Agenda and minutes

Cabinet - Tuesday, 9 July 2013 2.00 pm, NEW

Venue: Sparkenhoe Committee Room, County Hall, Glenfield

Contact: Mr. B. Smith (Tel. 0116 305 6036)  Email: ben.smith@leics.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

17.

Minutes. pdf icon PDF 102 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 12 June 2013 were taken as read, confirmed and signed.

 

18.

Urgent Items.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items for consideration.

 

19.

Declarations of interest.

Minutes:

The Chairman invited members who wished to do so to declare any interest in respect of items on the agenda for the meeting.

 

Mr. B. L. Pain CC declared a personal pecuniary interest as a director of a local taxi firm in respect of the following items, ‘Results on the Withdrawal of Discretionary Elements of the Concessionary Travel Scheme’ (Minute 20 below refers) and ‘Results of Consultation on Home to School Transport Policy and Proposed Changes to Policy and Charging’ (Minute 21 below refers).

 

20.

Results of Consultation on the Withdrawal of Discretionary Elements of the Concessionary Travel Scheme. pdf icon PDF 73 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

[Having declared a personal pecuniary interest, Mr. B. L. Pain CC withdrew from the meeting for the duration of this item and the following item]

 

The Cabinet considered a report of the Director of Environment and Transport, the purpose of which was to advise of the results of the public consultation into proposals for the withdrawal of discretionary elements of the County Council’s Concessionary Travel Scheme.

 

The Director reported on the complete findings of the public consultation ending on 30 June, as detailed in updated Appendices A and B provided to the Cabinet prior to the meeting, the results of the Equality Impact Assessment and mitigating measures attached as Appendix E, and other details in respect of the consultation.

 

The Cabinet noted that 32 late responses had been received after the 30 June deadline which the Director reported generally reflected the responses made within the consultation period. It was also noted, for the record, that the UKIP Group had also responded to the public consultation, but after the deadline.

 

The Cabinet gave consideration to comments of the Scrutiny Commission which had considered the consultation and responses on 5th July (marked ‘4a’), comments received from Dr Eynon CC (marked ‘4b’), and comments from Mr Galton CC, submitted on behalf of the Liberal Democrat Group (marked ‘4c’).

 

Copies of the report, marked ‘item 4’, updated appendices A and B, comments received from the Scrutiny Commission, Dr. T. Eynon CC and Mr. S. J. Galton CC respectively, are filed with these minutes.

 

In respect of Dr Eynon’s comments regarding the effects the proposed cuts would have on a local parish project to improve transport to healthcare, the Director reported there was nothing in the proposals to prevent it from going ahead but the fares charged would need to double to cover the costs of operation. He also reported that the IT system referred to was funded by one off ‘Baker’ Funding for Community Transport and was aimed at improving Community Transport provision by reducing waiting and down time and therefore increasing productivity from the same resource and increasing revenue.

 

In respect of the comments by the Liberal Democrat Group in relation to the difficulties that could be experienced by disabled pass holders travelling on weekdays before 9.30am, the Director reported that the proposals to withdraw this element of the scheme would mean payment of a fare would only be one way, with the return journey being free if taken after 9.30 am.

 

RESOLVED:

 

a)    That the Equality Impact Assessment and the responses to the consultation on the removal of the discretionary elements of concessionary travel (attached as Appendices A-E to this report and updated Appendices A and B to the supplementary report) be noted;

 

b)    That that the discretionary elements of concessionary travel be removed from 1st September 2013, namely: half fare on community transport, £33 of vouchers as an alternative to a bus pass, free travel before 9.30am Monday to Friday for disabled pass holders and free travel for all concessionary pass holders after 11.00pm Monday to Friday.

 

(KEY DECISION)

 

REASON FOR DECISION:

 

To enable the Cabinet to take into account the results of the consultation and the EqIA before making a decision on the provision of discretionary concessionary travel arrangements offered in Leicestershire. The consultation arose from the need to meet the savings requirements published in the Medium Term Financial Strategy.

 

21.

Results of Consultation on Home To School Transport Policy and Proposed Changes to Policy and Charging. pdf icon PDF 83 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

[Having declared a personal pecuniary interest, Mr. B. L. Pain CC remained out of the meeting for the duration of this item]

 

The Cabinet considered a report of the Director of Environment and Transport, the purpose of which was to advise of the results of the recent public consultation on proposals to change the Mainstream Home to School Transport Policy. 

 

The Director reported on the complete findings of the public consultation ending 30 June, detailed in the updated Appendices B and C provided to the Cabinet prior to the meeting, the results of the Equality Impact Assessment and mitigating measures attached as Appendix F, and other details in respect of the consultation.

