Cabinet

Committee Minutes

Wed Jul 13 2011

Related Documents:
agenda for these minutes

Present:-

Councillors Hart (Chairman), Barker, Croad, Davis, S Hughes, Leadbetter and Mumford

Members attending in accordance with Standing Order 25:-

Councillors Cann, Greenslade, Hannaford, Hook, Newcombe, Pennington, Taylor and Wragg.

Apologies:-

Councillors Channon and Clatworthy

*366 Minutes

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 8 June 2011 be signed as a correct record.

*367 Questions from Members of the Council

In accordance with the Cabinet Procedure Rules, relevant Cabinet Members responded to 4 questions from Members of the Council on the Celebration of Food Programme, Grants to the Arts for 2011/12, Residents Parking Schemes and Arc Manche

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

KEY DECISIONS

*368 Treasury Management Stewardship Annual Report 2010/11

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

The Cabinet considered the report of the County Treasurer (CT/11/4 - text only | pdf CT/11/4) outlining the Treasury Management action taken during the last financial year (in line with the CIPFA Code of Practice previously adopted by the Council) which had also been considered and endorsed by the Corporate Services Scrutiny Committee on 29 June 2011.

The Annual Report reviewed performance over the 2010/11 financial year with a view to identifying any issues arising from the Council's Treasury and Debt Management during that period and to provide assurance that agreed policy had been implemented. The Report revealed that:

no long term or short term borrowing had been undertaken during 2010/11;

all remaining long term debt managed on behalf of Plymouth Torbay Councils had been transferred back to those Councils; and

investment income targets for 2010/11 had been achieved.

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

RESOLVED

(a) that the Treasury Management Stewardship Annual Report be noted;

(b) that the Cabinet place on record its appreciation for the efforts of all staff in the Council for the successful management of the Council s financial affairs.

*369 Budget Monitoring 2011/12

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

The Cabinet considered the report of the County Treasurer (CT/11/12 - text only | pdf CT/11/12) on the position at Month 2 summarising the main areas of financial interest in relation to revenue and capital spending.

Members noted that within Place and Corporate Services budgets there were currently no major variations from budgets projected, with a projected balanced spend at outturn. Within People s services the difficulties in achieving some service prioritisations had been highlighted with the consequential risk of anticipated savings not being met and action was being taken to pull back those projected shortfalls. It was also assumed that Members Locality budgets would break-even at the year end. Traditionally, those had underspent and Members were encouraged to break this pattern and use funding resources available to them in year.

In relation to capital expenditure a small underspend was projected due to slippage in a number of schemes which were being kept under review.

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

RESOLVED that the position at Month 2 be noted and the Cabinet again place on record its appreciation of the continuing efforts of staff in the Council in ensuring expenditure is kept within budget.

*370 Business Site Development - Okehampton

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

The Cabinet considered the report of the Head of Economy Enterprise (EE/11/2 - text only | pdf EE/11/2) on the proposed acquisition, from the Regional Development Agency, of the Opportunity Okehampton site which was being disposed of as part of the wind down of RDAs.

The Cabinet was recommended to take a lead role in development of this site in order to drive development in a town suffering economic downturn as a result of the recession and which would facilitate the development of a 'parkway' style railway station in Okehampton. Development of the site in the medium term would be cost neutral, funded from existing budget allocations, and separate provision had already been identified for a new railway station.

Negotiations had been ongoing with the RDA since March 2011. There were two possible options for the County Council s involvement, either direct purchase of the site or acting as developer of the site under a stewardship agreement from the Homes and Communities Agency and to safeguard the Council s position the Cabinet Member for Economy, Enterprise and Employment had advised the Homes and Communities Agency that the Council would be interested in pursuing a stewardship agreement in order to facilitate development of the site.

West Devon Borough Council were supportive of and willing to work with the County Council in the development of this site, as now outlined.

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

RESOLVED that the principle of the County Council facilitating development of the Opportunity Okehampton site be approved, subject to the satisfactory conclusion of negotiations with the South West Regional Development Agency, Home and Communities Agency and West Devon Borough Council.

*371 Business Improvement Districts in Devon

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

The Cabinet considered the report of the Head of Economy Enterprise (EE/11/3 - text only | pdf EE/11/3) on the process for the creation of Business Improvement Districts, summarising current and proposed schemes in Devon and outlining a proposed approach for the County Council to support that process.

A Business Improvement District was a special purpose organisation established by business ratepayers to commission projects to improve a defined area, through additional services or new initiatives. The Head of Service s Report recommended an approach which the County Council could adopt to support this process.

