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Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Jenny Smith 

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Items
No. Item

67.

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 practice, the meeting was being webcast. 

 

He informed Members that copies of the part II element of the item in respect of the Newberries Car Park Development Scheme (Report EX/15/76) would be tabled under agenda item 11.

 

68.

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.

 

69.

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 would be in place for this meeting.

 

70.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 109 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting of the Executive held on 18 November 2015.

 

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 18 November 2015 were approved and signed as a true record.

 

71.

Key Decisions

Additional documents:

71.1

Newberries Car Park Development Scheme pdf icon PDF 114 KB

The Executive is asked to consider a scheme for the development of Newberries Car Park in Radlett.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision that:

 

1.         subject to approval of the finance and costings laid out in part II report (EX/15/76), the Council be recommended to approve a scheme for an 11,000 ft² GIA Retail/Food Store and an 80-bedroom hotel, based on the initial design shown in Appendix 1, subject to planning consent and an “Agreement to Lease” being in place; 

 

2.         subject to (1) above, the Council also be recommended to approve the capital spend towards financing this project, as explained in paragraph 7 of the Part II report (EX/15/76), which will most likely be from prudential borrowing in line with the Council’s treasury management strategy;

 

3.         subject to the Council’s approval of recommendations (1) and (2) above:

 

(i)          these proposals be progressed with the preferred operators        identified in the part II report based on their current financial offers     as a minimum and negotiations be concluded to a position of               “Agreement to Lease”;

 

(ii)         authority be delegated to the Chief Executive, in consultation with the Finance and Property Portfolio Holder, to progress the scheme to the construction phase subject to approval of the business case as detailed in the part II report and an “Agreement to Lease” that is legally binding being in place; this based on the minimal rental figures detailed in the part II report and tendered construction costs being within 5% of the estimated build costs in the part II report;

 

(iii)        a Project Board Panel be set up consisting of Chief Officers, the Finance and Property Portfolio Holder and nominated elected members to manage the project and associated risks; and

 

(iv)   initial funding of £400,000 from the Innovation and Investment Fund      be approved to drive and deliver the project to planning application       stage including the procurement of a Project Manager; and

 

4.         further progress reports be presented to the Executive on a periodic basis.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

The development would aid local economic regeneration by creating jobs within the Borough and boosting the local economy with hotel guests using the local shops, restaurants and other facilities.  It would also provide a much‑needed hotel facility within the area which currently did not exist as well as a retail food store.  The site was ideal for a hotel, having good connections to the M25, M1 and A1 and being in close proximity to the rail station with excellent travel links to London.

 

Further projected cuts in public spending would result in loss of the Council’s current Revenue Support Grant funding by 2019/20 or sooner and the Council was also unable to continue to rely on the New Homes Bonus.  Of equal importance was the fact that land was not an inexhaustible resource and it was inevitable that the building programme would slow down in future years.

 

For these reasons, the Council needed to look seriously at all its assets in a commercial and entrepreneurial manner.  The Newberries Car Park scheme was considered a key project which might be able to provide the Council with guaranteed revenue income  ...  view the full minutes text for item 71.1

71.2

Development Company pdf icon PDF 157 KB

In order to maximise revenue opportunities for the Council, the Executive’s approval is sought for the establishment of a wholly owned and controlled Property Development Company limited by shares.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision that:

 

1.     in order to maximise revenue opportunities, the Council establish a wholly‑owned and controlled Property Development Company limited by shares;

 

2.     authority be delegated to the Chief Executive, in consultation with the Finance and Property Portfolio Holder, to promote and establish such a vehicle with the Council as sole shareholder, including the content of the Memorandum and Articles of Association and the terms of a Governance Agreement intended to regulate the commercial relationship between the company and the Council as owner and sole shareholder;

 

3.     the principle be endorsed that the Governance Agreement requires the following:

 

·       the Company to submit an Annual Business Plan for approval by the Executive;

·       the Company to submit quarterly financial and performance reports to the Executive;

·       the Company to comply with the requirements of the Local Authorities (Companies) Order 1995;    

·       transactions between the Council and the Company to be ‘at arms length’ and on commercial terms;

·       disposals of housing land by the Company to be at open market value;

·       acquisitions of land and interests in land by the Company to require the prior consent of the Council;

·       the Directors to be required to declare pecuniary interests and conflicts of interest and to take no part in Board decision-making where such interests have been declared;

·       the Council’s rights as shareholder to be exercised by the Chief Executive in consultation with the Executive Leader or such other Portfolio Holder as shall be nominated by the Executive Leader; and

 

4.     budgetary provision of £100,000 towards the initial set up costs of the company be approved; and

 

5.     following the incorporation of the Company, an outline business case be developed and submitted to the Executive for approval. 

