Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Committee Room 1 - Wallasey Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Shirley Hudspeth 0151 691 8559  Committee and Civic Services Manager

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Items
No. Item

28.

Care Leavers Apprenticeship Scheme

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Janette Williamson announced that the Council had been commended for an award at the National Social Value Award Conference for its work on its Care Leavers’ Apprenticeship Scheme. She thanked the Assistant Director – Commercial Management (Nicola Butterworth) for the fantastic work she had carried out on this important initiative.

 

Councillor Phil Davies informed that this achievement was terrific news that the Council was now facilitating care leavers to obtain apprenticeships.  He was aware that Councillor Bernie Mooney had been involved with this work, this would be built upon and more work would be carried out.  Councillor Davies thanked everyone concerned.

29.

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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Anita Leech declared a personal and prejudicial interest in Item No. 11 on the agenda – Council Tax 2019/20 (Tax Base, Discounts, Exemptions and Council Tax Scheme) (Minute No. 39 refers) by virtue of her being a Board Member of the Prima Group.  She informed that she would be leaving the meeting whilst this item of business was under discussion.

 

30.

Minutes

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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the Minutes of the meeting of Cabinet held on 1 October 2018 be confirmed as a correct record.

31.

Executive Key Decisions Taken Under Delegated Powers pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Key Decisions – taken under delegated powers. Period 21 September, 2018 (date of publication of last Cabinet agenda) to date.

 

Decision Maker – Cabinet Member – Environment

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018

(Executive Member Decision Form attached).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the following Key Decisions taken under delegated authority from the period 21 September 2018 (date of publication of last Cabinet agenda) to date be noted:

 

Key Decision – taken under delegated powers.  Period 21 September, 2018 (date of publication of last Cabinet agenda) to date.

 

Decision Maker – Cabinet Member – Environment

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018

Effective 25 October 2018.

 

32.

Birkenhead Commercial District pdf icon PDF 174 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Angela Davies new

Councillor Angie Davies, Portfolio Holder Jobs & Growth, said:

 

“Regeneration sits at the core of this administration’s economic growth and development plans. This report seeks approval to initiate broad consultation on Wirral Growth Company’s proposed redevelopment of Birkenhead town centre as part of our wider programme for economic growth in Wirral. By listening and engaging with local residents and businesses we will shape a Birkenhead town centre masterplan which will benefit local business, improve opportunities for residents and deliver thousands of new jobs.

 

At the heart of a thriving Birkenhead town centre will be a commercial district which includes Grade A office space, a new market and retail options, and an improved leisure offer. Creating a vibrant commercial district will attract new businesses to Birkenhead, provide space for existing Wirral firms to grow, and also offers the opportunity for our borough’s largest employer, the public sector, to consolidate its real estate and office requirements in line with One Public Estate policies. Currently Wirral Council alone has in excess of 1,700 administrative staff spread across a range of sites and buildings. This report therefore also supports the proposal to consolidate many of these staff into premises which support greater efficiency in the delivery of support services and reduce the cost of expensive leases and maintenance of buildings which could free resources to be better used to meet the needs of residents in other ways.

 

Wirral Growth Company will submit a Partnership Business Plan in early 2019, informed by the consultation and the emerging ideas for Birkenhead Commercial District. This is anticipated to attract an investment of up to £150m – the largest single investment in Wirral ever made – and this report seeks approval for officers to identify suitable funding and investment providers, including exploring opportunities with Merseyside Local Government Pension Fund and other social and ethical sources.

 

Finally, our ambitions for Wirral Growth Company are anchored in our desire to see economic, social and environmental opportunities increase for Wirral residents.

 

Through the schemes it delivers Wirral Growth Company will support us in meeting these social values – including generating job and training opportunities, providing local supply chain procurement, building affordable homes and improving the public realm in our town centres.

 

Our plans for Wirral are ambitious and progressive. To ensure we deliver these social outcomes and they are recognised as central to the ethos and actions of Wirral Growth Company, I am delighted to be recommended to serve as Chair of the Board of Directors for Wirral Growth Company.”

