Agenda, decisions and minutes

Cabinet
Tuesday, 9th July, 2019 4.00 pm

Venue: Shekinah Room - Jubilee Church Life Centre, 1-5 London Road, Grantham. NG31 6EY. View directions

Contact: Jo Toomey 

Items
No. Item

11.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 131 KB

12.

Disclosure of Interests (if any)

13.

Housing Strategy 12 month progress update (Key Decision) pdf icon PDF 211 KB

    Report of the Cabinet Member for Housing providing a 12-month progress update on the Housing Strategy delivery plan.

    Additional documents:

    Decision:

    Decision

     

    1.         Cabinet notes and acknowledges the content of the 12-month progress update of the Housing Strategy year one delivery plan attached as Appendix 1 to the report of the Cabinet Member for Housing

     

    2.         Cabinet notes the current refresh of the Housing Strategy taking place with a view to bringing back the revised document to the Cabinet meeting on 10 September 2019

     

    Reasons for decision

     

    1.         The report of the Cabinet Member for Housing providing the 12-month progress update on the year one delivery plan for the approved Housing Strategy 2017-2021 and attached as Appendix 1 to the report

    2.         The decision made by the Cabinet on 12 April 2018 to adopt the Housing Strategy 2017-2021

    3.         The 6-month update on delivery against the year one delivery plan of the Housing Strategy, which was presented to Cabinet on 1 November 2018

    4.         The agreement that the Cabinet Member for Housing would regularly monitor progress against the action plan with the first review at 6-months to become annual reports at the end of year one

    5.         The 5-year housing development programme

    6.         The 2018 review of the Housing Allocations Policy to address overcrowding, under-occupancy and to meet new requirements in the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017

    7.         Planning applications that had been submitted for two modular housing schemes

    8.         The removal of the Housing Revenue Account borrowing cap

    9.         An assessment of Council-owned (HRA) assets 2018/19, which had informed a longer-term pipeline for housing development

    10.      The Housing Enforcement Policy approved by Cabinet on 1 November 2018

    11.      The Tenant Fees Act 2019

    12.      The equality analysis of the Housing Strategy undertaken in September 2017 and subsequently reviewed

     

    Other options considered and rejected

     

    No other options were considered.

     

    Minutes:

    The Cabinet Member for Housing introduced his report on the 12-month progress update of the Housing Strategy’s year one action plan. He gave a summary of the actions and outcomes associated with the action plan, which included:

     

    ·         The development of a 5-year housing delivery programme for 300 units

    ·         A review of the Allocations Policy to address overcrowding, under-occupancy and requirements of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017

    ·         The number of affordable homes that had been delivered and planned

    ·         Submission of planning applications for two modular sites

    ·         The removal of the HRA borrowing cap

     

    Reference was made to a modular scheme of eight homes that was being developed in Casewick Ward. The Cabinet Member for Housing was invited to go to the area to look at the scheme. Members of the Cabinet asked how the lifespan of modular dwellings compared with houses built using traditional building methods given the similarity in costs. Reference was made to prefab buildings erected post-war, which had an anticipated lifespan of ten-years. Advantages of modular homes included the speed with which they could be built and the fact that they did not rely on traditional building skills, of which there was a shortage in the district. It was hoped that as technology continued to improve, and production became increasingly automated, the cost of modular buildings would decrease.

     

    Members asked about the rough sleeper pathway within the strategy and the implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, including the differentiation between homelessness and rough sleeping and the initiatives that had been put in place.

     

    It was AGREED:

     

    1.         Cabinet notes and acknowledges the content of the 12-month progress update of the Housing Strategy year one delivery plan attached as Appendix 1 to the report of the Cabinet Member for Housing

     

    2.         Cabinet notes the current refresh of the Housing Strategy taking place with a view to bringing back the revised document to the Cabinet meeting on 10 September 2019

14.

Tenancy Strategy (Key Decision) pdf icon PDF 210 KB

    Report of the Cabinet Member for Housing on the Tenancy Strategy.

