Agenda and draft minutes

Quarterly Reports, Executive - Monday, 22nd February 2021 5.00 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting

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

Items
No. Item

72.

Confirmation of Minutes - 18 January 2021 pdf icon PDF 310 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 18 January 2021 be confirmed.

73.

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.

74.

Medium Term Financial Strategy 2021 - 2026 pdf icon PDF 546 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Purpose of Report

 

To recommend to the Executive the draft Medium Term Financial Strategy for the period 2021-2026, the budget for 2021/22 and the Capital Strategy 2021-2026 for referral to Council.

 

Decision

 

Executive recommended to Council for approval:

 

·         The Medium Term Financial Strategy 2021-2026, and;

 

·         The Capital Strategy 2021-2026

 

Including the following specific elements:

 

·         A proposed Council Tax increase of 1.9% for 2021/22.

·         The Council is member of the Lincolnshire Business Rates Pool in 2021/22.

·         The General Fund Revenue Forecast 2021/22-2025/26 as shown in Appendix 1 and the main basis on which this budget has been calculated (as set out in paragraph 4).

·         The General Investment Programme 2021/22-2025/26 as shown in Appendix 2, and the main basis on which the programme has been calculated (as set out in paragraph 6).

·         The Housing Revenue Account Forecast 2021/22-2025/26 as shown in Appendix 3 and the main basis on which this budget has been calculated (as set out in paragraph 5).

·         The Housing Investment Programme 2021/22-2025/26 as shown in Appendix 4, and the main basis on which the programme has been calculated (as set out in paragraph 7).

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

None.

 

Reason for Decision

 

The financial landscape for local government presented an unprecedented challenge to the Council. The Covid19 pandemic was having immediate effects on the Council’s budgets as a result of increases in spending on local services and plummeting income from sales, fees and charges and commercial activities. Beyond the immediate impact the crisis would cast a longer term shadow on the Council’s finances. The Government had pumped billions of pounds into the economy to support the response phase of the pandemic and to protect jobs and services. In the medium-term the levels of additional national borrowing and the UK’s budget deficit would need to be managed down at the same time as meeting ongoing needs to invest in recovery to achieve the growth required to repay the national deficit. The Government’s strategy to address this challenge was not yet known, nor what it would mean for local government funding more generally. Furthermore, there remained potential longstanding impacts on the Council’s local income sources if behaviour, working practices and spending patterns in the city continued to change. 

 

Further to consideration of the Medium Term Financial Strategy 2021-2026 and the budget and Council Tax proposal for 2021/22 at the meeting of the Executive held on 18 January 2021, the initial draft had been subject to public consultation and scrutiny via the Council’s Budget Review Group. In addition, an all member workshop was undertaken during January 2021 to ensure that as large a number of members as possible had the opportunity to fully understand the financial position of the Council.

 

The minutes of the Budget Review Group’s meeting held on 3 February 2021 were appended to the report and it was noted that the Group had supported the Medium Term Financial Strategy in terms of its principles and the process that had been followed to develop it. A small number  ...  view the full minutes text for item 74.

75.

Council Tax 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 151 KB

Minutes:

Purpose of Report

 

In light of the report on the Medium Term Financial Strategy, which appeared elsewhere on this agenda, the report set out the City Council’s Council Tax requirement and, together with the requirements of the County Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner, allowed Members to make a formal recommendation to Council for the overall levels of Council Tax for 2021/22.

 

Decision

 

That Council be recommended to:

 

1)        Accept the 4 January 2021 Executive recommendation that the Council Tax Base for 2021/22, as calculated in accordance with The Local Authorities (Calculation of Council Tax Base) (England) Regulations 2012, be 24,372.38.

 

2)        Calculate the following amounts for the year 2021/22 in accordance with Sections 31 to 36 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992:

 

a)

£116,497,330

being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the items set out in Section 31A(2) of the Act taking into account all precepts issued to it by Parish Councils.

 

b)

 

£109,541,700

 

being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the items set out in Section 31A(3) of the Act.

