Agenda and minutes

Venue: Norfolk Room, The Committee Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham

Items
No. Item

28.

Minutes (Agenda item 1) pdf icon PDF 102 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 22 February2011.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 22 February 2011 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

29.

Apologies (Agenda item 2)

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Mr R Goreham.

30.

Declaration of Interest (Agenda item 4)

Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests they may have in any of the following items on the agenda. The Members’ Code of Conduct requires that declarations include the nature of the interest and whether it is a personal or prejudicial interest.

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Environmental Wellbeing & Communications declared a personal and prejudicial interest in Agenda item 9 and left the room whilst this item was being discussed.

31.

Non-Members Wishing to Address the Meeting (Agenda item 5)

To note the names of any non-members who wish to address the meeting.

Minutes:

Cllr C Bowes, Mrs M Chapman-Allen, Mr G Bambridge, Mr P Cowen and Mr P Duigan.

32.

New Publicity Code (Agenda item 7) pdf icon PDF 81 KB

Report of the Executive Member for the Environmental Wellbeing & Communications Portfolio (Kay Fisher).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Marketing & Communications Officer presented the report which advised Members of the implications of the New Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity and recommended a decision regarding the future frequency of issues of Breckland Voice.

 

The Publicity Code provided guidance on the content, style and cost of local authority publicity.  Authorities were required by law to consider the Code in coming to any decision on publicity of any form addressed to the public.

 

A consultation with local authority organisations on a draft revised Code closed on 10 November 2010.  Over 350 responses had been received from organisations and individuals.  Breckland Council had contributed to the consultation.

 

Breckland Council’s publicity reflected the recommendations within the new Code with the exception of the recommendation around the frequency of Council publications.  Under the section relating to ‘Appropriate use of Publicity’ the Code stated that “Where local authorities do commission or publish newsletters, newssheets or similar communications, they should not issue them more than quarterly.  Breckland Voice was currently published six times a year.

 

Breckland Council currently published 62,000 copies of Voice which were distributed through Royal Mail to all businesses and residents in the Breckland area; it was the only publication in the District that reached everyone.  Whilst Voice was the primary means of communicating with our residents, digital media was a growing opportunity and had to be considered, however, access to the internet was difficult in some areas and some people preferred to use more traditional methods.  Resident’s opinions were constantly monitored through surveys carried out by the Citizens Panel which showed that they were very satisfied with the publication.

 

Although not a significant income stream, local businesses did have the opportunity to advertise in Breckland Voice and cutting the number of issues would result in bigger challenges to deliver timely communications.  The current publication schedule was timed very carefully to fit into key dates in the year. Publishing fewer issues would also increase the pagination resulting in higher printing costs eating into any savings made.

 

The Executive Member for Corporate Development & Performance supported the proposal for six editions.  He pointed out that reducing the publication to four a year would mean that much of the information, by the time Voice had been issued, would be out of date. He felt that Breckland Council already complied with the Code’s criteria in relation to style and content and the public’s satisfaction depended on the quality of the information the Council publicised.

 

The Vice-Chairman agreed with the aforementioned comments and added that Breckland did not have the benefit of widespread coverage of broadband.

 

The Executive Member for Economic & Commercial said that although Norfolk had the Eastern Daily Press many villages in Breckland did not have the facilities to deliver newspapers to the door and for elderly people Voice was the only publication that was widespread.  He mentioned the fact that two of his villages in his Ward did not have broadband facility.

 

The Executive Member for Environmental Wellbeing & Communications stated that the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.

33.

Breckland Website Govdelivery (Agenda item 8) pdf icon PDF 125 KB

Report of the Executive Member for the Environmental Wellbeing & Communications Portfolio (Kay Fisher)

Minutes:

The Marketing & Communications Officer presented the report which allowed Members to discuss and decide whether the Council should procure GovDelivery to complement the Council’s new website.

 

Breckland Council launched its new website in January 2011 and as the launch had proved to be a success, the Council needed to continue to build on its achievement and move forward and complement what had already been created.  As a result, Officers had been looking at ‘bolt-on’ products and the one that was felt to be the most favourable was a product called GovDelivery.

 

This product was being widely used in England and the United States of America.  Norfolk County Council had also been using it therefore, if approved, Breckland Council would be following in the footsteps of good companies.

 

The Marketing & Communications Officer explained how GovDelivery worked.

 

It was noted that the report recommended that SMS text messaging should not be included as an option due to the excessive costs involved.

 

The system would enable the Council to increase its reach and would allow engagement to those who were classed as ‘time poor’.