    Additional documents:

    Decision:

    Decision

     

    Cabinet approves the draft South Kesteven Tenancy Strategy for formal consultation subject to an amendment of the wording in respect of DeliverSK (page 36 of the agenda pack) and a further report which will be presented to Cabinet to consider and adopt the strategy following consultation

     

    Reasons for decision

     

    1.         The report of the Cabinet Member for Housing on the draft Tenancy Strategy (Appendix 1 to the report)

    2.         The equality analysis undertaken on the draft Tenancy Strategy attached as Appendix 2 to the report

    3.         Section 150 of the Localism Act 2011, which required all local housing authorities to produce a Tenancy Strategy

    4.         The Council’s existing Tenancy Strategy, which was adopted in 2013 and required review

    5.         The Tenancy Strategy aims to make best use of the Council’s housing stock

    6.         Longer-term tenancies were especially important to households with dependent children and vulnerable people and helped facilitate more balanced and mixed communities

    7.         The requirement placed on local authorities to offer advice and assistance to tenants at the end of a fixed-term tenancy

    8.         Longer-term, secured tenancies would help tenants who were in a position to buy as they could buy their property under the Right to Buy

    9.         Fixed term tenancies had the potential to undermine community cohesion while making it difficult to achieve tenant involvement and empowerment

    10.      Longer-term secure tenancies were more likely to create settled and stable homes

    11.      A potential benefit of shorter-term tenancies in the social rented market was ensuring tenancies were reserved for households that did not have sufficient income to rent or buy in the private market

    12.      Shorter-term tenancies could provide greater opportunities to deal with tenants who caused anti-social behaviour or were in rent arrears

    13.      Affordability information showed that many households needed social housing because the private rented sector was too expensive

    14.      Consultation would be undertaken with registered social landlords operating within the district as they would be expected to use the strategy as a guide for their own operation

     

    Other options considered and rejected

     

    No other options were considered.

     

    Minutes:

    The Cabinet Member for Housing presented his report on the draft Tenancy Strategy, which the Cabinet was being asked to approve for formal consultation. He explained that the previous version of the strategy had been published in 2013 and it was felt that it needed review. The strategy identified tenancy arrangements that the Council expected to be used across the district and acted as a guide to all social landlords operating in the area.

     

    The Cabinet Member explained that the draft strategy recommended that fixed-term tenancies were used and proposed a recommended length, noting short-term tenancies were contrary to creating sustainable communities and could lead to increased costs as a result of administering their renewal. The strategy proposed a fixed-term 12-month tenancy for new tenants, which, when renewed, could become a long-term secured tenancy. Exceptions to this would include current council tenants moving from one Council property into another, who would go straight into a longer-term secured tenancy.

     

    Cabinet Members asked about who would be consulted on the proposed strategy. Formal consultation would be undertaken with other social landlords operating in the district as they would need to adhere to the parameters set out in the document.

     

    A non-Cabinet member referred to the opportunities through which the Council could take action against tenants who were involved in anti-social behaviour, suggesting the introduction of annual or biannual inspections. The Cabinet Member considered such a stringent inspection regime as an invasion of privacy for tenants who were not causing a nuisance, noting that inspections were already in place to check that all facilities within a property were in order. He added that incidences of anti-social behaviour should lead to greater scrutiny of tenants.

     

    In general, Members agreed with the wording in the draft Tenancy Strategy but noted that an adjustment was required in respect of the paragraph on DeliverSK on page 36 of the agenda pack.

     

    It was AGREED:

     

    Cabinet approves the draft South Kesteven Tenancy Strategy for formal consultation subject to an amendment of the wording in respect of DeliverSK (page 36 of the agenda pack) and a further report which will be presented to Cabinet to consider and adopt the strategy following consultation

15.

Tenancy Agreement (Key Decision) pdf icon PDF 204 KB

    Report of the Cabinet Member for Housing on the Tenancy Agreement.

    Additional documents:

    Decision:

    Decision

     

    The Cabinet approves the proposed draft Tenancy Agreement as attached as Appendix 1 to the report of the Cabinet Member for Housing to commence the consultation process with all tenants of South Kesteven District Council in accordance with Sections 102 and 103 of the Housing Act 1985

     

    Reasons for decision

     

    1.         The report of the Cabinet Member for Housing and draft Tenancy Agreement attached as Appendix 1 to the report and the equality analysis on the draft Tenancy Agreement attached as Appendix 2 to the report

    2.         The Council was required to have a Tenancy Agreement that set out obligations for the Council as landlord and its tenants

