Agenda, decisions and minutes

MOVED (from 13/07/20), Cabinet
Monday, 20th July, 2020 6.30 pm

Venue: This meeting is being held remotely; to view the meeting, please click here.

Contact: Victoria Lower
020 8726 6000 x14773  Email: victoria.lower@croydon.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

50/20

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 269 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 8 June 2020 as an accurate record.

Minutes:

The minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 8 June 2020 were agreed. The Leader of the Council signed the minutes as an accurate record.

51/20

Disclosure of Interests

In accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct and the statutory provisions of the Localism Act, Members and co-opted Members of the Council are reminded that it is a requirement to register disclosable pecuniary interests (DPIs) and gifts and hospitality to the value of which exceeds £50 or multiple gifts and/or instances of hospitality with a cumulative value of £50 or more when received from a single donor within a rolling twelve month period. In addition, Members and co-opted Members are reminded that unless their disclosable pecuniary interest is registered on the register of interests or is the subject of a pending notification to the Monitoring Officer, they are required to disclose those disclosable pecuniary interests at the meeting. This should be done by completing the Disclosure of Interest form and handing it to the Democratic Services representative at the start of the meeting. The Chair will then invite Members to make their disclosure orally at the commencement of Agenda item 3. Completed disclosure forms will be provided to the Monitoring Officer for inclusion on the Register of Members’ Interests.

Minutes:

There were none or the following disclosures of interest were made:

52/20

Urgent Business (If any)

To receive notice of any business not on the agenda which in the opinion of the Chair, by reason of special circumstances, be considered as a matter of urgency.

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business.

53/20

Croydon Together: Update on our ongoing response to Covid-19 pdf icon PDF 265 KB

Officer: Jo Negrini

Key decision: no

Decision:

The Leader of the Council delegated authority to the Cabinet to make the following decisions:

 

RESOLVED: To note the report and the activities of the Council working with partners to respond to the impacts of Covid-19 across Croydon.

Minutes:

The Chief Executive gave a presentation and stated that the council was still responding to the pandemic, maintaining the Gold and Silver command arrangements, and focusing on supporting the shielded community. The council continued to support the care homes, in particular with infection control, which had been a key focus throughout the whole pandemic response. It was also noted that the town and district centre had been safely reopened.

 

The Chief Executive explained that 90% of business as usual had been delivered throughout the pandemic, including March 2020, and the services that were closed were beginning to reopen. Bernard Weatherill House was opening from 1 July 2020, along with the libraries select and collect scheme and leisure centres. The first services to reopen were household waste and recycling centres and the registry office, all of which were compliant with the COVID-19 health and safety guidance.

 

The three key priorities were: shielded residents, and insuring the correct support was being given to the 14,814 identified residents; test and trace; and outbreak management.

 

New Local Government powers had been given from 18 July 2020 to minimise the virus’s risk to the public and prevent its spread. It was highlighted to Cabinet that the Council may now:? restrict access to, or close, individual premises (except where the premises form part of essential infrastructure); prohibit certain events (or types of event) from taking place; and restrict access to, or close, public outdoor places (or types of outdoor public places)?.

 

The Chief Executive further highlighted to Cabinet the financial issues the council was facing; financial issues had been identified before COVID-19 and 2020-21 was predicted to be a challenging time in terms of funding, and the council had large savings ambitions. It was noted that the Government was now backtracking on the COVID-19 funding commitments made. The Finance Review Panel has been established, and the staff reduction of 15% had begun. The majority of London councils were looking at emergency budgeting, and Croydon was in a similar situation, but had low reserves.

 

The Chief Executive concluded by noting the positive work which had come from the pandemic, including: the strong partnerships, particularly the joint work with the NHS and support given to shielded residents; the digital solutions, which ensured all vulnerable residents were connected within eight days; and the huge commitment from the voluntary community sector.

 

The Director of Public Health added that there had been relatively low reported cases in Croydon and the recent outbreaks across the UK were informing Croydon of how to shape their outbreak control plan to prevent an outbreak in Croydon. Public Health had been scenario testing too, in particular with high risk places: care homes, schools, places of worship and the NHS.

