Access Keys:

Agenda and minutes

Cabinet
Thursday, 3rd February, 2011 10.00 am

Contact: Nick Evans  Email: nick.evans@cumbriacc.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

157.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

The Leader advised that Mrs Macur who had been due to attended to present the scrutiny review of Connexions had unfortunately had to submit her apologies.

 

158.

DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST

To disclose any personal and prejudicial interests relating to any item on the agenda.

 

NB   The following is a summary of what constitutes a personal interest and a personal and prejudicial interest.  Please seek advice or refer to the Code of Conduct (paragraph 8) for full definitions.

 

Personal Interests

 

You have a personal interest if the issue being discussed in the meeting affects the well-being or finances of you, your family or your close associates more than most other people who live in the Electoral Division affected by the issue.

 

Personal interests are also things that relate to an interest you must register.

 

N.B. If the personal interest arises because of your membership of another public body, you only need to declare it if you intend to speak.

 

A personal interest should be declared as follows:

 

I have a personal interest in agenda item […] regarding the report on […] because I am […].

 

Personal and Prejudicial Interests

 

If you have a personal interest in a matter you will also have a prejudicial interest in that matter if the interest is one which a member of the public, with knowledge of the relevant facts, would reasonably regard as so significant that it is likely to prejudice your judgement of the public interest.  If you have a personal and prejudicial interest you must withdraw from the meeting room for that item, unless you are there to make representations and the public have the same opportunity to do so

 

NB You only have a prejudicial interest if the matter

 

  • affects your financial position or that of your family, close associate, employer etc or it
  • relates to a regulatory matter

 

A personal and prejudicial interest should be declared as follows:

 

I have a personal and prejudicial interest in agenda item […] regarding the report on […] because I am […].

 

Advice on this can be sought from staff in Legal and Democratic Services.  Members are requested to seek advice, wherever possible, before the meeting starts.

Minutes:

Mr Markley declared a personal and prejudicial interest were there any discussion of school transport matters as the proprietor of a coach company.

 

Mrs Burns declared a personal interest in agenda item 16 Cumbria Academies Programme – Final Business Case for Furness Academy as she was a governor of the Academy.

 

159.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 227 KB

To receive the minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 6 January, 2010 (copy enclosed).

Minutes:

RESOLVED,that subject to the amendment of minute 147 (Child Poverty Strategy) by replacing the words ‘Cumbria Chief Executives’ Group on 4 February’ with ‘Cumbria Leaders Board’ and minute 155 (‘Highways Service Retender’) with the addition of the words ‘with a report coming to February Cabinet for final decision’ to resolution (3) after the word ‘continue’ the minutes of the meeting held on 6 January 2011 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

 

160.

EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC

To consider whether the press and public should be excluded from the meeting during consideration of any item on the agenda.

Minutes:

RESOLVED,that the press and public be excluded during consideration of the following items:-

 

                           Agenda item 14 – NWDA Transition and Related Economic Development Issues Affecting Cumbria by virtue of paragraphs 1 and 3 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as it contains exempt information relating to individuals and financial or business affairs.

 

                  Agenda item 15 – Highways Service Delivery Arrangements by virtue of paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as it contains exempt information relating to financial or business affairs.

 

                  Agenda item 16 – Cumbria Academies Programme – Final Business Case for Furness Academy by virtue of paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as it contains exempt information relating to financial or business affairs.

 

161.

STATEMENTS BY THE LEADER OF THE COUNCIL AND CABINET MEMBERS

To receive statements by the Leader of the Council and Cabinet Members.

Minutes:

The Leader confirmed that agenda item 10 (Draft Budget and Capital Programme) had been circulated outside the time requirements as officers had been working on it further to the latest government announcements.  He had agreed to take the item as urgent in order to avoid any unnecessary delay in Cabinet recommending a budget to County Council.

 

The Leader congratulated Chief Inspector Ali Dufty (currently seconded to work with the County Council on potential to share services with the Police Authority) on her recent success in gaining promotion to Superintendant.

 

162.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

None at this stage

Minutes:

None for this meeting.

 

163.

REVENUE AND CAPITAL BUDGET MONITORING pdf icon PDF 228 KB

[Electoral Divisions: All]

 

To consider a report by the Deputy Leader and the Corporate Director – Resources (copy enclosed).

 

This report sets out the forecast year-end position at 30 November 2010 against the Council’s revenue and capital budgets for the 2010/11 financial year.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Deputy Leader presented a report which set out the forecast year-end position at 30 November 2010 against the Council’s revenue and capital budgets for the 2010/11 financial year.

 

The Council’s budget had been amended to reflect the reduction in Government funding (both revenue and capital) announced in June and approved by Cabinet on 16 September.

