Agenda and minutes
Venue: Committee Room 1 - Wallasey Town Hall. View directions
Contact: Shirley Hudspeth 0151 691 8559 Committee and Civic Services Manager
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Julie McManus.
Members' Code of Conduct - Declarations of Interest
Members of the Cabinet are asked to consider whether they have any disclosable pecuniary and/or any other relevant interest, in connection with any item(s) on this agenda and, if so, to declare them and state the nature of the interest.
No declarations of interest were received.
The minutes of the last meeting have been printed and published. Any matters called in will be reported at the meeting.
RECOMMENDATION: That the minutes be approved and adopted.
That the Minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 2 September 2019 be confirmed as a correct record.
Key Decisions – taken under delegated powers. Period 22 August 2019 (date of publication of last Cabinet agenda) to date.
Wirral Growth Company
Date of decision: 3 September, 2019
Effective from: 11 September, 2019
Highway Structural Maintenance Programme 2019/20 – Additional Key Route Network Allocation
Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Community Services
Date of decision: 6 September, 2019
Effective from: 14 September, 2019
Acceptance of Tender and Award of Contract – Garden Waste Composting Service
Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Community Services
Date of decision: 6 September, 2019
Effective from: 14 September, 2019
That the following Key Decisions taken under delegated authority from the period 22 August 2019 (date of publication of last Cabinet agenda) to date be noted:
Decision Maker: Leader of the Council
Date of decision: 3 September 2019
Effective from: 11 September 2019
· Highway Structural Maintenance Programme 2019/20 – Additional Key Route Network Allocation
Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Community Services
Date of decision: 6 September 2019
Effective from: 14 September 2019
· Acceptance of Tender and Award of Contract – Garden Waste Composting Service
Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Community Services
Date of decision: 6 September 2019
Effective from: 14 September 2019
Councillor Pat Hackett introduced a report by the Chief Executive. The Wirral Council Plan 2025 was appended to the report for consideration and it was recommended that it be referred to the Council for consideration at its meeting scheduled for 14 October 2019.
The Cabinet noted that the Council Plan was:
· a high-level summary of the outcomes that the Council wanted to achieve by 2025;
· the key activity and priorities that the Council would deliver this year 2019/20; and
· the start of the Council’s process for further engagement and consultation with staff, residents and partners on what needed to be done collectively to achieve the Council’s ambitions for the Borough.
The Cabinet also noted that the Council Plan was a key organisational policy document and was, therefore, vital for the Council’s development in the coming years. Therefore, no other options were considered at the meeting.
Councillor Hackett reported that this was the final draft of the Plan and final comments were requested so that any amendments could be made before it was presented to the Council for adoption. It was a five-year Plan with clear deliverables for this year 2019/20. Adopting the Plan would enable the Council to begin to shape the future partnership plan and the views of partners and stakeholders would be sought over the coming months.
Councillor Hackett also reported that the Plan set out the Council’s ambitions for its residents in the year ahead and beyond. Those issues that residents contacted Members about on a regular basis were the matters the Council was determined to tackle in order to improve the quality of life for Wirral Council’s constituents. Issues including good working streetlights, ensuring repairs were carried out, safer streets, ensuring that they were kept clean and the roads kept in great condition, waste bins emptied on a regular basis, fly tipping tackled were just some of the things residents expected to happen and quite rightly demanded.
This Plan would ensure that residents were able to hold the Council to account over the next year and beyond. The Plan was grounded in reality. It was based on what residents had told Members and it was based on a realistic and achievable goal to improve the quality of life in the Borough.
Within the Plan there where a number of key outcomes e.g.
· a prosperous and inclusive economy where local people can get good jobs and achieve their aspirations;
· a cleaner greener Borough that celebrates, protects and is an improved environment and urgently tackles the environment emergency;
· a brighter future for young people and families regardless of their background or where they live;
· safe vibrant communities where people want to live and raise their families; and
· services which help people live happy healthy independent lives with public services there to support them when they need them.
Councillor Hackett informed that he had recently attended the Council Leadership Conference where he had stressed the importance of putting residents at the heart of everything the Council did and going ... view the full minutes text for item 31.