    3.         Sections 102 and 103 of the Housing Act 1985, which set out a requirement for the Council to consult all its tenants on any proposed changes to the Tenancy Agreement

    4.         Following the consultation, feedback would be presented to the Rural and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee for consideration

    5.         Significant proposed changes to the Tenancy Agreement which were outlined in paragraph 1.4 of the report of the Cabinet Member for Housing

     

    Other options considered and rejected

     

    The Council could choose to retain the current Tenancy Agreement (agreed in 2002) however this did not reflect current needs

     

    Minutes:

    The Cabinet Member for Housing introduced his report on the draft Tenancy Agreement, which the Cabinet was being asked to approve for consultation with all the Council’s tenants in accordance with Sections 102 and 103 of the Housing Act 1985.

     

    It was AGREED:

     

    The Cabinet approves the proposed draft Tenancy Agreement as attached as Appendix 1 to the report of the Cabinet Member for Housing to commence the consultation process with all tenants of South Kesteven District Council in accordance with Sections 102 and 103 of the Housing Act 1985

16.

Tenant Involvement Strategy (Key Decision) pdf icon PDF 201 KB

    Report of the Cabinet Member for Housing on the Tenant Involvement Strategy.

    Additional documents:

    Decision:

    Decision

     

    Cabinet approves the Tenant Involvement Strategy 2019-24 as attached to Appendix 1 of the report of the Cabinet Member for Housing subject to the strategy document being brought in line with corporate branding

     

    Reasons for decision

     

    1.         The report of the Cabinet Member for Housing on the draft Tenant Involvement Strategy and the draft strategy attached as Appendix 1 to the report

    2.         The draft strategy complements the Tenant Involvement Framework which was approved by Cabinet in May 2018

    3.         Feedback from the Communities and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee on the Tenant Involvement Framework

    4.         Feedback from a workshop held with tenants on 24 May 2019 at which the framework and proposed strategy were discussed

    5.         A key commitment within the strategy was to feedback to tenants through the tenants’ newsletter and an annual report detailing outcomes and work undertaken throughout the year

    6.         A 3-year satisfaction survey undertaken by the Council that measures how satisfied tenants are with the way the Council provides its services

     

    Other options considered and rejected

     

    It is a requirement for local authorities (under the Tenant Involvement and Empowerment Standard 2017 from the Homes and Communities Agency as part of the Regulatory Framework for Social Housing) to involve and engage their tenants and therefore to do nothing would place the authority at risk of challenge.

     

    Minutes:

    In presenting the draft Tenant Involvement Strategy, which the Cabinet was being asked to adopt, the Cabinet Member for Housing explained the document set out how tenants could engage with the Council acting in its capacity as landlord. He added that the strategy represented a commitment by Council to support tenants, who were asked to take part in a satisfaction survey every three-years. Skyline, the tenants’ magazine, was being used to communicate with tenants and keep them informed of what was going on.

     

    Cabinet Members asked about the current tenant satisfaction rate; when the last survey was undertaken, satisfaction exceeded 80% and the target was set to surpass this the next time the survey was carried out.

     

    Members were happy with the wording of the draft Strategy but noted that the Council’s Corporate branding needed applying to the document.

     

    It was AGREED:

     

    Cabinet approves the Tenant Involvement Strategy 2019-24 as attached to Appendix 1 of the report of the Cabinet Member for Housing subject to the strategy document being brought in line with corporate branding

17.

Housing Delivery Test Action Plan (Key Decision) pdf icon PDF 200 KB

    Report of the Cabinet Member for Planning on the Housing Delivery Test Action Plan.

    Additional documents:

    Decision:

    Decision

     

    The Cabinet approves the Housing Delivery Test Action Plan attached as Appendix 1 to the report of the Cabinet Member for Planning and delegates authority to the Cabinet Member for Planning to make minor changes to the document prior to its publication

     

    Reasons for decision

     

    1.         The report of the Cabinet Member for Planning on the Housing Delivery Test Action Plan and the draft action plan attached as Appendix 1 to the report

    2.         The Government commitment to improve the delivery of more new homes

    3.         The introduction of the Housing Delivery Test by Government as a monitoring tool to demonstrate whether local areas were building enough homes to meeting their housing need

    4.         The Housing Delivery Test results which identified South Kesteven was achieving 81% of its housing requirement, which meant that the Council had to plan for a 20% buffer and set out an action plan to increase delivery across the district

    5.         Since the Housing Delivery Test results were published, 676 dwellings were completed within South Kesteven, which was above the requirement

    6.         Consultation with key landowners, developers and stakeholders in the production of the Housing Delivery Test Action Plan

    7.         Clarifications required within section 6 of the document to ensure actions were aligned to the correct council

     

    Other options considered and rejected

     

    The Cabinet could choose not to approve the Housing Delivery Test Action Plan. This was not recommended as it was contrary to Government requirements.

