Meeting Details

Cabinet
3 Mar 2020 - 18:30 to 19:22
  • Documents
  • Attendance
  • Visitors
  • Declarations of Interests

Documents

Agenda

Meeting Details
Meetingdetails
MeetingDetails

Members are invited to a Meeting of the Cabinet

to be held in the Conference Room, Riverside, Lowestoft

on Tuesday, 3 March 2020 at 6:30 pm

Part One - Open To The Public
1 Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence, if any.

1
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Kerry, from Councillor Cackett and from Councillor Cooper.  
2 Declarations of Interest

Members and Officers are invited to make any declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary or Local Non-Pecuniary Interests that they may have in relation to items on the Agenda and are also reminded to make any declarations at any stage during the Meeting if it becomes apparent that this may be required when a particular item or issue is considered.

2

Councillor Rudd declared a local non pecuniary interest in respect of agenda item 6, Sale of Uggeshall Close, Lowestoft, as the  ward member for Gunton and St Margarets.       

 

Councillor Jepson declared a local non pecuniary interest in respect of agenda item 5, East Suffolk Council Funding for Citizens Advice, as a member of the Board of Felixstowe Citizens Advice.  

3 Announcements

To receive any announcements.

3

The Leader stated that he  did not have any announcements himself, however, he did have an announcement to make on  behalf of the Cabinet  Member with responsibility for Housing.  Councillor Kerry wished to make a short statement regarding the Notice of  Motion raised at Full Council on  22 January 2020 by Councillor Gooch concerning the Council's declared  Climate Emergency and the recently adopted Housing Development  Strategy.   It was agreed that the Notice of Motion would  not be discussed at Full Council to allow the  Housing Team to prepare a comprehensive response in respect of the  challenges of carbon neutral housing and how these  could be addressed where practicable.   The Cabinet  Member with responsibility for  Housing was pleased to advise that already one of the  Housing Development Strategy's actions had been  achieved by the recruitment of  three  officers in  development and  enabling roles.   However, at this point, only one officer had commenced duties and would  need time to settle into their role.  Consequently, Councillor Kerry wished to advise that a full briefing on housing  and  carbon  neutral development would be available at Cabinet in May 2020.  This would allow the Development  Manager time to integrate her new  officers into the service prior to undertaking the necessary research.         

 

The Cabinet Member with responsibility for Community Health  provided a reminder, in respect of the Coronavirus, for everybody to follow the NHS advice in  respect of washing hands and the use of tissues.

 

The Cabinet Member with responsibility for Community Health also announced  that the East Suffolk and North Essex  NHS Foundation Trust had launched a consultation in respect  of a new orthopaedic centre based at Colchester.  Councillor Rudd announced  that East Suffolk Council would be responding to the consultation, but she advised that individual Members could respond too.  There would, Councillor Rudd advised,  be public meetings too. 

4 pdf Minutes (289Kb)
To  confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the  Meeting held on 7 January 2020. 
4

RESOLVED

 

That the Minutes of the Meeting held on 7 January 2020 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

KEY DECISIONS
Report of the Cabinet Member with responsibility for Communities, Leisure  and Tourism
5

Cabinet received report ES/0316 by the Cabinet  Member  with  responsibility for Communities Leisure and Tourism.  Cabinet  was advised  that  East Suffolk Council (ESC) provided almost £200,000 of funding to its three Citizens Advice – Citizens Advice North East Suffolk, Leiston and Saxmundham CA and Felixstowe and District CA.

 

Citizens Advice provided invaluable support to those who were most vulnerable in East Suffolk communities around issues such as benefits, debt, housing, employment and a range of other support.

 

Between them in 2019, the three east Suffolk Citizens Advice enabled £1.65 million of debt to be written off and secured £1.2 million of income gain.   In 2019, Suffolk County Council (SCC) announced that, due to funding pressures, it would reduce its funding for the seven Citizens Advice in Suffolk from almost £375,000 to £185,000 in 2019/20 and then to zero in 2020/21.  However, following review, it was now proposed to provide £120,000 for the next three years but with conditions attached - a reduction to four CAs, sourcing additional sources of income and a move towards shared accommodation.

