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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood

Contact: Marie Lowe 

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

17.

Communications and Apologies

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

 

(b)          Apologies for absence.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

 

Apologies for absence had been received from Councillors Graham and Morris.

 

 

18.

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:

Councillor Cohen declared a non-pecuniary interest in respect of agenda item 6.7 - Governance of Council Owned Companies as a Council-appointed Director of Hertsmere Developments Limited (HDL).

 

Councillor Clapper declared a pecuniary interest in respect of agenda item 6.7 - Governance of Council Owned Companies and left the room whilst the discussion took place.

 

Councillor Bright declared an other pecuniary interest in respect of agenda items 6.6 - Executive Quarterly Review of Elstree Studios Ltd – Quarter 1 2019/20 and item 6.7 - Governance of Council Owned Companies. 

Councillor Bright advised that, as Chairman of Elstree Film Studios, he had a long standing dispensation which allowed him to remain and be involved in the discussion around that item.

 

Councillor Bright then announced in respect of item 6.7 - Governance of Council Owned Companies that he had received a dispensation to make two statements immediately following the presentation from Officers.  The statements would be on behalf of Councillor Morris and himself.  He left the room whilst the discussion of the item took place. 

 

Concerns were raised as to whether previous Directors of Council owned companies could remain in the room and participate during consideration of a particular item.  The Head of Legal advised that those Members who were no longer Directors of Council owned companies did not have a pecuniary interest and would be unable to declare a prospective interest.

 

Councillor Choudhury explained that, following consultation with the Monitoring Officer, he did not have a non-pecuniary interest or a potential non-pecuniary interest in respect of agenda item 6.7 - Governance Of Council Owned Companies.

 

Councillor P Hodgson-Jones declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 6.7, Governance of Council owned companies, as a Director of Hertsmere Developments Limited (HDL), as it did not remunerate Directors.

 

Councillor P Hodgson-Jones also declared a pecuniary interest in Item 6.7, Governance of Council owned companies, as a Director of Elstree Film Studios Ltd (EFS), and would withdraw from the meeting for the item.

19.

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 Chair advised that the usual arrangements for speeches by non-Executive Members applied at this meeting.

 

 

20.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 205 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting of the Executive held on 26 June 2019.

 

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 26 June 2019 were approved and signed as a true record.

 

21.

Non-Key Decisions

Additional documents:

21.1

Suspension of Contract Procedure Rules - Handyperson Service pdf icon PDF 160 KB

To approve the appointment of Communities First to undertake handyperson services as part of the Council’s Let with Hertsmere Scheme.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision that the suspension of the Contract Procedure Rules, as provided for in para. 9.1.9 of the Rules, to enable Communities First to be appointed to undertake Handyperson Services as part of the Council’s Let with Hertsmere Scheme be agreed.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

The suspension of the Contract Procedure Rules would facilitate the appointment of Communities First without undertaking a full procurement exercise.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

A full tender process could take place to establish a framework contract with a building maintenance contractor; however this would delay the provision of the service and might result in under-utilisation of the grant.  In addition this may render the service more costly than the handyperson service provided through the voluntary sector.

 

Key Points Arising from the Discussion

 

In response to questions, Non-Executive Members received reassurances from the Portfolio Holder for Housing and Transport and Officers that they were satisfied that the appropriate DBS checks had been carried out to ensure the protection of the vulnerable client group who would use the service.

 

21.2

Delegations to Head of Partnerships, Community Engagement and Housing in Relation to Housing Matters pdf icon PDF 96 KB

To make recommendations to Full Council regarding delegated authority for Housing matters to the Head of Partnerships, Communities Engagement and Housing.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision

 

1.    That the Head of Partnerships, Community Engagement and Housing be given delegated authority to discharge the functions of the Council in relation to the Housing matters numbered 1 to 10 in Appendix A to the Officers report other than in relation to the function of conducting internal reviews pursuant to Section 202 of the Housing Act 1996 (as amended).

