Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Ruthin and by video conference


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No. Item



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Councillor Win Mullen-James.


The Leader submitted apologies from Councillor Win Mullen-James who was unwell and conveyed his best wishes for a speedy recovery.




Members to declare any personal or prejudicial interests in any business identified to be considered at this meeting. 

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Notice of items which, in the opinion of the Chair, should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency pursuant to Section 100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972. 

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MINUTES pdf icon PDF 379 KB

To receive the minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 20 February 2024 (copy enclosed). 

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The minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 20 February 2024 were submitted.


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 20 February 2024 be received and confirmed as a correct record.




To consider a report by Councillor Elen Heaton, Lead Member for Health and Social Care (copy enclosed) seeking Cabinet approval for the setting of care home fees for the financial year 2024/25.

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RESOLVED that Cabinet approve the setting of baseline care home fees for financial year 2024/25 in accordance with Table 1 at paragraph 4.5 of the report representing an 8.8% uplift.


Councillor Elen Heaton presented the report seeking Cabinet approval for the setting of residential and nursing care home fees for the financial year 2024/25 following consultation with care providers and which represented an 8.8% uplift.


Care home fees represented a substantial part of the annual social care budget with around £13m allocated to approximately 364 placements in 82 care homes.  Care provision was a priority for the Council which had been reflected in budget allocations for 2024/25 to safeguard social care and education as much as possible during the local government funding crisis.  An update had been provided on engagement with care providers together with fee uplift options for 2024/25.  Given the financial implications lower cost options had also been presented but whilst the proposed 8.8% uplift was significantly higher than the Council’s 3.8% settlement and would increase expenditure by over £1m, it balanced affordability for local taxpayers, sustainability of other essential services, and ensured fair compensation for valued care providers having accounted for inflation and the Real Living Wage.


Councillor Heaton stressed that the Council valued its care providers and was committed to fostering an open and fair relationship.  No providers should feel they were facing financial crisis due to unfair compensation for services and the offer of an open book exercise would continue to allow transparent engagement and a fair discussion about the true cost of care and efficient use of taxpayers’ money.


The Corporate Director: Social Services and Education and the Head of Adult Social Care and Homelessness also attended for this item.  The Corporate Director explained how the fee setting process differed from previous years in order to bring forward a recommendation for discussion in a public forum with transparency about the process undertaken and as much engagement as possible with care providers and regional colleagues.  There was an open-door policy for care providers and discussions on care homes fees were welcomed throughout the year.  The Regional Fees Group had been re-established and re-engaged with care providers and work would continue going forward taking into account provider feedback.


Cabinet discussed the report and noted the efforts made to engage with providers, the themes arising from the initial engagement exercise, and subsequent feedback following consultation on the fees offer.  Cabinet was keen to ensure that all care providers paid staff the Real Living Wage and questions were raised regarding the method of regular engagement and communication with care providers, the need to ensure that smaller providers were equally engaged in the process, and further detail was also sought regarding mitigation of the risks identified in the report.


The Lead Member and officers responded to questions and comments as follows –


·       whilst it was made clear that provision for the Real Living Wage (RLW) had been included in the fee rate offered and there was an expectation that care providers paid staff the RLW there was no contractual or other mechanism to legally enforce that payment.  However, if staff were not paid the RLW it was likely they would leave to work for other providers who did pay that rate

·       Welsh Government was committed to paying the RLW in social care and had established the Fair Work Forum with a view to ensuring staff received the pay, terms and conditions, and recognition deserved through collective bargaining.  It was confirmed that Care Forum Wales (a representative body of its membership of care providers across Wales) was also a member of the Fair Work Forum

·       detailed the regular contact with care providers by various council staff including home visits by the contract monitoring team, communications via payment teams and social  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.



To consider a report by Councillor Gwyneth Ellis, Lead Member for Finance, Performance and Strategic Assets (copy enclosed) detailing the latest financial position and progress against the agreed budget strategy.

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RESOLVED that Cabinet note the budgets set for 2023/24 and progress against the agreed strategy.


Councillor Gwyneth Ellis presented the monthly report detailing the latest financial position and progress against the agreed budget strategy.


A summary of the Council’s financial position was provided as follows –


·       the net revenue budget for 2023/24 was £250.793m (£233.696m in 2022/23)

·       an overspend of £2.780m was forecast for service and corporate budgets

·       highlighted current risks and assumptions relating to corporate budgets and individual service areas

·       detailed service savings and efficiencies for the 2023/24 budget (£8.172m)

·       provided a general update on the Housing Revenue Account, Treasury Management, Capital Plan and major projects.


The Head of Finance and Audit guided members through the detail of the report.  There had been a slight decrease in the forecasted overspend on service and corporate budgets at £2.780m with a movement of £60k compared to last month.  Main areas of overspend continued to be Education and Children’s Services, Highways and Environmental Services and Adults Social Care and Homelessness, with minimal changes from last month.  The Housing Revenue Account had reported a slight reduction in underspend at £110k from £126k due to a reduction in rent with a forecast year-end balance of £812k.  There was a slight change in the forecasted use of school reserves at £7.026m compared to £7.054m last month.  The usual appendices had been included on the Capital Plan and major projects.


Due to closure of the Council’s accounts at the end of the financial year the regular finance monitoring report would not be submitted to Cabinet in April; the finance report for April would focus on the Medium-Term Financial Strategy and Medium-Term Financial Plan and include a high level strategy for future budget setting.  The financial outturn report for 2023/24 would be submitted to Cabinet in May.


The following matters were raised during the ensuing debate –


·       Rhyl Queen’s Market Redevelopment – the facility had been handed over to the Council in February.  Assurances were provided that there was no intention to seek additional funding with sufficient budget available to complete the project ready for operation.  Due to reasons of commercial sensitivity further details regarding the appointment of an operator and opening of the facility could not be given at this time but that information would be shared with members and the wider public as soon as it was possible to do so.  The Corporate Director: Economy and Environment confirmed that he would be willing to arrange a tour of the facility and asked members to let him know if they wanted to attend.  He also agreed to ascertain the costs to the Council of taking interim responsibility for the facility and report back to Councillor Huw Hilditch-Roberts thereon

·       Sustainable Communities for Learning – it was confirmed that the expenditure to date would be split between Welsh Government (WG) and the Council (DCC), which for schools with additional learning requirements amounted to a split of WG 75% / DCC 25% and for other schools a split of WG 65% / DCC 35%

·       Underspend due to vacancy management – this phrase appeared a number of times in the Service Variance Narrative (Appendix 2 to the report) and reflected recruitment controls in place to consider every vacant post before it was filled with a view to reducing the overspend in service budgets.  The process was followed for vacancies across the council and not just for a specific service area and provided evidence that management across the council realised the severity of the financial situation and were working to address it.  It was likely that other local authorities were also taking the same approach to vacancy management.


RESOLVED that Cabinet note the budgets set for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.



To receive the enclosed Cabinet Forward Work Programme and note the contents. 

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The Cabinet forward work programme was presented for consideration and members noted an addition to the April meeting relating to UK Government Levelling Up Funding Award (Round 3) – Vale of Clwyd Constituency.


RESOLVED that Cabinet’s forward work programme be noted.


The meeting concluded at 11.00 am.