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Postal Address

Shropshire Council
Shirehall
Abbey Foregate
Shrewsbury
Shropshire
SY2 6ND

Agenda, decisions and minutes

Cabinet
Wednesday, 27th July, 2016 12.30 pm

Venue: Shrewsbury Room, Shirehall, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY2 6ND

Contact: Jane Palmer  Senior Democratic Services Officer

Items
No. Item

19.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from the Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Councillor Roger Evans.

20.

Disclosable Pecuniary Interests

Members are reminded that they must not participate in the discussion or voting on any matter in which they have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest and should leave the room prior to the commencement of the debate.

Minutes:

None were declared.

21.

Public Questions

To receive any public questions or petitions from the public, notice of which has been given in accordance with Procedure Rule 14.  The deadline for this meeting is 5.00pm on Friday 22 July 2016.

Minutes:

Mrs J Cullen had submitted a question relating to the proposed cuts to the Ludlow library opening hours and urged Cabinet to reconsider.  The Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture stated that a response to the question would be provided during consideration of the report on the ‘Review of Shropshire Library Opening Hours’ to be considered later in the meeting.

22.

Scrutiny Items - Financial Strategy Task and Finish Group - Final report pdf icon PDF 206 KB

Lead Member – Councillor Malcolm Pate – Portfolio Holder for Strategy, Financial Strategy, Budget and Business Plan.

 

Report of the Commissioning Support Manager TO FOLLOW

 

Contact: Tom Dodds            Tel: 01743 258518

Decision:

RESOLVED:

 

That the recommendations from the Financial Strategy Task and Finish Group be supported, namely:

 

i)     That capital receipts are used to cover redundancy costs to free-up the redundancy reserve, and other ear-marked reserves are reviewed to identify available money of more than £2million, to provide one-off funds to help fill gaps in the budget for 2017/18, but that in doing so plans are in place to replenish them for subsequent years.

ii)    That conversations should be held with Public Sector partners with a view to establishing a co-ordinated prevention programme for vulnerable people, and help manage demand to services and enable independence.

iii)   That Preventative Services and Housing Support Services are funded to continue in 2017/18, possibly using funding from reserves, whilst work take place with public sector partners, including researching what other Councils are developing for the future.

iv)   That infrastructure projects that will benefit the economy are a component part of the work to develop the Economic Strategy.

v)    That the Passenger Transport budget is reviewed to identify the point at which commercial bus services would be affected by reduced budgets, and the gap between the remaining budget and this tipping point closed using reserves.  

vi)   That the requirements of businesses from target sectors set out in the Economic Strategy to be retained and attracted to Shropshire are researched and implemented.

vii) That those services areas whose responsiveness is critical to achieving the proposed savings are reviewed to ensure that there are sufficient resources, and to establish where external expertise could add value and pace. 

 

 

 

 

Minutes:

The Chair of the Performance Management Scrutiny Committee presented the report detailing the findings of the Financial Strategy Task and Finish Group.  She applauded the work undertaken by the members of the Task and Finish Group.  She drew particular attention to the findings to date that recognised the challenging position of the Council and specifically identified the largest budget pressure created by Adult Social Care.  The Task and Finish Group had identified economic development as the growth area for the future. 

 

In answer to a Member’s query whether the Meole Brace golf course was amongst the assets to be sold off, the Leader stated that there were no plans to do so.  The Chief Executive added that the land in question was amenity land within the Council’s planning framework.

 

The Leader thanked the Task and Finish Group for its endeavours and Cabinet noted that the Group planned to continue its work in the Autumn 2016 when further opportunities would arise to make proactive and constructive challenge.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the recommendations from the Financial Strategy Task and Finish Group be supported, namely:

 

i)     That capital receipts are used to cover redundancy costs to free-up the redundancy reserve, and other ear-marked reserves are reviewed to identify available money of more than £2million, to provide one-off funds to help fill gaps in the budget for 2017/18, but that in doing so plans are in place to replenish them for subsequent years.

ii)    That conversations should be held with Public Sector partners with a view to establishing a co-ordinated prevention programme for vulnerable people, and help manage demand to services and enable independence.

