Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Executive Cabinet - Thursday, 18th January 2024 6.30 pm

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Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Chorley, and YouTube

Contact: Matthew Pawlyszyn  Email: matthew.pawlyszyn@chorley.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

48.

Declarations of Any Interests

Members are reminded of their responsibility to declare any pecuniary interest in respect of matters contained in this agenda.

 

If you have a pecuniary interest you must withdraw from the meeting. Normally you should leave the room before the business starts to be discussed. You do, however, have the same right to speak as a member of the public and may remain in the room to enable you to exercise that right and then leave immediately. In either case you must not seek to improperly influence a decision on the matter.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of any interests.

49.

Minutes of meeting Thursday, 7 December 2023 of Executive Cabinet pdf icon PDF 87 KB

Minutes:

Resolved: That the minutes of the Executive Cabinet meeting held 7 December 2023 of Executive Cabinet be approved as a correct record.

50.

Public Questions

Members of the public who have requested the opportunity to ask a question(s) on an item(s) on the agenda will have three minutes to put their question(s) to the respective Executive Member(s).  Each member of the public will be allowed to ask one short supplementary question. 

Minutes:

There were no public questions.

51.

Draft 24/25 Budget Update pdf icon PDF 220 KB

To receive and consider the report of the Director of Finance.

Decision:

1.    That Members agree the contents of this report in order to start the budget consultation process as follows:

·         A proposed 2.99% increase in council tax in 2024/25 with no proposed cuts to services;

·         A forecast balanced budget for 2024/25, based on a 2.99% increase in council tax as noted above and the use of £0.365m of reserves

·         A forecast budget shortfall for 2025/26 of £1.575m, to be addressed through the development and delivery of the council’s savings programme;

·         To note the proposals in the report for investment in the Labour Administration’s priority areas

Minutes:

Councillor Peter Wilson, Executive Member for Resources presented the report of the Director of Finance which set out the draft budget position for the council for 2024/25, and the forecast for 2025/26, which reflected the information contained within the provisional Local Government Financial Settlement.

 

In summary, it was explained that the council was in a good position, and unlike other councils, there was not the looming prospect of bankruptcy or the need for a Section 114 notice. The council were able to deliver services outlined, address the needs of the residents and achieve its corporate priorities. It was acknowledged that there as a budget gap of £1.5m for the year 25/26, however efficient saving, increased revenue and cooperative working provided optimism.

 

Decision

1.         That Members agree the contents of this report in order to start the budget consultation process as follows:

·                A proposed 2.99% increase in council tax in 2024/25 with no proposed cuts to services;

·                A forecast balanced budget for 2024/25, based on a 2.99% increase in council tax as noted above and the use of £0.365m of reserves

·                A forecast budget shortfall for 2025/26 of £1.575m, to be addressed through the development and delivery of the council’s savings programme;

·                To note the proposals in the report for investment in the Labour Administration’s priority areas

 

Reasons for recommendation

1.         The council wishes to set out its budget proposals and consult on them with residents.

 

Other options considered and rejected

1.         None – this is the draft budget and alternative budgets may be considered as part of the final budget proposals.

52.

Fees and Charges 2024-25 pdf icon PDF 173 KB

To receive and consider the report of the Director of Finance.

Additional documents:

Decision:

1.    To note the current levels of budgeted fees and charges and the issues specific to these;

2.    To approve an uplift in the Strawberry Fields service charge of £1 per square foot to better reflect the current costs incurred at the site, as detailed at point 29.

3.    To approve an uplift in the rents of all Council owned housing (including Extra Care but excluding Cotswold House) of 7.7%. This is the approach agreed by Executive Cabinet in July 2022 of increasing these rents by CPI plus 1%, were CPI is based on the rate applicable at September each year. As service charges and utility charges are still broadly in line with the actual costs incurred, there is no proposal to increase these; these were reviewed last year.

4.    To approve an increase in rent at Cotswold House of 3.07%, plus an increase in service charge of 7.52%, but with a reduction in the personal charge of 13.47% as detailed in point 28.

