Cabinet

Committee Minutes

Wed Jan 12 2011

Related Documents:
agenda for these minutes

Present:-

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

Members attending in accordance with Standing Order 8

Councillor Brazil.

Members attending in accordance with Standing Order 25

Councillors Clarance, Colthorpe, Connett, Hannon, Lee, Newcombe, Pennington, Sellis, Taylor, Way and Westlake.

*283 Minutes

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 15 December 2010 be signed as a correct record.

*284 Chairman s Announcements

The Chairman welcomed Mrs Saltmarsh who was attending the meeting 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.

The Chairman also congratulated all those in Devon who had received Honours in Her Majesty the Queen s New Year s List and, in particular Ms Sue Clarke in the Council s Children Young People s Services Directorate who had received an OBE for her services to Education.

*285 Questions from Members of the Council

There was no question from a Member of the Council.

KEY DECISIONS

*286 Budget Monitoring 2010/11

(Councillors Connett, Hannon, Pennington, Way 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/11/1 - text onlyCR/11/1) on the position at Month 8, summarising the main areas of financial interest.

Members noted that while service Directorates continued to experience pressures because, for example, of cost increases for key items or increasing client needs, a balanced revenue budget outturn was still projected with firm management action within Directorates.

Members also noted the impact of the recent severe winter weather on the winter maintenance budget acknowledging that should costs exceed budgetary provision at year end then those would need to be dealt with as part of the Outturn or met from the Roads Emergency Fund.

The Executive Director of Environment, Economy Culture also presented a summary (EEC/11/5/HQ - supplementary information EEC/11/5/HQ) of the action taken by the County Council and its staff in response to the severe weather which had affected large parts of Devon during November and December 2010 and the immediate and on-going impact of that upon the road network.

The County Council and South West Highways (SWH) had deployed significant resources to manage the response to the severe weather and Members paid tribute to the efforts of all of the County Council s staff, partners and the voluntary sector in keeping Devon moving and in maintaining essential services for those in need, in often dangerous conditions.

The Executive Director confirmed, as indicated in an earlier review of the winter service arrangements in place last winter, that those revised arrangements would themselves be reviewed in light of experiences in the 201/11 winter season which would necessarily take account of issues raised by Members including clearance of footways and filling and re-filling of grit bins.

There had been some slippage in the capital programme arising, in the main, from delays in Government decisions on the Kingskwerswell Bypass and East of Exeter Access schemes.

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

RESOLVED that the position at Month 8 be noted and a copy of report EEC/11/5/HQ - supplementary information EEC/11/5/HQ be sent to all Devon MPs and the Department for Transport to highlight the pressure on Devon s road network in severe winter weather conditions.

*287 Crediton Industrial Link Road and Crediton Bypass (Minute *148/10 March 2010)

(Councillors Way 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/11/1/HQ - text only | pdf EEC/11/1/HQ) on the results of updated traffic and environmental surveys for the proposed Link Road/Bypass together with additional environmental data and further modelling undertaken during 2010, as requested by the Cabinet in March 2010.

The Executive Director confirmed that the additional data and modelling work, set out in detail at Appendix 1 to the report, continued to support the original conclusions and recommendations set out in his previous report to the Cabinet in 2010 (EEC/10/46/HQ - text only | pdf | supplementary information EEC/10/46/HQ).

The local County Councillor had expressed concerns at the effect of the Link Road on the surrounding road network with an increase of traffic flow generated at its junction with Commonmarsh Lane. The Cabinet Member for Highways Transportation indicated that while a number of preliminary studies had already been undertaken as outlined in the Executive Director s report, further detailed would necessarily be done as part of the process of seeking planning permission and the local Councillor would be advised of the outcomes of that further work.

It was MOVED by Councillor Hughes SECONDED by Councillor Hart and

RESOLVED

(a) that the result of the collection of additional traffic data and modelling outcomes be noted;

(b) that a planning application be submitted for the Hillside Route scheme shown on plan no A07001/34 appended to report EEC/11/1/HQ - text only | pdf EEC/11/1/HQ;

(c) that approval be given to the acquisition of the land required for the scheme either by negotiation or, if necessary, by Compulsory Purchase Order and to the publication of any necessary Side Road Orders;

(d) that approval be also given to the advertisement of any Traffic Regulation Orders required and, if no objections are received, to those Orders being made and sealed.

