Agenda and draft minutes

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Items
No. Item

15.

Welcome and introductions

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.

16.

Emergency Evacuation Procedure

The Chair will draw attention to the emergency evacuation procedure as set out in the Notes

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Senior Democratic Services Officer drew attention to the evacuation procedure as set out in the Agenda.

17.

Apologies for Absence

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

18.

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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were none.

19.

To Announce any Urgent Business Agreed by the Chair

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There was none.

20.

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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were 14 questions from Councillors and no 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.]

Cabinet Questions and Answers pdf icon PDF 155 KB

Additional documents:

21.

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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were none.

 

22.

Minutes of Previous Cabinet Meeting pdf icon PDF 92 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 10th July 2019 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

23.

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:

There were none.

24.

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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were none.

25.

Single Member Cabinet Decisions Taken since Previous Cabinet Meeting pdf icon PDF 61 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet agreed to note the report.

26.

Bath Clean Air Plan- September 2019 update pdf icon PDF 183 KB

This report provides an update on the actions undertaken following the Cabinet meeting in March 2019 and sets out the decisions required to progress the project as set out within the programme shown in Appendix 1.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Sarah Warren introduced this item by reading out the following statement:

 

Today, we are launching a final consultation on Bath’s Clean Air Zone. Air pollution causes 140 deaths per day in the UK, as well as being a contributory factor in the onset of heart disease and cancer. It particularly affects the most vulnerable: children and older people, those with heart and lung conditions; and new evidence continues to emerge of its adverse impacts on every organ of the body. Areas with poor air quality are often the least affluent areas. This is why Client Earth took the UK government to court to demand cleaner air, and why I marched with hundreds of others as part of the “Breathe in Bath” demo through the city centre on 16th August this year.

In response to Client Earth’s action and the ruling in the supreme court, the UK government required councils with poor air quality to implement clean air zones. Last autumn, Bath and North East Somerset council consulted on introduction of a “Class D” zone, which would have charged not only HGVs, buses, vans, and taxis, but also private cars, to drive into the city centre. There was a huge response to the consultation, many respondents pointing out the adverse impacts on local families of charging cars, especially in the absence of convenient, affordable alternatives. This prompted the council to revisit the traffic and pollution modelling, and a way was found to avoid charging cars, by introducing traffic lights at Queen Square to limit traffic flows when pollution levels are high in that particular hotspot. This “Class C” scheme is the one on which we are currently inviting comments from the public.

On being elected in May, the Liberal Democrat administration immediately commissioned a brief independent review of the work completed to date. This is a highly technical area at the cutting edge of modelling. Any responsible administration taking on such a project would check to ensure that decisions taken to date had been based on reliable assumptions and data, and that no opportunities had been missed, before spending millions implementing a clean air zone. For the record, the review cost £,9000 not the scaremongering figure of £100,000 cited by opposition parties.

The review confirmed that legally compliant nitrogen dioxide levels are likely to be met under the current proposal, ahead of the extremely challenging deadline imposed upon us by government, of 2021. To be on the safe side, we have stepped up nitrogen dioxide monitoring at numerous sites around the district, so that we can be sure that pollution levels do fall as projected, and will have early warning if they don’t.

I want to emphasise that, as an administration, we would prefer not to charge local businesses, but the structure of the scheme, based around charging vehicles, has been defined by national government. The tight deadlines mean that since taking office in May, we have been unable to make the improvements to the scheme that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26.

27.

Medium Term Financial Strategy & Corporate Plan Update pdf icon PDF 66 KB

The Corporate Strategy and Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) sets out the strategic direction and priorities for the Council as well outlining the financial context and challenges the Council faces over the next five years and the strategy that will be used to inform its annual budget process.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Richard Samuel introduced this item by saying that the Corporate Strategy and MTFS set out the aims this Administration  wished to achieve for communities, and sets out how the Council intends to finance these.

 

Councillor Samuel read out the following statement:

 

‘Our starting points are the budget position we inherited from the previous administration, our clearly stated manifesto commitments on which we were elected to run the council, and the prospects for income both from government and sources of revenue that we can raise ourselves.

Our manifesto commitments are being shaped into a new corporate plan for the council and work is underway to cost these commitments. This work will conclude with the setting of the 2020/21 budget in February.

Members will be aware that the full details of central government allocations are rarely available until December and so the projections before the cabinet today are the best available at the time of writing. Recent spending review announcements have already changed working assumptions and these are currently being update. For example the government have announced a reduction in the council tax referendum cap from 2.99 to 2% which reduces the maximum tax raising possibility by 900k. So members can expect further adjustments as time proceeds. Fuller details have been issued in the recently circulated briefing note.

The MTFS confirms the continuing funding challenges facing the council in areas of children’s and adult social services together with the continuing need to achieve economies. Whatever scenario is considered there will still be a need to generate economies through efficiencies or direct savings. I am proposing a change to previous practice. Previous savings have tended to be routed within departmental economies. In the future this is unlikely to be adequate to produce the levels of savings required. I am therefore intending to drive these programmes from the centre and reduce the number of savings plans accordingly. A new corporate transformation board will be established to oversee these programmes which I will chair.

