Agenda and decisions

Cabinet - Tuesday, 7th May, 2024 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber - County Hall. View directions

Contact: Karon Hadfield 

Items
No. Item

1.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

2.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 128 KB

Minutes of the meeting of the meeting of Cabinet held on Tuesday 9 April 2024, as circulated, to be confirmed as a true record and signed by the Chair.

Decision:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of Cabinet held on 9 April 2024, as circulated, be confirmed as a true record and signed by the Chair.

3.

DISCLOSURE OF MEMBERS' INTERESTS

Unless already entered in the Council’s Register of Members’ interests, members are required where a matter arises at a meeting;

 

a.         Which directly relates to Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (‘DPI’) as set out in Appendix B, Table 1 of the Code of Conduct, to disclose the interest, not participate in any discussion or vote and not to remain in room. Where members have a DPI or if the matter concerns an executive function and is being considered by a Cabinet Member with a DPI they must notify the Monitoring Officer and arrange for somebody else to deal with the matter.

 

b.         Which directly relates to the financial interest or well being of a Other Registrable Interest as set out in Appendix B, Table 2 of the Code of Conduct to disclose the interest and only speak on the matter if members of the public are also allowed to speak at the meeting but otherwise must not take part in any discussion or vote on the matter and must not remain the room.

 

c.         Which directly relates to their financial interest or well-being (and is not DPI) or the financial well being of a relative or close associate, to declare the interest and members may only speak on the matter if members of the public are also allowed to speak. Otherwise, the member must not take part in discussion or vote on the matter and must leave the room.

 

d.         Which affects the financial well-being of the member, a relative or close associate or a body included under the Other Registrable Interests column in Table 2, to disclose the interest and apply the test set out at paragraph 9 of Appendix B before deciding whether they may remain in the meeting.

 

e.         Where Members have or a Cabinet Member has an Other Registerable Interest or Non Registerable Interest in a matter being considered in exercise of their executive function, they must notify the Monitoring Officer and arrange for somebody else to deal with it.

 

NB Any member needing clarification must contact monitoringofficer@northumberland.gov.uk. Members are referred to the Code of Conduct which contains the matters above in full. Please refer to the guidance on disclosures at the rear of this agenda letter.

Decision:

Councillor Renner Thompson disclosed an interest in item 9 on the agenda (Public and Community Transport Health Needs Assessment) as a trustee of Bell View, which was referenced in the report.

4.

REPORT OF THE DEPUTY LEADER AND CABINET MEMBER FOR SUPPORTING BUSINESS AND OPPORTUNITIES pdf icon PDF 193 KB

Enterprise Zone – Ashwood Business Park

 

The purpose of this report is to update Cabinet on the most recent variation to the Ashwood Enterprise Zone (EZ) business case application from Advance Northumberland (Commercial) Ltd to the NELEP.  The business case requests approval to the investment in site works and utility costs and the need to address higher cost inflation on site works.

Decision:

RESOLVED that:-

 

(a )     Cabinet approve the additional loan funding of £2,537,977 to the NECA to fund the proposed improvement works to Ashwood Enterprise Zone bringing the total loan funding provided by the Council for the scheme to £6,018,254, subject to a separate funding agreement with NECA and Advance Northumberland (Commercial) Ltd or variation to the existing tripartite agreement dated 07 February 2020, which sets out a repayment schedule for the additional £2,537,977 million loan plus interest;

 

(b )     Cabinet approve delegated authority to the Executive Director for Place and Regeneration, in consultation with the s151 Officer to enter into either:

         a variation to the tripartite Funding Agreement (07.02.2020), or

         a new tripartite Funding Agreement, between the Council, Advance Northumberland (Commercial) Limited and NECA in respect of the Ashwood Business Park, Enterprise Zone Infrastructure works, such agreement to include the obligation for Advance Northumberland (Commercial) Limited to meet any potential shortfall in Business Rates;

 

(c )     Cabinet note the contents of the report, in particular the risks associated with the proposal and the measures proposed to mitigate the risk; and

 

(d )     Cabinet note that the proposed additional loan of £2,537,977 million is not included within the Council’s capital budget and agree that the Council’s approved 2024/25 capital budget is increased accordingly.

5.

REPORT OF THE DEPUTY LEADER AND CABINET MEMBER FOR SUPPORTING BUSINESS AND OPPORTUNITIES pdf icon PDF 221 KB

Bowes Court Housing Energy Improvements – Outline Business Case

 

In accordance with the Energising Blyth Programme - Local Assurance Framework, the report seeks the approval of the Outline Business Case (OBC) for Bowes Court Housing Energy Improvements as part of the £20.71m Levelling Up Deep Dive (LUDD) funding awarded to Blyth in 2023. The OBC has been externally appraised with estimated costs, and with a recommendation to proceed to Full Business Case (FBC).

