Decisions

Decisions published

14/11/2023 - 2023/2024 Mid-Year Performance Review - Growth and Enterprise ref: 2917    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Economy and Growth Committee

Made at meeting: 14/11/2023 - Economy and Growth Committee

Decision published: 20/11/2023

Effective from: 25/11/2023

Decision:

The Committee considered the Mid-Year Performance Review report for the Economy and Enterprise Department for the first 6 months of 2023/24.

 

The report detailed the performance against the key priorities and key performance indicators of services in Housing, Estates, Rural & Cultural Economy, and Economic Development.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Committee note the performance of the department during the first 6 months of the year 2023/24.


14/11/2023 - Crewe Business Improvement District ref: 2919    Recommendations Approved (subject to call-in)

Decision Maker: Economy and Growth Committee

Made at meeting: 14/11/2023 - Economy and Growth Committee

Decision published: 20/11/2023

Effective from: 25/11/2023

Decision:

The Committee considered a report on the Crewe Business Improvement District ballot and the way the Council should vote in the ballot.

 

The Council was responsible for the payment of business rates for thirteen hereditaments within the proposed Business Improvement District (BID) and therefore would be entitled to vote thirteen times in the BID ballot and, if the ballot was successful, be liable to pay the levy for its hereditaments falling within the scope of the BID proposal.  The estimated BID levy on the Council was £16,447 and would be payable over the five-year term of the BID.

 

RESOLVED (unanimously):  That the Committee

 

1          approve that the Council shall vote ‘Yes’ in support of the Crewe BID proposal in the Crewe BID ballot, delegating authority to the Director of Growth and Enterprise to complete, sign and return ballot papers on behalf of the Council.

 

2          in the event the Council is requested to attend the Business Improvement District meetings in an advisory capacity, the Director of Growth and Enterprise accept and agree the most appropriate officer representation and empower that officer to provide such advice to Business Improvement District meetings as they consider necessary.

 

3          in the event of a yes vote and the Business Improvement District proceeding, delegated authority be granted to the Executive Director Place, having regard to any advice given by the Monitoring Officer, in consultation with the Chair of the Economy and Growth Committee, determine whether to put forward a Cheshire East Council representative for appointment onto the Business Improvement District Board, and if so, select the appropriate appointee and empower the appointee to make any decisions required on behalf of the Council.


14/11/2023 - Notice of Motion: Commission an Independent Hydrogeology Report for the South Macclesfield Development Area ref: 2918    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Economy and Growth Committee

Made at meeting: 14/11/2023 - Economy and Growth Committee

Decision published: 20/11/2023

Effective from: 25/11/2023

Decision:

The Committee considered the report on the Notice of Motion: Commission an Independent Hydrogeology Report for the South Macclesfield Development Area, which had been referred by Council on 19 July 2023 to the Committee for consideration.

 

The proposer and seconder of the Notice of Motion -  Cllr Chris O’Leary and Cllr Janet Clowes, spoke in support of the Motion.

 

RESOLVED:   That the Committee

 

1          note the Notice of Motion.

 

2          note that the Council as a responsible developer will address the works that are required to provide robust information to enable the Strategic Planning Board to make informed decisions.


14/11/2023 - Royal Arcade Phase 2, Crewe ref: 2920    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Economy and Growth Committee

Made at meeting: 14/11/2023 - Economy and Growth Committee

Decision published: 20/11/2023

Effective from: 25/11/2023

Decision:

The Committee considered the report on the current position with the delivery of Phase 2 of the Royal Arcade development scheme in Crewe and the options for the next steps.

 

Phase 1 of the redevelopment, comprising a new bus station and multi storey car park, were well advance and expected to be completed in Spring 2024.  Phase 2 of the Royal Arcade scheme, comprising the proposed commercial elements, had been expected to commence following the completion of Phase 1.  At the time of the development agreement being entered into in October 2020, this had been viable.  However since that point, viability had been seriously impacted by the Covid pandemic, post Covid-construction cost and supply issues and other economic influences.  

