Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Cabinet (Resources) Panel - Wednesday, 17th March, 2021 4.00 pm

Venue: Online

Contact: Dereck Francis, Democratic Services  01902 555835 or Email: dereck.francis@wolverhampton.gov.uk

Note: Please note this meeting will be conducted in line with the The Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020. 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

No apologies for absence were received for the meeting.

2.

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

The following declarations of interests were made in agenda item 6 (Treasury Management Activity Monitoring Quarter Three 2020-2021):

 

Councillor/Officer

Interest

Reason

Councillor Louise Miles

Non-pecuniary

WV Living Shareholder Board member

 

Councillor Jacqueline Sweetman

 

Non-pecuniary

WV Living Shareholder Board member

Mark Taylor, Deputy Chief Executive

 

Non-pecuniary

Director of WV Living

Ross Cook, Director of City Environment

Non-pecuniary

Director of WV Living

 

3.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 350 KB

[To approve the minutes of the previous meeting as a correct record.]

Minutes:

Resolved:

That the minutes of the previous meeting held on 17 February 2021 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

4.

Matters arising

[To consider any matters arising from the minutes.]

Minutes:

There were no matters arising from the minutes of the previous meeting.

5.

Revenue Budget Monitoring Quarter Three 2020-2021 pdf icon PDF 643 KB

[To provide a projection of the likely revenue outturn position for the General Fund and Housing Revenue Accounts, compared with the Council’s approved revenue budgets for 2020-2021]

Additional documents:

Decision:

1.      That the use of £65,000 from the Regeneration Reserveto develop a business case for a hotel, including delivery and funding options, financial performance and disposal advice as detailed in paragraph 6.4 of the report be approved.

 

2.      That the contribution of £75,000 to the Regeneration Reserve for use on the development of the British Steel site in future years as detailed in paragraph 6.5 of the report be approved.

 

3.      That the use of £113,000 from the Efficiency Reserve to fund resources including a Manager, a Business Analyst and Developer to work on the Councillor Enquiries project as detailed at paragraph 6.6 of the report be approved.

 

4.      That the change of name of the 2020-2021 Budget Strategy Reserve to Future Years Budget Strategy Reserve to enable this reserve to hold funds to support the Budget Strategy in accordance with the approved medium-term financial strategy (MTFS) as detailed at paragraph 6.7 of the report be approved.

 

5.      That the establishment of supplementary expenditure budgets within the 2020-2021 approved budget as detailed in section 7.0 of the report for grant funded expenditure be approved.

 

6.      That authority be delegated to the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, and the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, in consultation with the Director of Children’s Services to make payments in line with Government guidance and approve any necessary virements under the Winter Grants Scheme and Holiday Activities Programme.

 

7.      That 20 virements totalling £5.8 million, for transfers within directorates, as detailed in Appendix 4 to the report be approved.

 

8.      That the write-off of two Non-Domestic Rates (NDR) debts totalling £23,696.34 as detailed in Appendix 5 to the report be approved.

 

9.      That the write-off of one Council Tax debt totalling £5,222.08 as detailed in Appendix 6 to the report be approved.

 

10.   That the write-off of one Housing debt totalling £6,105.80 as detailed in Appendix 7 to the report be approved.

 

11. That it be noted that the Council has once again managed its money well and delivered within budget. Overall, the General Fund projected outturn for 2020-2021 is currently forecast as a relatively small underspend of £507,000 (excluding the impact of Covid-19).

 

12. That it be noted that it is anticipated that corporately held redundancy costs during 2020-2021 could be in the region of £1.5 million which can be met from efficiencies.

 

13. That it be noted that a £10.1 million surplus on the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) is projected compared with a budgeted surplus of £10.8 million as shown at Table 20 and in detail at Appendix 3 to the report. The projected reduction to the surplus of £720,000 would reduce redemption of debt by £720,000.

