Agenda and minutes

Executive
Monday, 11th March 2019 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1, City Hall

Contact: Graham Watts, Democratic Team Leader and Elections Manager  (01522 873439)

Items
No. Item

110.

Confirmation of Minutes - 25 February 2019 pdf icon PDF 105 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 25 February 2019 be confirmed.

111.

Declarations of Interest

Please note that, in accordance with the Members' Code of Conduct, when declaring interests members must disclose the existence and nature of the interest, and whether it is a disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI) or personal and/or pecuniary.

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were received.

112.

Financial Performance - Quarterly Monitoring pdf icon PDF 212 KB

Minutes:

Purpose of Report

 

To provide the Executive with the third quarter’s performance, up to 31 December 2018, on the Council’s General Fund, Housing Revenue Account, Housing Repairs Service and Capital Programmes.

 

Decision

 

(1)       That progress on financial performance for the period 1 April 2018 to 31 December 2018 and the projected outturns for 2018/19 be noted.

 

(2)       That the underlying impact of the pressures and underspends identified in paragraphs 3.2, 4.3 and 5.2 and Appendices B, D and F of the report be noted.

 

(3)       That the proposed contributions to earmarked reserves, as set out in paragraph 3.7 of the report, be approved.

 

(4)       That the changes to the General Investment Programme and Housing Investment Programme, as detailed in paragraphs 7.4 and 7.10 be approved.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

None.

 

Reason for Decision

 

The forecast financial position of the Council up to 31 December 2018 for 2018/19 was set out in paragraph 2.1 of the report with further details shown in sections 3 to 7 of the report and accompanying appendices.

 

General Fund

 

For 2018/19 the Council’s net General Fund revenue budget was set at £14,276,460, including a planned contribution to balances of £288,360. This resulted in an estimated level of general balances at the year-end of £1,897,724.

 

The General Fund summary was currently projecting a forecast budget shortfall of £206,302 as set out at Appendix A. This forecast variance was the result of a number of forecast year-end variations in income and expenditure against the approved budget. Full details of the main variances were set out in Appendix B, with key variances noted as follows:

 

·         car parking – reduced income and reduced expenditure equating to £908,090;

·         Christmas Market – increased expenditure and reduced income equating to £85,950;

·         Housing Benefit overpayments – reduced income of £225,280;

·         homelessness Bed & Breakfast – increased costs of £157,990;

·         development management – increased income of £114,190;

·         Houses in Multiple Occupation fees – increased income of £65,930;

·         borrowing costs/contingency – reduced costs of £272,050;

·         balance sheet review – increased income of £70,170;

·         earmarked reserves – increased income of £280,220;

·         contingencies released – reduced costs of £175,930.

 

Given the scale of the shortfall in car parking income targets, as identified in previous quarterly reports, the Council’s Corporate Management Team continued to accelerate the implementation of the car parking income generation strategy. Action taken to date had demonstrated a positive effect in terms of the forecast shortfalls against the car parking income targets which had improved from a forecasted shortfall of £1.141 million at quarter one to £1.011 million at quarter three. It was anticipated that this positive trend would continue, however, reflective of the significant shortfall in achieving the income targets the Medium Term Financial Strategy had been revised, with a significant reduction in income targets to be set in the early years of the Strategy, increasing over time as per paragraph 3.4 of the report.

 

Included within the forecast budget shortfall of £206,302 were a number of proposed transfers to earmarked reserves, as follows:

 

·         Planning  ...  view the full minutes text for item 112.

113.

Quarter 3 2018-2019 - Operational Performance Report pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Purpose of Report

 

To present to the Executive a summary of the operational performance position for quarter three of the financial year 2018/19.

 

Decision

 

That the report be noted and that the relevant Portfolio Holders be requested to ensure that management has a focus on those highlighted areas showing deteriorating performance.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

None.

 

Reason for Decision

 

Key headlines from performance results in terms of those areas performing well included:

 

·         the number of users logged into the self-service system MyInfo this quarter had increased from 6,409 last year to 7,651 this year;

·         the in-year collection rate for business rates had surpassed its upper target of 84.22% at a figure of 86.23%;

·         the total number of users of the Council’s health and recreation facilities had increased by 55,176 users since Q3 last year;

·         the satisfaction of Public Protection and Anti-Social Behaviour complainants relating to how the complaint was handled had seen a large increase of 12.4% increasing from 80.3% last quarter to 92.7 % in quarter three;

·         the percentage of premises that were full or broadly compliant with food health and safety inspections had improved on its target of 97% with a figure of 97.6%;

·         the percentage of non-major and major planning applications determined within the government targets were above their targets at 94.51% and 97.96% respectively;

·         the rent collected as a proportion of rent owed had surpassed its target of 96.50% at 99.83%;

·         the current level of tenant arrears was better than the target of 3.50% with a figure of 2.47%, but was still a little higher than at the same time last year at 2.22%;

·         the percentage of reactive repairs completed within target time was above the target of 97.50% with a figure of 98.51%;

·         the number of face to face enquiries at City Hall had decreased again in quarter three to 4,893, compared to 10,388 in quarter three last year.

