Venue: TEAMS //htpp:www.oldham.gov.uk/livemeetings
Contact: Liz Drogan 0161 770 4705
Apologies For Absence
There were no apologies for absence received.
Urgent business, if any, introduced by the Chair
There were no items of urgent business received.
Declarations of Interest
To Receive Declarations of Interest in any Contract or matter to be discussed at the meeting.
There were no declarations of interest received.
RESOLVED – That The minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 14th December 2020 be approved.
Consideration was given to a report of the Director of Finance which sought to provide the Cabinet with an update on the Council’s 2020/21 forecast revenue budget position at Annex 1 and the financial position of the capital programme as at 31 October 2020 (Month 7) together with the revised capital programme 2020/25, as outlined in section two of the report at Annex 2 of the report.
The current forecast outturn position for 2020/21 was a projected deficit variance of £8.504m after allowing for approved and pending transfers to and from reserves.
It was reported the position also included additional costs and pressures that have been identified by the Authority in this financial year as a direct result of the Governments ongoing arrangements to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 which commenced on 23 March 2020. The additional pressures included forecasts of both income shortfalls and additional expenditure that have impacted on the Authority’s budgets as a result of the pandemic
The pandemic has affected nearly all aspects of Council service delivery; however, the most significant areas of concern were the People and Place, Children’s Services and Community Health & Adult Social Care Portfolios. Action was being taken and would continue for the remainder of the financial year to address variances and take mitigating action as detailed in the report.
The overall corporate position was partly being offset by the application of the £23.978m un-ringfenced Government COVID related grant funding from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). Of this sum, £7.641m was received in 2019/20 and held in a specific Earmarked Reserve to underpin the 2020/21 budget and receipts in 2020/21 of £15.055m COVID Emergency Funding, of which £8.928mm is new funding introduced at month 7, including £1.282m for loss of income in relation to sales, fees and charges under the income compensation scheme. In Appendix 1 to the report, the full Government grant was presented as a single sum so that it highlighted the level of variation across all Council budgets, given that there was still insufficient resource to offset the adverse variance. However, this summary report presented the position after applying the Government grant across Portfolio areas.
Further General Fund grant was expected, certainly in respect of lost income for sales, fees and charges (with two further returns scheduled for the current financial year), both the overall financial position and the application of Government grant would therefore change during the course of the financial year.
As this financial monitoring report reflected the financial position at Month 7, it could be regarded as an indicator of the potential year end position, however, management action had been initiated across all service areas to review and challenge planned expenditure and to maximise income. Although, the effect of this action had still to take full effect, and the Council was clearly operating in an uncertain and volatile environment, it is anticipated that by the year end, the outturn deficit should be reduced.
However, it was important to note the ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
Consideration was given to a report of the Strategic Director of Communities and Reform which sought approval to deliver the Kickstart Scheme as an employer and a gateway provider.
The Kickstart scheme had been launched in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact it was having on unemployment across England.
Within the borough, youth unemployment had increased by 1.6%. As of September 2020, there were 3,100 young people (aged 18-24) in Oldham unemployed. This represented a youth unemployment rate of 15.6%, the highest rate across Greater Manchester and higher than the national rate of 9.4%.
The Kickstart programme would provide a six-month paid placement, fully funded by the government, and was available to 16-24-year-old’s claiming Universal Credit.
A Kickstart Scheme grant application must be for a minimum of 30 jobs. An employer who can provide 30 jobs (or more) can apply directly to the Department of Work and Pensions for a grant.
Gateway providers must have experience of managing partnership arrangements with third parties and have robust financial and governance arrangements. The suitability of a gateway provider would be assessed during the application process. If an application is successful, the employer or gateway for a group of employers must sign an agreement before the jobs begin.
To date there has been an expression of interest for 27 jobs within the Council and at least 2 across Team Oldham. The Council had created and applied for 31 jobs as a Gateway which were within the education and care sectors.
The Council were continuing to work closely with its 250+ partner colleagues to ensure that Oldham’s young people were aware of the positions and receive support to apply for them. This would enable us to support vulnerable young people, such as care leavers.
For the Kickstart initiative, reasonable volumes have been considered to offer both employers and young people the right support which leads to progression. Under this scheme the Council has a very different financial position and operating model and therefore were looking to create a minimum of 50 placement opportunities within Team Oldham, as supported by the Leader and Cllr M Ali, and develop a programme which offered a high standard of support and development, enabling successful candidates to gain experience, knowledge and skills, and create a CV that will demonstrate their ability to succeed in future employment.