     

    A further alternative would be to amend the Housing Delivery Test Action Plan. This was intended to be a working plan, so there was scope for the Cabinet to make revisions in light of a further comments on the plan.

    Minutes:

    The Cabinet Member for planning presented his report on the Housing Delivery Test Action Plan. He referred to the Government’s commitment to improving the delivery of new homes nationally and measures and reforms that had been put in place to assist in the delivery of this. The Housing Delivery Test was introduced by the Government as a monitoring tool to test whether local planning authorities were building enough to meet their identified housing need.

     

    The test took account of the number of homes that had been built over the previous 3 years; where delivery was less than 95% of the housing requirement, local planning authorities were required to prepare an action plan setting out the causes of under delivery and the actions they intended to take to increase delivery. Where delivery had been less than 85% of the housing requirement, a 20% buffer had to be applied to the supply of deliverable sites. South Kesteven achieved 81% of its housing requirement. The action plan that had been drawn up was attached as Appendix 1 to the report of the Cabinet Member for Planning.

     

    Members noted that since the publication of the results of the Housing Delivery Test, evidence indicated that 676 dwellings were delivered in South Kesteven in 2018/19, which exceeded the requirement.

     

    Some frustration was addressed that the Council was being asked to find resolutions for barriers to delivery that were reliant on third parties and outside its control. The action plan, which had been produced on the Council’s behalf by a consultant, identified that the Council was subservient to developers. It was also noted that where an application came forward and was refused by the Council, time, money and effort was required to bring a revised application back, which caused delays to delivery.

     

    Members noted that changes had been made in respect of the viability calculations, which would now be based on the actual value of land rather the price the developer paid for it. Reference was also made to the design officer who had recently been appointed by the Council and the benefit of that role in assisting members of the Planning Committee in their consideration of applications.

     

    The Cabinet Member for Planning stated that there had been positive engagement with developers. He added that all parties, including the Council’s design officer, working through technical details together at an early stage in the application process meant that there were fewer opportunities for the determination of applications to be delayed.

     

    Members noted that prior to publication some clarifications were required at section 6 of the document so that actions were aligned to the correct council.

     

    It was AGREED:

     

    The Cabinet approves the Housing Delivery Test Action Plan attached as Appendix 1 to the report of the Cabinet Member for Planning and delegates authority to the Cabinet Member for Planning to make minor changes to the document prior to its publication

18.

Outturn 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 292 KB

    Report of the Cabinet Member for Finance on the outturn position for 2018/2019.

    Additional documents:

    Decision:

    Decision

     

    The Cabinet:

     

    1.         Reviewed the Revenue and Capital Outturn report and associated appendices for 2018/29

     

    2.         Notes the budget carry forwards shown at paragraph 4.5 and reserve movements shown at section 7 of the report of the Cabinet Member for Finance

     

    3.         Notes the Capital slippages from the 2018/19 Capital Programme as detailed in the report of the Cabinet Member for Finance and appendices C and E

     

    4.         Notes the change to the Regeneration Reserve Policy to include financing any feasibility work costs in respect of property acquisition and development

     

    5.         Approves the introduction of the Crowd Funding initiative for the District of South Kesteven and note the formation of a specific reserve of £100k to fund the initiative for a 1-year pilot period

     

    Reasons for decision

     

    1.         The report of the Cabinet Member for Finance presenting the outturn position for 2018/19, including variances, in respect of the General Fund and Housing Revenue Accounts’ revenue outturn, capital outturn and commentary thereon, and commentary and review of reserves and a reserves statement

    2.         Budget monitoring and management reports presented to the Growth Overview and Scrutiny Committee during 2018/19

    3.         The outturn report presented to the Governance and Audit Committee on 21 June 2019 and the decisions made by the Committee at that meeting

    4.         In-year amendments made to the Budget made by Council

    5.         Comments made by the Rural and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Governance and Audit Committee on the proposed crowd funding initiative

     

    Other options considered and rejected

     

    No other options were considered.

