Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Venue: This will be held as an online virtual meeting

Contact: James Kinsella, Governance Manager  Tel: 020 8937 2063; Email:  james.kinsella@brent.gov.uk

Note: The press and public are welcome to attend this as an online virtual meeting. The link to view proceedings can be accessed via the Live Streaming section on the Democracy page of the Council's website or through the link on the agenda frontsheet 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

Decision:

None.

Minutes:

None.

2.

Declarations of Interest

Members are invited to declare at this stage of the meeting, the nature and existence of any relevant disclosable pecuniary or personal interests in the items on this agenda and to specify the item(s) to which they relate.

Decision:

It was reported that Peter Gadsdon (Strategic Director Customer & Digital Services) and Gail Tolley (Strategic Director Children & Young People) both had personal (non pecuniary) interests in relation to Agenda Items 9 (i4b Business Plan 2021-22) and 10 (FWH Business Plan 2021-22) as Council appointed representatives on the i4B and FWH Ltd Boards.

Minutes:

It was noted that Peter Gadsdon, Strategic Director Customer & Digital Services and Gail Tolley, Strategic Director Children & Young People both had personal (non-pecuniary) interests in relation to Items 9 and 10 as Council appointed representatives on the i4B Holdings Ltd and First Wave Housing Ltd Boards.

3.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 97 KB

To approve the minutes of the previous meeting held on 12 January 2021 as a correct record.

Decision:

Cabinet RESOLVED to approve the minutes of the previous meeting held on Tuesday 12 January 2021 as an accurate record.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the previous meeting held on 12 January 2021 be approved as an accurate record of the meeting.

4.

Matters Arising (if any)

To consider any matters arising from the minutes of the previous meeting.

Decision:

None.

Minutes:

None.

5.

Petitions (if any)

To discuss any petitions from members of the public, in accordance with Standing Order 66.

Decision:

None.

Minutes:

None.

6.

Reference of item considered by Scrutiny Committees (if any)

There are no items to be considered at this meeting.  

Decision:

There were no references from Scrutiny submitted for consideration at the meeting.

Minutes:

None.

7.

Budget and Council Tax 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 322 KB

This report sets out the Council’s budget proposals for 2021/22 and 2022/23.  It also sets out the results of the consultation, scrutiny and equalities processes.  Subject to approval by Cabinet, these will form the basis of the budget to be agreed at the Full Council meeting of 22 February 2021.

 

The report also sets out the overall financial position facing the Council for the medium term and highlights the significant risks, issues and uncertainties.

Additional documents:

Decision:

NOTED

 

1.           The comments made by Councillor Mashari in summarising the key themes from the Budget Scrutiny Task Group report.  In introducing the Task Group report, Councillor Mashari highlighted that whilst supportive of the overall budget proposals and grateful for the support of everyone engaged in the review process, the Task Group had made a number of key recommendations which included:

·             The need to more clearly demonstrate within the budget how funding followed the democratically agreed strategic priorities for the borough;

·             The need to outline how the £1m funding allocated for implementation of the Borough Plan objectives would be spent;

·             The need to ensure a cumulative equality impact assessment of the final decisions made within the budget was undertaken reflecting the severe impact of the pandemic;

·             The need for an in depth analysis and modelling to be undertaken in order to identify the impact of the UK leaving the EU on residents, funding streams and the local economy;

·             The need to undertake a full and independent economic analysis of the borough ahead of future budget setting processes in order to better inform decisions.

The Task Group report was therefore commended to Cabinet to take account as part of the final decision making process.

 

2.          The comments made by a member of the public, Paul Lorber, who had also requested to speak on the budget report.  In recognising the various elements that contributed to the budget and different elements of the Council Tax, Mr Lorber was concerned to ensure there was no duplication in the way certain proposals contained within the budget were funded in order to protect residents as far as possible from the impact of any Council Tax increase.  As specific examples he referred to the proposals contained within the budget for an additional payment to staff, to pursue the London Living Wage as standard within Council contracts and to provide £1m as an additional growth pressure identified as an allowance for uncertainty.  Referring to the overall level of reserves being held by the Council, he urged the Council to consider funding these as one off funding elements from reserves rather than as an additional charge against the base budget in order to mitigate any increase in costs residents would need to cover as part of the Council’s element of the Council Tax.

 

Having noted the comments provided, CabinetRESOLVED:

 

(1)        To recommend to full Council an overall 4.99% increase in the Council’s element of Council Tax for 2021/22, with 3% as a precept for Adult Social Care and a 1.99% general increase.

