Agenda and minutes

Cabinet
Tuesday, 2nd February, 2021 1.00 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting

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

Link: Meeting Recording

Items
No. Item

75.

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:

There were no declarations of interest.

76.

Public Speaking Time/Open Session - Virtual Meetings

In accordance with paragraph 3.33 of the Cabinet Procedure Rules, a period of 10 minutes is allocated for members of the public to address the meeting on any matter relevant to the work of the Cabinet. Individual members of the public may speak for up to two minutes. The Chairman or person presiding will have discretion to vary this requirement where he/she considers it appropriate.

 

Members of the public wishing to ask a question or make a statement at the meeting should provide at least three clear working days’ notice in writing and should include the question with that notice. This will enable an informed answer to be given.

 

 

Minutes:

Jane Emery asked if the Cabinet had plans to review the emergency assistance scheme, and if so, whether Nantwich and Middlewich foodbanks could be involved.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Finance, IT and Communication responded that a review of the scheme would be undertaken at the end of 2021 and would be subject to consultation. This would depend on funding still being available.

 

Nick Adams asked what social value elements the Council had secured with the signing of the recent £35m IT contract and £4.5m broadband contract and what learning could be taken from the contracts.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Finance, IT and Communication responded that as both contracts were for large items of IT infrastructure, various factors prevented the specific assignment of social value key performance indicators to the contracts themselves.  However, both contracts formed the cornerstone for numerous Council services that would provide social value. The Portfolio Holder for Public Health and Corporate Services added that the Council would monitor contract performance against social value indicators and outcomes, and lessons learned would be reflected in updates to the Council’s commissioning training package.

 

Sue Helliwell referred to a proposal in the budget to commercialise the Highway Service Contract by allowing the contractor to undertake external works for third parties in order to deliver savings for the Council. She asked who the third parties were.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Highways and Waste responded that the Council would secure income through its contract for highways based on work to be delivered to third parties including individuals, developers and businesses. Examples of such work included the provision of vehicle access crossings and the maintenance of private access roads and car parks.

 

Congleton Town Councillor Robert Douglas referred to a Freedom of Information request he had submitted requesting details of the new sites that Cheshire East Council was considering as suitable replacements for the existing Household Waste recycling site at Congleton. He said that the Council had refused to provide the information on grounds of commercial sensitivity. He repeated his request for the information which he said did not compromise commercial sensitivities.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Highways and Waste responded that, as mentioned at the previous Cabinet meeting, the Council had received a very good response to the consultation regarding the HWRC review and was now considering the results. The matter would be considered by the Environment and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Commission on 12th  February to enable pre-scrutiny of the issue before Cabinet considered the matter. She would not wish to comment further until she had considered the results of the consultation and the observations of scrutiny. The FOI request had been appropriately responded to through that process.

 

Caroline Whitney expressed concern at proposals to reduce the community grants budget from £200,000 a year to £150,000 a year in 2021/22, and to £50,000 a year in 2022/23. She asked that Cabinet change the recommendation and not make the larger planned reduction in 2022. She also queried a planned refocus of the Communities  ...  view the full minutes text for item 76.

77.

Questions to Cabinet Members - Virtual Meetings

A period of 20 minutes is allocated for questions to be put to Cabinet Members by members of the Council. A maximum period of two minutes will be allowed for each member wishing to ask a question. The Leader will have discretion to vary this requirement where he considers it appropriate. Members wishing to ask a question at the meeting should register to do so in writing by not later than 4.00 pm on the Friday in the week preceding the meeting. Members should include the general topic their question will relate to and indicate if it relates to an item on the agenda. Questions must relate to the powers, duties or responsibilities of the Cabinet. Questions put to Cabinet Members must relate to their portfolio responsibilities.

 

Where a question relates to a matter which appears on the agenda, the Leader may allow the question to be asked at the beginning of consideration of that item.

 

Minutes:

Councillor S Akers Smith raised a number of questions in relation to a proposed greenway to be built south of the new Congleton Link Road and sought assurances regarding future development and commuted sums under S106 agreements.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Planning undertook to provide a written response.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Environment and Regeneration commented that additional tree planting was now planned along the link road. He would forward details to Councillor Fox for inclusion in her response.