 

Councillor Angela Davies introduced a report by the Subject Matter Expert: Assets, the purpose of which was to initiate an extensive consultation programme to support the development of Birkenhead Commercial District.  The Cabinet noted that this development was intended to drive the wider regeneration of Birkenhead through the provision of 300,000 square feet of Grade An office space with 70% destined for private sector occupancy together with a new leisure and market offer.  The consultation would shape how and when these developments  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.

33.

Review of Leisure, Libraries and Cultural Services - Floral Pavilion pdf icon PDF 228 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Phill Brightmore

Councillor Phillip Brightmore, Cabinet Member – Leisure and Recreation said:

 

The Floral Pavilion is a fabulous facility, which brings enjoyment and no small measure of pride to thousands of residents throughout the borough. The theatre is approaching its 10th anniversary and has gone from strength to strength since being unveiled as the centrepiece of the Council-led regeneration of New Brighton.

 

The time has come for the Floral Pavilion to take the next stage on its development. We want this theatre to continue to grow, to attract bigger and better shows and become a visitor destination for the entire region. To get there, we believe we need

an expert theatre organisation to take over the business.

 

We want the Floral Pavilion to thrive. We want it to remain a place where residents can come together, a stunning waterfront facility which every Wirral resident can be proud of. We believe under the leadership of a specialised theatre company, the Floral Pavilion can look forward to its next ten years with huge confidence.

 

The Floral Pavilion would remain in public ownership, but become part of a specialised theatre chain – saving Wirral residents money, which can then be reinvested into services, and ensuring the products, services and shows on offer at the Floral improve”.

 

Councillor Phil Davies introduced a report by the Assistant Director – Community Services that informed that the Council provided extensive leisure, recreation, cultural, open space and library services. The cost to the Council of delivering these services was £17 million, when income from external funding was taken into account. The Council faced significant budget savings due to the removal of the revenue support grant and needed to review how services could be delivered effectively whilst reducing costs, especially for discretionary services.

 

The Cabinet noted that over the past year the Council had undertaken a detailed review of Leisure and Cultural Services to try and find ways of transforming these services to make them more sustainable, flexible and appropriate. The Council did not wish to be in a situation where it needed to consider closing or reducing services in order to balance its budget. The Council’s preference was for a model which allowed for discretionary services to generate their own funds so they could grow. There was no legal requirement for the Council to provide a theatre service either directly or indirectly.

 

It was reported that the Floral Pavilion currently cost the Council £899,300 per year to keep open. As a mid-scale (800 seat) receiving theatre, the Floral Pavilion was limited as to the performances it may attract, the percentage of ticket sales it may retain and the income it may generate. Whilst the Council could and would continue to develop new commercial opportunities within the facility – extended bar opening and maximising secondary spend, reviewing programming, developing marketing campaigns to attract new conference and wedding business among others; it was not thought that the Council could get the subsidy to ‘£0’ within the medium term using the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.

34.

Review of Leisure, Libraries and Cultural Services - Golf Courses pdf icon PDF 125 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Phill Brightmore

Councillor Phillip Brightmore, Cabinet Member - Leisure and Recreation, said:

 

Wirral is famous for its golf courses. Host of the Open Championship as recently as 2014, our borough gives residents and visitors unrivalled choice and quality for the sport.

 

We know our residents are proud of that, and we know they recognise the health and wellbeing benefits of this unique sport. That’s why we have maintained such a wide variety of golf options for so long, and why we do all we can to encourage people to be more active.

 

We believe we can do a better job. We believe running golf courses is not necessarily a job the council is right for, and we know there are specialist golf companies throughout the country who could provide a better service for our residents. Should this proposal be accepted by the Cabinet, then that is what we will look for.

 

We will not sell the courses. We will keep them in public ownership. Instead, we will look for an expert to come in and improve our golf courses. We will make them more efficient, better managed and higher quality”.