 

Four options had been identified for Phase 2 – details and appraisal of these options were set out in paragraphs 8 and 10 of the report.  It was recommended that Option 4 be taken forward whilst continuing to explore funding alternative opportunities as proposed in Option 1 and reviewing options for longer-term development of the site (Option 3).

 

RESOLVED (unanimously):  That the Committee

 

1          note the assessment of the current viability challenges of Phase 2 of the Crewe town centre Royal Arcade redevelopment scheme (‘Phase 2’).

 

2          establish a ‘member reference group’ for the purpose of further consultation with elected members and delegate responsibility, where necessary, to the Executive Director Place and the Director of Governance and Compliance to:

 

a)         advance plans for meanwhile uses (Option 4) and undertake further assessment of options for ‘meanwhile’ uses for the site, including commissioning feasibility studies, etc.

 

b)         procure/appoint third parties and/or enter into lease agreement(s) with parties for an initial period of up to five years for the operation and occupation of the site, with a Council option to extend; and

 

c)         utilise the remaining budget in the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy already allocated to the Crewe Town Centre Regeneration Programme, and/or other Town Fund grant allocations, for the purposes of implementing the preferred option(s), including the procurement/purchase of any works, equipment, infrastructure and professional services.

 

d)         continue to explore alternative funding opportunities for the scheme as proposed (Option 1) and review options for the longer-term development of the site (Option 3), including undertaking public consultation and viability assessment.

 

subject to the Budget Policy & Framework Procedure Rules and Finance Procedure Rules, set out in the Council’s Constitution; and

 

3          Delegate responsibility to the Executive Director Place and the Director of Governance and Compliance to, where necessary and at the appropriate time, terminate the Council’s development agreement with Peveril Securities Ltd and to take any decisions necessary related to this.


14/11/2023 - The Great British Insulation Scheme and Eco Flexibility ref: 2914    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Economy and Growth Committee

Made at meeting: 14/11/2023 - Economy and Growth Committee

Decision published: 20/11/2023

Effective from: 25/11/2023

Decision:

The Committee considered the report which outlined proposed changes to the Council’s Statement of Intent for ECO4 Flexible Eligibility to support low-income and vulnerable households to maintain their health and wellbeing in a warm home, in response to the Government’s introduction of the Great British Insulation Scheme.

 

RESOLVED (unanimously): That the Committee

 

1          approve the publication of the Flexible Eligibility Statement of Intent for ECO4and the Great British Insulation Scheme, as outlined in Appendix A to the report.

 

2          delegate authority to the Director of Growth and Enterprise, in consultation with the Chair of the Economy and Growth Committee, to make minor amendments to the policy to ensure its smooth operation and in line with any future Government guidance changes.


14/11/2023 - Second Financial Review 2023/24 ref: 2915    Recommendations Approved

Provides Members with the second review of the Cheshire East Council forecast outturn for the financial year 2023/24

Decision Maker: Economy and Growth Committee

Made at meeting: 14/11/2023 - Economy and Growth Committee

Decision published: 20/11/2023

Effective from: 25/11/2023

Decision:

The Committee received the report which provided an overview of the Cheshire East Council forecast outturn for the financial year 2023/24 and the financial performance of the services relevant to the committee remit.

 

RESOLVED:  That the Committee

 

1          note the report of the Finance Sub Committee of 2 November 2023.

 

2          note the factors leading to a forecast Net Revenue financial underspend of (£1.9m) against a revised budget of £24.8m (7.6%).

 

3          note the forecast and any further mitigations to be identified.

 

4          note the in-year forecast Capital Spending of £55.0m against an approved MTFS budget of £71.6m, due to slippage that has been re-profiled into future years.

 

5          note the contents of Annex 1 and Appendix 4 and note that any financial mitigation decisions requiring approval will be made in line with relevant delegations.

 

6          note that Council will be asked to approve the fully funded supplementary revenue estimate over £1,000,000 in accordance with Financial Procedure Rules, as detailed in Annex 1, Appendix 4, Section 3 Corporate Grants Register, Table 2.