5.    To approve an increase in the core charges for the Lancastrian by 6.7% as per point 33.

6.    To approve the changes to the structure of community centre hire charges as per point 32 and Appendix 4. Report of Meeting Date Director (Finance) (Introduced by Executive Member (Resources)) Executive Cabinet 18th January 2024 Agenda Page 23 Agenda Item 5

7.    To approve an increase of £12.80 per annum for the allotment plots that have water access and a 6.7% increase for the plots with no water access as per point 30.

8.    To approve the changes to the structure of Other Licensing Fees, Housing and Pest Control as per point 34 and Appendix 3.

9.    To approve a general increase of up to 6.7% in the fees for 2024/25, limited to the services listed in Table 3 of Appendix 1. Given that the rate of CPI in September was running at 6.7%, and RPI at 8.9%, the recommended uplift is in line with CPI.

10.To note that fees and charges in respect of Astley Hall will be reviewed during the year as part of the commercial strategy review.

11.To approve a change to the split of cost in relation to Council Tax and Business Rates Court Summons and Liability Orders as per point 35. The overall cost will remain the same.

12.To approve the full list of fees and charges for upload onto the Council website. Recommendations to Council

13.To recommend to Council an increase in garden waste collection charges of £5.00 as per point 31.

Minutes:

Peter Wilson, Executive Member for Resources presented the report of the Director of Finance which set out the current position around fees and charges and the proposals for 2024/25. If agreed, the increases would be implemented from 1 April 2024, or the most suitable date following.

 

Members agreed that the 10p a week increase for garden waste collection was reasonable. Questions were raised around the occupation of Tatton Gardens, and it was explained that there was a leak prior to Christmas that delayed some occupants from moving in, it was also stated that new units were made available following the previous occupants death, and was not always a straight forward procedure, there was however a substantial list of applicants seeking accommodation at Tatton Gardens.

 

Decision:

1.    To note the current levels of budgeted fees and charges and the issues specific to these;

2.    To approve an uplift in the Strawberry Fields service charge of £1 per square foot to better reflect the current costs incurred at the site, as detailed at point 29.

3.    To approve an uplift in the rents of all Council owned housing (including Extra Care but excluding Cotswold House) of 7.7%. This is the approach agreed by Executive Cabinet in July 2022 of increasing these rents by CPI plus 1%, were CPI is based on the rate applicable at September each year. As service charges and utility charges are still broadly in line with the actual costs incurred, there is no proposal to increase these; these were reviewed last year.

4.    To approve an increase in rent at Cotswold House of 3.07%, plus an increase in service charge of 7.52%, but with a reduction in the personal charge of 13.47% as detailed in point 28.

5.    To approve an increase in the core charges for the Lancastrian by 6.7% as per point 33.

6.    To approve the changes to the structure of community centre hire charges as per point 32 and Appendix 4. Report of Meeting Date Director (Finance) (Introduced by Executive Member (Resources)) Executive Cabinet 18th January 2024 Agenda Page 23 Agenda Item 5

7.    To approve an increase of £12.80 per annum for the allotment plots that have water access and a 6.7% increase for the plots with no water access as per point 30.

8.    To approve the changes to the structure of Other Licensing Fees, Housing and Pest Control as per point 34 and Appendix 3.

9.    To approve a general increase of up to 6.7% in the fees for 2024/25, limited to the services listed in Table 3 of Appendix 1. Given that the rate of CPI in September was running at 6.7%, and RPI at 8.9%, the recommended uplift is in line with CPI.

10.To note that fees and charges in respect of Astley Hall will be reviewed during the year as part of the commercial strategy review.

11.To approve a change to the split of cost in relation to Council Tax and Business Rates Court Summons and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 52.

53.

Payment Strategy pdf icon PDF 102 KB

To receive and consider the report of the Director of Customer and Digital.

Additional documents:

Decision:

1.    Executive Cabinet to approve the Payment Strategy to be implemented at Chorley Council.

Minutes:

Councillor Peter Wilson, Executive Member for resources presented the item of the Director of Customer and Digital which set out to review the proposed Payment Strategy.

