Agenda and minutes

South Hams Executive
Thursday, 1st February, 2018 10.00 am

Venue: Repton Room - Follaton House. View directions

Contact: Email: Member.Services@swdevon.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

E.57/17

Minutes pdf icon PDF 110 KB

to approve as a correct record and authorise the Chairman to sign the minutes of the meeting of the Executive held on 7 December 2017;

Minutes:

E.57/17          

The minutes of the Executive meeting held on 7 December 2017 were confirmed as a true and correct record and signed off by the Chairman.

 

 

 

E.58/17

Declarations of Interest

Members are invited to declare any personal or disclosable pecuniary interests, including the nature and extent of such interests they may have in any items to be considered at this meeting;

Minutes:

E.58/17          

Members and officers were invited to declare any interests in the items of business to be considered during the course of this meeting and the following were made:

 

Cllr R F D Gilbert declared a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in para. 6.24 of Item 9:  Budget Proposals Report 2018-19, and he left the meeting for the debate and vote on this specific aspect of the Budget item.

 

 

 

E.59/17

Public Question Time pdf icon PDF 6 KB

a period of up to 15 minutes is available to deal with questions submitted to the Council in accordance with the Executive Procedure Rules;

Minutes:

E.59/17          

It was noted that the following public questions had been received from Mr Rick Gaehl:

 

Question 1: The stated cost to SHDC of the 'One Council' consultation is £12,828, but this figure does not appear to include any staff costs. Can the Committee discover and confirm:

a)    details and costs of work by Council staff on the merger?

b)    details and costs of any new staff required to work on the merger?

 

In response, the Leader advised that the costs of the consultation exercise were reported to the Overview and Scrutiny Panel on 12 October, 2017.  This was for the website, postcards, telephone survey and events.  In addition to these costs, a further £4,000 was spent on advice on council tax equalisation and £6,188 was spent on project officer time.  These costs are the South Hams share only of the costs.  Council officers are not required to complete time sheets or to time-record.  The projects that Council officers were involved in were all part of their everyday role and duties which were set out in their job descriptions.  The Council employed officers to carry out these roles e.g. Strategic projects.

 

Question 2: Council reports indicated the merger would save SHDC £0.5M pa from "staff efficiency reductions" and that these would affect 'less than 10 [staff] roles'. Can the Committee confirm the affected roles, how they would have been affected and the salaries of those roles?

 

In response, the Leader advised that by removing the complexities inherent in serving two Councils; a single Council would have had a less complex and costly administration.

Becoming One Council would have meant releasing some capacity absorbed by serving two bodies.  This would have reduced the amount of time spent on complex or duplicated processes.  Financial systems would be simpler, with single reporting requirements and a removal of the complexities of recharging money between both Councils and the need for two sets of Accounts and reconciliations (such as bank reconciliation, control account reconciliations, shared service reconciliations).

The main areas of duplication were in finance, case management (support services), senior management team, democratic services and areas such as elections.  The staff efficiency reductions were anticipated to generate £370,000 of savings per annum.  It was not felt appropriate to specify individual roles and salaries as it was hoped that the reduction in posts could have been largely addressed through natural turnover in these areas.

In addition to these savings, savings from having one financial ledger (£25,000) and a reduction in subscriptions/memberships and audit fees would have saved another £60,000.  Further savings of £85,000 per annum were also projected from a 20% reduction in Members.

 

Question 3: Officers reportedly had 'severe concerns over the future financial stability' of SHDC if the merger did not occur. Is the Committee able to confirm:

a)    predicted deficits for 2018/19, 2019/20 and beyond 2020/21?;

b)    how the Council proposes to reorganise?;

c)    how the merger would have avoided deficits?;

d)    if there is any plan for a Council Tax referendum?  ...  view the full minutes text for item E.59/17

E.60/17

Reports of Other Bodies pdf icon PDF 120 KB

Joint Development Management Committee and Overview & Scrutiny Panel – 18 January 2018

 

Minutes:

E.60/17          

RESOLVED

 

That the following be received and that any recommendations contained therein be approved:

 

a)      Joint Development Management and Overview and Scrutiny Panel – 18 January 2018

                                 

 

                                          i.           OSDM.2/17 REVIEW OF FEES AND CHARGES

The Executive noted the recommendations under this item for consideration with the Budget report later on the agenda (Item 9:  Revenue Budget Proposals 2018/19)

 

That the Executive RECOMMEND to Council that:-

 

1.      the proposed fees and charges set out for Parks, Open Spaces and Outdoor Sports be approved;

