Venue: Witham Room - South Kesteven House, St. Peter's Hill, Grantham. NG31 6PZ. View directions
Contact: Jo Toomey
Disclosure of interests
Members are asked to disclose any interests in matters for consideration at the meeting.
No interests were disclosed.
The minutes of the meeting held on 19 November 2019 were agreed as a correct record.
The Deputy Leader of the Council to provide an overview of the options available to promote housing delivery within the district. The report seeks approval to pursue a selection process for a strategic partner to support the delivery of new homes and seeks the views of Companies Committee on the selection process
The Deputy Leader, in his capacity as the Cabinet Member for Housing introduced his report to the Companies Committee, which provided an overview of the options that were available to promote housing delivery within the district. In doing so he welcomed comments and suggestions from members of the Companies Committee.
The Assistant Chief Executive, Housing Delivery and the Finance Lead for Housing Delivery gave a presentation. Key points within the presentation included:
· The inter-relationship between economic growth and housing delivery
· Activities that were already being undertaken by the Council to promote housing delivery including the introduction of a project team to work with developers and the Design PAD process
· Targets within the current local plan to deliver 13,500 new homes by 2036
· There were wider issues around affordability in the south of the district
· 81% of Local Plan house building targets had been met cumulatively between 2011/12 and 2018/19; of those 18% were affordable
· The question that was being addressed was how the council could play a proactive role in delivering and stimulating the delivery of housing in the district. The council was working with a range of organisations to answer this question
· Best practice had been researched and site visits undertaken to Stoke and Brighton where similar housing delivery challenges had been experienced and action taken to address those challenges
· When the Council went out to market it did so with the idea that it wanted to deliver affordable housing in some quantity
· Market feedback indicated that the council needed to further develop and clarify the aims of the project
· Two initial approaches had been identified; either an asset-backed vehicle or a more flexible investment partnership approach to be determined in conjunction with prospective partners
· It was noted that outside the Housing Revenue Account the council did not own large amounts of land
· Key considerations for any partnership into which the Council might enter included:
o Ease of exit
o Governance and control
o Sustainability / quality
o Local economic impact
· The partnership selection overview process had been designed to demonstrate value for money, transparency and minimising unnecessary times/costs
· The design of the selection process aimed to enable flexibility and innovation
· The draft first-stage selection papers focused on an aligned ethos and objectives, to be validated with example sites
· The second stage involved clarification and negotiation with short-listed partners, agreement of targets and the finalising of partnership documentation
· An overview of timescales for delivery and decision-making
One Member asked about the number of people who were currently on the Council’s housing register; members were given an indication of the number of people in the priority bands and the band that included more aspirational requests for council housing. Discussion ensued about the nature of any affordable housing that might be provided through the partnership. There was a concern that some of the properties that were badged as affordable and aimed at first-time buyers could still prove a challenge for young people and families. A clearer indication ... view the full minutes text for item 10.
Updates from the previous meeting
At the Committee’s previous meeting on 19 November 2019, a number of actions were raised relating to InvestSK.
Action 1: Members asked for InvestSK to circulate the breakdown of newly created jobs in South Kesteven
Members had been advised that 97 jobs had been created within the district. The Committee clarified that it would like a breakdown of these new jobs by sector to see if any trends or gaps could be identified. A suggestion was made that specific case studies could be used as examples to promote InvestSK’s work.
Action 2: Members asked InvestSK to circulate a list setting out those officers who were on secondment from SKDC and those who worked directly for the company
This information was provided.
Action 3: Members requested a copy of the minutes from the InvestSK AGM
The minutes from the InvestSK AGM were awaiting the sign-off of the Chairman. As soon as the minutes had been signed-off, Committee members were advised that a copy would be sent to them.
Action 4: Clarification was required on the legal position as to whether an indemnity would be provided in the event of negligence
The Monitoring Officer stated that Directors and Officers liability cover for negligence was standard in the public sector. All officers acting in good faith would be covered if negligence occurred through their actions. Cover would not cover negligence where an officer was not acting in good faith or where there was criminal misconduct. The Committee was advised that the Articles of Association would be reviewed by legal services and that final instructions on the extent of this work were still awaited.
Action 5: The Chief Executive and Directors of InvestSK were asked to produce a proposal for sharing accounts with the Companies Committee
The Committee agreed that it would have been more constructive if it had set out what it expected in respect of the financial information to be provided. It was noted that a workshop had been scheduled for May 2020 at which members would determine the level of finance and governance reporting it required for each company.
Action 6: Copies of the 3-year budget projection to be circulated to committee members
The papers circulated at the previous meeting referred to a 3-year budget plan. InvestSK had not circulated a copy because there had been significant changes since that time. Members asked when they could expect to see the company’s 3-year budget. There was recognition amongst members that budgets changed over time, but it was important to see that information. Other members did not see how a budget could be produced without an agreed business plan. Reference was made to the Council’s proposed budget for 2020/21, which had recently been published as part of the papers for the Budget Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The proposals included a reduction in funding for InvestSK to £800,000. InvestSK would be required to produce a business plan around the level of funding that was being proposed.
Action 7: InvestSK to update its business ... view the full minutes text for item 11.
The Committee to review the Work Programme for 2019 20
Members noted the workshop that had been added in May 2020, the date of which was yet to be confirmed. This workshop would be used to discuss the information that would be required from each company. It had been considered most appropriate to do this after all of the companies had been to talk to the committee.
Members looked at the work that had been scheduled for the upcoming meetings. The next meeting would include an item on DeliverSK and a collaboration agreement related to the work of the company. Reports would also be presented on Gravitas and the commercial development at Wherry’s Lane, Bourne.
Committee members had found it helpful that officers had made themselves available to discuss the housing delivery project with them prior to the meeting. The suggestion was made that this approach would be useful for other items that would be brought before the committee.
Close of meeting
The meeting was closed at 11.33am