iii)   That Preventative Services and Housing Support Services are funded to continue in 2017/18, possibly using funding from reserves, whilst work take place with public sector partners, including researching what other Councils are developing for the future.

iv)   That infrastructure projects that will benefit the economy are a component part of the work to develop the Economic Strategy.

v)    That the Passenger Transport budget is reviewed to identify the point at which commercial bus services would be affected by reduced budgets, and the gap between the remaining budget and this tipping point closed using reserves.  

vi)   That the requirements of businesses from target sectors set out in the Economic Strategy to be retained and attracted to Shropshire are researched and implemented.

vii)  That those services areas whose responsiveness is critical to achieving the proposed savings are reviewed to ensure that there are sufficient resources, and to establish where external expertise could add value and pace. 

 

 

 

 

23.

Revenue Monitor 2016/17 Quarter 1 pdf icon PDF 643 KB

Lead Member – Councillor Malcolm Pate – Leader and Portfolio Holder for Strategy, Financial Strategy, Budget and Business Plan

 

Report of the Head of Finance, Governance and Assurance TO FOLLOW

 

Contact: James Walton       Tel: 01743 255001

Decision:

RESOLVED:

 

i)             That it be noted that at the end of Quarter 1 [1 July 2016], the full year forecast is a potential overspend of £1.362m;

ii)            That the impact of this on the Council’s General Fund Balance be considered.

Minutes:

The Leader presented the report setting out the revenue forecast for 2016/17 as at Quarter 1 and also identified the current projections on the delivery of savings included within the forecast.

 

RESOLVED:

 

i)             That it be noted that at the end of Quarter 1 [1 July 2016], the full year forecast is a potential overspend of £1.362m;

ii)            That the impact of this on the Council’s General Fund Balance be considered.

24.

Capital Monitor 2016/17 Quarter 1 pdf icon PDF 342 KB

Lead Member – Councillor Malcolm Pate – Leader and Portfolio Holder for Strategy, Financial Strategy, Budget and Business Plan

 

Report of the Head of Finance, Governance and Assurance TO FOLLOW

 

Contact: James Walton       Tel: 01743 255001

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

            RESOLVED:

 

i)              That net budget variations of £4.4m to the 2016/17 capital programme, detailed in Appendix 1/Table 1 and the re-profiled 2015/16 capital budget of                 £66m be approved. Including new allocations of capital receipt funding as follows:

§     £0.036m for works to a shop unit at Shoplatch.

 

ii)            That the re-profiled capital budgets of £43.1m for 2017/18 and £18.8m for 2018/19 and £1.8m for 2019/20 as detailed in Appendix 1/Table 4 be approved.

 

iii)           That the expenditure to date of £5.7m, representing 9% of the revised capital budget for 2016/17, with 25% of the year having elapsed, be accepted.

 

Minutes:

The Leader presented the report that detailed the current position for the Council’s 2016/17 to 2019/20 capital programme taking into account the latest monitoring information on the progress of schemes and any necessary budget changes and re-profiling of budgets between 2016/17 and future years.

           

RESOLVED:

 

i)              That net budget variations of £4.4m to the 2016/17 capital programme, detailed in Appendix 1/Table 1 and the re-profiled 2015/16 capital budget of                  £66m be approved. Including new allocations of capital receipt funding as follows:

§     £0.036m for works to a shop unit at Shoplatch.

 

ii)            That the re-profiled capital budgets of £43.1m for 2017/18 and £18.8m for 2018/19 and £1.8m for 2019/20 as detailed in Appendix 1/Table 4 be approved.

 

iii)           That the expenditure to date of £5.7m, representing 9% of the revised capital budget for 2016/17, with 25% of the year having elapsed, be accepted.

 

25.

Treasury Management Update Quarter 4 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 171 KB

Lead Member – Councillor Malcolm Pate – Leader and Portfolio Holder for Strategy, Financial Strategy, Budget and Business Plan

 

Report of the Head of Finance, Governance and Assurance

 

Contact: James Walton       Tel: 01743 255001

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

            RESOLVED:

 

            That the position detailed within the report be accepted.