The Cabinet Member for Adult Care, Health and Wellbeing introduced the Public Health Annual Report (PHAR) 2019, an independent annual report of the Director of Public Health and a statutory requirement.
It was reported that engaging with cultural activities was good for everyone; it helped people to recover from illness, both physical and mental and protected against it; preventing illness and keeping people well no matter how young or old they were.
The 2019 Report, Creative Communities, explored the role of culture as a means of improving health and wellbeing, presented local examples of those bene?ts and called for everyone in Wirral to be part of a Borough of Culture legacy that left people happier and healthier.
The Cabinet noted that the PHAR was an important vehicle to identify key issues, flag up problems, report progress and inform local inter agency action. The purpose of the PHAR was to draw attention to local issues of importance which had an impact on population health. Since the Council took back responsibility for Public Health in 2013 it had published five reports on:
· Social isolation
· Healthy schools and children
· Domestic violence
· The roles of the Council and NHS in promoting health and wellbeing
· Problem gambling
The Cabinet was informed that these reports had led to action in the reduction of people smoking in the Borough to levels below the national average; increased support for people who were feeling socially isolated plus significant activity across a range of partners to highlight and reduce the damage caused to local communities from alcohol abuse and gambling.
The 2019 Report sought to influence the developing narrative around social prescribing and how the Council engaged and worked with local people to support them to live healthier lives.
This matter was not a key decision but did affect all the Wards within the Borough.
Councillor Chris Jones thanked the Interim Director for Health and Wellbeing and her staff for the hard work they had put into the report. She informed that the Council wanted to see a legacy from the Borough of Culture which would impact on health and wellbeing going forward. The case studies in the report had showed the impact the cultural activities had. The Borough of Culture had been fantastic and had brought a number of people together.
Councillor Jones informed that one thousand residents participated in the sofa session talking about culture and creativity and their own health and wellbeing. The report would hopefully inspire and energise individuals and encourage increased collaboration between different disciplines and organisations. The third sector had had a fantastic impact on this work.
Councillor Chris Spriggs emphasised the importance of the health and wellbeing aspects of the work that had been done. Arts and creativity had provided a positive impact on individuals and on communities for a whole range of reasons. People were much more knowledgeable now and there were many ways creativity was used to help people with their mental health and with social isolation connecting better and ... view the full minutes text for item 32.
The Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 3 July, 2019 has referred the Scrutiny Review into Statutory Care Plans to Cabinet for consideration.
Councillor Tom Usher, who had chaired the Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee at the time when the Statutory Care Plans Scrutiny Review had been carried out, presented a report which set out the findings and recommendations emanating from it. The Review had been undertaken to consider criticism about Care Plans in general and had met with social workers, young people, partner agencies and housing providers. The Cabinet noted that the Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee had considered the report at its meeting on 3 July 2019 and had supported its content and referred it to the Cabinet for consideration.
Councillor Usher informed that a number of recommendations had been made to the appropriate Cabinet Member who now happened to be himself. He reported that in 2016 when Children’s Services were deemed to be inadequate by Ofsted, there had been a need to focus on the quality of care planning and make improvements at pace. Consequently, the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had set about completing a major piece of work that had run parallel to the improvement journey. It took over ten months to complete.
In 2016 Ofsted had identified that case recording was sometimes poor and good practice standards had not been communicated clearly. Overview and Scrutiny Members had spoken to thirty professionals who had been involved in the lives of children in care and who had a part to play in the effectiveness of these care plans. These included foster carers and service users. Members had also spoken to young people about their experience of being in care. The Review had been purposely long which meant that Members had seen a lot of improvements being made before they had actually got to the end of the review process.
Councillor Usher reported that in 2019 Ofsted had found that care had improved in all areas. With regard to care planning Ofsted had stated that children in care now benefited from stronger systems and that care planning meetings were held regularly and supported the progress. There had been a shift in the care quality. However, there had been, in total, nineteen recommendations set out in the report and he was minded to accept all of them. There were a substantial amount of issues that required improvement.
