Cabinet

Committee Minutes

Wed Sep 08 2010

Related Documents:
agenda for these minutes

Present:-

Councillors Hart (Chairman), Barker, Channon, Clatworthy, Croad, Davis and S Hughes

Members attending in accordance with Standing Orders 8 and 25

Councillors Brazil, Clarance, Greenslade, Hook, Newcombe, Sanders, Way and Westlake

In attendance:-

Mrs Mayes (Standards Committee Observer)

Apologies:-

Councillors Leadbetter and Mumford

*232 Minutes

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 14 July 2010 be signed as a correct record.

*233 Announcements

The Chairman welcomed Mrs A Mayes to the meeting, who was attending in her capacity as an Independent Member of the Council's Standards Committee to observe and monitor compliance with the Council s ethical governance framework.

*234 Questions from Members of the Council

In accordance with the Cabinet Procedure Rules, appropriate Cabinet Members responded to 2 questions from Members of the Council on Highway Maintenance and Exeter Schools GCSE Results and the Leader would also respond to a question on the Tough Choices website from a Member who was not present at the meeting.

[NB: A copy of the questions and answers are appended to these minutes and are available on the Council s Website at

KEY DECISIONS

*235 Budget Monitoring 2010/11

(Councillors Greenslade, Hook, Newcombe and Westlake attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item).

The Cabinet considered the report of the Director of Finance (CR/10/82 - text onlyCR/10/82) on the position at Month 4.

Members noted that while Directorate budgets were continuing to experience severe pressures which were, in the main, the result of increasing client need or price rises for key items, those pressures were currently being contained and a balanced outturn for the year end was still projected.

Members also noted that despite earlier concerns that the Council would not achieve its 2009/10 efficiencies target, it had already been exceeded by 2.9m which could be carried forward to help achieve the 2010/11 efficiency target of 20.9m.

It was MOVED by Councillor Clatworthy, SECONDED by Councillor Hart and

RESOLVED

(a) that the position at Month 4 be noted;

(b) that a detailed breakdown of the corporate debt owed to the Council at the end of Month 4 as referred to at paragraph 4 of Report CR/10/82 - text onlyCR/10/82 be made available to Members, as requested, noting also that initial indications were that the County Council was not affected by the financial difficulties encountered by Connaught plc (Connaught Partnerships (Social Housing) Division).

*236 Highway Winter Service (Minutes 115/13 January 2010 227/14 July 2010)

(Councillors Greenslade, Hook, Newcombe and Westlake attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item).

The Cabinet considered the report of the Executive Director of Environment, Economy Culture (EEC/10/168/Q) on measures taken to improve winter service following the last two years severe weather and on consequential proposed changes to winter service arrangements to enhance the service whilst maintaining, as far as was practicable, appropriate budgetary discipline.

The Director s Report also outlined progress with addressing the recommendations of the Environment, Economy Culture Scrutiny Committee s Winter Task Group and the Children Young People's Services Scrutiny Committee s School Transport Task Group concerning the impact of winter weather on services.

In welcoming and acknowledging the proposed improvements to existing arrangements, Members also commented upon the desirability of including larger primary schools to the precautionary salting network and providing clear footway routes to schools, the practicability of inviting Community Associations in urban areas to perform the same role as Parish Councils in rural areas and finding a solution to the problems occasioned in heavily shaded roads particularly on high ground. The Cabinet noted that the proposals now submitted include provision greater flexibility to vary operational procedures in the future.

It was MOVED by Councillor Hughes, SECONDED by Councillor Channon and

RESOLVED

(a) that the amendments to the Winter Service arrangements set out in section 3 of Report EEC/10/168/Q and the revised statement at Appendix 1 be approved subject to the references to frequency of bus services referred to at paragraphs and 2.5 being amended to read of 15 and 30 minutes or less, respectively;

(b) that the Executive Director of Environment, Economy Culture, or his nominated Deputy, be authorised in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation to make any future changes to operational procedures;

(c) that the progress in addressing the recommendations of Scrutiny Committees Winter Services Task Groups be noted;

(d) that the Report be circulated to all HATOCs to increase awareness of the new arrangements.

.


*237 OFSTED Inspection - June 2010

(Councillors Greenslade, Newcombe and Westlake attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item).

The Cabinet considered the report of the Executive Director of Children Young People s Services (CY/10/76 - text only | pdf CY/10/76) on the findings of the recent unannounced inspection of contact, referral and assessment arrangements undertaken by OFSTED within children s services, which had taken place on 29/30 June 2010.

