Agenda and draft minutes

Strategy and Resources Committee - Monday, 4th January, 2021 10.00 am

Venue: Virtual - Online meeting. View directions

Contact: Corporate and Community Services  01271 388253

Items
No. Item

234.

Virtual meeting procedure - briefing and etiquette

Chair to report.

Minutes:

The Chair outlined the virtual meeting procedure and etiquette to the Committee and attendees.

 

The Senior Corporate and Community Services Officer confirmed the Members of the Committee, Members and Officers who were present.

 

235.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence received.

236.

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 7 December 2020 (attached). pdf icon PDF 310 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 7 December 2020 (circulated previously) be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

237.

Items brought forward which in the opinion of the Chair should be considered by the meeting as a matter of urgency.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that item 10 be considered prior to item 9 on the agenda.

238.

Declarations of Interests.

(Please telephone the Corporate and Community Services team to prepare a form for your signature before the meeting.  Interests must be re-declared when the item is called, and Councillors must leave the room if necessary).

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest announced.

239.

Covid 19 Update

Chief Executive to report.

Minutes:

The Chief Executive provided the Committee with an update in relation to Covid 19.  He advised that up until Christmas the Council had had 13 positive cases and a number of staff had self-isolated.  That had caused a noticeable impact on our services.  There were currently a few members of staff self-isolating whilst they were awaiting test results which was manageable. Over the Christmas period, the Council had moved from Tier 2 to Tier 3.  It was anticipated that the business grants scheme would be similar to Tier 2.  The vaccination centre located at the Leisure Centre had opened on 28 December 2020 and he was waiting further information regarding the roll out of the Oxford vaccine and the use of pharmacies.  Officers were working hard to accommodate six rough sleepers who were currently homeless. The Head of Resources was currently working on drafting the budget for 2021/22, following the Government’s announcement of the financial settlement for 2021/22.  It was projected that there would be financial shortfall for 2022/23 onwards.

 

In response to questions, the Chief Executive advised:

 

·         The arrangements for the vaccination centre at the Leisure Centre had been made between the Clinical Commissioning Group and Parkwood Leisure.  He would raise the issue of outside lighting and heating with Parkwood.

·         The guidance for Tier 3 was not to travel outside of your local area.  He would raise the issue of visitors staying in camper vans in the area.

·         The advice to leave your bin out for 48 hours if it had not been collected on the collection day still applied as the level of staffing situation could change.

·         More local vaccination centres had been set up in some other areas.

·         The appreciation expressed regarding the Waste and Recycling service crews would be passed on to the crews.

 

240.

Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 247 KB

Report by Head of Resources (attached)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report by the Head of Resources (circulated previously) regarding the Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2021/22.

 

The Head of Resources highlighted the following:

 

·         The Scheme was reviewed annually in advance of the new financial year.

·         The previous Council Tax Benefit scheme was abolished and replaced with localised support scheme for Council Tax in 2013/14. 

·         The local support scheme was aligned to other Councils as part of the Devon wide scheme.

·         The current Council Tax Reduction banded scheme for working age claimants was introduced in April 2020.

·         Four changes were proposed to this scheme from 1 April 2021 to bring the scheme in line with the changes being made by Central Government in Housing Benefit and Universal Credit.  It would also enable the Council to alter the scheme within the financial year should it be deemed necessary which would allow the Council to be flexible as to ensure that applicants were not disadvantaged following changes made by Government.

·         The Government had introduced a number of changes into the prescribed scheme for pension age applicants and it was proposed that the same changes be made to align the working age scheme as outlined in paragraph 4.4 of the report.

·         Full details of the four proposed changes were detailed in paragraph 4.5 of the report.

·         The Council undertook a comprehensive consultation on the proposals during the period 2 November 2020 to 13 December 2020 and were detailed in Appendix D and E.  

·         The cost impact to the Council was around 10% share of the Council Tax bill, and therefore the overall scheme would cost the Council approximately £650,000.

 

In response to questions, the Head of Resources advised the following:

 

·         The costs of the scheme as detailed in paragraph 5 of the report related only to the cost of the scheme itself and did not include administration costs.  The Council receives an admin grant of approximately £100,000 from the Government towards administration costs, however this did not cover the whole cost for administering the scheme.  The comments regarding changing the terminology and referring to customers as residents would be taken on board.

·         The overall administrative costs for the processing of applications had been reduced since the localised scheme was introduced in 2013.

 

In response to questions, the Revenues and Benefits Manager advised the following:

 

·         The length of time taken to administer and process an application depended upon the complexity.  If all evidence was provided and the application was made by a single person then an application would take approximately 20 minutes to process.  More complicated applications would take longer.  The average length of time to process an application was currently 11 working days.  This was higher than the national average due to an increase in workload.

 

RECOMMENDED:

 

(a) That Council adopts all four of the proposals, as detailed in 4.5 of the report and as in North Devon Council, Council Tax Reduction Scheme Policy S13A and Schedule 1a of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, Appendix A, from 1 April  ...  view the full minutes text for item 240.

241.

Urgent Decisions Taken by the Chief Executive pdf icon PDF 129 KB

To note the urgent decisions that have been made by the Chief Executive in accordance with paragraph 3.48, Annexe 2, Part 3 of the Constitution (attached).

Minutes:

The Committee noted the urgent decisions that had been made by the Chief Executive in accordance with paragraph 3.48, Annex 2, Part 3 of the Constitution (circulated previously), regarding officer authorisations.

242.

Exclusion of Public and Press and Restriction of Documents

RECOMMENDED: 

 

(a) That under Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the following item as it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 Part 1 Schedule 12A of the Act (as amended from time to time), namely information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information);

 

(b) That all documents and reports relating to the item be confirmed as “Not for Publication”.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: 

 

(a) That under Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the following item as it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 Part 1 Schedule 12A of the Act (as amended from time to time), namely information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information);

 

(b) That all documents and reports relating to the item be confirmed as “Not for Publication”.

 

243.

Bicclescombe Nursery, Ilfracombe

Report by Head of Resources and Estates Officer (attached)

Minutes:

The Committee considered a joint report by the Head of Resources and Estates Officer (circulated previously) regarding land known as Bicclescombe Nursery, Ilfracombe.

 

The Head of Resources outlined the report to the Committee.

 

The Head of Resources and Estates Officer responded to questions asked by the Committee.

 

Councillor Wilkinson declared a personal interest as the developer was also a Member of Mortehoe Parish Council.

 

RESOLVED that the Head of Resources be delegated authority to negotiate with the developer to achieve a minimum acceptable capital receipt as set out by Members in light of the presented reportand that if the minimum acceptable capital receipt could not be achieved then it be reported back to the Committee for consideration.