 

Councillor J Clowes referred to flooding in the Wynbunbury and Stapeley wards, and in particular to problems with drainage and sinkholes in three specific areas. She commented that such problems required significant project management.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Highways and Waste undertook to provide a written response.

 

Councillor T Dean asked if the Council would support Option C on the list of proposed options for change of the rail services around Manchester, as this would provide an improved service on the Chester to Manchester Line serving Knutsford, Mobberley and Ashley.

 

The Deputy Leader responded that the Council needed to consider the impact of all three options relevant to Cheshire East. A technical rail assessment was being undertaken and a press release would be issued to encourage residents to respond to the consultation on the options.

 

Councillor D Edwardes commented that Macclesfield did not have one electric charging point for public use. He asked that the Council work with Macclesfield Town Council to address this issue.

 

The Deputy Leader responded that the Council was currently conducting a study with Zero Carbon Futures and local electricity companies to establish levels of demand and identify suitable charging locations, and Macclesfield was included in that study. The assessment would  be completed by the end of March, and at that point the Council would expect to seek Government funding.

 

Councillor R Fletcher referred to a recent incident in Alsager when an emergency pendant worn by a vulnerable person failed late in the afternoon and due to the terms of the firm’s contract with Cheshire East, the Pendant could not be repaired until the following day, placing the vulnerable person at risk overnight. He asked the Council as a matter of urgency to modify the contract to provide cover 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health responded that she had referred Councillor Fletcher’s enquiry, along with the details of the individual concerned, to the Director of Commissioning and that Councillor Fletcher would be contacted by the Director.

 

Councillor S Pochin referred to ongoing drainage issues resulting in severe flooding in areas of her ward and asked that the Council take responsibility for addressing the issues.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Highways and Waste responded that in parts of the Borough the drainage infrastructure lacked sufficient capacity and that more investment, with Government support, was needed. The Council, working with the Environment Agency, United Utilities and riparian owners, was working through a prioritised list of affected areas.

 

The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 77.

78.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 65 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 12th January 2021.

Minutes:

RESOLVED

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 12th January 2021 be approved as a correct record.

 

79.

Covid-19 - Update on Response and Recovery pdf icon PDF 229 KB

To consider an update report on the Council’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet considered an update report on the Council’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

RESOLVED

 

That Cabinet notes the issues outlined in the report.

 

80.

Corporate Plan and Medium-Term Financial Strategy 2021-25 pdf icon PDF 144 KB

To consider a report on the Corporate Plan and Medium-Term Financial Strategy 2021-25.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet considered a report on the Corporate Plan and Medium-Term Financial Strategy 2021-25.

 

The Leader commented that for the first time, the Council would have both a four-year Corporate Plan and a four-year budget to take it to 2025, which would be a significant achievement, given the unprecedented circumstances the Council was facing.

 

The resolutions that Cabinet was requested to recommend to Council were set out at Appendix A to the report. The new Corporate Plan 2021/22 to 2024/25 was set out in Appendix B. The Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) Report (containing the Budget) for the period 2021-25 was set out at Appendix C.

 

The report had been considered by the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 28th January 2021. Councillor J Clowes, Chairman of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee, presented the Committee’s comments on the report to Cabinet and asked that they be appended to the Cabinet minutes.

 

RESOLVED

 

That Cabinet

 

1.            recommends to Council the items at Appendix A to the report;

 

2.            notes the summary results of the Budget Consultation and Engagement exercise undertaken by the Council, as set out in the attached (Appendix C, Annex 2a and 2b);

 

3.            notes the report of the Council’s Section 151 Officer, contained within the MTFS Report, regarding the robustness of estimates and level of reserves held by the Council based on these budget proposals (Appendix C, Comment from the Section 151 Officer); and

 

4.            notes that the Council’s Finance Procedure Rules will always apply to ensure proper approval, should any changes in spending requirements be identified (Appendix C).

