Agenda and minutes

Executive - Tuesday 9th January 2018 6.00 pm

Venue: Gipping Room - Grafton House. View directions

Contact: Linda Slowgrove  01473 432511

Items
No. Item

124.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

 

The Chair welcomed Stephanie Robinson, Customer Services Manager, and Ainsley Gilbert, Democratic Services Manager to their first meeting of the Executive.

125.

Unconfirmed Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 69 KB

To consider the Minutes of the meeting held on 12 December 2017.

Minutes:

It was RESOLVED:

 

that the Minutes of the meeting held on 12 December 2017 be signed as a true record.

126.

To Confirm or Vary the Order of Business

Minutes:

It was RESOLVED:

 

that the Order of Business be confirmed as printed on the Agenda.

127.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

128.

E/17/59 Council Housing Rents 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 115 KB

Portfolio Holder – Councillor Neil MacDonald

 

To ask Executive to recommend to Council a 1% reduction in 2018/19 for housing rents, an increase to garage rents and the service charge equal to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) plus 1 % and to not increase the utility element of the sheltered charges.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

128.1.Councillor MacDonald explained that the paper recommended that Council housing rents be reduced by 1% as required by the Government. The Government had also announced that from 2020 rent increases would return to being limited to CPI +1% for a period of five years.

 

It was RESOLVED:

 

That Executive recommends to Council that it:

 

  (i)         Determines an appropriate change in rent level in time to give written notice to tenants of a rent decrease by the 5th of March 2018;

 

Reason: In order to implement an appropriate rent level and comply with legal notice requirements.

 

(ii)         Approves the increase of 4.0% to the service charge for sheltered schemes for 2018/19 but to leave the utility charges at the 2017/18 rate, as set out at appendix 1 to the report and;

 

Reason: To recover estimated costs of providing the services

 

(iii)         Approves the increase of 4.0% in for 2018/19 for housing garage and hard standing rents as set out in appendix 2 to the report.

 

Reason: In line with approach to Sheltered schemes.

129.

E/17/60 Adoption of Revised Council Tax Reduction (CTR) Scheme - Effective 01 April 2018 pdf icon PDF 199 KB

Portfolio Holder – Councillor Sophie Meudec

 

To propose the adoption by Council on 24th January 2018 of a Revised Council Tax Reduction (Working Age) Scheme that will come into effect from 1st April 2018.

Minutes:

129.1.Councillor Meudec explained that in October 2018 a 4 week consultation had been conducted on proposed changes to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme. The main proposal of the scheme was to increase the discount from 91.5% to 95% for the poorest households. This would not only benefit the most needy residents but would also make the administration process simpler as it would align the scheme with the Housing Benefit scheme.

 

129.2.In accordance with Standing Orders Part 3 Section 3 Paragraph 3.5, the following question was asked by Councillor Lockington:

 

 “Apart from asking what the response from Suffolk County Council and the Police & Crime Commissioner are, I would like to know if there is an obvious explanation why you have the following consultation result:

           Male 20.45%   Female 75.00%.    

Are Females better at responding or are they more affected by paying Council Tax?”

 

Councillor Meudec reported that the Council did not know why more females had responded than males, although she said that it was possible that more females such as single mothers would be affected by the changes and so were more likely to have responded. She noted that 75% of the respondents were not people who received Council Tax Reduction and that the consultation had been openly available to all residents. Councillor Meudec said that no response had been received from either Suffolk County Council or the Police and Crime Commissioner.

 

Councillor Jones commented that women living in single parent households might indeed have been more likely to have responded to the consultation as they had been the most badly affected by austerity measures and benefit cuts.

 

Councillor Ellesmere said that the new scheme was good for residents, especially considering that Suffolk County Council was likely to increase its share of the Council Tax by 5 or 6 % and the Police and Crime Commissioner was expected to increase their element by the maximum £12 allowed.

 

It was RESOLVED:

 

That Executive recommend to full Council that it adopts the Council Tax Reduction (Working Age) Local Scheme (Revised) as set out in Appendix C of the report for Ipswich Borough Council from 1st April 2018.

 

Reasons:

           To align the IBC Working Age Council Tax Reduction scheme with the Housing Benefit Scheme.