 

The Director drew the Cabinet’s attention to paragraph 41 of the report and the reference to new Home to School Travel and Transport Guidance recently re-issued. On 5th July the Department for Education (DfE) had withdrawn this guidance and referred back to the previously issued statutory guidance from May 2007. The DfE would be redrafting the March 2013 guidance, to be issued in autumn 2013. The Director confirmed that the recommendations in the report were not affected by the withdrawal of this guidance.

 

The Cabinet also considered comments of the Scrutiny Commission which had considered the consultation and responses on 5th July and comments from Mr Galton CC, submitted on behalf of the Liberal Democrat Group.

 

Copies of the report, marked ‘item 5’, updated appendices B and C, comments received from the Scrutiny Commission (marked ‘5a’), and Mr. S. J. Galton CC (marked ‘5b’) respectively, are filed with these minutes.

 

RESOLVED:

 

a)    That the Equality Impact Assessment and the responses to the consultation on proposed changes to the Mainstream Home to School Transport Policy (attached as Appendices B-F to this report and updated Appendices B and C to the supplementary report) be approved;

 

b)    That the draft Mainstream Home to School Transport Policy (attached as Appendix A to the report), be approved, and that the particular changes to the policy contained therein be noted, namely:-

 

i)     With regard to 16+ transport to educational provision - from September 2014 to continue to provide this at an annual charge for each pupil of £425 (up from £252 from September 2013) which recovers the full cost of provision.

 

ii)    To introduce a new entitlement to free 16+ transport for qualifying students from families on low income or in receipt of maximum Working Tax Credits from September 2014.

 

iii)   With regard to transport to denominational schools - from September 2014 to continue providing this at an annual charge for each pupil of £450 (up from £252 from September 2013). Then from September 2015 to cease this provision for any new students and also to phase it out for students part-way through their denominational education and to apply full cost recovery at a yearly charge of £640 in 2015/16;

 

iv)   With regard to transport to denominational schools to continue to provide free transport for students from families on low income between 2 and 15 miles from school.

 

v)    All farepaying spaces to be increased to £450 per academic year from September 2014 and then £640 in 2015/16 to be consistent with the charge for denominational transport;

 

vi)   From September 2013 - to cease automatic provision of free transport for pupils in their final year(s) of each phase of their compulsory education, when they move to a new address which is outside their current Transport Eligibility Area (TEA) as defined in the new Home to School Transport Policy. 

 

(KEY DECISION)

 

REASON FOR DECISION:

 

To enable the Cabinet to take into account  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

Strategic Review of Adult Preventative Mental Health Services in Leicestershire. pdf icon PDF 176 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report of the Director of Adults and Communities, regarding the recent strategic review of adult preventative mental health services in Leicestershire, a planned consultation on the proposed commissioning option for the Adult Mental Health Social Drop In and Befriending services and proposals to implement a service re-design to the Voluntary Service Officers service. A copy of the report, marked ‘item 6’, together with Equality Impact Assessments circulated prior to the meeting as supplementary appendices to the report, is filed with these minutes.

 

Mr White welcomed the review and the demonstration of positive joint working that would result across Public Health and the Adults and Communities Department, suggesting it would be of benefit to ask the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee also to give its consideration to the review outcomes.

 

RESOLVED:

 

a)    That the outcome of the strategic review of adult preventative mental health services and associated Equality Impact Assessments (attached as supplementary appendices to the report) be noted;

 

b)    That the Director of Adults and Communities be authorised to commence a consultation exercise, as set out in paragraphs 65 to 73 of the report, on the proposed commissioning options for Adult Mental Health Social Drop In and Befriending services;

 

c)    That in addition to consideration by the Adults and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee, the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee be asked to consider the outcome of the review and consultation exercise in light of the public health implications referred to in paragraph 67 of the report;

 

d)    That approval be given for the implementation of the proposed service re-design to the Voluntary Service Officers service, as set out in paragraphs 58 to 61 of the report.

 

(KEY DECISION)

REASONS FOR DECISION:

 

1.         A strategic review of adult preventative mental health services in Leicestershire has been undertaken by the Adults and Communities Department.

 

2.         The review considered the following types of services which are currently commissioned by the Adults and Communities Department:

 

·         Adult Mental Health Social Drop Ins;

·         Adult Mental Health Befriending services;

·         Voluntary Services Officers.

 

3.         As part of the strategic review and service modelling process, consultation was undertaken with existing providers, customers and carers.  Findings from the review process have informed the development of the proposed commissioning options.

 

4.         The new commissioning options for adult preventative mental health services in Leicestershire have been developed to ensure that services meet demand, provide equitable access (both demographically and geographically), have a focus on positive outcomes for customers and carers, and provide value for money.

