Agenda and minutes

Cabinet - Wednesday, 22nd June, 2022 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

1.

Apologies for Absence:

Minutes:

01/22 – APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND NOTIFICATION OF SUBSTITUTES: There were no apologies for absence.

 

(5.30 pm)

2.

Declarations of Interest:

Members to advise of any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

02/22 – DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST: There were no declarations of interest.

 

(5.30 pm)

3.

Minutes: pdf icon PDF 279 KB

of the meeting of 27 April 2022.

Minutes:

03/22 – MINUTES: The Minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 27 April 2022 were approved unanimously as a correct record.

 

(5.31 pm)

4.

Exempt Information:

To determine whether to exclude the press and public during the consideration of any exempt information items – item 5.

Minutes:

04/22 – EXEMPT INFORMATION: The report considered at Minute 05/22 was considered to be exempt under paragraph 3 of Schedule 12a to the Local Government Act. Discussion on the item took place in open session.

 

(5.31 pm)

5.

Capital and Investment Programme 2021/22 Outturn and 2022/23 to 2026/27 Update:

The Head of Finance to submit a written report.

Minutes:

MATTER TO BE REFERRED TO COUNCIL

 

05/22 – CAPITAL AND INVESTMENT PROGRAMME 2021/22 OUTTURN AND 2022/23 TO 2026/27 UPDATE: The Head of Finance submitted a written report which outlined the Non-Housing Capital and Investment Programme Outturn for 2021/22.  Approval was also sought for the amended Programme for 2022/23 and Indicative Programmes from 2023/24 and 2026/27. 

 

The Council had continued to make good progress in taking a more proactive approach to its asset management through the Capital and Investment Strategy.  Costs in the strategy were provisional high level estimates based on prices at the time, which were likely to be inflated in the future.  A number of significant reviews would affect the Capital and Investment Strategy in the future and these included the HCC Future Strategy and the Economic Growth Strategy. 

 

In preparation for Local Government Reorganisation in North Yorkshire a prioritisation exercise had been undertaken to score and rank corporate and service plan projects, resulting in an agreed list of priority projects which was attached as Appendix 1.  Projects with a statutory compliance or health and safety risk would continue to take first priority, followed by the Top 50 priority projects from the list.  No budgets had been removed from the Capital and Investment Programme as a result of this exercise.

 

Section 8 of the report detailed outturn in respect of the Capital Programme and Revenue Investment Programme for 2021/22, as compared to the latest forecast approved in February 2022.  Full details were included in Appendices 2 and 3, however overall capital and revenue investment expenditure of £17,925k was spent in 2021/22, a net reduction of £12,801k compared to the approved programmes, and the reasons for this decrease were set out in section 8 of the report.  Unused resources of £12,706k would be carried forward to fund future expenditure.  

 

Amendments were proposed to both the Capital Programme and the Revenue Investment Programme for 2022/23 to 2026/27, which were outlined at Section 9 of the report and detailed in Appendices 4 and 5.  Capital and revenue investment expenditure of £79,998k was forecast in the amended five year rolling programme, which was an increase of £14,298k from the approved programmes. 

 

As part of the move to a new authority a Section 24 Direction restricted district councils from making financial decisions without consent from the North Yorkshire County Council Executive.  A General Consent had been granted to Harrogate Borough Council to enable it to proceed with its business and the Capital and Investment Quarter 3 report approved by Cabinet on 2 February 2022 was put forward as the level of expenditure allowed.  In introducing the report the Head of Finance reported that only the first project listed at paragraph 10.5 would require specific consent from the North Yorkshire County Council Executive under the Section 24 Direction.  The second project was below the capital threshold.

 

RECOMMENDED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

That    (1) the outturn for 2021/22 is noted;

 

(2) the amended Programme for 2022/23 and Indicative Programmes from 2023/24 to 2026/27 are approved, noting that future developments  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Corporate Performance Report, Q4 and Year End 2021/22: pdf icon PDF 860 KB

The Improvement and Development Manager to submit a written report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

MATTERS DETERMINED BY CABINET

 

06/22 – CORPORATE PERFORMANCE REPORT, Q4 AND YEAR END 2021/22: The Improvement and Development Manager submitted a written report which provided an update on quarter 4 and the year-end progress on the measures within the Corporate Delivery Plan.  Appendix A to the report provided an update on performance against the Corporate Delivery Plan priorities as of year-end 2021/22 and Appendix B contained a Corporate Health Summary showing progress against the various performance indicators. 