Councillor Usher thanked all of the professionals and especially the Children in Care Council who had given up their time to help Members pick out some issues with the care planning process so that improvements could be made quickly.
Councillor Anita Leech commented that there appeared to have been a great deal of work gone into the Scrutiny Review and the resulting report was very good.
Councillor Janette Williamson thanked Councillor Usher for the work he had carried out in respect of the Scrutiny Review: she also thanked his predecessor, former Councillor Bernie Mooney and the Director of Children’s Services for their contributions.
Councillor Williamson was of the view that Children’s Services had performed exceptionally well to make the necessary ... view the full minutes text for item 33.
Councillor Anita Leech introduced a report by the Strategic Leadership Team that recommended that the Council approve revisions to the future timetable for the preparation of the Wirral Local Plan, as set out in the revised Local Development Scheme appended to the report which would replace the Local Development Scheme adopted by the Council on 6 March 2018.
The approval of the Local Development Scheme was a Key Decision requiring the approval of the Council.
The Cabinet was informed that it had become necessary to review the Local Development Scheme because of changes to the timetable for the Local Plan; the expanded scope of the Local Plan, which would now be produced as a single document, containing both strategic and non-strategic policies; and changes to legislation governing the review of Local Plans. The Cabinet on 17 December 2018 had resolved that a revised Local Development Scheme be submitted for approval by the Council once the amended future timetable had been determined (Minute 47 refers).
The revised timetable for the preparation of the Wirral Local Plan, set out within the revised Local Development Scheme, would contribute towards the delivery of a wide range of Wirral Plan pledges related to People, Business and the Environment and the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy.
There were no alternative options available for the Cabinet to consider as the national regulations required the publication of an up-to-date Local Development Scheme, as soon as possible after the information became available.
Councillor Leech reported that the Council was now pressing ahead with the Local Plan and Members had received updates and briefing sessions as matters had progressed. The report set out the time frame which was extremely tight but in line with the Secretary of State’s letter to the Council in January 2019.
Councillor Pat Hackett congratulated Councillor Leech and the officers on the hard work that had gone in to the production of the Local Plan, one of the Council’s big priorities. He informed that the Council was on course to meet the deadline laid down.
That the Council be recommended to:
(1) approve the adoption of the revised Local Development Scheme attached to the report; and
(2) subject to the approval of (1) above, agree that the revised Local Development Scheme comes into effect on the day following the date that the Council resolution is passed.
Councillor Janette Williamson introduced a report by the Director of Finance and Investment that informed that Tranmere Rovers Football Club had a long and successful history of working in partnership with the Council to deliver commissioned services on behalf of the Council - and to deliver services that were not commissioned or paid for by the Council, but supported the delivery of beneficial outcomes to Wirral residents.
It was reported that the current relationship and communication channels with the Club were dispersed across the organisation, as individual officers were responsible for individual parts of the work commissioned from the Club. This did not provide for a whole view of the relationship the Council had with the Club, as one of its trusted partners, and the work that the Club did to support the delivery of critical Council functions, commissioned and non-commissioned.
The establishment of a Partnering Agreement set out the Council’s ambition to work with the Club on a more holistic basis and recognised their contribution to community activities and programmes to support vulnerable people. It also set out how both partners would work together for the benefit of Wirral residents and the Wirral economy.
The Cabinet was informed that in 2016 the Club had created an international business arm, forming an official partnership with the Inner Mongolian Chinese Government to grow football as a sport in China. The Club had been named as a key strategic partner in developing campus football in Inner Mongolia, the pilot province for football development. Subsequently, this business had expanded into international activities in North America, Indonesia, Australia and other provinces in China.
Members noted that the Club had delivered five coach education courses - in line with The Football Association international coaching badge - which had brought just under 150 Inner Mongolian coaches to Wirral. As a result of this, the Club had estimated that its international activities had contributed over £500,000 to the local economy.
This open and transparent way of working together provided an opportunity for fans, the public, members and investors to see the value that the Club brought to the area, as a community asset, in one place.