 

The Cabinet Member for Economy & Jobs explained to the Cabinet that the council had been supporting the reopening of local businesses by distributing grants from the Discretionary Grant Fund, supporting the changes to street trading licences in regards to on street furniture, and establishing an Economic  ...  view the full minutes text for item 53/20

54/20

Responding to the Local Government Funding Challenge pdf icon PDF 406 KB

Officer: Jo Negrini

Key decision: yes

Decision:

The Leader of the Council delegated authority to the Cabinet to make the following decisions:

 

RESOLVED: To

 

1.    Note the extraordinary financial context, as set out in the report;

 

2.    Endorse the further actions and governance arrangements which have been put in place, outlined in the report, to ensure the Council delivers within the 2020/21 approved budget;

 

3.    Note the statements from the Head of Paid Service, S151 Officer and Monitoring Officer; and

 

4.    Agree the principles informing actions to deliver within the 2020/21 approved budget.

 

Minutes:

The Leader noted that items 6 & 7 would be heard together.

 

The Cabinet Member for Finance & Resources and the Director of Finance gave a presentation and outlined the years of funding cuts, the COVID-19 impact this had had on the councils finances, and the objectives to bridge the budget gap. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) return had an approximately £65.4m gap, resulting in ambitious saving targets to be set for 2020/21, but ensuring the same commitments to residents was being provided.

 

The Cabinet heard that multiple measures were being put in place to bridge the budget gaps, including a staffing review, enhanced budget development, heavily lobbying Government and improved budget monitoring. The Finance Review Panel had also been established, who were meeting fortnightly and making recommendations to the Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance & Resources. A short term savings programme had been developed, which included 25 different projects being consolidated into nine, and staffing, where over £170m was spent each year.

 

It was explained to the Cabinet that a Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) would be developed to set targets medium term and set out key financial planning and assumptions. It would enable early development of budget proposals, which would be evidence led and benchmarked. The MTFS would be presented to Cabinet in September 2020?

 

The Cabinet welcomed Duncan Whitfield, Chair of the Financial Review Panel, to the meeting

 

Duncan Whitfield introduced himself and explained that the Panel comprised of two additional co-optee members, Matthew Kershaw and Debbie Warren, the Leader, Deputy Leader, Cabinet Member for Finance & Resources and ELT. He noted that it was a difficult time for Croydon Council and difficult decisions would need to be made to improve the budget gap and increase resources.

 

The Shadow Cabinet Members expressed concern for the staffing review and queried how the reduction would be conducted. The Shadow Cabinet Member for Finance & Resources explained that he wanted to give his full support; however, felt that the report did not include the full information regarding the budget gap. He stated that he had requested a full MHSFC return at the previous Cabinet meeting on 8 June 2020 and had not yet received it. The Leader responded and stated that he would make sure the information was available to the Shadow Cabinet, as cross-party support would be beneficial.

 

The Chief Executive explained to the Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet that the organisation would be kept as stable as possible during the staffing cuts; the council were meeting with unions on a weekly basis to ensure they were working together to reduce compulsory redundancies. It was recognised that it was not a good time to begin staffing cuts, due to lockdown and having sensitive conversations virtually, however, it was necessary.

 

The Leader of the Council delegated authority to the Cabinet to make the following decisions:

 

RESOLVED: To

 

1.     Note the extraordinary financial context, as set out in the report;

 

2.     Endorse the further actions and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 54/20

55/20

July Financial Review pdf icon PDF 513 KB

Officer: Jacqueline Harris Baker

Key decision: yes

Additional documents:

Decision:

The Leader of the Council delegated authority to the Cabinet to make the following decisions:

 

RESOLVED: To approve

 

1.    The approach to ensuring the financial challenge of the financial year 2020/21 is managed efficiently and effectively including delegation of decisions on measures to deliver the 2020/21 budget to the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources in consultation with the relevant Cabinet member.

 

2.    The amendment to the capital programme as detailed in section 8 of the report.

 

3.    The continued use of capital receipts for funding transformation as detailed in section 9 of the report.

 

4.    The approach to dealing with the financial impact of Covid19, including the financial returns to MHCLG and the discussions with them.

 

5.    The principle of the agreement to enter into a loan with M&G for investment in affordable housing as set out in section 11 of the report.

