Reports from Tendring District Councillors –Agenda No. 14

Council Meeting 21st January 2015

 

 

Councillor J Chapman

Cllr Graham Steady and I attended a meeting at Weeley on Monday 11th January where the proposed Careline charges were discussed and explained.

The report that was given to us is below.

 

There has been some misunderstanding in the newspapers about Tendring District Council’s (TDC) Careline Service and the possible introduction of a lifting service for Careline customers who have a fall and need help to get them up on their feet again. Therefore, I felt it is only right to clear the matter up.

TDC Careline provides support services that help residents to live their lives as independently as possible, providing products such as monitored pill dispensers, temperature monitors and epilepsy sensors.

When a resident has a fall the alarm is raised to the Careline Control Centre staff by pressing the pendant alarm or by a Falls Detector.

When the alarm has been raised trained Careline operators answer, speak to the resident, assess the situation and then get the appropriate help. If the person raising the alarm is unable to speak the operators will have the relevant information needed to know who is calling and get the appropriate help.

When help is needed to assist a resident up after a fall the information is passed to the East of England Ambulance Service by the operator. However, as the ambulance service have to prioritise such calls to them it could mean leaving some people waiting on the floor for some time before an ambulance attends as frontline ambulance staff may need to attend critical emergency incidents elsewhere.

In collaboration with the East of England Ambulance Service TDC’s Careline Service trialled a pilot lifting service in 2013. It was funded by the North East Essex NHS Clinical Commissioning Group to provide assistance to those linked up to Careline.

Under the pilot service Careline staff went to the aid of someone who has fallen without the need of an ambulance, where appropriate. The initiative meant a better service for customers of Careline and reduced unnecessary ambulance call-out.

There was no additional charge made to Careline customers for this service as it was funded by the North East Essex NHS Clinical Commissioning Group.

Once the funding ended TDC decided to look into whether this service was something Careline customers would like to see continue as other councils such as Colchester, Croydon, Chesterfield, Dudley, Taunton and Herefordshire have introduced it.

TDC consulted and 40 per cent of 2,500 customers responded. Of those 60 per cent were in favour of the extra assistance.

TDC are now considering offering the service as an additional facility at a cost of around £25.92 per year, regardless of how many times they use the service.

The service would be available 24/7 and the charge would be required to pay the wages of the fully trained staff to provide the cover and also to provide an appropriate vehicle. There is no intention of making a profit out of this proposal.

No decision has been made as to whether this service should or should not be provided and if it is provided what the final format will be. That decision will be made in February.

If the proposed service is not introduced falls will be dealt with by Careline phone operators and passed to the East of England Ambulance Service in the normal manner.

The Local Plan was also debated with the numbers now being set at 550 houses each year, this is lower than first reported.

25% of funding goes into infrastructure first.

The local plan meetings have now been moved to Weeley. This is to help with the debating system as it is much easier sitting around a table to talk.

Black sacks were also mentioned with no complaints being sent to Tendring. Black sacks are paid for out of your council tax. New caddie bags are being supplied but this is being funded by Defra for 1 year only.

Boundary review is happening and in the early stages. It stands that for every 2500 people in your area there is 1 District Councillor., so at the moment Brightlingsea is very close to being allowed 4 under these rules.

  

Councillor Steady

Attended Corporate management committee Meetings, minutes as follows. The main thread is that future budgets were the main item of discussion, in as much as for 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 there are savings of £2m per year to be found. Two issues which have been thrown up are the withdrawal of free black sacks for waste collection and also enhancement of the Careline service, which unfortunately was not reported correctly in the national press, which led to a petition being started, which has had 80,000 signatures worldwide.

Corporate Management Committee Minutes

Date:

Thursday 3 December 2015

Time:

7:30 p.m.

Place:

Council Chamber, Council Offices, Thorpe Road, Weeley, CO16 9AJ

Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Attendance Details

Present:

Councillor G D Steady (Chairman), Councillor M E Platt (Vice-Chairman), Councillor A P H Baker, Councillor P Cawthron, Councillor J Chittock, Councillor A Massey, Councillor G G I Scott, Councillor M E Stephenson

In attendance:

Finance and Procurement Manager (Richard Barrett) and Senior Democratic Services Officer (Ian Ford).

