Agenda, decisions and minutes

Cabinet - Tuesday, 17th March, 2020 2.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - South Kesteven House, St. Peter's Hill, Grantham. NG31 6PZ. View directions

Contact: Jo Toomey 

Items
No. Item

Statement by the Leader of the Council

Before turning to the formal business of the meeting, the Leader of the Council made a statement regarding the response of the Council to the Covid-19 outbreak. He stated that, whilst to date Lincolnshire had not been impacted by the virus, preparations still needed to be made. The Leader announced, therefore, that a decision had been made in consultation with the Showman’s Guild to cancel the Grantham and Stamford mid-Lent fairs. He also announced the closure of the Guildhall Arts Centre, Stamford Arts Centre, Bourne Community Access Point and Wyndham Park Visitor Centre to the public. Staff that worked within those buildings would be redeployed to help deliver key services.

 

Measures had been put into place to protect tenants, including closing communal rooms and cancelling external bookings. The improvement programme had also been suspended, meaning that only urgent repairs would be carried out. Written notice had been sent to tenants about changes and letting them know the best ways to contact the council with their questions or concerns.

 

Council officers were being updated regularly by the Leader and Chief Executive, with Government advice being followed in relation to meetings, travel and home working. An emergency planning team had been established and an incident room was in operation.

 

A decision was then taken to suspend all Council and Committee meetings for the foreseeable future. Emergency legislation was expected, which would support the Council’s decision-making through remote participation, clarifying in particular the arrangements for dealing with planning and licensing applications. It was agreed by the Cabinet that the Leader of the Council, under the strong Leader model, would assume full control over making all Key Decisions of the Council, which would normally have been taken by the Cabinet. Arrangements for deputising duties would be included, so that there was resilience in the event of the indisposition of the Leader. The arrangements for Executive decision-making would be kept under review and captured within the Council’s Constitution. A report would also be provided to Council setting out those decisions that had been made by the Leader. Cabinet Members indicated their support for this arrangement by way of a show of hands.

81.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 156 KB

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    Minutes of the meeting held on 18 February 2020

    Minutes:

    The minutes of the meeting held on 18 February 2020 were agreed as a correct record of the decisions taken subject to clarification under the Budget item that the Council had a contract with EnvironmentSK and made payment for the services provided by the company through that contract.

82.

Disclosure of Interests (if any)

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    Minutes:

    No interests were disclosed.

83.

Tenancy Strategy 2020-2025 (Key Decision) pdf icon PDF 212 KB

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    Report of the Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning which presents a revised Tenancy Strategy 2020-2025 for approval

    Additional documents:

    Decision:

    Decision:

     

    1.    To approve the Tenancy Strategy 2020-25 as attached at Appendix 1 to the report of the Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning

    2.    The Cabinet will receive an annual report (via e-mail) on the impact of the changes to the Strategy (in particular the number of fixed term tenancies issued and to the types of household to which they are issued)

     

    Considerations/Reasons for decision

     

    1.    Report of the Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning on a new Tenancy Strategy 2020-2025 and the draft Strategy attached as Appendix 1 to the report

    2.    The initial equality analysis attached as Appendix 2 to the report

    3.    Section 250 of the Localism Act 2011 which requires all local housing authorities to produce a Tenancy Strategy

    4.    Comments submitted by Cross Keys Homes and the Muir Group during the public consultation period

    5.    Comments made by the Rural and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 20 February 2020

     

    Other options considered and rejected

     

    Option 1

     

    To issue all new tenancies as fixed-term

     

    Option 2

     

    Not to issue any tenancies as fixed-term

     

    Option 3

     

    Issue only some new tenancies as fixed-term in certain circumstances

    Minutes:

    The Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning presented his report on the Tenancy Strategy. This had been considered by the Rural and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee, the recommendations from which had been captured within the document.

     

    On being put to the vote, it was AGREED:

     

    1.    That Cabinet approves the Tenancy Strategy 2020-25 as attached at Appendix 1 to the report of the Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning)

    2.    The Cabinet will receive an annual report (via e-mail) on the impact of the changes to the Strategy (in particular the number of fixed term tenancies issued and to the types of household to which they are issued)

84.

Safeguarding Policy 2020-2023 (Key Decision) pdf icon PDF 202 KB

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    Under Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 and the Care Act 2014 the Council has responsibilities with regard to the safeguarding of children, young people and adults with needs of care and support.  The report of the Cabinet Member for Communities presents the development of a joint Safeguarding Policy which has been designed to be relevant to all seven of the district councils across Lincolnshire

    Additional documents:

    Decision:

    Decision:

     

    1.    Cabinet approves the Safeguarding Policy 2020-23 as attached at Appendix 1 to the report of the Cabinet Member for Communities

    2.    Cabinet approves the introduction of mandatory safeguarding e-learning for elected Members to be completed across their term of office and to complement the in-house training provided during Member induction

     

    Reasons for decision:

     

    1.    The report of the Cabinet Member for Communities on the adoption of the Safeguarding Policy 2020-23 and the draft policy attached as Appendix 1 to the report

    2.    The equality analysis attached as Appendix 2 to the report

    3.    Provisions within Section 11 of the Children’s Act 2004 and Section 14 of the Care Act 2014 which set out the Council’s responsibilities regarding the safeguarding of children, young people and adults with needs of care and support