                                                                        

c)

£6,955,630

being the amount by which the aggregate at 2(a) above exceeds the aggregate at 2(b) above, calculated by the Council in accordance with Section 31A(4) of the Act as its Council Tax requirement for the year. (Item R in the formula in Section 31A (4) of the Act).

 

d)

£285.39

being the amount at 2(c) above (Item R), all divided by Item T (1 above), calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 31B(1) of the Act, as the basic amount of its Council Tax for the year (including Parish precepts).

 

e)

£0

being the aggregate amount of all special items (Parish precepts) referred to in Section 34(1) of the Act

 

f)

£285.39

being the amount at 2(c) above less the amount at 2(e) above, all divided by the amount at 1 above, calculated by the Council in accordance with Section 33(1) of the Act, as the basic amount of its Council Tax for the year

 

g)

City of Lincoln Council

 

A

 

B

 

C

 

D

£190.26

£221.97

£253.68

£285.39

E

F

G

H

£348.81

£412.23

£475.65

£570.78

 

being the amounts given by multiplying the amount at 2f) above by the number which, in proportion set out in Section 5(1) of the Act, is applicable to dwellings listed in a particular band divided by the number which in proportion is applicable to dwellings listed in Valuation Band D, calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 36(1) of the Act, as the amounts to be taken for the year in respect of categories of dwellings listed in different bands.

 

3)    That it be noted that for the year 2021/22 Lincolnshire County Council have provisionally stated the following amounts in precepts issued to the Council, in accordance with the dwelling bandings shown below:

 

 

Lincolnshire County Council

 

A

B

C

D

£909.44

£1,061.01

£1,212.59

£1,364.16

E

F

G

H

£1,667.31

£1,970.45

£2,273.60

£2,728.32

 

4)    That it be noted that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 75.

76.

Prudential Indicators 2020/21 - 2023/24 and Treasury Management Strategy 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 589 KB

Minutes:

Purpose of Report

 

To provide the Executive with an opportunity to consider the adoption of the 15 statutory prudential indicators and eight local indicators for the period 2020/21 to 2023/24, together with the 2021/22 Treasury Management Strategy prior to reporting to Council for final approval.

 

Decision

 

Executive recommended to Council for approval:

 

(1)       The Prudential Indicators detailed in paragraph 4.1 and Appendix 1 of the report.

 

(2)       The Treasury Management Strategy, including the treasury management prudential indicators and the Investment Strategy, set out in paragraph 4 and Appendix 3 of the report.

 

(3)       The revised Minimum Revenue Provision Policy in Appendix 2 of the report.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

None.

 

Reason for Decision

 

The report set out the operation of the Council’s prudential indicators, its treasury function and its likely activities for the forthcoming year which incorporated the following key reporting requirements:

 

·         Prudential and Treasury Indicators – the reporting of the statutory prudential indicators together with local indicators, in accordance with the requirements of the CIPFA Prudential Code for Capital Finance in Local Authorities and the CIPFA Treasury Management Code of Practice;

·         Minimum Revenue Provision Statement – the reporting of the Minimum Revenue Provision Policy which set out how the Council would pay for capital assets through revenue each year (as required by regulation under the Local Government Act 2003);

·         Treasury Management Strategy – which set out how the Council’s treasury activity would support capital decisions, the day-to-day treasury management and the limitations on activity through treasury prudential indicators. The key indicator was the Authorised Limit, the maximum amount of debt the Council could afford in the short term, but which would not be sustainable in the longer term. This was the Authorised Borrowing Limit required by Section 3 of the Local Government Act 2003 and was in accordance with the CIPFA Code of Practice on Treasury Management and the CIPFA Prudential Code;

·         Investment Strategy – this was included within the Treasury Management Strategy and set out the criteria for choosing investment counterparties and limiting exposure to the risk of loss (reported annually in accordance with the Ministry of Housing, Communities Local Government (MHCLG) Investment Guidance).