Minutes:

The Leader presented the report outlining the treasury management activities of the Council in the last quarter and congratulated the staff working in this area as they had successfully beaten their own benchmarks.

           

RESOLVED:

 

            That the position detailed within the report be accepted.

26.

Annual Treasury Report 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 215 KB

Lead Member – Councillor Malcolm Pate – Leader and Portfolio Holder for Strategy, Financial Strategy, Budget and Business Plan

 

Report of the Head of Finance, Governance and Assurance

 

Contact: James Walton       Tel: 01743 255001

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

            RESOLVED:

 

            That the position as detailed in the report be noted.

Minutes:

The Leader presented the report informing Members of the Council’s treasury management activities for 2015/16 including the investment performance of the internal treasury team to 31 March 2016.       

 

RESOLVED:

 

            That the position as detailed in the report be noted.

27.

Treasury Management Update Quarter 1 2016/17 pdf icon PDF 308 KB

Lead Member – Councillor Malcolm Pate – Leader and Portfolio Holder for Strategy, Financial Strategy, Budget and Business Plan

 

Report of the Head of Finance, Governance and Assurance

 

Contact: James Walton       Tel: 01743 255001

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

            RESOLVED:

 

            That the position as detailed in the report, be accepted.

Minutes:

The Leader presented the report that outlined the treasury management activities of the Council in the last quarter and highlighted the economic environment in which the treasury management decisions had been made.

 

RESOLVED:

 

            That the position as detailed in the report, be accepted.

28.

Review of Shropshire Library Opening Hours pdf icon PDF 112 KB

Lead Member – Councillor Stuart West – Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture

 

Report of the Director of Place and Enterprise

 

Contact: George Candler   Tel: 01743 255003

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

            RESOLVED:

 

i)     That the recommendations be confirmed as set out within section 7.0 of this report to reduce library opening hours for Ludlow, Market Drayton, Oswestry, Shrewsbury, Whitchurch, Bayston Hill, Gobowen, Much Wenlock, the Lantern and Wem and delegates to the Director of Place and Enterprise in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Culture and Leisure Services all aspects of the detailed implementation of the proposals.

ii)    That the final recommendation to review library opening hours at Bridgnorth be delegated to the Director of Place and Enterprise in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture following consideration of the outcomes of the pubic consultation on Customer Service provision.

 

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture presented the report that set out the progress made in the Council’s redesign of its library services and the future approach to supporting the provision of modern and sustainable library services.        He stressed that the future approach comprised mild savings that resulted in libraries remaining open.  Drawing attention to the analysis of usage and trends for each library, he commented on the individual scheme of opening hours for each library that represented a total of 57 hours’ closure across 11 libraries.

 

RESOLVED:

 

i)    That the recommendations be confirmed as set out within section 7.0 of this report to reduce library opening hours for Ludlow, Market Drayton, Oswestry, Shrewsbury, Whitchurch, Bayston Hill, Gobowen, Much Wenlock, the Lantern and Wem and delegates to the Director of Place and Enterprise in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Culture and Leisure Services all aspects of the detailed implementation of the proposals.

ii)   That the final recommendation to review library opening hours at Bridgnorth be delegated to the Director of Place and Enterprise in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture following consideration of the outcomes of the pubic consultation on Customer Service provision.

 

29.

Proposals for the closure of Shawbury Library and for alternative library service provision pdf icon PDF 142 KB

Lead Member – Councillor Stuart West – Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture

 

Report of the Director of Place and Enterprise

 

Contact: George Candler   Tel: 01743 255003

 

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

                        RESOLVED:

 

i)           That Shawbury Library is closed as soon as practical and that a new weekly mobile library service is introduced.

 

ii)         That discussions are undertaken with the Shawbury Village Hall Committee with respect to the future use of the existing library space and that in principle financial support is provided for potential investment in the reconfiguration of the existing space on an “invest to save basis”, should agreement be reached that the current lease arrangement can be terminated. 