Top of Form

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Item Number Item/Description
PART A
21. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

There were no apologies for absence received from Members.

22 MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
·       (Attachment: 1)Minutes

The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee, held on 28 September 2015, were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

23 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

There were no declarations of interest received from Members.

24 CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER’S AUTUMN BUDGET STATEMENT AND COMPREHENSIVE SPENDING REVIEW

At the request of the Chairman, the Finance and Procurement Manager (Richard Barrett) gave a verbal overview on the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Autumn Budget Statement and Comprehensive Spending Review and answered Members’ questions thereon. Mr Barrett stated that the headlines for this Council included:

(1) A reduction of 24% in the core funding [i.e. Revenue Support Grant (RSG) and local Business Rates (BR)] from central Government to Local Authorities. Given that BR income was expected to rise at least by inflation this would surely mean that the RSG would go down by more than 24%;
(2) The Communities and Local Government’s contribution to Local Authorities would reduce by 30% over the next four years though it was unknown whether this reduction would be evenly phased-in or it would be ‘front-loaded’. Tendring District Council’s (TDC) Financial Strategy took into account a 30% cut though the Strategy could be needed to be adjusted pending the final RSG settlement from the Government;
(3) The RSG was due to be phased out entirely by 2020 though the retention of BR locally would not come into effect until 2020 which ran the potential risk of the RSG disappearing before BR retention came into force. TDC currently collected approximately £23-24million in BR locally but only kept approximately £4-5million with the rest going to the Government or other Precepting Authorities. The best that TDC could hope for was that it would be no worse off in 2020; and
(4) Essex County Council and the Essex Police and Crime Commissioner would be able to raise an extra 2% above the local referendum limit on Council Tax increases of 2%. The New Homes Budget was to be reviewed by the Government.

After discussion of the above and other matters including the Small Businesses Rural Rate Relief Scheme and income generation from local renewable energy schemes it was RESOLVED that the Leader of the Council be requested to find out more detail from the Government on its plans regarding Local Authority income generated by local renewable energy schemes.

25 EFFICIENCY SAVINGS AND INCOME GENERATION – OUTCOMES FROM INFORMAL WORKSHOPS

With reference to Minute No.8 of the meeting of the Committee, held on 13 July 2015, Members were encouraged to identify an area(s) of potential income or efficiency saving to scrutinise, work-up and report upon to the Committee at a later meeting.

Following discussion, it was RESOLVED that the following ideas be proactively taken forward on behalf of the Council and that the following Committee Members take the lead on those projects:

Transformation Agenda – Councillors Scott and Baker
Office Rationalisation – Councillors Cawthron and Stephenson
Channel Shift – Councillors Chittock and Steady
Growing the Beach Economy – Councillors Platt and Massey

26 CORPORATE MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE’S BUDGET SCRUTINY MEETINGS – MONDAY 4 AND WEDNESDAY 6 JANUARY 2016

The Committee gave consideration as to how it would wish to proceed with its business, both constitutional and otherwise, at its scheduled meetings to be held on 4 and 6 January 2016 when it was due to scrutinise the Cabinet’s draft Budget proposals for 2016/2017.

Following discussion, it was RESOLVED that:

(a) The Committee, at its scheduled meeting to be held on 4 January 2016, scrutinises the Cabinet’s draft Budget proposals for 2016/2017 and decides, at that time, which Portfolio Holders and senior Officers it will wish to question on their respective Budget proposals at the Committee’s second scheduled meeting on 6 January 2016; and

(b) Members of the Committee hold an informal discussion and question and answer session, with the Council’s Finance and Procurement Manager, on the Cabinet’s Budget proposals commencing at 6.30 p.m. on Monday 14 December 2015, in the Council chamber, at the Council Offices, Weeley

(7.30 p.m. – 8.23 p.m.)

 

Corporate Management Committee Minutes

Date:

Monday 14 December 2015

Time:

7.30 p.m.

