Agenda and minutes
Venue: Committee Room 1 - Wallasey Town Hall. View directions
Members' Code of Conduct - Declarations of Interest
Members of the Cabinet are asked to consider whether they have any disclosable pecuniary or non pecuniary interests 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.
Councillor Phil Davies introduced a report by the Chief Executive which included a refreshed Corporate Plan for the period 2015-2016 (Appendix 1) for the Cabinet’s consideration and referral to the Council meeting scheduled for 8 December 2014.
The Corporate Plan for 2013-2016 had been agreed by the Council at its meeting on 5 March 2013, following extensive consultation with residents, partners and other stakeholders. It provided the Council with a clear vision, a set of priorities and was the basis upon which a performance framework would be developed to monitor progress made on defined objectives. The Chief Executive’s report also contained the Council’s current financial position for the same time (Appendix2).
The Corporate Plan was the Council’s key policy document and provided a robust approach to its’ business planning; ensuring that its’ vision, priorities and spending decisions were based on sound evidence, thorough analysis and understanding of community needs.
Councillor Phil Davies informed the Cabinet that the Council’s overwhelming challenge was to deal with a hugely reducing budget. It would need to come up with innovative ways to approach this, be able to work in partnership and make very difficult decisions. The Council was focusing on collecting debts and had £70m to save over the next two years. The Corporate Plan was a road map for how this would be achieved.
Councillor Phil Davies told the Cabinet that there was no need to alter the Council’s overall corporate priorities as they were still relevant and appropriate. The Council Tax had been frozen and plans were in place to achieve three overarching priorities and the Council’s vision. The Council had invest £1.5m in new housing, £1.5m in cleaning entries and substantial resources to help unemployed people to get back into work.
In terms of economic development, Councillor Phil Davies informed that he had received a very positive report on the holding of the Open Golf Championship on the Wirral. The Council was one of the first Councils to become a Living Wage Council and it was now working with businesses to achieve Living Wage Borough status. Councillor Phil Davies was also working towards persuading the Government to devolve funding to the City Region.
Councillor Phil Davies informed that areas with the largest levels of deprivation e.g. Merseyside had received the most funding cuts and he was worried about another five years of austerity and what would be left of local government at the end of it. He asked each Cabinet Members to set out his or her priorities in respect of their respective portfolios.
Councillor Ann McLachlan informed that there was a section in the Corporate Plan on how to deliver things differently e.g. Strategic Commissioning. She emphasised the need to streamline services and become outcome focused and more efficient and told Members that the development of the Compliance Unit would drive out duplication and deliver up efficiencies.
Councillor George Davies informed that house building would continue and £1.5m had been put into affordable housing schemes in the last year (Church ... view the full minutes text for item 99.
Councillor Adrian Jones introduced a report by the Head of Legal and Member Services which provided details of the proposed merger of the Wirral and Liverpool Coroner Services which had arisen from the retirement of HM Coroner for Wirral, Mr Christopher Johnson, on 31 December 2013.
From 1 January 2014, both Wirral and Liverpool Councils had agreed to operate a joint coroner service on an interim basis, pending a decision being taken in relation to the merger of both the Wirral and Liverpool Coroner Areas. The interim arrangements had been duly endorsed by the Chief Coroner and Lord Chancellor/Ministry of Justice, and had ensured that both Councils, but in particular Wirral Council had in place effective coronial arrangements that were adequately resourced to meet all legal duties and obligations.
Attached to the report at Appendix 1 was the business case for the proposed merger of both coroner areas which created a single “Liverpool and Wirral Coroner Area” and the “Liverpool and Wirral Coroner Service”.
The Head of Legal and Member Services sought the Cabinet’s approval and agreement in respect of the business case and the proposal that Wirral and Liverpool Coroner Areas and Services merge to create the Liverpool and Wirral Coroner Area and Service, subject to formal targeted consultation to be undertaken by the Ministry of Justice and Parliamentary approval.