The Cabinet noted that the alternative option was to decide not to enter into a Partnership Agreement with Tranmere Rovers and to continue with the current relationship with the Club. The current relationship was based on individual commissioned projects that were not consolidated into one place. This meant there was no oversight of the commissioned and non-commissioned activity provided by the Club for the benefit of the Wirral community.
Appended to the report was the Partnership Agreement.
Councillor Williamson informed the Cabinet that Tranmere Rovers was more than just a football club. It was embedded in the heart of the community and for years had delivered on a lot of the Council’s public health outcomes. Since Mark Palios had become the Club’s Executive Chairman he had accelerated the programme and had added a lot of social value to the Borough. The ... view the full minutes text for item 35.
Councillor Janette Williamson introduced a report by the Director of Finance and Investment which informed the Cabinet that local authorities had a role to play in shaping regional financial services as part of their policies and partnerships. These policies and partnerships supported residents, developed local economies and met strategic objectives for promoting economic development; and also supporting small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) business growth and financial inclusion for all members of the Wirral community.
The Cabinet noted that the current UK banking institutions and infrastructure did not provide a diverse and inclusive financial service. Many individuals and businesses had been excluded from a basic banking offer, as they were considered unprofitable or too risky, within the standard banking business model. In the Wirral environment, this had been noticeable in multiple branch closures, withdrawal of free to use ATMs and increased reliance on a digital offer.
The impact of this had been keenly felt by the most vulnerable individuals and businesses. Reduced access to basic banking services had increased costs, placed unfair limitations when accessing other services / products and had reduced social mobility.
Councillor Williamson reported that a growing number of local authorities were now investing in community banks, challenger banks and other initiatives outside the mainstream financial services sector to help meet their local priorities.
Wirral and other authorities in Cumbria, Lancashire and Merseyside (the North West) had the opportunity to support the setting up of a regional bank called the North West Mutual (NWM) Bank.
The Cabinet was informed that the Community Savings Bank Association, registered with the Financial Conduct Authority was seeking to develop 19 regional community banking models across the UK, with London and the South West already in the pipeline and Wales and some other regions following close behind.
Prior to and once established, the Bank would need to approach potential social investors and regional anchor institutions, that shared the social and economic ethos of the mutual, to invest circa £20m of the share capital required. The Cabinet noted that it was intended to hold a potential investor day together with Liverpool and Preston Councils, once the appointment of the banking expert had been made.
It was noted that a due diligence exercise would review the case to establish a North West Regional Community Bank (The Bank) creating a regional community bank for the North West of England covering Cumbria, Lancashire and Merseyside.
The Cabinet also noted that the Council could use due diligence information that Regional Partners provided in conjunction with internally-sourced demographic information. This had not been explored further as the scale and reach of the project would benefit from an expert approach, and provide greater insight in specific requirements for Wirral residents and businesses.
This matter affected all Wards within the Borough and was a key decision.
Appended to the report was:
· Appendix A - Background to CSBA and recent history of Regional Mutual Banks; and
· Appendix B – A detailed analysis of Wirral Demographic Financial Inclusion.
Councillor Williamson told the Cabinet ... view the full minutes text for item 36.
Councillor Tony Jones introduced a report by the Economic Development Lead that informed that Peel Investments (Intermediate) Limited (Peel) had applied for a grant from the Wirral Waters Investment Fund (WWIF) of £400,000 to help secure £2,100,000 of funding which had been agreed from the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF). This was in addition to £300,000 of project finance that the Council had already agreed to fund through its capital programme, £100,000 from European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) and £300,000 private sector contribution from Peel. The funding would be used to develop green infrastructure and public realm improvements in the Tower Road area of Birkenhead, an existing public highway on land already owned and adopted (maintained by obligation) by the Council.
The ‘Civilised Street’ works would transform A554 Tower Road through wider pavements, shared surface areas and reduced carriageway widths, and would create some 1km of shared footway / cycle way. It would link to existing and proposed pedestrian / cycle routes and bus stops, facilitating access to wider areas, making Tower Road a high-quality destination for workers, students, residents and visitors accessing the area by these modes.