 

2.    That the Executive recommends to Council that delegated authority be given to the Head of Partnerships, Community Engagement and Housing to discharge the function of conducting internal reviews pursuant to Section 202 of the Housing Act 1996 (as amended) and that thereon this becomes a function that is exercisable by the Executive.

 

3.    That the Scheme of Delegations to Officers and the Table at Section 3.1 of the Constitution titled ‘Responsibility for Functions’ be amended accordingly.   

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

To ensure that the Head of Partnerships, Community Engagement and Housing has delegated authority to discharge all the operational functions of the Council in relation to Housing matters.  These will not impinge of the function delegated by the Executive Leader to the Portfolio-Holder for Housing and Transport. 

 

The housing functions of the Council that are suitable for discharge by the Head of Partnerships, Community Engagement and Housing are identified in Appendix A to the report.  All of these functions are by law and the terms of the Council’s Constitution, allocated to the Executive, with one exception.  Section 3.1 of the Council’s Constitution titled ‘Responsibility for Functions’ provides that the function of reviewing decisions on homelessness applications (i.e. the conduct of internal reviews pursuant to Section 202 of the Housing Act 1996 (as amended)) is reserved to the Council.  The Executive is requested to recommend to the Council that this function is also delegated to Head of Partnerships, Community Engagement and Housing.

 

The function of conducting reviews on homelessness applications is a ‘local choice’ function, meaning that it is a function that the Council has the power to exercise itself (or delegate to a committee or an officer to discharge) or allocate to the Executive to exercise.  The Council originally decided to exercise this function solely in order that the conduct of homelessness internal reviews could be allocated to the now defunct Housing Review Panel.  However, as the internal review of homelessness decisions are now conducted either by senior officers in Housing Services or externalised to an independent contractor, it is requested that the Executive recommends to the Council that the function of conducting internal reviews pursuant to Section 202 of the Housing Act 1996 (as amended) is now allocated to the Executive to discharge and that the Constitution is amended accordingly.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

The Executive could choose not to adopt the recommendation in the report.  This will increase the risk of legal challenge and increase the number of reports to the Executive seeking approval for decisions in relation to operational matters that would normally be taken at a senior officer level.  In this regard, the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.2

21.3

Bushey Village Parking Restrictions Revisions pdf icon PDF 103 KB

To approve the revisions of the parking restrictions in Bushey Village.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision

 

1.    That the introduction of pay and display, (on street meters) to Bushey High Street (Village) shopping area, to improve car parking management in the area and is consistent with the approach already adopted across the Borough be agreed.

 

2.    That the introduction of pay and display parking charges to Kemp Place Car Park to be consistent with those applied to the nearby car park on the former Bushey Golf and Country Club site be agreed.

 

3.    That in view of their proposed location and the local factors around traffic and pedestrians in that area, consultation be undertaken on the provision of upto ten new parking bays in the road adjacent to the car park in Kemp Place.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

The Council is required to provide a fair parking enforcement regime across the borough.  The Bushey village area does not currently have pay and display meters and is the only high street shopping area in the Borough where meters are not in use.  The parking charge will be comparable with the nearby car park facilities.

 

It can be expected that this action will equalise usage thereby creating more availability for short stay shopping car parking in Kemp Place.

 

The current arrangements are confusing, inefficient and time consuming and encourages overstays or a reticence to park at al.  Enforcement is more difficult to implements and overall, it has a detrimental effect on the numbers of shoppers using this area.

 

A significant number of complaints have been received from the neighbourhood regarding Kemp Place Car Park being used by shoppers and commuters for Bushey Station and Watford.  This was due to the car park being a free facility. 

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

Not to introduce the proposals.

 

Key Points Arising from the Discussion

 

Following questions and comments from Non-Executive Members, Officers explained that when the refurbishment work was carried out to the car park electric charging points would be installed. The infrastructure was already in place below the existing surface.