Members were pleased to note the following features of Devon s arrangements identified by the Inspectors namely that:

no priority actions had been identified, meaning there were no areas of serious weakness placing children at risk of inadequate protection and of significant harm;

three strengths were cited, illustrating practice exceeding statutory guidance and demonstrating good practice in safeguarding;

eleven examples of a satisfactory service were noted, meeting the requirements of statutory guidance and:

three areas of development were cited, not placing children at risk, but ones that the Council would need to address to ensure better safeguarding.

It was MOVED by Councillor Davis, SECONDED by Councillor Channon and

RESOLVED

(a) that the Cabinet welcome the outcome of the unannounced OFSTED Inspection and note the actions in hand to address the areas of development;

(b) that the Cabinet place on record its appreciation of and gratitude for the hard work and dedication shown by staff in the Children Young People s Services Directorate in contributing to the excellent Inspection Report and, more generally, in maintaining a high level of budgetary discipline in such difficult and volatile circumstances.

OTHER MATTERS

*238 Future Business Model for Devon Catering and Cleaning Services

(Councillors Greenslade, Hook and Westlake attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item).

(Councillors Davis and S Hughes declared personal interests in this matter by virtue, respectively, of being a parent of children in receipt of school meals and his spouse being employed as a caretaker at a Devon School).

The Cabinet considered the report of the Executive Director of Children Young People s Services (CY/10/75 - text only | pdf CY/10/75) on a proposed new model for Devon Catering and Cleaning Services (DCCS).

Members noted that DCCS had transferred to the Children Young People's Services Directorate in 2007 as the bulk of its work was within Devon schools although it also sought external work and provided internal and functional catering in Exeter and Barnstaple. Since the changes triggered by Compulsory Competitive Tendering DCCS had been regarded as a trading service but, in recent years, it had been increasingly subsidised both through the Dedicated Schools Grant and by the County Council. Recent reviews had generated savings through reducing procurement costs, transferring JE cleaning costs to schools and remodelling service infrastructures but the national position of a fall in uptake of school meals since the introduction of new nutritional standards had been reflected in Devon and the future trading position was not felt to be secure.

The Director's Report outlined the steps taken, and processes followed, in reviewing the provision of these services involving users and schools. A Project Board had been established in 2009 to commission an external review (including evidence from other authorities, DCCS managers, schools, parents, and young people) and test out views and options and to advise the Council.

In consultation with stakeholders, the Board had defined a set of sixteen critical objectives that any future model should be able to deliver. The objectives addressed three broad aspirations namely improving outcomes for children and young people, parents and carers, value for money and sustainability.

The Director s Report went on to explain the detailed analysis undertaken by the Project Board in coming to the view that its preferred option was for a joint arrangement, possibly through a joint venture company, which was felt to be the best option in terms of providing value for money and maximising income generation in a competitive market while benefiting the overall financial position of the County Council and schools. It had been considered important by staff and managers that a local authority ethos should be sustained, with any surplus generated being put back into the public purse; the preferred option would therefore include a profit-share agreement with the County Council.

It was MOVED by Councillor Channon, SECONDED by Councillor Davis and

RESOLVED

(a) that a small Implementation Group pursues the transfer of County Council catering, cleaning and caretaking services into an existing model operating successfully within another local authority or authorities; and

(b) that details of the final proposal and full business case be submitted to a future meeting of the Cabinet.

STANDING ITEMS

*239 Questions from Members of the Public

There was no question from a Member of the public.

*240 Minutes

RESOLVED

(a) that the minutes of the following meetings be approved:

Farms Estate Committee - 15 July 2010;

Devon and Exeter Rail Working Party - 22 July 2010

(b) that the minutes of the following meetings be noted:

Children s Trust Board - 29 June and 21 July 2010;

Schools Forum - 30 June 2010;

Devon Strategic Partnership Board - 9 July 2010.

(c) that the Cabinet s gratitude be conveyed to Mr Ivan Godfrey, the outgoing Chairman of the Schools Forum, for his outstanding contribution to Devon s education service over many years.

NB: Minutes of County Council Committees are published on the Council s Website at:

http://www.devon.gov.uk/index/your_council/decision_making/cma/index_exc.htm .

Minutes of the Devon Strategic Partnership are publicised at : http://www.devonsp.org.uk/meetings.html .

*241 References from Committees:

(a) Policy Resources Scrutiny Committee Coroners Service

(Councillor Greenslade attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item).

