Agenda and minutes

Cabinet - Wednesday, 18th August, 2021 5.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Centre, St Luke's Avenue, Harrogate HG1 2AE. This meeting will be livestreamed here: https://bit.ly/HarrogateYouTube (Copy and paste the link in your browser).. View directions

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

Items
No. Item

30.

Apologies for Absence:

Minutes:

30/21 – APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND NOTIFICATION OF SUBSTITUTES: There were no apologies for absence.

 

(5.32 pm)

 

31.

Declarations of Interest:

Members to advise of any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

31/21 – DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST: There were no declarations of interest.

 

(5.32 pm)

 

32.

Minutes: pdf icon PDF 300 KB

of the meeting of 21 July 2021.

Minutes:

32/21 – MINUTES: The Minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 21 July 2021 were approved unanimously as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

 

(5.32 pm)

 

33.

Exempt Information:

To determine whether to exclude the press and public during the consideration of any exempt information items – items 5, 7(part) and 10(part).

Minutes:

33/21 – EXEMPT INFORMATION: The report at Minute 34/21 and the appendices to the reports at Minutes 36/21 and 39/21 were considered to be exempt under paragraph 3 of Schedule 12a to the Local Government Act 1972.  Discussion on the items took place in open session.

 

(5.33 pm)

 

34.

Capital and Investment Programme 2021/22 Quarter 1:

The Head of Finance to submit a written report.

Minutes:

34/21 – CAPITAL AND INVESTMENT PROGRAMME 2021/22 QUARTER 1: The Head of Finance submitted a written report and sought approval for the amended Capital Programme for 2021/22 and Indicative Programmes from 2022/23 to 2025/26. The Council had made good progress in taking a more proactive approach to its asset management and ensuring that the return from investment was maximised.  Costs in the strategy were provisional high level estimates based on prices at the time and would vary as more detailed work was undertaken on projects. A number of significant reviews would impact on the Capital and Investment Strategy in the future and these included the Sport and Leisure review, HCC Future Strategy, and the Economic Growth Strategy.

 

Section 6 of the report outlined the governance arrangements for the Programme, which was reported to Management Board before approval by Cabinet and Council in February alongside the revenue budget.  As was the nature of capital and investment works, expenditure could vary or be delayed and therefore new spending approvals would be sought in the quarterly monitoring reports and the implications for the programme made clear. 

 

The amended Capital Programme for 2021/22 to 2025/26 was outlined in Table 1 at paragraph 7.1 of the report, and further detail was given at Appendix 1.  Paragraph 7.2 detailed minor changes to the original approved programme.  The amended Revenue Investment Programme for 2021/22 to 2025/26 was shown in Table 2 at paragraph 7.3, and further detail was given at Appendix 2, this was £50k more than the agreed programme as a result of works detailed at paragraph 7.4.  Section 8 set out the resources available to fund the programme, including the latest position on anticipated capital receipts.

 

Overall, capital and revenue expenditure of £55,312k was forecast in the amended five year rolling programme to 2026, which was £50k more than the previously approved programmes.  The strategy was no longer fully funded with a shortfall of £41k in 2026/27

 

RECOMMENDED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

That the amended Programme for 2021/22 and Indicative Programmes from 2022/23 to 2025/26 are approved, noting that future developments around the Sport and Leisure review, Harrogate Convention Centre (HCC) and Economic Growth will have an impact on the figures in this report.

 

(5.33 pm to 5.35 pm)

 

35.

Medium Term Financial Strategy 2022/23 to 2026/27: pdf icon PDF 137 KB

The Head of Finance to submit a written report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

35/21 – MEDIUM TERM FINANCIAL STRATEGY 2022/23 TO 2026/27: The Head of Finance submitted a written report which presented the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) for the period 2022/23 to 2026/27 and detailed the assumed budget parameters. The MTFS set out how the Council planned to manage its finances over the next five years and how resources could be aligned to the priorities set out in the Council’s other key strategic documents, the Corporate Plan and the 2024 Programme. A copy of the Strategy was attached as an Appendix to the report and provided an overview of the Council’s current financial position and set out the key considerations in the Council’s financial planning. 

