Agenda and minutes

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

No. Item



To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 24 April 2007 and 14 May 2007.


The Minutes of the meetings held on 24 April 2007 and 14 May 2007 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.



To receive apologies for absence. 


An apology for absence was received from Mrs A. Steward.


Declaration of Interest

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.


Lady K Fisher declared a personal interest in minute 68/07 the nature of which related to the ownership of land in the Thetford area.  Lady Fisher left the meeting whilst the item was discussed and voted upon.


Non-Members Wishing to Address the Meeting

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


Mr P. Cowen, Mr R. F. Goreham, Mrs S. Howard-Alpe and Mrs D. Irving.


Best Value Performance Plan 2007/2008

Report of the Executive Member for the Cabinet Office.


The purpose of the report was to seek approval by Full Council of Breckland Council’s Local Performance Plan 2007/2008.


The Executive Member for the Cabinet Office informed Members that the Comprehensive Performance Assessment would shortly be replaced by the Comprehensive Area Assessment which would allow Local Authorities to choose around 40 of their own Performance Indicators.  This would enable authorities to deliver services aimed at local issues.  These Performance Indicators would be developed in conjunction with the Overview and Scrutiny Commission, which, it was noted, had recommended the adoption of the Plan.


Further to the above the customer satisfaction in Breckland was at 63% which was significantly higher than the national average.  70% of the Performance Indicators had improved and 42% were in the best quartile.


A Member queried the wording of ‘decent’ housing and enquired in what context ‘decent’ was used.  In response the Executive Member for Strategic Alliance replied that ‘decent’ meant fit to live in that it was damp free, warm and liveable.


Members thought it was surprising to see that the Council needed to improve developing corporate signage.  It was noted that this referred to the need to ensure that corporate branding was included on all forms of communication.


With regard to training Members were informed that the Member Training Panel would meet again shortly and the Council was committed to elected member development.


The reason for the recommendation was to meet the Council’s statutory duty to produce a Local Performance Plan by 30 June 2007. Failure to publish the Plan by 30 June 2007 would result in the auditors qualifying the Local Performance Plan which, in turn, would have implications for the Council in the Annual Audit and Inspection Letter.


The options available to Members were:

(1)                           Adopt the Local Performance Plan recommend in the report.

(2)                           Make changes to the Plan.

(3)                           Not adopt the Plan.



RECOMMEND that the Council adopt the Local Value Performance Plan 2007/2008.


Thetford New Growth Point Status Budget

Report of the Executive Member for Environment (Planning)


The Asset Manager and Acting Operations Manager (Commercial Services/Environment) presented a report which sought Members’ authorisation for the £150,000 revenue funding awarded to Breckland by the Department for Communities and Local Government as a consequence of Thetford being awarded Growth Point Status to be placed into the Council’s overall budget for 2007/08.


It was noted that until 2021 Thetford and the surrounding villages would grow vastly and it was imperative that all partners worked together to ensure that the infrastructure was in place to meet the demand.


In relation to infrastructure the Leader noted that the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA), contrary to the statement made by Dr Ladyman, Minister of State for Transport, would like to prioritise the dualling of the A11 but this was not possible at present due to a lack of funding.  In response the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission stated that the improvement of the roundabout at Barton Mills was not included in any funding bids.  If the roundabout was not improved at the same time as dualling the A11 this would lead to serious traffic flow problems.  The Leader stated that he would include this issue in any future discussion with EERA regarding the dualling of the A11. 


The reason for the recommendation was that the sum would enable the Council to pay the consultants and for the two essential studies to be completed as per DCLG requirements.  If authorisation was not given the Council would not be able to claim the funding.



Only one option was give which was that Members be requested to authorise the £150,000 revenue funding awarded to Breckland by the Department for Communities and Local Government to be placed in the budget for 2007/08.


RESOLVED that the sum of £150,000 revenue funding awarded to Breckland Council by the Department for Communities and Local Government be released to be placed into the budget for 2007/08, subject to:


(1)         The Funding Support Officer within Financial Services in conjunction with the Growth Point Status Projects Manager completes claims in accordance with grant conditions and monitors the spend to ensure that Breckland can reclaim the full costs; and


(2)         Any contracts/quotes follow the Council’s Standing Orders.


Health Act 2006 - Smoking Ban Implementation Recommendations

Report of the Executive Member for Environment


The Head of Environmental Health presented the Report, which highlighted some of the issues imposed by the Act and Regulations on Breckland Council, both as the enforcing authority and as an employer.  He explained the rationale for the legislation, the six sets of specific regulations and their requirements, and the main offences that could be committed under the Act, which were:-


  • failure of the occupier or manager to display no smoking signs in a smoke-free premises or vehicle;
  • smoking in a smoke-free place or vehicle;
  • failure on the part of the manager, or person in control of the premises, to stop a person smoking within those premises;
  • intentional obstruction of an authorised officer, or failing to give assistance, or giving false or misleading information.


