Agenda, decisions and minutes

Cabinet
Tuesday 16th June 2020 5.00 pm

Contact: Alison Marston 

Media

Items
No. Item

134.

MINUTES

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 19 May 2020 (previously circulated).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 19 May 2020 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

134a

Amendment to the Minutes of 30 January 2020 pdf icon PDF 192 KB

Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) on the amendment of the Cabinet Minutes held on 30 January 2020.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Cabinet agreed to amend the minutes of the meeting of 30 January 2020 as set out below:

 

·           That the recommendation from the meeting of the Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel on 29January 2020, that the sites identified as Option 1 in the Site selection Background Paper (Appendix A) to the report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) to the Panel meeting in sections 10-24 identified in the option proposed at that meeting, namely the Planning Reasons option, minus HAT15 Symondshyde and with a 949 additional windfall assumption, totalling 14,011 homes, be published for consultation as sites to be added into the Local Plan or where capacity on sites already in the Local Plan is intended to increase, alongside the Sustainability Appraisal Addendum and Habitats Regulations Assessment which inform this option be approved.

Minutes:

Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) on the amendment of the Cabinet Minutes held on 30 January 2020 with regards to the agreed option for sites to be added in to the Local Plan which were agreed to for the purposes of public consultation.

 

RESOLVED:

 

Cabinet agreed to amend the minutes of the meeting of 30 January 2020 as set out below:

 

·           That the recommendation from the meeting of the Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel on 29January 2020, that the sites identified as Option 1 in the Site selection Background Paper (Appendix A) to the report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) to the Panel meeting in sections 10-24 identified in the option proposed at that meeting, namely the Planning Reasons option, minus HAT15 Symondshyde and with a 949 additional windfall assumption, totalling 14,011 homes, be published for consultation as sites to be added into the Local Plan or where capacity on sites already in the Local Plan is intended to increase, alongside the Sustainability Appraisal Addendum and Habitats Regulations Assessment which inform this option be approved.

135.

ACTIONS STATUS REPORT pdf icon PDF 87 KB

Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) on the status of actions agreed at the last Cabinet meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The status of actions agreed at the Cabinet meeting on 19 May 2020 in the report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) was noted.

136.

DECLARATION OF INTEREST BY MEMBER

To note declarations of Members’ disclosable pecuniary interests, non-disclosable pecuniary interests and non-pecuniary interests in respect of items on the Agenda.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor F.Thomson declared a non-pecuniary interest in Agenda Item 8(a) - Introduction of Resident Permit Parking schemes, Parking Places and other waiting restrictions, together with a verge protection order in various roads as she lives on one of the roads listed.

137.

ITEMS REQUIRING KEY DECISION

To consider the following items for decision in the current Forward Plan:-

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The following items for decision in the current Forward Plan were considered:-

137a

Revenue Budget Outturn Report for the Financial Year 2019/20 (Forward Plan Reference FP984*) pdf icon PDF 135 KB

Report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) on the Revenue Outturn position for the financial year 2019/20.

Additional documents:

Decision:

(1)     The outturn for the General Fund and the Housing Revenue Account as at 31 March 2020 was noted.

 

(2)     The movements on earmarked reserves as detailed in paragraph 3.13 were approved.

 

(3)     The position on debts set out in section 5 of the report were noted.

Minutes:

Report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) on the Revenue Outturn position for the financial year 2019/20.

 

(1)       The Decision Taken

 

RESOLVED:

 

(1)  The outturn for the General Fund and the Housing Revenue Account as at 31 March 2020 was noted.

 

(2)  The movements on earmarked reserves as detailed in paragraph 3.13 were approved.

 

(3)  The position on debts set out in section 5 of the report were noted.

 

(2)       Reasons for the Decision

 

General Fund

 

Within the General Fund, Net Controllable Income and Expenditure amounted to £18.15 million, or £1.15 million below the Original Budget.

 

Significant favourable variances in Quarter 4 are set out in Section 3 of the report and included:

 

      £276,000 of new burdens grants received in respect of benefit processing, where much of the cost was in fact absorbed within existing budgets.  Some of this is down to the timing of expenditure, so part of the favourable variance will be used to add to earmarked reserves to absorb expenditure in 2020/21.

