Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Guildhall, Bath. View directions

Contact: Marie Todd  01225 394414

Media

Items
No. Item

59.

Welcome and introductions

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.

60.

Emergency Evacuation Procedure

The Democratic Services Officer will read out the emergency evacuation procedure as set out in the notes.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Senior Democratic Services Officer read out the emergency evacuation procedure.

61.

Apologies for Absence

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Tim Ball.

62.

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 4.4 Appendix 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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was noted that the Monitoring Officer has granted the following dispensations to enable Members present to participate in the debate and to vote on item 14 (Budget and Council Tax 2023/24 and Financial Outlook).

 

·  Cllr Sarah Warren – dispensation granted due to a family member being in receipt of an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

·  General dispensation for all Councillors who pay Council Tax.

 

A copy of the dispensations are attached as an appendix to these minutes.

Cabinet General Dispensation pdf icon PDF 59 KB

Additional documents:

63.

To Announce any Urgent Business Agreed by the Chair

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

64.

Questions from Public and Councillors

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were 14 questions from Councillors and 36 questions from members of the public.

[Copies of the questions and responses, including supplementary questions and responses if any, have been placed on the Minute book as Appendix 1 and are available on the Council's website.]

CabinetQA20240208 pdf icon PDF 238 KB

Additional documents:

65.

Statements 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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members of the public and Councillors made statements as follows:

 

  • Chad Allen – English Ivy and Liveable Neighbourhoods.  Mr Allen expressed concern about the damage caused to buildings by English Ivy and also the damage to the eco-system.  He also spoke against the liveable neighbourhood proposals for the city centre.
  • Kari Erickson – Liveable Neighbourhoods.  Ms Erickson spoke against the liveable neighbourhood scheme in her area.  She did not feel that there had been adequate consultation.  She also stated that it would make it difficult for people to access their own homes and would cause extra journeys which was particularly difficult for parents of young children.
  • Roanne Wootten (Strategic Partnerships Director Julian House) – Budget Cuts (a copy of the statement is attached as an appendix to these minutes)
  • Becki Sarll – Budget Cuts.  Ms Sarll expressed concern at the proposed cuts to grants to voluntary services such as those provided by Julian House.  She outlined the difficulties experienced by people who do not have a fixed address.  Julian House provides assistance to these vulnerable people to help them with paperwork, access to food banks, shower facilities, healthcare and fire safety.
  • Becky Brooks – 3SG – Council Budget (a copy of the statement is attached as an appendix to these minutes)
  • Kate Morton – Bath Mind/3SG – Council Budget (a copy of the statement is attached as an appendix to these minutes)
  • David Redgewell – Public Transport Network.  Mr Redgewell stressed the importance of maintaining local bus services.  He pointed out that some of the most disadvantaged people in areas such as Midsomer Norton and Radstock now have no access to a bus service.  He stated that the Westlink contract needed to be redrawn.  He suggested that B&NES Council could contract bus services in conjunction with Somerset or Wiltshire Councils.
  • Cllr Shaun Hughes – Council Budget.  Cllr Hughes spoke against the introduction of parking charges in Midsomer Norton.  He stated that there has been a lack of investment in this area over a number of years and that B&NES needs to carry out a comprehensive parking survey.  He commented that emissions-based parking charges affect the poorest people disproportionately as they cannot afford to replace their vehicles.
  • Cllr Michael Auton – Council Budget for 2024-25 – Proposed Parking Charges in Midsomer Norton.  (a copy of the statement is attached as an appendix to these minutes)
  • Cllr Eleanor Jackson – Budget Impact on the poorest in our community (a copy of the statement is attached as an appendix to these minutes)

Roanne Wootton Statement - Budget Cuts pdf icon PDF 49 KB

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66.

Minutes of Previous Cabinet Meeting - 9th November 2023 pdf icon PDF 159 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 9th November 2023 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

67.

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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

No single member items were requisitioned to Cabinet.

68.

Matters Referred by Policy Development and Scrutiny Bodies pdf icon PDF 66 KB

This is a standing agenda item (Constitution rule 3.3.14) for matters referred by Policy Development and Scrutiny bodies.  The Chair of the relevant Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel will have the right to attend and to introduce the Panel’s recommendations to Cabinet.

 

To consider the attached document which sets out feedback from the Policy Development and Scrutiny Panels on the budget proposals.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Robin Moss, Chair of the Corporate Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel, presented feedback from the PDS Panels in relation to the 2024/25 budget proposals.  In particular he stressed the importance of considering the downstream effect of budget cuts to third sector funding.  He also pointed out that the Corporate PDS Panel would be scrutinising the income from the corporate estate in comparison with peers.  He acknowledged the challenging financial circumstances that local authorities currently find themselves in.

