Agenda and minutes

Corporate Policy Committee
Thursday, 3rd March, 2022 10.30 am

Venue: Committee Suite 1,2 & 3, Westfields, Middlewich Road, Sandbach CW11 1HZ. View directions

Contact: Paul Mountford  Tel: 01270 686472 Email:  paul.mountford@cheshireeast.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

79.

Declarations of Interest

To provide an opportunity for Members and Officers to declare any disclosable pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests in any item on the agenda.

Minutes:

Councillor A Moran declared an interest as a non-executive Director of Ansa in relation to Item 9 (Health and Safety Update) insofar as it related to the company.

 

80.

Public Speaking/Open Session

In accordance with paragraph 2.24 of the Committee Procedure Rules and Appendix on Public Speaking, set out in the Constitution, a total period of 15 minutes is allocated for members of the public to put questions to the Committee on any matter relating to this agenda. Each member of the public will be allowed up to two minutes to speak; the Chair will have discretion to vary this where they consider it appropriate.

 

Members of the public wishing to speak are required to provide notice of this at least three clear working days in advance of the meeting.

 

Minutes:

There were no public speakers.

 

At this point, the Leader made a brief statement that Cheshire East Council was prepared to support refugees from Ukraine and was well-placed, with its partners, to do so. The Government had announced the Ukraine Family Scheme and the Local Sponsorship Scheme for Ukraine, and the Council was in daily contact with the Home Office. Further information was available on the Council’s website.

 

81.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 337 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 10th February 2022.

Minutes:

RESOLVED

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 10th February 2022 be approved as a correct record.

 

82.

ARAP/ACRS Bridging Hotel and Resettlement Scheme Report pdf icon PDF 293 KB

To consider an update on the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) and the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS).

Minutes:

The Committee considered an update report on the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) and the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS), including details of the wrap around support provided by Cheshire East Council and partner agencies for over 300 individuals, and information on five families that had now been resettled into permanent accommodation in Cheshire East.

 

It was suggested that the private housing sector should be asked to consider making 4-5 bedroom properties available to the Home Office to assist in providing accommodation for refugees. 

 

RESOLVED

 

That the Committee

 

1.    acknowledges the high-quality wrap around support provided to date for the ARAP/ACRS cohort within the bridging hotel and that this will be expected of the Council until at least 30th June 2022;

 

2.    acknowledges the integration support for the five families from the ARAP scheme to date, that have already been permanently settled in Cheshire East; and

 

3.    asks that the National Housebuilders Bodies be approached to ascertain their willingness to provide assistance with the resettlement of refugees under this scheme.

 

83.

Review of the Emergency Assistance Scheme pdf icon PDF 757 KB

To consider proposed changes to the Emergency Assistance Scheme for 2022/23 following a review. 

Minutes:

The Committee considered proposed changes to the Emergency Assistance Scheme for 2022/23 following a review. 

 

It was suggested that the Committee review the operation of the scheme later in the year to assess whether the budget for the scheme was sufficient. The Director of Finance and Customer Services advised that a report would be brought back to the Committee if necessary.

 

The question was asked whether rent deposits under the scheme were recycled. The Director of Finance and Customer Services undertook to look into the matter and notify members.

 

RESOLVED (unanimously)

 

That the Committee approves the Emergency Assistance Scheme with the following changes from 1st April 2022:

§  to allow for discretion in applying the current limit of only one Emergency Assistance award per 12 month period, enabling further support to be provided in exceptional cases;

§  to provide supermarket vouchers in addition to the existing process of referrals to food banks for those in food crisis;

§  to extend the Scheme to provide utility vouchers to those in fuel crisis; and

§  to confirm that the scheme will remain non-cash based to reduce the risk of abuse.

 

84.

Cheshire East Digital Strategy pdf icon PDF 372 KB

To consider a report on the outcome of consultation on the draft Digital Strategy and to seek approval of the final Digital Strategy for Cheshire East Council.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on the outcome of consultation on the draft Digital Strategy, with a majority of the responses received being supportive of the aims, principles and actions contained within the Strategy.

 

RESOLVED (unanimously)

 

That

 

1.    the final Digital Strategy for Cheshire East Council be approved; and

 

2.    further updates be provided to the Committee on progress against the aims of the Strategy on a 6 monthly basis

 

85.