 

The Director of Corporate Affairs reported that 92% of delivery plan actions were on target or completed and performance indicators were also performing well.  Key successes included establishing Destination Harrogate, launching Brimhams Active and administering nearly £18m worth of grants.  Areas of concern were detailed at paragraphs 7.1 and 7.2 and in connection with this the Leader confirmed that implementation of the People Strategy was to be included in his portfolio objectives for the forthcoming year.

 

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 of 6 June 2022 and concurred with the comments made by Management Board.

 

RESOLVED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

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

 

Reasons for decision:

 

Our Corporate Plan set 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 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.

(5.36 pm to 5.43 pm)

 

 (D)

7.

Corporate Plan on a Page Agreement: pdf icon PDF 157 KB

The Principal Business Intelligence and Performance Officer to submit a written report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

07/22 – CORPORATE PLAN ON A PAGE AGREEMENT: The Director of Corporate Affairs submitted a written report which sought agreement on the 2022/23 Corporate Delivery Plan priority projects, as detailed in Appendix I.  The Delivery Plan showed the Council’s four corporate priorities, setting out a number of aims under each priority and how progress on each aim would be measured.  The Delivery Plan was reviewed annually as part of the integrated strategic and financial planning process and no changes were proposed for 2022/23 from the 2020/21 Delivery Plan, which was attached at Appendix II. 

 

RESOLVED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

To agree the Corporate Delivery Plan priority projects attached at Appendix I.

 

Reasons for decision:

 

Our Corporate Plan set 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 reviewed on an annual basis and detailed what we would do, what our targets were and how we would measure these.

 

We carried out a full review of the Delivery Plan for the start of 2020/21 (with a light touch review in 2021/22), recognising the need to carry out long-term planning and provide some narrative on our response to the pandemic. Since then, Local Government Reorganisation had changed the landscape significantly; Harrogate Borough Council would be abolished and all existing functions would be transferred to the new North Yorkshire Council on 1 April 2023. In response to this, officers had ranked service plan actions to ensure those which scored highest, and therefore offered the greatest potential benefit, could be prioritised over the remaining months of Harrogate Borough Council. The proposed Corporate Delivery Plan was aligned to those top priority actions.

 

Alternative options considered and recommended for rejection:

 

Not to agree the priority projects within the Delivery Plan; it was recommended that this was rejected as these had been based on the evidence gathered during our strategic planning process and in response to local government reorganisation.

 

(5.44 pm to 5.45 pm)

 

 (D)

8.

Local Taxation - Irrecoverable Amounts: pdf icon PDF 264 KB

The Revenues and Income Manager to submit a written report.

Minutes:

08/22 – LOCAL TAXATION - IRRECOVERABLE AMOUNTS: The Revenues and Income Manager submitted a written report which informed Cabinet of the amount of Council Tax and Non-Domestic Rates bad debt submitted for write off at the end of March 2022 as it was considered irrecoverable.  The debts covered the period between 1993/94 to 2021/22 and were submitted to be written off now because there were no realistic prospects of recovery, the reasons and amounts were set out in paragraphs 5.2, 5.3 and Appendix A to the report.  It was noted that the Council’s collection rate remained high at 97.6% for Council Tax, however it had fallen to 93.9% for Non-Domestic rates as a result of COVID-19.  Write off of these debts would have no impact on the 2021/22 revenue budget.  A total of £129,099.66 was being written of for Non-Domestic Rates, and for Council Tax the total was £373,679.40.

 

RESOLVED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

That the amounts set out in the attached schedules are written off as irrecoverable.

 

Reasons for decision:

 

Regular review and write-off of bad debts was good accountancy practice. Before debts were submitted for write-off they went through a stringent process within the office whereby each debt has to:

 

·      Be investigated and allocated a reason for write-off, supported with

appropriate information and/or paperwork

·      Be considered by at least two officers

·      Have undergone a minimum of checks

·      The process used was the subject of audit scrutiny, and had been found to

be entirely satisfactory

 

The Head of Finance had authority to write off individual debts of up to £500 and the Cabinet Member for Resources, Enterprise and Economic Development had authority to write off debts up to £100,000. Amounts above this threshold were required to be submitted to the full Cabinet for approval.

 

Alternative options considered and recommended for rejection:

 

To continue with the enforcement process was not considered to be appropriate for these debts. The statutory processes have been exhausted in many cases and in some cases (for example insolvency) the law does not permit us to continue with the enforcement process.

 

(5.46 pm to 5.48 pm)

 

 (D)