Councillor Adrian Jones informed that the proposals were in line with Government policy and the report set out the details of what the merger would mean, including the anticipated savings. The result would be a more efficient and strengthened Service. Councillor Jones also informed that other mergers had been considered and the details had been included in the report.
Councillor Phil Davies informed that this proposal was a good example of sharing a service with a neighbouring local authority.
(1) the business case set out in Appendix 1 be approved and agreed;
(2) the business case be the subject to consultation by the Ministry of Justice;
(3) any recommendations of the Chief Coroner for England and Wales and any decision by the Lord Chancellor regarding a merging of the Wirral and Liverpool Coroner Areas be endorsed;
(4) the Head of Legal and Member Services be authorised to undertake any necessary actions, if permission is formally granted, to implement the requirement of any statutory instrument or Order to combine the Wirral and Liverpool Coroner Areas;
(5) following formal guidance issued by the Chief Coroner regarding the appointment of Coroners, and subject to the outcome of consultation and the Lord Chancellor making the Order, it be recommended that the current Senior Coroner for the Liverpool Coroner Area (and the current Assistant Coroner for Wirral), Andre Rebello, be appointed as Senior Coroner for the new single jurisdiction to be known as the “Liverpool and Wirral Coroner Area”;
(6) the Head of Legal and Member Services be authorised, in consultation with both relevant Cabinet Members for Wirral and Liverpool Councils and the City Solicitor for Liverpool City Council, to undertake ... view the full minutes text for item 100.
Councillor Adrian Jones introduced a report by the Strategic Director - Transformation and Resources that recommended a change to the Council’s Transitional Pay Policy.
The policy had been designed to support employees through the financial impact of a reduction in their pay arising from the impact of organisational change or from the impact of other changes to their terms and conditions and pay.
The changes were being recommended following a review of the policy in the context of significant organisational change and the consequent financial impact for some employees.
Councillor Phil Davies informed the Cabinet that he was pleased that the Council had set up a remodelling reserve which it could use to fund this change in policy and to manage the situation in a humane way.
That the Council be recommended, at its meeting scheduled for 8 December 2014, to amend the terms of its Transitional Pay Policy from the current level of a maximum of £2,000 of loss of contractual pay for 12 months to £4,000 or 75% of the contractual pay loss, whichever is the greater, for a period of 12 months (applied on a pro-rata basis).
Councillor Chris Meaden introduced a report of the Strategic Director – Families and Wellbeing following a golf ‘soft market testing’ exercise carried out in May 2014. The report informed that there was interest from specialist golf operators in taking over the management and operation (including the grounds maintenance) of the Municipal Golf Courses on the Wirral (excluding the Hoylake Municipal Golf Course).
The Cabinet was reminded that it had agreed, at its meeting on 7 July 2014 that officers would proceed to the next stage of a more formal procurement exercise. (Minute No. 38 refers.)
Wirral Council had agreed to a joint procurement exercise with Cheshire West and Chester (CWaC) to make the contract more appealing for bidders and potentially increase the level of saving for each Authority. The Strategic Director’s report informed the Cabinet of the progress to date in terms of the joint golf procurement exercise with CWaC. It was noted that the Legal and Procurement advice, following the evaluation exercise, was that where there was only one bidder it was very difficult to prove ‘value for money’. The Government Guidance (‘OGC/HMT 2008 Guidance on Competitive Dialogue’) indicated that in the absence of two or more bidders the exercise should be abandoned.
The Council’s partners in the exercise, CWaC had sought a quick decision regarding the Council’s approach to a single bidder scenario. The Cabinet was informed that following discussion with the Cabinet Member – Leisure, Sport and Culture and the Leader of the Council, it had been decided to notify CWaC of the Council’s intention to withdraw from the procurement procedure due to the value for money principle.
The Strategic Director’s report sought the Cabinet’s support for the decision to withdraw from the procurement exercise with CWaC and for the management and operation of the golf courses to remain with the Council, at this point in time.
(1) It be agreed that the Council formally withdraws from the Golf procurement exercise with Cheshire West and Chester; and
(2) a further report be provided for consideration at a future Cabinet meeting on the future provision of golf on the Wirral.