*288 Pay and Display Schemes in Market and Coastal Towns

The Cabinet noted that the report of the Executive Director of Environment, Economy Culture (EEC/11/2/HQ - text only | pdf EEC/11/2/HQ) on progress with the introduction of Pay and Display Schemes in Market and Coastal Towns had been withdrawn because of the on-going consultations with many of the Town and Parish Councils involved.

*289 Children Young People s Services: Annual Rating of Children s Services

(Councillors Hannon, Newcombe, Pennington 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/11/1 - text only | pdf CY/11/1) summarising the outcome of the Annual Rating of Children s Services undertaken by OFSTED for 2010.

Members were pleased to note that, overall, OFSTEDs view was that Council was performing well . OFSTED had acknowledged that the very large majority of services, settings and institutions inspected were good or better and that there had been improvements in most aspects of provision since the previous year, particularly in secondary schools and pupil referral units. The overall quality of day care for very young children was regarded as outstanding as was the local authority's adoption service. Primary schools, secondary schools, pupil referral units and further education colleges were good but special schools only adequate and school sixth forms poor. The Council s fostering service was felt to be good and overall Safeguarding services were adequate but for children in care they were good.

OFSTED had recognised that the Council s front-line child protection services had a broad balance of strengths and areas for improvement and further identified two areas of key development for Devon namely the need to improve the quality of school sixth forms and narrow the gap between the educational performance of young people from low-income families and others at the age of 16.

The Cabinet Member for Children s Health Well Being paid tribute to all those staff within the Directorate and partner organisations for their hard work and dedication in contributing to this successful inspection outcome.

It was MOVED by Councillor Davis SECONDED by Councillor Hart and

RESOLVED that the Report and the successful outcomes of the OFSTED Annual Rating for Children s Services be noted and welcomed.

*290 Future Direction and Delivery for the Devon Youth Service

(Councillors Connett, Hannon, Newcombe, Pennington 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/11/5 - text only | pdf CY/11/5) on proposals for the future management and delivery of the Devon Youth Service in line with national policy direction.

Members acknowledged that the future development of this service would necessarily have to reflect the direction of travel already clearly laid out by Government, namely that:

the Local Authority's statutory responsibility was to ensure it supported the needs of vulnerable young people and those most at risk of poor outcomes;

services should be targeted to vulnerable young people, delivered in a personalised and integrated way;

it was looking to the delivery of more local and universal provision for young people; and

the future role of the Local Authority should be that of a commissioner of services rather than provider.

It was MOVED by Councillor Channon SECONDED by Councillor Hart and

RESOLVED

(a) that the thorough preparatory stages and assessment process to-date be noted;

(b) that the national policy direction and role of the Local Authority in ensuring that youth services are targeting the needs of vulnerable young people be acknowledged;

(c) that the Cabinet recognise the Government s commitment to localism and local involvement through the Big Society in filling the gaps to support a universal offer and agrees to the County Council moving to a commissioning role in respect of the Youth Service, with detailed proposals being submitted in due course.

*291 Devon Catering and Cleaning Service (Minute *238/8 September 2010)

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

(Councillor Hughes declared a prejudicial interest in this matter by virtue of his spouse being a caretaker at Sidmouth Infants School and withdrew from the meeting during its consideration).

The Cabinet considered the report of the Executive Director of Children Young People s Services (CY/11/4 - text only | pdf CY/11/4) on the proposed establishment of a Joint Venture Company (JVC) to provide and undertake services currently provided for schools by the Council's in-house provider, Devon Catering and Cleaning Services.

In line with the Cabinet s previous decision, extensive research had taken place to ascertain whether there were any other public sector partners with the necessary background knowledge with whom a JVC could be established to deliver the range of services required in Devon. Only one organisation, Norse Commercial Services (Norse), had been identified - with the appropriate standing - and discussions had subsequently taken place between the Council and Norse to explore the possibility of creating a JVC.