 

      £263,000 favourable on parking income following the ending of the CP Plus parking contract, as set out in 3.3.1.

 

      £216,000 favourable on recycling and domestic waste income, as set out in 3.3.2.

 

      £321,000 favourable on Housing and Communities, where additional expenditure on temporary accommodation has been more than matched by grants received.  Again, some of this is down to the timing of expenditure, so part of the variance has been added to earmarked reserves to absorb expenditure in 2020/21.

 

      Against these positive variances, additional costs within Planning of £267,000 have arisen as a result of the Local Plan. 

 

Business Rates came in above budget by £860,000, largely as a result of the operation of the business rate “pool” to which we belonged. 

 

The Collection Fund deficit was absorbed by the earmarked reserve previously set up for this purpose, but it has been necessary to add to the remaining Earmarked Reserve to allow for the current year’s Collection Fund deficit and future business rate volatility.

 

The Council will continue to monitor the situation and manage the challenges through 2020/21.  But the Peer Review in late 2019 recognised the Council’s commitment to financial sustainability, and our financial performance in 2019/20 at least means the Council started the very difficult 2020/21 year in a strong position.

 

Housing Revenue Account

 

A balance of approximately £2.5M is maintained on the HRA, and any surplus after allowing for interest payments and debt principal repayments is re-invested in the Affordable Housing Programme.  Where necessary to maintain this capital programme at budgeted levels, additional HRA borrowing is undertaken to supplement this, with total borrowing being maintained comfortably within our “headroom”. 

 

Just as with the General Fund, the HRA will face challenges arising from the Covid pandemic in 2020/21.  For now, it is felt that the bad debt provision for rental income is adequate, but this is being kept under review.

 

The potentially significant 2020/21 Covid-related impact upon the HRA, identified in the paper referred  ...  view the full minutes text for item 137a

137b

Capital Budget Outturn Report 2019/20 (Forward Plan Reference FP984*) pdf icon PDF 272 KB

Report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) on the capital expenditure and associated capital funding for both General Fund and Housing Account for 2019/20.

Additional documents:

Decision:

(1)     The overall capital outturn position and financing for 2019/20 was noted.

 

(2)     Cabinet approved the roll forward budgets as detailed in Appendix A of the report.

Minutes:

Report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) on the capital expenditure and associated capital funding for both General Fund and Housing Account for 2019/20.

 

(1)       The Decision Taken

 

RESOLVED:

 

(1)     The overall capital outturn position and financing for 2019/20 was noted.

 

(2)     Cabinet approved the roll forward budgets as detailed in Appendix A of the report.

 

(2)       Reasons for the Decision

 

The capital expenditure outturn within the General Fund is £23M lower than the original budget.  This is mainly due to the rephasing of projects, and the majority of projects impacted by this, such as Hatfield Town Centre, WGC North, Splashlands, and the Tewin Road Depot are now all under way.

 

However, £3.8M of our capital budget for strategic property investment remains unspent, as it was felt prudent not to rush into opportunities at this stage.  Furthermore, the £4.0M crematorium project has still not been able to start. 

 

The capital expenditure outturn within the HRA is £1.3M higher than the original budget.  Although £4.4M of budgeted Affordable Housing Programme capital expenditure has been re-phased into 2020/21, this was more than offset by the £6.0M expenditure on Chequersfield, which was approved by Full Council as an addition to the original HRA capital budget.

 

(Note:  *This item is part of Financial Outturn – General Fund, HRA and Capital (Forward Plan Reference FP984)).

137c

Treasury Management Annual Report 2019/20 (Forward Plan Reference FP984*) pdf icon PDF 190 KB

Report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) on the Council’s treasury management activity and prudential indicators for 2019/20.

Additional documents:

Decision:

The report and actual treasury management prudential indicators for 2019/20 were noted.

Minutes:

Report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) on the Council’s treasury management activity and prudential indicators for 2019/20.

 

(1)       The Decision Taken

 

RESOLVED:

 

The report and actual treasury management prudential indicators for 2019/20 were noted.