 

14. That it be noted that 34 sundry debt accounts totalling £6,278.52, as detailed in paragraph 10.3 of the report, have been approved for write-off by the Director of Finance in accordance with the Council’s Financial Procedure Rules.

 

15. That it be noted that 981 council tax accounts totalling £346,464.49,  ...  view the full decision text for item 5.

Minutes:

Councillor Louise Miles outlined the key points from the report on a projection of the likely revenue outturn position for the General Fund and the Housing Revenue Accounts compared with the Council’s approved revenue budget for 2020-2021, and the projected financial implications of the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Resolved:

1.    That the use of £65,000 from the Regeneration Reserveto develop a business case for a hotel, including delivery and funding options, financial performance and disposal advice as detailed in paragraph 6.4 of the report be approved.

 

2.    That the contribution of £75,000 to the Regeneration Reserve for use on the development of the British Steel site in future years as detailed in paragraph 6.5 of the report be approved.

 

3.    That the use of £113,000 from the Efficiency Reserve to fund resources including a Manager, a Business Analyst and Developer to work on the Councillor Enquiries project as detailed at paragraph 6.6 of the report be approved.

 

4.    That the change of name of the 2020-2021 Budget Strategy Reserve to Future Years Budget Strategy Reserve to enable this reserve to hold funds to support the Budget Strategy in accordance with the approved medium-term financial strategy (MTFS) as detailed at paragraph 6.7 of the report be approved.

 

5.    That the establishment of supplementary expenditure budgets within the 2020-2021 approved budget as detailed in section 7.0 of the report for grant funded expenditure be approved.

 

6.    That authority be delegated to the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, and the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, in consultation with the Director of Children’s Services to make payments in line with Government guidance and approve any necessary virements under the Winter Grants Scheme and Holiday Activities Programme.

 

7.    That 20 virements totalling £5.8 million, for transfers within directorates, as detailed in Appendix 4 to the report be approved.

 

8.    That the write-off of two Non-Domestic Rates (NDR) debts totalling £23,696.34 as detailed in Appendix 5 to the report be approved.

 

9.    That the write-off of one Council Tax debt totalling £5,222.08 as detailed in Appendix 6 to the report be approved.

 

10.That the write-off of one Housing debt totalling £6,105.80 as detailed in Appendix 7 to the report be approved.

 

11.That it be noted that the Council has once again managed its money well and delivered within budget. Overall, the General Fund projected outturn for 2020-2021 is currently forecast as a relatively small underspend of £507,000 (excluding the impact of Covid-19).

 

12.That it be noted that it is anticipated that corporately held redundancy costs during 2020-2021 could be in the region of £1.5 million which can be met from efficiencies.

 

13.That it be noted that a £10.1 million surplus on the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) is projected compared with a budgeted surplus of £10.8 million as shown at Table 20 and in detail at Appendix 3 to the report. The projected reduction to the surplus of £720,000 would reduce redemption of debt by £720,000.

 

14. That it  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Treasury Management Activity Monitoring Quarter Three 2020-2021 pdf icon PDF 271 KB

[To approve the Treasury Management Activity Monitoring Quarter Three 2020-2021 report]

Additional documents:

Decision:

1.      That it be noted that the Council is continuing to operate within the Prudential and Treasury Management Indicators approved by Council, and also within the requirements set out in the Council’s approved Treasury Management Strategy for 2020-2021.

 

2.      That it be noted that revenue underspends of £2.4 million for the General Revenue Account and £800,000 for the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) are forecast from treasury management activities in 2020-2021, arising as a result of re-phasing of the capital programme and lower interest rates forecast on borrowing due to the impact on the economy of Covid-19.

 

3.      That it be noted that two of the three credit rating agencies have downgraded the UK’s credit rating.  If the remaining credit rating agency follows suit the Director of Finance would lower the minimum sovereign rating in the Annual Investment Strategy in line with the delegated authority approved by Council on 17 July 2020.

Minutes:

Councillor Louise Miles presented the progress report on Treasury Management Activity for the third quarter of 2020-2021 and highlights of the revised Prudential Indicators which were approved by Council on 3 March 2021.