 

Councillor Phil Davies introduced a report by the Assistant Director – Community Services which informed that the Council provided extensive leisure, recreation, cultural, open space and library services.  The cost to the Council of delivering these services was £17 million, when income from external funding was taken into account.  The Council faced significant budget savings and needed to review how services could be delivered effectively whilst reducing costs, especially for discretionary services.

 

The Cabinet noted that over the past year the Council had undertaken a detailed review of its Leisure and Cultural Services to try and find ways of transforming them, to make them more sustainable, flexible and appropriate. The Council did not wish to be in a situation where it needed to consider closing or reducing services in order to balance its budget.

 

It was reported that the Council ran three 18 hole golf courses, one 9 nine hole golf course and two ‘fun courses’ (Pitch & Putt and Crazy Golf). The operational revenue cost of municipal golf in Wirral in the financial year (2018/19) was £255k (£430k if the current overspend was included).  The Cabinet noted that a number of reviews of Council golf provision had been undertaken in previous years which had identified the requirement for significant capital investment in courses in order that they remained playable. The Cabinet also noted that the current service model for this service was, therefore, financially unsustainable.

 

The Cabinet was informed that whilst the Council was working with Celtic Manor on developing options for the Hoylake Municipal Golf Course there were also opportunities to seek alternative providers for the remainder of the Council’s golf courses. A number of options for the future delivery of the golf courses had been considered as follows:

 

·  No change - retain golf courses ‘in house.’ Whilst the courses had been managed in house in the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.

35.

Quarter 2 Budget Monitoring Report - Revenue pdf icon PDF 132 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

JanetteWilliamson UPDATED - To be used in minutes

Councillor Janette Williamson, Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, said:

 

The Council set a balanced, sustainable and fair budget in March 2018, despite significant government cuts and increasing demand for costly, specialist children’s social care services. No additional funding from government has been forthcoming to support

this national crisis. Setting the budget for 2018/19 under such difficult circumstances was tough but we continued to protect those services most important to our most vulnerable and target our resources to the areas that matters most to our communities.

 

Already during Quarter 2 we are feeling the extent of our reduced funding with pressures already mounting in some areas as demand continues to rise. This is early and while cautious it is prudent to ensure we forecast a realistic representation, I am confident the plans and restrictions we have in place will once again enable us to deliver a balanced budget for the coming year”.

 

Councillor Janette Williamson introduced a report which set out the projected revenue position for 2018/19 as at the end of Quarter 2. (30 September 2018).

 

The Cabinet noted that the forecast outturn position as at the end of Quarter 2 was a potential overspend of £0.907m. It was anticipated that mitigating savings could be identified to offset the potential overspend, however as these were yet to be formalised, it was prudent to report an overspend position.

 

Since the 2018/19 the budget was set in March 2018, there were several areas of significant pressure across the Council as a result of increasing demand and there was a robust mitigation programme in place to ensure these pressures did not materialise.

 

The report provided an update on the achievement of savings proposals for 2018/19, some of which were currently not being realised, however the Cabinet noted that areas to offset these via other means were being explored so that the total savings target could be met by the end of the year.

 

The Cabinet was made aware that in addition to its formal Quarterly report, the budget position was reported monthly at Directorate Management Team meetings and at Strategic Leadership Team meetings.  This was to ensure that any early warning highlighting pressures could be collectively resolved. The outcome of the quarterly monitoring and any medium to long term effects was fed into the Medium Term Finance Strategy to ensure the impact could be assessed against the Council’s future financial sustainability.

 

This was a key decision which affected all Wards within the Borough.

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)  the Quarter 2 forecast to the year-end of a £0.907m overspend which incorporated a number of adverse variances across the range of directorates, be noted;

 

(2)  officers be requested to continue to identify actions and take measures to effectively manage the overall budget and reduce the impact of any adverse projected pressures that may result in overspends; and

 

(3)  the change to the bottom line net budget in paragraph 3.2.2 of the report and as follows be referred to the Council for approval:  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35.

36.