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

RESOLVED

(a) that the proposed establishment of Business Improvement District areas in Exeter, Exmouth, Tavistock and Newton Abbot be noted and supported;

(b) that the Chief Executive be authorised to exercise the Council's vote in the above Business Improvement District ballots in favour of the proposals;

(c) that the Chief Executive be also authorised to exercise the Council's vote in favour of any subsequent Business Improvement District ballots, unless there were exceptional circumstances where an abstention from voting was deemed necessary;

(d) that the County Council take an active role in initiating the sharing of best practice and expertise amongst Devon Business Improvement Districts by providing initial support to start up a Business Improvement District Manager's group.

*372 A380 South Devon Link Road

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

The Cabinet considered the report of the Head of Economy Enterprise (EE/11/4 - text only | pdf EE/11/4) on the proposed bid to Government for the A380 South Devon Link Road, based on a phasing of the overall scheme in order to reduce the initial construction costs and revised local contributions from the County Council and Torbay Council.

The Head of Service reminded Members that in February 2011 the Government had announced that the South Devon Link Road was one of 45 schemes to be promoted to the Development Pool for which the Department for Transport (DfT) would require promoters to submit Best and Final Bids (BAFB) by 9 September 2011. A final decision on which schemes would receive DfT funding was expected in December 2011.

The Report outlined the history and background to the proposal for a South Devon Link Road. The basic elements of the proposed Link Road remained unchanged, in order to retain the functionality which had been promoted through the planning and orders stages. Cost reductions had been achieved through changes to the scheme or deferring associated works, as outlined in detail in the Report. The subsequent refinement of scheme design details and reassessment of likely construction price inflation suggested a modified scheme cost of 110.311m. With proposed DfT funding remaining in line with the December 2010 submission, the scheme would now be funded with contributions of 76.391m from DfT; 16.96m from the County Council and 16.96m from Torbay Council.

A public engagement exercise had been undertaken during June 2011 to inform the local public and key stakeholders of the progress with the scheme. Public exhibitions had been held in Torquay, Newton Abbot, Kingskerswell and Milber and a presentation had also been given to the Devon and Cornwall Business Council. Briefings had been also arranged for local MPs and County, District, Town and Parish Councillors. The Report summarised the responses received at the time it had been published and the Head of Service reported that to date of the 750 responses received at and following the public exhibitions over 70% (520) were in favour of the revised scheme. He also referred to the strongly held views of residents and public transport operators about the reinstatement of the Aller Link Road Bridge.

The Chairman reported that all members of the Cabinet had received representations from the Council for the Protection of Rural England (Torbay South Devon) which would be taken into account in the Cabinets deliberations. Members also acknowledged the views of a local member that the scheme may not have been universally accepted throughout the area affected and acknowledged the need for alternative transport/infrastructure links to be provided.

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

RESOLVED

(a) that, subject to (b) below, approval be given to the scheme as shown on drawing number HEX43444A/SKC/1226 displayed at the meeting;

(b) that the submission of the Best and Final Bid to the Department of Transport be approved, to include the reinstatement of the Aller Link Road bridge in response to feedback from the local community, the public transport operator and elected representatives;

(d) that the Head of Economy and Enterprise, the County Solicitor and County Treasurer be authorised to reach a formal agreement with Torbay Council regarding the cost sharing of the local authority contribution to the scheme cost subject to the approval of the Cabinet Members for Highways and Transportation and Resources and that the Chairman of the Place Scrutiny Committee be also kept informed of developments;

(e) that, subject to final agreement being received from the Department of Transport, changes to the approved capital programme be made to accommodate this scheme.

*373 Betton Way Link Road, Moretonhampstead

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

The Cabinet considered the report of the Head of Capital Development Waste Management (CDW/11/7 - text only | pdf CDW/11/7) seeking final scheme and estimate approval for the Betton Way Link Road extending the existing Betton Way from Moretonhampstead Primary School to the A382 at Chagford Cross, provision for which had been included in the approved Local Transport Plan 2011-2026 as part of the Market and Coastal Towns and Rural Devon Programme.

Members acknowledged the scheme would not only provide a new link road but would improve traffic management in Moretonhampstead, reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality and the environment of the Town Centre. The scheme was supported by the local County Councillor.

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

RESOLVED that approval be given to the scheme layout shown at Appendix 1 to Report CDW/11/7 - text only | pdf CDW/11/7 and drawing number B07028\05C for construction at an estimated cost of 715,875.