     

    Minutes:

    The Cabinet Member for Finance presented the outturn position at the end of 2018/19 in respect of the General Fund Revenue Budget, the Housing Revenue Account Budget and the General Fund and HRA Capital Programmes. He informed Members of the Cabinet that in-year budget monitoring had been undertaken by the Growth Overview and Scrutiny Committee and that the final outturn position had been presented to the Governance and Audit Committee on 21 June 2019.

     

    The Cabinet Member referred to in-year changes to the General Fund Budget and how, following approval by Council to use the business rates gain to fund towards the balance of the 2018/19 financial year, the General Fund had achieved a surplus position. The report set out variances over £20,000 by directorate, including commentary on those variances. The report also showed carry forwards into 2019/20, which all related to the funding of specific items and projects.

     

    The original HRA budget for 2018/19 was set at a surplus of £6.668, against an actual surplus of £4.301m. The surplus was transferred to reserves to provide additional internal funding for the HRA Capital Programme.

     

    Table 8 of the report set out the summary of changes to the Capital Programme; the capital budget had an underspend of £9.428m, reducing the requirement to use reserves.

     

    The report included commentary on balances and reserves. Members’ attention was drawn to a new reserve that was created at the recommendation of the Rural and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee and with the agreement of the Governance and Audit Committee. The reserve was to enable a pilot crowd-funding initiative, which the Cabinet was being asked to approve.

     

    Reference was made to the meeting of the Governance and Audit Committee on 21 June 2019 and the questions and discussion that had taken place. Comments were also made about the way in which the Council used New Homes Bonus to support growth and the difficulties being experienced by those authorities that were using it to subsidise their core budgets.

     

    It was AGREED:

     

    The Cabinet:

     

    1.         Reviewed the Revenue and Capital Outturn report and associated appendices for 2018/29

     

    2.         Notes the budget carry forwards shown at paragraph 4.5 and reserve movements shown at section 7 of the report of the Cabinet Member for Finance

     

    3.         Notes the Capital slippages from the 2018/19 Capital Programme as detailed in the report of the Cabinet Member for Finance and appendices C and E

     

    4.         Notes the change to the Regeneration Reserve Policy to include financing any feasibility work costs in respect of property acquisition and development

     

    5.         Approves the introduction of the Crowd Funding initiative for the District of South Kesteven and note the formation of a specific reserve of £100k to fund the initiative for a 1-year pilot period

19.

Matters Referred to Cabinet by the Council or Overview & Scrutiny Committees pdf icon PDF 190 KB

    Report of the Leader of the Council on matters referred to Cabinet by the Council or one of the Council’s overview and scrutiny committees.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The report of the Leader of the Council informed Cabinet Members that no matters had been referred to it by the Council and summarised those matters that had been considered by overview and scrutiny committees since the Cabinet’s last meeting on 11 June 2019.

20.

Items raised by Cabinet Members including reports on Key and Non-Key Decisions taken under Delegated Powers. pdf icon PDF 197 KB

21.

Representations and questions from Non Cabinet Members

    The Cabinet notes that prior to the publication of this agenda, no representations or questions had been received from non-Cabinet Members since the last meeting of the Cabinet held on 11 June 2019. The Cabinet may consider representations from non-Cabinet Members received following publication of the agenda for this meeting.

    Minutes:

    No representations or questions were received from non-Cabinet Members.

22.

Cabinet Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 191 KB

    Report of the Leader of the Council on the Cabinet’s Forward Plan for 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

     

    Cabinet Members noted the report of the Leader of the Council, appended to which was the Cabinet’s Forward Plan. The Forward Plan gave an indication of the items that would be presented to Cabinet over the following 12-month period. The plan also included items that were scheduled to be considered at meetings of the Council during that period.

     

    The following updates were noted:

     

    ·         The Cabinet Member with responsibility for the Customer Access Strategy was the Cabinet Member for the Cabinet Member for Communities, Health and Wellbeing and not the Cabinet Member for Communications and Engagement

    ·         Prior to consideration by Cabinet, the Asset Management Strategy would need to be considered by the Finance, Economic Development and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee

23.

Close of meeting