 

The costs of having such a product were explained but it was highlighted that such costs would be found from the existing Communications budget.

 

The Chairman knew that Broadband was an issue in the area and therefore felt that the Council should embrace this technology as it was the right tool to be able to communicate to everyone.

 

The Executive Member for Corporate Resources said that getting the right balance was important and to introduce such a product would be equally as effective as Breckland Voice.

 

The Executive Member for Corporate Development & Performance thought that the automatic update facility would be a great boon for the Council and knew that the Business Improvement Sub-Committee would support it.

 

The Overview & Scrutiny Commission Chairman felt that transparency was the name of the game and this product would allow people to contact the Council with any concerns they had and it would be an opportunity for them to raise issues in a meaningful way.

 

Option 1 – Recommended

 

To agree to the procurement of GovDelivery to complement the Council’s website but not take up the option of allowing customers to receive information through SMS messaging.  The budget for this option would be found from within the existing Communications budget as detailed in the finance section of the report.

 

Option 2

 

To agree the procurement of GovDelivery to complement the Council’s website and allow customers to receive information through SMS messaging.  To agree to increase the Communications budget by £12,000 to allow for 120,000 SMS messages a year.  This equated to two text messages a month for 5,000 people.  The budget for all other associated costs would be found from the existing budget as detailed in the finance section of the report.

 

Option 3

 

Not to procure GovDelivery at this time.

 

Reasons

 

GovDelivery wais a bolt on product which would further enhance the Council’s digital output and play a part in reducing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.

34.

Proposed Transfer of the Former Multi-Use Games Area, Trafalgar Wood and Riverside Area at Kilverstone Park in Thetford (Agenda item 9) pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Report of the Executive Member for the Economic and Commercial Portfolio (Mark Kiddle-Morris).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Environmental Wellbeing & Communications, Lady K Fisher, declared a personal & prejudicial interest in this item and left the room whilst this item was being discussed.

 

The Executive Member for Economic & Commercial presented the report which requested Members to approve the transfer of the former multi-use games area, Trafalgar Wood and the Riverside Area at Kilverstone Park in Thetford to Thetford Town Council.

 

The report recommended that three parcels of land be transferred together with the commuted sums that had already been received from S106 Agreements and which had been retained by Breckland Council for maintenance.

 

Marion Chapman-Allen a Ward Member for Thetford was in attendance and welcomed the transfer of these areas, in particular Trafalgar Wood and the Water Meadow.  Both these areas were much valued by the local community and were very well used.  The monies for the Water Meadow would mean that after years of neglect a plan would be able to be developed to draw down Match Funding to carry out much needed improvements.  She hoped that it would become a County wildlife site in future.  She thought it should be appreciated that the additional S106 monies from this development had only been made possible by the tenacity of two Breckland Council Officers.  She asked Members to recall that, the developers Ashwells, who had since gone into administration, had only offered this Authority £110,000.00 from the total payable of £288,431.00.  Breckland’s Head of Legal Services and the Land Management Officer had not been content with this amount and had challenged the developers over another asset held.  This challenge had resulted in the Council being paid the full amount owed; a resounding success and without any element of compromise to Breckland Council.  A success solely down to the tenacity and negotiation skills of Mike Horn and Zoe Footer without whose determination would have found the Council seriously out of pocket.

 

Option 1

 

To agree to transfer the following areas of land to Thetford Town Council at nil consideration to be retained as public open space:

 

1)     the former multi-use games area at Kilverstone Park in Thetford together with the commuted sum of £34,473.00;

2)     Trafalgar Wood at Kilverstone Park in Thetford; and

3)     the Riverside Area at Kilverstone Park in Thetford together with the commuted sum of £163,845.00.

 

Option 2

 

To refuse to transfer these areas of land.

 

Reasons

 

To ensure the open space areas were kept to a standard acceptable by the Town Council and the facilities available could be changed in response to the town appraisals.

 

RESOLVED that the following areas of land be transferred to Thetford Town Council at nil consideration to be retained as public open space:

 

1)     the former multi-use Games Area at Kilverstone Park in Thetford together with the commuted sum of £34,473.00;

 

2)     Trafalgar Wood at Kilverstone Park in Thetford; and

 

3)     the Riverside Area at Kilverstone Park in Thetford together with the commuted sum of £163,845.00.

35.

Transfer of Play Areas (Agenda item 10) pdf icon PDF 74 KB

Report of the Executive Member for the Economic & Commercial Portfolio (Mark Kiddle-Morris).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Economic & Commercial presented the report which asked Members to consider and approve the release of £80,961.33 to transfer three Breckland equipped play areas to Attleborough Town Council.