The Council adopted the CIPFA Code of Practice on Treasury Management (revised December 2017) on 2 March 2010, together with the Treasury Management Policy Statement. The Treasury Management Policy & Practices (TMP’s) were updated annually to reflect the Treasury Management Strategy approved by Council and to reflect any changes in staffing structures or working practices of the treasury function as attached at Appendix 4 of the report.

77.

Financial Performance - Quarterly Monitoring pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Minutes:

Purpose of Report

 

To present the third quarter’s performance on the Council’s General Fund, Housing Revenue Account, Housing Repairs Service and Capital Programme, specifically including the financial impact of the Covid19 pandemic.

 

Decision

 

Executive:

 

1)    Noted the progress on the financial performance for the period October to 31st December 2020 and the projected outturns for 2020/21 and the impact of Covid19 on the Council’s financial position.

 

2)    Noted the underlying impact of the pressures and underspends identified in paragraphs 3.2 (and Appendix B), 4.3 (and Appendix D) and 5.2 of the report,

 

3)    Approved the proposed contributions to earmarked reserves as set out in paragraph 3.13 and 3.14 of the report.

 

4)    Approved the proposed transfer between earmarked reserves as set out in paragraph 6.2.of the report.

 

5)    Approved the changes to the General Investment Programme and Housing Investment Programme as approved by the Chief Finance Officer and detailed in paragraphs 7.3 and 7.10 respectively of the report.

 

6)    Approved the changes to the Housing Investment Programme as detailed in paragraph 7.11 of the report.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

None.

 

Reason for Decision

 

Covid19 had taken its toll on the financial resilience of the Council as income streams had plummeted and there had been a requirement to incur costs to ensure services were being provided throughout this difficult period and to respond to consequences of the pandemic. The impacts of this were not simply restricted to the current financial year but would have a significant impact over the period of the MTFS and possibly beyond

 

Despite a financial support package announced by the Government the General Fund and HRA could not absorb the level of budget shortfalls without having to take some measures to reduce some areas of expenditure. These measures, approved at Q1, would allow the Council to be able to continue to deliver its critical services and to ensure its balances remained at an adequate level to provide resilience for future years.  

 

Updates were reported as follows:

 

General Fund Revenue Account

 

For 2020/21 the Council’s net General Fund revenue budget was set at £12,963,220, including a planned contribution from balances of £286,310  which resulting in an estimated level of general balances at the year-end of £2,522,188, after allowing for the 2019/20 outturn position.

 

The General Fund summary was currently projecting a forecast underspend of £122,723, (as set out in Appendix A of the report), resulting in general balance at the year-end of £2,645,911, (subject to any final contributions to earmarked reserves). There were a significant number of forecast year-end variations in income and expenditure against the approved budget, primarily as a result of Covid19 along with variances arising from measures taken to address the budget pressures and the financial support provided by Government. Full details of the main variances were provided in Appendix B while the table below sets out the key variances:

 

 

Forecast

£’000

Increased expenditure arising as a result of Covid19

610

Income losses as a result of Covid19

6,305

Income Compensation  ...  view the full minutes text for item 77.

78.

Service Delivery During Our Covid-19 Response pdf icon PDF 210 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Purpose of Report

 

To present to Executive a summary of how services had performed during the pandemic with a focus on quarter three, as well as an indication of plans for future operation.

 

Decision

 

That:

 

1)    The achievements, issues and any future concerns raised within the report be noted by Executive.

 

2)    Progress on the challenge of tackling COVID-19 pandemic be noted by Portfolio Holders with further recovery plans to be discussed with their Service Leads.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

None.

 

Reason for Decision

 

City of Lincoln Council, like all other businesses, had made dramatic changes as a result of the lockdown resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, not only to ensure that the Council kept its critical services functioning but also, like Councils across the country, delivered a community leadership role for the city in this time of crisis.