 

2.      the proposed Environmental Health Charges that are outside of the jurisdiction of the Licensing Committee be approved;

 

3.      the proposed Fees and Charges for Development Management (as set out in Appendix C of the presented agenda report) be approved;

 

4.      delegated authority be given to the Group Manager for Commercial Services, in consultation with the lead Executive Member, to set the Dartmouth Lower Ferry Fees to take account of market conditions, including competitor charges;

 

5.      it approves:

       - an overall percentage increase of 2% to car park charges and to delegate responsibility of implementing the increase to the Group Manager for Commercial Services, in consultation with the lead Executive Member, following consultation with representative bodies (including town and parish councils); and

 

       - the withdrawal of weekly parking tickets;

 

6.      delegated authority be given to the Group Manager for Commercial Services, in consultation with the lead Executive Member, to set the Commercial Waste charges, once all the price modelling factors are known;

 

7.      delegated authority be given to the Group Manager for Commercial Services, in consultation with the lead Executive Member, to set the Public Conveniences ‘Pay on Entry’ charges (which should not exceed 20 pence), following completion of works and a review of appropriate charges; and

 

8.      the changes to Boat Storage Charges (as set out in paragraph 3.7 of the presented agenda report) be approved.

 

                                        ii.           OSDM.3/17  BUDGET PROPOSALS REPORT 2018/19

 

It was then RESOLVED that Executive RECOMMEND to Council:

a)    That the views of the Joint Meeting be taken into account during the 2018/19 Budget Setting Process; and

b)    The unfairness of Central Government Funding for Shire District Councils be brought to the attention of our local MPs, with them both being encouraged to ask a parliamentary question on this point during the weekly Prime Ministers’ Question Time

 

                                      iii.           OSDM.4/17  PLANNING ENFORCEMENT SERVICE REVIEW

 

It was then RESOLVED that: 

 

1.       the Local Enforcement Plan (as outlined at Appendix 1 of the presented agenda report) be adopted;

 

2.       the Planning Engagement Member Engagement Protocol (as outlined at Appendix 2 of the presented agenda report) be adopted;

 

3.       the proposed Actions (as set out in Section 4 of the presented agenda report) be endorsed; and

 

4.      authority be delegated to the Community Of Practice Lead Development Management, in consultation with the lead Executive Member for Customer First, to make any minor amendments to the Plan, Protocol and Actions prior to their adoption.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

E.61/17

Quarter 3 Revenue Budget Monitoring 2017/2018 pdf icon PDF 109 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

E.61/17          

Members were presented with a report that enabled them to monitor income and expenditure variations against the approved budget for 2017/18, and provided a forecast for the year end position.       

 

The Lead Member for Support Services introduced the report. Relevant Portfolio Holders responded to questions of clarity, and Members discussed the issue of the cost of agency staff, particularly in relation to Commercial Services. The Group Manager Commercial Services responded that the overspend on agency costs had arisen as a result of extraordinary circumstances and not to cover holidays and sickness.

 

It was then:

 

RESOLVED:

 

1)      That the forecast income and expenditure variations for the 2017/18 financial year and the overall projected underspend of £103,000 (1.2% of the total budget £8.346 million) be endorsed; and

2)      That Council be RECOMMENDED to transfer the income surplus (of up to £20,000) into a Support Services Trading Opportunities Earmarked Reserve at the end of the 2017/18 financial year.  This is expected to be £20,000 and was generated by HR and Finance in providing support to other Councils on their Transformation Programmes;

3)      That Council be RECOMMENDED to transfer the underspend on the Leisure budget (of up to £87,000) into a Leisure Earmarked Reserve at the end of the 2017/18 financial year;

4)      That Council be RECOMMENDED to transfer £50,000 of the additional planning income into the Planning Policy & Major Developments Earmarked Reserve at the end of the 2017/18 financial year.

 

E.62/17

Capital Programme Monitoring pdf icon PDF 100 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

E.62/17          

Members were presented with a report that advised of the progress on individual schemes within the approved capital programme, including an assessment of their financial position. 

