Agenda, decisions and minutes

Cabinet
Thursday, 13th March, 2014 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre. View directions

Contact: Joel West 

Items
No. Item

159.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

None.

160.

Declarations of Interest

Councillors’ declarations of interest (if any) in relation to any items on the agenda.

Minutes:

None.

161.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 35 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 20 February 2014.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 20 February 2014 are agreed as a correct record and signed by the Leader.

162.

Matters Arising

Any matters arising from the minutes of the previous meeting.

Minutes:

None.

163.

Written Questions from the Public

To receive any questions from members of the public in accordance with Rule 10 of the Council Procedure Rules.

Minutes:

None.

164.

Written Questions from Councillors

To receive any questions from Councillors in accordance with Rule 11 of the Council Procedure Rules.

Minutes:

None.

165.

Petitions

To consider any petitions that have been referred to the Cabinet under the Council’s Petition Scheme.

Minutes:

None.

166.

Cabinet Work Plan pdf icon PDF 30 KB

To note the Cabinet’s Work Plan for the current year.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the Cabinet work plan is noted.

167.

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 30 KB

To note the Forward Plan, which provides notice of key decisions to be taken by the Cabinet or individual Portfolio Holders under delegated powers.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the Forward Plan is noted.

168.

Recent Decisions Taken by The Leader, Deputy or Portfolio Holder(s)

To note recent Portfolio Holder decisions taken under delegated powers, as attached:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the following decision is noted:

168a

Decision of the Portfolio Holders for Community & Social Inclusion, and Resources & Enterprise - 24 February 2014 pdf icon PDF 17 KB

169.

Human Resources Policy on Domestic Violence and Abuse pdf icon PDF 106 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED that the Human Resources Policy on Domestic Violence and Abuse, attached as Appendix 1 to the report submitted, is agreed, subject to removal of the word ‘should’ from the second paragraph of section 9.

Minutes:

The Cabinet received a report proposing a policy to address domestic violence, abuse, forced marriage or ‘honour’-based violence and its effects in the workplace.

 

The Cabinet noted that the right to choose a spouse and enter freely into marriage is already enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and therefore the inclusion of the word ‘should’ in section 9 of the draft policy is unnecessary and potentially misleading.

 

Proposed by Councillor Mark Wilkinson (seconded by Councillor Rod Truan) Cabinet:

 

RESOLVED that the Human Resources Policy on Domestic Violence and Abuse, attached as Appendix 1 to the report submitted, is agreed, subject to removal of the word ‘should’ from the second paragraph of section 9.

170.

Implementing a Policy for Controlling Advertising Signage pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED that:

 

A     The Council pursues an approach to unauthorised advertising in the highway using delegated powers under the Highways Act 1980, as proposed in paragraphs 5 to 9 of the report to February 2014 Cabinet, and attached as an appendix to the report submitted.

 

B    The Council, in respect of its practice of licensing portable advertisements on land that it owns in the Town Centre, adopts a policy of minimising avoidable street advertising to be implemented as proposed at Option C at paragraphs 15 to 16 of the report submitted.

Minutes:

The Cabinet received a report proposing options for how the Council could implement a policy to reduce some types of advertising in the street scene.

 

Proposed by Councillor Emma Toal (seconded by Councillor Phil Waite) Cabinet:

 

RESOLVED that:

 

A     The Council pursues an approach to unauthorised advertising in the highway using delegated powers under the Highways Act 1980, as proposed in paragraphs 5 to 9 of the report to February 2014 Cabinet, and attached as an appendix to the report submitted.

 

B    The Council, in respect of its practice of licensing portable advertisements on land that it owns in the Town Centre, adopts a policy of minimising avoidable street advertising to be implemented as proposed at Option C at paragraphs 15 to 16 of the report submitted.

171.

Discretionary Retail Rate Relief Policy pdf icon PDF 120 KB

Decision:

RESOLVED that the Retail Rate Relief Policy, attached as Appendix A to the report submitted, is approved.

Minutes:

The Cabinet received a report proposing a discretionary rate relief policy for retail premises in Harlow.

 

Proposed by Councillor Tony Durcan (seconded by Councillor Paul Sztumpf) Cabinet:

 

RESOLVED that the Retail Rate Relief Policy, attached as Appendix A to the report submitted, is approved.

