Agenda and decisions

Executive
Wednesday, 8 July 2020 2.00pm

Venue: Virtual (via Zoom)

Contact: Ian Gourlay (01438) 242703  Email: ian.gourlay@stevenage.gov.uk

Note: You can view this meeting via the live stream from the Council’s YouTube channel by following this link - https://www.youtube.com/user/SBCComms 

Items
No. Item

1.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Decision:

There were no apologies for absence.

 

There were no declarations of interest.

2.

MINUTES - 10 JUNE 2020 pdf icon PDF 105 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Executive held on 10 June 2020 for signature by the Chair.

Decision:

It was RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meeting of the Executive held on 10 June 2020 be approved as a correct record for signature by the Chair.

3.

MINUTES OF THE OVERVIEW & SCRUTINY COMMITTEE AND SELECT COMMITTEES pdf icon PDF 101 KB

To note the following Minutes of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee and Select Committees:

 

Overview & Scrutiny Committee – 17 June 2020

 

Decision:

The Chair noted that the Overview & Scrutiny Committee had raised the issue of website performance, and was aware that follow up Member questions on this matter had been submitted for consideration at the Council meeting on 15 July 2020.

 

It was RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meeting of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee held on 17 June 2020 be noted.

4.

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) INCIDENT UPDATE REPORT AND RECOVERY PLAN pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To update the Executive on the COVID-19 crisis and the Council’s response, and to seek approval to a proposed Recovery Plan.

Additional documents:

Decision:

The Executive considered a report providing an update on the COVID-19 crisis and the Council’s response, and seeking approval to a proposed Recovery Plan.

 

The following comments/questions were raised by Members during the debate on the report:

 

·            The Chair reported that the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) had been allocated £16.8Million from the Government’s Building Back Better Fund.  She was pleased to report that a number of Stevenage schemes were towards the top of the LEP’s list, and so more detailed work would be progressed in support of those schemes;

·            The Chair advised that, despite the production of Local Outbreak Plans, only the Government had powers to impose local lockdowns  The countywide Elected Member Engagement Board was seeking further advice from the Government regarding trigger points for the imposing and lifting of local lockdowns;

·            The responsibility for enforcing Covid-19 safe business workplace environments rested with the Health & Safety Executive, who would engage local authority support if required;

·            The Chair was pleased to report that the last COVID-19 patient in the Lister Hospital Intensive Care Unit had been discharged earlier in the week;

·            The Chair confirmed that free parking for NHS workers would continue at Corey’s Mill for the foreseeable future;

·            Contrary to the Prime Minister’s recent comments in this regard, the Chair wished to recognise the professionalism and commitment of staff employed in Care Homes, especially during the current pandemic;

·            In relation to the COVID-19 death statistics by Ward set out in Paragraph 3.14.6 of the report, the Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods & Co-operative Working asked if this information could be provided to all Members.  Associated with this request, the Assistant Director (Communities & Neighbourhoods) was requested to prepare a report for submission to the next Coronavirus Emergency Committee providing details of the recovery activities taking place in each Ward;

·            It was noted that the Council’s Business Relationship Manager had prepared and sent out a questionnaire to businesses in Stevenage requesting feedback on the impact on them of the pandemic; and

·            The Chair asked that the Public Health Dashboard of COVID-19 statistical information be submitted to the next meeting of the Coronavirus Emergency Committee.

 

In considering information regarding the proposed reopening of Stevenage Old Town, the Executive agreed extra recommendations in respect of: potential locations for additional outdoor space and pavement seating; the provision of suitable barriers between the highway and those outdoor space/pavement seating areas; ensuring that appropriate wheelchair/pushchair access be maintained; ensuring that disabled parking facilities be protected; and the provision of 3 hours free parking in the former Waitrose Car Park for the next six months.

 

The Executive supported the Chair’s proposed further additional recommendation that the Council’s formal thanks be conveyed to the North & East Hertfordshire Hospital Trust for all that the Trust’s staff had done to support Stevenage residents throughout the pandemic.

 

It was RESOLVED:

 

1.          That the current position and the Council’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic since the last report to the May 2020 Executive meeting be noted.

 

2.          That the recovery phase approach, as  ...  view the full decision text for item 4.

5.

HOUSING FIRST APPROACH AT STEVENAGE BOROUGH COUNCIL IN RESPONSE TO THE ROUGH SLEEPING CRISIS pdf icon PDF 152 KB

To update the Executive on Housing First, a multi-agency approach that can be adopted to re-house the rough sleepers accommodated under the COVID-19 provision.