Cyber Security Update pdf icon PDF 170 KB

To receive an update on cyber security within the Council.

Minutes:

The Committee considered an update report on cyber security within the Council. The report sought to assure members across a number of areas about the protections in place to mitigate any associated risk.

 

In response to a question, the Head of Information Communication Technology confirmed that from a Shared Services perspective, Cheshire East Council and Cheshire West and Chester Council had been subjected to three cyber attacks over the last three years. The effect of the attacks had been limited by the security arrangements in place.   

 

RESOLVED

 

That the report be noted.

 

86.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy - Progress Review pdf icon PDF 172 KB

To receive an update on progress against delivery of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2021-2025.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a progress report on the delivery of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2021-2025. Highlights in the progression of the Strategy after the first year were set out in the report.

 

RESOLVED

 

That the progress in delivering the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy be noted.

 

87.

Update on Workforce Efficiencies and Terms and Conditions Review pdf icon PDF 166 KB

To receive an update on progress to review workforce efficiencies and terms and conditions.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on progress to review workforce efficiencies and terms and conditions. The report also provided information on the current employee relations context and information from the benchmarking exercise recently undertaken.  

 

In response to questions from members, the Head of HR advised as follows:

§  The Pulse surveys had shown that staff were having frequent 1:1s with their line managers and were regularly engaged with team members. Performance Development Reviews were being conducted virtually.

§  Training was being provided virtually, which was significantly cheaper than face-to-face training.

§  Staff were being supported as regards their mental health and were able to work in an office environment if they wished.

§  With a few exceptions, staff working from home were not designated as home workers and therefore did not receive an allowance.

§  With regard to the cost of working from home, staff had been advised that they were able to claim income tax relief.

§  Officers held meetings with trade union representatives on a weekly basis.

§  The package of measures to be negotiated with the trade unions was largely concerned with travel arrangements and green travel initiatives.

§  The £758,000 savings from reduced staff travel included a 30% reduction in mileage £428k and regular user savings circa £193k and the remainder from other travel-related savings/efficiencies.

 

RESOLVED (unanimously)

 

That the Committee

 

1.    notes the progress made in achieving savings arising from staff travel for 2021/22;

 

2.    notes that the Regular Car User allowance re-application process has been completed and that the results are being implemented in accordance with the Council’s policy;

 

3.    supports a revised approach to formal consultation/negotiation with the recognised trade unions with a view to developing a package of measures which will include changes to staff terms and conditions and improved benefits for staff aligned to the Council’s new ways of working and the green agenda relating to staff travel; and

 

4.    notes that authority has been delegated to the Executive Director of Corporate Services to implement any changes following consultation/negotiation.

 

88.

Health and Safety Update Quarter 3 pdf icon PDF 666 KB

To consider a report which provides a summary of data regarding accident and information data for the Council and maintained schools for Quarter 3 2021/22.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered an update report which provided a summary of accident and information data for the Council and maintained schools for Quarter 3, 2021/22, the year to date and comparative data for the same periods in the last two years.

 

In response to a question, the Head of Audit and Risk advised that accidents to staff as a result of working from home should be reported. No such incidents had been recorded to date. However, the message to staff would be renewed.

 

RESOLVED

 

That the update report be noted.

 

89.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 121 KB

To consider the Work Programme and determine any required amendments.

 

Minutes:

The Committee considered its work programme for 2021/22.

 

The Executive Director of Corporate Services advised that the items on Community Governance Review and Constitution Codes and Protocols listed for the meeting on 14th April would go on to full Council. In view of the numbers of people likely to attend the Committee’s meeting for the Community Governance Review, Democratic Services were seeking to secure an appropriate venue.

 

The meeting on 14th April was currently scheduled to start at 2.00 pm and members wondered if this would allow sufficient time to consider the Community Governance Review alongside other business on the agenda. Officers would consider the feasibility of bringing the time of the meeting forward.

 

The Director of Governance and Compliance advised that the constitution included a dispensation to allow Councillors to take part and vote on Community Governance Review matters in which they had disclosable pecuniary and prejudicial interests. Officers would be informing all members that they would not be precluded from speaking on the subject at Council.

 

RESOLVED

 

That the work programme be noted.

 

90.

Reporting of Urgent Decisions

To note any urgent decisions taken on behalf of the Committee.

Minutes:

There were no urgent decisions to report.