The ‘Green Infrastructure’ element of the scheme would see 130 new trees planted, comprising 90 large trees in pits located on grassed areas and 40 large trees in pits located on hard areas.
This scheme would integrate with recent sustainable transport improvements in the Wirral Waters area including recently completed shared footway/cycle ways on Northbank East and Rendell Street. Funding had also been secured via ESIF for the extension of the Northbank East scheme along Northbank West to the Duke Street junction where it would meet with a further STEP funded cycle route. All works in the area including the Tower Road Public Realm scheme were future proofed to accommodate the implementation of a mass transit solution.
These works would enhance the physical environment and accessibility associated with several key development and investment locations including the Wirral Waters Campus of Wirral Metropolitan College, Egerton Square amenity village, Tower Road Office and Maritime Knowledge Hub. Further, the scheme provided direct access linking committed footway and cycle ways to new housing within the Northbank/Tower Road development cluster totalling approximately 1,100 units planned to 2024, with key projects including Wirral Walters One/Legacy, Belong Village and Urban Splash. Tower Road was a key gateway route connecting Wirral Waters with Birkenhead town centre to the south. As such, the application was recognised to be crucial to contributing more widely to the success of the Wirral Waters development area, Woodside Waterfront and Birkenhead Town Centre regeneration initiatives.
The Wirral Plan: A 2020 Vision set out the vision for the borough and had economic growth at its heart to ensure residents were able to access good, high paying jobs in a stable and thriving economy. The Plan identified 20 key pledges that the Council, and its partner agencies, must deliver and the application for financial assistance directly supported the following pledges:
· Increase inward investment
· Workforce skills match business ... view the full minutes text for item 37.
Councillor Tony Jones introduced a report which sought the Cabinet’s approval to the Council entering into a PUT/CALL option with Peel Land and Property to enable Peel to nullify the risk of constructing Tower Road South (TRS), a speculative 3,116sq.m Grade ‘A’ office building on Tower Road South. From a Council perspective this major thoroughfare through Wirral Waters had been identified as providing significant growth opportunities.
The Cabinet was informed specifically that Peel’s construction of TRS delivered:
· A BREEAM Excellent rated Grade ‘A’ office building in the Four Bridges neighbourhood of Wirral Waters;
· Potential to create 280 gross direct and indirect jobs;
· 1 acre of brownfield land developed
· 150 college students assisted in their skills development and;
· Support for the development of the Mersey Waters Enterprise Zone by attracting new occupiers to Wirral Waters.
The Cabinet noted that the PUT/CALL arrangement worked by both parties entering into an option agreement that allowed for Peel to require the Council to purchase from them after an agreed period of time (in this case three years from practical completion of TRS) the building at the pre-determined purchase price (the PUT option) or for the Council to require Peel to sell them the property in the same timescale at the pre-determined price (the CALL option). The completed value of the building had been determined by a detailed scheme appraisal carried out by the Combined Authority as part of Peel’s application for SIF grant support for TRS. The triggering of the PUT/CALL option was not obligatory on either side and would have a definitive end date for accountancy purposes because, if during the three years post practical completion period, TRS was valued at a sum equal or greater than the PUT option price then the Council’s obligation to Peel immediately fell away. Notwithstanding this scenario and depending on valuation Peel could only trigger the PUT option at three years from practical completion of the building. The Council had, however, negotiated the right for it to exercise its CALL option anytime during the three years and without the obligation falling away. This meant that if market conditions strengthened over this period and the value of the completed development increased, the Council had the right to purchase the asset from Peel for the lower predetermined price.
Councillor Jones informed that the strategic case for the acquisition was set out in the report. However, the commercial details of the proposal were contained in the Business Case, attached as Appendix 1. This had been approved by the Investment and Change Board and was exempt from publication due to commercial sensitivity considerations under paragraph 3 Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972. (Minute No. 44 refers.)
The report informed that there were a number of options available to the Council to secure the construction of TRS. These were set out in Appendix 1, the Business Case.
Councillor Tony Jones reported on the need for investment in Birkenhead and Wirral as a whole. He informed that it was crucial in ... view the full minutes text for item 38.