 

The Chair also drew attention to the draft minute from the Children, Adults, Health and Wellbeing PDS Panel in respect of the Community Resource Centres consultation which had been circulated to Cabinet Members for their consideration.

69.

Single Member Cabinet Decisions Taken since Previous Cabinet Meeting pdf icon PDF 87 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet agreed to note the report.

70.

The outcome and recommendations following a consultation on the future delivery model for the council's three Community Resource Centres pdf icon PDF 166 KB

To consider a report which sets out the outcomes following a consultation on the future delivery model for the council’s three Community Resource Centres at Cleeve Court, Combe Lea and Charlton House.  The online consultation took place between Thursday 9 November and Monday 18 December 2023.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Alison Born introduced the report, moved the officer recommendation, and made the following points:

 

·  The report demonstrates our commitment to support the most vulnerable groups in our community, to make the best possible use of council resources and to use those resources where they can add the most value and where the market has failed.

·  Our goal is to provide services locally whenever possible, which means that fewer people will be sent out of area. Providing services locally offers the advantages of maintaining links with family and friends, reduces costs and makes it easier for us to stay in touch and monitor how placements are going.

·  Scrutiny colleagues supported the feasibility study for change of the use of Charlton House, but some opposed the deregistration proposal.  As these proposals are linked, these two positions are incompatible.

·  When the Council took back control of the three care homes – Charlton House, Cleeve Court and Coombe Leigh - it increased staffing levels, invested in pay, training, equipment and in the fabric of the buildings. As a consequence, the costs of running the services have increased considerably and now exceed the costs of comparable services in the local market.

·  B&NES has a buoyant care home market with a good choice of provision.  The areas that are less well provided for are specialist dementia care and services for young people with degenerative conditions and physical dependences.  A lot of people who have more complex needs are now sent out of area because we do not have enough specialist education or care services.

·  The costs of delivering care through in-house services is justified if they provide more specialist care.  Therefore, it made sense to review whether we were making best use of these facilities and providing value for money for the council and residents.

·  A review was carried out in the summer of 2023, it focused on gaps in local provision, recruitment, affordability, and value for money.

·  A number of proposals were then consulted on.  The council received a total of 45 responses to the consultation. Over half (53%) of responses were positive towards the overall proposals for the community resource centres, nearly a third (31%) disagreed and 16% were unsure.

·  Suitable new places will be found nearby for the small number of residents for whom we will not be able to offer care and there will be no change to the costs paid by any resident who is funding their own care.

·  The recommended changes will enable us to optimise the use of these three council owned buildings which are of high quality and are purpose built. The proposed changes will allow us to target the use of these facilities on the areas of greatest need. The changes will also deliver much needed efficiencies and quality improvements in both adults’ and children’s services.

Cllr Paul May seconded the motion and made the following points:

 

·  Charlton House has a long history in Keynsham not only for its patients but its nearby elderly  ...  view the full minutes text for item 70.

71.

Revenue and Revenue & Capital Budget Monitoring, Cash Limits and Virements – April to December 2023 pdf icon PDF 237 KB

The attached report presents the financial monitoring information for the Authority as a whole for the financial year 2023/24, using information available as at the end of December 2023.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Mark Elliott introduced the report and moved the officer recommendation.  He stated that the plans to reduce the budget deficit are working and congratulated officers for their hard work on this.  He noted that the Council must still bring the budget into balance by the end of the financial year.

 

Cllr Paul Roper seconded the motion.

 

RESOLVED (unanimously):

 

(1)  To note the 2023/24 revenue budget position (as at the end of December 2023).

 

(2)  To note the revenue virements listed in Appendix 3(i) of the report.

 

(3)  To note the capital year-end forecast detailed from paragraph 3.29 of the report.

 

(4)  To note the changes in the capital programme including capital schemes that have been agreed for full approval under delegation listed in Appendix 4(i) of the report.

72.

Budget and Council Tax 2024/25 and Financial Outlook pdf icon PDF 643 KB

The attached report presents the revenue and capital budgets together with proposals for increases in Council Tax and the Adult Social Care Precept for 2024/25.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Mark Elliott introduced the report, moved the officer recommendation and made the following points:

 

·  The budget has been one of the most difficult that the council has ever had to pull together.  We started from the position a few months ago of a £16.42m funding gap, with massive increases in costs and demand in social care, particularly in children’s social care, the cost-of-living crisis meaning increased costs for things like energy and the consequent pressure on wage increases. 