 

RESOLVED: To note

 

6.    The final outturn of the 2019/20 revenue budget as detailed in section 3 of the report.

 

7.    The final outturn of the capital programme for 2019/20 as detailed in section 3 of the report.

 

8.    The slippage within the capital programme from 2019/20 into 2020/21 is under review. Approvals being sought will be presented to Cabinet as part of the Q1 financial monitoring report.  The current agreed capital programme is detailed in Section 8 of the report.

 

9.    The update on the Revolving Investment fund as detailed in section 3.15 of the report.

 

10.The changes being proposed for the budget setting process and Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS), and that more details will be presented to the cabinet in September 2020.

Minutes:

The presentation and discussion for items 6 & 7 were heard together.

 

The Leader of the Council delegated authority to the Cabinet to make the following decisions:

 

RESOLVED: To approve

 

1.     The approach to ensuring the financial challenge of the financial year 2020/21 is managed efficiently and effectively including delegation of decisions on measures to deliver the 2020/21 budget to the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources in consultation with the relevant Cabinet member.

 

2.     The amendment to the capital programme as detailed in section 8 of the report.

 

3.     The continued use of capital receipts for funding transformation as detailed in section 9 of the report.

 

4.     The approach to dealing with the financial impact of Covid19, including the financial returns to MHCLG and the discussions with them.

 

5.     The principle of the agreement to enter into a loan with M&G for investment in affordable housing as set out in section 11 of the report.

 

RESOLVED: To note

 

6.     The final outturn of the 2019/20 revenue budget as detailed in section 3 of the report.

 

7.     The final outturn of the capital programme for 2019/20 as detailed in section 3 of the report.

 

8.     The slippage within the capital programme from 2019/20 into 2020/21 is under review. Approvals being sought will be presented to Cabinet as part of the Q1 financial monitoring report.  The current agreed capital programme is detailed in Section 8 of the report.

 

9.     The update on the Revolving Investment fund as detailed in section 3.15 of the report.

 

10. The changes being proposed for the budget setting process and Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS), and that more details will be presented to the cabinet in September 2020.

56/20

Increasing Housing Supply pdf icon PDF 787 KB

Officer: Shifa Mustafa

Key decision: yes

Additional documents:

Decision:

The Leader of the Council delegated authority to the Cabinet to make the following decisions:

 

RESOLVED: To

 

1.    Approve the borrowing facility of up to £30.6m to enable the investment in the acquisition of 165 new homes from Brick by Brick Croydon (Limited) (‘Brick by Brick’) to be let at council rents  

 

2.    Approve the use of up to £8.04m Right to Buy Receipts to reduce the level of borrowing required 

 

3.    Agree to the propose that the rental levels for the properties held within the HRA to be charged on a formula rent basis  

 

4.    Delegate to the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Homes and Gateway Services in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources the authority to approve of the purchase of affordable rented units constructed by Brick by Brick as council homes 

 

5.    Note the proposed purchase of additional Brick by Brick homes for use as Emergency Temporary Accommodation in line with the Cabinet decision taken in March 2020 under the Increasing Housing Supply paper. 

 

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Homes & Gateway Services introduced the report and noted that too many residents did not have a place to call home and the pandemic had highlighted further that good quality homes were needed, and to prevent overcrowding. She explained that on average private renting was an additional £100-200 extra per-month and that Croydon was the fifteenth most deprived authority in England in terms of housing. The borrowing facility of up to £30.6m was to enable the investment in the acquisition of 165 new homes from Brick by Brick to be let at council rents, providing residents with new, sustainable, good homes.

 

The Shadow Cabinet Member for Housing and Gateway Services welcomed the addition of new homes for Croydon and expressed that she shared the importance of having a safe and secure home. She did, however, express concern for transparency regarding Brick by Brick; a resident had reviewed Brick by Brick online, and had stated that they had received bad customer service.

 

In response to Councillor Lynne Hale, Councillor Alison Butler expressed disappointment for the bad review and noted that residents could email her to raise with Brick by Brick. She explained that they were high quality homes, with a high level of investment in to sustainability, and were for Croydon residents. She further added that Brick by Brick were selling homes daily, and would offer the purchase of homes to the council first.

