Agenda and draft minutes

Strategy and Resources Committee - Thursday 15th July 2021 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Maldon District Council Offices, Princes Road, Maldon. View directions

Contact: Committee Services  Email: committee.clerk@maldon.gov.uk

Note: You need to register to attend this meeting – please see link under Media section below. 

Media

Items
No. Item

151.

Chairman's Notices

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and went through some general housekeeping arrangements for the meeting.

152.

Apologies for Absence and Substitution Notice

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors R G Boyce MBE, Mrs P A Channer and K W Jarvis.  It was noted that in accordance with notice duly given Councillor J V Keyes was attending as a substitute for Councillor Mrs Channer.

153.

Minutes - 15 June 2021 pdf icon PDF 831 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Strategy and Resources Committee held on Tuesday 15 June 2021 (copy enclosed).

Minutes:

RESOLVED

 

(i)              that the Minutes of the Strategy and Resources Committee held on 15 June 2021 be received.

 

Minute 103 – Workforce and Community, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Statement of Policy

Councillor Mrs M E Thompson advised that she had been asked to raise a matter of accuracy of behalf of Councillor Mrs P A Channer.  She advised that Councillor Mrs Channer had requested that it be minuted that she did not agree with the decision or advice of the Director in respect of this item of business.  This was duly noted and the Chairman advised that the Minutes would be amended accordingly.

 

RESOLVED

 

(ii)            that subject to the above amendment, the Minutes of the Strategy and Resources Committee held on 15 June 2021 be agreed.

 

 

During this item of business Councillors W Stamp and M F L Durham declared that they were Members of Essex County Council.

154.

Disclosure of Interest

To disclose the existence and nature of any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests, other Pecuniary Interest or Non-Pecuniary Interests relating to items of business on the agenda having regard to paragraphs 6 – 8 of the Code of Conduct for Members.

 

(Members are reminded that they are also required to disclose any such interest as soon as they become aware should the need arise through the meeting.)

Minutes:

The Chairman noted the declarations made by Councillors W Stamp and M F L Durham under the previous item of business.  There were no other declarations made.

155.

Public Participation

To receive the views of members of the public, of which prior notification in writing has been received (no later than noon on the Tuesday prior to the day of the meeting).

 

Should you wish to submit a question please complete the online form.

Minutes:

No requests had been received.

156.

Year-End Treasury Outturn 2020 / 21 pdf icon PDF 274 KB

To consider the report of the Director of Resources, (copy enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Resources reporting the Council’s investment activity for the financial year 2021 / 22 in accordance with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) Treasury Management Code, the Council’s Treasury Management Policy and Treasure Management Practices (TMPs).

 

The report presented background information regarding Treasury Management related to the Council and detailed information regarding:

 

·                  External context - Appendix 1 to the report had been prepared by Arlingclose (who provide treasury management consultancy and advice services to the Council) and gave an overview of the external economic environment. 

 

·                  Local context – Members noted that the Council was currently debt free and its capital expenditure did not include borrowing during 2020 / 21.  The Council had responded to a recent consultation ‘Future Lending Terms’ and the outcome of this and implementation of new lending terms were expected during this financial year.

 

·                  Investment Activity (April 2020 – March 2021) - It was noted that a prudent approach had been taken in relation to investment activity with priority being given to security and liquidity over yield.  An update on the impact from the coronavirus, related lockdowns and Government imposed restrictions was detailed.

 

·                  Performance – Budgeted Income and Outturn – It was noted that a difference between budgeted and actual investment income was due to the reduction of interest rates suffered at the beginning of the pandemic and continuing throughout the financial year.

 

·                  Compliance with Prudential Indicators and Treasury Management Strategy – As set out in Appendix 2.  It was noted that no prudential indicators had been breached and all treasury management activities were fully compliant.

 

·                  Outlook for 2021 / 22 (summary of advice from Arlingclose) – A brief summary had been provided and was noted.

 

The Chairman put the recommendation as set out in the report, this was duly seconded and agreed by assent.

 

RESOLVED that Members review the Treasury Outturn report for compliance purposes.

157.

Provisional Financial Outturn 2020 / 21 pdf icon PDF 276 KB

To consider the report of the Director of Resources, (copy enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Resources providing Members with the provisional outturn position for the year ended 31 March 2021 and movement in relation to the Council’s General Fund, Earmarked Reserves and Capital Commitments as at 31 March 2021.

 

It was noted that the draft Statement of Accounts was published on 22 June 2021 and the audit of this was due to conclude in September, therefore the figures detailed in the outturn report were provisional as they were subject to change.  The report provided detailed information regarding:

 

·                  Provisional Outturn – The report detailed budget variances which included pressures in relation to Covid-19 and Appendix 1 provided further detail of these.  It was noted that restrictions due to the pandemic were still ongoing and would require vigilant budgetary control going forward.

