Agenda and minutes

Cabinet
Wednesday, 6th February, 2019 5.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Centre. View directions

Contact: Elizabeth Jackson, Democratic Services Manager  Tel: 01423 500600 Email:  democraticservices@harrogate.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

93.

Apologies for Absence:

Minutes:

93/18 – APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:  An apology for absence had been received from Councillor Andy Paraskos.

(5.30 pm)

 

94.

Declarations of Interest:

Members to advise of any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

94/18 – DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST:  Councillor Richard Cooper declared an interest in respect of Minute 103/18 on the basis that he owned two properties for rent and left the meeting room during the debate and vote on the item.

 

(5.31 pm)

95.

Minutes: pdf icon PDF 254 KB

of the meeting of 2 January 2019.

Minutes:

 

95/18 – MINUTES:  The Minutes of the meeting of Cabinet held on 2 January 2019 were approved unanimously as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

 

(5.31 pm)

 

 

96.

Exempt Information:

To determine whether to exclude the press and public during the consideration of any exempt information items.

Minutes:

 

96/18 – EXEMPT INFORMATION:  The report considered at Minute 100/18 and the appendices to the report considered at Minute 105/18 were considered to be exempt under paragraph 3 of Schedule 12a to the Local Government Act. Discussion on all the items took place in open session.

(5.32 pm)

 

 

MATTERS REFERRED TO COUNCIL FOR CONSIDERATION

97.

2019/20 Draft Budget and 2020/21 Indicative Budget

Minutes:

97/18 – 2019/20 DRAFT BUDGET AND 2020/21 INDICATIVE BUDGET: 

 

97a

Overview and Scrutiny Commission Findings: pdf icon PDF 311 KB

In accordance with Council and Policy Framework Procedure Rules, the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission, Councillor Philip Broadbank to submit a written report.

Minutes:

 

(i)         Overview and Scrutiny Commission Findings:  In accordance with Council and Policy Framework Procedure Rules, the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission, Councillor Philip Broadbank, submitted a report detailing the comments from the Overview and Scrutiny Commission regarding the Executive’s budget proposals for the 2019/20 draft budget and the 2020/21 indicative budget.  The report gave details of the process undertaken by the Commission in considering the budget, which had involved an informal meeting of the Commission on 7 January to consider the focus for the subsequent formal budget scrutiny meeting on 14 January 2019 and ensure that further information was provided where required.  The Chair’s report set out those issues which had been considered by the Commission.

 

The Commission endorsed the recommendations of Cabinet of 2 January 2019 in relation to the Draft Budget for 2019/20 and Indicative Budget for 2020/21, and including the Draft Housing Revenue Account Budget for 2019/20.

 

No alternative budget had been submitted for consideration by the Commission.

 

Councillor Broadbank took the opportunity to thank the portfolio holders and officers who had contributed to the scrutiny process.

 

Cabinet thanked Councillor Broadbank for his attendance at the meeting and noted the support of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission for the budget.

 

 

97b

Latest Position pdf icon PDF 182 KB

Further to Cabinet Minute 87/18, the Head of Finance to submit a written report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(ii)        Latest Position: Further to Cabinet Minute 87/18 the Head of Finance submitted a written report on the latest position in relation to the 2019/20 draft budget and 2020/21 indicative budget.  Since that meeting there had been two updates to the budget position: confirmation had been received that there would be a reduction in the Administration Grant in 2019/20 of £60k and the introduction of a Council Tax Annexe Discount Grant of £20k from 2019/20.  Since the earlier meeting of Cabinet, the annual NNDR1 return to Government, which formed the basis of the declared Business Rates income for the following year had been finalised, and which showed a net increase of £151k in Business rates income for 2019/20 above the estimate contained in the original report, and a zero net effect for 2020/21.  Appendix 2a to the report set out the total movement between the officer proposals, Cabinet’s amendments and the NNDR1 changes.  The Head of Finance advised that the changes detailed above meant the Council was in a £71k better position for the two years.  The table at paragraph 5.4 summarised the changes resulting in a proposed 2019/20 net budget of £16,919k and indicative 2020/21 net budget of £19,290k.   The Local Government Finance Settlement for 2019/20 had been finalised with no further amendments.