 

Lead officer: Neil Taylor


14/11/2023 - Medium Term Financial Strategy Consultation 2024/25 - 2027/28 ref: 2916    Recommendations Approved

All Committees were being asked to provide feedback in relation to their financial responsibilities as identified within the Constitution and linked to the budget alignment approved by the Finance Sub Committee in March 2023. Responses to the consultation would be reported to the Corporate Policy Committee to support that Committee in making recommendations to Council on changes to the current financial strategy.

Decision Maker: Economy and Growth Committee

Made at meeting: 14/11/2023 - Economy and Growth Committee

Decision published: 20/11/2023

Effective from: 25/11/2023

Decision:

The Committee received the report which set out the indicative financial envelope for the Committee to support consultation on the development of the Cheshire East Medium-Term Financial Strategy 2024/25 to 2027/28.

 

It was reported that there was a typographical error in paragraph one of the report which stated the Committee were being asked to approve the indicative financial envelope. It was confirmed that this was for noting only and no decision was required at this stage.

 

RESOLVED:  That the Committee

 

1          note the indicative budget envelope for the Committee, as approved at the Finance Sub Committee on 2 November 2023, as a way of setting financial targets in support of achieving a balanced budget for 2024/25.

 

2          note that officers will develop further proposals in consultation with Members to enable wider stakeholder consultation prior to approval by Council.

 

3          note that Committees will be presented with the opportunity to further review financial proposals, designed to achieve a balanced budget, as part of their January cycle of meetings prior to recommendations being made to Council for approval.

Wards affected: (All Wards);

Lead officer: Honor Field, Paul Goodwin


14/11/2023 - Minutes of Previous Meeting ref: 2921    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Economy and Growth Committee

Made at meeting: 14/11/2023 - Economy and Growth Committee

Decision published: 20/11/2023

Effective from: 14/11/2023

Decision:

RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 12 September 2023 be approved as a correct record.


16/11/2023 - Officer Delegated Decision: UK Shared Prosperity Fund Allocation to Additional Projects ref: 2913    Recommendations Approved (subject to call-in)

In February 2023, the Chief Executive approved an initial skeleton programme of UKSPF projects and gave authority to the Development and Regeneration Manager to issue ‘call outs’ for additional project proposals. Two call outs were subsequently launched, and project proposals received in response to that call out have been appraised by an external specialist team. A final list of the recommended projects is attached at Appendix A.

 

Some UKSPF core funds remain unallocated and the allocation of these will be subject to further decision(s) in due course.

 

To authorise the spending of UKSPF on internal CEC projects does not negate the requirement for individual project leads to ensure they have in place other necessary approvals for their project such as ensuring capital projects are included in the capital programme and that any necessary virements are approved, that grant schemes are approved.

Decision Maker: Executive Director Place

Decision published: 17/11/2023

Effective from: 16/11/2023

Decision:

1             Approve the allocation of UKSPF to the additional projects as identified in Appendix A.

 

2          Approve associated amendments to the Cheshire East UKSPF Investment Plan as set out in Appendix B.

 

3             For Council led projects approved, to authorise project leads to spend the UKSPF allocated for their projects, subject to the separate approval of supplementary estimates for the relevant year of funding, and any other necessary approvals required to authorise individual projects.

 

4             For external led projects, to authorise the Head of Economic Development to issue offer letters and Grant Funding Agreements to external project proposers advising them of appropriate conditions for the funding to be released.


20/07/2023 - Officer Decision: UK Shared Prosperity Fund ref: 2910    Recommendations Approved

On 20 July 2022, full Council delegated authority to the Executive Director Place to manage the Cheshire East UKSPF 2022-25 programme

 

Prior to launching the call out approval is sought to confirm the schedule of intervention types for which project proposals will be sought and to also agree which intervention types will as an alternative will be taken forward via CEC procurement, direct delivery by CEC or grant schemes as set out in Appendix A.

 

Additionally, the original approved skeleton programme included reference to the need to reduce allocations proportionately to take account of a 4% administration and management allowance. That 4% is classified as revenue and hence has now been divided between revenue intervention types. In order to respect the original split between the three Investment priorities: People and Skills; Communities and Place; and Supporting Local Business, the 4% has been split at varying rates between the interventions in each investment priority. The revised allocations are set out in Appendix A.