 

iii)       That delegated authority be granted to the Director of Place and Enterprise in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture to take any further consequential decisions relating to the closure of the library.

 

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture presented the report seeking approval for the closure of Shawbury library in the Autumn 2016.  He stressed that the Council had taken into account the low level usage of this facility and the relatively high transactional costs.  Cabinet noted that a new weekly mobile service would be provided in future.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Highways and Transportation, the local Member, confirmed that a petition of over 1200 signatures and ongoing discussions over a 12-month period had not put a halt to the steady decline in user numbers. He commented that the majority of the local population comprised Forces personnel and families and they had a library on the camp.  In answer to a Member’s query, he advised that, because of security issues, the library on the camp could not be made available to the local population.  He concluded that he was grateful that a mobile library was to be introduced.

 

RESOLVED:

 

i)           That Shawbury Library is closed as soon as practical and that a new weekly mobile library service is introduced.

 

ii)         That discussions are undertaken with the Shawbury Village Hall Committee with respect to the future use of the existing library space and that in principle financial support is provided for potential investment in the reconfiguration of the existing space on an “invest to save basis”, should agreement be reached that the current lease arrangement can be terminated. 

 

iii)        That delegated authority be granted to the Director of Place and Enterprise in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture to take any further consequential decisions relating to the closure of the library.

 

30.

West Midlands Rail and Department for Transport Collaboration Agreement pdf icon PDF 131 KB

Lead Member – Councillor Simon Jones – Portfolio Holder for Highways and Transportation

 

Report of the Director of Place and Enterprise

 

Contact: George Candler   Tel: 01743 255003

 

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

            RESOLVED:

 

i)              That the progress being made by WMR Ltd towards meeting the objectives of the company be noted;

 

ii)           That approval be given to Shropshire Council casting its vote, (through its nominated Director representative), in favour of the special resolution that is necessary under Article 8.3 of West Midlands Rail Limited (WMR Ltd) Articles of Association to authorise the signing of the Collaboration Agreement (included with this report as appendix A), whether that resolution is passed in writing or at a General Meeting of the Company.

 

Minutes:

            The Portfolio Holder for Highways and Transportation drew attention to the clause that would allow the Council to step back and resign from the Board if it did not agree with the way forward.  He drew attention to the benefits of having a seat at the table that would allow the authority to have an input in future developments.

 

In answer to a Member’s query on current fare structures, the Portfolio Holder stated that an Officer Group was currently working on the issue of fare rationalisation and that the Council had influence to discuss local issues regarding potential tenderers for the benefit of Shropshire.

           

            RESOLVED:

 

i)              That the progress being made by WMR Ltd towards meeting the objectives of the company be noted;

 

ii)            That approval be given to Shropshire Council casting its vote, (through its nominated Director representative), in favour of the special resolution that is necessary under Article 8.3 of West Midlands Rail Limited (WMR Ltd) Articles of Association to authorise the signing of the Collaboration Agreement (included with this report as appendix A), whether that resolution is passed in writing or at a General Meeting of the Company.

 

31.

Shropshire Council Bus Strategy 2016-2021 pdf icon PDF 117 KB

Lead Member – Councillor Simon Jones – Portfolio Holder for Highways and Transportation

 

Report of the Director of Place and Enterprise

 

Contact: George Candler   Tel: 01743 255003

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

            RESOLVED:

 

            That the proposal to undertake full stakeholder and public consultation of the draft Bus Strategy and service prioritisation process be approved.

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder for Highways and Transportation presented the report that provided an update on the proposed Bus Strategy and service prioritisation process 2016 to 2021 and the proposal to undertake full public and stakeholder consultation prior to its adoption.

