Agenda and decisions

Executive
Wednesday, 13 May 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:

An apology for lateness was received from Councillor Robin Parker (observer).  He joined the meeting at 4.00pm.

 

There were no declarations of interest.

2.

MINUTES - 11 MARCH 2020 pdf icon PDF 126 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Executive held on 11 March 2020 for signature by the Chair.

Decision:

It was RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meeting of the Executive held on 11 March 2020 be approved as correct record for signature by the Chair.

3.

MINUTES OF THE OVERVIEW & SCRUTINY COMMITTEE AND SELECT COMMITTEES pdf icon PDF 67 KB

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

 

Community Select Committee – 4 March 2020

Environment & Economy Select Committee – 10 March 2020

Overview & Scrutiny Committee – 16 March 2020

Additional documents:

Decision:

In respect of the Minutes of the meeting of the Community Select Committee held on 4 March 2020, which involved a public health discussion, the Leader asked that the Council’s thanks be conveyed to the HCC Director of Public Health for his excellent work in heading up the County Local Resilience Forum throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

In relation to the Minutes of the meeting of the Environment & Economy Select Committee held on 10 March 2020, a Member thanked officers for progressing a number of the environmental projects in the St. Nicholas Ward during the Coronavirus outbreak.  The Leader suggested that, once the lockdown restrictions were relaxed, Select Committee Members should visit the recently expanded Symonds Green Community Centre.

 

It was RESOLVED that the Minutes of the following meetings of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee and Select Committees be noted –

 

Community Select Committee – 4 March 2020

Environment & Economy Select Committee – 10 March 2020

Overview & Scrutiny Committee – 16 March 2020

4.

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATE REPORT pdf icon PDF 923 KB

To provide the latest Covid-19 position, including the Council’s emergency response, highlight the financial impact of Covid-19 on the Council, and to set out a proposed approach to recovery.

 

[REPORT TO FOLLOW]

Additional documents:

Decision:

The Executive considered a Coronavirus (Covid-19) update report.

 

The following replies to questions/Member comments included:

 

·           The Leader and fellow Local Government officials (through the LGA and DCN) were having unprecedented access to Government Ministers during the pandemic, enabling direct feedback of issues being encountered at County and District/Borough level;

·           The impact had been severe on the leisure/arts/culture sector.  The DCN were asking for the Secretary of State for DCMS (Oliver Dowden MP) or another senior figure to take part in a future teleconferences to discuss support for the sector;

·           The Leader would be giving evidence to an all-party Parliamentary Committee on District/Borough Councils;

·           It was clarified that the number of Covid-19 related deaths shown in the Ward breakdown table at Paragraph 3.7.4 of the report (16) referred to the number of deaths in hospital;

·           The Strategic Director (RP) would clarify how the Wards stated in the report aligned with the actual boundaries of Stevenage Wards;

·           Although it was important to receive accurate statistical information going forward, it was acknowledged that there was no guarantee that the ONS statistics would provide Ward level information;

·           The East & North Hertfordshire (ENH) Health Trust had previously reported that 260 individuals admitted to their hospitals with Covid-19 symptoms had recovered and been discharged.  This figure was likely to be higher now;

·           The Leader commented that at no time during the pandemic had the Lister Hospital been overwhelmed.  She asked that the Council’s thanks be conveyed to the Chief Executive of the ENH Health Trust and his Team for their sterling work over the past two months;

·           It was noted that the Government’s Job Retention Scheme had been extended to October 2020, with businesses to be asked to provide a higher contribution to staff wages;

·           There were DWP delays in processing Universal Credit applications, which had a knock-on effect of SBC rent arrears;

·           The impact of Council Tax support payments from the Hardship Fund had yet to be fully realised;

·           SBC had given business rate relief of over £20Million to local companies and over £10Million to businesses eligible for Government support grants;

·           Operation Shield had been well-intentioned by the Government, but would have been more effective if food/essentials packages had been co-ordinated locally (as had happened at SBC with Stevenage Helps);

·           The Leader was delighted with the public messages of thanks provided to the SBC’s Refuse & Recycling Teams for continuing to operate throughout the pandemic;

·           Work was continuing with the Youth Mayor and Youth Council to support young people with mental health issues during the lockdown;

·           SBC had a net annual budget of £9Million.  A worse-case scenario forecast had revealed that SBC income losses/increased costs for 2020/21 could be over £11Million.  Work had commenced on a review of the General Fund and Housing Revenue Account Medium Term Financial Strategies.  The Leader stated that the Council would do all it could to avoid having to make any cuts to jobs and services, but noted that the Council was not lawfully allowed to run a deficit budget.  ...  view the full decision text for item 4.

5.

URGENT PART I BUSINESS

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

Decision:

Pinelodge Care Home

 

The Chief Executive reported that the Council had learned, via the media, that between 11 April 2020 and 30 April 2020, there had been 20 Covid-19 related deaths in Pinelodge Care Home (a 120 bed home, located in Graveley Road, Stevenage).

 

The Executive was concerned that, notwithstanding that this Care Home was located just over the Borough boundary in North Hertfordshire, the Council had first learnt of the above situation via the local media.  The Chief Executive would raise this matter with the HCC Director of Adult Care Services.

 

The Leader wished to record the Council’s condolences to the families and friends of the deceased.

6.

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:

Not required.

7.

URGENT PART II BUSINESS

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

Decision:

None.