Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Virtual Meeting - Zoom - Public Access via YouTube https://www.youtube.com/bathnescouncil. View directions

Contact: Michaela Gay  01225 394411

Items
No. Item

67.

Welcome and introductions

Minutes:

The Chair, Councillor Kevin Guy, welcomed everyone watching and participating at the virtual Cabinet meeting. The Chair made the following statement:

Due to rise in Covid numbers, and to a desire to retain a level of social distancing at Council meetings, we are holding this ‘informal’ virtual Cabinet meeting to enable Cabinet, Councillors and members of the public to take part.  This virtual meeting will be conducted in the normal manner but, as any decisions made will not be legally enforceable, they will be formally made at the physically reduced, quorate decision-making meeting tomorrow on 11th November 2021.
We will review this approach for any future Cabinet meetings, in line with government and health guidance at that time.

The Chair asked each of the Cabinet Members to introduce themselves.

 

The Chair thanked the Democratic Services Officer Jack Latkovic for his work with the Council.

68.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

There were none.

69.

Declarations of Interest

At this point in the meeting declarations of interest are received from Members in any of the agenda items under consideration at the meeting. Members are asked to indicate:

(a) The agenda item number in which they have an interest to declare.

(b) The nature of their interest.

(c) Whether their interest is a disclosable pecuniary interest or an other interest,  (as defined in Part 2, A and B of the Code of Conduct and Rules for Registration of Interests)

Any Member who needs to clarify any matters relating to the declaration of interests is recommended to seek advice from the Council’s Monitoring Officeror a member of his staff before the meeting to expedite dealing with the item during the meeting.

Minutes:

There were none.

70.

To Announce any Urgent Business Agreed by the Chair

Minutes:

There was none.

71.

Questions from Public and Councillors

Questions submitted before the deadline will receive a reply from an appropriate Cabinet member or a promise to respond within 5 days of the meeting.  Councillors may ask one supplementary question for each question they submitted, up to a maximum of two per Councillor.

Minutes:

There were 31 questions from Councillors and 2 questions from a member of the public.

[Copies of the questions and responses, including supplementary questions and responses if any, have been placed on the Minute book and are available on the Council's website.]

Additional documents:

72.

Statements, Deputations or Petitions from Public or Councillors

Councillors and members of the public may register their intention to make a statement if they notify the subject matter of their statement before the deadline.  Statements are limited to 3 minutes each.  The speaker may then be asked by Cabinet members to answer factual questions arising out of their statement.

Minutes:

Graham Pristo made a statement regarding transport matters and the city’s economy.

 

Martin Grixoni made a statement regarding Bath business challenges. [a copy of which is attached to the Minutes on the Council's website]

 

Lynda Lloyd made a statement regarding Blue Badge access to the City Centre [a copy of which is attached to the Minutes on the Council's website]

 

Bob Goodman made a statement regarding environmental issues [a copy of which is attached to the Minutes on the Council's website]

 

David Redgewell made a statement regarding transport and planning [a copy of which is attached to the Minutes on the Council's website]

 

Councillor Jackson made a statement regarding the SACRE syllabus [a copy of which is attached to the Minutes on the Council's website]

 

Councillor Pritchard in a statement regarding access issues in the city centre.

Supplementary Information

Additional documents:

73.

Minutes of Previous Cabinet Meeting pdf icon PDF 230 KB

To be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chair

Minutes:

It was RESOLVED to recommend the approval of the minutes of 9th September 2021 to Cabinet on 11th November 2021.

 

74.

Consideration of Single Member Items Requisitioned to Cabinet

This is a standard agenda item, to cover any reports originally placed on the Weekly list for single Member decision making, which have subsequently been the subject of a Cabinet Member requisition to the full Cabinet, under the Council’s procedural rules

Minutes:

There were none.

75.

Matters Referred by Policy Development and Scrutiny Bodies

This is a standing agenda item (Constitution rule 14, part 4D – Executive Procedure Rules) for matters referred by Policy Development and Scrutiny bodies.  The Chair of the relevant PDS Panel will have the right to attend and to introduce the Panel’s recommendations to Cabinet.

Minutes:

There were none.

76.

Single Member Cabinet Decisions Taken since Previous Cabinet Meeting pdf icon PDF 63 KB

A list of Cabinet Single Member decisions taken and published since the last Cabinet meeting to note (no debate).

Minutes:

It was RESOLVED to recommend that the Cabinet on 11th November 2021 note the report.

 

77.

Virgin Care Contract Extension - Options Appraisal pdf icon PDF 191 KB

B&NES, Swindon & Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BSWCCG) Governing Body and B&NES Council, as joint commissioners, have requested a report setting out an options appraisal to help decide whether it wishes to extend the Virgin Care contract. 