 

·                  Variance analysis – It was noted that an overprovision from a prior year relating to the pension fund adjustment had been identified.

 

·                  General Fund Balance - It was reported that this would remain above the minimum recommended level of £2.6m

 

·                  Earmarked Reserves - Appendix 2 to the report provided a breakdown of Earmarked Reserves and it was noted that there had been a net increase of £0.5m from 1 April 2020.  Appendix 3 detailed a number of revenue commitments carried forward to spending 2020 / 21

 

·                  Capital Commitments – The report highlighted a number of capital projects that were still ongoing and sought approval to carry these over into 2021 / 22.

 

In response to questions, Members were provided with the following information:

 

·                  the capital commitment - Blackwater Leisure Centre Air Handling Unit project detailed in the report, related to end of life replacement.

 

·                  In respect of the pension deficit and why this had not been picked up by the Auditors, Members were advised that the Auditors when auditing the Council’s account would not check every transaction but ensure that the accounts were a material, true and fair view of the Council.  The Chairman referred to how the Council was ensured it was accounting as accurately as possible.

 

Councillor M F L Durham declared an interest in this item of business as a Member of the Local Government Pension Steering Board and Investment Committee at Essex County Council who operated pensions on behalf of the District.

 

The Chairman thanked the Director of Resources, Lead Specialist Finance and their teams for their work.  He then moved the recommendations as set out in the report, this was duly seconded and agreed by assent.

 

RESOLVED

 

(i)               That the provisional outturn position for the 2020 / 21 financial year be noted;

 

(ii)              That the movement in Earmarked Reserves as set out in Appendix 2 be approved;

 

(iii)            that Revenue Commitments in Appendix 3 be approved to be brought forward to 2021 / 22;

 

(iv)            That the Capital Commitment roll forwards into 2021 / 22 be approved.

158.

Mid-Year Growth Bids pdf icon PDF 221 KB

To consider the report of the Director of Resources, (copy enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Resources seeking Members’ consideration of the proposed mid-year growth bids.

 

Members were reminded that due to the financial uncertainty caused by the pandemic only those growth bids deemed to be essential had been put forward for approval.  In-year growth recommended for 2021 / 22 had been presented to the Finance Working Group to provide an opportunity for challenge and detailed questioning and this was now brought forward to the Committee.  The proposed revenue growth bids were set out in Appendix 1 to the report and Capital bids at Appendix 2. 

 

The Chairman put the recommendation as set out in the report and this was duly seconded.

 

In response to a question regarding the capital growth bid for a replacement ride on mower, the Director of Service Delivery advised that this equipment was used by the Parks Team for its work and the bid was to replace the current piece of equipment which was 17 years old. 

 

The Chairman moved the proposal which was duly agreed by assent.

 

RESOLVED that the revenue and capital growth bids set out in Appendices 1 and 2 to the report be approved.

159.

Supplementary Estimates, Virements and Use of Reserves: 1 October 2020 - 31 May 2021 pdf icon PDF 238 KB

To consider the report of the Director of Resources, (copy enclosed).

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Resources reporting Virements and Supplementary Estimates agreed under delegated powers where they were below the levels requiring approval by this Committee and seeking approval where they were above these levels.  The report also informed Members of procurement exemptions that had been granted and the Use of Reserves during the year.

 

It was noted that there had been no virements or supplementary estimates requested during this period.  The report detailed nine procurement exemption requests had been received.  It was noted that there had been three reserve drawdowns, and these were set out in the report.

 

The Chairman put the recommendations as set out in the report and this was duly seconded.

 

In response to a question the Director of Resources advised that the monies attributed to Five Lakes related to elections would be reclaimed and therefore not a cost to the Council.

 

The Chairman moved the proposal which was agreed by assent.

 

RESOLVED

 

(i)               That the procurement exemptions detailed below be noted;

 

Item

Amount

Description

Reason

Authority

1.

£24,000

Ringgo to supply Pay by Phone Parking.

Extension of contract.

Approved by Director of Resources and Lead Asset and Maintenance Co-ordinator 09/03/21

2.

£21,600

To secure Five Lakes Arena as the verification and count venue for the elections.

The only venue of sufficient size within Maldon District.

Approved by Director of Resources and Director of Strategy, Performance and Governance 17/03/21

3.

£19,910

Redlynch to carry out patch repairs to the cold-pour safety surface of the Splash Park.

Patch repair quotes were sought to enable safe operational opening.  Redlynch were the only tender to submit a ‘patch’ repair quote at that time.

Approved by Director of Resources and Strategy, Policy and Communications Manager 13/04/21

4.

£31,816

Matta Products to install safety matting installation occur at 3 play sites.

Appropriate due to the uniqueness, exclusiveness and specification of the product.