 

In response to the Shadow Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, the Leader clarified that homes without a dishwasher were not substandard. The Shadow Cabinet Member explained that there was clearly a deficiency in homes and everybody deserved good quality homes. She added that she did not agree with the development on open green spaces and public parks. Councillor Alison Butler invited Councillor Helen Pollard on a tour of some Brick by Brick properties, as they were of high standard with happy tenants. The properties were all built sustainably and were not built on children’s playgrounds as previously claimed; the borough had a huge challenge to provide homes that were desperately needed, and a lot of consideration went in to where these would be placed.

 

The Leader of the Council delegated authority to the Cabinet to make the following decisions:

 

RESOLVED: To

 

1.     Approve the borrowing facility of up to £30.6m to enable the investment in the acquisition of 165 new homes from Brick by Brick Croydon (Limited) (‘Brick by Brick’) to be let at council rents  

 

2.     Approve the use of up to £8.04m Right to Buy Receipts to reduce the level of borrowing required 

 

3.     Agree to the propose that the rental levels for the properties held within the HRA to be charged on a formula rent basis  

 

4.     Delegate to the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Homes and Gateway Services in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources the authority to approve of the purchase of affordable rented units constructed by Brick by Brick as council homes  ...  view the full minutes text for item 56/20

57/20

Croydon Offer for Care Leavers, Commitment to Children in Care and National Pledge pdf icon PDF 287 KB

Officer: Robert Henderson

Key decision: yes

Decision:

The Leader of the Council delegated authority to the Cabinet to make the following decisions:

 

RESOLVED: To agree that Croydon Council and its partners

 

·         Adopt the National Pledge for children in care and care leavers;

·         Make a Croydon Commitment to children in care; and

·         Provide a refreshed local offer for Croydon’s care leavers.

 

 

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Children, Young People & Learning gave a presentation outlining what a Local Offer was, why Croydon’s current Local Offer was being reviewed and how this would respond to recommendations made by Ofsted. Discussions had been had with young people to give them an opportunity to provide feedback; following this, the need to increase aspiration was clear and it had since been established as one of the commitments as corporate parents. The Virtual School had begun working in conjunction with teachers in secondary school to offer a mentoring programme and to increasing apprenticeships. The Care Leavers in Poverty Prevention (CLIPP) Group had also been established.

 

The Cabinet Member for Children, Young People & Learning also outlined the financial entitlement slide, and highlighted that the additional finance of £365,000 had been provided to increase the Setting Up Home Allowance. Some of this finance was also ring-fenced for schemes such as providing the young people with birthday gifts up to the age of 21, and supporting them to learn how to drive; she explained that these were all things that should be provided from the Corporate Parent, as they would from biological parents.

 

The Service Manager for Early Help and Children’s Social Care, Mick McCarthy, addressed Cabinet and explained that young people had contributed to the revision of the Local Offer and had frequently noted that housing needed to be improved. Many young people became homeless in their early 20s, as there was often a large gap in their income, and affording housing was not possible. He also noted that if a young person went to university, their housing benefit would be lost. A new housing strategy was being established for young people, in addition to the improvement of transition work.

 

The Shadow Cabinet Member for Children, Families, Young People & Learning noted the importance of the work and wanted to ensure that carers were supported in the best way possible. In response to her query regarding funding, the Leader confirmed that the work outlined in the report would be delivered.

 

The Cabinet Member for Homes & Gateway Services thanked the Cabinet Member for Children, Families, Young People & Learning and the Service Manager for Early Help and Children’s Social Care for the report and hard work. She noted the importance of security and having the independence of your own home; therefore, the issues regarding rent, benefits and low income was really important. Managing money and paying bills was hard, especially when young people were starting work or university at the same time. She explained that children tended to stay living with their parents until their early 20s now, so she was pleased to see Croydon working hard as a corporate parent.