 

Consideration was currently being given to the increase in the provision of electric charging across the Borough together with electric vehicles for a Council car pool.  Members had received a demonstration of such vehicles earlier that day.

 

Business Parking Permits which are discounted to normal daily rates would be available for Kemp Place car park, as they were across the Borough.

 

Concerns were raised regarding the safety issues associated with the proposed provision of ten parking spaces in the road adjacent to the car park in Kemp Place and the level of traffic and number of pedestrians in that area.  Consultation should take place prior to any decision being made regarding the number of parking spaces in that location.

21.4

Council Tax Support Scheme 2020 - 2021 pdf icon PDF 296 KB

To approve the commencement of consultation on a proposed new banded Council Tax Support scheme for Universal Credit claimants only.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision

 

1.  That the proposed banded Council Tax Support (CTS) Scheme for Universal Credit (UC) claimants as set out in the report be approved for consultation subject to the increase of the proposed Discretionary CTS Fund from £62,000 to £100,000.

 

2.  That a consultation process on the proposed scheme as set out in the timetable at paragraph 2.11 of the report be approved.

 

3.  That £100,000 to be funded from the Housing Benefit Overpayment Reserve be set aside into a Discretionary Council Tax Support Fund to assist the most adversely affected cases as describe in paragraph 2.9 be agreed.

 

4.  That, following the completion of the consultation a further report be brought back to the Executive in December 2019 proposing a final Council Tax Support scheme for 2020/21 for recommendation to the full Council in January 2020 be agreed.

Reasons for the Decision

 

The report sought the approval to commence consultation on a proposed new banded Council Tax Support (CTS) scheme for Universal Credit (UC) claimants ONLY based upon income bands.  The new CTS scheme will simplify these claims, make them easier for the claimants to understand and allow them to be processed in a more efficient way.

It is not proposed to change the scheme for working age claimants who are not receiving Universal Credit or for non-working age (pensioner) claimants who are protected under central government regulations.

The consultation on the new banded CTS scheme will run through the summer and end on 30 November.  Feedback from the consultation and any changes to the scheme will be presented back to the Executive for their consideration. A final scheme will be proposed for recommendation to the full Council in January 2020. Subject to Council approval the new CTS scheme will come into effect from 1 April 2020.

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

The Council would continue to administer the frequent changes which is resource intensive and results in complicated assessments that claimants find difficult to follow and can lead to unnecessary arrears.  Under the current CTS scheme this additional burden is created for all changes, no matter how small, creating inefficiencies for the claimant and for the council.  The experience of other Councils that have introduced a banded scheme is that the administration is greatly reduced.

There is therefore a need to look at other options that work better with UC, are easier for residents to understand and can be administered in a cost effective way.

 

Key Points Arising from the Discussion

 

Concerns were raised regarding the impact of Universal Credit, which was unknown at this stage, and the proposed level of the Discretionary Council Tax Support Fund set at £62,000 together with accessibility of the fund to those cases most in need.

 

In response to requests from non-Executive Members, Officers undertook to carry out more detailed assessment of various models to ascertain the most appropriate scheme for the Borough and its residents.

 

All Members strongly supported comprehensive promotion of the proposed Council Tax Support (CTS) Scheme by the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.4

21.5

Revenue and Capital Outturn 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 285 KB

To note the Revenue and Capital outturn position for the 2018/19 financial year.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision

 

1.    That the Revenue outturn position for 2018/19, that shows a net underspend of £489k (4.1%) against an original budget of £11,860k (section 5 and Appendix 1) be noted.

 

2.    That the technical financial accounting adjustments to the General Fund balance and the net movement on the Revenue General Fund of £224k (section 6) be noted.

 

3.    That the General Fund Reserve has increased by £224k (2.8%) to £8,186k as per the Council’s approved policy (paragraph 6.11) be noted.

