Agenda and minutes

Executive - Tuesday 7th January 2020 6.00 pm

Venue: Gipping Room, Grafton House

Contact: Ainsley Gilbert  01473 432510

Items
No. Item

76.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

There were no Apologies for Absence.

77.

Unconfirmed Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 113 KB

To consider the Minutes of the meeting held on 29 October 2019.

Minutes:

It was RESOLVED:

 

that the minutes of the meeting held on 29 October 2019 be signed as a true record.

78.

To Confirm or Vary the Order of Business

Minutes:

It was RESOLVED:

 

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

79.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no Declarations of Interest.

80.

E/19/39 Council Housing Rents 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 110 KB

Portfolio Holder – Councillor Neil MacDonald

 

To ask Executive to recommend to Council an increase in 2020/21 for housing rents, garage rents and service/heating charges for the sheltered housing schemes.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

80.1      Councillor MacDonald introduced the report, explaining that, if the Council were to be able to maintain its housing stock and build new Council housing, it was important that the Housing Revenue Account was kept in good financial health. Councillor MacDonald noted that income from rents allowed the Council to maintain homes to the Ipswich Standard and to ensure that all of its homes were safe, noting the sprinkler system which had been installed at Cumberland Towers.

 

80.2      Councillor MacDonald explained that the cost of staff and materials continued to increase, with construction costs rising more quickly than costs in other parts of the economy. Councillor MacDonald commented that the increase in rents in Ipswich was at the level set by Government and that rents in Ipswich compared favourably to rents in other parts of Suffolk. Councillor MacDonald noted that private rents had risen by 47% over the past 7 years, whilst Council housing rents had gone up by just 17.7%.

 

80.3      Councillor Rudkin commented that the quality of the homes the Council had built at Cauldwell Hall Road was excellent.

 

80.4      Councillor Ellesmere noted that the Leader of the Conservative Group had commented on the proposed rent increase and explained that he thought the welfare reform policies which had been pursued by the Government had been far more callous than a small increase in Council housing rents, especially when they were, in real terms, cheaper than in 2011.

 

It was RESOLVED that Executive recommends to Council that it:

 

(a)         Determines an increase to housing rents of 2.7% for the financial year 2020/21 (1.7% Customer Price Index (CPI) plus 1%), in time to give written notice to tenants by the 9th of March 2020.

 

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

 

(b)         Approves the charges set out for sheltered schemes at Appendix 1 to the report.

 

Reason: To recover estimated costs of providing the services.

 

(c)         Approves an increase of 2.7% from 6th April 2020 for housing garage and hard standing rents as set out in Appendix 2 to the report.

 

Reason: In order to implement an appropriate rent level.  

81.

E/19/40 Introducing Council Tax Civil Penalties pdf icon PDF 110 KB

Portfolio Holder – Councillor Sophie Meudec

 

This report provides an overview of the circumstances where a Council Tax civil penalty can be applied.

 

Executive is asked to approve the introduction of a Council Tax policy set out in Appendix 1 for the issuing of penalties.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

81.1      Councillor Meudec introduced the report, explaining that whilst the Shared Revenues Partnership already carried out lots of work to prevent fraud there were limited disincentives for those who might consider attempting it. It was proposed therefore to introduce a £70 fine for those who failed to notify the Council of changes which would affect their Council Tax liability, for example, where a second person moved into a property where single person discount was being claimed.

 

81.2      Councillor Ellesmere noted that annual reviews always identified a number of people who were attempting to fraudulently reduce their Council Tax bill and these fines would help reduce this and would be fairer to the vast majority of Ipswich residents who paid their taxes.

 

It was RESOLVED:

 

that the implementation of a policy for the issuing of Council Tax penalties, as set out in Appendix 1 to the report, be approved.

 

Reason:  The Council is committed to a pro-active approach in preventing and reducing the risks associated with fraud, error and other irregularities in the administration of Council Tax. Implementation of this policy supports this commitment.

82.