Decision Maker: Executive Director Place

Decision published: 15/11/2023

Effective from: 20/07/2023

Decision:

1.         Approve additional projects to be funded utilising UKSPF as identified in the attached UKSPF Programme at Appendix A.

 

2.         Approve the Intervention types to be included in a call out for additional project proposals again as identified in Appendix A.

 

3.         Approve the revised allocations for each Intervention type which have been adjusted to allow for the 4% administration and management costs, again as set out in Appendix A.


29/08/2023 - Officer Decision: UK Shared Prosperity Fund Call Out for Projects under E6 and E7 intervention types ref: 2909    Recommendations Approved

On 20 July 2022, full Council delegated authority to the Executive Director Place to manage the Cheshire East UKSPF 2022-25 programme.

 

A call out for project proposals was subsequently launched with a deadline for submissions of 18 August. Following the deadline all submissions were sent to the external appraisers to independently assess, with a view to the appraisers a to make recommendations as to projects to receive UKSPF

 

The assessors have indicated that there has been insufficient eligible responses received in the initial call out for interventions E6 (Local arts, cultural, heritage & creative activities) and E7 (Support for active travel enhancements in local area), with a number of proposals received in these areas, seeking funding for interventions below the minimum financial thresholds set.

 

It is now proposed that a further call out for E6 and E7 interventions be undertaken, with a two-week window for returns. 

Decision Maker: Executive Director Place

Decision published: 15/11/2023

Effective from: 29/08/2023

Decision:

Approve an additional call out for projects to be funded utilising UKSPF under the E6 and E7 intervention types only, due to insufficient eligible responses received in the initial call out (21 July 2023 to 18 August 2023).


15/11/2023 - Officer Delegated Decision: Direct Payments ref: 2908    Recommendations Approved

To approve a 12-week period of consultation in relation to the ‘all age’ Direct Payment Policy. The consultation will commence on 20th November 2023 to 21st January 2024.

Decision Maker: Executive Director Children’s Services.

Decision published: 15/11/2023

Effective from: 15/11/2023

Decision:

To approve a 12-week period of consultation in relation to the ‘all age’ Direct Payment Policy. The consultation will commence on 20th November 2023 to 21st January 2024.

 


10/11/2023 - Officer Decision: UK Shared Prosperity Fund Supplementary Estimate ref: 2912    Recommendations Approved

On 5 December 2022 the Council received confirmation that, following the assessment of the Cheshire East UKSPF Investment Plan, UKSPF funding had been allocated for 2022/23, with indicative allocations for the further two financial years up to and including 2024/25. Subsequently on 16 January 2022 a capital supplementary estimate of £200,000 and a revenue supplementary estimate of £1,226,039 were approved to cover the 22/23 UKSPF allocations.  On 13th July 2023 the Council received an email confirming that the 22/23 UKSPF end of year return report has been reviewed and approved and the plan for Year 1 underspends agreed. This email states, “You may now utilise those Year 1 underspends alongside your Year 2 funding as set out in your end-of-year report. Please take this email as confirmation that your Year 2 funding has been approved and that you will receive your grant determination letters for Year 2 in due course, with payments to follow on afterwards

 

It should be noted that the end of year report included planned spend for both the core fund allocations and the rural fund allocations. In order to enable spend on UKSPF core and rural allocations approval for supplementary revenue and capital estimates are now sought.

Decision Maker: Executive Director Place

Decision published: 15/11/2023

Effective from: 10/11/2023

Decision:

1             Approve supplementary estimates for the core and rural fund UKSPF revenue and capital allocations as follows:

 

23/24   £2,411,574 revenue (UKSPF core fund)

                        £400,504 capital (UKSPF core fund)

                        £210,000 capital (UKSPF rural top up)

 

24/25   £5,868,149 revenue (UKSPF core fund)

                        £1,499,496 capital (UKSPF core fund)

                        £617,627 capital (UKSPF rural top up)

 

2          Note that this funding will be spent on projects within the UKSPF programme approved via separate decisions.


02/11/2023 - Wholly-owned Companies - Strategic Options Review ref: 2906    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Finance Sub-Committee

Made at meeting: 02/11/2023 - Finance Sub-Committee

Decision published: 08/11/2023

Effective from: 16/11/2023

Decision:

The Sub-Committee considered a report on a strategic options review of the Council’s wholly-owned companies.