Place:

Council Chamber, Council Offices, Thorpe Road, Weeley, CO16 9AJ

Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Attendance Details

Present:

Councillor G D Steady (Chairman), Councillor A P H Baker, Councillor J Chittock, Councillor A Massey, Councillor G G I Scott, Councillor M E Stephenson

In attendance:

Democratic Services Manager (Colin Sweeney), Finance and Procurement Manager (Richard Barrett), Human Resources and Business Manager (Anastasia Simpson), Human Resources Operations Manager (Katie Wilkins), Senior Democratic Services Officer (Ian Ford) and Administration Officer (Sam Harding)

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Item Number Item/Description
PART A
27. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Platt.

28 MINUTES OF THE SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COMMITTEE HELD ON 3 DECEMBER 2015
·       (Attachment: 1)Minutes 3 December 2015 (133K/bytes)

The Minutes of the special meeting of the Committee, held on 3 December 2015, were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

29 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

There were no declarations of interest received from Members.

30 PERFORMANCE REPORT – QUARTER TWO 2015 (JULY – SEPTEMBER 2015)
·       (Attachment: 2)Performance Monitoring Quarter Two Report (187K/bytes)

·       |(Attachment: 3)Performance Monitoring Quarter Two Appendix (959K/bytes)

The Committee had before it a report of the Corporate Director (Corporate Services) which presented the Performance Report for Quarter Two (July to September 2015). Appendix A to that report contained details of 18 key project areas, as well as 12 performance indicators, detailing business critical areas of the Council’s work. The report also contained details of levels of staff sickness, complaints handling and the number of approved surveillances.

Members were made aware that, of the 30 indicators and projects reported, 26 (87%) were on, or above, their expected target. There were four (13%) that were currently not in line with the expected performance. Explanations of the performance and the supporting data were included under each topic.

Officers responded to questions raised by Members on various topics and where an answer was not immediately available, the Officers undertook to respond to Members as soon as possible after the meeting.

Members also raised several questions that it was agreed would be noted and then put to the relevant Portfolio Holder and senior Officer(s) on 6 January 2016 when the Committee would be scrutinising the Cabinet’s initial Budget proposals.

At the suggestion of Members, the Human Resources and Business Manager undertook to consider, when formulating performance targets for 2016/2017, introducing a performance indicator for Planning Services that focused more on its performance in approving or refusing planning applications rather than New Homes Completions, which the Council had far less control over.

At the further suggestion of a Member, the Human Resources and Business Manager also undertook to remove a long-standing note from the Financial Self-Sufficiency (Leisure Services) indicator.

After discussion of the report it was:

RESOLVED that the contents of the report be noted.

31 CORPORATE BUDGET MONITORING REPORT FOR THE SECOND QUARTER OF 2015/16
·       (Attachment: 4)Corporate Budget Monitoring Quarter Two Covering Report (127K/bytes)

·       |(Attachment: 5)Corporate Budget Monitoring Quarter Two Appendix (683K/bytes)

The Committee had before it a report of the Corporate Director (Corporate Services), which presented it with an overview of the Council’s actual financial position against the budget as at the end of September 2015.

The Committee was aware that, at its meeting held on 20 November 2015, Cabinet had considered the Corporate Budget Monitoring Report for the second quarter of 2015/16 and had resolved (minute 102 referred) that:

(a) The financial position as at the end of September 2015 be noted.

(b) That in respect of the 2015/16 budget it be agreed that:

• £0.074m to fund additional capacity and training within the Planning Department is included in the budget and met from a corresponding increase in the Planning fee income budget.

(c) That the 2015/16 budget be amended to reflect net favourable variances emerging so far to date as follows:

• Reduction in the budget of £0.075m from reduced salary costs;
• Reduction in the budget of £0.050m from increased planning fee income over and above the adjustment set out in (b) above;
• Increase in the budget of £0.079m to reflect reduced crematorium fee income as a result of reduced capacity during the major cremator replacement works;
• £0.046m – Contribution to Reserves (being the net total of the above transferred to the Austerity Reserve).