 

Resolved:

1.    That it be noted that the Council is continuing to operate within the Prudential and Treasury Management Indicators approved by Council, and also within the requirements set out in the Council’s approved Treasury Management Strategy for 2020-2021.

 

2.    That it be noted that revenue underspends of £2.4 million for the General Revenue Account and £800,000 for the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) are forecast from treasury management activities in 2020-2021, arising as a result of re-phasing of the capital programme and lower interest rates forecast on borrowing due to the impact on the economy of Covid-19.

 

3.    That it be noted that two of the three credit rating agencies have downgraded the UK’s credit rating.  If the remaining credit rating agency follows suit the Director of Finance would lower the minimum sovereign rating in the Annual Investment Strategy in line with the delegated authority approved by Council on 17 July 2020.

7.

HR Policies: Support for Carers Policy pdf icon PDF 154 KB

[To approve the revised Support for Carers Policy and guides]

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the revised Support for Carers Policy be approved for use by the Council’s managers and employees.

Minutes:

Councillor Paula Brookfield presented for approval a revised Support for Carers Policy and guides for employees and managers. The documents covered information on maternity, paternity, shared parental leave, adoption and fostering leave. The policy had been sent to Stonewall for benchmarking purposes and they had asked to use the policy and guides as best practice documents to demonstrate to other organisations.

 

Resolved:

That the revised Support for Carers Policy be approved for use by the Council’s managers and employees.

8.

Supporting people who need us most by providing 500,000 meals to our City's food banks pdf icon PDF 271 KB

[To approve food bank provision to support the most vulnerable families in the city]

Decision:

Minutes:

Councillor Ian Brookfield presented the report that sought agreement for the Council to continue to support those who need them most in the city during the pandemic by funding a further 500,000 meals for city food banks to distribute. This twelve-month support plan built on the wider package of emergency assistance put in place by the Council to support the most vulnerable residents.

 

Resolved:

That the allocation of £450,000 to deliver a further 500,000 meals to our most hard-pressed families in the City, as part of a wider package of support to our food banks to support people who need us most be approved.

9.

Adult Education Contract Review pdf icon PDF 402 KB

[To consider the outcomes of a review of the Adult Education Services contract to ensure that it continues to meet service needs]

Additional documents:

Decision:

1.      That the revised teaching contract and associated terms and conditions for Adult Education Wolverhampton (AEW) teaching employees be approved.

 

2.      That it be noted that the new teaching contract does not apply to senior managers or business-related roles within the service who would consistently receive NJC contracts of employment to reflect the nature of their duties.

 

3.      That it be noted that a Memorandum of Understanding has been developed with the University and College Union (UCU) to regularise future working arrangements.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Dr Michael Hardacre presented the report on a proposal to revise the contract and associated terms and conditions for Adult Education Wolverhampton teaching employees to provide equanimity and equality. The proposal had been negotiated with the trade unions who had signed the agreement that goes with it.  Councillor Dr Hardacre reported that the proposal should mean that Adult Education Wolverhampton could continue to upskill the city’s adults and young people over the age of 19 for the modern economy.

 

Resolved

1.    That the revised teaching contract and associated terms and conditions for Adult Education Wolverhampton (AEW) teaching employees be approved.

 

2.    That it be noted that the new teaching contract does not apply to senior managers or business-related roles within the service who would consistently receive NJC contracts of employment to reflect the nature of their duties.

 

3.    That it be noted that a Memorandum of Understanding has been developed with the University and College Union (UCU) to regularise future working arrangements.

 

10.

Care and Support Provider Fee Review 2021-2022 pdf icon PDF 454 KB

[To approve a proposed increase for the Care and Support service areas and Direct Payment cost rate]

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

1.      That the proposed increase in fee levels for 2021-2022 as recommended in the report to meet the additional costs (employee and employer) resulting from the increases to the National Living Wage (NLW) and where applicable increases to sustain the care market be approved.