Quarter 2 Budget Monitoring Report - Capital pdf icon PDF 319 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

JanetteWilliamson UPDATED - To be used in minutes

Councillor Janette Williamson, Cabinet Member for Finance and Income Generation, said:

 

We are making major investments in Wirral this year – improving infrastructure, the public realm and the local environment which residents are rightly proud of.

 

This report demonstrates this investment, it provides a helpful summary of our progress, and makes it clear that we are using the resources available to us to their best effect to help improve services for local people”.

 

Councillor Janette Williamson introduced a report updating the Cabinet on the progress of the Capital Programme 2018/19 as at the end of September 2018.  It recommended that the Cabinet agreed the 2018/19 Capital Programme of £60.9 million which took account of re-profiling identified since June together with any additional funding requirements.  Expenditure to date was £16.3 million.

 

This matter was a key decision which affected all Wards within the Borough.

 

Appended to the report were:

 

·  Appendix 1 – The Capital Programme and Funding 2018/19; and

·  Appendix 2 – The Capital Receipts.

 

Councillor Bernie Mooney drew the Cabinet’s attention to the significant spending on schools that was detailed in the report at paragraph 3.6.  She welcomed the fact that the Council was putting children and their schools first.

 

Councillor Stuart Whittingham referred to the investment the Council was making in the highways network, cycling schemes and street lighting despite austerity.

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)  the spend at Quarter 2 of £16.3 million be noted;

 

(2)  additional funding for the schemes referred to in paragraph 3.9 of the report and below be noted:

 

·  Hoylake Golf Depot (3110,000)

·  Landican Crematoria (£280,000)

·  Williamson Art Gallery creation of an online catalogue (£150,000)

·  Leasowe Leisure Centre Outdoor 3G Pitches (£323,000)

·  Access Wirral (£250,000)

·  Early Voluntary Retirement/Voluntary Severance (£2,000,000)

 

(3)  Council be recommended to approve the revised Capital Programme of £60.9 million for 2018/19 as set out in Table 1 of the report and below:

 

  £000

Programme agreed by Cabinet on 16 July 2018  86,391

Re-profiling  (26,869)

Additional requirements  2,989

Reduced requirements  (1,563 )

  Revised 2018/19 Programme  60,948

 

  Table 1: Capital Programme 2018/19 at 30 September 2018

 

Capital Strategy

June

September 

Actual Spend

Sept 2018

 

£000

£000

£000

£000

Adult Care & Health

7,912

8,543

3,468

381

Business Management

4,990

3,729

5,489

777

Children’s Services

19,099

20,852

18,341

7,542

Delivery Services

25,775

34,280

22,724

7,435

Economic & Housing Growth

16,785

18,987

10,926

157

Total expenditure

74,561

86,391

60,948

16,292

 

.

 

37.

Treasury Management Mid-Year Report 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 453 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

JanetteWilliamson UPDATED - To be used in minutes

Councillor Janette Williamson, Cabinet Member for Finance and Income Generation, said:

 

We continue to face huge financial pressures, as increasing demand, rising costs

and ongoing austerity policies combine to place unprecedented strain on our budget, and services. The extent of ongoing government cuts mean that we are unable to

carry on doing everything the way we have previously and we need to look to new and innovative ways to provide services to protect our most vulnerable.

 

This is why an innovative, commercial, entrepreneurial but responsible approach to Treasury Management is so important. This report to Cabinet demonstrates that our efficient approach in this area has delivered savings to Wirral residents of almost £5 million – money which is now available to invest in the services our residents rely on.

 

We will continue to capitalise on these opportunities and do all we can to make sure our money goes further to deliver the outcomes our residents want”.

 

Councillor Janette Williamson reported that the Council’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.

 

The Cabinet noted that the report fulfilled the Council’s legal obligation under the Local Government Act 2003 to have regard to both the CIPFA Code and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) Investment Guidance.