The Cabinet report referred to above was attached, as Appendix A to the report of the Corporate Director (Corporate Services), for the Committee’s consideration.

Councillor Stephenson expressed his concern at the on-going level of staff vacancies consciously left unfilled within the Council especially as one section within the Council had had to employ the use of Agency staff.

At the request of Members, the Finance and Procurement Manager undertook to include a comment box in respect of Unallocated/Uncommitted Section 106 monies where the ‘spend by’ date was less than one year due to Members’ concerns that such monies could be ‘lost’ to the Council.

Following discussion, it was RESOLVED that the contents of the report be noted.

32 FORWARD PLAN
·       (Attachment: 6)Forward Plan New Items (158K/bytes)

The Committee reviewed, and noted, the new items relevant to the terms of reference of the Committee, contained in the Forward Plan 170, in accordance with Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rule 13.

(7.30 p.m. – 8.54 p.m.)

Corporate Management Committee Minutes

Date:

Monday 4 January 2016

Time:

9.15 a.m.

Place:

Connaught Room, Town Hall, Station Road, Clacton on Sea, CO15 1SE

Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Attendance Details

Present:

Councillors Steady (Chairman), Platt (Vice-Chairman), Baker, Cawthron, Chittock, Fairley, Scott and Stephenson.

Also Present:

Councillors Broderick, J A Brown, I J Henderson, Howard (Finance and Transformation Portfolio Holder), Newton, Stock (Leader of the Council) and Talbot (Environment Portfolio Holder)

In attendance:

Chief Executive (Ian Davidson), Legal Services Manager & Monitoring Officer (Lisa Hastings), Finance and Procurement Manager & Section 151 Officer (Richard Barrett), Environmental Services Officer (John Fox), Street Scene Officer (Jonathan Hamlet) and Senior Democratic Services Officer (Ian Ford).

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Item Number Item/Description
PART A
33. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Massey, with Councillor Fairley substituting.

34 MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
·       (Attachment: 1)Minutes 14 December 2015 (189K/bytes)

The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee, held on 14 December 2015, were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

35 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Councillor Stephenson declared an interest in item A.1 of the Report of the Corporate Director (Corporate Services) insofar as he was pre-determined by the virtue of the fact that he was a caller-in. He informed the Committee that he would not vote on this item.

Report of Corporate Director (Corporate Services)
36 CEASE DELIVERY OF BLACK SACKS
·       (Attachment: 2)Call-In Covering Report (186K/bytes)

·       |(Attachment: 3)Call-In Report of MO to Cabinet (170K/bytes)

The Committee had before it a report to enable it to scrutinise the following Executive Decision – Number 2633 taken on 11 December 2015 by the Cabinet, which had been called-in:

(a) the future provision and delivery of black sacks by the Council to residents is ceased with effect from 2016; and

(b) a promotion and press campaign is delivered to provide information about the ceasing of the service and informing residents how waste should be presented running alongside our promotion of increased recycling.

That Decision had been called in by Councillors J Brown, I J Henderson and Stephenson and was to be the subject of scrutiny by the Committee.

In calling in the decision, Councillor Stephenson, supported by Councillors J Brown and I J Henderson, had stated:

“We are seeking further scrutiny of decision 2633 as we believe it will have an unacceptably negative impact on the quality of life for those living within the Tendring District in that it will increase the prevalence of litter, result in increased fly tipping and will discourage people from recycling at a time when TDC is unable to meet its recycling targets.
Furthermore, by withdrawing a front line service but insisting that residents continue to provide good quality black sacks at their own expense, the Council is to all intent and purpose imposing a 6% council tax increase on residents without having undertaken any public consultation or without having given the members of the Council the opportunity to debate and decide the issue.

We believe that our criteria fits the Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules, namely:

Article 17 (b) Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules – (iv) The decision-maker did not take into account relevant considerations or other material factors and therefore, the decision is unreasonable.”

The Chairman outlined aspects of the procedure that would be followed in scrutinising the decision.

The Committee was aware from Minute 35 above that Councillor Stephenson had declared an interest in this item insofar as he was pre-determined by the virtue of the fact that he was a caller-in and that he would not vote on this item.