Councillor Pat Hackett introduced a report that, in accordance with the Council’s updated Executive Decision Making process, sought approval to appoint external resources to provide ad-hoc support in the Network Management Service for the delivery of regeneration/growth objectives and to ensure that the Council’s statutory obligations in relation to network management and road safety were met.
The Cabinet was informed that an option to do nothing had been considered by officers and rejected as failing to progress and establish a Professional Services Contract would compromise the Council’s ability to meet statutory obligations, deliver Capital Programmes and support the aspirations of the Wirral Growth Company.
The matter was not a Key Decision.
Councillor Hackett reported that safe and well maintained roads were important to every resident, business or visitor to Wirral. They connected people to services, employment, education and healthcare and this was a fundamental part of their daily lives. The Council had significant regeneration plans which were being driven by the newly formed Wirral Growth Company. It therefore, needed expertise in this field to advise and deliver on how networks could be adapted and upgraded to meet increased visitor and investor demand. Specialist advisers allowed the Council greater autonomy to commission high quality, stand-alone project work and also provided the flexibility to change the level of resources to address peaks and troughs in workloads. The proposals set out in the report would work towards improving the transport offer for all residents, businesses and visitors creating a joined up and efficient transport system and making it easier to connect Wirral.
Councillor Stuart Whittingham informed that Wirral had some excellent network management traffic and highways officers working for the Council. However, in the light of the Councils regeneration proposals it needed extra capacity to drive them forward.
That the appointment of advisors via the Merseytravel Consultancy Services Multi Party Framework Agreement 2019, subject to completion of Contract Procedure Rules, to provide ad-hoc support services in highways development control, traffic management and road safety up to a value of £450,000 as set out in the proposal below be approved:
(1) Procurement of specialist advisor resource be via the Merseytravel Consultancy Services Multi-Party Framework Lot 7. The hourly rates offered through this framework are considered to represent good value for money in the present market. The framework has already been successfully used by Wirral Council for engineering services over the past 14 months and it is likely to offer better value than alternative procurement routes. At this stage it is envisaged that the services may be required up to a maximum total fee value of £450,000 between November 2019 and November 2021, extendable by a further 12 months subject to performance, but there will be no guarantee of the type, timing, quantity or value of work that will be issued through the contract.
(2) A mini-competition between interested specialist advisors within the relevant framework lot be administered by the Council's Procurement Team through the Due North electronic tendering portal, The Chest. ... view the full minutes text for item 39.
Councillor Janette Williamson introduced a report which informed that, in accordance with the Council’s updated Executive Decision Making process, approval was sought to appoint external resource to provide technical support in the Commercial Management Service for the delivery of the Council’s Highways and Transport Capital Programme and overall regeneration/growth objectives.
This matter was not a Key Decision.
The Cabinet noted that the option of doing nothing had been considered by officers and rejected because failing to progress and establish a professional services civil engineering services support contract would compromise the Council’s ability to meet its statutory obligations, to deliver Capital Programmes, to support the Council Plan, the City Region Network Development Plans and the aspirations of the Wirral Growth Company.
Councillor Janette Williamson informed that the contract provided various specialist services to help the Council to deliver its Highways Capital Programme and other infrastructure needed to drive the agenda forward on regeneration and growth. There would be complete flexibility around the services that the Council would request from the contract which would be mainly financed through the Capital Programme and grants. It was not possible to carry out this work without external support and expertise.
The supplier was a large national company and the service would be run from their Liverpool office and the Council had a good working relationship with the company which provided similar services across the Liverpool City Region. The supplier had offered the Council a very good deal and would provide very good value for money compared to the current market. It had pledged to deliver on significant social value outcomes to the Borough. The social value would be monitored to establish whether or not it was being delivered.
Councillor Stuart Whittingham informed that he was fully in support of providing this additional civil engineering capacity. This would provide a vital resource which the Council could dip in and out of as and when needed.