 

RECOMMENDED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

That    (1) the Draft Budget for 2019/20 of £16,919k and Indicative Budget for 2020/21 of £19,290k, as updated for further changes to grant income and Business Rates income, are approved and recommended to Council, together with:

 

     i)        A Council Tax increase of 2.99% in 2019/20 and an indicative 2.99%   increase in 2020/21

    ii)        The resulting Council Tax requirement of £15,048,034 in 2019/20 and £15,683,665 in 2020/21

   iii)        The recommended minimum Working Balance level of £2,500k

   iv)        The overall budget summary, as amended, in Appendices 1b, 2a and 2b

    v)        The reductions in existing expenditure totalling £1,041k in 2019/20 and £322k in 2020/21 as shown in Appendix 3

   vi)        The increases or new areas of income, with a net reduction totalling £52k in 2019/20 and a £513k increase in 2020/21 as shown in Appendix 4 and the fees and charges schedule as shown in Appendix 4a

 vii)        The new areas of expenditure totalling £478k in 2019/20 and £124k in 2020/21 as shown in Appendix 5

viii)        The use of the budget transition fund, with £2,158k being transferred back into the fund in 2019/20 and £1,495k being used in 2020/21.

 

(2) to recommend for approval that £200k of the estimated additional income from 75% Business Rate Retention in 2019/20 is transferred to the District Improvement Fund, with the remaining balance transferring to the Budget Transition Fund;

 

(3) to recommend for approval the growth proposed of £101k in 2019/20;

 

(4) to recommend for approval that the £50k identified, from the latest review of reserves, is allocated to the Council Investment Reserve to support the Council and Investment Strategy (including ICT); and

 

(5) the report submitted by the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission arising from its  ...  view the full minutes text for item 97b

98.

Housing Investment Programme 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 453 KB

The Head of Housing and Property to submit a written report.

Minutes:

 

98/18 – HOUSING INVESTMENT PROGRAMME 2019/20:  The Head of Housing and Property submitted a written report which reviewed the latest forecast for the 2018/19 Housing Investment Programme and sought approval for the 2019/20 outline programme.  The programme was directed at achieving a combination of Government targets and the Council’s own Housing Strategy and Housing Revenue Account Business Plan targets.

 

The latest forecast expenditure for 2018/19 of £11,333k was £730k lower than the estimate previously reported in October of £12,063k, as shown in Appendix 1 of the report. The reduction was due to reduced expected spend at Allhallowgate.  Section 5.3 of the report also detailed the outline programme for 2019/20, allowing for expenditure of £12,133,850, and Appendix 2 provided a summary of the planned maintenance programme.

 

RECOMMENDED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

That    (1) the outline Housing Investment Programme for 2019/20 be approved;

 

(2) the Cabinet Member (Housing and Safer Communities) be delegated authority to approve the detailed programme of planned maintenance and improvement schemes for 2019/20; and

 

(3) the Cabinet Member (Housing and Safer Communities) be delegated authority to approve subsequent variations to the programme referred to at 2.3 above provided that such variations are within the scope of the Housing Investment Programme budget, and that such authority is only exercised upon receipt of a written report.

(5.41 pm – 5.43 pm)

 

 

99.

Treasury Management Annual Strategy, Annual Investment Strategy, Prudential and Treasury Indicators, Annual Minimum Revenue Provision Statement: pdf icon PDF 488 KB

The Head of Finance to submit a written report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

99/18 – TREASURY MANAGEMENT ANNUAL STRATEGY, ANNUAL

   INVESTMENT STRATEGY, PRUDENTIAL AND TREASURY

              INDICATORS, ANNUAL MINIMUM REVENUE PROVISION STATEMENT:  The Head of Finance submitted a written report which gave details of four topics related to Treasury Management which the Cabinet was required to consider to comply with the Council’s financial regulations and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountability (CIPFA) Code of Practice.  The report had also been considered by the Audit and Governance Committee at its meeting held on 9 January 2019.