·  The paper sets out a balanced Revenue budget not just for next financial year, but for the following year as well.  The stability provides the council with the ability to plan.  This is a fantastic achievement, and I want to thank all of you, and all the officers, for all their hard work over the past few months.

·  The government announced that it intended to offer an additional, last-minute, one-off, extra grant for social care in the next financial year.  We received details of that grant on Tuesday of this week.  It provides roughly an extra £1.5m in one-off social care funding next year.  Whilst this is, of course, welcome, it is nothing more than a sticking plaster over the gaping wound that is social care funding.  We propose allocating the extra funds into reserves split between Adults’ and Children’s social care in proportion to the size of their budgets.  These funds will then be available to mitigate the risk of overspend in those portfolios in the coming year.

·  We recognise the need to adequately fund the care of the most vulnerable in society, and so we are proposing a net increase in the Adult Social Care budget of just under £1.7m and in the Children’s Social Care budget of nearly £4m.  I want to recognise that, over the public consultation process, and through the PDS Panels, our third sector partners have raised significant concern about the proposed savings to our Community Contracts.  Our total spend on these types of contract is around £9.3m, and the contracts haven’t been looked at properly for some time – there are something like 77 separate services being commissioned – so it’s reasonable to expect that savings can be made.  However, I acknowledge the concern that a sudden drop in funding would be damaging and doesn’t leave time for those contracts to be properly and carefully reviewed.  The budget proposal has, therefore, been adjusted to spread the savings in Adult Social Care over two years, rather than expecting the savings to come all at once.  I have written to the 3rd Sector providers to reassure them that we do not wish to impose arbitrary savings on them, we want to work with them to undertake a proper review, and to mutually agree a way forward based on maintaining those services which are preventing increased, more costly, demand coming into statutory social care services further down the line.

·  We greatly value the work of the 3rd Sector providers and will work with them, not inflicts things  ...  view the full minutes text for item 72.

73.

Treasury Management Strategy Statement 2024/25 pdf icon PDF 104 KB

To consider the attached report regarding the Council’s Treasury Management Strategy Statement.  The Authority is required to approve a treasury management strategy before the start of each financial year.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Mark Elliott introduced the report and moved the officer recommendation.

 

Cllr Matt McCabe seconded the motion.

 

RESOLVED (unanimously):

 

(1)  To recommend the actions proposed within the Treasury Management Strategy Statement (Appendix 1 of the report) to Council.

 

(2)  To note the Treasury Management Indicators detailed in Appendix 1 of the report and to delegate authority for updating these indicators to the Chief Finance Officer and Cabinet Member for Resources, prior to approval at Full Council on 20th February 2024, in light of any changes to the recommended budget as set out in the budget report elsewhere on the agenda for this meeting.

74.

Treasury Management Performance Report to 31st December 2023 pdf icon PDF 496 KB

To consider a report giving details of performance against the Council’s Treasury Management Strategy for 2023/24 for the nine months until 31st December 2023.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Mark Elliott introduced the report and moved the officer recommendation.

 

Cllr Matt McCabe seconded the motion.

 

RESOLVED (unanimously):

 

(1)  To note the Treasury Management Report to 31st December 2023, prepared in accordance with the CIPFA Treasury Code of Practice.

 

(2)  To note the Treasury Management Indicators to 31st December 2023.

75.

Quarter 3 2023/24 Corporate Strategic Performance report pdf icon PDF 149 KB

To consider a report which provides an update on the progress made against a key set of strategic performance measures which assess the Council’s progress on delivering the Corporate Strategy, other key strategies and key aspects of service delivery.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Dave Wood introduced the report and moved the officer recommendation.

 

Cllr Manda Rigby seconded the motion and made the following statement:

 

“I would particularly like to highlight how committed we are, as a Liberal Democrat administration, to reporting back on performance in this way and to progressively making these reports more useful and easier to understand, as this culture is embedded in the council. This means reporting back on more indicators and strategies as time goes on.

 

I would like to see more reporting back on the practical things the council does – for example, last month, the Highways team produced an excellent video with a selection of stats relating to the incredible volume of work our teams and contractors carried out on the highways last year. For example, almost 21,000 gullies were inspected and almost 18,000 were cleaned.

 

We have teams delivering fantastic work in every department of the council and these are the sorts of achievements I would like to see brought to the fore.

 

Sharing updates on how things are going, in a regular and transparent manner, not only means residents can hold the council to account but also underlines to our commitment to giving people a bigger say, as communication needs to go both ways.”

 

RESOLVED (unanimously):  To note progress on the delivery of key aspects of the Council’s service delivery and outcomes of the Council’s key Strategies, details of which are highlighted in section 3.6 and Annex 1 of the report.