Meeting Details

Cabinet
19 Aug 2020 - 18:00
Occurred

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  • Documents
  • Attendance
  • Visitors
  • Declarations of Interests

Documents

Agenda

Part A
Live Broadcast

Please follow this link to watch the meeting live on YouTube:

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1 Welcome and Announcements (Virtual Meetings)
The Chairman will welcome members of the public and Councillors to the meeting and remind those participating to mute their microphones when not talking. The Chairman will invite all Councillors and Officers participating in the meeting to introduce themselves. The Chairman will, at regular intervals, ask Councillors to indicate if they wish to speak or ask a question and Councillors will be invited to speak in turn by the Chairman. A vote on each item of business will be taken by roll call of each Councillor and the outcome of each vote will be confirmed by the Democratic Services Officer.
2 Urgent Items
The Chairman will announce if there is any item not on the published agenda which will be considered because it is urgent and will explain the reason for the urgency.
3 Declarations of Interest
Councillors will be asked to say if there are any items on the agenda about which they have a disclosable pecuniary interest which would prevent them from participating in any discussion of the item or participating in any vote upon the item, or any other pecuniary interest or non-pecuniary interest.
4 Minutes of Previous Meeting
The Councillors will be invited to confirm that the minutes of the meeting held on 8 July 2020 are a correct record.
488

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 8 July 2020 be confirmed as a correct record.

 

5 Decisions Reviewed by the Scrutiny Panel
The Councillors will consider the outcome of a review of a decision by the Scrutiny Panel under the call-in procedure. At the time of the publication of this agenda, there were none.
6 Have Your Say! (Virtual Meetings)
Members of the public may make representations to the meeting.  Each representation may be no longer than three minutes (500 words).  Members of the public may register their wish to address the meeting by registering online by 12.00 noon on the working day before the meeting date. In addition a written copy of the representation will need to be supplied for use in the event of unforeseen technical difficulties preventing participation at the meeting itself. 
489

A written submission from Councillor Crow was read to Cabinet in accordance with the provisions of Meetings General Procedure Rule 5(1) expressing concern about the negotiations between Newsteer and local residents on rights of access to allow the Alumno development to proceed.

Councillor Cory, Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Strategy, indicated that a written response would be sent.  

 

 
7 Waste, Environment and Transportation
The Cabinet will consider a report setting out the recommendations from the Waste and Recycling Task and Finish Group
490

The Assistant Director, Environment, submitted a report a copy of which had been circulated to each Member.

Councillor Bourne, Chair of the Waste and Recycling Task and Finish Group, attended and addressed the Cabinet and highlighted the cross party membership of the Group.  The Group had considered large amounts of information and met three times in a short period of time.  It had taken its role very seriously. The Group ws grateful for the support it had received from officers.  A particular highlight had been hearing direct from representatives of the waste crews.  The task before the Group was not easy and it needed to be recognised that the Group could not solve all the financial issues facing the Council and it was appreciated that a number of difficult decisions needed to be made.  The Group had gained a real understanding of the scale of the challenge and the constraints facing the Council in addressing the budget gap.  It had not been possible to reach a consensus across the Group on the issue of garden waste charges.

In terms of its proposals, the Group recognised that if garden waste charges were not introduced, other difficult choices would have to be made. It considered that the Garden Club element was superfluous, and that a start-up fee would only make any proposal more unpopular.  The importance of working with ward councillors on any introduction of wheeled bins was stressed.

Councillor Lissimore attended and with the consent of the Chair addressed the Cabinet, and thanked officers, particularly those working in waste and recycling.  Concern was expressed that those opposed to garden waste charges had been challenged to find alternative savings or income streams but had not been provided with sufficient detailed information to do this.  The Group had heard evidence of problems within the service, such as long working hours, health and safety issues, an over reliance on agency staff and difficulties with the routing software.  The service was underfunded. Cabinet should reject the introduction of garden waste charges.

Councillor G. Oxford attended and with the consent of the Chair, addressed the Cabinet. The Group had not achieved all he had expected it to. He did not consider that the level of information provided about other statutory and non-statutory services had been sufficient and was not in line with terms of the motion he had he had put forward in July. If more detailed information had been provided then the Group may have been able to come up with other suggestions. It was noted that there was a lower sickness rate on wheeled bin routes, but that the routes were also shorter so the statistics could be misleading.

Councillor Dundas attended and with the consent of the Chairman, addressed the Cabinet He noted the recommendations from the Task and Finish Group in respect of the Garden Club and the start up fee.  There was no information within the report about the potential impact of these changes on the viability of the proposals. The Garden Club had been an integral part of the scheme in ensuring the required take up by residents. If this analysis had not been done, Cabinet should not proceed with the introduction of charges.  When wheeled bins had been introduced in 2016, the administration had done so on the basis of consent.  To move away from this principle would lead to considerable criticism.


Councillor Cory, Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Strategy, thanked Councillor Bourne for her work chairing the Task and Finish Group.