 

The Government had announced in July that councils in North Yorkshire would be reorganised to form one unitary council across the whole of the county from April 2023.  Harrogate Borough Council would continue to operate until March 2023 and the MTFS would provide information on the key budget pressures facing the Council and assumptions for future funding which would inform the final budget for the Council and the budget preparations of the new unitary council. 

 

In introducing the report the Head of Finance reported that future funding for local government continued to be uncertain due to a delay in the spending review until later in the autumn and also anticipated delays in the fair-funding review.  Business rates reform was also expected to be delayed, and would include a re-set of the business rate baseline, which would be significant for Harrogate as growth in business rates since 2013-14 would be lost costing the Council approximately £600k. It was also assumed that the new homes bonus would be phased out by 2023/24 with a reduction in grant of £1.2 million in the first year and £0.5m in the second year.    

 

The key considerations and assumptions were brought together in the table at paragraph 66 which set out projected expenditure against projected funding for each of the years from 2022/23 to 2026/27.  A budget surplus was shown for 2022/23 due to the anticipated delay in the business rates baseline reset.  Significant pressure was showing for 2023/24 onwards and paragraphs 68 to 71 set out how the Council would address this through use of the Budget Transition Fund to smooth out the budget deficits. 

 

Subject to the approval of Cabinet the Strategy would go forward for scrutiny by the Overview and Scrutiny Commission on 6 September 2021, following which further report would be made to Cabinet and the Strategy adopted by Council at its December meeting.

 

RECOMMENDED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

That   (1) the budget parameters as laid out in the MTFS are agreed; and

 

(2) the Overview and Scrutiny Commission is allowed until 13 October 2021 to report on its deliberations on the MTFS 2022/23 to 2026/27.

 

(5.35 pm to 5.42 pm)

36.

2021/22 July Financial and Service Plan Performance Update: pdf icon PDF 305 KB

The Service Finance Manager and Improvement and Development Manager to submit a written report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

36/21 – 2021/22 JULY FINANCIAL AND SERVICE PLAN PERFORMANCE

  UPDATE: The Head of Finance submitted a written report which presented the Council’s latest financial position along with a summary of the current Service Plan performance, on an exception basis. The Council was currently reporting a forecast underspend of £32k on General Fund activity. 

 

The budget for 2021/22 included an estimated ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which was expected to lessen as the year progressed.  The key variances that made up the forecast were shown in Table 1 at paragraph 5.5 of the report, which included savings of £561k relating to staff turnover and usual delay in filling posts. Table 2 at paragraph 5.6 summarised the service by service variances, including variance attributed to COVID-19.  Paragraph 5.7 provided further detail for each service and further detail for the Council’s key commercial areas was attached as exempt Appendices B to E to the report.   Exempt Appendices A and F provided reasons for HCC’s underspend of £658k and detailed lettings information.  Appendix G to the report showed how variances related to budgeted savings and increased income and overall there was a forecast over-delivery of net savings of £83k.

 

RESOLVED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

That the Council’s current financial position, a forecast underspend of £32k, and service plan exception reporting, is noted.

 

Reasons for decision:

 

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

 

Alternative options considered and recommended for rejection:

 

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.

(5.42 pm to 5.55 pm)

 

37.

Corporate Performance Report, Q1 2021/22: pdf icon PDF 766 KB

The Improvement and Development Manager to submit a written report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

37/21 – CORPORATE PERFORMANCE REPORT, Q1 2021/22: The Improvement and Development Manager submitted a written report which was presented by the Director of Corporate Affairs (DCA) and which provided an update on the quarter one progress on the measures within the Corporate Delivery Plan. Appendix 1 to the report provided an update on performance against the Corporate Delivery Plan priorities and Appendix 2 contained the Corporate Health Report showing progress against the various performance indicators. 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 and noted the report at its meeting held on 16 August 2021. 

 

In introducing the report the DCA reported that Quarter 1 performance had been strong with 87% of actions on target.  Highlights included the transfer of sport and leisure services into Brimhams Active, the number of households in temporary accommodation were at the lowest level since 2009 following the completion of Fern House and the number of affordable homes delivered continued to increase with 110 delivered in this quarter.  

 

RESOLVED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

That the report be received and the comments from Management Board be noted.

 

Reasons 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 want to achieve. The Delivery Plan was updated on an annual basis and detailed what we would do, what our targets were and how we would measure these. This report tracked our progress against the Delivery Plan.