 

In summary, the new Payment Strategy was fit for purpose, easy, and more efficient for residents to use. The strategy encouraged the use of on demand payment. It was reiterated and reassured that cash payments were still accepted at Union Street, as it was stated that there were an average of 10 transactions made a week. Within half a mile from Union Street there were 16 establishments that would accept payment on behalf of the council, and borough wide there were 69.

 

Decision

1.    Executive Cabinet to approve the Payment Strategy to be implemented at Chorley Council.

 

Reasons for recommendation

To ensure that the payment methods used to transact with those using council services are up to date and ‘on demand’ to meet the expectations of customers.

 

Other options considered and rejected

The council could continue to operate without a Payment Strategy, resulting in being unable to meet the needs and expectations of those customers who prefer to use ‘on demand’ payment methods.

54.

Updated Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) Delivery Approach 2024-25 pdf icon PDF 97 KB

To receive and consider the report of the Director of Communities

Decision:

1.    To approve the recruitment of a fixed-term HAF Coordinator within the Communities team to coordinate the programme. This post is subject to final grant funding being confirmed but will be funded from the 10% management fee within the grant.

2.    To approve the approach to commissioning HAF delivery partners through a tiered grant fund approach.

Minutes:

Councillor Bev Murray, Executive Member for Early Intervention, presented the report of the Director of Communities. Which sought approval to deliver the Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) programme by retaining the management fee to fund dedicated resources within the Communities team, and to commission HAF delivery partners by employing a tiered grant funding approach.

 

Decision:

1.    To approve the recruitment of a fixed-term HAF Coordinator within the Communities team to coordinate the programme. This post is subject to final grant funding being confirmed but will be funded from the 10% management fee within the grant.

2.    To approve the approach to commissioning HAF delivery partners through a tiered grant fund approach.

 

Reasons for recommendations

Including Holiday Activity and Food delivery within the Communities team presents opportunity to build additional value into the programme for the benefit of residents.

 

Other options considered and rejected

To procure a contractor to manage the delivery of the HAF programme does not present best value for residents.

55.

Exclusion of the Public and Press

To consider the exclusion of the press and public for the following items of business on the ground that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.

 

 

By Virtue of Paragraph 3: Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)

Condition:

Information is not exempt if it is required to be registered under-

The Companies Act 1985

The Friendly Societies Act 1974

The Friendly Societies Act 1992

The Industrial and Provident Societies Acts 1965 to 1978

The Building Societies Act 1986 (recorded in the public file of any building society, within the meaning of the Act)

The Charities Act 1993

Information is exempt to the extent that, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

 

Information is not exempt if it relates to proposed development for which the local planning authority may grant itself planning permission pursuant to Regulation 3 of the Town & Country Planning General Regulations 1992(a).

Decision:

Resolved: That the public and press be excluded.

Minutes:

Decision: To exclude the press and public for the following items of business on the grounds they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.

56.

Approval for the Contract Award Procedure for ICT Hardware, Software and Support Services

To receive and consider the report of the Director of Customer and Digital.

Decision:

1.    To approve the contract award procedure for a number of joint procurements with South Ribble Council outlined at Appendix One for software, hardware and support services.

2.    To approve the hierarchy for the procurement route outlined in paragraph 16.

3.    To approve the evaluation criteria of 80% cost and 20% quality.

4.    That the decision to award is delegated to the Executive Member Resources at Chorley Council

Minutes:

Councillor Peter Wilson, Executive Member for Resources presented the report of the Director of Customer and Digital, which set out to highlight the proposed shared procurement for ICT hardware, software, and support, and to seek agreement to the shared of costs and assessment criteria.

 

Decision:

1.    To approve the contract award procedure for a number of joint procurements with South Ribble Council outlined at Appendix One for software, hardware and support services.

2.    To approve the hierarchy for the procurement route outlined in paragraph 16.

3.    To approve the evaluation criteria of 80% cost and 20% quality.

4.    That the decision to award is delegated to the Executive Member Resources at Chorley Council

 

Reasons for recommendation

By jointly procuring these contracts it ensures alignment of software and hardware across both authorities supporting Shared Services.

 

Other options considered and rejected

Each council could procure software independently, but this would make it very difficult to align software or services in future.