           To allow continued alignment of the schemes in operation to simplify entitlement/access for customers.

           To avoid uneconomic to maintain awards and generally ease the burden of administration for CTR.

           To avoid unnecessary means testing and provide equitable access to CTR for any customers who receive ‘passport’ benefits.

           To ensure claimants of Universal Credit do not lose out on their entitlement to a Council Tax Reduction due to delays in administration of Universal Credit.

130.

E/17/61 Customer Access Strategy pdf icon PDF 185 KB

Portfolio Holder – Councillor Alasdair Ross

 

This report outlines progress on improving customer access across the Council, evaluates the options for moving forward and introduces the Ipswich Borough Council Customer Access Strategy for the period 2018 through to 2021.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

130.1. Councillor Ross commented that the report did not sufficiently promote the excellent work which the Customer Services Team had done to improve customer access. By December 2017, 10,000 people had signed up to MyIpswich; that number had been the target for the whole financial year. Councillor Ross noted that face to face contact was expensive to provide, however, the Council was committed to keeping it available for those who needed to use it. More Phones, PCs and a Scanning Station for public use had been introduced into the Customer Services Centre which, as well as encouraging people to try out forms of contact which were cheaper for the Council and often better for residents, experience from other local authorities suggested would be vital for the roll out of Universal Credit. Councillor Ross highlighted that the support of other services in the Council had been essential in making the changes to Customer Services effective.

 

130.2. The Customer Services Operations Manager reported that the previous Customer Access Strategy had put in place good foundations for accessing services digitally, and had led to many processes being streamlined. The new Strategy built on these successes, with even deeper integration of services, and would also prepare the Council for the impacts of the Homelessness Reduction Act and Universal Credit.

 

130.3. Councillor Ellesmere commented that this new Customer Access Strategy was important for both the Council and for residents and added that the Council remained committed to allowing residents to contact the Council face to face and by phone.

 

It was RESOLVED:

 

That Executive notes the progress and current position of Customer Access across Ipswich Borough Council and adopts the Customer Access Strategy 2018 to 2021 as recommended in Option 2 of the report.

 

Reason:  To give a corporate direction to the future development of customer services across Ipswich Borough Council.

131.

E/17/62 Economic Development Strategy pdf icon PDF 106 KB

Portfolio Holder – Councillor David Ellesmere

 

This report details information regarding the new Economic Development Strategy and requests approval of the content and progression to Council.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

131.1.Councillor Ellesmere reported that in the five years since the last Economic Development Strategy had been agreed both the town and the Council had moved on significantly. The new plan reflected Ipswich Borough Council’s new Corporate Plan as well as the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership’s Strategy and the Government’s Industrial Strategy. Councillor Ellesmere praised the work of the Economic Development Team who were already delivering on many of the plans in the strategy.

 

131.2.Councillor Jones commented that town centres were changing with residential use becoming an increasing part of the mix and added that more people living in town centres could help to increase the viability of shops.

 

131.3.Councillor Ellesmere agreed that town centres were changing and that residential use would be an important part of the town centres of the future. Councillor Ellesmere commented on the effect of empty offices in the town centre, but the Council, had enabled the refitting of the former Fison’s building and through Ipswich Borough Assets built the new Birketts building which would help to regenerate the town.

 

It was RESOLVED:

 

That Executive note the draft Economic Development Strategy and submit it to Council for comment.

 

Reason:  The implementation of the Economic Development Strategy will enable the town to have a vibrant and prosperous economy with all the benefits this would bring to local residents and the area.

132.

Exclusion of Public

To consider excluding the public (including the Press) from the meeting during consideration of the following items under Regulation 21 of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2000 as it is likely that if members of the public were present during these items there would be disclosure to them of exempt information falling within paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

Minutes:

It was RESOLVED:

 

That the public (including the Press) be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the remaining items under Regulation 21 of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2000 as it is likely that if members of the public were present during these items there would be disclosure to them of exempt information falling within paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

 


 

NOT FOR PUBLICATION

133.

Unconfirmed Exempt Minutes of Previous Meeting

134.

E/17/63 Business Plans of Wholly Owned Companies

Portfolio Holder – Councillor David Ellesmere