Councillor Henderson asked if the provisions of Access to Information Procedure Rule 17.1 (which stated, inter alia, that an overview and scrutiny committee could require the Cabinet to submit a report to the Council if it felt that a key decision had been taken which was not included in the Forward Plan or had been taken using the General Exception or Special Urgency Procedures) applied in this case. The Monitoring Officer replied that this was not in fact the case as she had intervened to declare the Cabinet’s original decision on this matter null and void as it had not in fact been included in the Forward Plan or had been taken using the General Exception or Special Urgency Procedures. The decision that was now being scrutinised by the Committee had been taken using the General Exception Procedure.

Councillors Stephenson, Henderson and Brown, the callers-in, each made a statement explaining their reasons for the call-in. Those reasons were along the following lines:

(i) this Council’s recycling and refuse arrangements would, as a result of this decision, contrast unfavourably with other Essex Local Authorities;
(ii) lack of a public consultation process in contrast to that undertaken in respect of part-night street lighting;
(iii) the implications of this decision for other discretionary services within the Council;
(iv) this decision would reflect poorly on this Council’s reputation;
(v) confusion for members of the public as to what would constitute an appropriate receptacle for general waste;
(vi) concern for the disabled/housebound residents; would special circumstances apply?; and
(vii) no consideration had been given as to an alternative service provision such as using polymer bags which could still save money but enable the service to be provided.

The Environment Portfolio Holder (Councillor Talbot) and the Finance and Transformation Portfolio Holder (Councillor Howard) each made a statement explaining the Cabinet’s decision. Those reasons were along the following lines:

(i) the decision was not one that the Cabinet particularly wanted to take but it was necessary on strictly financial grounds as part of the need to find £2million in savings;
(ii) the Council’s website recommended to the public that they used black sacks for general waste but other suitable receptacles were allowed;
(iii) there was a door step collection service for the registered disabled;
(iv) the removal of black sacks could lead to in increase in recycling, particularly, food waste recycling in the green ‘caddy’;
(v) a public consultation exercise would have been impracticable;
(vi) the decision needed to be taken now and not at the Budget meeting in February in order to allow time for a comprehensive information leaflet to be produced and distributed to the public;
(vii) Basildon District Council’s Council Tax levy was 70.9% higher than this Council’s which gave them the scope to have a more comprehensive recycling scheme; and
(viii) many residents ran out of the Council provided black sacks in the course of the year and were used to buying their own anyway.

The Chairman asked if any mediation had taken place to which the callers-in and the Portfolio Holders stated that none had taken place though all had been willing to do so. Members stated that they felt clarification was needed within the Constitution as to the mediation process and the Monitoring Officer undertook to review the relevant part of the Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules and make amendments as necessary.

The callers-in then put their questions to the decision-makers, as appropriate.

The Portfolio Holders then put questions to the callers-in, as appropriate.

Members of the Committee then put their questions to the decision-maker, the callers-in and the Officers, as appropriate.

After further discussion and consideration of the matter in hand it was moved by Councillor Platt, seconded by Councillor Scott and:

RESOLVED that the Committee refers the decision back to the decision maker (i.e. Cabinet), in the light of the fact that a mediation process has not been able to take place, and requests that the Cabinet reconsiders its decision within the required 15 working days, following this meeting, and preferably following mediation.

37 INCOME GENERATION AND EFFICIENCY SAVINGS – ESTABLISHING THE PROCESSES FOR PROGRESSION BY MEMBERS

Further to Minute 25 (3.12.15), the Chairman of the Committee sought to agree the approach to be taken by members of the Committee in pursuit of the efficiency and income generation strands identified.

Councillor Platt outlined to the Committee the progress to date of the review he was conducting, with Councillor Massey, of the District’s Beach Economy.

Councillor Cawthron outlined to the Committee the progress to date of the review he was conducting, with Councillor Stephenson, of Office Rationalisation.