OTHER MATTERS

*374 Proposal's for Devon s Library Service

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

The Cabinet considered the report of the Head of Services for Communities (SC/11/1 - text only | pdf SC/11/1) on proposals for the designing and implementation of new operational service delivery criteria and a revised schedule of opening hours across fixed libraries matching usage as far as possible.

Consultations had been undertaken in May 2011 on current library usage with current and potential library users, library staff, Friends Groups and Town and Parish Councils and County Councillors. Over 8,000 responses had been received which were generally supportive of and had informed the development of the proposals now submitted. The consultation exercise also revealed that respondents were generally very satisfied with the service received from libraries, opposed library closures, welcomed these developments and capital schemes and the exploration of alternative usage and service options such as 'out of hours' drop off boxes for return of books.

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

RESOLVED

(a) that the Cabinet note the outcome of the extensive consultation process;

(b) that the proposed service delivery criteria for Devon libraries to achieve a more equitable, transparent and consistent approach to opening hours across Devon be noted and endorsed;

(c) that approval be given to the proposals set out in section 4 of Report SC/11/1 - text only | pdf SC/11/1 to revise the opening hours of Devon libraries ensuring no library closures in Devon;

(d) that the scale of investment in Devon libraries including the improvement project to Exeter Central Library be acknowledged.

*375 Devon Safeguarding Children Board Annual Report 2010/11

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

(Councillor Greenslade declared a personal interest in this matter by virtue of being a County Council representative on the Devon Cornwall Police Authority and a member of the CEOPS Board. Councillor Hart also declared a personal interest by virtue of being a County Council representative on the Devon Cornwall Police Authority).

The Cabinet considered the report of the Head of Child Adult Protection (CAP/11/1 - text only | pdf CAP/11/1) on the Annual Report of the Devon Safeguarding Children s Board (DSCB) charting progress within Devon of national expectations and safeguarding activity.

The DSCB Annual Report outlined trends and patterns of safeguarding activity in Devon identified from performance information. The Reports overall judgement for Devon s safeguarding children arrangements was that they were good with adequate prospects for improvements. That judgement had been based on, inter alia, the Annual Rating of Children s Services in Devon undertaken by OFSTED for 2010 (stating that the Council was performing well ) and the outcome of the recent OFSTED Annual Unannounced Inspection of contact, referral and assessment arrangements in Devon Children s Services where no priority actions had been identified. OFSTED had, at that time, also acknowledged the significant progress made since the full Ofsted inspection in 2009.

Members paid tribute to the efforts of all partners involved in achieving these highly satisfactory outcomes.

[NB: A copy of the DSCB Safeguarding Board Annual Report may be viewed at: http://www.dscb.info/ ]

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

RESOLVED that this Report and the Annual Report of the Devon Safeguarding Children s Board be noted and welcomed.

STANDING ITEMS

*376 Questions from Members of the Public

There was no question from a Member of the public.

*377 References from Committees

(a) People s Scrutiny Committee Young Carers Task Group

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

(Councillor Davis declared a personal interest in this matter by virtue of family members being young carers).

The Cabinet noted that the People s Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 15 June 2011(Minute *6) had considered the report of its Young Carers Task Group (CS/11/1 - text onlyCS/11/1) and had resolved that the Young Carers Task Group Report and recommendations, as amended, (incorporated in the version now submitted) be commended to the Cabinet for approval and implementation and that, as shown in the Scrutiny Work Programme, future work be undertaken to monitor and consolidate the work of this Task Group and the former Health and Adult Services Committee s Adult Carers Task Group .

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

RESOLVED that the Task Group s Report and recommendations be welcomed and endorsed, for implementation at the appropriate opportunity with Heads of Service being asked to address the implications of the issues raised.

(b) Torridge Highways Traffic Order Committee: Improvement to A39, Westleigh Junction

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

The Cabinet noted that the Torridge Highways Traffic Order Committee on 13 June 2011 had been advised of this Cabinet s previous decision (Minute 348, 11 May 2011 refers) to proceed with an improved traffic signal layout, while acknowledging the differing views of the Torridge North Devon HATOCs and the views of the local member. The Torridge HATOC (Minute 43/13 June 2011) noted the Cabinet s decision and had further resolved that this Committee s concern about the consultation and decision making process in respect of this matter be relayed to the Cabinet and that in view of the local opposition to the approved scheme a solution based on a roundabout be implemented .

The Report previously considered by Cabinet on 11 May 2011 had outlined, as indicated above, the views of the HATOC, the results of further consultations and the alternative options available to it, including roundabouts.

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

RESOLVED that the HATOCs views be noted but the Cabinet s latest decision be re-affirmed and that the scheme proceed as soon as practicable

(c) North Devon Locality (County) Committee: Tarka Trail

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

The Cabinet noted that the North Devon Locality (County) Committee on 28 June 2011 (Minute 61) had resolved that the Cabinet be urged to support the completion of the Tarka Trail/National Cycle Network routes between Mortehoe and Knowle as a matter of urgency".

The Cabinet Member for Highways Transportation indicated that he had recently authorised a variation to the cycle route and was conscious of the need to bring this scheme to fruition as soon as was practicable.

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

RESOLVED that the Cabinet Member for Highway Transportation respond to the Locality (County) Committee on the latest position and way forward at a future meeting.

*378 Minutes

(Councillor Hook attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item in relation to the Devon Authorities Waste Reduction Recycling Committee Minutes).

RESOLVED

(a) that the minutes of the Devon Authorities Waste Reduction Recycling Committee, held on 22 June 2011 be approved;

(b) that the minutes of the Devon Education Forum held on 29 June 2011 be noted and that a further report be made to the Cabinet on the Forum s request at Minute 552 (Audit Review (Stepping Stones)).

[NB: Minutes of County Council Committees are published on the Council s Website at: http://www.devon.gov.uk/index/your_council/decision_making/committee_minutes.htm

Minutes of the Devon Education (Schools) Forum are published at: http://www.devon.gov.uk/schoolsforum.htm]

*379 Delegated Action/Urgent Matters

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

(b) Reference back of Cabinet Member Decision: Capital Programme 2011/12 World Heritage Site Visitors Centres

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

In accordance with the Cabinet and Scrutiny Procedure Rules/Scheme of Delegation, Councillor Wragg, the local member, had asked that the decision of the Cabinet Member for Resources relating to a proposed virement within the budget provision for World Heritage Visitor Centres be referred back to the Cabinet for consideration. A copy of the Cabinet Member decision form and relevant extracts from accompanying correspondence had been circulated.

The local County Councillors for Littleham Town and Brixington Withycombe requested that the Cabinet Member s decision should not be actioned at this time in order that it could neither disadvantage the provision of a long awaited Visitor Centre in Exmouth nor preclude consideration of any other, commercial, projects that were currently being developed.

In acknowledging the local Councillor s concerns the Chairman was satisfied that delaying this decision would not in turn prejudice progress with the previously approved scheme for a Visitors Centre at Exmouth or the submission and further consideration of a suitable scheme for Seaton.

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

RESOLVED that the decision of the Cabinet Member for Resources relating to a proposed virement of 100,000 within the budget provision for World Heritage Visitor Centres be not actioned at this time pending further consideration of the issued referred to above.

*380 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 August 30th November 2011.

*DENOTES DELEGATED MATTER WITH POWER TO ACT

The meeting started at 10.30am and finished at 12.55pm

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

13 July 2011/Minute *367

1. QUESTION FROM COUNCILLOR GREENSLADE

Re: Celebration of Food Programme

The celebration of food programme has brought a return of 950,000 for an investment of 10,000 by the County Council. Given that reserves, balances and provisions have increased by 11m in 2010/11, and it is planned to use 10.4 m from the planned cuts of 54.6 m in 2011/12 as a further addition to reserves, balances and provisions does Cllr Mumford not feel his refusal to continue financial support for the celebration of food programme has no foundation when it is clear the Council could well afford a further modest contribution?

REPLY BY COUNCILLOR MUMFORD

The original agreement was to support the Celebration of Food festival for 3 years on the basis that the event would become self-financing by the end of this period. Similar arrangements were in place with other festivals such as the Exeter Festival of SW Food and Drink for which funding has now also ended.

Following the final event of the 3 year agreement in October 2010, an evaluation was undertaken to establish the economic impact of the event. Whilst the organisers claim a return of 950k for 10k invested by the County Council, analysis undertaken by officers did not support this figure. The areas of disagreement arise from the very low sample size of businesses who participated in the evaluation survey after the event (just 10 businesses) and ambitious repeat visit estimates. It was also unclear whether the impact evidenced was net additional spend as a direct result of the event taking place, or whether customers would have eaten, visited and stayed regardless. In terms of the PR value from the investment this was approx 70k AVE (Advertising Value Equivalent) - mainly in local and regional press. This compares unfavourably with other promotional activity for instance a 3.5k investment funded by the County Council in a PR campaign through Visit Devon in 2010/11 to promote Devon's Food and Drink achieved over 1m AVE in PR coverage predominantly to a national audience.

