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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Rooms A, B and C, Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood

Contact: Jenny Smith 

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

21.

Communications and Apologies

(a)            Communications (if any) relating to business on the agenda.

 

(b)               Apologies for absence.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Members and Officers to the meeting and advised that, in accordance with normal procedure, the meeting was being webcast.

 

 

22.

Declarations of Interest (If any)

Members are required to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests they or their spouse/partner have in any matter which is to be considered at this meeting.  Members must also declare any other pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests they have in any matter to be considered at this meeting. The responsibility for declaring an interest rests solely with the member concerned.

 

Members must clearly state to the meeting the existence and nature of any disclosable pecuniary interest, other pecuniary interest or non‑pecuniary interest and the agenda item(s) to which it/they apply.

 

Disclosable Pecuniary Interests are prescribed by the Relevant Authorities (Disclosable Pecuniary Interests) Regulations 2012 as follows;

 

Employment, office, trade, profession or vocation

Any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for profit or gain.

 

 

 

Sponsorship

Any payment or provision of any other financial benefit (other than from the relevant authority) made or provided within the relevant period in respect of any expenses incurred by a member in carrying out duties as a member, or towards your election expenses. This includes any payment or financial benefit from a trade union within the meaning of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.

 

 

Contracts

Any contract which is made between the relevant person (or a body in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest) and the relevant authority— (a) under which goods or services are to be provided or works are to be executed; and (b) which has not been fully discharged.

 

 

Land

Any beneficial interest in land which is within the area of the relevant authority.

 

 

Licences

Any licence (alone or jointly with others) to occupy land in the area of the relevant authority for a month or longer.

 

Corporate tenancies

Any tenancy where (to the member’s knowledge) - (a) the landlord is the relevant authority; and (b) the tenant is a body in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest.

 

 

Securities

Any beneficial interest in securities of a body where - (a) that body (to the member’s knowledge) has a place of business or land in the area of the relevant authority; and (b) either (i) the total nominal value of the securities exceeds £25,000 or one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that body; or
(ii) if the share capital of that body is of more than one class, the total nominal value of the shares of any one class in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest exceeds one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that class.

 

In cases of disclosable pecuniary interest, Members must withdraw from the meeting room while the matter is being considered.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

No Members had an interest to declare in any of the items of business on the agenda.

 

 

23.

Speeches by Non-Executive Members

Non-executive members attending the meeting are reminded that a non-executive member may speak for a maximum of three minutes on any item on the agenda, with a maximum of five members per item (no more than two from any one Group).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman advised that the usual arrangements for speeches by non‑Executive Members applied at this meeting.

 

 

24.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 131 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting of the Executive held on 25 July 2018.

 

No discussion shall take place upon the minutes, except upon their accuracy.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting of the Executive held on 25 July 2018 were approved and signed as a true record.

 

 

25.

Key Decisions

Additional documents:

25.1

Business Rates Pooling and 75% Rates Retention Pilot for 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 355 KB

The Executive is asked to approve an application to form a business rates pool in 2019/20 with other Hertfordshire authorities and that the Council enter into a 75% business rates retention pilot scheme in 2019/20.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision that:

 

1.     authority be delegated to the Corporate Director, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Property, to:

 

a)  approve an application to form a business rates pool in 2019/20 with other Hertfordshire authorities as described in section 5 of the report;

 

b)  submit an application to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to enter into a 75% business rates retention pilot scheme in 2019/20, subject to the development of a robust business case, as set out in report section 7, in conjunction with the County Council and Hertfordshire district councils; and

 

c)   negotiate with the County Council and district Chief Financial Officers to achieve optimum benefits for Hertsmere Borough Council; and

 

2.     that it be noted that the application for a 75% business rates retention pilot scheme at 1b) above will be given precedence by the MHCLG over the business rates pool application at 1a) but, should the pilot application be unsuccessful, the MHCLG will then consider the business rates pool application.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

The decisions would provide a mutually beneficial agreement with other like‑minded Hertfordshire authorities to achieve the optimum retention of business rates across the County, thereby benefiting Hertsmere’s tax payers.  There would be an additional potential gain to Hertsmere from being part of a 75% Retention Pilot in 2019/20.

 

The potential extra resources achievable would help to support the Council’s financial sustainability and alleviate ongoing budgeting pressures caused by major reductions in government funding to local authorities.

 

Participation in either a business rates pool or 75% retention pilot scheme would also support the Council in its coherent strategic decision-making and help to realise its visions of being an enterprising council, planning for the future and supporting its communities.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

The decision could have been taken to opt out of joining a pool and/or participating in a pilot scheme for the financial year 2019/20.   However, since the Council would lose potential substantial gains in respect of business rates growth in 2019/20, this option was not supported.