 

RECOMMENDED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

That    (1) the Treasury Management Annual Strategy is recommended to Council for approval;

 

(2) the Annual Investment Strategy is recommended to Council for approval;

 

(3) the Prudential and Treasury Indicators are recommended to Council for approval; and

 

(4) the Annual Minimum Revenue Provision Statement is recommended to Council for approval.

(5.43 pm – 5.44 pm)

 

 

100.

Capital and Investment Programme 2019/20 to 2023/24 and 2018/19 Monitoring

The Head of Finance to submit a written report.

Minutes:

 

100/18 – CAPITAL AND INVESTMENT PROGRAMME 2019/20 TO 2023/24 AND

     2018/19 MONITORING:  The Head of Finance submitted a written report which sought approval for the Capital and Investment Programme for 2019/20 and Indicative programmes from 2020/21 to 2023/24 and provided the Quarter 3 monitoring for 2018/19.  The Council was making good progress in taking a more proactive approach to its asset management and ensuring that the return from investment was maximised.  Section 5 of the report detailed positive developments which included Planned Asset Maintenance, the Capital and Investment Strategy and the ICT Strategy and Development Plan recommended by Cabinet in January 2019.  There were a number of significant reviews which would impact on the strategy in the future and these included the leisure provision review, HCC future strategy and the Economic Growth and Commercial Property strategy.

 

Section 7 of the report gave details of the updated Capital Programme and Amended Revenue Investment Programme for Quarter 3 2018/19.  The Head of Finance reported an additional £300k of planned expenditure in respect of the new pool in Ripon be brought forward from 2019/20 to 2018/19.  Overall expenditure of £9,541k was forecast in 2018/19, a decrease of £550k from the previously approved programmes.  In addition Section 8 outlined the Capital Programme 2019/20 to 2023/24 with expenditure totalling £40,215k forecast over the five year rolling programme, an increase of £8,055k from the approved programmes. 

 

The Capital and Investment Strategy was funded by the Corporate Investment Reserve.  The estimated additional income from the piloting of 100% Business Rates in 2018/19 had been transferred to the CIR and funding was also predicated on realising capital receipts from asset sales, as outlined in paragraph 9.3.

 

RECOMMENDED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

That    (1) the latest forecast for 2018/19 be noted and the variations to Quarter 2 be approved; and

 

(2) the Draft Programme for 2019/20 and Indicative Programmes from 2020/21 to 2023/24 be approved, noting that future developments around leisure provision, HCC and Economic Growth will have an impact on the figures presented in this report.

(5.44 pm – 5.46 pm)

 

 

101.

Single Use Plastics Policy and Action Plan pdf icon PDF 616 KB

The Sustainability Officer to submit a written report.

Minutes:

 

101/18 – SINGLE USE PLASTICS POLICY AND ACTION PLAN:  The Sustainability Officer submitted a written report which provided a response to the Notice of Motion and presented the draft Single-Use Plastics Policy and action plan for approval, which was attached at Appendix A.  On 7 March 2018 Council agreed a Notice of Motion which committed the Council to phasing out plastic from its premises and setting up a Task Group to create a strategy to encourage local businesses, organisations and residents to go single-use plastic free.  A plastics task group had been convened to consider the first part of the Motion.  A survey had been undertaken to establish what kinds of plastic were being encountered by Council services to inform the development of an action plan and the survey results were shown at Appendix B.  Section 4 of the proposed policy contained an action plan which detailed how the Council would effectively and practically reduce or eliminate single-use plastics and it was expected that this could be implemented within existing budgets.

 

RECOMMENDED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

That the proposed single-use plastics policy and action plan (Appendix A) be approved.

(5.46 pm – 5.48 pm)

 

 

102.

