Agenda and minutes

Cabinet
Monday, 5th February, 2018 10.30 am

Venue: Wellington Room, EII Court, The Castle, Winchester

Contact: Members Services: Email: members.services@hants.gov.uk 

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

38.

Apologies for absence

To receive any apologies for absence received.

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Minutes:

All Members of Cabinet were present.

 

Apologies were received from Councillor Heron who has a standing invitation to the meeting from the Chairman.

39.

Declarations of interest

All Members who believe they have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in any matter to be considered at the meeting must declare that interest and, having regard to the circumstances described in Part 3 Paragraph 1.5 of the County Council's Members' Code of Conduct, leave the meeting while the matter is discussed, save for exercising any right to speak in accordance with Paragraph 1.6 of the Code. Furthermore all Members with a Non-Pecuniary interest in a matter being considered at the meeting should consider whether such interest should be declared, and having regard to Part 5, Paragraph 2 of the Code, consider whether it is appropriate to leave the meeting while the matter is discussed, save for exercising any right to speak in accordance with the Code.

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Members were mindful that where they believed they had a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in any matter considered at the meeting they must declare that interest at the time of the relevant debate and, having regard to the circumstances described in Part 3, Paragraph 1.5 of the County Council's Members' Code of Conduct, leave the meeting while the matter was discussed, save for exercising any right to speak in accordance with Paragraph 1.6 of the Code. Furthermore Members were mindful that where they believed they had a Non-Pecuniary interest in a matter being considered at the meeting they considered whether such interest should be declared, and having regard to Part 5, Paragraph 2 of the Code, considered whether it was appropriate to leave the meeting whilst the matter was discussed, save for exercising any right to speak in accordance with the Code.

 

With regard to the Revenue Budget and Precept (Minute 43 refers), Cabinet was reminded that a dispensation was in place allowing members of the Council to speak on matters concerning the precept.

40.

Minutes of previous meeting pdf icon PDF 68 KB

To confirm the minutes of the previous meeting

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The minutes of the previous meeting on 11 December 2017 were reviewed and agreed.

41.

Deputations

To receive any deputations notified under Standing Order 12.

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No requests to make a deputation had been received.

 

It was noted that with the agreement of the Chairman, Councillor Keith House would speak on the Revenue Budget and Precept item.

42.

Chairman's Announcements

To receive any announcements the Chairman may wish to make.

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The Chairman announced that he had recently attended the funeral of former Councillor Rita Burgess. He also paid tribute to former Councillors Adrian Evans and Peter Rodgers who had sadly passed away, noting for all three the extent of service to their communities.

 

With reference to recent meetings regarding devolution, it was noted that any reorganisation could only happen with the full support of the County Council. With this in mind, the Chairman announced his intention to put a motion to the next meeting of Council seeking support for a whole of Hampshire combined Authority.

 

It was confirmed that the possibility of sharing service provision with Christchurch Borough Council had proven to be unviable. The difficult financial position of Northamptonshire County Council was raised and highlighted as symptomatic of the problems facing upper-tier authorities. The recent resignation of the Leader of Haringey Council was noted.

43.

Revenue Budget & Precept 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 507 KB

To consider a report of the Director of Corporate Resources regarding the County Council’s Revenue Budget and Precept 2018/19.

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Cabinet considered the report of the Director of Corporate Resources regarding the revenue budget and precept 2018/19.

 

In introducing the report, the Chairman confirmed his reluctance to see increases in Council Tax and highlighted the requirement for the Council to set a balanced budget. It was noted that if the proposed increases to the precept were agreed, this would still leave Council Tax lower than had it increased at the rate of inflation since 2010.

 

The technical detail of the report was presented by the Director of Corporate Resources, who set out the challenges faced by all departments to maintain service provision within budget requirements. With this in mind, she explained the resources allocated to Children’s Services to support service delivery. Other areas of the report were highlighted, including regarding treasury management, T19 savings proposals and the 2017/18 third quarter monitoring position. The recommendations to Cabinet relating to each respective section of the report were drawn to Members’ attention.

 

With the agreement of the Chairman, Councillor House addressed the Cabinet:

Councillor House welcomed the news that government grants had been awarded to Hampshire projects, but felt that the overall budgetary direction was of managing decline. He intimated that if the current precept increases were to be agreed, this would amount to a 22 percent increase in Council Tax in four years. The consistency of the policy regarding bus passes, the household waste recycling centres and community transport was challenged, as were the strategies to meet need in the areas of children looked after and Adult Social Care. Councillor House suggested that if the cause of a 22 percent increase in Council Tax lay with government, the Hampshire MPs should be doing more to achieve a fairer outcome for the County.