 

2.      That any increase in fees are in effect from 5 April 2021. (This date is aligned to charging processes and the capability of the payment system).

 

3.      That it be noted that engagement has been undertaken with current care and support providers as part of the fee review to listen to feedback, however due to current financial restraints the recommendations are not solely based on provider requests.

 

4.      That it be noted that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the usual demand and take up of care services. The long-term impact of Covid-19 cannot be predicted, and the Adults Commissioning Team would continuously review sufficiency within the market.

 

5.      That it be noted that the Adults Commissioning Team continuously works with providers in developing the social care market to ensure a shared approach between the Council and social care providers to meet resident’s needs.

 

6.      That it be noted that the Adults and Safer City Scrutiny Panel endorsed the proposed recommendations in its 8 March 2021 meeting.


 

Minutes:

The intention to make a key decision on the report ‘Care and Support Provider Fee Review 2021-2022’ at the meeting was not publicised in advance as required by the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012.  The decision was urgent and could not be reasonably delayed for the following reasons:

 

·       The report is to approve recommendations to the annual fees of adults social care providers.

 

·       The external care sector has supported City of Wolverhampton Council during the Covid-19 pandemic in meeting the care needs of residents in Wolverhampton and supported the ability to discharge people from hospital and reducing the burden to the local hospital.

 

·       The fee reviews are effective from the start of the financial year. Providers would not be aware of the proposed increased if there is a delay to the next available Cabinet (Resources) Panel (CRP) and we cannot publish the rates or organise any increase in payments until CRP give approval to the recommendations.

 

·       The reason it had been delayed was an unintentional officer oversight.

 

In light of the above, consent had been obtained for the key decision to be made at the meeting under the General Exception provisions.

 

Councillor Linda Leach presented the report on a proposed increase in fee levels for care and support service areas and direct payment cost rates to meet additional costs resulting from increases to the National Living Wage and to sustain the care market in Wolverhampton.

 

Resolved:

1.    That the proposed increase in fee levels for 2021-2022 as recommended in the report to meet the additional costs (employee and employer) resulting from the increases to the National Living Wage (NLW) and where applicable increases to sustain the care market be approved.

 

2.    That any increase in fees are in effect from 5 April 2021. (This date is aligned to charging processes and the capability of the payment system).

 

3.    That it be noted that engagement has been undertaken with current care and support providers as part of the fee review to listen to feedback, however due to current financial restraints the recommendations are not solely based on provider requests.

 

4.    That it be noted that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the usual demand and take up of care services. The long-term impact of Covid-19 cannot be predicted, and the Adults Commissioning Team would continuously review sufficiency within the market.

 

5.    That it be noted that the Adults Commissioning Team continuously works with providers in developing the social care market to ensure a shared approach between the Council and social care providers to meet resident’s needs.

 

6.    That it be noted that the Adults and Safer City Scrutiny Panel endorsed the proposed recommendations in its 8 March 2021 meeting.

11.

Acquisition of Privately Owned Empty by Agreement or Compulsory Purchase: 4 Moathouse Lane East, Wednesfield, Wolverhampton, WV11 3BN pdf icon PDF 150 KB

[To take action to resolve the on-going issues surrounding a long-term empty property which has remained empty since 2012]

Additional documents:

Decision:

The report was withdrawn.

Minutes:

The report was withdrawn.

12.

Schedule of Individual Executive Decision Notices pdf icon PDF 247 KB

[To note the summary of open and exempt executive decisions approved by cabinet members in consultation with employees]

Decision:

That the summary of open and exempt individual executive decisions approved by appropriate Cabinet Members following consultation with relevant employees be noted.

Minutes:

Resolved:

That the summary of open and exempt individual executive decisions approved by Cabinet Members following consultation with employees be noted.

13.

Exclusion of press and public

[To pass the following resolution:

 

That in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business as they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information on the grounds shown below.]

Decision:

That in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business as they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).