Members noted that Norse was a subsidiary company of Norse Group Ltd, a company wholly owned by Norfolk County Council; it provided 115,000 meals through 850 staff to 500 educational settings. The County Council already had a successful relationship with the Norse Group through another joint venture company namely NPS South West Ltd (formerly Devon Property) delivering a wide range of property services for the Council and others.

The Cabinet was therefore recommended, subject to consideration and approval of a Final Business Case, to establish a JVC with Norse (to be known as Devon Norse) for the provision of school cleaning, catering and some caretaking services with the aim of delivering benefits to the Council through:

providing better value for money through improved performance;

helping to sustain the local community with a positive social impact;

providing continuity of service and employment;

maintaining greater control by the Council than would be the case through a more common form of outsourcing;

sharing profits from external revenues; and

building on a current successful public-private partnership.

It was MOVED by Councillor Channon SECONDED by Councillor Hart and

RESOLVED

(a) that, subject to the approval of a Final Business Case by the Cabinet in March, consent be given to proceeding with the establishment of a Joint Venture Company (JVC) with Norse Commercial Services undertaking the services currently provided for schools by the County Council's in-house provider, Devon Catering and Cleaning Services;

(b) that the transfer should initially be for cleaning and caretaking services commencing in April 2011, followed by school meals services in September 2011;

(c) that the Agreement should allow for other related Council services to be added over time.

*292 School Organisation: Proposed closure of Broadwoodwidger Primary School - Public Notice Results

(Councillor Hannon 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/11/2 - text only | pdf CY/11/2) on the outcome of the Public Notice on the proposal to close Broadwoodwidger Community Primary School with effect from 31 August 2011.

Members noted that Broadwoodwidger Primary School currently had capacity for 52 pupils. However, pupil numbers had diminished over recent years and at the Autumn Term 2010 there only ten pupils on roll; there were no new reception year admissions and only one pupil in year 1 and one pupil in year 2. The surplus places had arisen predominantly as a result of insufficient pupils in the Broadwoodwidger community, rather than a large volume of pupils attending schools elsewhere. Pupil numbers were continuing to decline in line with the trend in rural Devon.

The Council s main priority was that pupils should receive the best possible education and learning opportunities. Delivery of a full and balanced curriculum and the ability to deliver age-related expectations was difficult with such a small and decreasing number of children. If the proposal were approved, displaced pupils would be allocated a place at one of the nearby community primary schools (Ashwater, Clawton, Halwill or St Giles-on-the-Heath) following discussions with their parents, in accordance with the Admissions Code of Practice.

Consultations would also take place with trade unions about the impact upon staff at the School who would be supported in seeking redeployment.

Following informal consultations on the proposal in September and October 2010 a formal Public Notice had been issued on 3 November 2010, with a closing date of 15 December 2010. There had been no responses to the Public Notice.

The Executive Director confirmed that the appropriate statutory guidance issued by the Secretary of State relating to the taking of decisions on school organisation matters had been followed and adhered to and recommended that the proposal be now approved to enable access to appropriate educational provision for those children currently at this School.

It was MOVED by Councillor Channon SECONDED by Councillor Hart and

RESOLVED that approval be given to the proposal to close Broadwoodwidger Community Primary School with effect from 31 August 2011.

OTHER MATTERS

*293 Appointments Committee (Minute 269/15 December 2010)

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

The Chief Executive reported on the meeting of the Appointments Committee held on 6 January 2011 and outlined, for information, the recommendations it would be making to the Council on 17 February 2011 on the future organisational structure of the Council.

STANDING ITEMS

*294 Questions from Members of the Public

In accordance with the Council's Public Participation Rules, the appropriate Cabinet Members responded to 2 questions from members of the public on public transport and the Senior Council for Devon.

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

*295 References from Committees: Teignbridge HATOC: Traffic Management A379 Exeter to Starcross, Road Safety Review

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

The Cabinet noted that Teignbridge HATOC at its meeting on 11 November 2010 (Minute 34) had considered a report of the Area Engineer (South) (EEC/10/211/HQ - text only | pdf EEC/10/211/HQ), following a request from the local member about road safety concerns on the A379 between Matford Roundabout and Starcross; arising therefrom the HATOC was minded to recommend (c) that as an exception to the Council s policy, approval be given to:-

(i) the installation of double white lines in the vicinity of the Red Lodge junction;

(ii) a continuous speed limit of 30mph from Starcross to Kenton; and 50mph Kenton to the Swans Nest

However, as the proposal would be an exception to the Council s existing policy, which the HATOC was unable to determine, the matter stood referred to Cabinet for determination.