 

(2)       Reasons for the Decision

 

Within the HRA, overall borrowing of £242.9M at 2019/20 year end is below the figure of £246.7M at the end of 2018/19. This reflects the fact that continued repayment of existing debt has exceeded any new borrowing needed to continue to finance our ambitious Affordable Housing Programme.  The level of any new HRA borrowing will depend upon the rhythm of this programme and the extent to which Right to Buy receipts are available.  It is not envisaged, however, that borrowing will rise back above the original £305M, so we currently have sufficient borrowing headroom.

 

As previously reported to members, the government raised PWLB interest rates in October 2019, but this only affected new borrowing, and has not materially impacted us.

 

With continued capital expenditure in both the HRA and General Fund, investment balances have fallen from £26.8M to £20.1M over the year.

 

The Council’s liquidity levels are being carefully monitored in 2020/21 as the Council continue to assess the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

(Note:  *This item is part of Financial Outturn – General Fund, HRA and Capital (Forward Plan Reference FP984)).

137d

Covid-19 Update (Forward Plan Reference FP983) pdf icon PDF 383 KB

Report of the Chief Executive on the Council’s work during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Cabinet noted the content of the report, the impacts of the pandemic on the Council’s operations and the work that continues to be undertaken by Officers and Members.

Minutes:

Report of the Chief Executive on an update on the activities undertaken in response to the Covid-19 pandemic since the detailed report made to Full Council on 6 May 2020.

 

The Chief Executive, The Leader and Cabinet Members again thanked NHS staff, Key workers and all Council staff for the continued fantastic work they are all doing at this current time.

 

(1)       The Decision Taken

 

RESOLVED:

 

Cabinet noted the content of the report, the impacts of the pandemic on the Council’s operations and the work that continues to be undertaken by Officers and Members. 

 

(2)       Reasons for the Decision

 

As Leader, Councillor T.Kingsbury has continued to play a key role with fellow leaders in how the Council respond to this pandemic within the Community Resilience Cell.

 

In addition, the Cabinet have continued to meet regularly for updates and input to key decisions and issues and the Chief Executive is chairing the countywide recovery group as we move out of the response phase.

 

Officers are working with the County Council and BID to ensure the high streets are safe and ready for reopening, as well as ensuring our own buildings are COVID secure.

 

The Council are working closely with the County Council and Director of Public Health on ‘track and trace’ and local outbreak plans.

 

Members and Officers are working up plans to enable the reopening of Campus West as and when allowed.

 

The Council have provided continued support to NHS and key workers with free car parking, while reintroducing charging and restrictions appropriately.

 

The Council are working intensively with homeless households and will meet the government’s requirements in terms of producing an action plan for later this month, setting out how we will support homeless households whom we helped during the pandemic to find settled accommodation.

 

The Council have paid out £14M in business rate grants (as of 1 June), which is 86% of eligible businesses.

 

Launched the Discretionary Business Grant scheme on 29 May, targeting small and micro businesses that were not eligible for the small business grant scheme. Applications were open until 19 June.

138.

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM CABINET PANELS

To consider recommendations from the meeting of the Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel on 4 June 2020:-

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The following recommendations from the meeting of the Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel on 4 June 2020 were considered:-

138a

Introduction Of Resident Permit Parking Schemes, Parking Places And Other Waiting Restrictions, Together With A Verge Protection Order In Various Roads, Handside Ward, Welwyn Garden City pdf icon PDF 192 KB

Recommendation from the meeting of the Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel on 4 June 2020 on a proposed traffic regulation order and the objections received.

Additional documents:

Decision:

(1)     “The Borough of Welwyn Hatfield (Various Roads, Handside, Welwyn Garden City) (Restriction of Waiting, Parking Places and Permit Parking Zones) Order 2019”

 

The Panel considered the objections received in Para 4 and in addition the issues raised in Section 15 around equalities and diversity. Having considered all the detailed issues in the report including any proposed mitigating actions; recommended to Cabinet to proceed with the creation of the amended traffic regulation order (Appendix H) excluding Marsden Green and Marsden Close, from the proposed Permit Zone A13, for the reasons set out in the report.

 

(2)     “The Borough of Welwyn Hatfield (Various Roads, Handside, Welwyn Garden City) (Prohibition of Stopping and Waiting on Verge or Footway) Order 2020”.