Empty Homes Strategy 2019-2024 pdf icon PDF 262 KB

The Housing Policy and Strategy Officer to submit a written report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

102/18 – EMPTY HOMES STRATEGY 2019-2024:  The Housing Policy and Strategy Officer submitted a written report which presented the draft Empty Homes Strategy 2019-2024, attached at Appendix B, for approval.  The strategy set out the aims and objectives of the Council in addressing and reducing the number of empty homes in the district and would be supported by a revised policy in relation to enforcement powers in respect of empty homes.  There were over 800 empty homes in the district which represented a wasted housing resource and potential blight in neighbourhoods and approval of this policy would enable a consistent and transparent approach to the application of powers of enforcement.

 

The draft policy set out a three stage approach to bringing empty homes back into use:

Stage 1 – Identification (0-6 months empty) of the properties and their owners;

Stage 2 – Encourage (6-24 months empty) the owners to bring the property back into occupation, reminding them of the Council Tax charging schedule; and

Stage 3 – Enforce (24+ months empty) whilst the Council’s preferred route would be voluntary purchase, enforcement powers were available to the Council as detailed at Appendix A.

 

Appendix C provided a flowchart diagram of the pathways to occupation, Appendix D contained the scoring form used to prioritise properties for enforcement action at Stage 3 and Appendix D detailed the Action Plan for year 1 of the Strategy.

RECOMMENDED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

That    (1) the Empty Homes Strategy and associated documents be approved for immediate implementation and monitoring; and

 

(2) work on delivery of the strategy commences, to identify and prioritise long-term empty homes for enforcement action and work to reduce the number of empty homes.

(5.48 pm – 5.51 pm)

 

 

103.

Rating (Properties in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings Act) 2018 pdf icon PDF 167 KB

The Revenues, Welfare and Customer Services Manager to submit a written report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

103/18 – RATING (PROPERTIES IN COMMON OCCUPATION) AND COUNCIL

    TAX (EMPTY DWELLINGS ACT) 2018:  The Revenues, Welfare and Customer Services Manager submitted a written report detailing the changes to the levels of Council Tax premium available to charge against long term empty properties and which sought approval to increase the level of Council Tax premium charged on long term empty properties.  Implementation of such premiums would provide an additional incentive to ensure homes were brought back into occupation.

 

Since April 2013 amendments to the Local Government Finance Act (LGFA) 1992 allowed councils to apply a Council Tax premium up to 50% on properties which were unoccupied and unfurnished for over two years.  On 1 November 2018 the Rating (Properties in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Act 2018 received Royal Assent.  This Act made further amendment to the LGFA 1992 allowing the Long Term Empty Property Premium to be increased in line with the figures shown in the table at paragraph 5.2.  From 1 April 2019 properties empty for at least two years would be subject to a 100% premium, rising to a 200% premium for properties empty for at least 5 years in 2020 and 300% for properties empty for 10 years in 2021.  Harrogate Borough Council proposed to implement premiums to the maximum amount allowed by the legislation.

 

Appendix A listed 223 properties which would be subject to the empty and unfinished premium, which would amount to £96,000 additional council tax collectible for the 2018 financial year, up to £743,000 for 2021 under the new charges.

 

Consultation had taken place on the proposed changes; a copy of the questionnaire was included at Appendix B and the responses received were detailed in Appendix C.  Some recurring themes in the responses had been identified and were addressed at paragraph 5.8 of the report. 

 

RECOMMENDED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

That    (1) the outcome of the consultation at Appendix C be noted; and

 

(2) Council Tax for properties empty for over two years is charged in line with the maximum allowable premium as permitted through the Rating (Properties in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Act 2018.

 

(Councillor Richard Cooper declared an interest in Minute 103/18 on the basis that he owned two properties for rent and left the meeting room during the debate and vote on the item.)

 

(Councillor Graham Swift in the Chair for this item.)

(5.51 pm – 5.52 pm)

 

104.

North and West Yorkshire Business Rates Pool pdf icon PDF 165 KB

The Financial Services Manager to submit a written report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

CABINET

HELD ON 6 FEBRUARY 2019

(FROM 5.30 PM TO 6.02 PM)

 

PRESENT: Councillor Richard Cooper in the Chair. Councillors Rebecca Burnett, Mike Chambers, Phil Ireland, Stan Lumley and Graham Swift.