Councillor Cory, Councillor Goss, Portfolio Holder for Waste, Environment and Transportation  and Councillor King, Portfolio Holder for Business and Resources, responded to the comments made.  Garden waste collection was a non-mandatory service and 65% of Council’s had introduced garden waste charges. Members of the Cabinet were not comfortable with the idea of introducing such charges, but the financial challenge facing the Council as a result of that coronavirus pandemic meant that it needed to be considered.  

The waste and recycling service was a high performing service.  The Council was currently recruiting both loaders and drivers, which would reduce the level of agency staff used.  However, there would always be some use of agency staff as they gave flexibility to the service in dealing with period s of leave and sickness.  It was also investing in additional vehicles.   The 6% overspend on the budget was not an unreasonable variance, given the challenges the service had faced during the course of the pandemic.

Considerable financial information had been provided to the Scrutiny Panel and the Task and Finish Group and to members more generally. A programme of budget workshops for members was underway.  In addition, where proposal impacted on staff and services, careful consideration needed to be given to how this information was released and presented.    

Councillor J. Young, Portfolio Holder for Culture and Performance, stressed the importance of listening to the views of residents and ward councillors, particularly in respect of the introduction of wheeled bins.  Whilst it was important to take account of individual circumstances, the Labour Group was in favour of wheeled bins on health and safety grounds, and as they were a more secure receptacle for waste.  There was also a need to consider how the service might be delivered in the future, particularly with the potential move towards unitary authorities.  

Councillor King highlighted the budget gap facing the Council and the need to deliver a balanced budget.  Whilst reserves could be used to cover this this in the current financial year, other solutions would need to found for future years and considerable work was underway to identify solutions. The Task and Finish Group could look again at the issue next year, when there was slightly more time and less pressure.  However it was recognised that in the absence of political consensus, at this stage, the proposals to introduce garden waste charges should not proceed.  

Councillor Fox, Portfolio Holder for Housing, thanked Councillor Bourne for chairing the Task and Finish Group  and officers for their work in supporting the Group. He stressed the need for the opposition to take recognisability for helping to find solutions to the budgetary position and expressed concern about the potential impact of other approaches to closing the budget gap. 

Councillor Cory indicated that the administration would continue to look for other ways of addressing the budget gap and would continue to lobby the government for further funding for local government.  In the absence of political consensus to take forward the proposals, the introduction of charges for garden waste would be withdrawn and therefore recommendations (a), (b) and (c) from the Task and Finish Group would not proceed. Work would continue with ward councillors on wheeled bins, as set out in recommendation (d). The administration had already met the requirements of recommendation (e).
 
RESOLVED that:- 

(i) Cabinet’s thanks to the Waste and Recycling Task and Finish Group be formally recorded.

(ii) Wheeled bins for garden waste be introduced in ward areas that currently have wheeled bins for black sack waste and build a roll out programme for the rest of the borough in those areas that are suitable for wheeled bins while working with local ward councillors.
.

(iii) The recommendations contained in the report submitted to Cabinet on 8 July 2020 attached at Appendix 1 to the Assistant Director’s report not be proceeded with;

(iv) Cabinet noted: 

the considerable detail on operational matters that officers supplied to the Group to help with their deliberations;

the willingness of the 3 crew members who answered questions and assisted members to draw out new lines of enquiry;

the offer from Portfolio Holder of Business and  Resources made during the first Task and Finish Group to lead two Budget Workshops for all members to attend and receive detailed information on current budget position and possibilities for closing the budget gap;

the offer of the Portfolio Holder for Business and Resources to work with a representation of members across the chamber to look at options for balancing the budget, while working in parallel to Cabinet decisions.

REASONS

In the absence of political consensus, Cabinet did not wish to proceed with the introduction of garden waste charges.

 
ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS 
 
It was open to Cabinet to agree the recommendations from the Task and Finish Group.

 


8 Exclusion of the Public (Cabinet)
In accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 and in accordance with The Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012 to exclude the public, including the press, from the meeting so that any items containing exempt information (for example personal, financial or legal advice), in Part B of this agenda (printed on yellow paper) can be decided. (Exempt information is defined in Section 100I and Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972).
Publication and Call In Information

Date Published 20 August 2020

 

Date when decisions may be implemented (unless ‘called in’) 5pm 27 August 2020.

 

NB      All decisions except urgent decisions, those subject to pre-scrutiny and those recommended to Council may be subject to the Call-in Procedure. 

 

Requests for the scrutiny of relevant decisions by the Scrutiny Panel must be signed by at least ONE Councillor AND FOUR other Councillors to countersign the call-in form OR to indicate support by e-mail.  All such requests must be delivered to the Proper Officer by no later than 5pm on 27 August 2020.

 

Part B
9 Minutes (Part B)
The Cabinet will consider whether the draft not for publication extract from the minutes of the meeting held on 8 July 2020 can be confirmed as a correct record.
491
RESOLVED that the not for publication extract from the minutes of the meeting held on 8 July 2020 be confirmed as a correct record.
9(i) 08-07-20 not for publication extract

Meeting Documents

There are no separate meeting documents but there may be meeting documents assigned to the Agenda.

Declarations of Interests

Visitors

Also in attendance: Councillors Bourne, Dundas, Lissimore and G. Oxford