Reference from Cabinet
38 UPDATED FINANCIAL BASELINE 2016/17 AND DETAILED BUDGET PROPOSALS FOR A REVISED BUDGET 2015/16 AND ORIGINAL BUDGET FOR 2016/17
·       (Attachment: 4)Reference from Cabinet Budget Report (173K/bytes)

The Committee’s comments were sought on the updated Financial Baseline 2016/17 and proposals for a revised budget for 2015/16 and original budget for 2016/17, which had been approved at the meeting of the Cabinet held on 11 December 2015 (minute 118 referred).

The Chief Executive reminded the Committee that the Council faced a £2million funding ‘gap’ for 2017/18 and an estimated £1.4million funding ‘gap’ for 2018/19 and it was an ongoing challenge to find further efficiencies, maximise income and prudently manage staff vacancies and staff restructuring with Union engagement and support. He also stated that the Council needed to find the correct, qualitative level of balance between statutory and discretionary services. The Chief Executive complimented the Committee on its work in engaging seriously with this process.

The Chief Executive also referred to the Government’s stated aim of abolishing the Revenue Support Grant (RSG) by 2020 with National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDR) income being kept by local authorities from 2020 which potentially meant that there was a gap between those two events. There was also uncertainty as to how NNDR income would be split between County and District/Borough council levels and it was therefore unlikely that NNDR income would cover the loss of RSG. The Chief Executive’s message, in a nutshell, to Members was that the ‘job would only get harder’.

The Committee had before it, broken down by both Departments and Portfolios, a summary of changes to budgets and estimates for 2015/16 (revised) and 2016/17 (original) that had been made since the Cabinet meeting on 11 December 2015.

The Finance and Procurement Manager took the Committee through those changes which Members discussed and asked questions of the Finance and Procurement Manager, as appropriate.

The Committee then discussed and agreed the questions and issues that it would put to Portfolio Holders and senior Officers on 6 January 2016.

The Chairman then adjourned the meeting until 9.15 a.m. on Wednesday 6 January 2016.

(9.15 a.m. – 3.18 p.m.)

Corporate Management Committee Minutes

Date:

Wednesday 6 January 2016

Time:

9.15 a.m.

Place:

Connaught Room, Town Hall, Station Road, Clacton on Sea, CO15 1SE

Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Attendance Details

Present:

Councillors Steady (Chairman), Platt (Vice-Chairman), Baker, Cawthron, Chittock, Scott and Stephenson.

Also Present:

Portfolio Holders Present: Councillors G V Guglielmi (Asset Management and Corporate Services), Honeywood (Housing Portfolio), Hughes (Revenues and Benefits), McWilliams (Well-being and Partnerships) Skeels Snr. (Leisure), Talbot (Environment) and Turner (Coastal Protection).

In attendance:

Chief Executive (Ian Davidson), Corporate Director (Life Opportunities) (Paul Price), Head of Planning Services (Cath Bicknell), Finance and Procurement Manager & Section 151 Officer (Richard Barrett), Assets Manager (Andy White), Commercial Manager (Mark Westall), Environmental Services Officer (John Fox), Human Resources and Business Manager (Anastasia Simpson), Open Space and Bereavement Space Manager (David Hall), Operations Manager (Michael Carran), Parking and Seafronts Manager (Ian Taylor), Revenues and Benefits Manager (Harry Bates) and Senior Democratic Services Officer (Ian Ford).

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Item Number Item/Description
PART A
Reference from Cabinet
39. UPDATED FINANCIAL BASELINE 2016/17 AND DETAILED BUDGET PROPOSALS FOR A REVISED BUDGET 2015/16 AND ORIGINAL BUDGET FOR 2016/17

Following the adjournment of the meeting on 4 January 2016 the Committee resumed and considered the following matters:

The Housing Portfolio Holder, accompanied by the Corporate Director (Life Opportunities) and the Commercial Manager, attended the meeting and answered Members’ questions on:-

(1) The proposed Careline Lifting Charge; and
(2) The possibility of using Honeycroft as homeless accommodation;

The Well-being and Partnerships Portfolio Holder, accompanied by the Corporate Director (Life Opportunities), then attended the meeting and answered Members’ questions on the emergency planning cost pressure such as the potential for sponsorship or match funding by Essex County Council.

