

Minutes:

None received.

3.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 125 KB

To consider the Part I minutes of the meeting held on 25 June 2020.

Minutes:

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the Part I minutes of the meeting held on 25 June 2020 were approved.

4.

Appointments

Minutes:

No appointments were required.

 

The Leader asked the Deputy Leader of the Council, Resident & Leisure Services, HR, IT, Legal, Performance Management & Windsor who was the Armed Forces Champion to make an important statement. 

 

The Lead Member informed that RBWM had been recognised as a supporter of the British Armed Forces by being awarded Gold in the U.K. Employer Armed Forces Recognition Scheme. The Council has added this to its Bronze and Silver Awards. She thanked officers for all their work.

 

Cllr Knowles thanked everyone including officers, partnership agencies and support services throughout the borough as a whole, being able to achieve this with Cllr Raynor’s leadership. Not many Gold have been awarded. Bravo November – Well done!

 

 

 

5.

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 26 KB

To consider the Forward Plan for the period August 2020 to November 2020.

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

6g

RBWM Outbreak Control Plan pdf icon PDF 135 KB

Minutes:

Cabinet considered the report that informed about the local outbreak control plan that had been introduced.

 

The  Deputy Chairman of Cabinet, Adult Social Care, Children’s Services, Health and Mental Health informed that the plan had been put together as part of the response to the pandemic as all local authorities had been requested to have a localised outbreak plan.  This had been produced in collaboration with the NHS, public health and the local authority. 

 

Local Directors of Public Health are responsible for producing the plans, working through Covid-19 Health Protection Boards. Local authorities also have a role to set-up Local Outbreak Engagement Boards which will provide political ownership and public-facing engagement and communication for outbreak response.  The Engagement Board would be Chaired by Hilary Hall as Cllr Carroll  was Chairing the Health and Wellbeing Board.

 

The Leader of Council said that it was important to show leadership across organisations and parties, they had all come together as one to deal with the pandemic and keep residents safe.  He asked the Lead Member that given his professional background if he could contextualise the importance of the plan.

 

The Lead Member informed that data was being analysed day by day and that the challenge was that there was currently no vaccine.  We are reliant on policies to contain the spread of the virus until a vaccine was in place.  It was expected that there would be a difficult winter with C-19, influenza and the usual winter pressures on the NHS.  He had therefore been in contact with NHS colleagues for an elevated winter plan.  There may be further lockdowns but we now had a better understanding of the disease and protocols.

 

The Leader thanked the Lead Member and said that this showed the important of the next agenda item; the Interim Council Strategy in helping plan ahead.

 

Cllr Price said she was a member of the Outbreak Board and welcomed cross party working.  This gives a lot of confidence with the plan and for residents.

 

Cllr Davey questioned the equalities element and asked why faith groups had been included.  He was informed that this was in Government guidance, there were issues with clothing and the ability to wear face masks and there were issues with social distancing within buildings of worship. 

 

Cllr Werner said that the Lead Member was ideally placed to cope with C-19.  He questioned why the full plan had not been published with names redacted.  He was informed that the final details of the plan were being worked through and a final version with redacted names would be published.

 

Cllr Bond mentioned that there could also be an issue with faith groups wishing to sing enthusiastically. 

 

Resolved unanimously: that Cabinet notes the report.

6f

Interim Council Strategy 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 181 KB

Minutes:

Cabinet considered the report regarding the proposed Interim Council Strategy 2020-21.

 

The Leader of the Council and Chairman of Cabinet, Business, Economic Development and Property informed that informed that he wished to clarify something within the proposed strategy.  With regards to the Windsor Museum he would ask the report  to be amended to say that we would not be currently reopening the museum instead of saying the museum would be closed.  This was a working document showing a direction of strategy given the current situation.  We needed to be flexible, nimble and responsive to changing needs. The council also needed to maintain focus on core critical services.

 

The current Corporate Plan was due to expire next year and was a strategy developed for different times.  There was a new medium term financial strategy and thus a new strategy was required to meet these needs and the demands of the pandemic and future financial management.  This interim strategy was required to help with the current position before a new strategy was developed. This was a statement of intention with any implemented actions requiring a review and for reports back to Cabinet as required.