 

Background information was provided.

 

The Vice-Chairman believed that these open spaces should belong to Town and Parish Councils (he mentioned the success of Gaymers Meadow) and felt that the transfer and the commuted sum was excellent news for Attleborough.

 

The Executive Member for Corporate Development & Performance queried the wording on the Proforma B (2nd paragraph) and asked whether there was a Service Level Agreement attached.  Members were informed that the play areas were being transferred not the open spaces around it.  The Land Management Officer explained that the original proposal was in relation to equipped play areas only.  Breckland Council did not want to dispose of any land that could be of strategic importance.  It was noted that these open spaces would become part of the tranches within Active Land Management.

 

Options

 

1)           To approve the release of £80,961.33

 

2)           Not to approve the release of £80,961.33

 

Reasons

 

To ensure the facilities in these play areas are kept to a standard acceptable by Attleborough Town Council and the facilities available could be changed in response to the town appraisals.

 

RESOLVED that the sum of £80,961.33 be released to transfer three Breckland equipped play areas to Attleborough Town Council.<1>

 

36.

Reference from the Overview and Scrutiny Commission (Agenda item 11) pdf icon PDF 55 KB

To consider references from the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on 24 March 2011.

36/071

ICT Options for Members

Minutes:

See Agenda item 13 – Minute No: 38/11 2(a) below.

36/072

Swaffham Parking Review

Minutes:

The Overview & Scrutiny Commission Chairman presented this item.  He reminded Members that Dereham, Attleborough and Watton had already been considered, although for the latter towns the costs, as Cabinet had previously requested, had yet to be finalised.

 

With regard to Swaffham, the comments listed in the report were a consequence of the public consultation that had been carried out as part of the review.

 

The Executive Member for Economic & Commercial queried the fourth and fifth recommendations of the report:

 

(4)   The Council, Norfolk County Council and Norfolk Constabulary liaise over de-criminalisation of on-street parking in Swaffham in a multi-agency approach, seeking a transfer of responsibility and action enabled through joined-up thinking and use of resources.

 

(5)   The Town Council’s proposals to employ a traffic warden to undertake off-street parking enforcement within the five market towns.  

 

The Overview & Scrutiny Commission Chairman stated that the off-street and on-street parking enforcement was somewhat vague at the moment but the public had supported both proposals put forward.

 

Referring to recommendation (4), the Executive Member for Economic & Commercial pointed out that Norfolk County Council would have responsibility for on-street parking from November 2011.  With this in mind, and until further clarification had been received from Norfolk County Council, he felt that this recommendation should be re-visited at a later date.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1)           the disabled parking facilities in the Market Street car park be reviewed and easier access spaces be provided;

2)           Norfolk County Council, as the Highways Authority, be requested to undertake an assessment to consider using the land opposite the old sixth form centre as a dedicated taxi rank;

3)           Norfolk County Council be requested to produce new. Larger signs to entice people to park at the Theatre Street car park;

4)           using a multi-agency approach, Breckland Council, Norfolk County Council and Norfolk Constabulary liaise over de-criminalisation of on-street parking in Swaffham, seeking a transfer of responsibility and action enabled through joined-up thinking and use of resources;

5)           the Town Council’s proposal to employ a traffic warden to undertake off-street parking enforcement within the five market towns be supported; and

6)           Breckland Council’s policy of providing free parking in all Breckland-owned car parks in Swaffham be retained.

37.

Anglia Revenues and Benefits Partnership (Agenda item 12)

37/071

Report of the meeting of the Joint Committee held on 10 February 2011 pdf icon PDF 84 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Anglia Revenues and Benefits Partnership Joint Committee meeting held on 10 February 2011 be noted.

37/072

Report of the meeting of the Joint Committee held on 17 March 2011 pdf icon PDF 80 KB

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Planning, Health & Housing who was also a Member of the ARP Joint Committee was pleased to announce that on the 1st April 2011, St Edmundsbury District Council had joined the partnership; he congratulated the Officers involved who he felt were a credit to the organisation.

 

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Anglia Revenues and Benefits Partnership Joint Committee meeting held on 17 March 2011 be noted.

38.

Business Improvement Sub-Committee: 1 March 2011 and 30 March 2011 (Agenda item 13) pdf icon PDF 69 KB

To adopt the Minutes of the Business Improvement Sub-Committee meeting held on 1 March 2011.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

1.            Business Improvement Sub-Committee: 1 March 2011

 

(a)         Customer Service Improvement Plan (Minute No. 22/11)

 

The Executive Member for Environmental Wellbeing & Communications reported that an enormous amount of progress had been made in regard to reducing the number of engaged calls which was all thanks to the new equipment that had recently been installed in the Contact Centre.  Breckland Council was continuing to work with its partners to improve frontline services.