172.

Joint Finance and Performance Report Quarter 3 pdf icon PDF 80 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED that Cabinet notes the projected outturn position set out in section three of the Appendix to the report submitted, for the first three quarters (April – December) of 2013/14, which is as follows:

 

(a) A favourable variation on controllable budgets of £416,000, representing -0.57 per cent of the gross General Fund Budget.

 

(b) A total projected underspend of £1.128 million representing -1.56 per cent of the gross General Fund Budget.

 

(c) 43 out of 50 (86 per cent) of performance indicators are on or above target.

Minutes:

The Cabinet received a report that reviewed performance against the Council’s approved General Fund Budget and Corporate Plan for 2013/14.

 

Proposed by Councillor Mark Wilkinson (seconded by Councillor Rod Truan) Cabinet:

 

RESOLVED that Cabinet notes the projected outturn position set out in section three of the Appendix to the report submitted, for the first three quarters (April – December) of 2013/14, which is as follows:

 

(a) A favourable variation on controllable budgets of £416,000, representing -0.57 per cent of the gross General Fund Budget.

 

(b) A total projected underspend of £1.128 million representing -1.56 per cent of the gross General Fund Budget.

 

(c) 43 out of 50 (86 per cent) of performance indicators are on or above target.

173.

Housing Revenue Account Quarter 3 Finance Report pdf icon PDF 150 KB

Decision:

RESOLVED that:

 

A     The forecast net underspend of £988,000 is noted. The HRA budget for 2013/14 totals £52,815,130 and the under spend therefore represents a variance of 1.87% of the total budget.

 

B    The forecast balances at 31 March 2014, of £4,012,000 in respect of the Housing Revenue Account and £3,004,000 in respect of the Major Repairs Reserve are noted.

Minutes:

The Cabinet received a report that reviewed the Council’s performance against its approved Housing Revenue Account for 2013/14.

 

Proposed by Councillor Rod Truan (seconded by Councillor Phil Waite) Cabinet:

 

RESOLVED that:

 

A     The forecast net underspend of £988,000 is noted. The HRA budget for 2013/14 totals £52,815,130 and the under spend therefore represents a variance of 1.87% of the total budget.

 

B    The forecast balances at 31 March 2014, of £4,012,000 in respect of the Housing Revenue Account and £3,004,000 in respect of the Major Repairs Reserve are noted.

174.

Capital Programme Quarter 3 Finance Report pdf icon PDF 184 KB

Decision:

RESOLVED that Cabinet notes the progress made in the delivery of the Council’s Housing and Non Housing Capital Programmes as at 28 December 2013, detailed as follows:

 

(i) Housing Capital Programme expenditure of £7,936,000 against profiled expenditure of £9,347,000 and the projected outturn for 2013/14 of £24,874,000.

 

(ii) Non Housing Capital Programme expenditure of £847,000 against profiled expenditure of £864,000 and the revised projected outturn for 2013/14 of £2,247,000.

Minutes:

The Cabinet received a report that reviewed the Council’s performance against its approved Housing and Non-Housing Capital Programmes for 2013/14.

 

Proposed by Councillor Tony Durcan (seconded by Councillor Rod Truan) Cabinet:

 

RESOLVED that Cabinet notes the progress made in the delivery of the Council’s Housing and Non Housing Capital Programmes as at 28 December 2013, detailed as follows:

 

(i) Housing Capital Programme expenditure of £7,936,000 against profiled expenditure of £9,347,000 and the projected outturn for 2013/14 of £24,874,000.

 

(ii) Non Housing Capital Programme expenditure of £847,000 against profiled expenditure of £864,000 and the revised projected outturn for 2013/14 of £2,247,000.

175.

Debt Write Offs pdf icon PDF 86 KB

Decision:

RESOLVED that:

 

A     Irrecoverable Council Tax amounting to £7,818.75, as identified in Table 1 to Appendix A from the report submitted, be written off.

 

B    Irrecoverable Non Domestic Rates amounting to £151,515.48, as identified in Table 2 to Appendix A from the report submitted, be written off.