 

[REPORT TO FOLLOW]

Decision:

The Executive considered a report on the Housing First approach at SBC in response to the rough sleeping crisis.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Children, Young People, Leisure & Culture, on behalf of his fellow Ward councillors, raised the matter of the apparent preponderance of units (including Houses in Multiple Occupation) being used in the St. Nicholas Ward for accommodating the homeless/rough sleepers, and felt that there should be a more equitable distribution of such units across the Borough.  The Chair replied that Members needed to be in possession of the full facts and evidence in respect of this issue, and asked officers to undertake some Ward mapping work and report back on the locations of such units throughout the town.

 

It was RESOLVED:

 

1.          That the support provided to homeless households during the Covid-19 lockdown and the challenges faced by the Council over the coming months ahead, as outlined in the report, be noted.

 

2.          That the current service pressures developing in the Housing and No More service within the General Fund and Housing Revenue Account, which will be monitored by the Council’s Finance department and reported to the Executive as part of the quarterly budget monitoring cycle, be noted.

 

3.          That officers be requested to develop a business case for a new Housing First Model, including the potential construction of a new hostel (as outlined in Paragraph 4.24 of the report), taking into account partner support and funding requirements.

 

Reason for Decision:  As contained in report.

Other Options considered:  As contained in report.

6.

A CO-OPERATIVE INCLUSIVE ECONOMY CHARTER pdf icon PDF 173 KB

To launch a Co-operative Inclusive Economy Charter in support of the Council’s approach to Community Wealth Building.

Additional documents:

Decision:

The Executive considered a report on a proposed Co-operative Economy Charter for the Borough.

 

It was RESOLVED:

 

1.          That the Co-operative Inclusive Economy Charter, as set out at Appendix A to the report, be approved, and that it be launched in July 2020, making an early contribution to the Council’s plans for economic recovery.

 

2.          That the proposed action plan, as set out in Paragraph 4.6 of the report, be approved.

 

3.          That the content of the Council’s pledge, as set out in Paragraph 4.8 of the report, be approved.

 

4.          That the Charter be monitored by a single working group, reporting to a cross-party advisory Community Wealth Building Group, chaired by the Leader.

 

5.          That the working group develop a series of metrics to help measure the impact of Community Wealth Building on the Stevenage economy.

 

Reason for Decision:  As contained in report.

Other Options considered:  As contained in report.

7.

2019/20 ANNUAL REPORT AND PERFORMANCE OVERVIEW pdf icon PDF 297 KB

To consider the Council’s draft Annual Report 2019/20 and to consider the focus for the Future Town Future Council programme for 2020/21.

Additional documents:

Decision:

The Executive considered a report on the Council’s 2019/20 Annual Report.

 

It was RESOLVED:

 

1.          That the progress on the delivery of the Future Town Future Council (FTFC) programme and overall performance and achievements of the Council during 2019/20 be noted.

 

2.          That the content and publication of the Council’s draft Annual Report 2019/20, as set out at Appendix A to the report, be agreed.

 

3.          That delegated authority be given to the Strategic Director (RP), following consultation with the Leader, to approve any final changes to the Annual Report prior to its publication.

 

4.          That the Future Town Future Council deliverables for 2020/21 be noted.

 

5.          That the suite of 2020/21 performance measures and targets, as set out in Appendix B to the report, be noted.

 

Reason for Decision:  As contained in report.

Other Options considered:  As contained in report.

8.

4TH QUARTER REVENUE MONITORING REPORT 2019/20 - GENERAL FUND AND HOUSING REVENUE ACCOUNT pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To update Members on the outturn position of the 2019/20 General Fund and Housing Revenue Account revenue budgets, and to seek approval for revisions to the 2020/21 revenue budgets.

Additional documents:

Decision:

The Executive considered a report with regard to Fourth Quarter Revenue Budget Monitoring 2019/20 (General Fund and Housing Revenue Account).

 

The Strategic Director (CF) undertook to draft a letter for submission to the Government’s Housing Minister reinforcing SBC’s continued request to him that local authorities be permitted to retain (rather than hand back to the Government) their 1 for 1 right to buy capital receipts for a longer period, to enable re-investment in the housing stock via the building of new homes.