 

Areas where performance could be improved included:

 

·         the average time taken to answer a call in customer services had increased by 73 seconds compared to quarter three last year, at 122 seconds, below the lower target of 50 seconds;

·         the level of outstanding customer changes in the Revenues Team had increased to 401 in quarter three this year, from 80 in quarter three last year;

·         the percentage of waste recycled or composted had decreased from 38.20% in the last year to 34.70% in this year, below its lower target of 35%;

·         the average re-let time calendar days for all dwellings, including major works, was slightly below its lower target of 28 with a figure of 28.35;

·         the percentage of rent lost through dwellings being vacant had deteriorated 0.14% to 0.84% this quarter;

·         the average days taken to process new housing benefit claims had decreased slightly since quarter two but was still below its lower target of 26 at 27 days;

·         the average days taken to process housing benefit claim changes of circumstances was outside its lower target of six with a figure of 8.03;

·         the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 113.

114.

Strategic Risk Register - Quarterly Review pdf icon PDF 77 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Purpose of Report

 

To provide the Executive with an update report of the revised Strategic Risk Register as at the end of the third quarter 2018-19.

 

Decision

 

That the Strategic Risk Register as at the end of the third quarter for 2018-19 be noted.


Alternative Options Considered

 

None.

 

Reasons for Decisions

 

A number of further control actions had now been progressed or completed and the key movements were outlined as follows:

 

·         risk two – failure to provide a sustainable Medium Term Financial Strategy. A draft Medium Term Financial Strategy had been developed and was approved by the Council at its meeting on 4 March 2019;

·         risk three – failure to deliver the Towards Financial Sustainability Programme whilst ensuring the resilience of the Council. Progress continued to be made against the existing Towards Financial Sustainability Programme with only a small number of schemes left to complete. Work had been progressing during quarter three on the development of a new programme of schemes in order to deliver the increased savings targets as per the approved Medium Term Financial Strategy;

·         risk six – unable to meet the emerging changes required in the Council’s culture, behaviour and skills to support the delivery of the Council’s Vision 2020 and the transformation journey to the ‘One Council’ approach. As part of the People Strategy the Council had launched an annual staff recognition scheme which would assist in celebrating the hard work and success of the Council’s employees. Other initiatives to promote rising stars and the work of teams through award submissions and the entering of a team for the East Midlands Challenge would also take place during quarter four. A transformation change lead would be recruited in quarter three to support the ‘One Council’ approach to deliver a single organisational approach more efficiently and cost effectively;

·         risk seven – insufficient levels of resilience and capacity existed in order to deliver key strategic projects and services within the Council. Service planning had commenced together with work allocations for Vision 2020 projects. Revised management structural changes were continuing to take place with recruitment for an Assistant Director of Growth under the Major Developments Directorate currently in progress;

·         risk 8 – decline in the economic prosperity within the City Centre. A fundamental review of the place shaping strategy had commenced alongside review of the market within the city centre. Work had also started on scoping the development of activity and investment to support the vibrancy of the city centre engaging with government to submit an application for the Future High Street Fund.

 

Two new risks had been added to the Strategic Risk Register, as follows:

 

·         risk 9 – failure to mitigate against the outcome of Brexit. Monitoring continued and regular updates were provided to the Council’s Corporate Management Team and political leadership;

·         risk 10 – failure to deliver key strategic projects. Relevant Boards were in place to monitor key milestones including financial, reputational and resource and partnership implications together with effective communication plans and risk registers which were  ...  view the full minutes text for item 114.

115.

Cornhill, Markets and City Centre Vibrancy Project pdf icon PDF 80 KB

Minutes:

Purpose of Report

 

To seek Executive approval for the Cornhill, Markets and City Centre Vibrancy Project.

 

Decision

 

(1)       That consent be given to remove the Cornhill Kiosk and tree, subject to planning permission and vacant possession.

 

(2)       That authority be given to officers to trial an extension of the outdoor market on City Square.

