Agenda and minutes

Executive - Tuesday 16th June 2020 6.00 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Ainsley Gilbert  01473 432510

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

2.

Unconfirmed Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 480 KB

To consider the Minutes of the meeting held on 4 February 2020.

Minutes:

It was RESOLVED:

 

that the Minutes of the meeting held on 4 February 2020 be signed as a true record.

3.

To Confirm or Vary the Order of Business

Minutes:

It was RESOLVED:

 

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

4.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no Declarations of Interest.

5.

E/20/01 Financial Management & Control: Corporate Budget Monitoring - Draft Out-Turn Statement 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Portfolio Holder – Councillor Martin Cook

 

This report gives details of the out-turn position for 2019/20 on:

 

1.             The General Fund Revenue Budget, General Balances, and the Council’s Reserves;

 

2.             The Housing Revenue Account;

 

3.             The Shared Revenues Partnership; and

 

4.             The Capital Programme.

Minutes:

5.1          Councillor Cook thanked Officers for preparing this report during difficult times for not only the Council, but also for the residents of Ipswich. Councillor Cook highlighted the year-end General Fund overspend of £108k on the overall gross annual budget of £105million, which was notable in comparison to previous years where the position had been an underspend of approximately £1million. The out-turn position across the year had been stable and in February, it was predicted that there would be a small year-end underspend of £100k. 

5.2          The impact of the Coronavirus pandemic in March resulted in the closure of sport and leisure facilities, together with a steep drop in demand for car parks to almost zero, and a consequential cost of £307k on the budget just for that month alone. Councillor Cook commented that, whilst not in the scope of this report, the impact on the budget in April was an additional expenditure of £450k and a loss of income of £800k, and although the Government had committed to providing support for additional expenditure, there was no commitment to cover loss of income.

5.3          General Fund savings were becoming harder to find within the tight budgets, but had been helped by the reduction in treasury management costs, higher investment income, a higher level of retained Business Rates and staffing savings.

5.4          In terms of the General Balance, the planned drawdown from reserves together with the £108k overspend resulted in a balance of £8.765million as at 31 March 2020.  Proposed changes to earmarked reserves were set out in paragraphs 7.10 and 7.11 of the report.

5.5          The Housing Revenue Account had an underspend of £1.1million and the Shared Revenues Partnership had an underspend of £69k.  Projects in the Capital Programme had been impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic and proposals for re-profiling the Capital Programme were set out in Section 10 of the report; the Capital Programme expenditure in 2019/20 was £31.522million.

5.6          In accordance with Standing Orders Part 3, Section 3, Paragraph 3.5, the following questions were asked:

Question 1 – Councillor Phillips
At September’s Council meeting I asked a question to Councillor Ellesmere about the removal of the plinths on the Cornhill and why the Press were informed before Councillors.  Councillor Ellesmere responded that this was not IBC’s project, there were partners, but that he would make a commitment to ensure that this did not happen in future similar circumstances, Could you tell me if all the partners were aware before the information was released by Ipswich Vision and why Councillors were again bypassed in favour of the Press?

5.7          Councillor Cook responded that if this question was suggesting that the information about the financial position on this project was released by Ipswich Vision partners prior to Councillors being aware, then he could confirm that that was not the case. The information was put in the public domain via the publication of the papers for this Executive meeting and then appeared in the media the following morning.  Given that it  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

E/20/02 Minor Changes to Licensing Fees for Scrap Metal Dealers pdf icon PDF 350 KB

Portfolio Holder – Councillor Alasdair Ross

 

This report deals with a proposal to make minor changes to the fees charged with respect to licences issued to scrap metal dealers.

 

Scrap Metal Dealer Licences are issued in two circumstances: either for a Site Licence or for a Mobile Collector.  Ipswich Borough Council, like most Local Authorities agreed fees for applications as permitted by Schedule 1(6) of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013.

 

Subsequent guidance from the Home Office on the setting of fees suggests differential fees should apply to the two types of licence.

This necessitates some changes in the structure of fees charged by Ipswich Borough Council. Executive is asked to approve the new fee proposals.

Minutes:

6.1          Councillor Ross reported that the licensing fees for Scrap Metal Dealers had been reviewed in line with recent guidance from the Home Office to differentiate between fees for Site Licences and Mobile Collectors Licences.  Councillor Ross added that whilst there was a slight increase in the proposed fees, the fees were still less than those charged by neighbouring authorities.