 

Alternative options considered and recommended for rejection:

 

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

(5.55 pm to 6.00 pm)

 

 (D)

 

38.

Housing Investment Programme 2021/22 Monitoring: pdf icon PDF 147 KB

The Head of Finance to submit a written report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

38/21 – HOUSING INVESTMENT PROGRAMME 2021/22 MONITORING: The Head of Finance presented a written report which provided the latest forecast for the Housing Investment Programme (HIP) for 2021/22 and highlighted the main variances between this latest forecast and the budget. 

 

On 3 February 2021, Cabinet had approved the HIP for 2021/22 with a forecast expenditure of £10,543k. On 23 June 2021, the HIP outturn for 2020/21 was presented to Cabinet with no carry forward to 2021/22.  The latest forecast programme as at the end of June 2020 had decreased by £457k to £11,772k and a full breakdown of the budget and how the programme would be resourced was shown at Appendix 1.

 

The report gave details of the key variations in the programme, which mainly related to housing development where expenditure of £566k would be deferred, although eight new builds and refurbishments were expected to be completed this year.   More of the HIP would now be funded by 1-4-1 receipts following changes by the Government to allow 1-4-1 receipts to fund 40%, up from 30%, of new builds and acquisitions.

 

RESOLVED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

That the report is received and the position noted.

 

Reasons for decision:

 

The individual schemes and the overall funding levels need to be reported for capital budget monitoring purposes.

 

Alternative options considered and recommended for rejection:

 

Not to report. This would mean the Council would not be adequately monitoring capital expenditure. 

(6.00 pm to 6.03 pm)

 

(D)

 

39.

Core Infrastructure, Server and Storage Replacements - Forward Plan Ref: 37ICT21: pdf icon PDF 242 KB

The ICT Programme Manager to submit a written report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

39/21 – CORE INFRASTRUCTURE, SERVER & STORAGE

   REPLACEMENTS – FORWARD PLAN REF: 37ICT21:  The ICT Project Manager submitted a written report which sought approval for the award of five year contracts to Dell and North for replacements of server, storage and core infrastructure.  The replacements were required as the current equipment was now five years old and close to the end of its life.  The total cost was expected to be approximately £2,155k, though this could vary due to exchange rates and availability of specifications at the time of ordering, and a contingency of £192k was proposed to be included in the overall project budget which was £2,347k.

 

Attached as exempt Appendices A and B to the report were a breakdown of the projected costs and a detailed specification for the project.  Also attached at exempt Appendices C and D were emails providing confirmation of the price advantage being offered by the potential suppliers.  The Corporate Procurement Unit had carried out a procurement framework appraisal and details were contained in exempt Appendix E.  It was recommended that a direct award be made to Dell via the North of England Northern Procurement Collective Link IT (3) framework IT Hardware and Services, and a direct award be made to North via the via the Crown Commercial Services (CCS) Network Services 2 Framework Agreement ref RM3808 Lot 2 Local Connectivity Services.

 

In response to a question from a Cabinet Member the ICT Project Manager advised that a cloud storage option would not be suitable as many of the Council’s major systems were not yet cloud compatible and it was currently expensive to access data stored in the cloud. 

 

RESOLVED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

That   (1) a five year contract be awarded to Dell for a Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI) including onsite maintenance, plus the standalone servers as per paragraphs 1.1 and 1.2 of the report, in the amount of circa £734k (breakdown is attached at Appendix A);

 

(2) a five year contract be awarded to North for the supply and maintenance of equipment as per paragraph 1.3 of the report in the amount of circa £1,421k (breakdown is attached at Appendix B); and

 

(3) a contingency of £192k be approved so that the project does not flounder based on changes to underlying hardware specification or need, shipping, exchange rate and transport costs.

 

Reasons for decision:

 

The existing storage and server architecture was approaching five years old and would reach the end of its expected working life mid-2021, early 2022. The replacement would take time to ensure minimal disruption to operations. To try to eke further longevity from the equipment would result in a catastrophic failure and loss of data.

 

We were required under PSN and PCI DSS to operate current supported versions of our infrastructure and by the end of 2022 we would no longer do so without this programme of work. The replacement program itself would take the majority of the available time.

 

The current storage maintenance agreement would reach its end in June 2021 and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.