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

As a result of increasing financial pressures, the Council needed to act more commercially and explore more creative ways of generating revenue income to meet its local priorities.  It was considered that creating a wholly-owned company limited by shares (CLS) would enable the Council to finance and build both residential and non-residential properties for rent, thus generating reliable revenue streams.  As the CLS would be formed for revenue generation purposes, all properties would be let at market rates and the CLS would seek registered housing provider partners to develop and/or manage the affordable housing required to be provided in accordance with any grant of planning permission.

 

In accordance with both the Local Government Act 2003 and the Localism Act 2011, a wholly-owned and controlled property development company limited by shares was considered to be the most appropriate corporate vehicle for providing additional revenue streams to support the Council’s General Fund.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

Do nothing/maintain the status quo 

 

This option was not favoured by Members as the way forward to achieve financial sustainability and was therefore not supported.

 

The Council to build housing stock

 

This was not considered possible due to the Council’s status as a strategic housing authority and would warrant opening a Housing Revenue Account (HRA) which had its own  ...  view the full minutes text for item 71.2

72.

Non-Key Decisions

Additional documents:

72.1

Appointments to Outside Bodies - Hertfordshire Health Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 145 KB

The Executive is asked to appoint a replacement representative to Hertfordshire County Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision that:

 

1.       Councillor Lambert be appointed as the Council’s representative on the Hertfordshire County Council Health Scrutiny Committee until May 2019; and

 

2.       it be noted that, where an appointee ceases to be a Member of the     Council         before his/her term of office on the Committee expires, the     appointment will cease forthwith.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

To ensure the Council’s representation on the Hertfordshire Health Scrutiny Committee following the resignation of the former representative.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

The Executive could have determined not to appoint to this outside body.  However, as this would have resulted in the Council losing its representation on the committee, this option was not supported.

 

Key Points Arising from the Discussion

 

·       The Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Culture and Health nominated Councillor Lambert as the Council’s representative on the Hertfordshire Health Scrutiny Committee.  The nomination was duly seconded and agreed.

           

(Action:  Principal Democratic Services Officer)

 

72.2

Performance Monitoring Quarter 2 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 203 KB

The Executive is presented with an overview of corporate performance matters for Quarter 2 of 2015/16 (July to September 2015).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision that the Council’s performance for Quarter 2 of 2015/16 (July to September 2015) be noted as summarised below.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

Quarterly monitoring of performance indicators formed part of the Council’s Performance Management Strategy. 

 

The figures for Quarter 2 showed that 29 (59.18%) of indicators were green (meeting or exceeding the target); 13 (26.53%) were red (not meeting the target); and 7 (14.29%) were amber (just missing the target) compared to the previous Quarter’s results at 53.1%, 34.7% and 12.2% respectively. 

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

None.

 

Key Points Arising from the Discussion

 

·       P&CE4 (total number of people accessing the Borough’s museums) – the Leisure, Culture and Health Portfolio Holder pointed out that, during the same period last year, due to interesting exhibitions, there had been a high attendance at Elstree and Borehamwood and Bushey museums which in turn led to a more challenging target being set.  The Chairman concurred that last year had been exceptional with 96 Shenley Road newly open and the exhibition for the 100th anniversary of the first world war also taking place at that time.

 

·       HOU13 (number of approaches for homelessness advice) – the Housing and Economic Development Portfolio Holder was pleased to report that, out of 334 homelessness approaches made to the Council, 297 had been prevented from becoming homeless.  He said that this was a very high percentage of the total and he wished to congratulate Officers on their achievement.

 

·       PLA204 (percentage of planning appeals allowed) – whilst this was a red indicator, the Planning and Localism Portfolio Holder believed this was a retrospective figure and that the current situation was healthy.  He noted that, with this one exception in appeals, all the planning key areas were green which was a very positive picture.