That the appointment of a specialist civil engineering services supplier via the Merseytravel Consultancy Services Multi Party Framework Agreement 2019, subject to completion of Contract Procedure Rules, to provide ad-hoc support services in highways-related civil engineering services up to a value of £400,000 as set out in the proposal below be approved:
(1) Procurement of a specialist Civil Engineering services provider be via the Merseytravel Consultancy Services Multi-Party Framework Lot 4. The hourly rates offered through this framework are considered to represent very good value for money in the present market. The framework has been successfully used by the Council’s Commercial Management Service for civil engineering services over the past 14 months, and it is likely to offer better value than any alternative procurement routes. At this stage it is envisaged that the services may be required up to a maximum total fee value of £400,000 between October 2019 and October 2020, extendable by a further 12 months, subject to performance and at the Council’s sole discretion, but there will be no guarantee of the type, timing, quantity or ... view the full minutes text for item 40.
Councillor Tony Jones introduced a report which sought the Cabinet’s approval to provide a grant to enable the company named in Appendix 1 to the report to diversify, expand and create jobs, in line with the objectives of the Council’s Business Investment Fund and Wirral Growth Plan.
It was reported that Appendix 1 contained commercially sensitive project and company information. Accordingly, it had been deemed to be exempt from disclosure under Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended). (Minute No. 45 refers.)
Members noted that applications for Business Investment Funding were considered by the Council’s Wirral Waters Programme Board, comprising of senior officers from the Council’s Regeneration, Legal, Strategic Transport, Place and Investment and Finance Departments. Applications were assessed against criteria including reviewing the plans and proposals for compliance against the objectives as well as the deliverability of the project and future sustainability. This process included an assessment of outputs in respect of employment opportunities, investment leveraged, and the degree of financial support requested.
The Cabinet was informed that the company had an ambitious business plan for its Bromborough operation, which stated that its main objective over the next three years was ‘growth in turnover and diversification of the customer base [to] provide a greater contribution to fixed overheads and so deliver significant profit improvements’.
The company currently employed 121 FTE staff at its Bromborough site. If successful in securing Business Investment Fund, the company had forecasted that they would employ an additional 10 FTE posts by 31 March 2020 and a further 10 posts by 31 March 2021. In delivering this project, the future of the company and the current FTE would be increasingly secure.
The Cabinet noted that grant funding would enable maximum benefits realisation for this project. The applicant had explained that without the grant, it would have to scale back the project to reduce the call on its working capital. The applicant had stated that it was likely that it would not enter into the lease of two additional commercial units in order to free up working capital to repay hire purchase costs. The company would consider building new rooms in its current premises, without recommended upgrades which could jeopardise their industry accreditation.
The offer of financial assistance, if agreed, would be made to the company subject to a legal contract being put in place between the Council and the company as the applicant.
This matter was not a key decision.
Councillor Tony Jones reported that the Council was committed to create an environment where local businesses could and would thrive and grow. The Business Investment Fund accelerated the growth of the Borough’s Small and Medium Businesses and created jobs for local residents. It also sent out the right signals that Wirral was open for business. Awarding this grant would support a company with a track record of delivering growth and employment in Wirral to reach new markets and to employ an additional twenty full-time staff in ... view the full minutes text for item 41.
Exempt Information - Exclusion of the Press and Public
The following items contain exempt information.
RECOMMENDATION: That, under section 100 (A) (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined by the relevant paragraphs of Part I of Schedule 12A (as amended) to that Act. The Public Interest test has been applied and favours exclusion.
That, under section 100 (A) (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined by paragraph 3 of Part I of Schedule 12A (as amended) to that Act. The Public Interest test had been applied and favoured exclusion.
Wirral Waters Investment Fund - Exempt Appendices
Exempt appendices to agenda item 10.
That further to Minute No 37 above the content of the exempt appendices circulated with the agenda be noted.
Tower Road South Office Development: Put/Call Option - Exempt Appendix
Exempt appendix to agenda item 11.
That further to Minute No 38 above the content of the exempt appendix circulated with the agenda be noted.
Request for Financial Assistance - Exempt Appendix
Exempt appendix to agenda item 14.
That further to Minute No 41 above the content of the exempt appendix circulated with the agenda be noted.