The aims, nationally and locally, were to advise, educate and assist businesses and members of the public to prepare for the effective date of 1st July 2007.  An enforcement protocol had been agreed among other authorities within the county to ensure consistency of application. 


Everything that had been done so far was in relation to prevention and not enforcement.  There were some implications for the deployment of staff within the Environmental Health team.


In response to a query the Head of Environmental Health stated that with regard to businesses the person running the business was responsible for stopping people within the premises from smoking.  However, the Council were working closely with the police on this issue.


The reasons for the recommendations were firstly to ensure that Breckland fulfils its duties to comply with the Health Act 2006 as an employer to staff and carer for visitors in its premises from 1 July 2007.  Secondly to support staff and residents to stop smoking and reduce associated adverse health impact of smoking both actively or passively.


Members were afforded the following options:

(1)         The principles incorporated into the recommendations list in Appendix 1 were believed to follow Members’ views.  The enforcement of the Regulations and education promotional costs were covered within this year’s budget.  However, any corporate costs associated with staff, buildings etc had not been considered separately, being statutory duties imposed across the Council as a whole.


(2)         Members can agree to the recommendations as laid out in Appendix 1 of the report.


(3)         Members can agree, alter and/or add additional recommendations.



Members considered the options set out in Appendix I, where the Council had discretion as to the steps it would take on its internal policy, and agreed with the steps proposed and the allocation of responsibilities, as set out.


RESOLVED that the recommendations, as set out in Appendix I to the report, be approved.


Next Meeting

To note that the date of the next meeting of Cabinet is scheduled for Tuesday, 17 July 2007 at 9.30 am.


It was noted that the next meeting of the Cabinet would be a special meeting on 18 June 2007 with a special meeting on 17 July 2007.


Appointment of Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Transformation

Report of the Executive Member for Cabinet.


The Interim Chief Executive presented a report which made Members aware of the timetable for the appointment of the Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Transformation posts and to agree minor changes to the Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Transformation Role Profiles.


Members would not be invited to meet the shortlisted candidates, as they had for the role of the Chief Executive, but would be welcome to attend the Appointments Panel. 


The reason for the recommendation was that minor changes to the Role Profiles were recommended in order to reflect the Council’s focus on its approach as an Entrepreneurial Council and opportunities that the Strategic Alliance Partnership would present in the future.


Options available to Members were to either agree or not agree to the timetable and minor changes to the Role Profiles.




(1)         approve the appointment timetabled as set out in Appendix A of the report be adopted.




(1)         Council agree to the minor changes to the roles of the Deputy Chief Executive and Direction of Transformation Role Profiles as set out in Appendices B and C of the report; and


(2)         any further minor changes be delegated to the Chief Executive, Leader and Chairman of the General Purposes Committee.


Anglia Revenues and Benefits Partnership

Report of the meeting of the Joint Committee held on 26 April 2007.


The Minutes of the Meeting of the Anglia Revenue and Benefits Partnership held on 26 April 2007 were noted. 


Reference from the Overview and Scrutiny Commission

To consider references from the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on 24 May 2007.


The other item in the report having being considered under minute no. 67/07, the remaining references from the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on 24 May 2007 were considered.


Members welcomed the recommendations from Overview and Scrutiny Commission (OSC) and agreed that the OSC would have an enhanced role through setting the Performance Indicators for the Comprehensive Area Assessment and monitoring those Indicators.


Training for new Members on financial matters would be essential in helping them to comprehend and disseminate the information which would be presented to them in the future. 


It was noted that Members held a vast skills base and these skill should be utilised wherever possible.


References from Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Internal Audit


Members approved the recommendations proposed by the Overview and Scrutiny Commission.


RECOMMEND that the Council:


(1)         receive and note the Annual Report of the Audit Manager.


(2)         note that the overall standards of internal control were satisfactory during 2006/07.


(3)         note that the satisfactory opinion on internal control is taken forward into the Council’s statement on Internal Control for 2006/07.


(4)         note that the initial feedback on the effectiveness of Internal Audit indicates enhancements are being made to service delivery and that closer adherence to the Code of Practice for Internal Audit in Local Government in the United Kingdom is currently ongoing.


References from Overview and Scrutiny Commission - Statement of Internal Controls


Members approved the recommendations proposed by the Overview and Scrutiny Commission.


RECOMMEND that the Council approve the Statement of Internal Control and the review of the effectiveness of Internal Audit.