 

RESOLVED that the Customer Service Improvement Plan be adopted, subject to the inclusion of a requirement to use the gathered data to client manage partners and other out-sourced services.

 

(b)         ICT In-sourcing (Minute No. 23/11)

 

The Executive Member for Corporate Development & Performance, who was also the Chairman of the Business Improvement Sub-Committee, was pleased to announce that the in-sourcing project was proceeding and would be completed by 1st May 2011.  Savings had been identified.

 

(c)         Options and Recommendation for Amalgamation of Business Improvement Sub-Committee and the Capital Programme Working Group

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1)           a new Sub-Committee combining and replacing the Capital Programme Working Group (CPWG) and Business Improvement Sub-Committee (BISC) be formed; and

 

2)           the Terms of Reference as set out in Appendix 1 of the report be approved.

 

(d)         Adoption

 

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Business Improvement Sub-Committee meeting held on 1 March 2011 be adopted.

 

2.            Business Improvement Sub-Committee (Special Meeting): 30 March 2011

 

(a)         ICT Options for Members (Minute No. 34/11)

 

Members were provided with an update on this item.

 

The Executive Member for Corporate Development & Performance reported that the recommendations from the Joint Audit & Scrutiny Panel (JASP) had already been considered and agreed by the Business Improvement Sub-Committee; hence the Special meeting held. 

 

The reason for the JASP being set up was because the ICT equipment which Members currently used was quite old and well past its sell by date.  All Political Groups would appreciate new equipment as more and more people were contacting Members via Broadband.  The Executive Member read an email he had received from one of his parishioners which had resulted in a very quick response.

 

Any new equipment had to provide best value for the tax payer.  The Net Book had been rejected as it was felt that there were too many add-ons; therefore, JASP had been asked to re-convene on 12th April 2011 prior to BISC to consider options 1 and 6 (listed in the report).  He pointed out that a desktop could be added to option 1.

 

The Executive Member for Economic & Commercial felt that option 1 and 6 should be ran in tandem with an allowance.

 

It was agreed that this option would be put to JASP at its next meeting.<2>

 

The Chairman pointed out that he received 40/50 emails per day at obscure hours and this was why it was important to recognise Members needs and have up-to-date IT equipment which was simple to use and easy to maintain.  Video conferencing via laptops would be a saving, not only for Members  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.

39.

Member Development Panel: 3 March 2011(Agenda item 14) pdf icon PDF 70 KB

To note the Minutes of the Member Development Panel meeting held on 3 March 2011.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Member Development Panel meeting held on 3 March 2011 were noted.

 

40.

Reference from the Audit Committee (Agenda item 20) pdf icon PDF 52 KB

To consider references for the meeting of the Audit Committee held on 25 March 2011.

Additional documents:

40/071

Variation to Environmental Services Contract

Minutes:

The Cabinet at its meeting on 19th October 2010 had recommended that the Environmental Services (SERCO) contract be deferred and the Audit Committee be commissioned to investigate the financial aspects of the settlement of invoices for the Gross Annual Services Charges of the Serco contract (Cabinet Minute No. 107/10 refers).

 

The Audit Committee had discussed the implications of the variation of the contract and had concerns about the risks involved whilst being mindful of the savings; therefore, a one month settlement had been proposed.

 

The Executive Member for Economic & Commercial struggled with the notion why the Council would want to pay for services upfront that had not been received.  The return would be very small and could set a precedent and could open up the Council to abuse.

 

The Chairman agreed with the aforementioned comments and accordingly did not support the Audit Committee’s recommendation.

 

The Overview & Scrutiny Commission Chairman reminded Members that Breckland Council was the custodian of ratepayers’ monies and felt that the principle of paying for services up front was fundamentally flawed.  He stated that if the recommendation was approved, the Overview & Scrutiny Commission would call in the decision.

 

Options

 

N/A

 

Reasons

 

N/A

 

RESOLVED that the recommendation from the Audit Committee be refused and the Gross Annual Service Charges for the contract not be settled one month in advance in order to realise a 1% discount from Serco.

40/072

Match Funding Application - Diss Rugby Club

Minutes:

The Cabinet at its meeting on 30 November 2010 recommended that the Diss Rugby Club Match Funding Application be deferred subject to a review by the Audit Committee (Cabinet Minute 121/10 refers).