In summary the reasons for not continuing with the sponsorship are as follows:

this position is in keeping with the original agreement to sponsor for a period of 3 years.

the value for money for the County Council is questionable with other initiatives able to demonstrate a better direct return on investment.

all areas of the economy service budget were reviewed as part of the corporate service prioritisation exercise undertaken at the end of last year. Faced with significant budget reduction and the questionable value for money from this type of activity it was decide not to renew any funding commitments of this type.

given our previous involvement with other festivals of this nature supporting any one event would set a precedent that could incur higher costs for the economy service.

2. QUESTION FROM COUNCILLOR GREENSLADE

Re: Grants 2011/12

A number of cultural organisations have expressed surprise to me at the delay by the County Council in announcing what grants it is proposing to make to cultural and arts organisations for 2011/12. Can the Cabinet members tell me when he is planning to make an announcement?

REPLY BY COUNCILLOR CROAD

I expect to make a decision on arts funding in the next few days.

3. QUESTION FROM COUNCILLOR GREENSLADE

Re: Residents Parking Schemes

I understand from residents that the procedure for obtaining residents parking permits have changed? Firstly, would Councillor Hughes not agree local County Councillors should have been informed about the nature of the changes rather than learn from residents? Secondly, does he not think that the much looser checks on eligibility and the seven day delay in receiving permits from the County Council will and are causing enforcement problems that were largely avoided under the old system?

REPLY BY COUNCILLOR HUGHES

I apologise for the fact that a change in process was not brought to the attention of members prior to its introduction. I would stress that it is not a change to policy rather an administrative adjustment to drive efficiency.

The procedure for applying for a residents parking permit changed to enable the service to be maintained with reduced resources as a result of the budget set on 9 March 2011. Residents had been able to visit local offices, apply and wait for a permit to be issued. The process can take up to 15 minutes and longer during busy periods which would result in inconvenience to residents whilst they wait whilst other priority tasks are completed. With fewer staff, it has become increasingly difficult to maintain this level of service.

Under the new process residents can submit their application and no longer have to wait. Applications are then processed in batches by officers, which offers greater flexibility and enables work to be completed more efficiently. A new permit is sent to the applicant at their home address within 7 working days. All residents have been informed of the change to the process. The enforcement service has been informed of the change and will use discretion when considering whether to issue a penalty charge for a permit which is out of date, or considering an appeal. The majority of permits renewed are for the same vehicle at the same address so the issue of eligibility in these cases is not at question and does not result in degradation. Checks will be made on eligibility at regular intervals on a random basis, or as and when issues are reported.

The Council is currently going through a procurement process which will allow residents to apply on-line for a new permit in the very near future. This will completely remove the requirement to visit council offices and will offer a convenient and easy method of applying for permits. In addition, if residents supply an email address or mobile phone number as part of the application process, the electronic system will send a reminder email or text to residents, ensuring that they renew their permit in plenty of time.

4. QUESTION FROM COUNCILLOR GREENSLADE

Re: Arc Manche

In view of his decision in respect of membership of the Atlantic Arc can the Cabinet Member tell me whether the County Council is still involved in the Arc Manche organisation?

REPLY BY COUNCILLOR MUMFORD

Certain EU grants are available to specific geographic areas - some of these areas remain within national borders, such as the Cornwall 'Convergence' area or the 'Leader 4 Torridge North Devon Local Action Group', but there are also areas which straddle national borders such as the 'Manche' area. This is purely a line on a map to show which areas are eligible for funding from the 'EU Co-operation Programme' (sometimes referred to as Interreg).

The Manche programme funds joint initiatives between the UK and France and is intended to help tackle economic, environmental and social issues which affect both sides of the Channel. The idea is that by working co-operatively and exchanging good practice there can be efficiency savings and genuine progress in resolving shared issues in a joined-up way. The County Council does participate in the programme and is involved in five Manche projects with a combined value of over 7m (EU + match funding).

The separate organisation known as Arc Manche helps organisations to form the cross-national partnerships they need in order to access the EU funding from the Manche Co-operation Programme. Membership of Arc Manche is free of charge and it is more of network than a formal organisation. The County Council remains active in the network where it suits the needs of our businesses and communities.

Date Published: Thu Jul 14 2011