 

As a result, the Council was not in a position to produce a performance report for quarter one, and therefore produced a combined report for the first two quarters of 2020/21. This gave an indication, beyond the usual operational measures, of how the whole Council had performed in effectively leading its communities during the emergency response and rising to the challenge of reprioritising its workload to meet different needs.

 

At the end of quarter three the Council found itself in a third national lockdown and therefore it had been agreed to delay the quarter end performance report and follow the pattern for the first half of the year, producing a combined report for quarters three and four following the end of the financial year.

 

To ensure the Executive remained informed on service performance, a document had been produced which set out the way in which the Council responded to the Covid-19 pandemic, how services were impacted and how they had performed. The report specifically provided detail in relation to the following:

 

·         key themes, opportunities and challenges that had been identified;

·         the introduction of temporary new services;

·         those services temporarily closed;

·         temporary limits to services;

·         fully operational services;

·         temporarily enhanced services;

·         performance targets for the following year.

 

Councillor Ric Metcalfe welcomed the production of this report which he said acted as a reminder of how much the Council and its staff had pulled together to respond tremendously in response to the pandemic. He said that the Council’s performance during this period was nothing short of magnificent and, on behalf of the Executive, put forward his thanks to the Chief Executive and all City Council staff.

 

Councillor Christopher Burke echoed these sentiments and referenced the befriending service in particular as something which was set up and operational immediately to support the most vulnerable people in the community.

 

Councillor Donald Nannestad said that the report and the work the authority had done showed how valuable District Councils were in dealing with such difficult situations at a local level. He praised the tremendous work of officers who had adapted to new ways of working, such as working from home, who had even undertaken roles  ...  view the full minutes text for item 78.

79.

Living Wage Increase November 2020 pdf icon PDF 122 KB

Minutes:

Purpose of Report

 

To recommend the proposed increase to the Living Wage as announced by the Living Wage Foundation in November 2020.

 

Decision

 

That the implementation of the latest Living Wage uplift during April 2021 be approved.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

None.

 

Reason for Decision

 

The Council was committed to maintaining its Living Wage accreditation and in order to do so the authority had six months to implement the Living Wage following the announcement of increase. In November 2020 it was announced that the Living Wage would increase from £9.30 an hour to £9.50 an hour.

 

The aim of implementing the Living Wage was to ensure that no employees were paid below the Living Wage hourly rate.

80.

Pay Policy Statement 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 133 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Purpose of Report

 

To request that Council approve the attached Pay Policy Statement, drafted in compliance with section 38(1) of the Localism Act 2011.

 

Decision

 

That Council be recommended to approve the Pay Policy Statement.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

None.

 

Reason for Decision

 

The Localism Act 2011 required local authorities to produce pay policy statements which articulated an authority’s policies towards a range of issues relating to the pay of its workforce, particularly its senior staff and its lowest paid employees.

 

The Government also considered that decisions on pay policies should be taken by elected members, as those directly accountable to local communities. The Localism Act 2011 therefore required the Pay Policy Statement and any amendments to be considered by a meeting of full Council.

 

The Pay Policy Statement met the relevant requirements of the Localism Act 2011, which were to define the Council's policy on:

 

  • the level and elements of remuneration for chief officers;
  • the remuneration of the lowest paid employee, and the definition of ‘lowest paid employee’;
  • the relationship between the remuneration of chief officers and other officers;
  • specific aspects of chief officers’ remuneration, including at appointment, increases, termination and any other payments.

 

The Act defined remuneration to include pay, charges, fees, allowances, benefits in kind, increase in enhancements of pension entitlements, and termination payments.

81.

Mutually Agreed Resignation Scheme - Update on Applications pdf icon PDF 225 KB

Minutes:

Purpose of Report

 

To update Executive on the applications and initial approval of those members of staff who had applied under the Mutually Agreed Resignation Scheme (MARS).

 

Decision

 

That the content of the report be noted by Executive.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

Consideration was also given to the fact that the Exit Pay Regulations and subsequent LGPS changes, could ultimately see a reduction in redundancy payments to staff, although this option had not been implemented by Government.

