Report of the Leader of the Council on South Kesteven District Council’s Recovery Plan.
Cabinet approves the framework for developing a COVID-19 Recovery Plan and notes the upcoming activities in the “Restart” phase of the framework.
Reasons for decision:
1. The report of the Leader of the Council on the development of a COVID-19 Recovery Plan for South Kesteven District Council.
2. The development of a Corporate Plan and a revised Budgetary Framework alongside the COVID-19 Recovery Plan.
3. The proposed four stage recovery framework: ‘Response’, ‘Restart’, ‘Recover’ and ‘Reshape’, with a reset review between stages.
4. The interactions between intended actions built into the 2020/21 budget and the new developments required in response to COVID-19.
5. Plans for the phased re-opening of certain services as part of the ‘Restart’ phase and the full list of activities as set out in Appendices 1 to 5 of the report of the Leader of the Council.
6. The proposed internal governance approach for the ‘Restart’ phase.
7. The partnership working arrangements set out in section 7 of the report.
8. Consultation with partners and external stakeholders about the nature of the recovery plan.
9. The stage 1 equality analysis attached as Appendix 7 to the Leader’s report.
10. The Risk Register attached as Appendix 8 to the report of the Leader of the Council, which set out key risks and the actions in place to mitigate their impact.
Other options considered and rejected:
Do nothing and continue with a reactive approach and delegated decisions for the foreseeable future. This was rejected as it was felt that it was important to ensure plans were developed to steer activity.
Do the minimum, waiting to produce the September amended budget report and incorporate all future actions into this. This was rejected as it would combine strategy, finance and an emerging COVID-19 environment into a single document, which could be very complex and therefore less transparent.
Return to ‘normal’ and create a Corporate Plan and amended budget through standard processes and rely on adopted Scrutiny and decision-making processes (and internal line management) for enacting decisions. This was rejected as it was felt that the situation was too volatile; this was seen to be more appropriate at the ‘Reshape’ phase.
The Leader of the Council presented his report which detailed a framework for developing a recovery plan from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The initial response to the pandemic had been reactive but there was recognition that it was important for the district to recover and thrive in the coming months. In addition to meeting the three key priorities outlined in the COVID-19 SKDC Response – Position Statement report, progress had also been made on other key projects, such as St Martins Park, the leisure programme and the housing and planning programmes, the timescales for which had been adapted.
Alongside the COVID-19 Recovery Plan, the Council was developing a Corporate Plan and a revised Budgetary Framework. All three documents would be presented to Cabinet and Council in September 2020.
The framework for recovery was based on four phases:
· Restart – the phased re-opening of operations (sports facilities, supporting wider businesses to re-open, arts activities) based on the five key themes within the report (vibrant and resilient economy, housing that meets the needs of our residents, strong communities with high quality facilities, a clean and sustainable environment and a high performing Council)
· Recover – stimulating activities to spark wider businesses (sector specific support where necessary and appropriate, focus of InvestSK)
· Reshape – revising the Council’s long-term plans to incorporate wider changes in behaviours and its role in community leadership (greater digital service offering, increased working from home, embedding carbon reduction into new ways of working)
When services were looking to move to the next phase it was important that a review and reset was undertaken to look at risks, opportunities and lessons learnt to shape the future direction. Timescales had not been included due to the uncertainty at the present time. Appendices 1 to 5 detailed activities that the Council would be undertaking to support residents and businesses.
There had been a significant impact on finances due to COVID-19. It would be necessary to amend the budget approved in March 2020; an amended budget would be presented in September 2020.
The Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations made reference to the first virtual climate change task and finish group, which 25 people had attended. The Council’s carbon footprint was put at 7,600 tonnes however this was before buildings were closed. The Cabinet Member stated that the Big Clean would be re-established and hoped that the best kept village could be reintroduced. Cabinet Members also noted that the electric charging points in Welham Street car park were due to be connected by Western Power.
The Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning spoke about continuing to support tenants including those in housing need and in sheltered housing. The homeless had been supported by the allocation of temporary accommodation. Housing Management had been restarted and work was continuing on housing repairs. The development of Council owned sites would be progressed, the Blessed Hugh More site was currently subject to consultation. The performance and delivery of the housing service was also being reviewed. The Local Plan review was being progressed, together with a review of the Council’s growth function.
The Cabinet Member for Communities stated that the recovery plan was an excellent starting point and that a review and a reset needed to be carried out between each of the phases. The Council needed to capitalise on what had been achieved with communities and the relationships made during the crisis.
The Deputy Leader stated that across all the Cabinet portfolios, the Council wanted to deliver growth for the economy, to have strong communities with high quality facilities and a clean and sustainable environment.
The Chief Executive stated that it was a comprehensive restart plan and thanked Cabinet Members for their input. Work had been undertaken with the Corporate Management Team on populating the actions for each of the five outcomes shown at Appendices 1 to 5 of the report.
On being put to the vote is was AGREED that:
The Cabinet approves the framework for developing a COVID-19 Recovery Plan and notes the upcoming activities in the “Restart” phase of the framework.