 

Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG bridged the resultant funding gap for two years by providing a total of £187,000 of funding, although it was understood that this funding was unlikely to be available from 2020/21 onwards.  The reduction in funding to the three CAs in East Suffolk between 2018/19 and 2021/22 could therefore be £83,778.

 

Cabinet was advised  that, currently, Citizens Advice North East Suffolk received 39% of the total funding from the Council, Felixstowe and District CA received 29% and Leiston and Saxmundham CA 32%.  This balance did not correlate with either the population served or the number of clients seen in 2019, for example North East Suffolk received 39% of the funding in 2019, but served 48% of the population and saw 52% of the clients.   However, it  was believed that the three Citizens Advice in East Suffolk should be enabled to work together to determine their own future and achieve greater sustainability, and therefore the Council wanted to offer an additional £7,500 in 2020/21 to enable them to secure independent objective support to look at the transformation opportunities available.   This review should include a review of the number and structures of Citizens Advice, opportunities for co-location with other public sector or VCSE organisations and other transformation opportunities such as income generation.  It was believed that transformation in these areas should offer savings that could be reinvested in additional outreach and prevention activity.

The Council would be keen to work with the Citizens Advice and their Trustee Boards to define the scope of the review and to receive the final report.  This report should identify the optimum structures to enable the transformation of CA services in East Suffolk, taking into account what was known about demographic changes over the coming years.

 

The proposal was therefore to maintain Citizens Advice funding at the current level for 2020/21 and to bring a further report back to Cabinet early in 2021.

 

The Head of Communities gave an  apology and  drew members' attention to an  error within  the report; the report stated that the source of funding would be the New Homes Bonus; this  was incorrect in that the source would be the core revenue budget.    

 

The  Leader referred to the joint ambition held by SCC and ESC to support the Citizens Advice on their  journey to examine the options.  Cabinet recognised the important work undertaken by the Citizens Advice and gave its support to this proposal stating  that there should be an  emphasis on delivering services for the  local people.    

 

Councillor Elliott stated that  he  welcomed the Council's continued support for this vital resource and fantastic facility.  However, he was concerned for the future in that there would not  be long term funding security.   Councillor Elliott stated that he was concerned  that  the Citizens Advice were being pushed into making decisions that would affect their ability to deliver the service for, much of the time, the most vulnerable people in society.  The Leader,  in  response, stated that Councillor Elliott was right, but he said that  the reality was that the Citizens Advice needed, as everybody did, to work smarter.  The Council needed to ensure that the overheads were as slick as possible so that the delivery of the vital services could be undertaken efficiently and effectively to ensure  maximum  value for the public.       

 

Councillor Byatt  stated that  the Labour Group had no objection to the Council maintaining its funding of £199,600 for the next three years.  However, he said the report did not mention in the recommendations how  the budget for this  year, with three separate Citizens Advice in existence, was to be allocated.  Councillor Byatt said that the report provided clear details in respect of the disparity of funding and the lack of equity, not least because of the levels of deprivation that existed in the north compared to the south of the District.  Councillor Byatt asked why the report did not contain a recommendation to re-balance immediately and allocate the funds on the basis of community need.  Councillor Byatt referenced neighbourhoods in Lowestoft that were among the 10% most deprived in England.       

 

In conclusion, Councillor Byatt stated that as the report referenced, it was a service  that supported the most vulnerable and, as such, the Labour Group suggested a recommendation that the funding be allocated immediately, according to need.    

 

The Leader, in response, stated that the points raised by Councillor Byatt had been considered, and he  said  that  there were pros and cons to what was being suggested by the Labour Group.  The Leader stated the situation was that if more money was given to one group than had previously been given that would mean that less money would be given to another group.  There was, he said, a need to ensure that Citizens Advice was sustainable; it was, he said, for them to decide, in consultation with the expert that he hoped they would  employ,  what their model of  management was going forward.  The Leader hoped, he said, that there would be one management organisation, in the  future,  and  the whole sum would go to that organisation to spend as it saw fit  across  the area.   