 

Revenue

 

The Council’s original gross revenue budget for the financial year was £864.082m and the net budget requirement £386.081m.  The adjusted net budget for monitoring purposes at 30 November was £389.516m.

 

The forecast revenue position for the year-end indicated total net expenditure of £388.170m which showed a total net underspend of £1.346m at this stage in the financial year, which was an improvement of £1.363m on the net pressure reported at 31 October.

 

The £1.346m net underspend was made up of three elements:

 

·              £2.754m directorate net pressures;

·              £3.1m increased benefit from treasury management activities;

·              £1m dividend received from Cumbria Waste Management.

 

In accordance with the Council’s reserves strategy, the dividend would benefit general reserves at the year end, and for in year monitoring purposes did not offset the directorate net pressure of £2.754m.  Therefore, the net underspend forecast (excluding the dividend) was £0.346m.

 

Capital

 

The Council’s capital programme for 2010/11 as approved in February 2010 was £158.089m.  The adjusted capital budget for 2010/11 at 31 October was £196.215m.  This had been adjusted in November to reflect the following:

 

£0.922m    additional contributions to Highways schemes.

 

£5.700m    Port of Workington Container Handling Facility (new scheme funded by £4m from Nuclear Management Partnership and £1.7m from Nuclear Decommissioning Agency).

 

(£7.288m)  rephasing of Barrow Elderly Persons Home scheme in line with latest expenditure profile.

________

(£0.666m)

 

This gave a capital budget for the year of £195.549m.  The forecast outturn for the year was £153.753m.

 

RESOLVED,that

 

(a)            the report be noted;

 

(b)            the revenue budget adjustments detailed in appendix 1 to the report for November which total £0.030m detailed in paras 4.5.9 and 4.5.10 be approved;

 

                  (c)    the revised net revenue budget for monitoring purposes of £389.516m (para 4.1) be noted;

 

                  (d)    the adjusted capital programme for 2010/11 be noted;

 

                  (e)    the inclusion in the Capital Programme of the Port of Workington Container Handling Facility scheme, totalling £5.7million, which was met from external contributions be noted;

 

(f)              the revised capital budget of £195.549m (Appendix 4 to the report) be noted.

 

164.

CONSULTATION AND SCRUTINY FEEDBACK ON COUNCIL PRIORITIES AND BUDGET OPTIONS pdf icon PDF 239 KB

[Electoral Divisions: All]

 

To consider a report by the Leader and the Chief Executive (copy enclosed) .Councillors Cannon, Clare and Little will also present scrutiny reports.

 

This report provides an overview of all the consultation activity undertaken as part of the “Have your Say!” public consultation on the Council Plan, its priorities and budget options

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council presented a report which provided an overview of all consultation activity undertaken as part of the “Have your Say!” public and stakeholder consultation on the Council Plan, its priorities and budget options.  It was based on feedback received up until 18 January 2011.  An updated version containing feedback received to the closure of the public consultation period on 31 January 2011 was circulated at the meeting.  A final version (following the end of formal consultation with staff and Trade Unions) would be available for the Council meeting on 17 February 2011.

 

Reports on the Council Plan and Budget included responses to the key outcomes of the consultation process to date, setting out how the draft Plan and budget respond to and have changed in light of the feedback received.

 

The report also set out the outcomes of Scrutiny Task and Finish work which had been completed on three specific issues in relation to the budget proposals (Connexions, Supporting People Contracts and the Third Sector). 

 

In relation to the review of Connexions members were pleased to note the conclusions of the review which confirmed the good work being done and endorsed the suggestion that scrutiny engage with and review the future arrangements.

 

Mrs Cannon was in attendance to present the review of Supporting People Contracts and confirmed that the Panel had concluded that the proposals going forward were appropriate and that they wished to see work completed on how Local Committees could engage in the contracts review consultation.  The Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care confirmed that he and the Corporate Director were in the process of arranging to meet with Mrs Cannon to discuss how this could arranged.

 

Mr Clare was in attendance to present the scrutiny review of the Third Sector proposals and outline the recommendations of the panel set out at section 5 of the report.  He advised that the recommendations considered not just grant funding but contracts and their use.  Cabinet were uncomfortable with recommendation 6 of the report which suggested a delaying of any grant funding reduction to allow smaller organisations to plan/adjust.  The Deputy Leader confirmed that the Council had been in dialogue with the Third Sector for at least the last 12 months in terms of likely grant cuts to be imposed after the General Election in June 2010.  There would be a particular difficulty with regard to contracts if the Council were to treat the Third Sector any differently from  commercial organisations.  The Deputy Leader confirmed that the report overstated the financial impact of the proposals in terms of the reductions as £200k related to the expiration of a 3 year contract with Cumbria Community Foundation to support activity previously carried out by the Local Area Network.  Efforts had been made to protect the third sector as far as possible but they needed to ensure value for money was delivered in the provision of services.  Cabinet also commented on the wording of recommendation 4 which remained unclear  ...  view the full minutes text for item 164.