 

(2)        To recommend to full Council the General Fund revenue budget for 2021/22, as summarised in Appendix A of the report.

 

(3)        To recommend to full Council the cost pressures and technical adjustments detailed in Appendix B of the report.

 

(4)        To recommend to full Council the budget savings proposals detailed in Appendix C of the report.

 

(5)        To note the report from the Budget Scrutiny Panel, as set out in Appendix D of  ...  view the full decision text for item 7.

Minutes:

Prior to consideration of the main report Councillor M Butt, Leader of the Council, invited Councillor Mashari as Chair of the Resources & Public Realm Scrutiny Committee and Budget Scrutiny Task Group to introduce the Budget Scrutiny Task Group report, which had been included as an appendix to the Budget and Council Tax 2021/22 report.  Councillor Mashari began by advising that whilst supportive of the overall budget proposals the Budget Scrutiny Task Group had, as part of their review of the proposals, identified a number of key findings and recommendations. These included what the Task Group had considered to be a need:

 

·         to more clearly demonstrate within the budget how funding followed the democratically agreed strategic priorities for the borough;

·         to outline how the £1m funding allocated for implementation of the Borough Plan objectives would be spent;

·         to ensure a cumulative equality impact assessment of the final decisions made within the budget was undertaken reflecting the severe impact of the covid pandemic;

·         for an in-depth analysis and modelling to be undertaken in order to identify the impact of the UK leaving the EU on residents, funding streams and the local economy; and

·         to undertake a full and independent economic analysis of the borough ahead of future budget setting processes in order to better inform decisions.

 

In summing up, Councillor Mashari thanked the members and officers who had been engaged in the review process. In response, Councillor M Butt expressed his own gratitude for the hard work of members and officers in producing the report and highlighted its importance to the overall budget setting process. 

 

Councillor M Butt then welcomed Paul Lorber to the meeting who he advised had requested to speak on the Budget and Council Tax 2021/22 report. In addressing Cabinet, Paul Lorber recognised the various elements that contributed to the budget and in particular the different elements of Council Tax. He felt it important to ensure there was no duplication in the way certain proposals within the budget were funded in order to mitigate the impact of any Council Tax increase on residents. As specific examples, he referred to the proposals for an additional payment to staff, to pursue the London Living Wage (LLW) as standard within Council contracts and to provide £1 million as an additional growth pressure identified as an allowance for uncertainty. In reference to the overall level of reserves being held, he urged the Council to consider funding these proposals from reserves rather than as an additional charge against the base budget.

 

Councillor McLennan, as Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Resources then introduced the report which set out the Council’s budget proposals for 2021/22 and 2022/33. The report also set out the results of the budget consultation, scrutiny and equality processes and the overall financial position facing the Council for the medium-term.

 

Councillor McLennan also took the opportunity to thank all officers and members who had been involved in the budget setting process, including those members involved in the Budget Scrutiny Task Group.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Borough Plan 2021-2022 pdf icon PDF 98 KB

This reports presents the draft Borough Plan 2021-22, setting out the Council’s vision, strategic priorities and actions for review prior to their referral onto Full Council for adoption on 22 February 2021.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Cabinet RESOLVED:

 

(1)      To agree the draft Borough Plan, as set out in Appendix 1 of the report and draft equality strategy action plan, as set out in Appendix 2 of the report, and to refer them to Full Council for adoption on 22 February 2021.

 

(2)      To agree that Cabinet will continue to monitor implementation of the Borough Plan.

Minutes:

Councillor McLennan, as Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Resources, introduced a report setting out the vision, strategic priorities and action within a refresh of the Borough Plan for 2021/22.

 

Members noted that the refresh of the Borough Plan 2021/22 set out how the Council would take forward the delivery of the five key strategic priority areas over the final year of the current Administration. It included refocussed actions against each priority reflecting work since the adoption of the previous version of the Plan and drawing on the experience of the pandemic. As specific examples, Councillor McLennan referred to proposed actions to tackle homelessness, reduce health inequalities, provide youth opportunities, tackle the climate emergency and deliver employment and training support as well as the Black Community Action Plan. It was also noted that that the draft Plan reflected the Council’s Equality Strategy 2019-23, ensuring equitable access to public functions, employment and work, goods and services, premises, associations, transport and education.