 

The Lead Member for Support Services introduced the report. During discussion, the following points were raised:

 

·         The Leader brought Members’ attention to the amount that had been spent on coastal assets and advised that the Council was working closely with the Environment Agency on obtaining grant funding; 

·         One Member raised concerns that the project to replace play equipment was behind schedule.  In response, officers took responsibility for the slippage (this was due to capacity) and confirmed that the work would proceed and consultation would take place;

·         A local Ward Member for Ivybridge asked that the matter of the Old Fire Station Playgroup building be considered as the building was situated at the gateway to Ivybridge and did not give a good impression.   The Senior Specialist Environmental Health confirmed that this building fell within an area currently undergoing a transport assessment, as part of a project related to air quality management;

·         One Member asked that the cost of wheelie bins on new developments be included within s106 Agreements and it was agreed that this would be investigated. The Waste Working Group had independently agreed that any new requests for bins would result in a charge;

·         A Member asked if there were any controls or monitoring that could be undertaken in relation to Occupational Health recommendations for Disabled Facilities Grants, with regard to Disabled Facilities Grants, it was asked whether  the Better Care Fund could be spent on improving the condition of properties;

·          One Member asked that, in considering options for Whitestrand car park and development of the Harbour Office, that the option of closing the car park during July and August be considered;

·         In response to a query regarding when work would commence at Quayside Leisure Centre, Members were advised that the project would commence in May 2018.

 

It was then:

 

RESOLVED:

 

1)      That the Monitoring Report be endorsed; and

2)      That Council be RECOMMENDED that £145,000 of the capital programme contingency budget of £300,000 is approved to be allocated to the capital projects as set out in exempt Appendix B.

 

 

E.63/17

Budget Proposals Report 2018-19 pdf icon PDF 200 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

E.63/17          

Members were presented with a comprehensive report that set out how the Council’s Medium Term Financial Position was based on a financial forecast over a rolling five year timeframe to 2022/23.  The Council had continued to work in partnership with West Devon Borough Council to achieve savings.  However, the Councils continued to face considerable financial challenges as a result of uncertainty in the wider economy and constraints on public sector spending.  The report set out the options for closing the budget gap.

 

The Leader introduced the report.  In so doing, he advised that the Executive were proposing to make four adjustments to the recommendations arising from the joint meeting of the Development Management Committee and Overview and Scrutiny Panel.  These were as follows:

 

 

1         Community Reinvestment Fund – would be completely removed;

2     Accepting payment by cash or cheque – would be stopped with effect from 1 April 2018;

3     The subscription to South West Councils would continue; and

4     The payment to the Local Enterprise Partnership would continue.

 

During discussion on this item, Members asked a number of questions of clarity.  A number of Members were concerned at the proposal to transfer or close public conveniences.  There were also concerns that savings made in some areas could be lost in the increasing costs of providing front line services in Commercial Services.  The Group Manager Commercial Services explained that there were a number of trends nationally and locally that caused the waste budget to be volatile.  The current procurement exercise would allow the Project team to look at the current base budget and make comparisons against local costs, national trends and alternative service solutions.

 

It was then:

 

RESOLVED that Council be RECOMMENDED:

 

 

i)     To increase Council Tax by £5 (which equates to a Band D council tax of £160.42 for 2018/19, an increase of £5 per year or 10 pence per week – as shown in 5.12). This equates to a Council Tax Requirement of £6,072,207.

 

ii)    That the financial pressures in Appendix B of £895,700 be agreed

 

iii)   That the £10,000 discretionary budget bid for the Citizens Advice Bureau be agreed;

 

iv)   That the schedule of savings identified in Appendix B totalling    £689,350 be agreed;

 

v)    To approve the budget proposals for Public Conveniences as set out in 6.11, 6.23 and 6.24 (This requires a decision as part of the 2018-19 budget process, due to the implementation timescales).

 

vi)   That the Collection Fund Surplus of £73,000 as shown in Appendix B be agreed ;

 

vii)  That the level of contributions to reserves to be included within the Authority’s budget, as set out in Appendix C be agreed (this includes using £721,688 of New Homes Bonus funding to fund the 2018-19 Revenue Budget and a contribution of £475,000 into an Economic Regeneration Projects Earmarked Reserve);

 

viii) To withdraw the Community Reinvestment Projects budget of £153,900 in 2018/19 onwards (This was previously funded by New Homes Bonus funding as set out in Appendix E)

 

ix)   To delegate to the  ...  view the full minutes text for item E.63/17

E.64/17

Capital Budget Proposals for 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 103 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

E.64/17          

Members were presented with a report that set out the capital bids to the 2018/19 Capital Programme totalling £2,555,000 and a suggested way that the Bids could be funded. All items were based on budget estimates and would be subject to the normal project appraisal procedures.

 

The Leader introduced the report.  One Member asked that in refurbishing the industrial units at Garden Mill, that consideration be given to putting solar panels on the roofs.