    4.    Work undertaken by the seven district councils in Lincolnshire to develop a combined Safeguarding Policy

    5.    The Safeguarding Policy adopted by the Cabinet in 2016

    6.    The resolution of Council on 30 January 2020, which denounced all forms of hatred and formally adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of Anti-Semitism and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims’ definition of Islamophobia

    7.    The training pathway necessary to meet the requirements of the Lincolnshire Safeguarding Children Partnership, the Lincolnshire Safeguarding Adult Board and the national competencies set out for child and adult safeguarding

    8.    Previous arrangements for Member training on safeguarding

    9.    Comments made by the Rural and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee

     

    Other options considered and rejected:

     

    The Council could retain its existing Safeguarding Policy and accompanying Procedures but in doing so would operate in isolation in this respect from the other district councils of Lincolnshire.

    Minutes:

    The Cabinet Member for Communities presented her report on the Safeguarding Policy 2020 to 2023. She explained that the seven district councils in Lincolnshire had worked together to develop a combined policy. She highlighted the proposed change with regard to training for elected Members. When the draft policy was considered by the Rural and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Members recommended increased training. Instead of just providing safeguarding training as part of Members’ induction, the Committee recommended completion of e-learning to ensure Members’ knowledge was refreshed more frequently than once every four years. The Committee also requested that ‘Keeping People Safe’ cards setting out key contact numbers, should be provided for all Members. The revised policy would be shared with officers through Net Consent and the intranet. Face-to-face training sessions would also be arranged.

     

    On being put to the vote it was AGREED:

     

    1.    Cabinet approves the Safeguarding Policy 2020-23

    2.    Cabinet approves the introduction of mandatory safe-guarding e-learning for elected Members to be completed across their term of office and to complement the in-house training provided during Member induction

85.

Area Offices - Customer Consultation (Key Decision)

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    This item has been withdrawn from the agenda

    Minutes:

    This item was withdrawn from the agenda for the meeting.

86.

Matters referred to Cabinet by the Council or Overview & Scrutiny Committees pdf icon PDF 210 KB

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    Report of the Leader of the Council which presents any recommendations that have been made to Cabinet by the Council and overview and scrutiny committees

    Minutes:

    Members noted the report of the Leader of the Council outlining matters referred to Cabinet by the Council’s overview and scrutiny committees.

87.

Items raised by Cabinet Members including reports on Key and Non Key Decisions taken under Delegated Powers. pdf icon PDF 191 KB

88.

Representations and questions from Non Cabinet Members

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    Minutes:

    One Member referred to the announcement that was made by the Leader at the start of the meeting and the opportunities for using technology to keep Members engaged in Council business. The Leader was asked when training would be offered on programmes like Skype and Teams, which facilitated virtual meetings. The Leader responded, stating it was key for Members to be fully trained on modern.gov and the use of their devices, however training would be suspended while restrictions imposed as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak were in place. The Member suggested that earlier training would have been beneficial. The Leader referred to the restrictions about decision-making meetings, where Members had to be present; guidance from Government was awaited about opportunities for remote decision-making. The Leader responded to a further comment by stating that any decisions made during the interregnum of meetings would be done in a transparent way, with a record being provided for all Members. He also indicated that he would be happy for the use of webinars to engage Members and would speak to the training team.

     

    A question was put about a footpath running across the St. Martin’s Park site in Stamford. The footpath had been blocked and the Leader was asked what the Council was doing to ensure it remained accessible. The Leader stated that he would speak to the appropriate officer to ensure that the blockage was removed.

     

    The Leader was asked for assurance that the Council would take a flexible and benevolent approach to people who could not pay their council tax because of the coronavirus outbreak. The Leader stated that the Council was following the guidance provided by the Government. He added that he did not wish to see residents removed from their homes for non-payment of Council Tax, adding that the Council was waiting to see what funds would be made available by Government.

     

    In the final question that was put to the Cabinet, reference was made to a recent incident in Grantham town centre when an assault near a public house had resulted in a fatal injury. Following the incident, support had been expressed locally for the reintroduction of a Pubwatch scheme. Reference was made to provisions within the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, which allowed local authorities to introduce a Late Night Levy and Early Morning Restriction Orders. The Late Night Levy would put a charge on premises selling alcohol between midnight and 6am; income from this levy would be used to support the cost of policing the night-time economy.

     

    When the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy was reviewed in 2016, the Council decided against implementing the Late Night Levy, however, it did provide for the introduction of the Levy at any point if there was a change in circumstances and evidence to support its implementation. The same provision was included in respect of an Early Morning Restriction Order. The Cabinet was asked to support the introduction of a Pubwatch scheme and the review of the Statement  ...  view the full minutes text for item 88.

89.

Cabinet Forward Plan - 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021 pdf icon PDF 192 KB

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    Report of the Leader of the Council on the Cabinet’s Forward Plan

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Cabinet Members noted the Forward Plan for 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021, which had been distributed prior to the meeting. The Forward Plan gave an indication of the items that would be presented to Cabinet over the proceeding 12-month period.

90.

Close of meeting

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    Minutes:

    The meeting was closed at 14:26.