Approved by Director of Resources and Strategy, Policy and Communications Manager 21/04/21

5.

£3,650

RDE Cardy for the Delivery, Collection and storage of Eight Knot Speed Limit Buoys.

Not possible to carry out a tender process due to government restrictions.

Approved by Director of Resources and River Bailiff and Emergency Planning Officer 27/04/21

6.

£29,368

John Grose to supply new parks vehicle (capital).

Unable to source a vehicle from any other supplier.

Approved by Director of Resources and Cemeteries and Bereavement Services Senior Co-ordinator 29/04/21

7.

£40,800

Stuart Agnew Harris Partnership

To supply COVID Enforcement officer.

Tendering would take an unreasonable period of time where safety protections will not be in place.

Approved by Director of Resources and Lead Specialist: Community 17/05/21

8.

£10,000

MRI Software to record all homeless approach, prevention and relief cases

current contractor has worked with the Authority for a number of years

Approved by Director of Resources and Specialist Services Manager 24/05/21

9.

£5,660

Essex Community First Aid Event Volunteers to provide Splash Park first aid

Contract initially under the £5,000 threshold but incremental requirements exceeded the threshold.

Approved by  ...  view the full minutes text for item 159.

160.

A12 Chelmsford to A120 Widening Scheme - Response to Highways England Public Consultation on 'Preliminary Design' pdf icon PDF 284 KB

To consider the report of the Director of Strategy, Performance and Governance, (copy enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered the report of the Director of Strategy, Performance and Governance presenting the Council’s response to the Highways England Public Consultation on the ‘Preliminary Design’ of the A12 Chelmsford to A120 Widening Scheme (Appendix 3 to the report) for consideration and recommendation to the Council for approval.

 

The report provided detailed background information regarding the work on A12 Chelmsford to A120 Widening Scheme.  A letter received from Essex County Council (ECC) to this Council to draw together thoughts on the design options being discussed was attached at Appendix 1 to the report.  The response to this letter from the Director of Strategy, Performance and Governance was attached at Appendix 2 and set out this Council’s concerns and missed opportunities to the junction design options.

 

The Chairman moved the recommendation as set out in the report, advising that this would be a recommendation to the Council.  This was duly seconded.

 

Some Member raised concerns in relation to the access from the District onto the A12, it was noted that these had been highlighted in the proposed response and how some of the proposals would result in reduced congestion in villages such as Great Braxted.  The Chairman explained that these concerns were echoed by Essex County Council (ECC) and how the Council would work together with ECC and Braintree District Council to get a better link from the A12 to the Maldon District.

 

In response to a question the Strategy Theme Lead: Place advised that due to timescales the Committee would be recommending that the Council ratified the response to Highways England.  This was noted.

 

The Chairman moved the proposal which was duly agreed by assent.

 

RECOMMENDED that the Council ratifies the response to the Highways England Public Consultation for the ‘Preliminary Design’ of the A12 Chelmsford to A120 Widening Scheme (as set out in APPENDIX 1 to these Minutes).

161.

Welcome Back Fund pdf icon PDF 142 KB

To consider the report of the Director of Service Delivery, (copy enclosed).

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Service Delivery informing Members about the Welcome Back Fund and seeking agreement of the principles by which the Council would engage with local business groups, lower tier authorities and other relevant stakeholders to ensure maximum local impact and value for money.  The report also sought agreement of the principles by which funding would be allocated and defrayed by 31 March 2022.

 

The Welcome Back Fund (WBF) had come from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to support the safe return to high streets and help build back better from the pandemic.  It also built on the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund (RHSS).  The scope of the WBF was divided into six strands and these were set out in the report. 

 

The report set out the RHSS and WBF funding that had been allocated by the Council and it was noted that following work undertaken last year the remaining budget was £145,558.  The proposed allocation of these remaining monies was set out in the report.

 

The Chairman put the recommendations as set out in the report.  This was duly seconded.

 

A lengthy debate ensued during which a number of comments were raised and in response to these and other points the following information was provided:

 

·                 In respect of the proposed new Specialist post to be funded, Members were advised it was common for part of the scope of Government funding to include it being able to be spent on resource to get the work done.  The Strategy, Policy and Communications Manager explained that this role was essential to ensure that the monies were spent.  Officers would be looking at how the Council resourced this for the future.

 

·                 There was a very tight timescale to achieve the work identified, however an action plan had been drawn up for the new post to action.

 

·                 Members were reassured that the Council would be actively engaging with businesses, communities, Town and Parish Councils and other organisations across the District to identify and prioritise needs.  It was noted that ways to utilise High Streets differently would be discussed and could include making sure spaces not utilised were used differently.

 

·                 In relation to Covid, an outbreak containment management plan was expected from the Government towards the end of July.  Although details of this plan were not known, it was acknowledged that there was a need to review how / replace current sign posting, stickering etc. was used in the future.