 

Having considered the draft Borough Plan 2021/22, it was RESOLVED that Cabinet:

 

(1)      Agree the draft Borough Plan, as set out in Appendix 1 of the report and draft Equality Strategy Action Plan, as set out in Appendix 2 of the report, and refer them to Full Council for adoption on 22 February 2021.

 

(2)      Agree to continue monitoring implementation of the Borough Plan.

 

9.

i4B Business Plan 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 141 KB

This report presents the i4B Holdings Ltd (i4B) 2021/22 Business Plan to Cabinet for Shareholder approval.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Cabinet RESOLVED:

 

(1)      To approve the proposals within the 2021/22 Business Plan.

 

(2)     To approve the content and proposed strategic priorities of i4B’s 2021/22 Business Plan.

 

(3)      To approve the updated financial model contained within the 2021/22 Business Plan.

Minutes:

Councillor McLennan, as Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Resources, introduced a report on the draft i4B Holdings Ltd (i4B) Business Plan 2021/22.

 

Members noted that i4B had been set up to own and manage private rented sector properties, in order to support the Council in tackling homelessness and provide safe and secure housing. Members were also reminded that the company was set up strictly for the borough’s housing needs and that the Council was its sole shareholder. As sole shareholder, the Council provided significant scrutiny of the company.

 

Councillor Southwood, Lead Member for Housing and Welfare Reform thanked those involved in the running of i4B, which formed an important element of the Council’s response to tackling the homelessness agenda by providing safe and secure housing which was closely aligned with the needs of residents.

 

Councillor M Butt, Leader of the Council drew specific attention to the purchase of the block of 153 units in Wembley Park which would be let to key workers. He felt that this demonstrated the Council’s commitment to increasing the amount of affordable housing and supporting other public sector organisations to recruit and train employees in the borough.

 

Members fully supported the recommendations contained in the report and noted that i4B was expected to generate its first surplus earlier than expected in the forthcoming year, acknowledging the hard work of all those involved in the running of the company.

 

In considering the recommendations, Cabinet noted the information provided within the exempt appendices accompanying the report.

 

It was RESOLVED that Cabinet:

 

(1)      Approve the proposals within the 2021/22 Business Plan.

 

(2)      Approve the content and proposed strategic priorities of i4B’s 2021/22 Business Plan.

 

(3)      Approve the updated financial model contained within the 2021/22 Business Plan.

10.

FWH Business Plan 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 137 KB

This report presents the First Wave Housing Ltd (FWH) 2021/22 Business Plan to Cabinet for approval on behalf of the Guarantor.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Cabinet RESOLVED

 

(1)      To approve the proposals within the 2021/22 Business Plan.

 

(2)     To approve the content and proposed strategic priorities of FWH’s 2021/22 Business Plan.

 

(3)     To approve the updated financial model contained within the 2021/22 Business Plan.

Minutes:

Councillor McLennan, as Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Resources, introduced a report on the draft First Wave Housing Ltd (FWH) Business Plan 2021/22.

 

Members attention was drawn to the company’s void performance, which it was noted had not been in line with business plan targets.  As a result FWH were reviewing options with the Council’s Housing Management team to improve performance. It was also recognised that capital investment works in relation to eight of the company’s blocks in South Kilburn, which were taken over from Brent Housing Partnership, had taken longer than expected. Members were assured that the company’s main priority for the forthcoming year was to identify a safe, viable and affordable way of improving the condition of these blocks.

 

Councillor Southwood, Lead Member for Housing and Welfare Reform recognised, as previously highlighted, the improvements that needed to be made in the service provided to FWH over the forthcoming year. It was noted that significant capital investment was required in its stock, and that the scale of the investment remained to be quantified. Members were assured that actions had been identified to address these issues on which further updates would be provided as the final position was clarified.

 

Having considered the update provided, it was RESOLVED that Cabinet:

 

(1)      Approve the proposals within the 2021/22 Business Plan.

 

(2)     Approve the content and proposed strategic priorities of FWH’s 2021/22 Business Plan.

11.

Meanwhile Use Strategy & Action Plan pdf icon PDF 102 KB

This report presents the Meanwhile Use Strategy & Action Plan for approval prior to publication on the Council’s website, dissemination of the same to key partners and stakeholders, and implementation.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Cabinet RESOLVED to approve the Meanwhile Use Strategy & Action Plan.

