Agendas, Meetings and Minutes - Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

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Contact: Nichola Garner  Committee and Appellate Officer


No. Item


Apologies and Declarations of Interest




Public Participation

Members of the public wishing to take part should notify the Head of Legal and Democratic Services in writing or by e-mail indicating both the nature and content of their proposed participation no later than 9.00am on the working day before the meeting (in this case Wednesday 24 June 2020).  Further details are available on the Council's website.  Enquiries can also be made through the telephone number/e-mail address listed below.




Confirmation of the Minutes of the previous meeting

The Minutes of the meeting of 4 June 2020 have been previously circulated


The minutes of the previous meeting were confirmed as a correct record and would be signed by the Chairman.


Covid-19 Response and Restart Update pdf icon PDF 631 KB


The Leader’s opening remarks set out the ongoing priorities of reducing infection and supporting the most vulnerable members of the community whilst moving forward to restart services that would be tuned to people’s needs.


Each Cabinet Member highlighted action taken and plans for their service areas as set out in the report and the main points raised were:


·         The continuation of services for adults during lockdown meant that there had been no easement of the Care Act

·         The work being undertaken to embed best practice from the response to Covid-19, including embracing a ‘7-day working’ pattern, with thanks being expressed to staff who had worked in this way with colleagues in the NHS during the height of the pandemic

·         The Cabinet member for Highways gave details of the schemes planned for the phase 1 allocation of the Active Travel Fund, which included cycle lanes between Redditch and Bromsgrove, Stourport and Kidderminster and at Evesham

·         The latest data showed that traffic was currently at 80% of pre-lockdown levels

·         The Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing stressed that the virus was still active and people needed to be mindful, as the economy was opened, to remain vigilant and keep social distancing where possible

·         Libraries and museums were due to reopen in a phased approach with clear protocols and social distancing in place. An announcement on the relaunching of wedding and notices of marriages was expected in the near future

·         the majority of schools had continued to operate throughout the pandemic for vulnerable children and those of key workers.  Pupils were returning as per the Government guidelines despite the challenges arising from Worcestershire’s 2 tier and 3 tier system.


The following details were provided in response to questions from Members outside the Cabinet:


·         whether the number of tests for Covid-19 could be increased – the Cabinet Member reported that people were still being encouraged to test at centres and at home.  He agreed to provide details on exact numbers of tests

·         Details were requested about arrangements for the Local Outbreak Plan and the Cabinet Member advised the Covid 19 Local Out-Break Engagement Board would be ‘the workhorse’ which would assist in any outbreaks of Covid-19 with senior elected Members from all Districts being representatives. Details of the plans would be put onto the County Council website soon once documents were finalised

·         Whether the Cabinet Member was in favour of some of the money that was being bid for to go towards helping cycling proficiency – the Cabinet Member responded that he would investigate whether some of the funds could be applied in this way

·         When the remaining Household Recycling Centres would reopen – the Leader responded that work was continuing to reopen these as soon as practicable

·         Whether there was any further information to that provided by the Leader at OSPB on the support available for children who did not have access to computers at home. The Cabinet Member for Education and Skills confirmed a further application had been made to the Department  ...  view the full minutes text for item 1984.


Covid-19 Economic Restart Plan pdf icon PDF 267 KB


The Cabinet Member for Economy and Infrastructure introduced the report which summarised the information available so far about the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on the local economy and gave details of recovery plans involving the County Council and partner organisations.


The Cabinet Member wanted to allay people’s fears regarding the link between 5G broadband and the Covid-19 outbreak and although he understood the concerns did not believe there to be a link.


The Leader commended the work of the LEP and the importance of the Midland’s Engine to bring in experts to respond rapidly to bid for resources and connect across the region to work on cross border issues.


The Cabinet Member for Education and Skills noted a report by Worcestershire Apprenticeships which stated that apprenticeships were going from strength to strength.  Despite the fact that of 526 apprenticeships across Worcestershire all but six had stopped, Worcestershire Group Training Association was keeping learners learning and the Association was working closely with employers to ensure learning continued within the furlough rules.


The Cabinet Member for Adult Services asked for clarity for businesses on whether the package of loans amounting to £3.5 million were grants or loans that the Council would expect to be repaid in due course.  The Cabinet Member for Economy and Infrastructure responded that the particular circumstances would have to be matched to the appropriate business and stated the Government’s concern was to get bounce back loans in place very quickly with relatively flexible circumstances for repayment.


The Leader followed up by stating grants would support and stimulate businesses and the Council wanted to support businesses of the future as well as those which were struggling through these difficult times. The Leader encouraged businesses to make contact through Worcestershire Business Central who would pick up and deal with any queries.