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED that:-

 

In relation to NCC as the Accountable Body for the Levelling Up Deep Dive funding:

 

(a )     Cabinet delegate authority, in accordance with the Local Assurance Framework, to the Council’s s151 Officer following consideration of the recommendation of the Energising Blyth Programme Board to approve the Outline Business Case; and to approve the Full Business Case in due course;

 

(b )     Cabinet establish the project in the capital programme with a total project cost of £1,919,525, to be funded from Levelling Up Deep Dive grant £1,334,000, UK Government Housing retrofit funding £383,905 and existing Housing Revenue Account funding of £201,620, or up to £585,525 from existing Housing Revenue Account funding if UK Government Housing retrofit funding is lower or not secured;

 

(c )     Cabinet delegate authority to the Council’s s151 Officer in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Supporting Business and Opportunities to enter into a Grant Funding Agreement following approval of the Full Business Case from Northumberland County Council for the Bowes Court Project as the fund Accountable Body.

 

In relation to NCC as the recipient of the Levelling Up Deep Dive funding for the Bowes Court Housing Energy Improvements

 

(d )     Cabinet delegate authority to the Executive Director for Place & Regeneration, to enter into a Grant Funding Agreement for the Bowes Court project, as the funding recipient; and

 

(e )     Cabinet delegate authority to the Executive Director of Place and Regeneration to enter into any contracts relating to the project subject to confirmation of associated funding being in place and the appropriate procurement processes being followed.

6.

REPORT OF THE CABINET MEMBER FOR CORPORATE SERVICES pdf icon PDF 158 KB

Oracle Contract Refresh

 

As outlined in the Constitution, any contract award of the value over £0.5m is deemed to be a key decision that requires Cabinet‘s approval. This report seeks to gain Cabinet‘s approval to delegate authority to progress procurement for the Oracle E-Business Cloud Solution core services. The expected value of the contract is above the £0.5m key decision threshold.

Decision:

RESOLVED that:-

 

(a )     Cabinet delegate authority to the Executive Director – Transformation and Resources in consultation with the portfolio holder for corporate services to progress the procurement of NCC’s Oracle E-Business Cloud Solution core services in accordance with the approved revenue budget allocation; and

 

(b )     Cabinet delegate authority to Executive Director – Transformation and Resources in consultation with the portfolio holder for corporate services to award a contract for NCC’s Oracle E-Business Cloud Solution core services via a compliant procurement route.

7.

REPORT OF THE CABINET MEMBER FOR CORPORATE SERVICES pdf icon PDF 718 KB

Financial Performance 2023-24 – Position at the end of February 2024 (Provisional Outturn)

 

The purpose of the report is to ensure that the Cabinet is informed of the provisional outturn for the Council against the Budget for 2023-24. Due to the timing of the statutory accounts deadline the forecast provisional outturn is based on the position at the end of February.

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED that:-

 

(1 ) the following be approved:-

 

a.       the use of the Energising Blyth Deep Dive capital funds received (£19.630 million) in 2023-24 on projects the Council would have funded themselves during the financial year thus delaying the borrowing requirement to be utilised once the schemes are delivered and to allow the Executive Director of Transformation and Resources (Section 151 Officer) to sign a declaration to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) confirming the funds have been defrayed;

 

b.       an amendment to the Capital Medium Term Financial Plan to replace the expected grant in 2024-25 (£10.930 million) and 2025-26 (£8.700 million) on the Energising Blyth Deep Dive programme with Council resource to reflect the earlier use of the expected grant.

 

c.        the creation of a reserve to carry forward the unspent 2023-24 Energising Blyth Deep Dive revenue funding with the balance to be identified at the end of the financial year. It is proposed that the transfer of the final value and utilisation of this reserve is delegated to the Executive Director for Place and Regeneration in consultation with the Section 151 Officer.

 

d.       the creation of a reserve to carry forward the unspent 2023-24 HRA Hardship Fund with the balance to be identified at the end of the financial year. It is proposed that the transfer of the final value and utilisation of this reserve is delegated to the Executive Director for Place and Regeneration in consultation with the Section 151 Officer.

 

e.       the creation of a reserve to carry forward the unspent 2023-24 Selective Landlord Licencing scheme funding with the balance to be identified at the end of the financial year. It is proposed that the transfer of the final value and utilisation of this reserve is delegated to the Executive Director for Place and Regeneration in consultation with the Section 151 Officer.

 

f.        that any balance remaining upon finalisation of the Statement of Accounts is to be transferred to the Council’s General Fund (GF).

 

(b )     the following be noted:

 

a.       the estimated net re-profiling to the Capital Programme of £44.412 million from 2023-24 to 2024-25 to reflect estimated expenditure levels in the current financial year.

 

b.       the projected overspend on services of £2.874 million and the assumptions outlined in this report.

 

c.        the projected net underspend of £0.143 million after the utilisation of the reserves.

 

d.       that this forecast provisional outturn is based on the figures as at the end of February and is subject to change.

 

e.       the supplementary estimates at Appendix A and the required changes to the budgets.

 

f.        the delivery of the approved savings at Appendix B.