 

This is a seven year contract from 2017/18 to 2023/2024 with the option for BSWCCG and B&NES Council to extend the contract term by three years, taking the contract term to 2026/2027.  Virgin Care would need to be notified of the decision to extend or not to extend the contract by no later than end of March 2022.

 

The original contract expiration date is the end of contract year seven and this point is deemed to be an ordinary exit date with the option to extend for a further three years.

 

If a decision were taken to exercise the option to extend the contract term the Co-ordinating Commissioner (B&NES Council) must give written notice to Virgin Care no later than 24 months prior to the original expiry date (end of year 5 2021/2022 – March 2022 latest date). The option to extend the contract term by three years can only be taken once.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Alison Born introduced the report and made the following statement:

 

This report sets out an options appraisal to help the Council and CCG, as joint commissioners, decide whether they wish to extend the Virgin Care contract for the delivery of integrated health care, social care and public health services in B&NES.

By way of background, the contract for community health and Care services for Bath and North East Somerset was awarded to Virgin Care in 2016 at the end of a comprehensive engagement and commissioning process known as “Your Care Your Way”.

The contract was for an initial 7 years with the option to extend for a further 3 years. A decision regarding the extension must be made and communicated to Virgin Care by the end of March 2022. The decision to extend is a joint one with the CCG as it is a shared contract. The potential extension will take the term of the contract up to the end of March 2027.

A review of the services provided by Virgin Care has been undertaken and that information, together with an evaluation of the current health and social care landscape has informed the detailed options appraisal required for the Cabinet and the CCG Board to make an informed decision. The CCG is also meeting this week to consider the options paper.

The 3 options considered are:

Option 1 – To extend the contract with no changes

Option 2 – To not extend the contract

Option 3 – To extend the contract with the statutory functions of CHC and Adult Safeguarding returning to the CCG and the Council

Option 3 is recommended for the following reasons:

-  Virgin Care has generally provided good services, more recently (in the context of the pandemic) in very challenging circumstances and has worked constructively with partners across health and social care.

-  It has also made some significant improvements to services since it took on the community contract in 2017, examples include the introduction of electronic care records, developments within stroke services and district nursing.

-  This is a particularly challenging time for health and social care and services must focus on reform and recovery from the pandemic.

-  NHS commissioning is currently transitioning to the new integrated care arrangements and further disruption within provider services would be destabilising at this time. It should be done if it is necessary, but it isn’t. It is also unlikely that there will be other providers with the right experience able to take this work on within the timescale required.

-  We must keep the needs of service users foremost in our minds and It makes most sense at this time to opt for stability and continuity by extending the contract for a further 3 years with the withdrawal of the statutory services and with the requirement that Virgin Care makes improvements in some areas such as waiting times, length of stay and in the provision of the reablement service.

These 3 options have been  ...  view the full minutes text for item 77.

78.

Council House Building Programme pdf icon PDF 130 KB

The administration set a manifesto commitment to deliver Council Housing in addition to the social housing currently being delivered through established enabling activities.  A programme to directly deliver around 50 units of accommodation over the next 1-2 years, including both supported housing and shared-ownership housing, is currently in progress. 

 

A decision is now required on the milestone to extend this programme to deliver a further tranche of up to 58 affordable Council Houses by utilising eight sites identified in this report.  These homes would all be social rented homes. 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Tom Davies introduced the report and made the following statement:

 

“In 2019 we all made a commitment to the residents of Bath & North East Somerset - a commitment that we as a LibDem administration would build the first general needs Council Houses in our area for a generation. 

Tonight, we as a Cabinet are here to deliver on this commitment as we approve the first phase of this new Council House building programme and I am delighted to be here proposing this paper.

And as we sit here tonight considering this item, never has the need for new Council Houses been so great. As an area with some of the least affordable housing in the country, thousands of our local residents are currently on our social housing waiting list, hundreds of them in the categories of highest need. 

As the paper in front of us shows - the Council has and will continue to play a key role in enabling new social and affordable housing to be built and delivered in our area by developers including our local housing association partners. With the Council playing this enabling role, nearly 2,000 affordable homes have been delivered in our area over the last ten years. Furthermore the Council is already working to deliver a programme of around 50 units of accommodation including supported housing and shared-ownership housing.

But the scale of the need means that it is vital that the Council now plays a new role and takes on a new responsibility - a role in which it utilises some of its own assets and becomes responsible for directly delivering and owning new general needs Council Houses for social rent for our residents. This is what we are here tonight as a Cabinet to approve.

And people listening tonight should be under no illusion as to the scale of this LibDem administration’s ambition for the role the Council can play in this area.