 

A member of the public Alice Le Page had registered to speak on this item.  She questioned why it was planned to close the museum as it seemed an opportunistic amendments to the papers.  There had been no consultation with staff, no members of staff had been shielded and government guidance did not require shielding.  Looking for others to take over the management of the establishment contradicted the statement that this was a temporary position.  There would be no meaningful savings as the collection would need to be stored.  There would need to be a cultural recovery and the government had announced emergency funds being available.  It was premature to close the museum before all avenues had been explored.  She felt that removing a learning resource was short sighted and how was it justified closing a beneficial community educational resource when the town needs it the most.

 

The Leader reiterated that it was proposed to delay the re-opening of the museum and that a further more detailed report would be brought forward before any final decision was made.  All suitable options would be considered and that he had already been contacted by a number of parties.

 

The Deputy Leader of the Council, Resident & Leisure Services, HR, IT, Legal, Performance Management & Windsor informed that the library services had to close due to C-19.  The team had been fantastic in their response and providing services to the public.  A digital service was provided along with collection.  The service will be reviewed due to the impact of C-19 and financial pressures.  With regards to the museum it was much loved, 70 years old had 13,000 objects and had 65,000 visits with 100 events.  It was supported by the Friends of Museum Group.   The tourism information office was in the Royal Windsor Station and valued by tourists, shops and businesses.  Tourism was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6f

6a

Introduction of New Organisational Values pdf icon PDF 772 KB

Minutes:

Cabinet considered the report regarding the introduction of a new set of organisation values and their implementation.

 

The Deputy Leader of the Council, Resident & Leisure Services, HR, IT, Legal, Performance Management & Windsor informed that in December 2019 work began on setting a new set of values for the organisation.  Discussions began with CLT and there were a number of workshops that were attended by 83% of the organisations employees.  Workshops were also held with Members and CLT.  Over 1400 behaviour statements and nearly 200 values statements were collected.

 

The outcome of the activity is a proposed group of 4 new values, which are:

 

·         Invest in strong foundations.

·         Empowered to improve.

·         One team and vision.

·         Respect and openness.

 

These were supported by a number of sub statements and an action plan attached as appendix B. 

 

The Lead Member for Environmental Services, Climate Change, Sustainability, Parks and Countryside said she had worked in organisations on organisation change and that she supported the proposed new values and that the headlines being clearly seen on the two page plan. 

 

Cllr Jones reported that she welcomed the paper and that it was well thought out.  It had been a while coming since the peer review.  Members had also taken part and the proposals had been discussed at Corporate O&S Panel.  The values should also apply to elected members and she mentioned that the LGA had set out a new code of conduct for consultation.  The Leader agreed with extending the values to Members and he would look at additional training for Members by the LGA.  Members should have the highest standards for all values.

 

Cllr Werner welcomed the paper and the inclusion of staff.  He highlighted that you can have an excellent document but it was important to deliver and imbed within the organisation.  He also mentioned that it would be good for new Members to get raining when they are elected.

 

The Leader said that as a Group leader he would hope all Group leaders would endorse the ethics and they should transcend party politics.

 

Resolved unanimously:  that Cabinet notes the report and:

 

·    endorses the new values and supports their implementation.

 

 

 

6b

Outcome of Reviews of Achieving for Children and Optalis Delivery Arrangements pdf icon PDF 876 KB

Minutes:

Cabinet considered the report regarding the CIPFA reviews of Optalis and Achieving for Children (AFC).

 

The Deputy Chairman of Cabinet, Adult Social Care, Children’s Services, Health and Mental Health informed that as part of the budget setting process for 2020-2021, it was recommended that the arrangements that the Royal Borough had through AFC

and Optalis for the delivery of children’s and adult services respectively should be reviewed to ensure that they were fit for purpose.

 

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) was

commissioned in April 2020 to undertake the review. The aim of the review

was to understand whether the current arrangements, which have been in place

since 2017, were still the appropriate models to deliver the Council’s ongoing

strategic transformation objectives for adult and children’s services.

 

With regards to Optalis  the CIPFA report noted that Optalis had brought considerable benefits to the Royal Borough in terms of service improvement, which justifies the original decision to transfer services into the company. However, the Royal Borough as the minority shareholder (45%) did not have sufficient control over major service transformation for Optalis. There was tension between the Council and Wokingham that was impacting organisation development.

 

With regards to AFC children’s services have improved considerably, now rated as good by Ofsted. This is an enormous achievement in a relatively short time and reflects extremely well on AFC and its staff. There had been few financial savings and costs had risen, in part, are reflected nationally. Plans to expand the company are on hold, which leaves little scope for further costs savings. 

 

The Lead Member for Finance and Ascot informed that this was a very timely report detailing reasons why we should remain with these companies and some sensible thoughts on how best to achieve our objectives. In both cases the boards need to come together to revise and agree clear longer-term objectives to allow AfC and Optalis to develop their own business plans and financial strategies. 

 

When we joined AfC cost savings were not the driving force but service improvement was and there has been real success with our Children’s services now rated as good. He had no visibility as to the objectives of Richmond and Kingston but evidence suggests that the cost of provision of children’s services was increasing and inevitably both Council’s would be looking to deliver their excellent services at lower cost. This should assist RBWM to create a greater focus on driving costs down.

 

The report recommended a service level agreement to ensure the delivery of our priorities. In the CIPFA report there were 9 separate recommendations all very sensible. In relation to finance I hold the view that AfC’ s business plan 2020/2024, which is devoid of financial information, is not adopted until cost and service pressures are clarified in a medium-term financial strategy. 

 

He felt that relationships between Wokingham and RBWM must improve and was sure that the Leader and the Managing Director were committed to achieving this. It was anomalous that Optalis  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6b

6c

CIPFA REVIEW OF GOVERNANCE RESPONSE TO THE FINAL REPORT AND DEVELOPMENT OF AN ACTION PLAN pdf icon PDF 963 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet considered the report regarding the proposed action plan following the CIPFA review of governance. 

 

The Lead Member for Finance and Ascot informed that his direct involvement with CIPFA started at a meeting with them on the 29th July 2019, so yesterday was the first anniversary.  One year on, a big chunk of his life and an interesting learning process, we have reached the beginning of the end of the review.  Legislation and best practice continued to change so he will never stop work to improve all aspects of governance.

 

He informed that at the June cabinet that timely and accurate financial information was essential to enable the Council to properly manage its business and to facilitate appropriate decision making. He also said, and repeated now, that on becoming Lead Member, frustratingly and unacceptably, this was not made available to me or Cabinet, leaving us exposed.

 

He had discussions with the Managing Director and supported his decision for an internal investigation of Financial Governance by CIPFA and took part in meetings with CIPFA to establish a structured work programme. This administration invited the review, has accepted the finding, has already acted on many of the recommendations and this evening Cabinet considered an action plan developed by our Director of Resources to address a number of outstanding issues.

 

There were two appendices to the report, Appendix 1 covered actions that were addressed by the interim CIPFA accountants during the 2020/21 budget build and appendix 2 was the action plan developed by the Director of Resources to resolve the outstanding issues. The action plan identified the issues, the proposed actions, when these will be completed, who will be responsible and what success would look like.

 

The report was robustly debated by Corporate O&S on Monday and they  proposed that the wording in the MTFS section on page 116 under the column headed, “what does success look like” should be changed to, “A clear and timely understanding of the resources the Council has to manage its services and address its priorities”. It was agreed to add the word ‘Timely’.  The action plan which is proposed to be reviewed by Overview and scrutiny quarterly.

 

The Director of Resources informed Cabinet that the report had been considered by O&S and their one recommendation had already been mentioned.  There was another of concern raised and this was around Clewer and Dedworth where the report mentions concerns about ward members at the time.  It was important to remind this meeting that that comment related to ward councillors who were no longer the ward councillors.  With regards to the proposed action plans appendix two timelines were questions and O&S were informed that they were realistic and would be delivered to. 