 

Reason for Decision

 

MARS was a scheme in which the employee, in agreement with the employer, choose to leave their employment early, in return for a settlement payment.

 

The Council’s MARS scheme was available to all employees, and in accordance with the scheme itself, was proactively publicised to staff as an available opportunity, in order to increase the flexibility of the organisation, and to address particular financial circumstances.

 

On the 9 December 2020 the Council opened up for a limited period, an enhanced version of MARS, to run until the 4 January 2021. This limited, enhanced opportunity saw an increase in the allowance under the existing scheme, from 2 week’s pay for every year of service, to 3 week’s pay for every year of service.

 

The Scheme was offered in this way, to try and balance any savings that may subsequently be required under the Towards Financial Sustainability (TOFS) programme and to try and avoid any compulsory redundancies that may follow.

 

It was agreed that 22 members of staff could be released under the MARS scheme, according to criteria outlined at paragraph 3.4 of the report

 

Losing staff from the organisation would inevitably see a reduction/change in performance in affected areas. Whilst the above criteria had been used to assess impact on service areas, it would not negate the impact. However, it was considered by CMT to be more appropriate to work with the potential changes in standards of performance at this time, rather than to contemplate compulsory redundancies and changes to standards of performance at a later date.

 

It was noted that the savings made by those applying under the MARS scheme would have a direct impact on compulsory redundancies identified elsewhere in the TOFS programme, so to that extent opening this enhanced window, had a positive effect.

82.

City of Lincoln Council Housing Strategy 2020-25 pdf icon PDF 222 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Purpose of Report

 

To request the Executive to approve the draft Housing Strategy 2020-25.

 

Decision

 

That the draft Housing Strategy 2020-25 be approved.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

None.

 

Reason for Decision

 

A local authority housing strategy was an overarching cross-tenure document which identified local housing needs and set out how these needs would be met. Housing need was used in its broadest sense, it was not just the need for new affordable housing, but for all things housing including: growth; regeneration; and neighbourhood renewal, to ensure that a local authority had a balanced and sustainable housing market that met the needs of its residents.

 

The review of the Housing Strategy was initiated in July 2019 with the delivery of Member workshops which sought to provide an update on the emerging housing needs evidence, Lincoln’s current housing market, housing stock condition and the opportunities for delivering new homes. This resulted in the Council undertaking further housing needs research. A follow up Members’ workshop took place in January 2020 where officers discussed the following themes in more detail to inform the Housing Strategy’s priorities over the next five years:

·         Maximising the supply of affordable housing;

·         Maximising our existing housing assets;

·         Estate improvement and resident involvement;

·         Allocating council housing to those in greatest need; and

·         Enabling sustainable tenancies.

 

The feedback from the workshop held in January 2020 had shaped the content of the draft Housing Strategy, which also considered empirical information, the existing local policy context, the emerging response to Covid-19 and the current recession.

 

To complement Vision 2025, Let’s deliver quality housing, the objectives of the Housing Strategy for 2020-25 were:

·         Providing housing which meets the varied needs of our residents;

·         Building Sustainable Communities; and

·         Improving Housing standards for all.

 

The Draft Housing Strategy had been the subject of member and public consultation. In response to specific consultation feedback, the draft Housing Strategy had been amended accordingly:

 

The Housing Strategy would be monitored on a quarterly basis and would be subject to an annual review to ensure future progress in delivering priorities and allow the Strategy to reflect the changing policy agenda and to respond to meeting housing need.

 

Councillor Donald Nannestad reported that there had been large elected member involvement in the development of this Strategy, as well as effective engagement with the Tenants’ Panel as well. The next stage would be to review the thirty year business plan. Councillor Nannestad placed on record his thanks to the team of officers involved in developing the document.

83.

Whitton's Park Play Investment pdf icon PDF 237 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Purpose of Report

 

To advise the Executive of community aspirations for the improvement of play facilities in Whitton’s Park and to seek authority to invest Section 106 funds in Whitton’s Park in order to improve the play opportunities.