 

4.    That the net movement on the Council’s Earmarked Reserves shows an increase of £2,747k (Section 7) be noted.

 

5.    That the capital outturn position for 2018/19, which shows a total investment of £6,750k against a revised budget of £13,194k (Section 8) be noted.

 

6.    That the sources of capital funding for 2018/19 (paragraph 8.4) be noted.

 

7.    That full Council be recommended to approve the removal of two historical items, with committed funding totalling £1,233k, (Wyllyotts Centre Improvements, £995k and Enhance Sports Pavilions/Pitches, £238k) from the Capital Programme as discussed in paragraphs 8.3 to 8.7 of the report.

 

8.    That subject to the approval by the full Council of the removal of two historical items as set out in (7) above the revised three-year capital programme for the period 2019/20 to 2021/22 amounts to £10,420k (para 8.9) be agreed.

Reasons for the Decision

The report of Officers brings together the 2018/19 Outturn Report previously considered by the Operations Review Committee, and the final audited Statement of Accounts, reported to the Audit Committee.

The report also includes a summary of movements on reserves and balances required to deliver the financial strategy of the Council and enables the Executive to review and note the Council’s financial position for 2018/19 as at 31 March 2019.

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

The Executive could decide not to agree the proposed removal of two schemes from the capital programme, with total committed funding of £1,233k (namely, Wyllyotts Centre Improvements, £995k and Enhance Sports Pavilions/Pitches, £238k). 

However this will result in the ongoing commitment of funding for these schemes where there is currently no sufficiently refined project plan.  This is also not in accordance with the Prudential Code which requires that “…local authorities, in appraising their plans and options, have regard to the practicalities of their capital programme”.

Key Points Arising from the Discussion

 

Officers reassured non-Executive Members that, whilst it was proposed to remove the funding previously set aside in the Capital Programme to enhance sports pavilions/pitches, the funds were readily available should a development be identified.

[At the end of the item the meeting was adjourned for five minutes].

21.6

Executive Quarterly Review of Elstree Studios Ltd - Quarter 1 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 228 KB

To note, in relation to Elstree Film Studios, the outturn position for 2018/19, the budget for 2019/20 and an update for 2019/20 as at April 2019.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision that the Executive Quarterly report of Elstree Studios Limited for Quarter 1 2019/20 including Quarter 4 (outturn) 2018/19 be noted.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

The report provides commentary on the outturn position for 2018/19, the budget for 2019/20 and an update for 2019/20 as at April 2019 to enable the Executive to carry out their delegated authority on behalf of the Council.

 

Under the Governance Agreement the Executive are required to review the financial performance, elements of risk and business opportunities that face Elstree Film Studios (EFS).

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

There are no alternative options as this is an update report,

 

Key Points Arising from the Discussion

 

Officers reported that the final audited statement of accounts from the Studios showed that the retained profit as at 31 March 2019 had increased to £565,000 following a change in revenue and capital and that the pension reserve was £231,000 as at the same date.  Elstree Film Studios showed a healthy financial position. 

 

At the request of non-Executive Members, Officer undertook to provide a list who had attended the Director training provided facilitated by the Institute of Directors.

 

Officers would endeavour to incorporate as much detail as was possible in future reports without divulging commercially sensitive information.

[Councillor Quilty took the Chair for the duration of item 6.7 (Minute 27.7)]

21.7

Governance of Council Owned Companies pdf icon PDF 113 KB

To agree the timely implementation of the recommendations in the Audit Action Plan by the Council and/or the Council’s wholly owned companies.  

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision

 

1.    That the recommendations contained in the Action Plan at Appendix A to the Shared Internal Audit Report on the Governance of Council Owned Companies be accepted and implemented.

 

2.    That the review the Articles of Association and Governance Agreements of its wholly owned companies to ensure that they are fit for purpose and consistent with the Action Plan recommendations at Appendix A to the Shared Internal Audit Report be agreed.