 

Late Arrivals:           None

 

Early Departures:   None

 

MATTERS TO BE DETERMINED BY CABINET

 

104/18 – NORTH AND WEST YORKSHIRE BUSINESS RATES POOL:  The Financial Services Manager submitted a written report which sought approval for the governance agreement and terms of reference associated with the North and West Yorkshire (N&WY) Business Rates pool, of which Harrogate will be a member authority in 2019/20. 

 

The Council had been a member of the Leeds City Region Business Rates pool since April 2013.  Following involvement in a successful application to MHCLG to pilot 75% retention of business rates in 2019/20 as part of a North and West Yorkshire Business Rates Pool the LCR pool was to be disbanded.  The pilot was for one year and would lead to additional income of £1.28m for 2019/20.

 

The new N&WY pool would be led by a Joint Committee comprising the Leaders of the 14 member authorities and the proposed governance agreement and terms of reference for the Joint Committee were set out at Appendices 1 and 2 respectively.  These would be formally ratified at the first meeting of the N&WY Pool Joint Committee.

 

RESOLVED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

That    (1) it is noted that the Leeds City Region Business Rates pool is to be revoked on 31st March 2019 and the Leeds City Region Business Rates pool Joint Committee will therefore be disbanded on the same date;

 

(2) the governance agreement (Appendix 1) and terms of reference (Appendix 2) for the new North and West Yorkshire Business Rates pool be approved; and

 

(3) the Leader be appointed to the Joint Committee for the North and West Yorkshire Business Rates pool for the 2019/20 financial year.

 

Reasons for decision:

 

The council was a member of the N&WY Business Rates pool that had been approved by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to operate for 2019/20.  In order for this pool to operate, the existing LCR pool must be revoked.  Each member authority must approve the governance agreement and terms of reference for the new N&WY pool.

 

As part of the governance agreement, Harrogate was stated as being one of the members of the Joint Committee that would oversee the N&WY pool.

 

Alternative options considered and rejected:

 

Not to approve the governance agreement and terms of reference.  Not recommended as these were in line with the original application to MHCLG, as reported to Cabinet on 14 November 2018.  Arrangements must be in place for the commencement of the new pool on 1 April 2019.  If agreement was not in place, the pool would be revoked and there would be significant financial cost to the Council and all other member authorities.

 

Not to approve that the Leader sit on the Joint Committee for the pool.  Not recommended as this would contradict the governance agreement  ...  view the full minutes text for item 104.

105.

2018/19 January Financial & Service Plan Performance Update pdf icon PDF 315 KB

The Service Finance Manager and Business Intelligence and Performance Manager to submit a written report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

105/18 – 2018/19 JANUARY FINANCIAL & SERVICE PLAN PERFORMANCE

                 UPDATE:  The Head of Finance submitted a written report presenting the Council’s latest financial position and a summary of service plan performance. The position at the time of writing the report showed a projected overspend of £1k on General Fund activity.  A service by service summary of the variances was shown in the table at paragraph 5.3 and the reasons for the variances within services were explained in paragraph 5.4.  The report had also been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Commission at its meeting held on 4 February 2019.  Detailed profit and loss accounts for Green Waste, Trade Waste and the Turkish Baths were attached at exempt Appendices B to D.  Exempt Appendices A and E detailed reasons for the financial pressures and lettings information at Harrogate Convention Centre.  Appendix F showed how the variances related to budgeted savings and increased income.

 

RESOLVED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

That the Council’s current financial position, a projected overspend of £1k, and service plan exception reporting is noted.

 

Reason for decision:

 

It was good financial discipline that regular reporting was presented to Management and Members so as to ensure expenditure remained within budget, that potential underspends were highlighted and areas that were off target were highlighted and mitigating actions could be identified.