 

Councillor M Warren remained present for this item as Chair of the Environment and Communities Committee.

 

Members asked that the review include the option of testing the private market.

 

RESOLVED (unanimously)

 

That the recommendations in the report be approved.

 


02/11/2023 - Second Financial Review 2023/24 ref: 2902    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Finance Sub-Committee

Made at meeting: 02/11/2023 - Finance Sub-Committee

Decision published: 08/11/2023

Effective from: 16/11/2023

Decision:

The Sub-Committee considered a report on the second review of the Cheshire East Council forecast outturn for the financial year 2023/24.

 

Performance against the 2023/24 Budget within each service committee, and the Finance Sub-Committee was outlined in Table 1 of the report.

 

Members sought further information regarding the current revenue forecasts for Adults and Health and Children and Families which showed in-year forecast pressures of £4.7M and £10.8 respectively.

 

The Executive Director of Adults, Health and Integration outlined the factors driving increased costs in adult social care. These included price inflation in social care, with staffing costs in the care sector running ahead of headline inflation; the rate of growth of the aging population in Cheshire East which was higher than other parts of the country; more complex needs leading to higher unit costs; and the numbers of people being released from hospital into the community and requiring care.

 

The Executive Director outlined measures that were being taken to address budget pressures, including a reduction in the use of short-term residential and nursing placements, investment in domiciliary care, and capping price increases, with investment in a pricing tool to scrutinise provider costs.

 

The Executive Director of Children and Families advised that key factors underlying cost pressures in children’s services included increasing demand for, and the rising cost of, social care agency placements, with costs increasing above headline inflation and a significant number of asylum-seeking children in Cheshire East; the increased use and cost of agency staff; increasing home to school transport costs and the cost of school catering.

 

Measures being taken to address budget pressures included a recruitment drive to reduce the need for agency workers, a review of funding relating to school catering, seeking additional funding through grant applications, and increasing the number of safe walking routes to school to reduce transport costs. Further mitigations were being explored, including the possibility of early receipt of safety valve funding.

 

RESOLVED (unanimously)

 

That the Sub-Committee

 

1.    notes the factors leading to a forecast adverse Net Revenue financial pressure of £18.7m against a revised budget of £353.1m (5.3%);

 

2.    notes the forecast and further mitigations needing to be identified, aimed at bringing spending back in line with budget;

3.    notes the in-year forecast Capital Spending of £181.4m against an approved MTFS budget of £214.7m, due to slippage that has been re-profiled into future years;

4.    notes the contents of Annex 1 of the report and each of the appendices therein, and notes that any financial mitigation decisions requiring approval will be made in line with relevant delegations;

 

5.   approves capital virements up to and including £5,000,000 in accordance with Financial Procedure Rules as detailed in Appendix 7 Finance Sub-Committee, Section 5 Capital Strategy, Table 5; and

6.    notes that Council will be asked to approve fully-funded supplementary revenue estimates over £1,000,000 in accordance with Financial Procedure Rules as detailed in Appendix 1 Adults and Health Committee, Section 3 Corporate Grants Register, Table 2 and Appendix 4 Economy and Growth Committee, Section 3 Corporate Grants Register, Table 2.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 11.25 am for a five minute break.

 


02/11/2023 - Section 106 Key Findings - Internal Audit Report ref: 2905    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Finance Sub-Committee

Made at meeting: 02/11/2023 - Finance Sub-Committee

Decision published: 08/11/2023

Effective from: 16/11/2023

Decision:

The Sub-Committee considered the report to the Audit and Governance Committee on 28th September 2023 setting out the key findings from Internal Audit's review of arrangements for the management and monitoring of Section 106 funds.