165.

DRAFT COUNCIL PLAN 2011-2014 pdf icon PDF 243 KB

[Electoral Divisions: All]

 

To consider a report by the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive (copy enclosed).

 

This report presents the draft Council Plan 2011-2014 to Cabinet.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council presented the draft Council Plan 2011-2014.  He detailed the wide range of consultation activities undertaken which had included public meetings, webchats, dedicated webpages and forums etc.  He concluded that the plan whilst realistic remained optimistic and would be backed by the budget required to deliver its objectives.

 

The Council Plan had been developed alongside the budget proposals and would provide strategic direction to the organisation for the next three years in order to ensure delivery of better outcomes for the people of Cumbria.

 

RESOLVED,that

 

                  (1)    the draft Council Plan as presented at appendix 1 to the report be endorsed and RECOMMENDED to Council;

 

                  (2)    the outcomes of the public consultation that relate to Council priorities in the Council Plan be noted and the response set out in appendix 2 to the report be agreed;

 

                  (3)    authority be delegated to the Chief Executive to make necessary amendments to the Council Plan, in consultation with the Leader of the Council, prior to consideration by Council on 17 February.

 

166.

DRAFT REVENUE BUDGET AND CAPITAL PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 359 KB

[Electoral Divisions: All]

 

To consider a report by the Deputy Leader and the Corporate Director – Resources (not available at time of despatch – copy to follow).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Deputy Leader presented a report which explained that the Medium Term Financial Plan was the financial expression of the Council Plan and taken together they demonstrated how priorities, resources and outcomes would be aligned. 

 

He proposed some minor amendment to the recommendations in the report, namely in the recommendation at paragraph 3.3, the substitution of the word ‘any’ for the word ‘the’ after the words ‘Deputy Leader’  and the deletion of the recommendation at paragraph 3.4 pending agreement of the budget by County Council. Cabinet would subsequently consider a paper on Local Committee budget allocations and guidance at their meeting on 3 March.  

 

The current planning horizon for the medium term financial plan covered the period from 2011/12 to 2013/14 and comprised the following: 

 

·              the revenue budget and capital programme;

 

·              review of fees and charges;

 

·              Treasury Management strategy for 2011/12 which sets out the Council’s approach to cash management, long term borrowing and investment of cash balances – presented as a separate item within this agenda.

 

Together these provided the basis for the Medium Term Financial Plan.

 

The purpose of the report was to present Cabinet with an update on the resource position and proposed a revenue budget and capital programme for recommendation to Council for approval on 18 February, covering:

 

·              the provisional Revenue Budget for 2011/12 and later years including the allocation of the Schools Grant;

 

·              the precept on District Councils in 2011/12;

 

·              the levels of the County Council's share of council tax in 2011/12 for the eight property bands;

 

·              the draft Capital Programme for 2011/12 to 2013/14;

 

·              the planned use of General Reserves and earmarked reserves in 2011/12, and the updated strategy in respect of general reserves.

 

Since the January Cabinet meeting a number of revisions and updates had been made to the position predominantly to include updated grant information.  However, final notification of some elements remained outstanding.  Consultation on the provisional local government grant settlement closed on 17 January (representation from Cumbria being included therein) and final notification had now been received as below.

 

The Deputy Leader advised that the County Council’s final settlement had now been received from the Government and that there had been an increase since the release of the draft settlement  of £100k for 2011/12 and £119k for 2012/13. Consideration was to be given to the allocation of this additional funding with a potential use being to consider where specific difficulties arose as a consequence of the statutory concessionary travel scheme eg young disabled people on work placements travelling to work.

 

A high level summary of the draft Revenue Budget appeared in the tables attached at appendix A to the report.

 

For 2011/12 the net position decreases by £21.186m (5.5%) from £385.129m to £363.943m.  The decreases were in line with national reductions to Local Government funding in light of the Government policy to eliminate the national budget deficit by 2014/15.  The figures lead to a projected Band D Council Tax of £1,161.50 (0.0%).  The budget required a precept of £204.915m.

 

The draft  ...  view the full minutes text for item 166.

167.

TREASURY STRATEGY pdf icon PDF 415 KB

[Electoral Divisions: All]

 

To consider a report by the Deputy Leader and the Corporate Director – Resources (not available at time of despatch - copy to follow).

