Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Agenda, decisions and draft minutes
Items
No. Item

POINTS OF NOTICE

[Due to the current restrictions on travel and the requirement for social distancing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic the meeting was held remotely by video conference and was not open to the general public.  Political Groups had been invited to nominate up to three members to attend as observers and the Local Democracy Reporter had also been invited to observe the proceedings.]

 

The Leader welcomed everyone to the first formal meeting of the Cabinet held since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and he highlighted the devastating impact at all levels and began the meeting with a moment of silent reflection to remember those affected.

 

The Leader also took the opportunity to thank officers for their work on the frontline in Denbighshire in very difficult circumstances and to those who had been redeployed to where they were most needed, which provided both an assurance to residents in the continuation of services and support through the crisis.  The Chief Executive also took the opportunity to thank staff for their flexibility and fortitude over recent times.

 

1.

APOLOGIES

Decision:

There were no apologies.

 

Minutes:

There were no apologies.

 

2.

DECLARATION OF INTERESTS pdf icon PDF 116 KB

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

Decision:

No declaration of interest had been raised.

 

Minutes:

No declaration of interest had been raised.

 

3.

URGENT MATTERS

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.  

Decision:

Councillor Bobby Feeley, Lead Member for Well-being and Independence made a statement highlighting her concerns about coronavirus and the impact in care homes, hospitals and communities.

 

Minutes:

At this point, and at the invitation of the Leader, Councillor Bobby Feeley, Lead Member for Well-being and Independence made the following statement –

 

“As Lead Member I am very concerned about coronavirus and the impact that can be seen now in care homes, hospitals and communities.  Although numbers generally across Wales are now reducing, there are still people getting sick and some, sadly, dying.  Our thoughts are with those who have lost someone to this terrible virus.

 

Unfortunately the numbers of positive cases in North Wales, including Denbighshire, are still increasing.  This is partly due to access to testing and we are working with colleagues in Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and Public Health Wales to learn more about the differing levels of infection.

 

That being said coronavirus is still with us and our Council Officers continue to provide support to care homes and social care providers to protect our most vulnerable residents.

 

Can I finish by urging everyone to adhere to the Welsh Government guideline to –

 

Stay at Home – Protect the NHS – Save Lives.”

 

4.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 319 KB

To receive the minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 18 February 2020 (copy enclosed). 

Decision:

Vote taken: 7 in favour, 0 against, 0 abstentions

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 18 February 2020 be received and confirmed as a correct record.

 

Minutes:

The minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 18 February 2020 were submitted.

 

Matters Arising – Pages 7 & 8, Item No. 6 Recommendations of the Strategic Investment Group & Item No. 7 Finance Report – Councillor Peter Scott raised questions regarding subsequent outcomes following the recent storm damage sustained in the county.  Councillor Brian Jones advised that the planned flood meeting with the First Minister had not taken place but matters had since moved on.  A request for funding for specific projects arising from the storm damage across Denbighshire had been made to the Welsh Government, including bridges and highways, and a response was currently awaited.  With regard to the assessment of the wider impacts the Chief Executive confirmed that the planned work had been paused as a consequence of Covid 19 but it would be revisited at a future date.

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 18 February 2020 be received and confirmed as a correct record.

 

5.

APPROVAL OF STRATEGIC INVESTMENT GROUP (SIG) RECOMMENDATIONS pdf icon PDF 123 KB

To consider a report by Councillor Julian Thompson-Hill, Lead Member for Finance, Performance and Strategic Assets (copy enclosed) seeking approval for two Business Cases relating to the Design Phases of Coastal Defence Schemes in Rhyl and Prestatyn costing over £1m (100% grant funded by the Welsh Government).

Additional documents:

Decision:

Vote taken: 7 in favour, 0 against, 0 abstentions

 

RESOLVED that Cabinet –

 

(a)       approve the design stage of the Central Prestatyn Coastal Defence Scheme, which would be 100% grant funded by the Welsh Government, on the understanding that there was no risk to the Council and that it did not commit the authority to the construction phase and further funding (as detailed in Section 4.2 of the report and Appendix 1 to the report), and

 

(b)       approve the design stage of the Central Rhyl Coastal Defence Scheme, which would be 100% grant funded by the Welsh Government, on the understanding that there was no risk to the Council and that this did not commit the authority to the construction stage and further funding (as detailed in Section 4.3 and Appendix 2 to the report).

 

Minutes:

Councillor Julian Thompson-Hill presented the report seeking Cabinet approval for two Business Cases relating to the Design Phases of Coastal Defence Schemes in Rhyl and Prestayn costing over £1m (100% grant funded by Welsh Government).