 

The Leader of the Council delegated authority to the Cabinet to make the following decisions:

 

RESOLVED: To agree that Croydon Council and its partners

 

·       Adopt the National Pledge for children in care and care leavers;

·       Make a Croydon Commitment to children in care; and

·       Provide a refreshed local offer for Croydon’s care  ...  view the full minutes text for item 57/20

58/20

Stage 2: Response to recommendations arising from Scrutiny & Overview Committee on 10 February 2020, Streets, Environment & Homes Scrutiny Sub-Committee on 4 February 2020, Scrutiny & Overview Committee on 25 February 2020 and Health & Social Care Scrutiny Sub-Committee on 10 March 2020 pdf icon PDF 213 KB

Officer: Jacqueline Harris Baker

Key decision: no

Additional documents:

Decision:

The Leader of the Council delegated authority to the Cabinet to make the following decisions:

 

RESOLVED: To approve the response and action plans attached to the report at Appendix A and that these be reported to the Scrutiny and Overview Committee or relevant Sub-Committees.

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council delegated authority to the Cabinet to make the following decisions:

 

RESOLVED: To approve the response and action plans attached to the report at Appendix A and that these be reported to the Scrutiny and Overview Committee or relevant Sub-Committees.

59/20

Investing in our Borough pdf icon PDF 281 KB

Officer: Jacqueline Harris Baker

Key decision: no

Additional documents:

Decision:

The Leader of the Council delegated authority to the Cabinet to make the following decisions:

 

RESOLVED: To

 

1.    Recommend to the Leader of the Council that prior to the next meeting of Cabinet in September, in respect of any contracts and property acquisitions and disposals valued over £500k and that have not previously been notified or reported to Cabinet, the nominated Cabinet Member in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources or, where the nominated member is the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources in consultation with the Leader, be authorised to agree the award of such contracts. Note that any awards made under this delegation will be notified in the standard contracts report to the next meeting of Cabinet.

 

RESOLVED: To note

 

2.    The list of decisions pursuant to Part 5 A Article 1.7 (Urgency Decisions) of the Council’s Constitution, made as relevant body by the nominated Cabinet Member in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources or, where the nominated member is the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources in consultation with the Leader, as set out in section 4.1 of the report.

 

3.    The contracts between £500,000 and £5,000,000 anticipated to be awarded by the nominated Cabinet Member, in consultation with the nominated Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources or, where the nominated Cabinet Member is the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, in consultation with the Leader, as set out in section 4.1.1 of the report.

 

4.    The list of delegated award decisions made by theDirector of Commissioning and Procurement, between 18/05/2020 – 17/06/2020, as set out in section 4.1.2 of the report.

 

5.    Delegated award decisions for contracts over £500,000 in value made by the nominated Cabinet Member in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources or, where the nominated Cabinet Member is the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources in consultation with the Leader since the last meeting of Cabinet, as set out in Section 4.2.1 of the report.

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council delegated authority to the Cabinet to make the following decisions:

 

RESOLVED: To

 

1.    Recommend to the Leader of the Council that prior to the next meeting of Cabinet in September, in respect of any contracts and property acquisitions and disposals valued over £500k and that have not previously been notified or reported to Cabinet, the nominated Cabinet Member in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources or, where the nominated member is the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources in consultation with the Leader, be authorised to agree the award of such contracts. Note that any awards made under this delegation will be notified in the standard contracts report to the next meeting of Cabinet.

 

RESOLVED: To note

 

2.    The list of decisions pursuant to Part 5 A Article 1.7 (Urgency Decisions) of the Council’s Constitution, made as relevant body by the nominated Cabinet Member in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources or, where the nominated member is the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources in consultation with the Leader, as set out in section 4.1 of the report.

 

3.    The contracts between £500,000 and £5,000,000 anticipated to be awarded by the nominated Cabinet Member, in consultation with the nominated Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources or, where the nominated Cabinet Member is the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, in consultation with the Leader, as set out in section 4.1.1 of the report.

 

4.    The list of delegated award decisions made by theDirector of Commissioning and Procurement, between 18/05/2020 – 17/06/2020, as set out in section 4.1.2 of the report.

 

5.    Delegated award decisions for contracts over £500,000 in value made by the nominated Cabinet Member in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources or, where the nominated Cabinet Member is the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources in consultation with the Leader since the last meeting of Cabinet, as set out in Section 4.2.1 of the report.

60/20

Exclusion of the Press and Public

The following motion is to be moved and seconded where it is proposed to exclude the press and public from the remainder of a meeting:

 

“That, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act, 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information falling within those paragraphs indicated in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended.”

Minutes:

This item was not required.