 

 

 

 

Key Points Arising from the Discussion

 

·       Responding to questions from a non-Executive Member, the Finance and Property Portfolio Holder clarified that no reasons had been given by the MHCLG for which authorities had been approved for pooling arrangements in 2017/18 and why Hertfordshire had been declined.  With no feedback received on which to base improvements, it was therefore difficult to predict the likelihood of a successful application for 2019/20.

 

·       The Corporate Director confirmed that the Council was aware of the possible risk of inaccurate forecasts from the other participating authorities about the level of growth and that the Council had taken mitigating steps which included the engagement of a consultant to carry out the necessary checks.

 

(Action:  Financial Services Manager)

 

 

26.

Non-Key Decisions

Additional documents:

27.

2020 Vision Performance Report for Quarter 1 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 200 KB

The Executive is asked to consider the Quarterly Quality Service Indicator Performance Report attached at Appendix A to the report and the Corporate Action Plan Projects Update Report at Appendix B.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision that the Quarterly Quality Service Indicator Performance Report, attached at Appendix A to the report, and the Corporate Action Plan Projects Update Report, at Appendix B, be reviewed and noted.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

Quarterly monitoring of performance indicators formed part of the Council’s Performance Management Strategy.  The statistics provided Members with an overview of the Council’s performance across the Quarter and were a means of capturing high level performance information across the organisation, of highlighting areas where performance was not matching targets and detailing the remedial action being taken to address the issues.

         

Specifically, this report set out the Council’s performance over Quarter 1 (April to June 2018).  The Quality Service Indicators at Appendix A measured progress against the agreed 15 key performance targets which reflected the main services delivered by the Council.  Appendix B provided details of progress made against the Council’s Corporate Action Plan for the period up to the end of June 2018.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

The decision could have been made not to monitor performance at a corporate level and accordingly not provide this information to Councillors and members of the public.  However, as Members would lose the benefit of a rolling overview of the Council’s overall service performance, this option was not supported.

         

Key Points Arising from the Discussion

 

·       A non-Executive Member asked about the budgetary implications of the previous three quarters’ red indicators for the number of households living in temporary accommodation and whether the need to use reserves was anticipated.  The Performance and Community Safety Portfolio Holder pointed out that the preventative approach taken by Officers had been successful in reducing the numbers.

 

·       In terms of the impact on the budget from this problem, the Corporate Director said that a shortfall was quite likely but that provision was made each year in the form of a contingency budget.  She explained that, in the event of funding being insufficient, any shortfall could be covered by the contingency.  She added that, in the unlikely event that this proved insufficient, the underspend on the current year’s budget 2017/18 could be accessed and, in the extremely unlikely event that this was not sufficient, reserves could be used as a last resort.  The Finance and Property Portfolio Holder confirmed that such shortfalls were not taken from the Council’s reserves but were provided for in the budget‑making process by contingency funding, the sum set aside for the current year being £300K.

 

·       The Housing Portfolio Holder commented on the current uncertainty about housing and the inability to make predictions.  She pointed out that the Government was likely to allocate most funding to the London authorities which was particularly difficult for this Council as an authority located on the border of London.

 

·       The Community and Economic Development and Portfolio Holder referred to the Council’s proactive development measures and asked what impact the Crown Road development (to be considered in part II of this agenda) might have on this problem.  The Chief Executive replied that the development  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.

28.

Customer Services Strategy 2018 to 2023 pdf icon PDF 115 KB

The Executive is asked to approve the revised Customer Services Strategy and its associated action plan.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision that:

 

1.     the feedback arising from consultation with stakeholders to date, as set out in report paragraph 6, be noted;

 

2.     the Draft Customer Services Strategy, attached as Appendix 1 to the report, be approved, subject to the addition of a reference to the costs to the Council associated with FOI (Freedom of Information);

 

3.     the Equalities Impact Assessment for the Draft Customer Services Strategy, attached as Appendix 2 to the report, be noted;

 

4.     the Action Plan for implementation of the Customer Services Strategy, attached as Appendix 3 to the report, be approved; and

 

5.     the draft project plan and timeline set out in  Appendix 4 to the report, be noted.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

The current Customer Services Strategy was due to be replaced.  The new draft Strategy presented reflected all the changes that had taken place both within the organisation and in the wider environment. 

 

The revised Strategy focussed on the Council’s aspirations to enhance the customer’s experience of its services.  In particular, it was considered essential that the Council’s Customer Services Strategy embraced customer feedback through a proactive process of customer engagement.  The development of the new Customer Services Strategy was regarded as an important part of the Council’s wider aim of digital transformation. 