The Cabinet noted that the Policy Resources Scrutiny Committee had, at its meeting on 6 July 2010 (Minute 69(f)), received an update on Mortuary Charges for the Coroners Service and suggested that the Cabinet make representations through Devon MP s in relation to the cost of this service to ascertain if some of the costs could be met by Government.

It was MOVED by Councillor Hart, SECONDED by Councillor Clatworthy and

RESOLVED that Cabinet make representations through the Devon MP s as outlined above.

(b) Exeter HATOC - Traffic Management in Paris Street

(Councillors Greenslade and Westlake attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item).

The Cabinet noted that the Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee had, at its meeting on 22 July 2010 (Minute *49), considered the report of the Area Engineer (East) (EEC/10/148/HQ - text only | pdf EEC/10/148/HQ) on the background to Cabinet s referral of this matter to the HATOC and the results of that Committee s further consultations (Minute 25/1 September 2009).

The Exeter HATOC had subsequently recommended that the Cabinet be recommended that no alterations be made to the traffic management arrangements in Paris Street, Exeter at this time; and that the matter be subject to annual review

It was MOVED by Councillor Hughes, SECONDED by Councillor Hart and

RESOLVED

(i) that the Cabinet accepts the views of the Exeter HATOC and that, in light of the results of the consultations undertaken, no alterations be made to the traffic management arrangements in Paris Street, Exeter at this time;

(ii) that the Exeter HATOC be asked to keep the issue under review dependent on progress with development in the area; and

(iii) that Exeter City Council be advised of the Cabinet s decision.

(c) Exeter Locality (County) Committee - Children and Young People s Services: In Year Reduction to Area Based Grants (Minute *45)

The Cabinet noted that the Exeter Locality (County) Committee had, at its meeting on 27 July 2010, considered the report of the Executive Director of Children Young People s Services (CY/10/70 - text only | pdf CY/10/70) previously considered and approved by this Cabinet on, inter alia, the implications and likely impact for services in Exeter arising from budget reductions. The Exeter Locality (County) Committee had subsequently resolved that this Committee express its concern to the Cabinet about the implications of the cuts affecting children s services across all partner agencies and the long-term social and economic costs for example with potentially increased referrals to the youth justice system, health and other social services .

It was MOVED by Councillor Hart, SECONDED by Councillor Clatworthy and

RESOLVED that the Exeter Locality (County) Committee be thanked for its comments and its concerns be noted.

242 Notices of Motion

(a) VAT Increase

(Councillors Greenslade, Hook and Westlake attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item).

The following Notice of Motion submitted by Councillor Spence had been referred to the Cabinet for consideration and report back:

Devon County Council is concerned that the increase in VAT from 17.5% to 20% announced in the Government's June Budget will fall hardest on those least able to afford it.

That the increase in VAT will lead to higher prices for goods and services; will have a disproportionate impact on pensioners and other low income groups; and will have a severe impact on businesses, charities and community groups in Devon .

That the effect of the increase in VAT, when taken with other measures in the Budget, will be unfair to pensioners, who have not had a compensatory increase in other benefits and allowances.

That the way the VAT increase will affect pensioners and other low income groups runs counter to the Government's Coalition Agreement statement on 20 May 2010 that it would "ensure that fairness is at the heart of those decisions so that all those most in need are protected.

That the Institute of Fiscal Studies has stated the VAT increase was not "unavoidable," as the Chancellor of the Exchequer said in his Budget speech.

and Devon County Council therefore resolves:

to write to the Chancellor of the Exchequer raising concerns about the impact of the proposed VAT increase on pensioners, other vulnerable groups and businesses in Devon in particular the very serious impact on the tourist trade.

to call on the Members of Parliament representing Devon to support Devon s pensioners, businesses and wider community by voicing their opposition to this unfair increase in VAT and other reductions in benefits, such as housing benefit, which will impact most on Devon s poorest residents

The Chairman reminded the Cabinet that the General Election in May 2010 had resulted in a coalition government being formed by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. That new Government had inherited an ever increasing national debt that had risen from 500,000,000,000 in 2006/7 to an expectation of 932,000,000,000 at the end of the current financial year 2010/11 and possibly 1,059,000,000,000 at the end of 2011/12 (Source: Budget Report, HM Treasury website). The doubling of the national debt in four years was unprecedented.

The Chairman advised that the Council would necessarily have to wait until the Autumn Treasury Statement to see exactly what reductions were to be made in public expenditure but the increase in VAT, whilst not welcome, was undoubtedly a result of the problems inherited by the current government. It was likely that the VAT increase would be the first of a number of tax changes to be brought in by the Government.