In response to a suggestion from a Member outside the Cabinet, The Leader agreed to ensure that information about grants, loans and support for businesses would be available on line through various portals.  He also agreed to provide details of business support and relevant contact details to all County Councillors.


RESOLVED that Cabinet:

(a)  Noted and endorsed the action taken by the Council in supporting the County wide activity of the Covid – 19 Economic Response, Recovery and Resilience Group, and the work to date on the Economic Recovery Plan;


(b)  Accepted the Open For Business Board’s recommendation to approve  £3,574,500 of the Open for Business reserves to be used to fund grants to support local businesses as part of the economic restart planning.


(c)  Would continue to review the resources required to support the restart through the Open for Business Board in accordance with Financial Regulations, as set out at paragraphs 19 and 20 of the report.






Revenue and Capital Budget Monitoring - Financial Outturn pdf icon PDF 507 KB

Additional documents:


The Leader introduced the report, summarised the content and put on record his thanks to the organisations across the spectrum, at every level, in delivering the budget to such a small margin of error at the end of this financial year.


The Cabinet Member for Adult Services commented that some attention should be paid to the large amount of bad debt that had been accumulating from self-funding pickups and although in the past this has sometimes been written off, had now become a significant figure on the books. The Cabinet Member confirmed he was working with the Director of People to work up a new model to respond to these cost pressures as in the medium term the situation was not sustainable for the Council.


The Cabinet Member stated that Covid-19 had, had a volatile effect on financial markets but the Council’s pension scheme had benefited from the equity protection insurance it had taken out and over the last three years had improved to be slightly ahead of where it would be expected to be and the pension fund currently sat at 91% full funding.


In response to a query about additional business rates income, the Leader reported that there had been a bonus through business rates, which he suggested would be put into risk reserves. In the meantime, the Government was being lobbied by local authorities to establish an income guarantee fund to address the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. This would ensure that any loss of income on the collection fund would be met by Government.


The Leader referred to the CCN report which highlighted the lower levels of income projected Council Tax and Business Rates receipts and reiterated that if an Income Guarantee was set up by Government it would enable the Council to draw on this money rather than fall upon the preceptors in the next financial year. He also reported that currently in terms of the immediate financial situation the Council had received more grant than it had spent


It was noted that in paragraph 78 on page 40 of the report the amount claimed was omitted from reference to claims on CCGs and NHS England.  The Chief Financial Officer advised this figure should be £1.6million. 


The Leader was asked about preparations for a potential second wave of the coronavirus.  He responded that the Bronze, Silver and Gold structures would be retained while continuing with the testing regime and bringing the Board forward to manage any local outbreaks.  The Local Outbreak Plan the Council would submit to Government would set out how the response to any spikes would be managed.  The Leader reiterated with regard to the potential fall off in business rates and rise in unemployment or necessity for council tax support for residents, Members of Parliament had written to Government to make the case for an Income Guarantee Fund.


RESOLVED that Cabinet:


a)    endorsed financial performance for the year ending 31 March 2020 and the unaudited Annual Financial Report and Statement of Accounts  ...  view the full minutes text for item 1986.


Review of Delivery Model for Medical Education Provision pdf icon PDF 173 KB


The Cabinet Member for Education and Skills presented the report which set out a revised timetable for the review of the delivery model.  It had not been possible to meet the planned deadlines and time frames as agreed at the Cabinet meeting in January due to the restrictions of lockdown.  


RESOLVED that Cabinet:

(a)  noted the impact of Covid-19 on the review of Medical Education Provision;


(b)  approved the revised timetable for the development of the new delivery model of Medical Education Provision, including the Medical Education Service;


(c)  approved the continuation of the current Medical Education Service within the same functions and capacity for the academic year starting in September 2020; and


(d)  would receive a further report to consider proposals and recommendations for the new delivery model of Medical Education Provision following design and co-production work.



Scrutiny Report - Care Work as a Career pdf icon PDF 219 KB

Additional documents:


Councillor Liz Tucker presented the report and stated she appreciated the response from Cabinet in accepting all but two of the recommendations.  


Cabinet Members agreed that this was an excellent report and recognised the amount of work done by the voluntary sector and care workers.


Councillor Tucker suggested that there could be a change in the title of Care

Worker, there was a discussion around this and the Cabinet Member for Environment suggested the sector should be consulted as to whether they would prefer to be known by another name. This was supported by the Leader


RESOLVED that Cabinet:

(a)  received the Scrutiny Report on Care Work as a Career, together with the response from the Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Adult Social Care; and


(b)  noted the Scrutiny Report’s findings and recommendations and adopted the response of the Cabinet Member with Responsibility as the way forward.