 

(3)       That authority be given to develop proposals for the remaining £250,000 budget and for work to take place with stakeholders to agree on a schedule of delivery.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

Alternative options considered and rejected were set out in paragraph 7.1 of the report.

 

Reason for Decision

 

The City Council had made a public commitment through both the City Centre Masterplan and Vision 2020 to develop an enhanced market offer for the city and provide improved public realm on the Cornhill Square. The Council was now in a position, subject to planning and some tenancy negotiations, to move forward with capital works to demolish the Cornhill Kiosk and make good the associated public realm in order to create an enhanced space for events.

 

Approval was therefore sought for the following aspects of the Cornhill, Markets and City Centre Vibrancy Project:

 

·         demolition of the Cornhill Kiosk and subsequent reinstatement of the associated public realm;

·         removal of a tree adjacent to the Cornhill Kiosk to open up Cornhill Square;

·         allocation of funds for the demolition of the Cornhill Kiosk and removal of the adjacent tree and costs incurred in obtaining vacant possession of the Cornhill Kiosk which was currently leased;

·         extension of the outdoor market offer on City Square to explore the viability of an outdoor market offer in this location;

·         identify sources of external funding to bring forward the redevelopment of the Central Market and the Cornhill and City Squares;

·         development of the financial business case to ensure the Council’s risks and financial exposure were minimised;

·         negotiation of any legal agreements required to enable delivery of the proposals as the scheme developed.

 

Whilst the full proposals for the city centre were still being developed, all partners agreed that the removal of the Kiosk on Cornhill Square to open it up to the High Street and create a much more effective public open space as part of the Public Realm Strategy was long overdue. The demolition of the Cornhill Kiosk and removal of the tree in front of the building therefore formed the first phase of improvements and would then allow the City Council to focus on creating a robust market offer around Central Market and City Square. This would allow the Cornhill to become a more appropriate space for events and encourage additional footfall and activity within the city centre.

 

Work was currently taking place to bring together a more joined up approach regarding the use, application and enforcement of a range of rights and licenses affecting trading in the city centre to further support the vibrancy, health and future of the city centre.  The Council was also working with support from key project  ...  view the full minutes text for item 115.

116.

Commerical Property Investment Strategy pdf icon PDF 87 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Purpose of Report

 

To approve a revised Commercial Property Investment Strategy and approve an amendment to the delegate of Executive powers given to the Council’s Strategic Property Manager with regard to the acquisition of General Fund commercial property investment opportunities.

 

Decision

 

(1)       That the revised Commercial Property Investment Strategy, as set out in Appendix A to the report, be approved.

 

(2)       That the Strategic Property Manager delegated function, as set out in the Constitution, be amended to reflect that the postholder can negotiate terms to acquire the freehold of land or premises, in consultation with the City Solicitor, Chief Finance Officer, Leader of the Council, Deputy Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Economic Growth.


Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

None.

 

Reason for Decision

 

The revised Commercial Property Investment Strategy, attached as Appendix A to the report, had been updated to reflect recent guidance issued by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Council’s latest financial position and desire to achieve further sustainable income through property investment. It also strengthened the set of assessment criteria by which all proposed commercial property assessments would be scored.

 

The principal reason for property investment by the Council was defined as being to secure the economic wellbeing of the city by generating additional income for the provision of services, for the purpose of economic development or regeneration, or a combination of both. This was supported by the five key objectives, as follows:

 

·         deliver sustainable income, to support the continued provision of Council services by growing the Council’s property portfolio in a measured and incremental way;

·         build financial resilience through the creation of a diverse portfolio in order to balance risk and return;

·         acquire land or property for the social and economic wellbeing of the city on a long term investment basis;

·         support the economic development of the city by acquiring assets that encouraged local business growth, inward investment and/or new entrepreneurial business start-ups;

·         develop a governance framework that enabled the Council to move at a timely pace in line with the market.

 

The strategy built on the criteria for investment as agreed by the Executive in August 2017 and strengthened this criteria through the development of an assessment matrix. All investments would be subject to an initial pass or fail criteria in respect of the initial yield, which was expected to be in the range of 5% to 8% per annum. Subject to meeting this criteria investment opportunities would then be assessed against the following criteria:

 

·         tenure;

·         covenant;

·         occupiers lease length;

·         building quality/obsolescence;

·         repairing obligations;

·         location/sector;

·         sector;

·         rent review mechanism.

 

In terms of the governance process, wherever possible a report would be submitted to the Executive for approval to acquire the investments. However, given the often fast pace of the property market and the four-weekly frequency of Executive meetings, the situation may arise where an offer for an investment which met the assessment criteria needed to be submitted ahead of the next available meeting. In such cases, and with the agreement  ...  view the full minutes text for item 116.