 

The Panel considered the objections received in Para 4 and in addition the issues raised in Section 15 around equalities and diversity. Having considered all the detailed issues in the report including any proposed mitigating actions; recommended to Cabinet to proceed with the creation of the traffic regulation order as amended (Appendix H) for the reasons set out in the report.

Minutes:

Recommendation from the meeting of the Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel on 4 June 2020 to create Traffic Regulation Orders for the introduction of waiting restrictions and verge protection order in various roads in the Handside Ward.

 

The six schemes proposed are detailed in the report, which took into account the parking survey undertook in the areas and all the subsequent consultations as well as the relocation and expansion of a general practice surgery to Birdcroft Road. 

 

The initial consultation and follow up letters also included the information that all properties would be consulted at a later date on a proposal to create a Verge Protection Order (VPO) to prevent parking on grass verges, other green areas, dropped kerbs and footways (pavements).

 

The Council continue to receive many complaints from across the borough, concerning vehicles who park on the verge and footways, causing damage and/or obstruction. The introduction of a VPO will provide the Civil Enforcement Officers with a more effective and robust means of enforcement, enabling them to issue a penalty charge notice at the time of the offence.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(1)     “The Borough of Welwyn Hatfield (Various Roads, Handside, Welwyn Garden City) (Restriction of Waiting, Parking Places and Permit Parking Zones) Order 2019”

 

The Panel considered the objections received in Para 4 and in addition the issues raised in Section 15 around equalities and diversity. Having considered all the detailed issues in the report including any proposed mitigating actions; recommended to Cabinet to proceed with the creation of the amended traffic regulation order (Appendix H) excluding Marsden Green and Marsden Close, from the proposed Permit Zone A13, for the reasons set out in the report.

 

(Councillor F.Thomson withdrew from the meeting).

 

(2)     “The Borough of Welwyn Hatfield (Various Roads, Handside, Welwyn Garden City) (Prohibition of Stopping and Waiting on Verge or Footway) Order 2020”.

 

The Panel considered the objections received in Para 4 and in addition the issues raised in Section 15 around equalities and diversity. Having considered all the detailed issues in the report including any proposed mitigating actions; recommended to Cabinet to proceed with the creation of the traffic regulation order as amended (Appendix H) for the reasons set out in the report.

 

(Councillor F.Thomson re-joined the meeting).

 

(Note:  Councillor F.Thomson declared an interest in this item – Minute 136 refers).

138b

Parking Services Update on Improvement Programme 2019-20 pdf icon PDF 175 KB

Recommendation from the meeting of the Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel on 4 June 2020 on the Parking Services Update.

Additional documents:

Decision:

The Panel recommended to Cabinet that £57,000 of the Parking Improvement budget is spent on locations outside of the Parking Services Work Programme and it will be spent on Great Break in Panshanger.

Minutes:

Recommendation from the meeting of the Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel on 4 June 2020 on the Parking Services Update.

 

Throughout the year, the Council receives many requests for parking restrictions and parking improvements, this can be through several different channels. It is important to manage the public’s requests and expectations. Producing a yearly work programme, which covers both parking restrictions and parking improvements, helps the Council to achieve this.

 

Any objections received by the Council in response to the statutory consultation are considered by this panel. However, there are occasions in which no objections are received, when this happens the Traffic Regulation Order can be approved using officer’s delegated powers.

 

RESOLVED:

 

The Panel recommended to Cabinet that £57,000 of the Parking Improvement budget is spent on locations outside of the Parking Services Work Programme and it will be spent on Great Break in Panshanger.

139.

RISK MANAGEMENT pdf icon PDF 380 KB

Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) on the current strategic and top operational risks facing the Council.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Cabinet noted the current Strategic Risk Register and top operational risks and noted comments in respect of each risk where shown.

Minutes:

Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) on the current strategic and top operational risks facing the Council.

 

The Council now has a strategic risk that discusses the impacts the Council are feeling from Covid-19. This is currently assessed at the highest score possible. It is worth remembering that this reflects the score as at April, when the risk register was updated for the May performance clinic.

 

RESOLVED:

 

Cabinet noted the current Strategic Risk Register and top operational risks and noted comments in respect of each risk where shown.

140.