 

Proactive Treasury Management activity had resulted in:-

 

·  Estimated one-off savings in year of a minimum £1.1 million from reduced 2018/19 interest payments and management of the Council’s Capital Financing. The ongoing savings were being used to support the Council’s budget for 2019/20.

 

·  Due to the implementation of the Council’s revised Minimum Revenue

Provision (MRP) policy, approved by the Council in 2017/18, the charge the Council would pay in 2018/19 had reduced by £3.8 million compared to the charge scheduled under the original MRP policy. This reduction had been accounted for when setting the 2018/19 Budget. 

 

This matter affected all Wards within the Borough and the decisions to be made were key decisions.

 

Appended to the report were:

 

·  Appendix 1 – Prudential Indicators 2018/19; and

·  Appendix 2 – Revised Authorised Signatory List.

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)  the Treasury Management Mid-Year Report for 2018/19 be agreed; and

 

(2)  the revised Authorised Signatory List relating to Treasury Management activity be approved.

38.

Medium Term Financial Strategy and Council Budget 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 158 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Phil Davies

Councillor Phil Davies, Leader of the Council, said:

 

We have a responsibility to set a fair, sustainable and balanced budget. This is a challenge which gets more difficult every year, as austerity policies continue to bite.

 

Once again, this year, we are facing an almost unimaginable financial challenge. Continued reductions in our support from Central Government, combined with growing demand for our services, mean we must find ways to reduce our spending – or raising our income – by £45 million just next year.

 

This is on top of the more than £200 million in cuts we have been forced into delivering since austerity began. This means we must make ever more difficult decisions, but we will never shirk our responsibilities to Wirral residents. We will always find ways to use our diminishing resources to improve our borough and the quality of life our residents can enjoy.

 

We will invest public resources where it will deliver the most impact – in creating jobs, in improving the local environment, and in protecting our most vulnerable children, adults and families.

 

We will deliver on all of our promises to Wirral residents. Our medium-term financial strategy provides a budget for next year, which delivers on our priorities for Wirral and meets our principles as an Administration – it protects our most vulnerable, it shields the services our residents rely on most from the worst of the cuts, and it safeguards our workforce.

 

Even in these most challenging circumstances, it is a budget we can be proud of and a budget I believe Wirral residents will support.”

 

Councillor Phil Davies introduced a report which was part of the Council’s formal budget process as set out in its Constitution and in line with the legal requirements to set a balanced and sustainable budget for 2019/20.  The report presented an update on the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) agreed earlier in the year including details of the preparations for the following financial years.  The Cabinet was required to initiate and propose financial options to set the budget for next year.  The purpose of the report was to approve a set of proposals.

 

The Cabinet considered the following financial matters:

 

·  The approach to the preparation of the Council’s 2019/20 Budget.  It was anticipated that the Council would set a balanced budget in 2019/20 via increased income including that received from Council Tax, the implementation of a number of financial proposals that were included in Appendix 1 to the report and the use of one-off funding that would close the budget gap.

 

·  an update on the progress of the MTFS, a renewed version would be considered by the Cabinet in February 2019.

 

·  Details of the main financial challenges and changes that would occur in the next financial year.  The Council continued to face a funding gap projected at £45 million as a result of financial pressures and, in part, the planned reduction in Government grant.

 

This was a key decision which affected all Wards within the Borough.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.

39.

Council Tax 2019/20 (Taxbase, discounts, exemptions and Council Tax Support Scheme) pdf icon PDF 145 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Phil Davies

Councillor Phil Davies, Leader of the Council, said:

 

In the face of such prolonged austerity policies from Central Government, it is vital we maximise council tax collection, so we can continue to fund the services which residents rely on every day.

 

However, it is equally important we remember our values and our commitment to social justice and protecting the most vulnerable. I am incredibly proud we have been able to exempt all care leavers from paying council tax until they reach the age of 25. These young people deserve every bit of support we can give and I hope this gesture helps them as they build their lives and careers.

 

I am also delighted we have been able to give Wirral Women’s and Children’s Aid a 100% discount on their Council Tax. This organisation does fantastic work in our borough, and it is right we do everything we can to help them continue.”