 

The report set out details of the two grant funded projects summarised as follows –

 

·         Central Prestatyn Coastal Defence Scheme – would provide 1 in 200 year standard of protection to 2045 residential and 62 non-residential properties plus additional protection against predicted sea level rise for the next 100 years.  Approval required to commence design and development of scheme at estimated cost of £1,487,180.  A grant submission had been made to the Welsh Government (WG) for that element and it was expected WG would fund at 100%

 

·         Central Rhyl Coastal Defence Scheme – would provide 1 in 200 year standard of protection to 548 residential and 33 non-residential properties plus additional protection against predicted sea level rise for the next 100 years.  Approval required to commence design and development of the scheme at estimated cost of £2,550,950.  A grant submission had been made to the Welsh Government (WG) for that element and it was expected WG would fund at 100%

 

Both projects had been recommended for approval to the design stage only by the Strategic Investment Group on the basis that there would be no financial risk to the Council and that proceeding with the design phase did not commit the Council to the construction phase and subsequent further funding.  Decisions about future funding would need to be made when the full financial impact of the current coronavirus pandemic became clear and therefore it was important to manage expectations in that regard in terms of the potential to progress the schemes.  Councillor Brian Jones added his support to the report recommendations given the current flood risk and the protection to be afforded to both residents and businesses which he considered provided value for money in terms of the investment required.

 

Cabinet recognised the importance of the schemes to protect against future flood risk and carefully considered the report recommendations in the present context.

 

During the ensuing debate Councillor Mark Young questioned whether it would be appropriate to proceed to the design stage at this time given the significant cost of the process (albeit would be met by WG) in the current financial climate with no guarantee of future progression and pending review of the Council’s priorities.  He was also keen to ensure that approving the recommendations would not prejudice any future decision on those priorities.  Councillor Bobby Feeley agreed there may be merit in delaying a decision to proceed given the significant outlay and current deficit position which resulted in uncertainty over future progress.  The Leader responded that the design phase would be fully funded by the WG and there was no commitment for the Council to proceed beyond that stage.  The situation would be reviewed at the appropriate time in terms of future capital investment but given the scale of investment and number of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

FINANCE REPORT (COVID 19 FINANCIAL STRATEGY) pdf icon PDF 183 KB

To consider a report by Councillor Julian Thompson-Hill, Lead Member for Finance, Performance and Strategic Assets (copy enclosed) setting out the financial impact of COVID 19 on the Council’s 2020/21 budget and proposed strategy for responding to the crisis.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Vote taken: 7 in favour, 0 against, 0 abstentions

 

RESOLVED that Cabinet –

 

(a)       note the forecasts around the financial impact of the Covid 19 pandemic on the Council, and

 

(b)       approve the Draft Financial Strategy as outlined in the report.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Julian Thompson-Hill presented the report setting out the financial impact of COVID 19 on the Council’s 2020/21 budget, which was a combination of additional costs as well as a significant loss in income, and proposed a strategy for responding to the crisis and mitigating that impact in the short to medium term.

 

Cabinet was advised that the impact of the coronavirus pandemic would be significant and that business as usual from a financial perspective was not possible if the Council was to respond to the crisis.  Councillor Thompson-Hill outlined the financial impact together with the short and medium term response proposed taking into account the impact on cash flow and base budget.  In summary –

 

·         Effects of COVID 19 on Income and Expenditure up to end of June – A net increase of £2.1m in expenditure was projected for the quarter to the end of June (additional expenditure of £2.8m alongside a decrease in expenditure of £747k).  Income losses of £6.3m were forecast for the same period (the largest impact of £2.22m on Denbighshire Leisure Limited).  Welsh Government (WG) was expected to provide funding for the additional expenditure but no firm announcement for funding loss of income had been made to date.  The Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) had submitted information to WG to inform that process and it was expected that funding announcements would be made before the end of May.  The net impact of £8.3m per quarter, if not funded, would have a devastating impact on the Council finances if the lockdown continued for an extended period.  It was noted that the projected figures were subject to change and did not include the impact on levels of Council Tax Reduction Scheme claimants or payment of Council Tax itself

 

·         Short Term Response Phase – partnership working had been ongoing with all Welsh local authorities, WLGA and WG to help define the scale of the problem and develop solutions.  The recommended strategy over the next few months was to identify a way to ensure the financial stability of the Council for 2020/21 and beyond to include (1) continuing to work in partnership to try and achieve financial help to cover the overspend due to losses of income; (2) to continue to identify and define the financial impact to achieve an increasingly more accurate picture; (3) keep under review decisions that had led to decreases in income, and (4) to ensure the financial flexibility to deal with any residual overspends and continue to deliver efficient and effective services.  This included identifying current underspends, review of non-statutory services, review of reserves and balances and exploring the capitalisation of revenue losses

 

·         Medium Term Response and Recovery Phase – this would be dependent on the outcome of the response phase.  It was hoped the Council could build on the learning of the crisis to take advantage of opportunities for better and more resilient ways of working.  This would involve the identification of new priorities, areas of ongoing savings and areas that required investment.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

CABINET FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 290 KB

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

Decision:

Vote taken: 7 in favour, 0 against, 0 abstentions

 

RESOLVED that Cabinet’s forward work programme be noted.

 

Minutes:

The Cabinet forward work programme was presented for consideration and members noted the following additions –

 

·         Financial Outturn Report 2019/20 – June

·         North Wales Growth Deal Governance Agreement 2 – November

 

RESOLVED that Cabinet’s forward work programme be noted.

 

The meeting concluded at 11.43 hrs.