 

3.    That the proposal that all persons appointed by the Council to the Board of Directors of Council owned Companies be required to undergo training on their role commissioned by the Council within three months of their appointment be made to Full Council.

 

4.    That an audit of Elstree Film Studios (EFS), Executive Director and staff in relation to their expenses be carried out by the Shared Internal Audit Service.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

To ensure the timely implementation of the recommendations in the Audit Action Plan by the Council and/or the Council’s wholly owned companies.  

 

In September 2018 the Council received a request via a Freedom Of Information (FOI) on aspects of Elstree Film Studios (EFS) governance that reflected what were stated to be a number of “currently unsubstantiated allegations”.  The Officers responded to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and commissioned the Shared Internal Audit Service to carry out an independent fact finding exercise.

 

The Council and EFS are rightly expected to take corrective action with reference to any issues and, in order to take this course of action, the Council needed to carry out an independent fact-finding exercise. It is normal practice that management asks Internal Audit or an external independent person or body to carry out a review of the allegations, establish the facts, make recommendations and implement these to move forward. Access to conduct the audit work was facilitated through the Governance Agreement between the Council and EFS.

 

The Council’s external auditors (EY) became aware of aspects of the governance allegations within the FOI during the course of their final accounts work on the Council and EFS, and during the course of the external audit close down meeting with EY on 6 July 2018, asked the Corporate Director (S151 Officer) if SIAS had been instructed to carry out an investigation into the allegations relating to EFS.

 

The Council has utilised the existing Internal Audit provision within the 2018/19 Internal Audit Plan, as well as additional audit days from within the Plan, to commission the independent review.

 

The recommendations reflect those of the Audit report and the external legal advice received by statutory officers.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

The Executive could chose not to adopt the recommendations in full of the Audit Report or it could choose to reject the findings.  To do so will compound the challenges facing the Council on these matters and could expose the Council to formal intervention by other statutory agencies.

 

Key Points Arising from the Discussion

 

The Acting Chief Executive referred to the conflict of interest  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.7

[The meeting was adjourned during the discussion of the item 6.7 for five minutes].

22.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Executive is scheduled to take place at 6.00pm on Wednesday, 11 September 2019 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, 11 September 2019 at 6.00pm.

 

23.

Exclusion of the Public

Recommendation that under S100A(4) Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves 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         Furzefield Leisure Centre                    3

Re-Roofing Contract

 

 

 

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

 

            KEY DECISIONS

 

1          Furzehill Leisure Centre Re-roofing Contract                3

23.1

Furzefield Leisure Centre Re-Roofing Contract

To approve the award of contract for the replacement of roof coverings at Furzefield Leisure Centre.

Minutes:

Decision that

 

1.    The approval of the award of a contract for the replacement of roof coverings at Furzefield Leisure Centre on the 20th March 2019 by the Executive and that subsequent to award the successful contractor withdrew his tender be noted.

 

2.    The award of contract be made to the second place contractor and for the sum identified in item 5.14 of the report of Officers for the replacement of roof coverings at Furzefield Leisure Centre be approved.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

To seek approval of the Executive to award a contract for the replacement of roof coverings at Furzefield Leisure Centre, following an open tender process carried out in accordance with HBC procurement procedures. Due to the value of the contract this is a matter requiring Executive approval.

 

The Executive approved the award of contract for these works under minute 88 on 20th March 2019. Subsequently the successful contractor identified an error in its pricing and requested a further sum to cover overheads and profit, were unable to stand by their tender price and confirmed it wished to withdraw if this was not accepted.

Following consultation with the Procurement Manager, consideration of the financial impact on the project and the contractors wish to withdraw, the Executive is recommended to award the contract to the next competitive tenderer, the price being within the already approved budget.

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

The Council could decide not to award a contract and seek to retender the works, however the second contractor provided a competitive price and compliant tender and has confirmed they will stand by their tender prices and met quality requirements.

Key Points Arising from the Discussion

 

There was no discussion.