Minutes:

The Deputy Leader presented a report informing Cabinet that the Local Government Act 2003 and the CIPFA Code of Practice on Treasury Management required the Council to set out its annual strategy for all treasury activities.  CIPFA had defined Treasury Management as:

 

       The management of the local authority’s investments and cash flows, its banking, money market and capital market transactions; the effective control of the risks associated with those activities; and the pursuit of optimum performance consistent with those risks.”

 

The report sets out the draft Treasury Strategy for 2011/12 for the management of:

 

·                    The Council’s debt - £325.2m

·                    The Council’s investments - £91.1m

·                    Draft Net Interest Budget £32.8m

 

The Strategy detailed the expected activities of the Treasury function in the forthcoming financial year.  It determined the appropriate level of borrowing to support the capital programme and the investment decisions that would be required during 2011/12.  These decisions would be taken in the light of anticipated movement in short-term and long-term interest rates, the main objectives being to minimise interest costs and manage risk effectively. The final decisions about long term borrowing would be dependant on the decisions made in the revenue and capital budget reports. 

 

The Annual Investment Strategy specifically detailed the Council’s policies for managing its investments and for giving priority to the security and liquidity of those investments.

 

The report sets out the revised prudential indicators for 2010/11 and the estimates for 2011/12 to 2013/14.

 

It was a statutory requirement, under Section 33 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, for the Council to produce a balanced budget, taking particular account of the revenue costs which flow from capital financing decisions.  The CIPFA Code, clarified that compliance with this statute must be reported in the Annual Strategy Statement.

 

RESOLVED,that it be RECOMMENDED to County Council:

 

                  (1)    to adopt the Treasury Management Strategy 2011/12 at appendix A to the report;

 

                  (2)    to adopt the Annual Investment Strategy for 2011/12 at appendix B to the report;

 

                  (3)    the Prudential Indicators for 2010/11 to 2013/14 at appendix C to the report;

 

                  (4)    the Minimum Revenue Provision policy 2011/12 at Appendix D.

 

168.

POSSIBLE CHANGES OF AGE RANGES pdf icon PDF 281 KB

[Electoral Divisions:Greystoke and Hesket; Alston and East Fellside]

 

To consider a report by Cabinet Members for Children’s Services and the Corporate Director – Children’s Services (copy enclosed).

 

This report seeks agreement on the undertaking of public consultation on changes to the age range of Culgaith CE and Armathwaite schools.

Minutes:

The Cabinet Members for Children’s Services presented a report which sought agreement on the undertaking of public consultation on changes to the age range of Culgaith CE and Armathwaite schools.

 

These two schools were the county’s only ‘first’ schools, accommodating children up to the age of 8.  Pupils were currently forced to transfer to alternative schools at the end of Year 3 (ie part-way through Key Stage 2).  This was not ideal educationally or socially.

 

Representatives from both schools had long made a case for extending their age range so that they were able to provide the full primary curriculum.  There had also been several similar representations made by parents over recent years.  The changes proposed were in line with the County Council’s agreed policy, set out in the Strategy for Learning (approved by the Cabinet in December 2009), which favoured the provision of all-through primary schools.

 

RESOLVED,that the undertaking of public consultation on changing the age range at Culgaith CE and Armathwaite schools, which would allow both to offer the full primary curriculum to children until the end of Key Stage 2 (age 10+) be approved.

 

169.

GOVERNANCE ARRANGEMENTS FOR NATIONAL PARKS pdf icon PDF 239 KB

[Electoral Divisions: All]

 

To consider a report by Cabinet Member for Economy and Highways and the Corporate Director – Environment  (copy enclosed).

 

This report advises of a proposed response to the DEFRA consultation on their review of the governance arrangements of National Parks.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport presented a report on the governance arrangements for national parks.  DEFRA had asked the County Council as an invited consultee to input to their review of the governance arrangements of National Parks.  The consultation focuses on six pre-defined key questions.  These address in particular issues of local accountability and effective governance.

 

A response to the consultation, focused on answering the six pre-defined questions, was set out at Appendix A to the report. This advocated increased local authority representation, increased parish membership and an enhanced role in decision making for parish councils and local communities, including those adjacent to as well as within a National Park.  Cabinet agreed that the response to question 1 should be adjusted to refer to Councils putting forward ‘their most appropriate members’.

 

RESOLVED,that the response to the consultation to be on the basis of the draft response set out in Appendix A to the report subject to the agreed amendment to the response to Q1.

 

170.

NWDA TRANSITION AND RELATED ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ISSUES AFFECTING CUMBRIA

171.

HIGHWAYS SERVICE DELIVERY ARRANGEMENTS

172.

CUMBRIA ACADEMIES PROGRAMME - FINAL BUSINESS CASE FOR FURNESS ACADEMY