Agenda and minutes
Venue: Committee Room 1 - Wallasey Town Hall
Councillor Phil Davies informed the Cabinet that he had asked Councillor George Davies to make a statement at this meeting, in the light of the Grenfell Tower fire, about the ongoing work to tower blocks on Wirral.
Members' Code of Conduct - Declarations of Interest
Councillor Stewart Whittingham declared a personal interest in the statement that Councillor George Davies had been asked to make at this meeting (Minute No. 13 refers.) by virtue of him being a Board Member of Magenta Living.
Statement from the Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety about Tower Blocks on Wirral
The Group was being chaired by the Assistant Director: Environmental Services and the Council’s Senior Officer for Housing in the Borough (David Ball). Other members of this Group included senior representatives from:
· Asset Management
· Emergency Planning
· Merseyside Fire and Rescue
· Building Control
· Magenta Living
· Press and Public Relations
There would be additions to this Group as and when required e.g. private high rise owners would be added.
Councillor Davies informed that the Group would meet on a fortnightly basis to deal with any issues that may arise and was directly linked into the Homes and Communities Agency and the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Councillor Davies reported that high rise was defined as a building over six storeys or 18 metres in height. There were sixteen premises identified on Wirral as falling within this definition. Eight properties were owned and managed by Magenta Living and ten properties were in private ownership. The Council did not own or manage any high rise accommodation.
Magenta Living had been working very pro-actively with its tenants and the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service to assess the properties it owned and to provide reassurance. The Council had been contacting the private owners requesting that they did the same.
Councillor Davies also reported that no aluminium cladding had been found on the Magenta Living owned properties and the inspections of the privately owned properties which would be completed by the end of this week, to date, had not identified any aluminium type cladding having been used.
The Cabinet was informed that the Council was also receiving a number of enquiries directly from Elected Members and members of the public and it was dealing with these on an individual basis, inspecting properties where there were concerns with the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and providing reassurances. The Council would be issuing, in partnership with the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and Magenta Living, regular updates on this work, as it moves forward.
Councillor Davies concluded his statement by informing that the Council was updating its Emergency Plan in the light of events in Camden, Bootle etc. where high rise buildings had failed fire safety tests.
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 19 June 2017 be confirmed as a correct record.
Executive Key Decisions Taken Under Delegated Powers
Key Decisions – taken under delegated powers. Period 9 June, 2016 to date of agenda publication (15 June). No item(s) to report.
The Cabinet noted that no Key Decisions had been taken under delegated powers during the period 9 June 2017 to date of agenda publication (15 June 2017).
Councillor Janette Williamson introduced a report which set out the Out-turn for the 2016/17 Financial Year. Appended to the report were appendices for Revenue (including details of the reserves), Capital (including resources used to fund the Programme) and the Collection Summary (including Council Tax, Business Rates and Sundry Debts). Appended to the report were three appendices:
· Outturn 2016/17 Revenue
· Outturn 2016/17 Capital
· Outturn 2016/17 Collection Summary
The Cabinet was reminded that local authorities had to produce an Annual Statement of Accounts which demonstrated the financial performance of the Council for the year and the financial position at the end of the period. The full Statement was approved by Audit and Risk Management Committee on behalf of the Council. The report informed of the key elements.
The Collection Summary provided details on income collection performance and it was noted that any sums which were deemed irrecoverable needed to be written off in accordance with the authorisation processes set out in the Council’s Constitution.
Councillor Williamson informed that throughout the Financial Year the Cabinet had received Revenue Monitoring reports for each quarter. In setting the Budget for 2016/17 it had been recognised that there were on-going financial pressures mainly within Adults and Children’s social care and it had been acknowledged that the savings programme was ambitious. These risks had been recognised and mitigated through the Revenue Budget Contingency of £12 million.
The use of this Contingency had been monitored through the regular Financial Monitoring reports. This had been allocated to People comprising Adult Social Services (£3.9 million) and Children’s Services (£5.25 million) and to Business comprising Assets (£0.5 million) and Remodelling (£1.7 million). At the end of the year the balance remaining of £0.65 million had been reflected as an underspend.