 

RESOLVED

 

1. That the funding for Citizens Advice in East Suffolk be maintained at £199,600 for the three financial years 2020-21, 2022-23 and 2023-24.
2. That an additional sum of £7,500 be made available to enable the three CAs to secure independent support to help them to explore the transformation of Citizens Advice services in East Suffolk focussed on identifying the optimum structures to deliver the best outcomes for the East Suffolk population.
3. That East Suffolk Council should be directly involved in working with the three CAs to define the scope of this transformation review and receive the final report.
4. That the three Citizens Advice in East Suffolk be encouraged to explore all of the transformation opportunities available in the District over the next twelve months, with a view to freeing up resource for greater involvement in prevention activity and additional outreach into identified and agreed target areas. Reorganisation, and potentially a reduction in the number of Citizens Advice, may well be the best way to achieve this but objective support should enable the three CAs to work
together to fully understand both the opportunities and barriers to change.
5. That future funding beyond the end of the 2020-21 financial year would depend on evidence of progress towards transformation and that therefore a further report should be presented to Cabinet early in 2021, with a view to developing a new funding and performance framework for 2021-22 onwards.

NON-KEY DECISIONS
Report of the Cabinet Member with responsibility for Housing
6

Cabinet received report ES/0317 by the Cabinet Member with responsibility for Housing which, in his absence, was summarised by the Leader of the Council.  Cabinet was advised that a tenant,  purchasing their property through the right to  buy scheme, had  requested to buy a  small piece of land adjacent to  the property to include in their garden.  This land  was too small for the Council to develop, and would  have covenants to protect the land being used for  development, extensions or  a driveway which would increase the value of the land.   There were no  other  interested parties in the land and a price,  including legal fees, had been agreed with the purchaser which matched the valuation of the land by the Council's Asset Management Team.   

 

Cabinet  was advised that an equality impact assessment had been completed and there were no negative or positive impacts of the sale on any protected groups. 

 

It was recommended that the  land be sold for  the agreed price, the money would then be re-invested in the Housing Revenue Account and would reduce the Council's grounds  maintenance  responsibility in the area.       

 

In  response to a  question by Councillor Elliott regarding any protection that would be given to the oak  tree on the land, the Leader stated that  as the land was not in a conservation area and  the tree was  not protected by a tree preservation order, there would be no  protection in place for the tree.      

 

RESOLVED

 
1. That the piece of land marked on Appendix A be sold to the buyer of 5 Uggeshall Close, Lowestoft for £4,970 + £550 for the Council’s Legal fees.
2. That the title deed includes a covenant for the land to not be used for development purposes except with the express permission of the Council.

Report of the Cabinet Member with responsibility for the Environment
7

Cabinet received report ES/0319 by the Cabinet Member with responsibility for  the Environment who, in summarising his report, stated that he was so proud that the Council had achieved so much since, seven months ago, declaring a climate emergency.  Councillor Mallinder  referred to the work of the Environment Task Group and said that it would continue to monitor the Council's goal of being carbon neutral by 2030.  Councillor Mallinder added that he was hoping to develop the Task Group, to ensure that the Council was threading the environment through all of its policies and decision making. 

 

Councillor Mallinder made it clear that the work of the Task Group was not secret in any way, it was open about its work, and had a dedicated web page.  All members of the Task Group were encouraged to act as small ambassadors, talking to town and parish councils, and communities, about what the Council was trying to achieve.   

 

Councillor  Mallinder advised Members that the Council needed to look at its emissions; the Task Group had reviewed a greenhouse gas report that recorded emissions over a number of years; however, it was felt  that that was not enough and it  was felt that independent qualification was needed of what the East Suffolk position was with regard to  emissions.    Thus, Grounds Works had  been commissioned to  look at this.  This, in 2018/2019, was 6,200 metric tonnes; that was down 23% from the previous year.  Councillor Mallinder, at this point,  outlined where East Suffolk's carbon came from. 