 

Councillor Phil Davies introduced a report which brought together related issues regarding the proposed Council Tax Base for 2019/20 upon which the annual billing and Council Tax levels would be set; the proposed Council Tax Discounts including Local Discounts, exemptions for 2019/20 and the Council Tax Support Scheme to be used during 2019/20.  These needed to be approved by the Council by 31 January 2019.

 

The Cabinet noted that the Council Tax Base had to be set by 31 January each year and there are no other options. The Local Discounts, Exemptions and the Council Tax Support Scheme were reviewed annually and could be amended which would have a financial impact for the authority and this was detailed in the report.

 

RESOLVED: That it be recommended to the Council: That

 

(1)  the figure of 93,497.8 be approved as the Council Tax Base for 2019/20;

 

(2)  the level and award of each local discount for 2019/20 be:-

 

Wirral Women’s and Children’s Aid

To continue to award Wirral Women’s and Children’s Aid 100% discount.

 

Care Leavers’ Discount

To award Care Leavers the requisite amount to reduce their Council Tax liability to zero until they are 25, from 1 April 2019.  This remains unchanged from 2018/19.

 

Empty Property Discounts

Discount category D = 0% Full charge on properties undergoing renovations

 

Discount category C = 0% Full charge on empty properties from date they become unoccupied.

 

Both remain unchanged.

 

Empty Property Premium = 200%.  Unfurnished properties empty for more than two years.  This is a change from 150% in 2018/19 allowed by the Rating (Property in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Act 2018.

 

This change was reported in last year’s report.

 

Council Tax Discretionary Relief Scheme

 

The Council Tax Discretionary Hardship Relief Scheme continues in its current format for 2019/20.

 

Council Tax Support Scheme

 

(3)  the Council Tax Support Scheme be approved for use in 2018/19 be also approved as the Scheme for 2019/20 with additional amendments to incorporate the introduction of Full Service for Universal Credit, including backdating of reduction for up to 3 months.

40.

Commercial Strategy pdf icon PDF 160 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

JanetteWilliamson UPDATED - To be used in minutes

Councillor Janette Williamson, Cabinet Member Finance and Resources, said:

 

Wirral Council, together with the majority of Labour councils, particularly in the North, is

facing a hugely challenging financial future. The combination of sustained austerity, with

reducing central government grant (ending in 2020/21), and increasing financial demands, is making us address questions about the long term sustainability of all services arranged by the Council. If we are to continue to meet the demands of our residents in service areas such as children’s and adult social care, we must increase the revenue coming into the Council through becoming more commercial. Our commercial strategy will enable us to cope with the challenges of austerity and deliver the high quality services that are vital to our residents. This is about being more business minded in order to continue to serve the needs of Wirral residents.

 

Commercial activity is not new to us. Wirral currently operates commercial services in a

range of diverse sectors including leisure, theatre events, car park charging, garden waste and services to schools directly from the Council. What has been needed is a coordinated approach across the Council looking within for the expertise to drive this forward.

 

This Commercial Strategy aims to take a commercial approach to service design, management and decisions, encouraging innovation whilst optimising assets and services to exploit opportunities to generate income surplus for reinvestment and reduce costs. An important element of the Commercial approach is finding the right balance between our public sector ethos and delivering social value and our commercial practices, ensuring we meet our pledges, to improve the lives of Wirral residents supporting local businesses, as well as increasing income and opportunity”.

 

Councillor Janette Williamson introduced a report by the Lead on Commercial Approach and the Assistant Director – Commercial Management that informed that Wirral’s Medium Term Financial Strategy 2019-20-2022/23 (MTFS) focus was on building the foundations for a sustainable financial future with sufficient support for services and described how to provide the funding and services so that residents received the support for their lives and communities. 

 

The Cabinet noted that a key approach in the MTFS was to increase income for the Council.  To deliver this increase in income and become more commercial required a fundamental change in how the Council did business.