The Monitoring report for Quarter 3 (Cabinet 20 February 2017) had projected a General Fund underspend of £0.4 million and the final position for the year had been an underspend of £2.9 million. Whilst overspending had been principally due to demand pressures within People for Adult and Children Care Services, this had been more than mitigated by underspending within Environment and Business Services. The latter largely attributable to the changes in Treasury Management and the adoption of the annuity method for calculating ... view the full minutes text for item 16.
Councillor Janette Williamson introduced a report which informed that the Authority’s treasury management activity was underpinned by CIPFA’s Code of Practice on Treasury Management (“the Code”), which required the production of annual Prudential Indicators and a Treasury Management Strategy Statement on likely financing and investment activity. The Code also recommended that Members were informed of treasury management activities at least twice a year.
This report fulfilled the Authority’s legal obligation under the Local Government Act 2003 to have regard to both the CIPFA Code and the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) Investment Guidance.
Proactive Treasury Management activity had resulted in savings of £9.4 million:
· £7 million via a combination of a revised in-year Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) calculation and associated backdated MRP adjustments.
· £2.4 million in year from interest costs deferred due to the use of internal resources.
The level of Capital Financing Debt, including the Merseyside Residuary Body Debt managed by the Council on behalf of the constituent authorities had been £191 million at 31 March 2017. This was a reduction of £74 million since 1 April 2012.
The Cabinet noted that the Council had complied with the Prudential Indicators as set out in the agreed Treasury Management Strategy for 2016/17.
Councillor Williamson informed that the Council was always looking for new and innovative approaches to Treasury Management.
Councillor Phil Davies drew attention to the fact that proactive Treasury Management activity had resulted in savings of £9.4 million:
· £2.4 million in year from interest costs deferred due to the use of internal resources.
Councillor Davies reported that this was a good outcome and he thanked and congratulated the Treasury Management Team on their excellent work which had brought about impressive results. He hoped that these fantastic efforts would continue during the current Financial Year as the Council had more difficult challenges to meet.
The Cabinet noted that this was a key decision which affected all Wards within the Borough.
(1) the Treasury Management Annual Report for 2016/17 be agreed; and
(2) the saving of £9.4 million from capital financing activities in 2016/17 be noted.
At its meeting on 18 July, 2016, the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee referred the Scrutiny Review on the Coastal Strategy to the Cabinet. A covering report, Overview and Scrutiny Committee minute and Scrutiny Review are attached.
Councillor Mike Sullivan, who had chaired the Task & Finish Group, introduced the report which set out the findings of a review which had been conducted, following the Wirral Coastal Strategy Scrutiny which had been presented to the former Regeneration and Environment Policy and Performance Committee. The purpose of this Review had been to examine how the Council would deliver the Coastal Strategy with a focus on how coastal defence would be delivered in areas that required intervention in the short term.
The Review linked to the Wirral Plan for 2020 and in particular the pledge under the Environment theme to ensure that ‘Wirral’s neighbourhoods are safe.’
The report identified that funding was a key issue for the delivery of coastal defence schemes and recommended that all viable funding opportunities should be explored to support scheme delivery, prior to consideration of internal capital bids. The report also recognised the value of Local Levy as an alternative funding source for scheme delivery and recommended support for approval of annual increases in contributions.
The theme of maximising opportunities in relation to funding was also detailed in the report to ensuring coastal defence schemes tied in, where possible, to regeneration opportunities. Awareness of flood and coastal erosion risk was also highlighted and it was acknowledged that Members had an important role to play in engaging with Wirral’s residents and businesses in raising awareness of the risk.
Councillor Sullivan reminded the Cabinet that Wirral was a peninsula with 42 kilometres of river and coastal defences. He informed that in 2010 the policies for how the Council managed these defences had been set out in the Shoreline Management Plan which had been approved by the Cabinet. However, it was noted that policies could only be applied if there was a strategy for their implementation.
The Wirral Coastal Strategy looked at how policies for coastal defence could be delivered over the lifetime of the Plan (which was 100 years). The Strategy considered implementation in the short term (up to 2010), the medium term (2030 to 2060) and the longer term (to 2110). Climate change was taken into account along with the recommended management of coastal defences changes over the course of the next 100 years.
The Coastal Strategy looked carefully at all the issues around coastal defence, including social, environmental and economic factors and identified a preferred sustainable management action to deliver policy. This might be, for example, to continue with the existing maintenance or construct defences to an improved standard at ... view the full minutes text for item 18.