 

Minutes:

Resolved:

That in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the remaining items of business as they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).

 

Part 2 - exempt items, closed to press and public

The Chair reported that as stated previously the meeting was in confidential session as the information included in the reports could, if released into the public domain, prejudice the financial position of the Council or its partners. As such all present are under a legal duty of confidentiality and must not disclose any confidential information - to do so would not only be a breach of the Council's codes (for councillors and employees) but also a breach of the legal duty of confidentiality.

14.

Procurement - Award of Contracts for Works, Goods, and Services

[To approve the award of contracts for works, goods and services]

Decision:

1.      That authority be delegated to the Leader of the Council, in consultation with the Director of City Environment, to approve the award of a contract for Supply and Delivery of Food Parcels when the evaluation process is complete.

 

2.      That authority be delegated to the Cabinet Member for Governance, in consultation with the Director of Governance, to approve the award of a contract for Scanning of Archive Files when the evaluation process is complete.

 

3.      That the award the contract forCremator and Mercury Abatement Plant to Facultatieve Technologies Ltd of Moor Road, Leeds, LS10 2DD for a duration of 15 years from 20 March 2021 to 19 March 2036 for a total contract value of £2.6 million be approved.

 

4.      That the award of the contract for Fuel Oils to Certas of 302 Bridgewater Place, Birchwood, Warrington, WA3 6XG for a duration of four years from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2025 for a total contract value of £4.4 million be approved.

 

5.      That the award of the contract for the Reminiscence Interactive Therapy / Activity (RITA) system for Care Homes and the Community to My Dementia Improvement Network Limited of 5 Brooklands Place, Brooklands Road, Sale, M33 3SD for a duration of three years from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2024 for a total contract value of £387,660 be approved.

 

6.      That authority be delegated to the Cabinet Member for Resources, in consultation with the Director of Strategy, to approve the award of a contract for Wide Area Network when the evaluation process is complete.

 

7.      That the exemptions to the Contract Procedure Rules approved by the Head of Procurement and Director of Finance from 1 to 31 January 2021 as set out in Appendix 1 to the report be noted.

Minutes:

Councillor Louise Miles presented the report on the award of contracts for works, goods and services. She drew to the Panel’s attention exemptions to Contract Procedure Rules approved by the Head of Procurement and the Director of Finance for the period 1 to 31 of January 2021.

 

Resolved:

1.    That authority be delegated to the Leader of the Council, in consultation with the Director of City Environment, to approve the award of a contract for Supply and Delivery of Food Parcels when the evaluation process is complete.

 

2.    That authority be delegated to the Cabinet Member for Governance, in consultation with the Director of Governance, to approve the award of a contract for Scanning of Archive Files when the evaluation process is complete.

 

3.    That the award the contract forCremator and Mercury Abatement Plant to Facultatieve Technologies Ltd of Moor Road, Leeds, LS10 2DD for a duration of 15 years from 20 March 2021 to 19 March 2036 for a total contract value of £2.6 million be approved.

 

4.    That the award of the contract for Fuel Oils to Certas of 302 Bridgewater Place, Birchwood, Warrington, WA3 6XG for a duration of four years from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2025 for a total contract value of £4.4 million be approved.

 

5.    That the award of the contract for the Reminiscence Interactive Therapy / Activity (RITA) system for Care Homes and the Community to My Dementia Improvement Network Limited of 5 Brooklands Place, Brooklands Road, Sale, M33 3SD for a duration of three years from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2024 for a total contract value of £387,660 be approved.

 

6.    That authority be delegated to the Cabinet Member for Resources, in consultation with the Director of Strategy, to approve the award of a contract for Wide Area Network when the evaluation process is complete.

 

7.    That the exemptions to the Contract Procedure Rules approved by the Head of Procurement and Director of Finance from 1 to 31 January 2021 as set out in Appendix 1 to the report be noted.

15.

Approval to Cease Tenancies and Demolish Two Properties on Old Fallings Crescent to Enable Future Development

[To approve the rehousing of existing tenants and the demolition of properties]

Decision:

1.      That entering negotiations with the tenants of 149 and 151 Old Fallings Crescent with a view to terminating tenancies to enable the Council to incorporate the properties into the re-development site be approved.

 

2.      That authority be delegated to the Cabinet Member for City Assets and Housing, in consultation with the Director of City Environment to approve:

·        Ceasing lettings and suspending the right to buy for tenants of 149 and 151 Old Fallings Crescent.

·        The serving of notices to terminate tenancies under s138A-B and Schedule 5A of the Housing Act 1985.

·        The allocation of tenants into like for like alternative temporary accommodation to facilitate the development.

·        The allocation of tenants of 149 and 151 Old Fallings Crescent into the new build accommodation once the development is complete, achieved through a local lettings plan. 

·        Statutory Home Loss Compensation of £6,500 for each tenant affected by the re-development proposals. Approve further Statutory Home Loss Compensation for each tenant that has previously qualified for compensation as a result of moving into temporary accommodation and into newbuild accommodation on the site.

·        Disturbance payments up to the value of £1,500 for each resident affected by the redevelopment. Approve further disturbance payments of £1,500 once the tenants move into the new build accommodation on the site.

·        The use of Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1985, Ground 10, if required to seek possession of the properties.

·        The demolition of 149 and 151 Old Fallings Crescent once the tenancies are terminated and properties are vacant.

 

3.      That the delegation of any other agreements including deed of covenants, collateral warranties, assignments and such other ancillary agreements, including variations as may be deemed necessary to facilitate the redevelopment of the estate to the Cabinet Member for City Assets and Housing in consultation with the Director of City Environment be approved.

 

4.      That it be noted that an architect and construction contractor to design and build out the site would be procured separately from this report.

 

5.      That it be noted that further reports on the re-development proposals for the site would be submitted to Cabinet (Resources) Panel.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Jacqueline Sweetman presented the report on a proposal to cease tenancies; rehouse tenants and demolish two properties on Old Fallings Crescent to enable future redevelopment of the site at Old Fallings Crescent.

 

Resolved:

1.    That entering negotiations with the tenants of 149 and 151 Old Fallings Crescent with a view to terminating tenancies to enable the Council to incorporate the properties into the re-development site be approved.

 

2.    That authority be delegated to the Cabinet Member for City Assets and Housing, in consultation with the Director of City Environment to approve:

·            Ceasing lettings and suspending the right to buy for tenants of 149 and 151 Old Fallings Crescent.

·            The serving of notices to terminate tenancies under s138A-B and Schedule 5A of the Housing Act 1985.

·            The allocation of tenants into like for like alternative temporary accommodation to facilitate the development.

·            The allocation of tenants of 149 and 151 Old Fallings Crescent into the new build accommodation once the development is complete, achieved through a local lettings plan. 

·            Statutory Home Loss Compensation of £6,500 for each tenant affected by the re-development proposals. Approve further Statutory Home Loss Compensation for each tenant that has previously qualified for compensation as a result of moving into temporary accommodation and into newbuild accommodation on the site.

·            Disturbance payments up to the value of £1,500 for each resident affected by the redevelopment. Approve further disturbance payments of £1,500 once the tenants move into the new build accommodation on the site.

·            The use of Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1985, Ground 10, if required to seek possession of the properties.

·            The demolition of 149 and 151 Old Fallings Crescent once the tenancies are terminated and properties are vacant.

 

3.    That the delegation of any other agreements including deed of covenants, collateral warranties, assignments and such other ancillary agreements, including variations as may be deemed necessary to facilitate the redevelopment of the estate to the Cabinet Member for City Assets and Housing in consultation with the Director of City Environment be approved.

 

4.    That it be noted that an architect and construction contractor to design and build out the site would be procured separately from this report.

 

5.    That it be noted that further reports on the re-development proposals for the site would be submitted to Cabinet (Resources) Panel.