It was RESOLVED:

 

i)              that the report be noted;

ii)             that Executive approves the minor changes to Scrap Metal Dealer Licences as per Option 1 in paragraph 4.2 of the report allowing different fees to be charged for Site Licences and for Mobile Collectors;

iii)           that Executive authorises the Operations Manager for Public Protection to implement the revised set of fees and charges as set out in Appendix 1 to the report to apply from 1 July 2020, if practicable, or as soon as practicable thereafter.

Reason: To enable the Council to operate the licensing of Scrap Metal Dealers in a more efficient and transparent manner

7.

E/20/03 Update on Decisions Taken Under Delegated Authority pdf icon PDF 298 KB

Portfolio Holder – Councillor David Ellesmere

 

This report provides an update on the Executive decisions taken by the Chief Executive under delegated authority since the last meeting of the Executive in February 2020 and the decisions taken under delegated authority by the Shareholder’s Representative for the Council’s wholly owned companies over the same period.

Minutes:

7.1.        Councillor Ellesmere commented that delegated authority was normally granted to the Chief Executive for the pre-election period; however, as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Chief Executive was required to take decisions in relation to the cancelled March 2020 Executive meeting and decisions to enable urgent assistance to be provided, such as the Discretionary Grants Scheme.  All Councillors were notified of the decisions taken in addition to their publication.

 

It was RESOLVED:

 

that the report be noted.

 

Reason: To comply with the Constitution and to keep Executive informed

8.

E/20/04 Acquisition of Residential Property pdf icon PDF 318 KB

Portfolio Holder – Councillor David Ellesmere

 

This report seeks Executive approval to acquire a residential property under the Council’s acquisition policy. The vendor is related to a Council employee and the decision is being brought to Executive to ensure transparency.

 

It is proposed that in future, the transparency requirements can be satisfied by use of publication of the Officer Decision, where the employee is below Senior Management grade. 

Minutes:

8.1.        Councillor Ellesmere commented that the Council was seeking to increase its housing stock by new build and where appropriate, through the acquisition of suitable properties on the market.  The Council has the opportunity to purchase the leasehold of a former Council owned flat within a block of flats where the Council already owned 6 flats.  This acquisition would normally have been dealt with under Officer delegations, but was being brought to Executive for transparency of decision-making as the vendor was a close relative of a Council employee.

8.2.        Councillor Ellesmere added that the report also recommended that delegation be given to the Property Services Operations Manager for future such acquisitions of residential properties where the vendor was a Council employee (or close relative of) and the purchase price was less than £250k, provided that the Council employee was below Senior Manager Group grade.

8.3.        Councillor Ellesmere clarified that if the vendor was a Councillor, then the purchase would be brought to Executive for consideration regardless of purchase price.

8.4.        Councillor Fisher questioned why the vendor was offered the full market price bearing in mind that they were already benefitting from a quick sale without needing to put their property on the open market.

8.5.        The Property Services Operations Manager commented that it was important for the Council to be able to move quickly when dealing with acquisitions in a competitive market.  The purchase price offered enabled a quick sale but with the confidence that the property would perform as part of the Council’s housing stock.  The purchase price offered would be reviewed going forward to take into consideration the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic on the property market.

8.6.        Councillor Ellesmere reported that Right-to-Buy receipts could be used to either purchase suitable properties or to invest in new build of Council housing and there was a time limit set by Government for when this money needed to be spent. There had been some delays in the new build programme due to Coronavirus and other factors, so the acquisition of properties was important to ensure that this funding would not have to be returned to Government. The current acquisition policy was of benefit to both sides; the Council did not want to discourage suitable properties from being offered for sale by Private Treaty and would offer a fair price to vendors, who could then consider if they wanted to go ahead or try to get a better price on the open market.

8.7.        Councillor Fisher raised concern about the use of delegated authority for such acquisitions and requested as these transactions were relatively few in number that they be brought to Executive for consideration for the sake of transparency.  Councillor Fisher also asked why the vendor details needed to be placed on the exempt part of the agenda, when this information would become public knowledge via the Land Registry once the sale was complete.

8.8.        Councillor Ellesmere reported that Officers currently made purchases under delegated authority that were not brought  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

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 following items under Regulation 21 of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2000 as it was 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

 

10.

E/20/04 Acquisition of Residential Property - Exempt Appendix

Portfolio Holder – Councillor David Ellesmere

11.

E/20/05 Proposed Acquisition/Surrender of Property in IP3

Portfolio Holder – Councillor David Ellesmere