 

23.

Longer Lives. pdf icon PDF 116 KB

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report of the Director of Public Health which drew the Cabinet’s attention to the national Longer Lives project and Leicestershire’s performance on premature mortality (deaths under the age of 75 years).  A copy of the report, marked ‘item 8’, is filed with these minutes.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the findings of the Longer Lives project and the work already underway to improve premature mortality in Leicestershire contained in the report, as well as the intention to respond to the initiative through the Director of Public Health (DPH)’s Annual Report, be noted.

 

REASON FOR DECISION:

 

Compared to England as a whole, Leicestershire has relatively low levels of premature mortality, but there is more that can be done to reduce this further.  The Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy has already proposed a number of priorities that will contribute to this, but the opportunity should be taken through the DPH Annual Report process to critically examine the actions in the light of Longer Lives. 

 

24.

Ensuring Educational Excellence in Leicestershire. pdf icon PDF 122 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report of the Director of Children and Young People’s Service which advised of the outcomes of consultation and progress made towards developing a new approach to securing educational excellence in Leicestershire’s maintained schools and academies. A copy of the report, marked ‘item 8’, is filed with these minutes.

 

RESOLVED:

a)    That the involvement and influence of Leicestershire’s maintained schools and academies in the development of a new policy and approach to a self-improving schools system in Leicestershire, through the working group and consultation process, be noted;

 

b)    That the way in which the development of the Leicestershire Educational Excellence Partnership (LEEP) will enable the local authority to meet its statutory responsibility to promote educational excellence across the state system be noted;

 

c)    That approval be given to the implementation of the Leicestershire Educational Excellence Partnership, noting the outcomes of the consultation;

 

d)    That the LEEP be asked to provide reports, including an annual report, which can be considered by the Children and Families’ Overview  and Scrutiny Committee, and the Cabinet as necessary, in order to provide the mechanism of assurance for the discharge of the County Council’s statutory responsibilities;

 

e)    That the intention of Ofsted to inspect local authority arrangements for supporting school improvement be noted.

 

REASONS FOR DECISION:

 

1.    The Education Act 2006, places a duty on local authorities to promote high standards in primary and secondary education and ensure that every child fulfils his educational potential. Although the 2006 Act has been amended by later legislation, local authorities retain a clear role in relation to school standards, including powers of intervention where a maintained school is causing concern.  This role was described to the Cabinet at its meeting on 20th December 2011 as being “champions for children, young people, parents, carers and families, ensuring appropriate support for vulnerable pupils when they need it and educational excellence in schools”.

 

2.    At its meeting on 9th April 2013, the Cabinet approved direction of the development of the new policy through a partnership approach with maintained schools and academies. The involvement and influence of Leicestershire’s maintained schools and academies in the development of a new policy and approach to a self-improving schools system in Leicestershire was also noted. This included a period of consultation. The consultation information is attached at Appendix 1 and a summary of consultation responses is attached at Appendix 2.

 

3.    The LEEP arrangement will enable the County Council to carry out its responsibility to ensure educational excellence across the state system. The County Council will require assurance that its statutory responsibilities are being delivered and it is recommended that this is carried out by the Children and Families’ Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

4.    In May 2013 Ofsted launched its framework for the inspection of local authority arrangements for supporting school improvement under section 136(1) (b) of the Education and Inspections Act 2006. Under this framework, Ofsted will evaluate how effectively local authorities discharge their school improvement functions for maintained schools and all other providers in the state funded system as reported in the report to the Cabinet on 9th April 2013. The Children and Young People’s Service has commissioned relevant external support to ensure that statutory obligations are filled pending the full implementation of the LEEP.            

 

25.

Consultation on the Future of Oakfield School. pdf icon PDF 144 KB

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report of the Director of Children and Young People’s Service regarding the undertaking of a consultation on the future of Oakfield School. A copy of the report, marked ‘item 9’, is filed with these minutes.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That approval be given for the Director of Children and Young People’s Service be authorised to undertake consultation on future options for Oakfield School, as set out in paragraphs 45-47 of the report.

 

(KEY DECISION)

REASONS FOR DECISION:

 

1.    Oakfield School is formally registered as a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU), with a remit to educate children who cannot attend mainstream schools because of behavioural issues. A series of local and national developments open up the potential to further develop the ways in which current provision in Leicestershire is organised for vulnerable and challenging children and young people. Three key drivers of change concern financial sustainability, quality of provision, and national policy.

2.    Nationally, The Taylor review of PRUs and Alternative Provision published in March 2012 sets an agenda for improvement in the sector including more autonomy for PRUs, and a long term expectation that schools will take control of the commissioning of Alternative Provision.