COUNCIL ACHIEVEMENTS LIST - JANUARY TO MARCH 2020 pdf icon PDF 166 KB

Report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) summarising the Council’s key achievements and service improvements for Quarter 4 of 2019/20.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Cabinet noted the report and contents of the Achievements List for Quarter 4.

Minutes:

Report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) summarising the Council’s key achievements and service improvements for Quarter 4 of 2019/20.

 

RESOLVED:

 

Cabinet noted the report and contents of the Achievements List for Quarter 4.

141.

PERFORMANCE EXCEPTION REPORT - QUARTER 4 (2019-20) pdf icon PDF 307 KB

Report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) summarising strategic performance data for Quarter 4 of 2019/20.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Cabinet noted the contents of the report and approved any proposed actions for Quarter 4.

Minutes:

Report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) summarising strategic performance data for Quarter 4 of 2019/20.

 

The report summarises the Council’s strategic performance data on an exception basis following the monitoring and review of performance reports by Corporate Directors and Heads of Service. The report covered the period 1 January to 31 March 2020.

 

RESOLVED:

 

Cabinet noted the contents of the report and approved any proposed actions for Quarter 4.

142.

EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC

The Cabinet is asked to resolve:

 

That under Section 100(A)(2) and (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be now excluded from the meeting for Items 14 to 17 on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of confidential or exempt information as defined in Section 100(A)(3) and Paragraph 3 (private financial or business information) of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the said Act (as amended).

 

In resolving to exclude the public in respect of the exempt information, it is considered that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That under Section 100(A)(2) and (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be now excluded from the meeting for Agenda items 14 to 16 (Minutes 143 to 145 refer) on the grounds that they involved the likely disclosure of confidential or exempt information as defined in Section 100A(3) and paragraph 3 (private financial or business information) of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the said Act (as amended). 

 

In resolving to exclude the public in respect of the exempt information, it was considered that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information.

143.

ITEM OF AN EXEMPT NATURE REQUIRING KEY DECISION

To consider the following item of an exempt nature:-

 

Minutes:

The following item of an exempt nature for decision in the current Forward Plan was considered:-

143a

Write off over £10,000 (Forward Plan Reference FP985)

Exempt report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) to seek approval of the write off of a commercial rent debtor.

Decision:

Cabinet agreed to the write of debt in relation to an unrecoverable amount of commercial debt.

Minutes:

Exempt report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) to seek approval of the write off of a commercial rent debtor.

 

(1)        The Decision Taken

 

RESOLVED:

(unanimous)

 

Cabinet agreed to the write of debt in relation to an unrecoverable amount of commercial debt.

 

(2)        Reasons for the Decision

 

As part of the budget process, an allowance is made for losses to the General Fund for such write-offs.  This write off remains within the allowance established in the 2020/21 budget, so will not result in a further charge to the General Fund.

144.

EXTENSION OF SPECIALIST HOUSING MAINTENANCE CONTRACTS

Exempt report of the Corporate Director (Housing and Communities) to consider options after expiry of the contracts.

Decision:

The General Procurement Board unanimously agreed to extend all the contracts listed so that proper consideration can be given to future provision of the services.

Minutes:

Exempt report of the Corporate Director (Housing and Communities) to consider options after expiry of the contracts.

 

The council has a number of specialist maintenance contracts. The initial term of these contracts expires on 31 March 2021. The report considered the options after expiry of the initial term.

 

RESOLVED:

 

The General Procurement Board unanimously agreed to extend all the contracts listed so that proper consideration can be given to future provision of the services.

145.

EXEMPT RECOMMENDATION FROM CABINET PANEL

Minutes:

The exempt recommendation from the meeting of the Campus West Cabinet Panel on 8 June 2020:-

145a

Campus West Cabinet Panel - 8 June 2020

Exempt recommendation from the meeting of the Campus West Cabinet Panel on 8 June 2020.

Decision:

Cabinet approved the proposal to cancel this year’s pantomime production due to the Coronavirus pandemic and associated guidelines for social distancing.

Minutes:

Exempt recommendation from the meeting of the Campus West Cabinet Panel on 8 June 2020 on the Pantomime for 2020/21.

 

RESOLVED:

 

Cabinet approved the proposal to cancel this year’s pantomime production due to the Coronavirus pandemic and associated guidelines for social distancing.