 

81.

Third Quarter Review (FINANCE) 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 134 KB

To consider a report on the Third Quarter Review (Finance) 2020/21.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet considered a report on the Third Quarter Review (Finance) 2020/21.

 

The report had been considered by the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 28th January 2021. Councillor J Clowes, Chairman of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee, presented the Committee’s comments on the report to Cabinet and asked that they be appended to the Cabinet minutes.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Environment and Regeneration reported additional funding that was likely to be made available to support the Council in relation to the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme and Green Homes Grant, which would require additional recommendations to Council for supplementary capital estimates. Further details were displayed on screen during the meeting and are appended to these minutes.

 

RESOLVED

 

That Cabinet

 

1.    notes the contents of the report, and annex, and the associated impact on reserves, and the Medium Term Financial Strategy, related to the outturn position and the deferral of certain Covid-19 related financial items;

 

2.    approves the management of any variation to the outturn as follows:

 

§  Surplus / Deficit in non-Covid-19 related expenditure / income is allocated to the Medium Term Financial Strategy Earmarked Reserve; and

 

§  Surplus / Deficit in Covid-19 related expenditure / income is allocated to the Covid-19 Earmarked Reserve;

 

3.    approves the supplementary revenue estimates of £620,000 relating to the Northern Powerhouse 11 grant and £921,000 Restrictions Support grant (Appendix 2 Table 1 to the report);

 

4.    notes the supplementary estimates approved to date in relation to Covid-19 activity (Appendix 2, Table 2);

 

5.    approves the supplementary capital estimates relating to schools condition capital grant £589,604, towns fund £750,000 and grant to support our carbon neutral ambition up to the value of £932,661 (Appendix 4, Annex C); and

 

6.    recommends to Council to approve:

 

  • fully funded supplementary revenue estimates above £1,000,000 relating to Covid-19 grants in accordance with Financial Procedure Rules as detailed in Appendix 2 Table 1.

 

  • supplementary capital estimate of £1,808,000 relating to Best4Business in accordance with Financial Procedure Rules as detailed in Appendix 4, Annex D.

 

  • an additional Supplementary Capital Estimate of up to £3,500,000 from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Fund to further the Council’s carbon neutrality objectives as detailed in the appendix to these minutes.

 

  • an additional Supplementary Capital Estimate in relation to £1,523,750 from The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for Green Homes Grant, Local Authority Delivery Scheme Phase 1B (GHG LAD P1B) as detailed in the appendix to these minutes.

 

82.

School and Early Years Funding Formula for 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 136 KB

To consider a report on the School and Early Years Funding Formula for  2021/22.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet considered a report on the School and Early Years Funding Formula for 2021/22.

 

RESOLVED

 

That Cabinet approves:

 

1.    the Schools Funding Formula:

 

(a)  The use of a funding formula that uses the national funding formula factors with any additional funding being allocated via the basic entitlement.

 

(b)  The transfer from the schools block to the high needs block of up to 0.5% to assist with pressures if the Council’s application to the Department for Education is successful.

 

(c)  The use of +0.5% as the minimum funding guarantee percentage.  Meaning that individual school funding levels should increase by +0.5% compared to the 2020/21 level (subject to the items included in minimum funding guarantee protection) and excluding pupil number changes.

 

(d)  The Growth Fund at £0.8m.

 

2.    the Early Years Funding Formula:

 

(a)  The continued use of the current funding formula and agrees to increase the hourly rates by the same percentage increase as the increased funding from the Department for Education.

 

(b)  The use of summer 2019 rather than summer 2020 patterns of attendance to determine the level of deprivation funding from April 2021.

 

(c)  The new funding rates. The rates for 2020/21 are shown at Appendix 4 to the report and the proposed rates for 2021/22 are set out at Appendix 5.

 

(d)  Delegated authority to the Director of Prevention & Early Help to enter into revised contracts with providers in accordance with the Department for Education funding increase.

 

3.    the request for the Leader of the Council to write to the Secretary of State to raise concerns over the impact of the national funding formula on small and rural schools.