3.    Locally, Behaviour Partnerships have been developing their work across all Leicestershire secondary schools and academies since 2005. An initial brief around agreeing priority cases for additional support and PRU placement has been extended to include managing a key stage 4 devolved Alternative Programme commissioning budget, and will further develop in September 2013 when central behaviour support services close, as agreed reported to the Cabinet in May 2012, and their responsibilities transfer to partnerships.

4.    Oakfield School was judged by Ofsted to require special measures in May 2012. Considerable resources have been deployed by the local authority to support the improvement plan, including enhanced senior management capacity, new management committee, and additional resources to enhance staffing. Inspectors returned to review progress in November 2012 and again in February 2013. On both occasions, progress was judged to be “reasonable”. A further review during the summer term 2013 has concluded that progress is inadequate.

5.    New funding arrangements for PRUs were introduced nationally from April 2013. All costs of provision must be detailed as per pupil amounts. The high costs of each pupil placement resulting from this new approach will make schools look for alternative ways of meeting needs at lower costs.  This will impact the ongoing financial stability of Oakfield School.

 

6.    Underperforming Schools and PRUs are being encouraged by the Department for Education to move into sponsored academy arrangements. The DfE will have rising expectations of the local authority to consider this option as a result of continuing underperformance.

26.

Local Plan Consultation - Charnwood Local Plan: Core Strategy Pre-Submission Version. pdf icon PDF 115 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report of the Chief Executive which set out a proposed response to the Charnwood Local Plan Core Strategy Pre-submission Version issued by Charnwood Borough Council, a copy of which, marked ‘item 10’, is filed with these minutes.

 

The Cabinet noted a minor drafting amendment suggested by the Chief Executive to the proposed response [see resolution a) below], and comments received from Ms Betty Newton CC and Mr Hunt CC (marked ‘10a’), and from Ms. K. Knaggs CC (marked ‘10b’), copies of which are filed with these minutes.

 

With the consent of the Chairman, Cllr D. Slater, Leader of Charnwood Borough Council, spoke on the matter, referring members to a written submission he had made, a copy of which, at the request of the Chairman, is filed with these minutes.

 

Cllr. Slater informed the Cabinet that Borough Council officers would continue to discuss with their County Council counterparts areas of common ground through to the date of submission, including aspects of the Borough Council’s proposals for the deliverability of transport and road infrastructure which would require rectifying.

 

Responding to comments made by Mr. Houseman requesting the inclusion of references to Extra Care Housing in the Submission, Cllr. Slater invited Mr. Houseman to discuss matters with him directly, following the meeting.

 

RESOLVED:

 

a)    That the detailed comments, as set out in the Appendix to the report, be submitted to Charnwood Borough Council as the views of the County Council, subject to a revision to the first paragraph under the heading ‘Strategic Property Services Division of the Corporate Resources Department’:

 

Farley Road to read ‘Farley Way’ and the subsequent sentence to be removed.

 

b)    That the key comments set out in paragraphs 19 to 34 of the report be drawn to the attention of Charnwood Borough Council, in particular those relating to the deliverability and funding of infrastructure.

 

REASON FOR DECISION:

 

To ensure that the County Council makes an appropriate input at this key stage in the Local Plan process, so that issues of importance for the County Council are clearly expressed and influence the shape and content of the Local Plan.

 

27.

Equality Strategy 2013-2016. pdf icon PDF 84 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report of the Chief Executive regarding the proposed submission of the final draft Equality Strategy 2013-2016 for approval by the County Council on 25 September 2013.  A copy of the report, marked ‘item 11’, is filed with these notes.

 

RESOLVED:

 

a)    That the draft Equality Strategy 2013-2016, attached as Appendix A to the report, approved for submission to the County Council meeting of 25th September for approval.

 

b)    That the County Council’s continued commitment to equality, diversity, community cohesion and human rights and its legislative duty to provide ‘due regard’ be demonstrated by its continued use of the Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) to inform service change.

 

(KEY DECISION)

 

REASON FOR DECISION:

 

1.            The Equality Strategy 2013-2016 provides a policy context for the County Council’s activity around equality, diversity, community cohesion and human rights.  It sets out how the County Council will meet its legislative duty and the intention to develop equal and fair decision making processes, policies and services for all employees and residents.  

 

2.            It is important that the Authority’s strong approach to equality, diversity, community cohesion and human rights is maintained. Equality Impact Assessments are integral to this, adding value to the organisation and making the Authority resistant to legal challenge.  Equality Impact Assessments are important in planning effective service delivery and in responding to community needs, and are particularly relevant in a period of financial austerity and significant service change.

 

28.

Items referred from Overview and Scrutiny.

Minutes:

There were no items referred from Overview and Scrutiny.