 

·       The Environment and Transport Portfolio Holder was pleased to report a good position in waste services.  She thanked members of the public for their recycling efforts and stressed the need to continue them in light of the approaching Christmas period and the increasing problem with landfill.

 

(Action:  Head of Partnerships and Community Engagement)

 

72.3

Public Health District Offer Year 2 pdf icon PDF 314 KB

The report sets out the proposed expenditure for year 2 of the Public Health Fund District Offer.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision that:

 

1.     the plan for expenditure of the Public Health Fund District Offer for Year 2, as set out at Appendix A to the report, be noted;

 

2.     the Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Culture and Health, as Chair of the Hertsmere Health and Wellbeing Group, retain delegated authority to make decisions on these matters on behalf of the Council; and

 

3.     this Partnership continue to act as the first point of contact and consultee on matters under consideration by the County Health and Wellbeing Board.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

To ensure that delegated authority arrangements for the Leisure, Culture and Health Portfolio Holder and the Health and Wellbeing Partnership were in place to enable the allocation of the Public Health District Offer Year 2 funding.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

None.

 

Key Points Arising from the Discussion

 

·       The Leisure, Culture and Health Portfolio Holder said she was delighted to present the report which outlined the various projects undertaken in Year 1 of the District Offer.  She referred Members to the delivery plan for Year 2 at the report’s appendix which had been approved by the Hertsmere Health and Wellbeing Partnership on 9 November and was currently awaiting approval from Hertfordshire County Council.  She added that the plan had been favourably received by the County Council and local residents too and she thanked the Health and Wellbeing Policy Manager for her contribution to the recent exhibition.

 

·       With regard to leisure activities, the Environment and Transport Portfolio Holder wished to draw Member’s attention to two recently installed pieces of play equipment.  The first of these was an archway that lit up and incorporated various games and was located at Meadow Park.  The second was a sound system for young people in Aberford Park.  She recommended Members have a look these impressive additions.

 

(Action:  Health and Wellbeing Policy Manager)

 

72.4

Establishment of a New Post of Head of Planning and Economic Development - Financial Implications pdf icon PDF 162 KB

Subject to the Personnel Committee’s recommendations at its meeting on 9 December 2015, the Executive is asked to approve the financial implications associated with the establishment of and recruitment to the new post of Head of Planning and Economic Development.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision that:

 

1.     the recommendations of the Personnel Committee to establish and recruitment to a new post of Head of Planning and Economic Development be noted;

 

2.     the financial implications of (1) above, as set out in paragraphs 7.1 to 7.4 of Report EX/15/77, be agreed;

 

3.     the proposed benefits package for the new post of Head of Planning and Economic Development and other senior management posts in the Authority be noted; and

 

4.     the financial implications of (3) above, as set out in paragraphs 7.1 to 7.4 of the report, be agreed.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

          Members considered that establishing this role and recruiting a strong and capable leader with experience of both disciplines would enhance economic development in the Borough and aid the strategic development and management of planning services.

 

Members considered that, as these services were of vital importance to the Council, the additional expenditure was warranted and that a single point of contact with overall responsibility for this range of services was necessary in view of their strategic importance to the future development of the Borough.

 

The Public Spending Review had indicated that increased funds would be available for economic regeneration and it was therefore considered prudent to have senior expertise in the Authority to lead bids for funding and development.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

The decision could have been made to ring-fence the new role to the existing service managers in the Planning Department and, if an appointment was made, to either backfill the substantive role at a lesser cost or not backfill it at all. It was noted that internal candidates who possessed the necessary qualifications would be guaranteed an interview. However, the existing management posts in the Planning Department were all regarded as necessary and it was not considered viable to combine the duties of any of those posts with the responsibilities of the new post of Head of Planning and Economic Development.

 

The decision could also have been made not to use a recruitment consultancy and avoid that cost accordingly.  However, it was considered that there should be open recruitment with a view to securing the best possible candidate for the role.