 

Cabinet discussed the report, taking the comments from Councillor House into consideration. It was confirmed that the proposed budget was responding to pressures caused by the changing needs of society and not to manage decline. It was clarified that the decisions made at previous Cabinet meetings were to explore ways to protect services and therefore the extra council tax flexibility and new savings that had been identified to help withdraw savings in areas such as community transport, household waste and bus passes were welcomed. Members noted the success of the Council’s investment strategy, to achieve a high yield at relatively low risk, recognising the benefit of a cautious and long term approach.

 

The additional money arising from the social care precept was welcomed and it was noted that over two years this amounted to £30 million, which served to secure service provision and enable a comprehensive transformation programme. The importance of being able to meet demand in Children’s Services through the use of contingencies was recognised as a means to keep children safe, whilst a longer term strategy of working with families to reduce demand on the service could take effect.

 

The Chairman thanked everyone who had contributed to the preparation of the budget report, in particular on the focus  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43.

44.

Capital Programme 2018/19 to 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 329 KB

To consider a report of the Director of Corporate Resources regarding the County Council’s Capital Programme 2018/19 to 2020/21

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Cabinet considered the report of the Director of Corporate Resources regarding the Capital Programme 2018/19 to 2020/21.

 

The report and recommendations were introduced and welcomed by Members. The consequential benefits of a successful capital programme were highlighted, such as the £30 million revenue saving resulting from investment in the energy programme. The scale of the capital programme was acknowledged. It was recognised that this was possible as a result of prudent financial management in the past and anticipated that continued prudence would enable for ongoing investment.

 

A number of specific projects were welcomed, including flood prevention in Buckskin, highway schemes and the school building programme. It was recognised that in many cases, investment by the County Council had been key to obtaining further grant support for specific initiatives and success by officers in this was congratulated.

 

The recommendations in the report were proposed and agreed. The decision record is attached.

45.

Commission of Inquiry pdf icon PDF 103 KB

To consider a report of the Director of Economy, Transport and Environment proposing the establishment of a commission of inquiry.

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Cabinet considered a report of the Director of Economy, Transport and Environment regarding proposals for a commission of inquiry for Hampshire.

 

The report was welcomed and the importance of looking forward was agreed in particular to ensure continued prosperity and the protection of the environment in the County.

 

The recommendations in the report were proposed and agreed. The decision record is attached.

46.

Attainment of children and young people in Hampshire Schools pdf icon PDF 99 KB

To consider a report of the Director of Children’s Services regarding the attainment of children and young people in Hampshire

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Cabinet considered a report of the Director of Children’s Services regarding educational attainment.

 

In introducing the report, the high level of success achieved by Hampshire pupils was highlighted, especially those completing their primary education. The distinction was drawn between the new and previous methods for school assessment as was the difference between “progress 8” and “achievement 8”. It was explained that results significantly above the national and comparator authorities average were achieved in early years and primary and high performance continued to be seen at GCSE. However high scores on the progress 8 measure of improvement was more difficult due to a consistently high starting point for pupils in the secondary system.

 

The report was welcomed and the emphasis on continuous improvement was noted. The success of further education was also acknowledged  and it was felt that the selective structure of the VI Form colleges in Hampshire made a positive contribution in this area.

 

The recommendations in the report were proposed and agreed. The decision record is attached.

47.

Strategic Partnership for Hampshire County Council to deliver Children's Services for the Isle of Wight Council pdf icon PDF 135 KB

To consider a report of the Director of Children’s Services seeking approval for the renewal of the strategic partnership between Hampshire County Council and the Isle of Wight Council for the delivery of Children’s Services on the Isle of Wight.

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Cabinet considered a report of the Director of Children’s Services seeking approval for the renewal of the strategic partnership between Hampshire County Council and the Isle of Wight Council for the delivery of Children’s Services on the Isle of Wight.

 

It was explained that this report was a mirror of one that had been considered and the continuation of the partnership had been supported by the Isle of Wight Council.

 

The positive relationship with the Isle of Wight and the successful impact of Hampshire County Council, both in improving performance and financially was noted. Members agreed that it was an example of partnership working that had achieved solid results to the benefit of both Councils.

 

The recommendations in the report were proposed and agreed. The decision record is attached.