 

·                 The Council’s primary focus was ensuring that the funding was spent in the right way to help and support businesses and develop the High Streets. 

 

·                 It was confirmed that the fund was District wide and open to all businesses across the District.  The Council would be supporting all groups and ensuring that they were made aware of the fund.

 

·                 The Strategy, Policy and Communications Manager outlined the amount of funding available to the Council and the proposed use of it.

 

·                 In response to concerns raised regarding the management  ...  view the full minutes text for item 161.

162.

Exclusion of the Public and Press

To resolve that under Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972 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 Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act, and that this satisfies the public interest test.

Minutes:

RESOLVED under Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act, and that this satisfies the public interest test.

163.

Advice Service Contract

To consider the report of the Director of Service Delivery (copy enclosed).

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Service Delivery informing the Council of the results from the procurement process for the Advice Service contract and seeking approval for award of contract.

 

The report outlined the procurement process that had been undertaken to let a contract for an Advice Service to ensure that the Council was able to deliver its vital service after the current contract ended in October 2021.

 

The Chairman moved the recommendation as set out in the report, reminding Members that this would be a recommendation to the Council.  This was duly seconded.

 

In response to some questions the Director of Service Delivery provided Members with further information regarding the contract.

 

RECOMMENDED that Bidder 1 be awarded the contract for delivering an Advice Service from October 2021.

164.

Consolidation of Leases and Lease Extension

To consider the report of the Director of Service Delivery (copy enclosed).

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Service Delivery seeking Members’ consideration of a request to consolidate three current leases into one and agree a new long-term lease.  Appendices A and B to the report provided details of the lease and surrounding areas.

 

The report detailed the current lease agreements and request received from the lease holder to consolidate these agreements into one.  Members were advised that agreeing the new lease would reduce the administration associated with the three leases and three rent reviews and bring further benefits to the Council and lease holder.

 

The Chairman moved the recommendations set out in the report and these were duly seconded.

 

In response to questions from Members the Director of Service Delivery provided further details regarding the leases including their current value, the frequency of valuations and how if Members agreed to do nothing the current lease arrangements would stand.

 

Councillor W Stamp proposed that recommendation (iii) be amended to give delegation to the Director of Service Delivery in consultation with the Leader of the Council and Chairman of this Committee.  The amendment was duly seconded.

 

Councillor Miss S White proposed a further amendment that Officers review the lease agreement in terms of how often a rent review was undertaken.

 

The Chairman put both amendments to the Committee and these were duly agreed.  Upon a vote being taken the amended recommendations were agreed.

 

Councillor K M H Lagan asked that his vote against the recommendations be recorded.

 

RESOLVED

 

(i)              That the Council accepts a surrender of the unexpired term of the existing leases;

 

(ii)            That the Council agrees to a new single lease agreement for the three areas for a term of 50 years and that Officers review the frequency of rent reviews;

 

(iii)          That the Director of Service Delivery be given delegation authority in consultation with the Chairman of the Strategy and Resources Committee and the Leader of the Council, to agree the annual rent figure in line with a current market valuation.

165.

Lease Agreement - Park Drive, Maldon

To consider the report of the Director of Service Delivery (copy enclosed).

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Service Delivery seeking Members’ agreement of a new 30-year lease for a location in Park Drive, Maldon.

 

The current lease was attached as Appendix 1 and the new lease as Appendix 2 to the report.  The report provided detailed information regarding discussions undertaken by Officers and the proposed new 30-year lease.

 

The Chairman put the recommendations as set out in the report, this was duly seconded and agreed by assent.

 

RESOLVED

 

(i)              That the Council agrees a new lease for 30 years for an area of land at Park Drive, Maldon (as identified in the report);

 

(ii)            That the Director of Service Delivery be given delegated authority in consultation with the Chairman of the Strategy and Resources Committee, to agree the annual rent figure in line with a current market valuation with annual Retail Price Index (RPI) adjustment.


166.

Land Purchase Option Agreement

To consider the report of the Director of Service Delivery (copy enclosed).

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Service Delivery requesting authorisation to pay an option sum to secure an option agreement on land identified in the report and Appendix 1 to the report.

 

Members were reminded that the Council had previously agreed for Officers to look to spend developer contributions to secure potential development sites.  It was noted that the site outlined had been discussed at a recent meeting of the Finance Working Group and had been identified as having development potential for the provision of affordable housing.

 

The Chairman put the recommendation as set out in the report and this was duly seconded.

 

During the debate that followed and in response to questions from Members, Officers provided further clarification and information regarding the proposal.

 

RESOLVED that the option sum of £15,000 to secure an option on a potential affordable housing development site (as identified in the report), in accordance with the terms set out in the report, be agreed.

Appendix 1 pdf icon PDF 331 KB