The Leisure Portfolio Holder, accompanied by the Corporate Director (Life Opportunities) and the Operations Manager, then attended the meeting and answered Members’ questions on:-

(1) Value for money considerations around the Clacton Air Show evening flight cost pressure; and
(2) Leisure Fees and Charges.

The Revenues and Benefits Portfolio Holder, accompanied by the Corporate Director (Life Opportunities) and the Revenues and Benefits Manager, then attended the meeting and answered Members’ questions on:-

(1) The background to the Council Tax compliance work and the Council Tax Sharing Agreement; and
(2) Recovery of Housing Benefit expenditure through the subsidy system if the Department of Work and Pensions identify fraud.

The Environment Portfolio Holder, accompanied by the Corporate Director (Life Opportunities), the Open Space and Bereavement Space Manager and the Environmental Services Manager, then attended the meeting and answered Members’ questions on:-

(1) The changes and thinking behind the Crematorium fees and charges;
(2) The agreement with Essex County Council on Recycling Credit Income;
(3) Food Waste and the proposed reduction in funding from Essex County Council;
(4) Tipping Away payments and the proposed reduction in income from Essex County Council; and
(5) Mobile Home Licences – scale of fees and charges.

The Coastal Protection Portfolio Holder, accompanied by the Parking and Seafronts Manager, then attended the meeting and answered Members’ questions on:-

(1) The options for the Residents’ Parking Permit Scheme for 2016/2017;
(2) The changes and thinking behind the Car Parks fees and charges;
(3) The changes and thinking behind the Beach Huts fees and charges;
(4) Usage of Council owned Beach Huts that can be rented; and
(5) The usage and potential usage of the new beach raking vehicle.

The Asset Management and Corporate Services Portfolio Holder, accompanied by the Assets Manager, then attended the meeting and answered Members’ questions on what Council owned non-housing properties were empty and for how long.

The Human Resources and Business Manager then attended the meeting and answered Members’ questions on the cost pressure for the IIP Gold standard.

The Head of Planning Services then attended the meeting and answered Members’ questions on the adequacy of the staffing levels within Planning in the light of the current workloads on that section.

The Chief Executive then attended the meeting and Members went over everything that the Committee had discussed over the course of the meeting. The Chief Executive thanked the Committee for their serious hard work, support and constructive suggestions.

It was RESOLVED that the following COMMENTS be submitted to the Cabinet:

(1) The Committee looks forward to working with the Housing Portfolio Holder and Officers on the proposed changes to the services provided by Careline (such as the lifting after a fall service) and appoints Councillors Baker, Scott and Stephenson to liaise directly with the Portfolio Holder and the Council’s Commercial Manager (Mark Westall);

(2) The Committee recommends that the Service Development and Delivery Committee reviews the Council’s Homeless Accommodation Policy and the continuing viability of the Council’s low occupancy residential care homes (i.e. Honeycroft, Spendells and Kate Daniels) on a half-yearly basis;

(3) That a ‘grid’ be produced and distributed to Members with details of all the advertising that will be produced to promote the District over the next 12 months and beyond;

(4) That, following the introduction of the new fees and charges in April 2016, attendance figures at the District’s Sports Facilities be monitored and regularly reported to Members;

(5) The Committee looks forward to receiving information setting out the potential options for innovative changes to the Residents’ Parking Permit Scheme, following which comments will be made, as appropriate, but a focus on encouraging non-residents of Tendring to visit the District should be a key consideration;

(6) The Committee notes the significant activity currently being undertaken in respect of the management and/or disposal of assets but long-term vacant/unused sites within the Council’s ownership should be disposed of as soon as possible especially where on-going revenue costs are being incurred; and

(7) That the Committee: recognises, and commends, all the hard work currently being undertaken by the Planning Staff in dealing with the current high volume of planning applications and the production of the new Local Plan; recognises the pressure and potential for stress this places on those officers; and that the Council needs to remain alert to the on-going pressure that the Service faces and provides the necessary support to continue to provide an effective and efficient Planning service.

(9.15 a.m. – 2.04 p.m.)

 

 

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