 

C    Irrecoverable sundry debts amounting to £51,884.02, as identified in Table 3 to Appendix A from the report submitted, be written off.

Minutes:

The Cabinet received a report itemising a number of debts which were deemed irrecoverable and proposed to be written off.

 

Proposed by Councillor Tony Durcan (seconded by Councillor Emma Toal) Cabinet:

 

RESOLVED that:

 

A     Irrecoverable Council Tax amounting to £7,818.75, as identified in Table 1 to Appendix A from the report submitted, be written off.

 

B    Irrecoverable Non Domestic Rates amounting to £151,515.48, as identified in Table 2 to Appendix A from the report submitted, be written off.

 

C    Irrecoverable sundry debts amounting to £51,884.02, as identified in Table 3 to Appendix A from the report submitted, be written off.

176.

Communications from Committees/Working Groups/Parties and Panels

There have not been any communications made since the last Cabinet meeting.

Minutes:

None.

177.

Minutes of Panels/Working Groups

To note the following draft minutes of Cabinet appointed bodies. Minutes remain draft until approved by the relevant body:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the following meetings are noted:

177a

Minutes of meeting, 21 January 2014 - Housing Standards Board pdf icon PDF 79 KB

177b

Minutes of meeting, 23 January 2014 - Community, Citizenship, Regeneration and Environment Overview Working Group pdf icon PDF 21 KB

177c

Minutes of meeting, 13 February 2014 - Housing Standards Board pdf icon PDF 64 KB

178.

Matters of Urgent Business

To deal with any matters of an urgent nature.

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council offered his thanks and best wishes to Lynn Seward, Head of Community Wellbeing, on her impending retirement from the Council.

 

Attendees expressed their appreciation to Councillor Mark Wilkinson, for his chairmanship of the Cabinet over the past two years. Councillor Andrew Johnson, Leader of the Opposition, praised Councillor Wilkinson’s approach to encouraging Opposition engagement and participation at Cabinet meetings. Councillor Rod Truan, Deputy Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Housing, thanked Councillor Wilkinson for his leadership, on behalf of himself and the rest of the Cabinet.

179.

Exclusion of Press and Public

The Chairman will move that the following item be taken in private session on the grounds that it is likely to involve the disclosure of exempt information as specified under Paragraphs 1 and 6 of Part One of Scheduled 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, if and so long as in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing information.

 

Paragraph 1: Information relating to any individual.

 

Paragraph 6: Information that reveals that the authority proposes:-

 

(a)  to give under any enactment a notice under or by virtue of which requirements are imposed on a person; or

 

(b)  to make an order or direction under any enactment.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the following items be taken in private session on the grounds that they are likely to involve the disclosure of exempt information as specified under Paragraphs 1 and 6 of Part One of Scheduled 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, if and so long as in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing information.

 

Paragraph 1: Information relating to any individual.

 

Paragraph 6: Information that reveals that the authority proposes:-

 

(a)  to give under any enactment a notice under or by virtue of which requirements are imposed on a person; or

 

(b)to make an order or direction under any enactment.

180.

Priority Estates Update

Decision:

RESOLVED that recommendations A to D from the confidential report submitted are agreed.

Minutes:

The Cabinet received a confidential report proposing options to pursue the Council’s Priority Estates Project.

 

Councillor Emma Toal, Portfolio Holder for Youth and Citizenship, read out a letter, addressed to the Cabinet, from Councillor Dennis Palmer. Councillor Palmer asked the Cabinet to ensure residents in Priority Estate areas were directly contacted by the Council to explain whichever decision was made on this matter, and asked that the Council acknowledge the uncertainty faced by those residents in recent years.

 

Proposed by Councillor Paul Sztumpf (seconded by Councillor Rod Truan) Cabinet:

 

RESOLVED that recommendations A to D from the confidential report submitted are agreed.

181.

Flexible Retirement

Decision:

RESOLVED that the recommendation in the confidential report submitted is agreed.

Minutes:

The Cabinet received a confidential report proposing changes to the Council’s staffing arrangements.

 

Proposed by Councillor Mark Wilkinson (seconded by Councillor Phil Waite) Cabinet:

 

RESOLVED that the recommendation in the confidential report submitted is agreed.