E/19/41 Council Tax - Citizens Advice Collection Protocol pdf icon PDF 108 KB

Portfolio Holder – Councillor Sophie Meudec

 

The Citizens Advice and Local Government Association have produced a good practice protocol for the collection of Council Tax arrears. This report proposes that the Council adopt this protocol.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

82.1       Councillor Meudec explained that the Shared Revenues Partnership had been working with Citizens Advice to review its enforcement and collection processes to ensure that whilst still ensuring payments were collected, residents were treated fairly. Councillor Meudec reported that whilst in 2018/19 3,500 Council Tax debts had been passed to enforcement agencies no possessions had been taken since before the introduction of the Shared Revenues Partnership.

 

82.2       Councillor Fisher asked which three of the Money Advice Trust’s six steps, listed at paragraph 2.1 of the report, would be introduced if the policy were agreed. The SRP Operations Manager – Revenues explained that the introduction of the policy would mean that the Council complied with all six of the steps.

 

82.3       Councillor Fisher asked whether not taking enforcement action against people in receipt of Council Tax Support would mean that they would be disincentivised from paying. Mr Wilcock explained that the Council could, instead of taking enforcement action, make an arrangement to deduct outstanding Council Tax from benefits.

 

It was RESOLVED:

 

that the adoption of the Citizens Advice Council Tax Protocol, detailed at Appendix A to the report, be approved.


Reason:  The protocol reflects best practice at a local level and is intended to facilitate regular liaison with the Council, its Enforcement Agents and Citizens Advice on practices and policy concerning Council Tax collection.

In setting down clear procedures and keeping these regularly under review, all parties to the protocol can ensure that arrears are dealt with appropriately whilst complaints are handled efficiently.

 

83.

E/19/42 Suffolk Coast European Sites Recreational Disturbance Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy (RAMS) Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) pdf icon PDF 845 KB

Portfolio Holder – Councillor Carole Jones

 

The Suffolk Coast European Sites Recreational Disturbance Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy Supplementary Planning Document (hereinafter referred to as the Suffolk Coast RAMS SPD) supports the implementation of the Habitats Regulations Assessment Recreational Disturbance Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy (RAMS) for Ipswich Borough, Babergh District, Mid-Suffolk District and East Suffolk Councils – Technical Report (Appendix 3), which is simplified to ‘the Strategy’ throughout this report.

 

The Strategy is a means by which new residential growth can be delivered, whilst at the same time adequately protecting Suffolk’s coastal, estuarine and heathland European wildlife sites from harm that could otherwise occur because of increased recreation pressure caused through new residential development.

 

The Suffolk Coast RAMS SPD summarises the requirements of the Strategy for developers and others and provides a framework for implementing those provisions.

 

The draft Suffolk Coast RAMS SPD went to Executive on 9 July 2019 to seek authorisation to undertake a public consultation. The consultation now complete, Executive is asked to recommend the final document for adoption to Full Council – i.e. as a Supplementary Planning Document.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

83.1      Councillor Jones introduced the report, explaining that the Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) was being brought to Executive before being taken to Council for adoption. The SPD was intended to allow the Council to ensure that it complied with the requirements of the Habitats Regulations, and would help developers and others to meet their obligations. Natural England had provided a positive response to the consultation and no objections had been received from developers.

 

83.2      Councillor Jones noted that officers had spent a significant amount of time developing a robust policy and thanked them for their work.

 

It was RESOLVED:

 

(a)         that the matter should be referred to Full Council with the recommendation that Option 1, as detailed in paragraph 4.1 of the report, be approved, allowing the Suffolk Coast European Sites Recreational Disturbance Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy Supplementary Planning Document to be adopted.

Reason: As the competent authority under the Habitats Regulations, Ipswich Borough Council needs to ensure that plans and projects under its jurisdiction do not lead to adverse effects on the integrity of European wildlife sites. Adoption of the Suffolk Coast RAMS SPD formalise the status of the Strategy and ensure that new residential development adequately mitigates for its potential effects on European designated sites.

(b)         that, up to when the Supplementary Planning Document is adopted, the Planning and Development Operations Manager be authorised to make minor changes to the wording or layout of the SPD, provided that the changes do not materially alter the meaning of the document.

 

Reason: Prior to the adoption of the document, officers may identify areas of spelling, wording and layout which could be revised without affecting its meaning. This recommendation will provide the Planning and Development Operations Manager with the ability to undertake any such changes.

84.

E/19/43 Fixed Penalty Notices pdf icon PDF 113 KB

Portfolio Holder – Councillor Alasdair Ross

 

The Council has enforcement powers to deal with a range of offences relating to fly-tipping, duty of care (in relation to safe management of waste), graffiti, fly-posting and abandoned vehicles. Offences under all of these areas can be dealt with by means of a fixed penalty notice (FPN). In addition, the breach of a Community Protection Notice (CPN) can also be dealt with through an FPN.

 

This report proposes options to introduce the use of FPNs for these offences and review the level of penalty for an existing FPN, to bring these in line with similar offences and other Suffolk authorities.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

84.1      Councillor Ross explained that the proposal would allow the Council to issue Fixed Penalty Notices for a range of minor offences. The Council’s Fixed Penalty Notices had not been reviewed for some years and the proposal would ensure that they were aligned to current legislation. Councillor Ross explained that there would be increases in the value of some Fixed Penalty Notices as well as some new offences for which they could be issued.

 

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

 

Question 1 – Councillor I Lockington

Paragraph 2.3 of the report states ‘Under the Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978, the Authority has a duty to remove any motor vehicle in its area which appears to be abandoned, without lawful authority, on any land in the open air’. Please could the Portfolio Holder explain what is meant by Open Air? Does that cover County Council land like green Verges/pavements/roads and any private land?

 

84.3      Councillor Ross explained that in 2019 the Council had been forced to remove 46 dumped vehicles without there being any means of recovering the costs of doing this, which the Fixed Penalty Notice would address. Councillor Ross explained that the use of the words ‘open air’ were used within the legislation without further explanation, and therefore had been interpreted to mean when the vehicle was not enclosed so as to cause issue with access and recovery, and if left could lead to damage to the local environment and / or anti-social behaviour.

 

Councillor Ross noted that the Council had a duty to remove an abandoned vehicle from all land in the open air or any land forming part of a highway, although this duty did not apply where the costs of removing the vehicle to the nearest convenient carriageway was unreasonably high. Councillor Ross confirmed that this duty extended to Suffolk County Council owned land and private land, providing the vehicle could be recovered without unreasonable expense.

 

Question 2 – Councillor I Lockington

The table at appendix 2 which gives the example of nuisance parking as ‘a business leaving two or more vehicles parked within 500 metres of each other on a road or roads where they are exposed or advertised for sale.’ Does that mean the advertising for sale has to be in or on the car or can it be that the business simply parks them on the road, but they are advertised on the business’ website for sale?

 

84.4      Councillor Ross confirmed that if the vehicles could be proved to be part of a business, that would suffice for the definition. Councillor Ross noted that whilst the vehicles would not need to be directly advertised on to fulfil the legislative requirement a good deal of research by officers would be required to prove that vehicles which were only advertised online were part of a business.

 

It was RESOLVED:

 

(a)        that the FPN penalty level for fly-tipping, as set out in the legislation, be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 84.

85.

E/19/44 Financial Management & Control: Corporate Budget Monitoring - 2019/20 Quarter 2 pdf icon PDF 441 KB

Portfolio Holder – Councillor Martin Cook

 

This report gives details of the forecast 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;

 

4.         The Capital Programme for this and future years.

Minutes:

85.1      Councillor M Cook explained that the report covered the period from July to September. The General Fund had been predicted to end the year with an overspend of £248,000, which equated to 0.24% of the budget, however, since the end of Quarter 2 the position had improved and it was now anticipated that the closing position would be very close to budget. Councillor Cook noted that the Planning and Museums portfolio was underspent against its budgets due to lower than anticipated costs, whilst the Housing and Health portfolio had managed to secure additional grants which had improved its budget position.

 

85.2      Councillor Cook reported that the general balance position was expected to improve and that £8.625 million would be carried forward which would help to balance the budget in future years. Councillor Cook also noted that additional funding had been required to pay for increased cleaning contract costs and to cover a shortfall in the retained business rates reserve. There was also a significant write off relating to a fraudulent charity.

 

85.3      Councillor Cook explained that changes were being made to the capital programme, with works being reprofiled to take place over a longer period.