Tonight we consider the first 58 general needs homes across eight sites, but over the coming months we will be developing plans for the delivery of hundreds of additional Council Houses in our area over the coming years. 

Under the Liberal Democrats, this Council will become a leading provider of social housing in our area - housing of which we are proud - housing of high quality and which, in its design, construction and on-going maintenance, meets our obligations under the ecological and climate emergency declarations which we have made. 

And I would also like to stress that whilst we have been advised that due to aspects of commercial confidentiality we have had to keep the specific details of the sites being considered out of the public papers for tonight’s Cabinet, any Councillor who wishes to see the list of proposed sites, need only contact the Head of Housing and he will happily arrange to meet with them to share this information. Furthermore, I would stress that any site development will of course be subject to the full  ...  view the full minutes text for item 78.

79.

Treasury Management Monitoring Report to 30th September 2021 pdf icon PDF 463 KB

Treasury risk management at the Authority is conducted within the framework of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s Treasury Management in the Public Services: Code of Practice 2017 Edition (the CIPFA Code), which requires the Council to approve a Treasury Management Strategy before the start of each financial year, review performance during the year, and approve an annual report after the end of each financial year.

This report gives details of performance against the Council’s Treasury Management Strategy for 2021/22 for the first six months of 2021/22.

Minutes:

Councillor Richard Samuel introduced the report and made the following statement:

 

This is the regular report received by cabinet that covers the quarter to the end of September for noting by the cabinet. However, I would draw the cabinet’s attention to the ESG funds now placed following the review of the opportunities posed in the market. This confirms the council’s strong desire to move away from investments linked to fossil fuel depletion. In that regard I noted that the media reported over the weekend that these investments where held could become worthless in the next two decades”.

 

Councillor Samuel moved the recommendations.

 

Councillor Sarah Warren seconded the motion

 

RESOLVED (unanimously) to recommend that the Cabinet on 11th November 2021 agree:

 

1.1  The Treasury Management Report to 30th September 2021, prepared in accordance with the CIPFA Treasury Code of Practice, is noted.

1.2  The Treasury Management Indicators to 30th September 2021 are noted.

 

80.

Revenue & Capital Budget Monitoring, Cash Limits and Virements – April to September 2021 pdf icon PDF 357 KB

This report presents the financial monitoring information for the Authority as a whole for the financial year 2021/22, using information available as at the end of September 2021.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Richard Samuel introduced the report and made the following statement:

 

“In 2019 I set the overriding objective that the council’s revenue budget was to balance year on year and at the same time be closely monitored in public. This was to ensure that our residents could be confident that this Liberal Democrat administration was managing public funds prudently and transparently. Persistent overspending and waste accrued from the previous administration had, in my view, undermined the bond of trust that should exist between council and taxpayers. Recently I have seen former councillors unwisely comment on the former Visit Bath arrangements, conveniently forgetting that that administration allowed well over £500k of bad debts to accrue which it was necessary to write off. That is the sort of sloppy governance that I am determined to avoid.

Before I introduce the report, I must reiterate the context we are still operating in.

Significant reductions in income from Heritage Services because of the need to manage down visitor numbers are still present. Although the government seems to think that the pandemic has gone away B&NES is currently the 7th highest outbreak incidence in the UK. At the same time downward pressure on income from the council’s commercial estate remains a concern – reflecting the understandable pressures on our tenants imposed by the government’s restrictions.

In social services we have seen huge increases in demand for Children’s services whilst at the same time we are seeing reductions in demand for Adult services. This turbulence is a constant current feature of our management of the council’s finances, and we are using covid contingency funding to smooth matters.

Given these factors we are expecting the revenue budget to remain on balance for the 11th successive quarter and to balance at year end without the need to draw from the general contingency reserve. This is a considerable achievement by the cabinet members and their officers which I thank and commend.

On capital there is some slippage against the programme mainly associated with Bath Western Riverside, but the project is underway and re-phasing will take place into 22/23. Members will also note the major works scheme due to commence on Orange Grove to improve and repair the envelope to this important terrace”.

 

Councillor Richard Samuel moved the recommendations.

 

Councillor Kevin Guy stated Councillor Samuel has balanced the books in the difficult time and thanked him. Councillor Guy seconded the motion.

 

RESOLVED (unanimously) to recommend that the Cabinet on 11th November 2021:

 

1.1  Note the 2021/22 revenue budget position (as at the end of September 2021).

1.2  Note the revenue virements listed for information only in Appendix 3(i).

1.3  Note the capital year-end forecast detailed in paragraph 3.25 of this report;

1.4  Note the changes in the capital programme including capital schemes that have been agreed for full approval under delegation listed in Appendix 4(i).