117.

Amendment to Strategic Property Manager Delegated Powers pdf icon PDF 75 KB

Minutes:

Purpose of Report

 

To approve an amendment to the delegation of Executive powers given to the Strategic Property Manager to enable the postholder to negotiate terms to acquire the freehold of land or premises in relation to the Housing Revenue Account.

 

Decision

 

That the amendment to the Strategic Property Manager delegated function as set out in the Constitution in that the postholder can negotiate terms to acquire the freehold of land or premises, in consultation with the City Solicitor, Chief Finance Officer, Leader of the Council, Deputy Leader of the Council and the Portfolio Holder for Economic Growth also covers acquisitions through the Housing Revenue Account.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

None.

 

Reason for Decision

 

Further to the decision at minute number 116 above relating to the amendment to the Constitution in respect of the delegation of Executive powers to the Strategic Property Manager regarding property acquisitions, this proposal sought to ensure that the delegation also covered acquisitions through the Housing Revenue Account.

118.

Housing, Health and Care - Memorandum of Understanding pdf icon PDF 57 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Purpose of Report

 

To report that the City of Lincoln Council, along with all Lincolnshire District Authorities, Lincolnshire County Council and NHS Health Trusts, was a signatory to the Memorandum of Understanding.

 

Decision

 

That the Memorandum of Understanding be endorsed.

 

Alternation Options Considered and Rejected

 

None.

 

Reason for Decision

 

The Memorandum of Understanding was in place to support joint action in Lincolnshire on improving health and wellbeing throughout the home and provided for local government, housing, health, care and the voluntary sector to work together.

 

The Health and Wellbeing Board was a partnership of key agencies in Lincolnshire which must undertake a Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and Lincolnshire’s Strategy included a housing priority. The key signatories of the Memorandum of Understanding would review progress annually against the agreed priorities for housing.

 

A copy of the Memorandum of Understanding was appended to the report.

119.

Lincoln Crematorium - A Strategy for Investment pdf icon PDF 109 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Purpose of Report

 

To update the Executive on the outline concept stage design work to enhance the facilities at Lincoln Crematorium and seek approval to progress the next stage of work to finalise these designs and crystallise the level of capital investment required.

 

Decision

 

That the Executive:

 

(1)       Approves to sanction a further budget in 2019/20 of up to £210,000 for design work, survey work and professional fees to conclude RIBA stage 4 to be funded from existing revenue budgets and earmarked reserves.

 

(2)       Approves the submission of relevant planning permissions as landowner.

 

(3)       Approves the purchase of a new software package as proposed and to allocate £20,000 in the General Investment Programme, funded from the strategic priorities reserve.

 
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

Other options considered were set out in paragraph 9.1 of the report.

 

Reason for Decision

 

The report set out a strategy for maintaining the high standards of service the Lincoln Crematorium offered residents of the city and surrounding areas, and for growing the service to meet developing customer needs both now and for the future. The strategy consisted of three strands, as follows:

 

·         options for capital investment in the existing crematorium site to enable it to continue to maintain its unique compassionate and professional offer and to increase its capacity to meet the future demands of a fast growing city and surrounding area;

·         pursue options for the development of new service offerings, some of which would be the subject of a further detailed report in the spring of 2019;

·         continued discussions with funeral directors to explore joint relationships, ensuring that the Council could continue to deliver their requirements now and in the future so that together it could continue to deliver exactly what its service users needed at such a difficult emotional time for them.

 

Lincoln Crematorium had completed investment to improve the seating capacity of the chapel and improve the front of house experience for the bereaved. This enabled the Council to continue to meet service users’ expectations and those of funeral directors by improving the internal facilities in the public areas. Further to this investment, the City Council now needed to consider the less visible but equally important aspects of the back room workings of the Crematorium, as well as some new additional external facilities of direct benefit to service users.

 

The two existing cremators were approaching an age where they needed to be replaced as part of prudent asset management. Additionally, it was proposed that a new extended area of permanent parking was developed on the area of ground behind the existing car park, leaving the current overflow as additional parking for occasional use when needed. This would enhance the Council’s service provision to match the demand for the increasingly larger number of mourners attending some funerals.

 

Regarding the proposed next phase of investment in the crematorium service, the Council had engaged the services of an architect, landscape architect and quantity surveyor for the design and cost options in respect of the various  ...  view the full minutes text for item 119.

120.

Property Purchases

Minutes:

This item had been withdrawn.