 

It was then:

 

RESOLVED

 

That Council be RECOMMENDED that:

 

1.   the Capital Programme Proposals for 2018/19, which total £1,200,000 (Appendix A), be approved;

2.   the Capital Programme Proposals for 2018/19, which total £1,355,000 (Exempt Appendix B) be approved;

3.   the 2018/19 Capital Programme of £2,555,000 be funded from the sources as set out in section 4 of the presented report.                   

 

 

E.65/17

Community Reinvestment Fund Annual Report pdf icon PDF 33 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

E.65/17          

Members were presented with a report that set out a summary of applications received to the Community Reinvestment Project Fund in 2017/18, along with the officer assessment and recommendations.

 

The Lead Member for Customer First introduced the report.  During discussion, some Members raised concerns over specific recommendations and whether the criteria for the Fund had been met.  The Lead Member for Support Services confirmed that legal advice had been sought in relation to the project within a church building, and it was felt that the project was acceptable because the applicant had confirmed that they place no restriction on which groups or individuals can book the facility, regardless of their religious orientation or beliefs.  One Member felt that the Grant Allocations were to towns at the expense of villages and the report should be deferred and the applications reconsidered. 

 

It was then:

 

RESOLVED

 

That eight grant applications totalling £153,900 from the 2017/18 Community Re-Investment Project Fund, as set out in the presented appendix, be approved.

 

E.66/17

Write Off Report pdf icon PDF 100 KB

Minutes:

E.66/17          

Members considered a composite report that detailed the debts for all revenue streams within the Revenue and Benefits Service remit up to the value of £5,000, written off by the S151 Officer under delegated authority.

 

The Lead Member for Support Services introduced the report.

 

It was then:

 

RESOLVED

 

1.     That in accordance with Financial Regulations, it be noted that the s151 Officer had authorised the write-off of individual South Hams District Council debts totalling £68,188.13 as detailed in Tables 1 and 2 of the presented agenda report; and

2.     That the write off of individual debts in excess of £5,000 totalling £12,277.16 as detailed in Table 3 of the presented report be approved.

 

E.67/17

Air Quality Strategy pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

E.67/17          

Members were presented with a report that set out a draft Air Quality Strategy, devised in co-ordination with Devon County Council, and sought approval to present the Strategy for consultation.

 

The Leader introduced the report, and the Senior Specialist Environmental Health responded to a number of questions.  Members raised a number of points during discussion as follows:

 

·         The issue of emissions from commercial vehicles;

·         Whether the Kingskerswell bypass had improved the traffic and air quality issues in Totnes;

·         In response to a question about the A38, the Executive Director (S&C) advised Members that strategic discussions about travel routes into the south west took place at the LEP meetings; and

·         Green travel vouchers being a waste of time and money and should not be considered a mitigation or solution.

 

To conclude, the Leader advised that this was a consultation document and Members were able to make their comments as part of the consultation.

 

It was then:

 

RESOLVED that Council be RECOMMENDED that:

 

a)      A public and statutory consultation be commenced on the proposed Air Quality Strategy (at appendix 1 of the presented agenda report); and

b)      Authority be delegated to the Senior Specialist Environmental Health in consultation with the Leader to make minor amendments to the document prior to its publication.

 

E.68/17

Local Validation List For Planning Applications pdf icon PDF 49 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

E.68/17          

Members were presented with a report that sought approval of the revised Local Validation List for planning applications, following a review that had been undertaken.  The National Planning Policy Framework set out that local authorities should publish a list of their information requirements for planning applications.

 

The Lead Member for Customer First introduced the report.  In so doing, he asked that an additional recommendation be added that gave delegated authority for minor amendments to be made.  The CoP Lead Development Management responded to questions and confirmed that the revised list was clearer, and enabled officers to be more robust in the level of information required.

 

It was then:

 

RESOLVED that:

 

a)      The revised local validation list be approved; and

b)      Authority be delegated to the CoP Lead Development Management in consultation with the Lead Member for Customer First to make minor amendments to the document prior to its publication.

 

 

 

 

(NOTE: THESE DECISIONS, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF E.60/17,E.61/17, E.62/17 (2), E.63/17, E.64/17 AND E.67/17 WHICH ARE RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE COUNCIL MEETING TO BE HELD ON 22 FEBRUARY 2018, WILL BECOME EFFECTIVE FROM 5.00PM ON MONDAY, 12 FEBRUARY, 2018 UNLESS CALLED IN, IN ACCORDANCE WITH SCRUTINY PROCEDURE RULE 18).