 

The decision could have been made to vary the benefits package for the Head of Planning and Economic Development post from that presented in the report by introducing new benefits such as private medical insurance or applying a market supplement to the remuneration for the post.  However, the potential costs of introducing such new benefits, including the potential cost of of having to apply these to other senior management roles, would be much greater than the additional costs of superannuation entailed in consolidating existing transport allowances into base pay.  Furthermore, as market supplements were generally subject to annual review, they did not provide certainty to candidates about the future remuneration package and were therefore not considered to be the most effective measure from a recruitment perspective.

 

(Action:  Chief Executive/Head of HR and Customer Services)

 

73.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Executive is scheduled to take place at 6pm on Wednesday, 13 January 2016 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, 13 January 2016 at 6.00pm.

 

74.

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     Newberries Car Park Development                             3

 

 

2.       NON-KEY DECISIONS

 

          2.1     Establishment of Post of Head of Planning                  3

                    and Economic Development – Financial

                    Implications

 

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     Newberries Car Park Development                                3

          Scheme

 

 

2.       NON-KEY DECISIONS

 

2.1     Establishment of Post of Head of Planning                     3

          and Economic Development – Financial

          Implications  

 

The Chairman advised that, following on from the previous item, he would take the part II items in reverse order of the agenda.

 

75.

Financial Implications of Recruitment Consultancy for the Head of Planning and Economic Development

Report of Officers.

 

Minutes:

Decision that the potential financial implications of appointing recruitment consultants to assist with filling the new post of Head of Planning and Economic Development, as set out in paragraph 7.1 of the report, be agreed.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

The reasons for establishing this role and recruiting to it were set out in Minute 72.4 above.

 

Given the importance of the role and the competitive nature of the market for experienced and qualified professionals in this field, it was considered prudent to seek assistance from specialist recruitment consultants.  The decision would enable bids to be sought from five such consultancy firms with a view to selecting the most advantageous and effective provider.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

The new role could be advertised on the JobsGoPublic website and in other publications with a view to assessing whether there was a strong enough response without incurring the costs of ‘executive search and sift’ by a specialist recruitment consultancy.  However, as it was envisaged that a poor result would incur the additional costs of re-advertising and seeking specialist support at the same time, this option was not supported.

 

Key Points Arising from the Discussion

 

·       The Head of HR and Customer Services confirmed that bids had been sought by 11 December for the proposed recruitment consultancy with a view to advertising for the post in January 2016 (report paragraph 5.1 refers).  In this regard, she tabled for Members’ information a confidential summary of bidders received on 11 December 2015.  The Housing and Economic Development Portfolio Holder suggested that, as part of the open recruitment process and in order to secure the best possible candidates, advertising in the private sector should also be undertaken.

 

·       At the Planning and Localism Portfolio Holder’s request, the Head of HR and Customer Services outlined the stages in the recruitment process which she said involved ‘executive search and sift’, telephone interviews, formal interviews, shortlisting and technical assessment, panel interviews and evaluation of candidates’ performance.  There would also be an opportunity for stakeholders, including the two portfolio holders concerned, to meet the shortlisted candidates over lunch.

 

(Action:  Chief Executive/Head of HR and Customer Services)

 

76.

Newberries Car Park Development Scheme

Report of Officers.

 

Minutes:

Decision that:

 

1.     the finance, costings and business case detailed in section 7 and the appendices of part II report EX/15/76 be approved; and

 

2.     authority be delegated to the Chief Finance Officer, in consultation with the Finance and Property Portfolio Holder, to take the appropriate decision and action in relation to optimising tax efficiency in light of the expert VAT advice sought for this project.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

As detailed generally in Minute 71.1 above and, specifically, to give effect to the resolution in Minute 71.1.

         

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

         

None realistic as the decision in Minute 71.1 was subject to consideration and approval of the finance, costings and business case outlined in part II report EX/15/76.

 

Key Points Arising from the Discussion

 

·       Responding to a question from the Housing and Economic Development Portfolio Holder regarding security for the Council in the form of any heads of terms, the Property and Finance Portfolio Holder referred him to report Appendix 2 (Summary of Operators) which he said contained a potential candidate.  The Engineering Services and Asset Manager added that Officers would be negotiating different heads of terms on an ongoing basis.  The Director of Environment reminded Members of the two-way process involved which required the Council’s endorsement of the scheme as well as an expression of commitment from the operators.

 

(Action:  Director of Resources/Engineering Services and Asset Manager)