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

The decision could have been made to operate customer services without seeking to improve the customer experience through digital transformation. Whilst it was recognised that this option would save the cost of upgrading the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, the opportunity would be lost to channel more ‘traffic’ to the Council’s website.  Consequently, this option was not supported as a sustainable way forward,

 

Key Points Arising from the Discussion

 

·       Members were referred to revised copies of the report’s Appendix 4, Project Plan and Timetable, copies of which were circulated at the meeting.  The Chairman advised that some of the deadlines had been amended, the most notable of which was to bring forward the CRM replacement item from December to the 14 November Executive meeting.

 

·       A non-Executive Member expressed concern about the impact of the revised policy on disabled users in terms of access to services and the actions taken to address this.  The Performance and Community Safety Portfolio Holder replied that, whilst the aim was to increase the level of online services to customers, the impact on the public of any changes made would be studied and more traditional methods of contacting the Council would be retained where needed (section 9 of the Strategy refers).  He added that any new functionality added to the website would also be checked to ensure it was at least compliant with World Wide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level AA to ensure a good degree of accessibility for people with disabilities.

         

·       The Chairman referred Members to section 7 of the draft Strategy on Data Quality and suggested the addition of some statistics on the cost to the Council of processing FOI requests.  He added his thanks to the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.

29.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Executive is scheduled to take place at 6pm on Wednesday, 17 October 2018 at the Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Noted that the next meeting of the Executive was scheduled to be held on Wednesday, 17 October 2018 at 6.00pm.

 

 

30.

Exclusion of the Public

Recommendation that, under S100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part I, Schedule 12A to the said Act:-

 

Part II Agenda Item                                Paragraphs in Schedule 12A

 

1.       KEY DECISIONS

 

1.1     Building Cleaning Contract                                 3

 

1.2     Crown Road Award of Contract                          3

 

 

2.       NON-KEY DECISIONS

                               

          2.1     None.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part I, Schedule 12A to the said Act:-

 

Part II Agenda Item                                  Paragraphs in Schedule 12A

 

1.       KEY DECISIONS

 

1.1      Building Cleaning Contract                                         3                 

 

1.2     Crown Road Award of Contract                                  3

 

 

2.       NON-KEY DECISIONS

 

2.1     None.                                                  

 

 

31.

Building Cleaning Contract

Report of Officers.

 

Minutes:

Decision that Cleantec Services be awarded a building cleaning contract, for the sum stated in paragraph 5.11 of the report, for a period of 3 years commencing 3 December 2018 with an optional extension to December 2024, the extension to be awarded in a minimum of one-yearly increments.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

The decision would enable the Council to maintain a consistent standard of cleaning of its offices and operational buildings for up to six years.  The contract was awarded to the tenderer achieving the highest score against the specified criteria.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

An alternative option was to not award a contract.  However, since this would mean purchasing services ‘off contract’ without the benefit of contractual terms, this option was not supported.

 

(Action:  Property Services Manager)

 

 

32.

Crown Road Award of Contract

Report of Officers.

 

Minutes:

Decision that:

 

1.     the Council be recommended to approve additional capital funding, as identified in section 7 of the report, for the Crown Road development; and 

 

2.     subject to approval of (1) above, the contract be awarded to Mears New Homes, as outlined in section 6 of the report, subject to the agreement of contractual matters.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

The overall reason for the scheme had been spiralling temporary accommodation demands, combined with the increasing budgetary pressures on the Council, resulting in an unsustainable level of current provision and an escalating financial overspend on temporary accommodation.  In addition, due to the significant reduction in government grants, the Council’s budgetary pressures had heightened with the financial overspend on temporary accommodation currently escalating. 

 

The reason for approving additional capital funding was that the tenders received had been higher than expected for a number of reasons (see Key Points below) and that, without the additional funding, the scheme would be unable to proceed in its current form.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

An alternative was to do nothing and continue to pay high rates for out of borough temporary accommodation.  However, it was agreed that this was not a realistic option for the Council which owed a duty of care to all of its residents and taxpayers.

 

Another option was to reduce the size of the scheme to fit the approved budget.  However, in view of the very limited supply of sites suitable for this type of accommodation and to reduce the Council’s reliance on out‑of‑borough placements, it was agreed that the scheme should proceed in its current form.  It was also noted that the scheme would be delayed by any major alterations which would necessitate the submission of a new planning application.

 

Key Points Arising from the Discussion

 

·       Members of the Executive noted that, due to the amount of the additional capital funding required, this matter would be submitted to the Council at its meeting on 26 September 2018 for final approval.

 

·       Despite the extra expenditure involved, it was agreed that the scheme should be regarded in a highly positive light for a number of reasons.  Members recognised that the scheme would result in the housing of 28 families that were at high risk of homelessness as well as enabling the Council to achieve a high rate of return on its investment.  It was also noted that the additional funding, aside from meeting increased material costs and satisfying planning conditions, would result in an improved specification for the development.

 

·       The Chairman advised that it was hoped to reinvest any profits from the scheme into the homelessness budget.

 

 (Action:  Development Manager)