It was MOVED by Councillor Hart, SECONDED by Councillor Clatworthy and

RESOLVED that, under the circumstances and whilst noting the views of Councillor Spence and the Labour Party, the County Council be recommended to take no action on the Notice of Motion and endorse the Cabinet s view that it is not prepared to criticise the Coalition Government of today which is grappling with the financial problems and massive national debt created by the previous (Labour) Government 2005-10.

(b) Parking Permit Holders

(Councillor Greenslade attended in accordance with Standing Order (8) and spoke to this item. Councillor Westlake attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item).

The following Notice of Motion submitted by Councillor Greenslade had been referred to the Cabinet for consideration and report back:

the Cabinet be requested to ban the policy whereby residential parking permit holders, who change vehicles before the balance of a permit bought for 12 expires, are charged 20 from the date they acquire a new vehicle, and refund the difference to permit holders who have already been subjected to this unfair increase .

The Cabinet noted that the current policy for Residents Parking Schemes had been approved in 2004 by the former Executive and stated that replacement of lost or damaged permits, new permits issued part way through a period (e.g. new residents) or residents changing vehicles would be charged at the full annual rate for the particular class of permit.

Members noted that the increase of permit charge from 12 to 20 approved by Cabinet on 10 Feb ruary 2010 was not related to the need to change a permit upon a change of vehicle but to the cost of administering applications, which had remained unchanged since 2004. While any new permit issued part way through a period was valid for a further 12 months it was acknowledged there would be an effective loss to the resident in terms of the unexpired period of the permit being surrendered.

The Executive Director confirmed that a review of the administration of the method of issuing and paying for residents permits was currently being undertaken including the potential for an on-line payment system for permits.

It was MOVED by Councillor Hughes, SECONDED by Councillor Hart and

RESOLVED that the County Council make no change to the current policy.

(c) Pay and Display in Market and Coastal Towns

(Councillor Brazil attended in accordance with Standing Order 8) and spoke to this item. Councillors Greenslade, Hook and Way attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item).

The following Notice of Motion submitted by Councillor Brazil had been referred to the Cabinet for consideration and report back

With regard to the current national financial situation, combined with a huge increase in business rates, this Council will now stop the introduction of on street pay and display charges in our coastal and market towns unless specifically requested by the relevant chamber of commerce .

The Cabinet noted the report of the Executive Director of Environment, Economy Culture (EEC/10/166/HQ - text only | pdf EEC/10/166/HQ) which had been considered by the Environment, Economy and Culture Scrutiny Committee on 7 September 2010 detailing progress with Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE), the introduction of pay and display in market and coastal towns and had also addressed the recommendations contained in the Notice of Motion. The Scrutiny Committee had noted the Report of the Executive Director but had not expressed any specific views on the Notice of Motion now before the Cabinet.

Members noted that following its previous decision to open discussions with market and coastal Town and District Councils and local members to identify areas for the implementation of on street Pay and Display at the earliest opportunity, it was anticipated that 4 schemes would come into being in the coming months which would aid with enforcement of restrictions in those locations.

Progress in implementing new schemes had been slower than expected; significant delay had been encountered in discussing and shaping proposals with Town Councils prior to advertising. It was recommended that this approach be changed to a more streamlined process of advertising proposals in consultation with the Cabinet and local Member. The responses received from Town Councils, the local Chamber of Commerce and local residents would then be considered following advertisement and any final scheme would be implemented taking those views into account.

Members also noted that in recognition of the economic circumstances alluded to in the Notice of Motion, consideration was also being given to introducing new town centre pay and display schemes on the basis of free parking for the first 30 minutes, where appropriate.

It was MOVED by Councillor Hughes, SECONDED by Councillor Hart and

RESOLVED that the County Council re-affirm its view that the introduction of pay and display in market and coastal towns should be progressed as soon as practicable in line with the above.

OTHER MATTERS

*243 Delegated Action/Urgent Matters

The Registers of action taken by Chief Officers or Cabinet Members under urgency provisions or delegated powers were available for inspection at the meeting.

*244 Forward Plan

In accordance with the Council s Constitution, the Cabinet reviewed the Forward Plan (available electronically at ) and determined those items of business to be defined as key decisions and included in the Plan for the period 1 October 2010 31 January 2011.