 

During the ensuing discussion the following points were made:

 

o   The Strategy was to be welcomed and it was anticipated that the current provision would be improved

o   Transport links with other forms of transport e.g. rail should be prioritised

o   The need to mitigate problems that occur because of cross border service providers

o   Need to recognise the importance of post 16 transport between Ludlow and Kidderminster

o   Community transport schemes – need to give consideration to the procedures and the merits of simplifying the process for voluntary groups.  Any assistance to such schemes to be welcomed. Contracts preferable to Service Level Agreements.

o   Recognition of the lifeline provided by community transport schemes

           

In acknowledging the comments made, the Portfolio Holder for Highways and Transportation agreed that cross border subsidised routes were problematic and this resulted from the specific authorities having different procedures and rules.  Referring to community transport he commented that by moving to a fixed term contract a guaranteed income stream would be secured.  He commented that the Council paid a base grant to community transport schemes and a figure for each passenger.

 

RESOLVED:

 

            That the proposal to undertake full stakeholder and public consultation of the draft Bus Strategy and service prioritisation process be approved.

32.

Connecting Shropshire Phase 2b Procurement Strategy pdf icon PDF 96 KB

Lead Member – Councillor Steve Charmley – Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Business and Economy

 

Report of the Director of Place and Enterprise

 

Contact: George Candler   Tel: 01743 255003

 

 

 

Decision:

            RESOLVED:

 

i)     That Connecting Shropshire commences a formal OJEU ‘open procurement’ process defined as Phase 2b, as soon as practically possible, using the funding (£11.7m) and defined preferences (<15Mbps) as laid out in its recently adopted Broadband Strategy.

 

ii)    That the Director for Place and Enterprise, in consultation with the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Business and Economy be granted authority to agree the OJEU tender specification and evaluation criteria that will meet with the broadband strategic objectives as defined in the Local Broadband Plan Shropshire for 2016-2020 approved by Cabinet on 13 July 2016.

 

iii)   That a report on the outcome of the procurement process is prepared and presented back to Cabinet to seek a decision on a contract award.

 

 

Minutes:

The Leader presented the report setting out the recommended procurement approach for Phase 2b of the Connecting Shropshire Programme in line with the recent Broadband Strategy approved by Cabinet at its meeting on 13 July 2016. He commented on the difficulties within the county and made reference to the ‘hard to do’ places that needed to be picked up as part of the procurement process.  The Portfolio Holder for Business and Economy agreed the importance of Broadband and recognised the ‘not spots’ and slow speed areas within the county.  He assured Members that these issues would be addressed and those who had been shouting loudly about the poor provision had been heard loud and clear.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

i)       That Connecting Shropshire commences a formal OJEU ‘open procurement’ process defined as Phase 2b, as soon as practically possible, using the funding (£11.7m) and defined preferences (<15Mbps) as laid out in its recently adopted Broadband Strategy.

 

ii)      That the Director for Place and Enterprise, in consultation with the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Business and Economy be granted authority to agree the OJEU tender specification and evaluation criteria that will meet with the broadband strategic objectives as defined in the Local Broadband Plan Shropshire for 2016-2020 approved by Cabinet on 13 July 2016.

 

iii)     That a report on the outcome of the procurement process is prepared and presented back to Cabinet to seek a decision on a contract award.

 

 

33.

Community Asset Transfer - Bog Visitor Centre, Stiperstones pdf icon PDF 134 KB

Lead Members – Councillor Michael Wood – Portfolio Holder for Corporate Support and Councillor Robert Tindall – Deputy Portfolio Holder for Estates and Built Assets

 

Report of the Director of Place and Enterprise

 

Contact: George Candler   Tel: 01743 255003

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

            RESOLVED:

 

            That Cabinet agrees in principle that the Organisation be granted a 25 year lease of the Asset and delegated authority be granted to the Head of Commercial          Services to agree final terms of the lease and to complete the transaction.

Minutes:

The Deputy Portfolio Holder for Estates and Built Assets presented the report that summarised the assessment of the application made by the Bog Visitor Centre, Stiperstones CC in respect of the Bog Visitor Centre to progress to transfer by way of a 25-year lease.  He stated that the rent would be below the market value but the new lessee would undertake necessary repairs. He added that the organisation would re-invest any surplus into the building and the services provided.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That Cabinet agrees in principle that the Organisation be granted a 25 year lease of the Asset and delegated authority be granted to the Head of Commercial          Services to agree final terms of the lease and to complete the transaction.

 

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