 

The Commercial Strategy was one element of this change.  The Council’s approach to becoming more commercial was not about simply charging more for its services, it was not about becoming purely profit driven, it was about becoming more business-like and so more able to take advantage of commercial opportunities which would benefit the borough, and its residents.

 

Appended to the report was:

 

·  Appendix 1 – Commercial Strategy

·  Appendix 2 – Report of the Business Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Aug 2018)

 

The Cabinet noted that the Council continued to progress a range of measures including recommissioning, contractual negotiation and service re-design to develop its approach to the medium term budgetary pressures it faced. This was in order to maintain a financially  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.

41.

Wirral Together: Getting the Basics Right - A New Model for Community Engagement pdf icon PDF 200 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Phil Davies

Councillor Phil Davies, Leader of the Council, said:

 

Working alongside communities to jointly tackle issues, solve problems and improve facilities leads to a better quality of life for residents.

 

Almost every time, the people who know how to best improve a community, how to solve a local problem, are the people who live there. Our job, as a Council and as local Councillors, is to make sure they get the support to make that happen.

 

The proposals we’re putting forward are about making this easier. This is about removing bureaucracy and red tape, and about taking community funding and bringing it closer to the community.

 

If we are to achieve our priorities then it is vital we are able to work effectively with local citizens as well as establishing an ongoing relationship which promotes coproduction, mutuality and informed decision making. We call this approach Wirral Together. Wirral is fortunate in that it is home to many vibrant, engaged communities who work together to get things done.

 

This report provides Cabinet with a proposed new approach to working with citizens which is intended to strengthen the relationship between public services and citizens, enabling our communities to deliver their part and support each other, in an ongoing partnership between residents and public services. It will also support us in getting the basics right as promised in our Council Plan for 2018/19”.

 

Councillor Phil Davies introduced a report of the Director of Governance and Assurance that recommended that the existing community budgets be designated as the Wirral Together Fund, and that it be distributed on a Ward Member basis. It also recommended that the current funding be increased by £50,000 and the amount allocated to each Ward Member be weighted for population, deprivation and age (populations aged 0-4 and 75 and over). Staff resources were recommended to be redirected to directly supporting Councillors in this approach instead of the current focus on Constituency Committees.

 

The report also recommended that the Cabinet agreed the process and criteria as set out in the appendices attached to the report as follows:

 

·  Appendix A – Ward Member Budget Allocations;

·  Appendix B – Draft Guidance on Ward Member Budgets (subject to amendment as required);

·  Appendix C – Draft Ward Member Budget Application Form (subject to amendment as required); and

·  Appendix D – Equalities Impact Assessment.

 

These appendices set out guidance on how these Budgets would operate.

 

The Cabinet was also asked to agree the necessary officer delegations to administer the Ward Member budgets.

 

This matter affected all wards within the borough and was therefore a Key Decision.

 

The Cabinet was informed that a review had taken place during 2017/18 led by the then Portfolio Holder for Community Engagement. As part of that review, the effectiveness of existing Constituency Committees had been raised as an issue. After consideration of this the proposal in that report was that those arrangements should be brought to an end and, instead, a more focussed approach should be put in place  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41.

42.

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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

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 favoured exclusion.

 

43.

Full Business Case - Birkenhead Commercial District

Appendices to agenda item 4.

 

Exempt by virtue of paragraph 3 as they contain commercially sensitive information.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That further to Minute No. 32 above the content of the following exempt documents circulated with the agenda be noted:

 

·  Appendix 1 – Birkenhead Commercial District Full Business Case.

·  Appendix 2 – Staff Relocation & Asset Consolidation Full Business Case.

·  Appendix – 5 Strategic Acquisitions within redline boundary.

44.

Review of Leisure, Libraries and Cultural Services - Golf Courses

Appendix to agenda item 6.

 

Exempt by virtue of paragraph 3 as it contains commercially sensitive information.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That further to Minute No 34 above that the content of the Appendix to Item No. 6 which is an exempt document, circulated with the agenda, be noted: