Agenda and minutes

Executive
Tuesday, 4th October, 2016 6.00 pm

Venue: Conference Room 1 - Fred Perry House

Contact: Jonathan Vali  (0161 474 3201)

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 92 KB

To approve as a correct record and sign the Minutes of the meeting held on 16 August 2016.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes (copies of which had been circulated) of the meeting held on 16 August 2016 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

2.

Declarations of Interest

Councillors and officers to declare any interests which they have in any of the items on the agenda for the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillors and officers were invited to declare any interests they had in any of the items on the agenda for the meeting.

 

No declarations of interest were made.

3.

Urgent Decisions

To report any urgent action taken under the Constitution since the last meeting of the Executive.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

No urgent decisions were reported.

4.

Public Question Time

Members of the public are invited to put questions to the Chair and Executive Councillors on any matters within the powers and duties of the Executive, subject to the exclusions set out in the Code of Practice.  (Questions must be submitted no later than 30 minutes prior to the commencement of the meeting on the card provided.  These are available at the meeting. You can also submit via the Council’s website at www.stockport.gov.uk/publicquestions)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members of the public were invited to put questions to the Executive on any matters within its powers and duties, subject to the exclusions set out in the Code of Practice.

 

Four public questions were submitted.

 

(1)  The first question sought clarification as to why the Council had borrowed money to finance the building of new office accommodation for Stockport Homes given the availability of empty office accommodation in the town centre, some of which was very close to the Town Hall, and within the context of severe financial constraints facing the Council.

 

The Leader of the Council clarified that the decision on financing the new Stockport Homes Head Quarters (HQ) had been taken by a previous Executive administration. The Labour Group at the time had raised concerns about the appropriateness of this approach at the Adult Care Service & Housing Scrutiny Committee.

 

The Leader further clarified that the funding of the HQ was through capital borrowing, and was separate from the Council’s Revenue Budget that covered day to day expenditure. The Council had borrowed the resources because Stockport Homes was not able to do so, and based on a Business Case that demonstrated the cost effectiveness of the proposal. Regardless of the merits or otherwise of the scheme, the Council had satisfied itself that the decision was financially sound.

 

The Leader of the Council also undertook to ensure that details of the public committee reports about this matter were provided to the questioner.

 

(2)  The second question related to proposals to reduce the frequency of the collection of black bins for non-recyclable waste. While acknowledging the importance of a review of this service, and the work of the Council over a number of years to improve recycling rates, the rationale for moving to a three weekly collection for non-recyclables was queried and assurances were sought that (i) the proposals would be consulted on widely with the public and with the Scrutiny Committee to determine its likely effectiveness, and (ii) that the decision needed to be evidence based.

 

In response the Executive Councillor (Communities & Housing) welcomed the support for the Review of the waste collection service, but stated that the proposals set out tin the report were simply proposals and may be revised. She emphasised that the consultation on the proposals would be open to all residents and stakeholders.

 

The Executive Councillor further acknowledged the importance of evidence based decision-making and emphasised that the proposals set out in the agenda were based on evidence of their likely effectiveness. Prior to any final decision on these proposals evidence would be gathered, including from the consultation and the proposals may be amended in light of this.

 

 

(3)  The third question referenced the proposed Council Tax increase of 3.99% in 2017/18, and Stockport’s position within Greater Manchester as the Council with the highest level of Council Tax. The questioner asked whether this represented value for money given that other Greater Manchester Councils were paying £320 less for similar or better levels of service, and whether it was justified for Stockport Council Tax payers to receive another increase those those in Trafford would be, despite that Council operating under broadly similar financial constraints?

 

The Executive Councillor (Reform & Governance) responded by stating that he believed that the previous increase in Council Tax had been justified in context of Stockport’s financial circumstances. While recognising the similarities in levels of the funding received from Central Government by both Stockport and Trafford councils, the Executive Councillor emphasised the disparities in levels of need in Stockport between differing areas, and the ageing population.

 

The Executive Councillor further referenced the review of Council Reserves and the development of a Reserves Policy, which the Council had not had before, and the indication from that Review that levels of reserves were appropriate.

 

The Executive Councillor also emphasised the differing approaches taken by Stockport and Trafford councils to responding to the reductions  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

Key Decisions

Additional documents:

5.

Future provision of cremation service and operation of Stockport Main Cemetery (C&H 4) pdf icon PDF 85 KB

To consider a report of the Executive Councillor (Communities & Housing)

 

Co-op Funeralcare currently manages Stockport Borough Cemetery, Buxton Road including the crematoria on behalf of the Council as well as providing admin services for burials. The agreements to do this were made in July 2003 and last for a period of twenty years.

 

Co-op Funeralcare agreed to sell its crematoria business to Dignity Plc in May 2016 following a strategic review of its business activities. Co-operative Funeralcare has asked if the Council will allow Co-op Funeralcare’s commitments under the existing agreements to be transferred to Dignity plc for the remainder of those agreements. If the Council does not want to do this the Co-op Funeralcare will continue with existing managing arrangements until 2023.

 

The Executive is recommended to approve either option 6.2 or 6.3 above.

 

Officer contact: Ian O'Donnell, 0161-474-4175, ian.odonnell@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Councillor (Communities & Housing) submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) inviting the Executive to consider options for the management of the Stockport Borough Cemetery and crematoria, Buxton Road in light of the current operator, Co-op Funeralcare, having agreed to sell its crematoria business to Dignity PLC in May 2016. The Executive was invited to consider whether to agree to transfer the contract for services and lease agreements from Co-op Funeralcare to Dignity Funerals or whether to maintain the existing arrangements of Co-op Funeralcare delivering the services for the remainder of the agreement.

 

The Executive Councillor highlighted that the Environment & Economy Scrutiny Committee had been supportive of the transferring of the contract, and that visits by officers to other facilities operated by Dignity had indicated well managed operations. In light of this, and the desire of the Co-op to withdraw from these arrangements, the Executive Councillor also recommended to the Executive that it agree to transfer of the contracts and leases to Dignity PLC.

 

RESOLVED – That approval be given to the transfer of the contract for Stockport Borough Cemetery and  crematoria services and lease agreements from Co-op Funeralcare to Dignity Funerals No. 3 Limited (a subsidiary of Dignity Plc), via Newco (Crematoria) 3 Limited as described in the report.

6.

Stockport Housing Delivery Company (C&H 8) pdf icon PDF 94 KB

To consider a report of the Executive Councillor (Communities & Housing)

 

This report outlines the work associated with creating a new housing delivery company for Stockport; the provision of additional funding for new affordable homes, and development of a programme of Council-owned sites for potential redevelopment.

 

The ambition of the Council is to increase the supply of new affordable housing across the Borough in a challenging environment of reduced availability of Government funding; constraints on viability of sites; and a shortage of suitable land for development.

 

The Executive is recommended to:-

 

·         support the creation of the Stockport Housing Commission as outlined in the report;

·         authorise the Corporate Director of Place Management and Regeneration, in consultation with the Executive Councillor (Communities and Housing) to work with Stockport Homes to establish a new Council owned development company that is capable of delivering the Council’s housing aspirations;

·         support the provision of a rolling loan facility to Stockport Homes totalling £77m (providing a total Council investment of circa £109m up to 2020/21 including the repayment of circa £32m relating to shared ownership properties), with any loan finance being provided for market sale or rent meeting state aid requirements;

·         delegate authority for preparation and agreement of individual loan agreements on a scheme by scheme basis to the Borough Treasurer in consultation with the Executive Councillor (Reform and Governance);

·         support the undertaking of further work to look at ways in which the Housing Company model can be further refined to address the challenges set out in the report in relation to Right to Buy and Right to Acquire;

·         authorise the Head of Legal and Democratic Services to take all steps and do all things to give effect to the above resolutions including the consent on behalf of the Council to the establishment of a subsidiary company of Stockport Homes, if required;

·         support further work towards unlocking brownfield sites and accelerating development on priority sites across the Borough.

 

Officer contact: Andy Kippax, 0161 474 4319, andy.kippax@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Councillor (Communities & Housing) submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) inviting the Executive to consider proposals to create a new housing delivery company for Stockport, including the provision of additional funding for new affordable homes, and development of a programme of bringing forward Council-owned sites for potential redevelopment. The proposed company would operate in conjunction with Stockport Homes to increase the availability of rental properties in Stockport.

 

Executive councillors welcomed the proposals and emphasised the opportunities to use local labour and provide skilled apprenticeships.

 

RESOLVED – That

 

·         the creation of the Stockport Housing Commission as outlined in the report be approved;

 

·         the Corporate Director of Place Management and Regeneration, in consultation with the Executive Councillor (Communities and Housing) be authorised to work with Stockport Homes to establish a new Council owned development company that was capable of delivering the Council’s housing aspirations;

 

·         support be given to the provision of a rolling loan facility to Stockport Homes totalling £77m (providing a total Council investment of circa £109m up to 2020/21 including the repayment of circa £32m relating to shared ownership properties), with any loan finance being provided for market sale or rent meeting state aid requirements;

 

·         authority for preparation and agreement of individual loan agreements on a scheme by scheme basis be delegated to the Borough Treasurer in consultation with the Executive Councillor (Reform and Governance);

 

·         the undertaking of further work to look at ways in which the Housing Company model can be further refined to address the challenges set out in the report in relation to Right to Buy and Right to Acquire be supported;

 

·         the Head of Legal and Democratic Services be authorised to take all steps and do all things necessary to give effect to the above resolutions including the consent on behalf of the Council to the establishment of a subsidiary company of Stockport Homes, if required;

 

·         support be given to further work towards unlocking brownfield sites and accelerating development on priority sites across the Borough.

 

7.

Medium Term Financial Plan (LDR43) pdf icon PDF 96 KB

To consider a report of the Leader of the Council (Policy, Finance & Devolution) and Executive Councillor (Reform and Governance)

 

The Medium Term Financial Plan Update provides two reports.  The first report outlines the outcomes of the summer review of the Council’s Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) and the revised 2017/18 to 2020/21 budget saving requirement as a result.  The report also sets out the Council’s draft efficiency plan which needs to be submitted to the Department for Communities and Local Government by 14 October 2016 as the Council’s acceptance of the Government’s offer of a four year settlement.  The report also includes the reserve policy following consideration at Scrutiny Committee.

 

The second report is the Executive response to the updated MTFP position and accompanying it are a series of working papers that explain the initiatives the Executive is bringing forward to shape or reform programmes and address wider challenges over the medium term and business cases for proposed changes to address the spending reduction requirement for 2017/18.

 

In relation to the first report, the Executive is recommended to:

 

·         Note the outcomes of the MTFP Summer Review and the revisions to assumptions and MTFP forecasts detailed in Appendix 1.

·         Note the revised MTFP saving requirements following revisions to assumptions and MTFP forecasts detailed in Appendix 1.

·         Approve the adjustments to the MTFP set out in the report and the revised saving requirements.

·         Comment on the draft Efficiency Plan included in Appendix 2 which will be submitted to DCLG on 14 October 2016 as the Council’s acceptance of the four year funding settlement.

·         Note the revisions to the Reserves Policy following review at the Council’s Scrutiny Committees.

·         Approve the adoption of the Reserve Policy and subsequent realignment of reserves detailed in Appendix 3 and 4.

In relation to the second report the Executive is recommended to:-

·         Agree for planning purposes a proposed recommendation to increase Council Tax by 3.99% in 2017/18.

 

·         Delegate the finalising and submission of the Council’s Efficiency plan to the Borough Treasurer in consultation with the Leader and the Executive Councillor (Reform and Governance).

 

·         Discuss and note the progress in developing programmes for radical reform described in the working papers and agree.

 

·         Discuss the Executive Proposals set out in draft business cases; ask that these be considered at relevant Scrutiny Committees; and agree to begin public and workforce consultation as set out in this report.

 

Officer contact: Michael Cullen, 0161 474 4631, michael.cullen@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council (Policy, Finance and Devolution) submitted two report (copies of which had been circulated), the first outlining the outcome of the summer review of the Council’s Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) and the revised 2017/18 to 2020/21 budget saving requirement as a result; setting out the Council’s draft efficiency plan to be submitted to the Department for Communities and Local Government by 14 October 2016 as the Council’s acceptance of the Government’s offer of a four year settlement, and the proposed Reserve Policy following consideration at scrutiny committees. The second report set out the Executive’s response to the updated MTFP position and a series of working papers explaining the initiatives the Executive was bringing forward to shape or reform programmes and address wider challenges over the medium term; and business cases for proposed changes to address the spending reduction requirement for 2017/18.

 

The Leader of the Council emphasised the significant financial challenge facing the Council, and the need to transform services to allow the Council to become financially self-sufficient. The completion of the MTFP Summer Review had resulted in the projected saving requirement being revised downward due to more favourable conditions.

 

The Leader highlighted the specific proposals to meet the savings requirements for this upcoming financial year and outline proposals for the following year were set out in the agenda, and these had been developed in line with the principals agreed at the last meeting and to avoid the need to discontinue services but instead redesign services to improve efficiency.

 

The Leader further emphasised the consultation that would be undertaken on these proposals, and encouraged the public and stakeholders to get involved.

 

The Leader of the Council clarified that while the report had been based on a working assumption of a Council Tax rise of 3.99% rise, this did not necessarily mean that this would be proposed to the Council Meeting in February.

 

In relation to the proposed Reserves Policy the Leader emphasised that in agreeing to the Policy the Executive would not be committing any individual level of reserves but rather to the framework for how to justify those levels. The Leader further stated that he believed the current level of Reserves would provide the Council with the resilience to address the financial challenges and transform services.

 

RESOLVED – (1) That in relation to the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) Update:

 

·         the outcomes of the MTFP Summer Review and the revisions to assumptions and MTFP forecasts detailed in Appendix 1 of the report be noted;

 

·         the revised MTFP saving requirements following revisions to assumptions and MTFP forecasts detailed in Appendix 1 of the report be noted;

 

·         the adjustments to the MTFP set out in the report and the revised saving requirements be approved;

 

·         the revisions to the Reserves Policy following review at the Council’s scrutiny committees be noted;

 

·         the Reserve Policy and subsequent realignment of reserves detailed in Appendix 3 and 4 be adopted, subject to the inclusion under para 3.2 ‘Infrastructure Investment Reserve’ of the sentence ‘and for additional infrastructure, where necessary, to protect existing council assets,’ after the word ‘maintenance’.

 

(2) That in relation to the MTFP – Executive Response and Proposals:-

 

·         for planning purposes a proposed recommendation to increase Council Tax by 3.99% in 2017/18 be agreed;

 

·         the finalising and submission of the Council’s Efficiency plan be delegated to the Borough Treasurer in consultation with the Leader of the Council (Policy, Finance & Devolution) and the Executive Councillor (Reform & Governance);

 

·         progress in developing programmes for radical reform described in the working papers be noted and agreed;

 

·         the Executive Proposals set out in draft business cases be agreed for public and workforce consultation as detailed in the report, and that these be referred to the relevant scrutiny committees for consideration.

General items

Additional documents:

8.

AGMA and GMCA Decisions - August 2016 pdf icon PDF 88 KB

To consider a report of the Leader of the Council (Policy, Finance and Devolution)

 

The Executive is invited to note the decisions of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and the joint AGMA/ GMCA meetings held on 26 August 2016.

 

Officer contact: Jonathan Vali, 0161 474 3201, jonathan.vali@stockport.gov.uk

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council (Policy, Finance & Devolution) submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) setting out decisions taken by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority & AGMA Executive Board Joint Meeting and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority meeting held on 26 August 2016.

 

The Leader of the Council highlighted the following issues that had been discussed:-

 

·                Consultation on the Greater Manchester Strategic Framework was planned to begin at the end of October.

·                GMCA had assigned deputy Portfolio Holders, and for Stockport this was Councillor Wendy Wild for Health and Social Care and Councillor Mark Hunter for Planning & Housing.

·                The outcome of the GMCA consultation Phase 2.

·                Monthly updates were provided on the implications of Brexit.

·                Work to maximise the benefit of the apprenticeship levy.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

9.

To consider recommendations of Scrutiny Committees

On:-

 

(a)  Matters (if any) referred to the Executive Meeting

 

(b)  Any called-in Executive Decisions

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were none to consider.