Agenda and minutes

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

Items
No. Item

98.

Minutes (Agenda item 1) pdf icon PDF 88 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 31 July 2012.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 31 July 2012 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

99.

Apologies (Agenda item 2)

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Mr W Smith and Mr M Wassell.

100.

Declarations (Agenda item 4)

To note any declarations.

Minutes:

None.

101.

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:

Messrs G Bambridge, P Cowen, P Duigan, T Jermy, M Nairn, W Richmond and F Sharpe.

102.

Grant Panel Report Round 2 - 2012/13 (Agenda item 7) pdf icon PDF 89 KB

Report of Lynda Turner, Executive Member for Localism, Community & Environmental Services.

 

Members’ attention is drawn to the fact that the reports at appendices 1 and 2 are under a different Portfolio. Mark Kiddle-Morris, the Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development will present these particular reports when discussed.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Localism, Community & Environmental Services presented the Grant Panel report and drew attention to the fact that the reports at appendices 1 and 2 were under a different Portfolio – the Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development would be presenting these.

 

Members were informed that the first application submitted by the Swaffham Community Transport Project, had raised a few concerns but following re-submission and further advice the application had been approved under delegated powers.  This proved that the Grant Panel did consider every application and only agreed to applications that met with the relevant criteria.

 

The Executive Member for Performance & Business Development thanked Breckland Council for granting both applications for Swaffham. 

 

Mr Bambridge also thanked Breckland Council for the funding granted for improvements to the roof at Foxley Village Hall.  The hall was well kept and was used by many people in the community.  It also had a very active committee.

 

The Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development drew Members’ attention to appendices 1 and 2 of the report.  Appendix 1 sought support for £15,000 to be released from the Match Funding Reserve to enhance and enable phase 4 of the ongoing Breckland Enterprise & Learning Account (BELA) project.  This funding would enable the Council to assist emerging and struggling small/micro businesses in the Breckland area with 10 employees or less.  Each business would be offered a small grant of up to £500 to put towards training, advice or small items of equipment of which the applicants were required to match fund 50%.

 

With regard to Appendix 2, Norfolk County Council had recognised the need for a Norfolk-wide business support programme by providing a budget of £200,000.  Breckland Council had been allocated £80,000 and was being asked to support this grant with a proportion of Match Funding of £20,000 per year for two years.  The recommendation was highlighted.

 

The Executive Member for Planning & Environmental Services asked if agreeing to Match Fund would be prudent in these difficult economic times.

 

The Opposition Leader felt encouraged by both the aforementioned applications as he was well aware that many new businesses lacked such crucial support. 

 

Referring to the BELA grant, the Executive Member for Performance & Business Development did not consider the small amount of funding offered to these businesses to be of much benefit.  A number of Members disagreed and felt that it would be money well spent.

 

In response to a question about the Business Support Programme, Members were informed that the amount of funding being offered to other districts was unknown. 

 

The Chairman felt that at this time, when the economy was stalling, we as a Council needed to support and encourage the economy.  He did, however, have a slight concern about the similarities between the two schemes.  The Senior Economic Development Officer explained that the BELA scheme was to assist start up micro businesses with the offer of a small grant.  The latter scheme was not offering money only advice.

 

The Chairman wanted to know if accepting the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 102.

103.

Financial Performance Quarter 1 2012-13 (Agenda item 8) pdf icon PDF 61 KB

Report of Michael Wassell, Executive Member for Finance & Democratic Services.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Assistant Director of Finance presented the report that provided information on the forecast full year financial position of the Council as at 30 June 2012.

 

The report had been split into three sections – Revenue budget, Capital budget and Treasury update and each section was explained in detail.

 

Referring to the recommendation highlighted within table 3 on page 34 of the agenda, the Overview & Scrutiny Commission Chairman had noted the very generous Capita contribution of £30k but was surprised that Capita was asking for most of it back for improvements to its IT systems.  Members were informed that this was extra money that Capita was putting back into the authority to improve Breckland Council’s IT systems.  The Executive Member for Planning & Environmental Services explained that these improvements were in relation to Ocella that had not been updated for some time.

 

Referring to the amount for property land and buildings for 2013-14 under table 2, Capital Financing Requirement, the Overview & Scrutiny Commission Chairman asked how the Council knew that it was going to spend such an amount in this particular year.  The Assistant Director of Finance advised that the authority had already committed this capital funding amount from the Capital Programme but the return was unknown.

 

The Executive Member for Performance & Business Development felt the chart highlighting the five year efficiency gap looked quite daunting – there were a great deal of unknowns and, without doubt,  a lot more work still to be done in the next five years.

 

The Chairman agreed and knew that this had been a very unsettling time for staff and he conveyed his thanks to all concerned for riding the storm with the Council that was, at the moment, trying to solve an irresolvable problem.  He asked Members to bear in mind that part of the efficiencies achieved had included a windfall which he felt was not a safe source of income and should not be relied on to build the Council’s services. With this in mind he said that he was a great believer in spending what he had and not what he might have tomorrow. The Assistant Director of Finance said that he was confident that this amount of income would continue.

 

The Chief Executive advised that the Council had achieved about a third of the 2012/13 efficiency target and pointed out that further savings had been made since the chart had been produced.  The Corporate Management Team tracked these figures monthly; the mind-set being to deliver against the monies already there and not take account of the windfall.

 

The Opposition Leader queried the comments that had been made within table 4 on page 34 of the report in relation to the drop in rental income and mentioned the fact that he knew of other landlords in the Thetford area that charged much less in rent.  The Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development stated that the Council charged rents at the District Valuers valuation.  Council lettings were 94% let and it was not  ...  view the full minutes text for item 103.

104.

Next Meeting (Agenda item 9)

To note that the date of the next meeting of Cabinet will be held on Tuesday, 9 October at 9.30am in the Norfolk Room.

Minutes:

The arrangements for the next meeting on Tuesday, 9th October 2012 at 9.30am in the Norfolk Room were noted.

105.

Exclusion of Press and Public (Agenda item 10)

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 they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A to the Act”.

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 likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A to the Act.

106.

Barnham Broom (Agenda item 11)

Report of Mark Kiddle-Morris, Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development.

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development furnished Members with the information needed in order to decide whether these changes should be agreed.

 

The Cabinet fully supported the proposals.

 

Options

 

See report.

 

Reasons

 

To improve asset performance.

 

RESOLVED that the recommendations as listed in the report, including option 2, be approved.

107.

Breckland Local Asset Backed Vehicle - Business Case (Agenda item 12)

Report of Mark Kiddle-Morris, Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development.

Minutes:

The report described a proposal for a project that could provide a business case for the potential establishment of a Local Asset Backed Vehicle (LABV).

 

The various issues to be considered were highlighted.  

 

The Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development in conjunction with Executive Board would be delegated to monitor the outputs from the project and govern the spend.

 

Options

 

See report.

 

Reasons

 

See section 7.1 and 7.2 of the project mandate as attached at appendix 1 of the report.

 

RESOLVED that the recommendations as highlighted in the report at option 1 be approved.