 

The Audit Committee considered and reviewed the current eligibility criteria of Breckland Council’s grant schemes and the Diss Rugby Club Match Funding application.  The Chairman and Members fully supported what the Club was trying to achieve and recommended that no changes be made to the eligibility criteria subject to all applications being value for money to Breckland residents.

 

The Executive Member for Corporate Development & Performance queried the recommendation in relation to eligibility criteria and asked if anything was going to be put in place.

 

The Director of Community Services advised that no changes would be made to the criteria and each application would be judged on its merits.

 

The Overview & Scrutiny Commission Chairman pointed out that the report highlighted that 16.1% of the Club’s membership were Breckland residents.  He believed that the Audit Committee had reached the right decision.

 

The Vice-Chairman stated that the Grant Panel had looked into this application in great detail and he was pleased that this was now moving forward. 

 

Members were informed that this matter had been brought to the Committee’s attention by a concern raised by a Watton resident.

 

The Chairman felt that it was only right and proper that Breckland Council was seen to be giving value to its residents and highlighted the fact that funding should not be stopped in such areas just because of a line on the map.

 

Options

 

N/A

 

Reasons

 

N/A

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1)           the funding application for Diss Rugby Football Club totalling the amount of £20,000 be approved;

2)           no changes be made to the eligibility criteria for Match Funding applications, subject to it being value for money to Breckland residents;

3)           a protocol be put in place to ensure that the local authority within which the organisation was based matched or exceeded the grant requested from Breckland; and

4)           each case to be judged on its merits.

41.

Next Meeting (Agenda item 15)

To note that the date of the next meeting of Cabinet will be held on 31 May 2011.

Minutes:

It was noted that the next meeting would be held on Tuesday, 31 May 2011 at 9.30am in the Norfolk Room.

42.

Exclusion of Press and Public (Agenda item 16)

To consider passing the following resolution:

 

“That under Section 100(A) (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that it involves the disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of Schedule 12A to the Act”.

 

PART B

ITEMS FROM WHICH THE PRESS AND THE PUBLIC ARE EXCLUDED

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED that under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the Press and the Public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of Schedule 12A to the Act.

43.

Dog and Pest Control Contracts (Agenda item 17)

Report of the Executive Member for the Planning, Health & Housing Portfolio (Paul Claussen).

Minutes:

The Principal Environmental Health Officer provided Members with details of the outcome of the European Tender process for the provision of the Pest and Dog Control Services by private contractor.  The companies chosen would provide good services within the budget provision.

 

Options

 

1)           Not extend the existing pest and dog control contracts and run the risk of non-provision after April 2011.

 

2)           Accept the recommended contractors to provide the pest and dog control services to the Council for the next three years with an option to extend the contracts for one year.

 

Reasons

 

The contract specifications and tender submission by the recommended contractors would ensure enhanced services to the Council and Breckland residents and represented best value, with a financial saving for the dog warden service of just under £30,000.

 

RESOLVED that the pest control contract be awarded to Pest Express Ltd and the dog warden service contract be awarded to Animal Warden Services as detailed in paragraph 3.2 of the report.

44.

Acquisition of Land in Swaffham (Agenda item 18)

Report of the Executive Member for the Economic & Commercial Portfolio (Mark Kiddle-Morris).

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Economic & Commercial presented the report which requested Members agreement to purchase 1.6 acres of commercial land in Swaffham.

 

Members agreed that it made sense to purchase and redevelop the site going forward.

 

Options

 

1)           To purchase the commercial land in Swaffham.

 

2)           Not to purchase the commercial land in Swaffham

 

Reasons

 

See report.

 

RECOMMEND to Council that option 1 of the report be approved.

45.

Joint Management Arrangements (Agenda item 19)

Report of the Leader of the Council (William Nunn).

Minutes:

The Chief Executive presented the report which informed Members of the outcome of the selection process of the Shared management Team.   Members were being asked to consider and agree to the proposals for dealing with vacant Joint Management posts and to agree to further consequential changes to the structure. It also asked each authority to address resulting capacity issues separately.

 

The Executive Member for Economic & Commercial was pleased to see the recommendation at 2.3 of the report and hoped that the Cabinet would support it as it was very important, in the line of work that his portfolio covered, to have instant access to a legal opinion.

 

Options

 

See report.

 

Reasons

 

The recommendations responded to the circumstances and identified opportunities for some modest savings on senior management.

 

RESOLVED that the progress towards implementing the new Joint Management Structure be noted.

 

RESOLVED to note that the Council of South Holland was recommending the creation of three posts.

 

RECOMMEND to Council that the recommendations at 2.2 (a) and (b) and 2.3 of the report be supported.