 

Councillor Mallinder took the opportunity to highlight some of the issues within  the report, that were now included within an action plan; these were staff training, that had already began; leisure centre refurbishment; the installation of solar panels at East Suffolk House; landscaping at East Suffolk House to increase biodiversity; electric vehicles.  

 

Looking ahead, Councillor Mallinder outlined  that  he wished to work closely with Suffolk County Council, to develop joint goals of being carbon neutral.   Discussions had also been scheduled with the Suffolk Waste Partnership, with Biodiversity, and with Transport, looking  at developing a local air quality action plan, and work was ongoing with Planning colleagues, working towards guiding developers to be more environmentally engaged.     

 

In conclusion, Councillor Mallinder gave thanks to Member  and Officer colleagues: to the Head of Environmental Services for his hard work and dedication; to Task Group members, who all wanted to do the right thing for the Environment; to Cabinet Members for their engagement; to the Cabinet Member with responsibility for Transport for his recent car parking policy report which encouraged less but longer journeys to destinations; to the Cabinet Member with responsibility for Housing for his recent Housing Strategy which made it clear that East Suffolk Council was underlining the importance of the environment; to the Cabinet Member with responsibility for Community Health who, at every opportunity, encouraged car sharing; and to the Leader, for making the Environment one of ESC's top priorities.   Councillor Mallinder emphasised that the small changes that ESC made would always, over time, have a big lasting impact.    

 

The Cabinet Member with responsibility for Customer Services and Operational Partnerships asked what else communities could do and  how the Council could encourage them to get work underway as soon as possible.   In response, the Cabinet Member with responsibility for the Environment stated that he would encourage all communities to engage with their ward members; he referenced discussions at the recent Full Council meeting in respect of tree planting and community orchards.  He also referenced re-wilding of verges and the pilot schemes that  had been put in place at Southwold and Saxmundham.  Later in the year these would be expanded across the district.  Councillor Mallinder  felt that involvement and ownership were key, as were local volunteer groups, he said  that he would be happy to talk to town and parish councils.  He referred to extensive information being available on line to assist individuals who  wanted to  make a difference.   

 

Councillor Byatt thanked the Cabinet  Member with responsibility for the Environment for his  enthusiasm; he  referred to discussions that had taken place during the shadow authority period relating to the burning of biomass fuels in some Suffolk schools and asked if, in this regard, discussions were taking place with Suffolk County Council.   The Leader responded, stating he was sure that SCC would be considering this.      

 

Councillor Byatt asked if ESC could set up its own power company,  selling 100% green energy to residents.  In  response, the Leader stated that this was certainly a possibility. 

 

Councillor Byatt,  lastly, commented on the  number of properties that still lacked solar panels;  he thought  it was now more difficult to obtain subsidies.  In response, the Leader confirmed that  the Government was again looking at the  feed in tariffs.  Debate took place regarding the  cost of solar panels,  and incentives,  with the Leader commenting  that solar panels were not particularly expensive, it was the installation of the panels that was expensive, most of the  cost was related to the scaffolding that needed to be erected.  In response, Councillor Elliott stated that solar panels should be put onto new houses, when scaffolding was already in place.   

 

Councillor Elliott thanked the Cabinet Member  with responsibility for the Environment for his report,  and for his enthusiasm.  Councillor Elliott expressed concern, however,  regarding  the speed of  the work,  in  particular that the Task Group was only meeting quarterly in response  to the climate emergency that had  been declared.  Councillor Mallinder felt that quarterly meetings were adequate at the moment; he referred to the huge amount of work that was being  undertaken between the  meetings.  He commented that he would keep the frequency of  meetings under review.  The Leader added that the Task Group could meet weekly, with minimum achievement; he felt  it  was about  actions and  the  way that they were carried out.    