Minutes:

Councillor Tatler, Lead Member for Regeneration, Property and Planning introduced a report on the Meanwhile Use Strategy and Action Plan, which was part of a wider agenda to support local businesses and high streets.

 

Councillor M Butt, Leader of the Council highlighted the positive feedback that he and other Lead Members had received regarding the strategy, which it was felt would provide a strong way forward over the long-term.

 

RESOLVED that Cabinet approve the Meanwhile Use Strategy & Action Plan.

12.

Recommissioning of Housing Related Support (HRS) Services pdf icon PDF 182 KB

This report requests Cabinet approval to invite tenders for contracts for the provision of Housing Related Support (HRS) services as required by Contract Standing Orders 88 and 89.

Decision:

Cabinet RESOLVED

 

(1)       To approve inviting tenders for Housing Related Support (HRS) for Homelessness services (including ex-offenders); Mental Health services; Young Persons Services; Domestic Abuse Refuges and Complex Women’s service; Generic Floating Support service, Older Persons Floating Support service and Handy Person service to be procured as seven separate contracts on the basis of the pre - tender considerations set out in paragraph 3.19 of the report for initial contract term of three years with two plus 1 year options to extend (5 years in total).  The anticipated commencement date would be 1st November 2021 and a total contract value of £15,189,940.

 

(2)       To approve Officers evaluating the tenders referred to in (1) on the basis of the evaluation criteria set out in paragraph 3.19 of the report.

 

(3)       To agree that contracts are tendered at London Living Wage (LLW) levels under the new proposed HRS service contracts as set out in Section 4 of the report.

 

(4)       To delegate authority to the Strategic Director of Community and Wellbeing in consultation with the Lead Member for Adult Social Care to award the contract for HRS services as detailed in the report.

Minutes:

Councillor Farah, Lead Member for Adult Social Care introduced a report on the re-procurement of Housing Related Support (HRS). Members noted the changes identified to the level of HRS services being procured, which it was reported had been due to reduced demand rather than the need for budget reductions.

 

In supporting the recommendations, Councillor Southwood, Lead Member for Housing and Welfare Reform acknowledged the clarity provided regarding the changes to the level of HRS services, and highlighted the importance of ensuring that services responded to the needs of residents.

 

Councillor Knight, Lead Member for Community Safety and Engagement thanked the Lead Member and officers for the increased level of support for Domestic Abuse Services and the Single Women with Complex Support Needs Service, especially in light of the increase in levels of domestic violence identified during the pandemic.

 

In summing up, Councillor M Butt, Leader of the Council praised the level of support available to residents through HRS services, in particular homelessness and ex-offender provision, as well as the proposal to ensure all contracts were tendered at London Living Wage levels.

 

It was RESOLVED that Cabinet:

 

(1)      Approve inviting tenders for Housing Related Support (HRS) for Homelessness services (including ex-offenders); Mental Health services; Young Persons Services; Domestic Abuse Refuges and Complex Women’s service; Generic Floating Support service, Older Persons Floating Support service and Handy Person service to be procured as seven separate contracts on the basis of the pre - tender considerations set out in paragraph 3.19 of the report for initial contract term of three years with two plus 1 year options to extend (5 years in total).  The anticipated commencement date would be 1st November 2021 and a total contract value of £15,189,940.

 

(2)      Approve Officers evaluating the tenders referred to in (1) on the basis of the evaluation criteria set out in paragraph 3.19 of the report.

 

(3)      Agree that contracts are tendered at London Living Wage (LLW) levels under the new proposed HRS service contracts as set out in Section 4 of the report.

 

(4)      Delegate authority to the Strategic Director of Community and Wellbeing in consultation with the Lead Member for Adult Social Care to award the contract for HRS services as detailed in the report.

 

13.

Exclusion of Press and Public

The following items are not for publication as they relate to the following category of exempt information as specified under paragraph 3, Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, namely: “Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)"

 

Item 9:         i4B Business Plan 2019/20 - Appendix 1(a) (Financial Forecast) referred to as Appendix 1 within the Company Business Plan

 

Item 10:       First Wave Housing Business Plan 2019/20 - Appendix 1(a) (Financial Forecast) referred to as Appendix 1 within the Company Business Plan

Decision:

There were no items that required the exclusion of the press or public.

Minutes:

There were no items that required the exclusion of the press or public.

14.

Any other urgent business

Notice of items to be raised under this heading must be given in writing to the Head of Executive and Member Services or his representative before the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 60.

Decision:

None.

Minutes:

None.