Agenda and minutes

Cabinet
Wednesday, 14 January 2015 2.00 pm

Venue: Sparkenhoe Committee Room, County Hall, Glenfield

Contact: Ms. J. Bailey (Tel. 0116 305 6225)  Email: jenny.bailey@leics.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

In attendance

Mr. G. A. Hart CC

 

Mr. M. H. Charlesworth CC, Dr. R. K. A. Feltham CC, Mr. S. J. Galton CC, Mr. S. Hampson CC, Mr. R. Sharp CC, Mr. S. D. Sheahan CC, Mr. R. Shepherd CC, Mr. D. A. Sprason CC.

 

248.

Minutes of the previous meeting. pdf icon PDF 97 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 11 December 2014 were taken as read, confirmed and signed.

249.

Urgent items.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items for consideration.

250.

Declarations of interest.

Minutes:

The Chairman invited members who wished to do so to declare any interests in respect of items on the agenda for the meeting. He declared a personal interest in item no. 5 on the agenda (Review and Consolidation of Voluntary and Community Sector Support for Children and Family Services) as his sister was a volunteer at the Parent and Carer Council.

 

Mrs P. Posnett CC declared a personal interest in item no. 5 on the agenda (Review and Consolidation of Voluntary and Community Sector Support for Children and Family Services) as Chairman of Melton Mencap Group which was affected by the proposals and undertook to leave the meeting whilst that item was considered.

251.

Medium Term Financial Strategy. pdf icon PDF 134 KB

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report of the Director of Corporate Resources which gave an update on the development of the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) following the announcement of the provisional Local Government Financial Settlement, specific grants, and Council Tax base. A copy of the report, marked ‘4’, is filed with these minutes.

 

With reference to paragraph 19 of the report, the Director said that the increase in Council Tax base appeared to be the result of more homes having been built in the County, a reduction in single person discounts, and fewer claims being made for Council Tax Support.

 

Mr. Rhodes CC said that a 1.5% increase in Council Tax had been proposed in the draft MTFS but in light of the Council’s funding problems the Cabinet would now propose an increase of 1.99% for 2015/16, noting that the ‘cap’ for a referendum had been set at 2.00% by the Government.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(a)      That the report be noted;

 

(b)      That the Cabinet will recommend that the County Council at its meeting on 18 February agrees a Council Tax increase of 1.99% for 2015-16;

 

(c)      That the Scrutiny Commission and the Overview and Scrutiny Committees be further advised that the Cabinet proposes to use the net additional resources available as set out in paragraph 25 of the report and those arising from Council Tax as follows -

 

·       to fund highways activities, including maintenance and funding of the invest-to-save scheme to convert street lighting to LEDs (using one-off resources available in 2015/16 and 2016/17) and

 

·       to repay debt (again, using one-off resources available in 2015/16 and 2016/17);

 

(d)      That it be noted that the effect of this approach will be to reduce the current £9m funding gap in the Medium Term Financial Strategy in 2017-18 and 2018-19.

 

(KEY DECISION)

 

REASON FOR DECISION:

 

To understand the funding position faced by the County Council.

 

252.

Review and Consolidation of Voluntary and Community Sector Support for Children and Family Services. pdf icon PDF 155 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Mrs Posnett CC, having declared a personal interest in the matter, left the meeting whilst this item was considered).

 

The Cabinet considered a joint report of the Directors of Children and Family Services, Adults and Communities, and Public Health concerning proposed savings and future commissioning priorities with regard to voluntary and community sector organisations arising from the recent review, along with the outcome of a further appraisal which had been undertaken to consider the potential impact of the changes on service users. A copy of the report, marked ‘5’, is filed with these minutes.

 

Members noted a letter from Voluntary Action Leicestershire (VAL) regarding the options in the report, a copy of which is filed with these minutes.

 

Mr. Ould CC noted that there had been extensive consultation on the proposals and thanked VAL, which had been involved from the outset, for their contribution. Referring to their letter, he said that every effort would be made to ensure continued funding for youth counselling services but he was unable to guarantee this.  Mr. Ould added that further work would be done to ensure outcome-centred commissioning in services for children and families and to reduce duplication.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(a)      That the outcome of the further appraisal regarding the potential impact on service users who may be affected by the review and consolidation of Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) funding be noted;

 

(b)      That Option 4, as set out in paragraphs 46 and 47 of the report, to make savings of a minimum of £754,000 and a maximum of £912,157 be agreed;

 

(c)      That the continued spend in the VCS for Children and Family Services of approximately £2.3 million per annum be noted.

 

(KEY DECISION)

 

REASON FOR DECISION:

 

At its meeting on 11th December, 2014, the Cabinet noted the outcome of the consultation with VCS organisations affected by proposed savings as set out in the County Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS), and agreed that prior to making final decisions a further appraisal was required regarding the potential impact on service users.

 

The use of an assessment tool, as agreed by the Cabinet in December, has identified which services (as currently commissioned) best meet the strategic priorities of the department, as defined through the consultation, i.e. to target services to the most vulnerable children and families. This tool has been used to identify potential savings.

 

Through the use of the assessment tool a number of options were identified to realise the discrete savings of £800,000 as identified in the MTFS, and also contribute to the savings required from the VCS in other departmental transformation projects.   The assessment tool has also enabled the department to identify the priority areas for future commissioning through the VCS from a future budget of approximately £2.3 million.

 

OTHER OPTIONS CONSIDERED:

 

Option 1: Remove funding for all contracts and agreements with an assessment score of 50 and under. This would include 49 contracts /grants and would achieve savings of £754,441.

 

Option 2:  Remove funding from all contracts and agreements that have an assessment score of 51 and under.  This would achieve savings of £855,442. The 8 contracts added to this from Option 1 are specialist summer scheme provision and community grant agreements for short breaks for disabled children. The services that would continue for disabled children would include two for short breaks and one for early support and inclusion.

 

Option 3:  Remove funding for all contracts and agreements with an assessment score of 50 and under (achieving savings of £754,441) including reducing funding for all 9 youth counselling services (with an assessment score range of between  ...  view the full minutes text for item 252.

253.

Proposed Transfer of the Holliers Walk Primary School to the Mount Grace High School (Academy) Site, Leicester Road, Hinckley. pdf icon PDF 130 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report of the Director of Children and Family Services regarding the outcome of consultation on the proposed transfer of Holliers Walk Primary School to the Mount Grace High School (Academy), site in Hinckley, and seeking approval to proceed with the design and re-development of the Mount Grace site in readiness for September 2016 admissions to an expanded primary school. A copy of the report, marked ‘6’, is filed with these minutes.

 

Members noted a letter from the local member, Mr. D. C. Bill CC, a copy of which is filed with these minutes.

 

Mr. Ould CC said that there had been overwhelming support for the transfer of the school and commended the proposals.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(a)      That the responses received to the consultation conducted by the governing body of Holliers Walk Primary School to transfer the School to the Mount Grace High School (Academy) site, to enable expansion to provide 630 places be noted;

 

(b)      That the Director of Children and Family Services be requested to take action, subject to Cabinet approval of the 2015/16 Basic Need capital programme, to enable the design and re-development of the Mount Grace site (expected to become vacant in summer 2015) in readiness for September 2016 admissions to the expanded primary school;

 

(c)      That it be noted that consultation will take place on a change to the catchment boundaries for Holliers Walk Primary School and St. Mary’s Primary School to ensure that the relocated Holliers Walk School is within its catchment area.

 

REASON FOR DECISION:

 

The Education Act 1996 places a statutory duty on the Local Authority to ensure a sufficient supply of school places. Analysis of five-year pupil forecasts for the Hinckley town area indicates a significant increase in demand for school places, likely to give rise to a shortfall of 316 places, when considering increased births, general demographic change and approved housing development.

 

The consultation on the transfer and expansion of Holliers Walk Primary School, undertaken by the School’s governing body, has been undertaken  in accordance with  the School Organisation (Prescribed Alterations to Schools)(England) Regulations 2013 and supporting statutory  guidance which came into force on 28 January 2014. This has provided the opportunity for all stakeholders to comment upon the proposals at an early stage.

 

The results of the consultation show that there is considerable support for the transfer of Holliers Walk Primary School to the Mount Grace site once available, and its expansion to provide 630 places instead of the current overall capacity of 420 places.

 

The redevelopment of the Mount Grace site for primary use will provide a cost-effective solution to help address the need for additional places in Hinckley, making the best use of Council resources, and on a site that is well positioned to meet the expected additional demand. 

254.

Snibston. pdf icon PDF 200 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a joint report of the Director of Adults and Communities and the Director of Corporate Resources regarding the future of Snibston. A copy of the report, marked ‘7’, is filed with these minutes.

 

Members noted the following items, copies of which are also filed with these minutes -

 

·     A draft minute of the Adults and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 13 January.

·     A note which had been circulated at the Adults and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee correcting some errors in the Cabinet report.

·     An open letter from the Friends of Snibston (FOS), dated 12 January 2015.

·     A statement made by the local member Dr. T. Eynon CC at the Adults and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting.

·     A letter on behalf of the County Solicitor to Mr. B. Vollar, dated 24 September 2014 which was referred to at the Adults and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting.

·     Representations from Mr. M. H. Charlesworth CC and from Mr. M. Wyatt CC.

·     A representation from J. S. Dinsdale (a member of the public).

 

With the permission of the Chairman, Mr. Andrew Bridgen MP spoke on the report.  He expressed his disappointment at the proposal to close the gallery building and considered that the Council’s proposals for the site were flawed, and that there was still be an opportunity for FOS and the Council to jointly develop alternative plans, perhaps with the assistance of the District Council. Coalville needed economic regeneration and the closure of the Snibston gallery would be a retrograde step. Mr. Bridgen suggested that there were additional sources of funding for which the Council could apply.  

 

With the permission of the Chairman, Mr. S. Warburton (for FOS) spoke on the report.  Mr. Warburton said that many of the collections at Snibston related directly to the site and that the museum gallery had been built specifically to accommodate these.  He recognised the Council’s concerns about the FOS business case but suggested that with a clear mandate from the Council these might be overcome, and asked for more time to allow further discussion to take place. 

 

Mr. Rushton CC thanked Mr. Bridgen and Mr. Warburton for their representations.

 

Mr. Blunt CC thanked the FOS for their efforts in developing alternative proposals.  He said that whilst it had been his wish to retain Snibston in its present form, this was not feasible for the Council.  There were fundamental flaws in the FOS business case, most notably in the assumed 60% increase in visitor numbers, reliance on lottery and other grant funding to cover all repair/refurbishment costs, and the presumption that the Council would retain the freehold of the property with all the risks and liabilities that involved.  Responding to Mr. Bridgen, Mr. Blunt said that unfortunately there were no special funds for which the Council could apply.  The financial situation of the Authority was key to the issue; recent months had seen unprecedented reductions in Council services, and this would continue.  Mr. Blunt thanked all the staff and volunteers at Snibston for their work over the past year in particular and said that clarity was now needed as to the way forward.  He added that there were no plans to close the Country Park and that the Century Theatre would continue as part of the revised Council offer.

 

Mr. Rhodes CC said that whilst he sympathised with the FOS it had not been possible to resolve accept a business case with such deficiencies and the financial constraints on the Council made it imperative that a decision was taken. 

 

Mr. White CC stated that he also regretted  ...  view the full minutes text for item 254.

255.

Better Care Together - Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Five Year Strategic Plan 2014-2019. pdf icon PDF 157 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report of the Director of Adults and Communities which presented the Better Care Together Strategic Outline Case and Programme Initiation Document which would support the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Five Year Strategic Plan 2014-2019 for health and social care services.  A copy of the report, marked ‘8’, is filed with these minutes.

 

Mr. White CC said that the Adults and Communities Department had a key role in the development of the hugely ambitious Plan, and noted that there were considerable risks in the process of integrating health and social care. He hoped that there would be further reports to the Cabinet on the matter.

 

Mr. Houseman CC said that he wholeheartedly supported the Plan but drew members’ attention to the significant risks presented by the substantial and on-going reductions in Government funding. Furthermore, demand was increasing and the Council would take on more duties under the Care Act.  Mr. Houseman said that health and social care integration required careful planning and coordination, and investment to enable this needed to be allocated. 

 

Mr. Ould CC suggested that health and social care issues for children and young people should be given more prominence, noting that the Strategic Outline Case referred to the ‘vast and complicated’ child health agenda which was inadequately addressed in the existing health care system.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(a)      That the approval by the governing bodies of University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust and the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups of the Better Care Together Strategic Outline Case and Programme Initiation Document for formal consideration by NHS England and the NHS Trust Development Authority be noted;

 

(b)      That the approach set out within the Strategic Outline Case and Programme Initiation Document (Appendices C and D to the report respectively) be endorsed;

 

(c)      That the proposal to commence wider engagement of the public, patients, and staff with the Five Year Strategic Plan, Strategic Outline Case, and Programme Initiation Document during February and March 2015 be noted.

 

REASON FOR DECISION:

 

Better Care Together (BCT) is the biggest ever review of health and social care in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.  The County Council is a key member of the partnership of NHS organisations and local authorities across the area.  All governing bodies of the partners are being asked to give formal consideration to the Strategic Outline Case (SOC) and Project Initiation Document (PID).   The SOC sets out the business case for the BCT programme as being the preferred way forward to deliver the plans set out in the Five Year Strategic Plan.  The PID defines the BCT programme and sets out the basis on which the programme is to be initiated, governed and delivered.

256.

Items referred from Overview and Scrutiny.

Minutes:

There were no items referred from Overview and Scrutiny.