It was MOVED by Councillor Hughes SECONDED by Councillor Hart and

RESOLVED that, there being no justification for a departure from current policies, the Cabinet accept the advice of the Executive Director of Environment, Economy and Culture that white lines should not be installed in the vicinity of the Red Lodge junction, that there should be no change to the existing speed limits on the A379 between Matford and Starcross and that a sign de-clutter and rationalisation be carried out on the A379 to provide a consistent standard.

296 Notices of Motion: Academy Schools

(Councillor Brazil attended in accordance with Standing Order 8 and spoke to this item).

(Councillors Hannon and Westlake 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:

'This Council is very concerned about the creation of Academy schools. While it maybe of benefit to individual schools, the viability of this Council to support the vast majority of remaining schools is seriously undermined. We call on the Secretary of State to rethink the policy and understand the potential consequences.'

In considering the Notice of Motion the Cabinet also had regard to a suggested amendment laid at the Council meeting which the Mover of the Notice of Motion had subsequently indicated his willingness to accept - , namely: to add between "to" and "benefit" in the second line "possibly short-term", and to add "and is dismayed at the very limited time that is required for consultation with parents and the community, and asks the Government to specify an adequate period for consultation before a final decision to apply for academy status can be made .

The Cabinet Member for Schools and Skills indicated that in the absence of detailed guidance on some aspects of the Government s Academy Schools policy its impact on schools was difficult to quantify and undertook to report further to a future Council meeting when that clarification had been forthcoming.

It was MOVED by Councillor Hart SECONDED by Councillor Channon and

RESOLVED that acknowledging the further report to be made by the Cabinet Member for Schools and Skills the County Council be recommended to note the Notice of Motion.

*297 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.

*298 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 February 31 May 2011.

*DENOTES DELEGATED MATTER WITH POWER TO ACT

The meeting started at 10.30am and finished at 1.15pm

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

QUESTION(S) FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

12 January 2011/Minute *294

1. QUESTION FROM MR BAILEY

Re: Public Transport

Given the seriousness of the traffic situation in Devon, how does the County intend to deal with the urgent issues of transport provisions?

REPLY BY COUNCILLOR HUGHES

Acknowledging the background to the question I must emphasise that the County Council has a strong record of investment in walking and cycling routes and public transport. Examples of this are the Exe Estuary and Tarka Trail cycle routes, the highly successful Park and Ride service, the purchase of a new low emission fleet of vehicles on key routes into Exeter, and rail station enhancements. This investment has resulted in a substantial increase in the use of these forms of transport and no growth in road traffic despite the development that has taken place.

The Council s commitment to increasing cycling levels was recognised by Cycling England who last year awarded us funding for a countywide project to test whether a positive leisure cycling experience is the first step back into everyday cycling.

The Exe Estuary Trail is located in a highly sensitive environment which has required detailed negotiations with environmental groups and landowners. This has led to some delays but the section between Exeter and Exmouth is due to fully open shortly. The County Council are also progressing the Coast to Coast Route (NCN27) and the cross authority Stop Line Way (Seaton to Burnham on Sea) cycle route. In terms of the Newton Abbot Connect2 cycle bridge, it has not been cancelled and further work is being carried out to ensure the right design and most cost effective solution are found.

As well as the longer distance, leisure routes, Devon County Council have taken bold moves in major urban areas, with a commitment to prioritising cyclists by installing cycle signals across the M5 on slip at Junction 30 and building a new pedestrian cycle bridge across the motorway, north of Junction 29. It is unlikely that other authorities are as enthusiastic, ambitious or committed to cycling as Devon. In fact, Devon County Council s Cycle Exeter team won the National Transport Award for cycling improvements in 2010.

Devon County Council was also highly commended in the 2010 National Transport Awards for its work on improving access in relation to public transport. The County Council has worked closely with bus operators, including through joint investment programmes, to improve services and increase patronage. This is against the trend of declining patronage outside of London.