 

Internal Audit had completed an extensive review of the Council’s arrangements for the management and monitoring of Section 106 agreements. The key findings of the review were set out in Appendix 1 to the Audit and Governance Committee report. The overall assurance opinion for the review was “No Assurance”. This reflected the view that there were currently significant areas of risk which were not being managed effectively in relation to the use of S106 agreements and contributions. The audit report findings also referred to a lack of strategic oversight in place for senior officers and service committees.

 

The Audit and Governance Committee at its meeting on 28th September 2023, having considered the findings of the internal audit review, asked for an initial progress report in March 2024, and a further update on the implementation of actions in 12 months’ time.

 

The matter had been referred to the Finance Sub-Committeewith a view to understanding the financial implications of the review, and how the planned changes should drive more effective recording, use, and timely spend of S106 contributions.

 

The Head of Planning assured members that no monies had been returned to developers as part of the process.

 

Members noted that the Environment and Communities Committee as the committee responsible for this area of work was to set up a member/officer working group to oversee the implementation of the actions arising from the review and to consider how information could be more pro-actively shared with members regarding section 106 contributions.

 

Members made the following comments in relation to the report and its findings:

  • Members should be consulted on all stages of the S106 process and should be provided with information, including a process diagram, to assist their understanding of the process.
  • The Finance Sub-Committee should receive regular reports in relation to the financial aspects of S106, which should be added to the work programme for future meetings.
  • Assurances were needed regarding staffing, training and the effective use of software in relation to the management of S106 obligations and contributions.
  • Members should receive lists of all S106 agreements affecting their wards.

 

The Head of Audit and Risk undertook to take these comments forward.

 

With regard to staffing, the Head of Planning advised that the recruitment process would commence next week.

 

RESOLVED

 

That the Sub-Committee notes the report.

 


02/11/2023 - Medium Term Financial Strategy Consultation 2024/25 - 2027/28 ref: 2903    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Finance Sub-Committee

Made at meeting: 02/11/2023 - Finance Sub-Committee

Decision published: 08/11/2023

Effective from: 16/11/2023

Decision:

The Sub-Committee considered a report on indicative financial targets to support consultation on the development of the Cheshire East Medium-Term Financial Strategy 2024/25 to 2027/28.

 

The Head of Finance advised that the focus was on producing a balanced budget for the 2024-25 financial year only. In the current committee cycle, committees would consider their budget envelopes. They would then consider budget feedback in the January cycle before final recommendations were made by the Corporate Policy Committee to Council.

 

The Head of Finance also confirmed that officers would if requested be able to assist political groups with alternative budget proposals, and that further budget proposals could be considered during the January committee cycle, before the budget Council meeting in February. The Chair added that groups could start the conversations now and did not need to wait until January.

 

RESOLVED (unanimously)

 

That the Sub-Committee

 

1.    approves the indicative budget envelope for all committees as a way of setting financial targets in support of achieving a balanced budget for 2024/25;

2.    notes that officers will develop further proposals in consultation with members to enable wider stakeholder consultation prior to approval by Council; and

3.    notes that Committees will be presented with the opportunity to further review financial proposals, designed to achieve a balanced budget, as part of their January cycle of meetings prior to recommendations being made to Council for approval.

 


02/11/2023 - Business Rates Discretionary Relief Review - Recommendations ref: 2904    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Finance Sub-Committee

Made at meeting: 02/11/2023 - Finance Sub-Committee

Decision published: 08/11/2023

Effective from: 16/11/2023

Decision:

The Sub-Committee considered a report which provided feedback from the Business Rates Working Group on the business rates discretionary relief review, and which sought a decision in relation to the Discretionary Relief Policy.

 

Councillor M Gorman, who attending the Working Group meeting, thanked the officers for their work.

 

RESOLVED

 

That the Sub-Committee

 

1.   approves the amendment of the Business Rates Discretionary Relief Policy to include leisure centres at page 17 where sports and social clubs are referenced; and

 

2.   delegates authority to the Head of Revenues and Benefits to amend page 11 section 5.9 of the Policy, to allow backdating of relief in certain circumstances, once the Non-Domestic Rating Billreceives Royal Assent.