 

It was RESOLVED:

 

General Fund

 

1.          That the 2019/20 actual net expenditure on the General Fund of £6,965,145 be noted, subject to the 2019/20 audit of the Statement of Accounts.

 

2.          That carry forward requests totalling £794,510 be approved for the General Fund (Paragraph 4.3.1 of the report).

 

3.          That the ongoing pressure from 2020/21 of £14,970 on the General Fund be approved.

 

4.          That part of the additional 2019/20 business rate gains (£788,106) be set aside in an allocated reserve to protect the General Fund against business rate losses in 2020/21 (Paragraph 4.2.14 of the report).

 

Housing Revenue Account

 

1.          That the 2020/21 actual in-year deficit on the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) of £1,482,648 be noted, subject to the audit of the Statement of Accounts.

 

2.          That the new carry forward requests totalling £390,440 be approved for the HRA (Paragraph 4.7.8 of the report).

 

Reason for Decision:  As contained in report.

Other Options considered:  As contained in report.

9.

CAPITAL EXPENDITURE OUTTURN 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 576 KB

To update Members on the outturn position of the 2019/20 Capital Programme and any changes to the 2020/21 and future years’ capital programmes.

Additional documents:

Decision:

The Executive considered a report in respect of the Capital Programme Outturn position for 2019/20.

 

It was RESOLVED:

 

1.          That the 2019/20 General Fund capital expenditure outturn of £13.1Million be noted, subject to the completion of the 2019/20 external audit of accounts.

 

2.          That the 2019/20 Housing Revenue Account (HRA) capital expenditure outturn of £30.4Million be noted, subject to the completion of the 2019/20 external audit of accounts.

 

3.          That the funding applied to the 2019/20 General Fund capital programme be approved, as summarised in Paragraph 4.2.1 of the report.

 

4.          That the funding applied to the 2019/20 HRA capital programme be approved, as summarised in Paragraph 4.5.1 of the report.

 

5.          That the 2020/21 General Fund capital programme net increase of £571,000, as detailed in Appendix A to the report, be approved, comprising of:

 

·        £3.9Million slippage from 2019/20 (as detailed in Paragraph 4.3.8 of the report);

·        £3.3Million re-profiled into 2021/22;

·        £125,000 reduction to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on revenue resources available to support the capital programme; and

·        an additional net reduction of £10,000 funding no longer required in 2020/21.

 

6.          That the 2020/21 HRA capital programme net decrease of £0.4Million, due to slippage into 2019/20, be approved, as summarised in Paragraph 4.6.1 and as detailed in Appendix B to the report.

 

7.          That the use of £15,000 from the Deferred Works Reserve for 3 CCTV cameras which need to be replaced, as set out in Paragraph 4.3.4 of the report, be approved.

 

Reason for Decision:  As contained in report.

Other Options considered:  As contained in report.

10.

URGENT PART I BUSINESS

To consider any Part I business accepted by the Chair as urgent.

Decision:

Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Summer Economic Statement

 

The Strategic Director (CF) provided the Executive with summary details of the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Summer Economic Statement, which aimed to assist various sectors in their recovery from the Covid-19 lockdown.

 

In respect of the situation with regard to the leisure industry, the Chair requested officers to draft a letter for submission by the Portfolio Holder for Children, Young People, Leisure & Culture to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport requesting that a fair proportion of the £1.5Billion recovery funding allocated by the Government for theatres, galleries and museums be ring-fenced for regional theatres or, failing that, additional dedicated Government funding be allocated for this purpose.

11.

EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC

To consider the following motions –

 

1.          That under Section 100(A) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as described in paragraphs1 – 7 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act as amended by Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006.

 

2.          That Members consider the reasons for the following reports being in Part II and determine whether or not maintaining the exemption from disclosure of the information contained therein outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

Decision:

It was RESOLVED:

 

1.          That under Section 100(A) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as described in paragraphs1 – 7 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act as amended by Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006.

 

2.          That the reasons for the following report being in Part II were accepted, and that the exemption from disclosure of the information contained therein outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

12.

PART II MINUTES - EXECUTIVE - 10 JUNE 2020

To approve as a correct record the Part II Minutes of the meeting of the Executive held on 10 June 2020 for signature by the Chair.

Decision:

It was RESOLVED that the Part II Minutes of the meeting of the Executive held on 10 June 2020 be approved as a correct record for signature by the Chair.

13.

URGENT PART II BUSINESS

To consider any Part II business accepted by the Chair as urgent.

Decision:

None.