Looking to the future, our plans are to continue to invest in walking and cycling routes, ensure key public transport routes are maintained and improved, and work with the rail operators to develop Devon Metro. Devon Metro is a rail initiative that would improve connectivity between several of the market and coastal towns and Exeter. With new stations and better rolling stock, accessibility to the main attractions in the city would be enhanced, providing an attractive, low carbon alternative to the car.

Within Exeter there will be an emphasis on improving connections to the city centre for walking and cycling with a coordinated network of safe routes, improvements to the bus network, further park ride sites and new rail stations at Marsh Barton and to the east of Exeter. We will also continue to work with businesses and schools to promote travel planning and influence travel behaviour which will help support future economic growth and reduce carbon emissions.

As is evident from what I have said, the County Council has a clear focus and a proud record of promoting, supporting and delivering a wide range of transport opportunities.

2. QUESTION FROM MS NEWCOMBE

Re: Senior Council for Devon

Although we understand in the present economic situation Devon County Council s necessity to make cuts in their spending, we wish to question why, having spent a great deal of money and an exceptional amount of volunteers time and hard work, you wish to diminish what has been a flagship creation the Senior Council for Devon?

The SCfD does for DCC just what the Government s recent paper The Big Society asked for e.g. two way consultation down to the grass roots. We have now been asked to join a consortium comprising Westbank, Living Options, Devon Carers Link, Be Involved Devon, Devon Link Up, Devon People First and Fusion.

Although we respect the work being undertaken by each of these groups and know there is much that can be done jointly, we do not believe the pressure we have been put under to make such a decision is correct.

Without time for full consultation with our membership, the SCfD may well be acting in contravention of its constitution. We would ask for justification why there is a need to make this decision so quickly. Setting up a consortium is a complicated undertaking and getting it right is imperative for its future. Having the right membership at the right level, with adequate finances, can make or break the project at the start.

We have actually been given three weeks over the Christmas period, including two weeks of bad weather, to make a decision. We believe this is a recipe for disaster and would like to ask the Cabinet why this has occurred.

REPLY BY COUNCILLOR BARKER

Devon County Council is not diminishing the role of the Senior Council for Devon as suggested in the question. We have been talking to the Senior Council about the end of the current contract for some time. The Senior Council is jointly funded by NHS Devon and DCC and Devon County Council has not said it intends to diminish its contribution of 50% in any new agreement. The time constraint for a decision is that the present contract ends in March and having been discussing this for sometime we now know the result of the comprehensive spending review.

The comment referring to other organisations refers to current discussions intended to produce a single contract for health and social care involvement activity which spans all the current providers mentioned in the question. What we are seeking is an outcome which will ensure the various organisations can reduce their own costs by forming a consortium which will reduce their administrative costs and retain as much engagement activity as possible for all groups. .

We have developed a Joint Engagement Strategy across health and social care ( both adults and children) in partnership with the providers of engagement services over the last 12 months. This resulted in a Joint Engagement Board which all the contract holders sit on. Within this context health and social managers and the engagement providers have met on three occasions since November 2010 to discuss options for a new model for engagement. All the organisations involved are agreed that there are significant opportunities to reduce areas of overlapping business and that by wokring together they could be more efficient than working separately.

The question asked of the organisations was to establish if they wanted to agree in principle to work together to reduce costs whislt maintaining as much engagement activity as possible. Following a series of three workshops with them, which started in November and concluded last week, we have worked in partnership to see whether a single contract could be held with them fomring a consortium. At the last meeting all the organisations, including Senior Council, signed up to an agreement in principle that they will work together in a consortium or partnership to deliver engagement activity. .

The aim of this approach is therefore not to diminish the Senior Council but to secure their involvement in a way which ensures parity between the different groups and makes the best use of the investment in this activity by the County Council and our partner NHS Devon.

The whole process has been an inclusive one where we have worked with them as contract holders to determine how we can maintain as much involvement activity as possible in the current financial climate. That process is continuing with full Senior Council involvement in the development of the new arrangements. The involvement providers asked for a delay in the implementation of any new contract to enable them to consult their members and finalise arrangements between them. We have therefore met this request by including an extended timetable which will see the start delayed from April until June.

Date Published: Fri Jan 14 2011