 

Decision

 

1.    That the aspirations for play from Long Leys Residents Association (LLRA) be noted by Executive.

 

2.    That a spend of £152,413 on play investment in Whitton’s Park on a phased basis be approved by Executive.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

None.

 

Reason for Decision

 

Whitton’s Park was a key play site situated on Long Leys Road in Carholme ward. The park had seen significant investment in play equipment in 2007/08.

 

The council held a Section 106 developer contribution for play of £152,413 that could only be spent in the West End of Lincoln. This contribution must be spent by 29 November 2023 or would have to be returned to the respective developer. After extensive consideration of sites in the area, the only viable option was to enhance play opportunities in Whitton’s Park with these funds.

 

Community representatives from both Long Leys Residents Association (LLRA) and West End Residents Association (WERA) had been consulted on this investment and were supportive. Local residents had also been consulted by LLRA and an aspirational plan for play investment in the park had been produced. They wished to be involved with any investment plan and had offered to engage with the council in this regard.

 

This investment would see play opportunities in the park greatly enhanced. It was anticipated that it would be prudent to spend roughly £130,000 at this point in time and reserve some of the fund for investment later, but before the critical date.

84.

Parking Services - Enforcement Support pdf icon PDF 240 KB

Minutes:

Purpose of Report

 

To seek agreement to the creation of one new post on the structure within Parking Services, that of a Security Patrol Operative.

 

Decision

 

That the addition of a post of security officer within Parking Services be approved by Executive.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

None.

 

Reason for Decision

 

The City Councils’ 21 members of parking staff managed what had been a £6 million a year business for the Council, via a high level of transactions and interactions with the public.

 

This service was one of the most important front facing services of the council, and not only delivered its most substantial income steam, but also welcomed visitors to the city. Via its good work, it was pivotal in supporting the retail and leisure business sectors.

 

It operated in a highly competitive environment, and so was as streamlined and business focused as any element of the council, whilst still remaining true to council corporate policies, and supportive of its wider strategic aims and objectives

 

Noting the increased numbers of incidents of Anti-Social Behaviour/nuisance at car park sites it was proposed to add a new post to cover security patrol duties to the Parking Services staffing establishment.

 

Councillor Ric Metcalfe was of the view that the business case in support of this proposal made sense, reflecting that parking services was such an important service the Council provided and was part of a person’s experience in respect of place. It was vital that the City Council’s car parks were safe and welcoming places for people to use when visiting the city.

85.

Exclusion of the Press and Public pdf icon PDF 7 KB

You are asked to resolve that the press and public be excluded from the meeting during the consideration of the following items because it is likely that if members of the press or public were present, there would be disclosure to them of 'exempt information'.

In accordance with the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012, notice is hereby given of items which will be considered in private, for which either 28 days' notice has been given or approval has been granted by the appropriate person specified in the Regulations. For further details please visit our website at http://www.lincoln.gov.uk or contact Democratic Services at City Hall, Beaumont Fee, Lincoln.

 

X. This item is being considered in private as it is likely to disclose exempt information, as defined in Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972. No representations have been received in relation to the proposal to consider this item in private.

 

Y. This item is being considered in private as it is likely to disclose exempt information, as defined in Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, and has not been deferred for the reasons established in the published notice.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items of business because it was likely that if members of the public were present there would be a disclosure to them of ‘exempt information’ as defined by Section 100I and Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.

 

These items were considered in private as they were likely to disclose exempt information, as defined in Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972. No representations had been received in relation to the proposal to consider these items in private.

86.

Lincoln Crematorium - Update on the Proposed Renovation Scheme

Minutes:

Purpose of Report

 

To consider the future delivery for a reduced scheme to transform Lincoln Crematorium, in recognition of the financial challenges facing the City Council arising from the Covid pandemic.

 

Decision

 

That the recommendation contained within the report be approved.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

Alternative options considered were set out in the report.

 

Reason for Decision

 

The reasons for the decision were set out in the report