*245 Exclusion of the Press and Public

RESOLVED that the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 on the grounds that it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of the Act, namely information relating to the financial or business affairs of the Morwellham Quay and Tamar Valley Trust and West Devon Borough Council respectively and the County Council and in accordance with Section 36 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, by virtue of the fact that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

KEY DECISION

*246 Tamar Valley Mining Heritage Project (Minute *19 /21 July 2009)

(An item taken under Section 100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 during which the press and public were excluded).

(Councillors Greenslade, Hook, and Westlake attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item).

The Cabinet considered the joint report of the Executive Director of Environment, Economy Culture, the Director of Finance and the County Solicitor (EEC/10/169/HQ) on a revised proposal to safeguard and complete the Tamar Valley Mining Heritage Project following the Morwellham Quay and Tamar Valley Trust becoming insolvent and the site being sold to a private concern.

It was MOVED by Councillor Hart, SECONDED by Councillor Clatworthy and

RESOLVED

(a) that the Cabinet adopt Option 2 as outlined in the report and agree to the submission of a revised plan for the Tamar Valley Mining Heritage Project and an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for further funding of approximately 700,000; and

(b) that, in consequence of the above, approval be also given to expenditure of 276,000 funded from existing Environment, Economy Culture Directorate budgets.

*DENOTES DELEGATED MATTER WITH POWER TO ACT

The meeting started at 10.30am and finished at 1.09pm

Notice of the decisions taken by the Cabinet will be sent by email to all Members of the Council within 2 working days of their being made and will, in the case of key decisions, come into force 5 working days after that date unless 'called-in' or referred back in line with the provisions of the Council's Constitution.

The Minutes of the Cabinet are published on the County Council s website at:-


APPENDIX

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL

8 September 2010/Minute *234

1. QUESTION FROM COUNCILLOR HOOK

Re: Highway Maintenance

Will the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation list the allocations of the 3.6m DfT grant for Devon by wards and size of grant.

REPLY BY COUNCILLOR S HUGHES

Councillor Hook will recall the response I gave him at Cabinet on 14 July on this topic. In my response I advised that I had asked Officers to circulate the list of schemes with a plan and briefing note to all members whose areas will benefit from a scheme

I understand this information was sent on 15 July to all Members whose divisions were to benefit and also to Councillor Hook.

2. QUESTION FROM COUNCILLOR WESTLAKE

Re: Exeter Schools GCSE Results

In view of the excellent GCSE results in Exeter comprehensive schools this Summer would she now retract the comments she made at the last County Council meeting which showed a worrying lack of confidence in the schools for which she is responsible?

REPLY BY COUNCILLOR CHANNON

Councillor Channon gave an oral reply

3. QUESTION FROM COUNCILLOR CONNETT

Re: Tough Choices Website

What is the full cost, including staff time, of establishing the Tough Choices website? Were district councils in Devon or any other public sector organisations invited to join in the initiative and, if so, which ones?

What was the basis for banding communities/electoral divisions. For example, Exminster and Kenton division, which is in Teignbridge, is listed under Exeter and Dawlish . Bizarrely, Place Survey results for the villages of Kenton and Exminster (among other communities outside the city) are found under Exeter while Starcross, Mamhead and Ashcombe, are listed under Dawlish. Why?

REPLY BY COUNCILLOR HART

I am sure that all Members agree that the people of Devon have every right to be fully engaged in helping us to respond to the difficult financial situation ahead. The tough choices website is just one way in which we want to reach out to people and get their ideas and opinions. Over the coming months I will also be visiting many local communities personally to talk to people face to face.

I have made it very clear that this consultation must not be an expensive exercise or cost a penny more than similar budget consultation exercises conducted in previous years. The web pages referred to were developed "in house" using existing technology at a cost, including staff time, of less than 500.

As part of the planning for this consultation we have been in contact with all Leaders and Chief Executives of District Councils, Town and Parish councils and local MPs to ensure they are fully aware of the County Council's intentions. I understand that several partners have expressed a strong interest in either joining with us to encourage local debate and many will be sending representatives to our local meetings across Devon.

Let me assure Councillor Connett that Exminster and Kenton have not been "lost" or overlooked and there is no master plan on the County Council s part to redefine the City s boundaries. The decision to present information from the 2007 Place Survey and associated community profiles in the way described was actually made under the previous Liberal Democrat administration and has been published this way on the County Council s website for some years. To change the way this information is presented now simply for the purposes of public consultation on the tough choices ahead would have been a gross misuse of resources.

Date Published: Tue Sep 21 2010