The guiding principles behind the MTFS will remain largely unchanged:

Balancing the budget

Making provision for demographic and inflation and only adding new priorities where headroom is created.

Maximising every available source of income

Our manifesto means the competition for new resources is very crowded so we will be examining how we can create the headroom to deliver our programme as part of the 20/21 budget preparation and will report this at the time.

The high level estimates are set out in the report and I do not intend to repeat these but I need to emphasise that the assumed figures for council tax increases are only indicative and no decisions have been taken.

Turning to capital we need to ensure that the council can afford to run the same level of capital programme as in the past. Capital projects are funded either by use of external grant, receipts from asset sales, or by borrowing. The latter has a direct implication for revenue spending. We will therefore review all current  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.

28.

Revenue and Capital Budget Monitoring, Cash Limits and Virements - April 2019 to July 2019 pdf icon PDF 222 KB

This report presents the financial monitoring information for the Authority as a whole for the financial year 2019/20 to the end of July 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Robin Moss made an ad-hoc statement. He expressed slight concern that the changes in savings would be centralised which could create a risk of unforeseen circumstances happening on the ground.

 

Councillor Richard Samuel introduced the report by saying that the Revenue budget outturn was currently forecast to be £1.68m over budget.  The areas over budget were mainly due to additional demand in Children’s Services and a shortfall in income from the Commercial Estate.  Whilst the Children’s Services budget was re-based for 2019/20 there has been an unexpected increase in specialist Health and Social Care placements, the Commercial Estate was due to a slowing down of high street retail income.  To provide mitigation Managers had been requested to develop cost reduction plans and to minimise spend wherever possible. That would further improve the year-end position.  The capital budget was currently showing an expected under budget position of £30.5m mainly due to re-phasing of Bath Quays and ACL/ADL loan drawdowns into future financial years to reflect revised project spend profiles.

 

Council reserves would be required to mitigate the current position if the actions being put in place were not successful. The current position would require use of £1.68m of the Budget Contingency Reserve (which was set up to mitigate budget risk). Provision would need to be made within the 2020/21 budget to replenish the Budget Contingency Reserve for any drawdown made during 2019/20.

 

Councillor Richard Samuel moved the recommendations.

 

Councillor Dine Romero seconded the motion by thanking Councillor Samuel and the Section 151 Officer for the report.

 

Councillor Samuel thanked Councillor Moss for his statement, agreed with the comments he made in his ad-hoc statement, and encouraged Councillor Moss and other Members of the Council to question the new ways of managing savings in the Council through the scrutiny process. 

 

RESOLVED (unanimously) that the Cabinet agreed to:

 

2.1  To note the 2019/20 forecast over budget of £1.68m (as at the end of July 2019) and the recovery plan actions outlined in Appendix 1;

 

2.2  To note the mitigations that will be required shown in paragraph 3.6, if the over budget position cannot be reduced by the end of the financial year;

 

2.3  To approve the revenue virements listed for approval in Appendix 3(i) and to note those virements listed for information only;

 

2.4  To note the capital year-end forecast detailed in paragraph 3.15 of this report;

 

2.5  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)

29.

Treasury Management 2019-20 Quarter 1 Performance Report pdf icon PDF 252 KB

This report gives details of performance against the Council’s Treasury Management Strategy and Annual Investment Plan for 2019/20.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Richard Samuel introduced the report by saying that the average rate of interest earned over the first quarter was 0.95%, which was 0.33% above the benchmark (7 day LIBID +0.05%).  This reflected the placement of £3m long term strategic investment in the CCLA Local Authority’s Property Fund during the quarter.

 

The Council’s external borrowing as at 30th June 2019 totalled £225.1 million.

 

The Council’s Capital Financing Requirement (CFR) as at 31st March 2019 was £300.7 million. The difference from actual borrowing reflected self-investment of reserves and the savings from avoiding new borrowing were greater than the interest rate achieved on investments.

 

The report highlighted that the Strategic Diversified Income Funds the Council were considering investing in as part of the MTFS target to generate additional investment income from strategic longer terms investments, did have a small proportion of investments directly in Fossil Fuel related companies (4%-8% of investments).  If these investments were not made it was estimated there would be a reduction in forecast income in the region of £100-£150k.  The Council would look to seek to influence the investment managers to reduce the element of fossil fuel companies in their portfolios or the Council would withdraw gradually from investment in Fossil Fuel related companies over a period of time.

 

Councillor Richard Samuel moved the recommendations.

 

Councillor Dine Romero seconded the motion by welcoming the initiative of gradual movement away from investment in Fossil Fuel related companies.

 

Councillor Samuel added that he would involve Councillor Sarah Warren (with her Climate Change Emergency portfolio) in discussions on future long term investments in companies that were not Fossil Fuel related. 

 

RESOLVED (unanimously) that the Cabinet agreed to:

 

2.1  The Treasury Management Report to 30th June 2019, prepared in accordance with the CIPFA Treasury Code of Practice, is noted.

 

2.2  The Treasury Management Indicators to 30th June 2019 are noted.