 

85.4      Councillor Ellesmere noted that the report included increases to the Capital Programme enabling the demolition of the former Landspeed Garage and the establishment of a temporary surface car park and also the desilting of the pond at Chantry Park.

 

It was RESOLVED:

 

(a)          that the service budget performance and the future year effects be noted and that the resulting budget changes made for the General Fund be approved.

 

Reason: to facilitate effective budgetary control and forecasting.

 

(b)         that the Supplementary Estimate request identified in paragraph 7.6 of the report, for £58,000, be approved to be funded from the Additional Commitments Contingency.

 

Reason: to facilitate effective budgetary control and forecasting.      

 

(c)          that the transfers from contingencies/reserves (detailed at paragraphs 4.9a and 7.9) of the report.

 

Reason: to facilitate effective budgetary control and forecasting.

 

(d)          that the service budget performance and the future year effects be noted and that the resulting budget changes made for the Housing Revenue Account be approved.

 

Reason: to facilitate effective budgetary control and forecasting.

 

(e)          that the service budget performance and the future year effects be noted and that the resulting budget changes made for the Shared Revenues Partnership (SRP) be approved.

 

Reason: to facilitate effective budgetary control.

 

(f)           that the position on the 2019/20 and future years Capital Programme be noted and that the changes to the capital programme identified in paragraphs 10.7 and 10.8 of the report be approved.

 

Reason: to facilitate effective budgetary control.

 

(g)        that the write-offs totalling £196,270.45 relating to business rates payable by Sassan Holdings Ltd (£76,707.83) and My Community Space (£119,562.62), as identified in paragraphs 17.2 and 17.3 of the report, be approved.

 

Reason: to recognise the debts are irrecoverable and allow the necessary accounting entries to be made to the collection fund.

86.

E/19/45 Update on Decisions Taken Under Delegated Authority During November/December 2019 pdf icon PDF 88 KB

Portfolio Holder – Councillor David Ellesmere

 

Part 3 Section 5 of the Constitution makes provision for the Scheme of Officer Delegations. Paragraph 10.1 (k) enables the Chief Executive to make decisions between the calling of the election and when Executive has the opportunity to meet again. The Chief Executive is required to report the decisions made under this provision to the next meeting of Executive.

Minutes:

86.1       Councillor Ellesmere introduced the report, explaining that the Chief Executive had taken one decision under delegated authority in the pre-election period.

 

It was RESOLVED:

 

that the report be noted.

87.

E/19/46 Electrical Rewire Tender pdf icon PDF 146 KB

Portfolio Holder – Councillor Neil MacDonald

 

This report details the work that has been carried out to procure a new electrical rewire contract for Ipswich’s rented housing stock and sets out the results of the tenders received.

Executive are asked to award the most economically advantageous bid.

Minutes:

87.1      Councillor MacDonald introduced the report, explaining that it was proposed to award a contract for the rewiring of Council homes with a contract term of 4 years, with the option of extension by 2 years and a total contract value of £5,534,000. Tenders had been received and evaluated with a weighting of 40% given to price, 50% to quality and 10% to GDPR and social value.

 

It was RESOLVED:

 

that the Head of Housing and Community Services, in consultation with the Operations Manager for Legal and Democratic Services, be authorised to enter into a contract with the supplier identified as Contractor 1 in exempt Appendix 1 to the report for the delivery of the Electrical Rewires contract in accordance with the report for a 4-year term from 1st April 2020, with an option to extend the term by up to 2 years.

 

Reason: The Council has a statutory obligation to maintain its housing stock and a statutory obligation to carry out electrical safety checks on its rented homes. Contractor 1’s tender was overall the most economically advantageous to the Council in accordance with the criteria set out in the tender documents.

88.

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

89.

E/19/46 Electrical Rewire Tender - Exempt Appendix

Portfolio Holder – Councillor Neil MacDonald

90.

E/19/47 Development Sites in IP1

Portfolio Holder – Councillor David Ellesmere

91.

E/19/48 Governance and Reserved Matters of Wholly Owned Companies

Portfolio Holder – Councillor David Ellesmere