 

g.       the use of the contingency shown at Appendix L.

 

h.       the use of reserves shown at Appendix M.

 

i.         the virements requested by services shown at Appendix N.

 

j.         the details of capital project reprofiling shown at Appendix O.

8.

REPORT OF THE CABINET MEMBER FOR CORPORATE SERVICES pdf icon PDF 160 KB

Loan to Branxton Parish Council

 

This report provides details of a potential loan facility to Branxton Parish Council of up to £1,300 in support of their 2024-25 budget.

Decision:

RESOLVED that Cabinet approve a loan facility of up to £1,300 to Branxton Parish Council subject to the following:

 

Branxton Parish Council agreeing to the proposed terms and conditions;

 

Branxton Parish Council confirming the amount required following the outcome of donations from residents; and

 

The Council’s legal team completing a legal agreement with Branxton Parish Council in advance of any loan drawdown.

9.

REPORT OF THE CABINET MEMBER FOR TACKLING INEQUALITIES pdf icon PDF 169 KB

Public and Community Transport Health Needs Assessment

 

This report aims to identify what is currently provided in terms of public and community transport across Northumberland, what is needed by the people of Northumberland and where the gaps are.

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED that:-

 

(a )     Cabinet endorse the action plan detailed in the attached appendix document of the full report;

 

(b )     Cabinet lobby nationally for a continuation of the £2 cap fare to keep transport affordable for all residents; and

 

(c )     Cabinet present a call to action to the newly formed North East Combined Authority (NECA) highlighting key issues around transport in rural areas.

10.

REPORT OF THE LEADER pdf icon PDF 133 KB

Nominations to Outside Bodies

 

To agree Cabinet’s nominations to outside bodies.

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED that Cabinet agree the nominations to the bodies detailed in the appendix attached to the report, subject to the removal of the nominations to Advance Northumberland, which were no longer required.

11.

APPOINTMENT OF CABINET SHAREHOLDER COMMITTEE

To appoint the Cabinet Shareholder Committee as follows:

 

Membership

 

Such members of the Cabinet, as may be appointed from time to time by the Leader.

 

Quorum:

Three members, which must include:

         the Leader (or other Cabinet member appointed by the Leader for this purpose);

         Cabinet member with portfolio for finance and resources; and

         Cabinet member(s) with portfolio for most closely associated with the company or companies concerned with the items of business.

 

Terms of Reference

 

The Shareholder Cabinet Committee will exercise responsibility for the Cabinet’s functions in respect of:

 

1.       The Council’s approach to membership of a company or companies, including:

a.       evaluation of potential new opportunities to deliver social and financial returns on investment through company holdings;

b.       approval of comprehensive statements (business cases) to establish a new company, company membership or joint venture;

c.        sale or liquidation of Council interests in companies;

d.       the adoption of investment or contractual strategies in relation to council held company memberships; 

e.       the provision or requirement of services to or by a company; and

f.        the governance framework and over-arching approach to company memberships.

 

2.       Decisions concerning the evaluation, monitoring or acting upon:

a.       the financial and social returns on investment (be that shareholding, loans or direct investment); and

b.       risks and opportunities 

arising from any shareholding in a company or companies, including contracts or financial investments in respect of such companies.

 

3.       Decisions concerning the performance of a company in relation to its Business Plan and, in particular, the company’s performance:

a.       in financial matters

b.       against the social goals of the company as set out in the company’s Objects, Business Case or Business Plan; and

c.        against the values of the Council.

 

4.       All decisions reserved to the Council for shareholder approval, such as (but not limited to):

a.       Varying Articles of Association

b.       Varying ownership and structure

c.        Variations to shares (number of, rights, etc.)

d.       Entering contracts that:

i.         have a material effect on Council business (including other companies within the group)

ii.        are outside of the business plan or do not relate to the business

iii.       significant in relation to the size of the business, the business plan, etc. 

e.       Material legal proceedings outside of ordinary business

f.        Adopting and amending business plans each year and strategic plans (3 years)

g.       Appointment, removal and the remuneration of directors (members of the company board)

h.       Selection of the chair of the board

i.         Appointment of auditors

j.         Issue of dividends

as more particularly set out in a company’s Articles of Association or Shareholder Agreement.

 

5.       Other matters as may be referred to the Cabinet Committee for consideration by the CSR, s.151 officer, monitoring officer or chief executive

 

 

Decision:

RESOLVED that the Cabinet Shareholder Committee be appointed as follows:

 

Membership

 

Such members of the Cabinet, as may be appointed from time to time by the Leader.

 

Quorum: 

 

Three members, which must include:

 

the Leader (or other Cabinet member appointed by the Leader for this purpose);

 

Cabinet member with portfolio for finance and resources; and

 

Cabinet member(s) with portfolio for most closely associated with the company or companies concerned with the items of business.

12.

URGENT BUSINESS

To consider such other business as, in the opinion of the Chair, should, by reason of special circumstances, be considered as a matter of urgency.