 

Alternative option considered and rejected:

 

Not to receive financial reporting which would weaken financial control, increase the risk of overspends against budget or missed opportunities to utilise underspends or identify mitigating actions.

(5.56 pm to 5.58 pm)

 

(D)

 

 

106.

Corporate Performance Report: Quarter Three, 2018/2019 pdf icon PDF 582 KB

The Business Intelligence and Performance Manager to submit a written report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

106/18 – CORPORATE PERFORMANCE REPORT: QUARTER THREE,

                2018/2019:  The Business Intelligence and Performance Manager submitted a written report which provided an update on the measures within the Corporate Delivery Plan and the Corporate Health performance indicators at Quarter Three.  Appendix 1 to the report provided detail on the measures within the Corporate Delivery Plan.  The report had previously been received by Management Board, whose comments were incorporated into the report at section 8. 

 

The Overview and Scrutiny Commission had also considered the report at its meeting held on 4 February 2019.  The Leader invited the Chair of the Commission, Councillor Philip Broadbank, to speak on the item and Cabinet thanked the Commission for its comments.

 

RESOLVED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

That the report be received, and the comments from the Overview and Scrutiny Commission and Management Board be considered and noted.

 

Reason for decision:

 

Our Corporate Plan sets out our long-term vision for the Harrogate district, our aim as an organisation, our corporate priorities and the long term outcomes that we wanted to achieve. The Delivery Plan was updated on an annual basis and detailed what we will do, what our targets were and how we will measure these; this report tracks our progress against the Delivery Plan.

 

Alternative option considered and rejected:

 

No alternative options were considered as reporting progress on the Council’s Corporate Delivery Plan and corporate health performance was a key part of the Council’s performance management arrangements.

(5.58 pm to 6.00 pm)

 

(D)

 

 

107.

Looked After Children Strategy and Pledges pdf icon PDF 169 KB

The Director of Community to submit a written report.

Minutes:

 

107/18 – LOOKED AFTER CHILDREN STRATEGY AND PLEDGES:  The Director of Community submitted a written report which informed Members of the development of a new Looked after Children’s Strategy for North Yorkshire.  The Children and Social Work Act 2017 had extended Corporate Parenting responsibilities to District as well as County councils for the first time and the multi-agency Looked After Children’s Partnership had been working to develop a new Looked After Children Strategy.  The strategy set out seven principles that local authorities must have regard to when exercising their functions in relation to looked after children and young people and these were set out at paragraph 5.4.  A statement of support had been agreed for endorsement at district level outlining a number of actions in relation to Looked After Children and Care Leavers as detailed at paragraph 5.6.  

 

RESOLVED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

That    (1) the launch of the new Looked After Children’s Strategy be noted;

 

(2) it be noted that the role of corporate parents now extends to District Councillors and that it is intended to meet this duty through the delivery of a range of support mechanisms;

 

(3) the activities proposed to support Looked After Children and Care Leavers as listed at paragraph 5.6 be endorsed;

 

(4) the relevant officers be delegated authority to work alongside the Local Authority Children and Families service at NYCC over the next 12 months to develop an offer to children in care and care leavers to deliver the actions contained within the statement of support in this report.

 

Reason for decision:

 

This recognised the Council’s new responsibilities in relation to support for Looked After Children and Care Leavers.

 

This would ensure that the offer of support within Harrogate was consistent with that throughout the York and North Yorkshire area.

 

Alternative option considered and rejected:

 

Not to adopt the strategy and statement of support. This was recommended for rejection as this would not provide equality of opportunity for LAC/CL living within Harrogate, compared with those living throughout the remainder of the North Yorkshire area and would not fulfil the council’s role in providing support to vulnerable children and young people living within the district.

 

(6.00 pm to 6.02 pm)

 

(D)

 

 

108.

Ripon Leisure Centre - Harry's Place Childcare: Forward Plan Ref: EC023Jan08 pdf icon PDF 390 KB

The Change Manager to submit a written report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

108/18 – RIPON LEISURE CENTRE - HARRY'S PLACE CHILDCARE:  This item was withdrawn at the request of the Leader.