 

Councillor Elliott referred to training  for officers  and members.  He referenced Local Government Association training that had  recently been  attended by a member of his group, and recommended this for others.   The Cabinet Member  with responsibility for the Environment responded stating  that he would look into  this.  The Leader suggested  that if this  training  did take place it would make sense for the LGA to come to east Suffolk rather than lots of members and officers travelling.  

 

In response to a question  by Councillor Elliott asking if ESC would put in place a carbon  budget, which he  said  was a good way of looking at what was used, the Cabinet  Member with responsibility for  the Environment responded  that the Task Group would investigate this.    

 

Councillor  Elliott commented that councils could invest 5% of their pension fund into renewable energy schemes, which would generate money and save carbon.   This was, he  said, a positive opportunity.  

 

Councillor Elliott  asked when an Action Plan  would  be presented to Cabinet.  In response,  the Leader referred to all of the decision making by Cabinet, and Full Council, and  the fact that  the environment would always  be at  the  heart of that.

 

Lastly, Councillor Elliott referred to the Council' new Strategic Plan and referenced the big emphasis on growth; he was, he  said, concerned  that there was a conflict between the Council's climate action plan and its desire for growth.  The Leader, in  response, stated that  the two things were not fighting against each other; growth was, he said, not just about building lots of houses and roads.  It was about sustainable growth, which the Council was keen to achieve.  He gave a number of examples, one  being electric vehicle charging points, which was a positive thing.  The Leader stated  he  was confident that  he  had the right people,  both at Cabinet meetings, and at Full Council meetings, to challenge inappropriate growth  and, he further  stated, that they would have his  full  support in  that.     

 

The Cabinet Member with responsibility for the Environment added that development could  be a positive  thing; it could have  less carbon footprint and be more efficient in  resources.  

 

RESOLVED

 

That Cabinet notes the update on the work of the Environment Task Group. 

8 Exempt/Confidential Items

It is recommended that under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1 and 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.     

8

RESOLVED

 

That, under Section 100A(4) of  the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) the public be excluded from the meeting for  the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as  defined in Paragraphs 1 and 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.  

Part Two - Confidential
NON-KEY DECISIONS
9 Transfer of Assets in Bungay
  • Information relating to any individual.
  • Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).
  1. ES0318 - Transfer of Assets in Bungay
    • Information relating to any individual.
    • Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).
    1. ES0318 - Appendix A
      • Information relating to any individual.
      • Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).
    2. ES0318 - Appendix B
      • Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).
      • Information relating to any individual.
    3. ES0318 - Appendix C
      • Information relating to any individual.
      • Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).
    4. ES0318 - Appendix D
      • Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).
      • Information relating to any individual.
    5. ES0318 - Appendix E
      • Information relating to any individual.
      • Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).
    6. ES0318 - Appendix F
      • Information relating to any individual.
      • Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).
    7. ES0318 - Appendix G
      • Information relating to any individual.
      • Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).
    8. ES0318 - Appendix H
      • Information relating to any individual.
      • Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).
    9. ES0318 - Appendix I part 1
      • Information relating to any individual.
      • Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).
    10. ES0318 - Appendix I part 2
      • Information relating to any individual.
      • Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).
10 Exempt Minutes
  • Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).
  • Information relating to any individual.

Meeting Documents

  1. pdf Unconfirmed minutes of meeting (186Kb)
  2. Exempt unconfirmed minutes of meeting
    • Information relating to any individual.
    • Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).

Declarations of Interests

Member NameItem Ref.DetailsNature of DeclarationAction
No declarations of interest have been entered for this meeting.

Visitors

Officers present:

 Stephen Baker (Chief Executive), Kerry Blair (Head of Operations), Karen Cook (Democratic Services Manager), Andrew Jarvis (Strategic Director), Nick Khan (Strategic Director), Sue Meeken (Political Group Support Officer (Labour)), Agnes Ogundiran (Conservative Political Group Support Officer), Nicole Rickard (Head of Communities), Deborah Sage ( Political Group Support Officer (GLI)), Sam Shimmon (Tenant Services Manager)