 

The Lead Member for Transport and Infrastructure informed that this had been a robust evaluation and investigation by CIPFA and has resulted in firm recommendations that were the right way forward.  The problems of the past had to be put behind us and we must  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6c

6d

Contract Award for Emergency Duty Service pdf icon PDF 389 KB

Minutes:

Cabinet considered the report regarding the award of contract for the emergency duty service.

 

The Deputy Chairman of Cabinet, Adult Social Care, Children’s Services, Health and Mental Health informed that the report sought approval to let a direct award contract for an Emergency Duty Service (EDS) with Bracknell Forest Council. The service provides out of hours emergency social care for adults and children and emergency

homelessness support. The contract, if approved, will commence 11 August 2020 for seven years with the option to give 12 months’ notice at any time and for any reason.  Cost would be £228k per year, which was within budget.  All Berkshire authorities commissioned this service which provided economy of scale and better service delivery.

 

Cllr Price asked if this service was the same as the normal out of hours service or was this an additional service.  She was informed that this was a specialist service for Adult Social Care, Children’s Services and Homelessness.  There was a separate out of hours service run by the council.

 

Resolved unanimously:  that  Cabinet notes the report and:

 

i) Approves a direct award contract for an Emergency Duty Service between The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and Bracknell Forest Council from 11 August 2020 for seven years.

6e

Finance Update: July 2020 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Minutes:

Cabinet considered the latest Financial Update report.

 

The Lead Member for Finance and Ascot reported that he propose to say a few words and ask The Director of Resources, who was the architect of this report to explain her reporting strategy. He also asked Cllr. Carroll to comment on Adult Social Care and Children’s Service as well as the fully funded capital budget addition of £500K for SEND Special Provision.

 

The new format for the Finance monitoring provides more detail and is more transparent than any reported in the past.  He asked if publishing Finance update reports was enshrined in legislation, to his surprise, apart from the annual outturn report there was no legal obligation.

 

He said that the administration absolutely get that they are spending public money and it is important for those who have an interest, from councillors to residents and the local press that finance papers are regularly published, are clear, easy to read and carry a strong narrative.

 

The CIPFA consultants who worked on the 2020/21 budget suggested just four reports a year but the Director of Resources shared his view that this was too few and reports would be published bimonthly starting from this report in July.

 

A summary of the budget was shown in table 2 on page 196 which forecasts an adverse variance of £4.1M which will need to be supported from reserves, leaving just £1.85M which was below the minimum level.

 

Government had announced that it would refund Councils up to 75% of 95% of lost income and lost income is by far the most significant issue that we face. Very recent guidance advises that we will be able to include lost income associated with the schedule of fees and charges as published in the 2020/21 budget booklet. This excludes income from commercial properties and our Leisure offer which is managed by a charitable trust. Many other Council’s Leisure facilities are managed in the same way and we are hopeful that our Leisure losses will be included.  Whatever we receive from Government will be used to increase the level of reserves.

 

Had COVID 19 not happened, at the end of month 2 we would be reporting a favourable variance of £2.7 million. When this is added to the £1.7m reduction in the 2019/20 overspend reported in the Outturn report, we would be well on track not only to deliver a balance budget this year but with current savings of £4.4 million, exactly what the MTFS said we needed, to deliver a balance budget next year too. The clear message is that like Councils up and down the country our financial position has been derailed by Covid 19.

 

Finance monitoring is a best estimate of the outturn of the budget. Budget setting and finance monitoring is a shared responsibility between services and finance and robust finances depends upon strong working relationships.

 

 he close monitoring of Adult Social care costs is shown in Charts 1 and 2 on pages 201 and 202 which includes  ...  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 of Cabinet held on 25 June 2020.

 

9.

Cabinet Members' Reports

9a

St Cloud Way, Maidenhead – Site Proposal

9b

Cipfa Review Of Governance - Response To The Final Report And Development Of An Action Plan - Part II Appendix