 

83.

Day Opportunities Strategy and Redesign pdf icon PDF 348 KB

To consider a report on developing a strategic vision for all day opportunities services in the future within Cheshire East.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet considered a report on developing a strategic vision for all day opportunities services in Cheshire East.

 

RESOLVED

 

That Cabinet approves the development of a co-produced day opportunities strategy and redesign of the current day opportunities services offer across the Borough.

 

84.

Carbon Action Plan Capital Investment pdf icon PDF 729 KB

To consider a report which seeks approval to proceed with a solar photovoltaic array and tree planting project at Leighton Grange Crewe, as part of the Council’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2025.

Minutes:

Cabinet considered a report on a proposed solar photovoltaic array and tree planting project at Leighton Grange Crewe, as part of the Council’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2025.

 

RESOLVED

 

That Cabinet

 

1.    approves that Council land at Leighton Grange as described in figure 1 at the end of the report be allocated for insetting purposes; and

 

2.    delegates authority to the Executive Director Place to take all necessary actions, including without limitation contract award and the execution of all necessary agreements and ancillary documentation, to implement the following carbon insetting projects:

 

(a)  the procurement, construction and operation of a solar photovoltaic array connected to the composting plant of approximately 5MW, subject to securing appropriate permissions and connections; and

 

(b)  the planting of up to seven hectares of natural assets to absorb carbon.

 

85.

Cheshire East Contaminated Land Strategy 2021 pdf icon PDF 118 KB

To consider a report on the Cheshire East Contaminated Land Strategy 2021.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet considered a report on the Cheshire East Contaminated Land Strategy 2021.

 

RESOLVED

 

That Cabinet

 

1.    authorises the Director of Environment and Neighbourhoods to formally consult on the draft Contaminated Land Strategy for a period of 6 weeks;

 

2.    notes that the Environment and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee will consider the revised draft and result of consultation once that is completed; and

 

3.    delegates authority to the Director of Environment and Neighbourhood Services in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Communities to consider the results of the consultation and to approve the final version of the strategy.

 

86.

Occupational Health Contract Procurement pdf icon PDF 93 KB

To consider a report on the procurement of an occupational health contract.

Minutes:

87.

Policy on the Pre-purchase of Graves at Cheshire East Cemeteries pdf icon PDF 143 KB

To consider a report on the adoption of a policy to cease advance purchases of graves in all cemeteries where there is less than 20 years of capacity of new grave supply.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet considered a report on the adoption of a policy to cease advance purchases of graves in all cemeteries where there was less than 20 years of capacity of new grave supply.

 

RESOLVED

 

That Cabinet

 

1.    approves the revised Policy, as set out at Appendix 1 to the report, for the pre-purchase of graves at Cheshire East managed Cemeteries; and

 

2.    delegates authority to the Executive Director- Place to take any necessary actions to implement the policy.

 

88.

Schedule of Urgent Decisions taken on behalf of Cabinet and Council pdf icon PDF 41 KB

Details of urgent decisions taken, for information.

 

Minutes:

Cabinet received a schedule of urgent decisions taken on behalf of the Cabinet and Council which was reported for information in accordance with Appendix 4 of the Council procedure rules.

 

RESOLVED

 

That the schedule of urgent decisions be noted.

 

89.

Orbitas Bereavement Services Contract Extension pdf icon PDF 107 KB

To consider a report on the extension of the contract between the Council and Orbitas Bereavement Services.

Minutes:

Cabinet considered a report on the extension of the contract between the Council and Orbitas Bereavement Services.

 

Cabinet had regard to the legal implications relevant to the decision as set out in Appendix A to the report. The Appendix contained exempt information as defined in Paragraph 5 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (Information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege could be maintained in legal proceedings) and was therefore not for publication.

 

RESOLVED

 

That Cabinet

 

1.    approves that the contract between the Council and Orbitas Bereavement Services be modified by extending it by a period of one year, to 31 March 2022; and

 

2.    delegates authority to the Executive Director Place to take all necessary actions to implement the contract modification.