Option 1 Only act as a Gateway provider and pool 30 placements from employers that are unable to provide 30 jobs.
Option 2: Register as an employer in our own right and offer 30 or more placements within the council.
Option 3: Act as a Gateway provider and an employer in our own right.
RESOLVED – That the Council act as a Gateway provider and an employer in its own right to deliver the Kickstart Scheme.
Consideration was a given to a report of the Deputy Chief Executive -People and Place which provided details of the revised GM2040 Transport Strategy documents which are to be recommended to GMCA for adoption and approval
It was reported that Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) had been working with the GMCA, the ten Greater Manchester councils and the Greater Manchester Mayor to prepare new, and updated, transport strategy documents that cover the entire city-region.
This work included a refreshed version of the long-term, statutory local transport plan - the Greater Manchester Transport Strategy 2040 - and a final version of the Five-Year Delivery Plan (2021-2026) which sets out the practical actions planned to deliver the Strategy over the next 5 years. In addition, ten new Local Implementation Plans had also been prepared (one for each Greater Manchester council), including Oldham.
Draft versions of these documents were published as part of the GMSF Transport Evidence Base for AGMA Executive Board on 30th October 2020, which recommended GMSF 2020 and supporting background documents to the GM local authorities. Oldham Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Board and Cabinet considered the transport documents on 5th and 9th November 2020 respectively.
Following a change to the GMSF process, as discussed at AGMA Executive Board on 11th December 2020, minor amendments have been made to the refreshed 2040 Transport Strategy, Delivery Plan and Oldham Local Implementation Plan to ensure that the transport and spatial planning context and processes are referenced in an up-to-date manner and to include updates on funding following the 2020 Spending Review.
This report considered the revised GM2040 Transport Strategy documents which were to be recommended to GMCA for adoption and approval.
Option 1 - Members can endorse the refreshed Greater Manchester Transport Strategy and the final version of Our Five-Year Delivery Plan, approve the Oldham Local Implementation Plan for publication as an appendix to Our Five-Year Delivery Plan and delegate authority to the Leader and the Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Culture to approve future updates of the Oldham Local Implementation Plan.
Option 2 - Members can decide not to endorse the refreshed Greater Manchester Transport Strategy and the final version of Our Five-Year Delivery Plan, not approve the Oldham Local Implementation Plan for publication as an appendix to Our Five-Year Delivery Plan and not delegate authority to the Leader and the Cabinet Member to approve future updates of the Oldham Local Implementation Plan. The GM Transport Strategy would be published without an Oldham Local Implementation Plan, which could have a detrimental impact on investment in Oldham.
RESOLVED – That:
1. The refreshed Greater Manchester Transport Strategy 2040 and the final version of Our Five-Year Delivery Plan (2021-2026) for approval by GMCA and publication be endorsed.
2. The Oldham Local Implementation Plan for publication as an appendix to Our Five-Year Delivery Plan (2021-2026) by GMCA be approved.
3. Authority be delegated to the Leader and the Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Cultureto approve future updates of ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
Consideration was given to a report of the Deputy Chief Executive People and Place which provided the Cabinet with recommended options for the Alexandra Park Eco Centre project.
Prior to the Covid-19 (CV19) lockdown commencing, the Alexandra Park Eco Centre project had progressed to RIBA Stage 3, and subsequently obtained planning approval on 22nd May 2020. An Outline Business Case (OBC) was submitted in June 2020, and following detailed scrutiny of the proposals the project was unfortunately deemed to be financially unviable for delivery as one complete project, as the long-term revenue implications for the proposals needed significant subsidy, which could not be justified given the current financial climate.
However, the ambition for embracing green technologies and sustainable property design solutions remained and due to the severe dilapidation issues noted with the corporate building and accommodation of staff / teams within Alexandrea Park, urgent works had been declared essential to ensure compliance with workplace safety and to provide an early phase of the masterplan on an accelerated delivery programme.
As a result of this, five options were explored to provide an indication of what could be included as part of the initial phase to help rectify the building dilapidation issues. The report to be considered at Item 11 of the agenda would provide significantly more information on each of the options alongside the project objectives, benefits, issues, risks and revenue implication.
Option 1 - Do nothing – only undertaking urgent reactive maintenance to maintain the buildings (not considered to be a feasible option given the current deteriorating condition of the depot building).
Option 2 – Do minimum - undertake urgent backlog maintenance on the existing building to ensure it is compliant and safe for teams / services to use. (This would need significant levels of investment; it would cause considerable disruption to the services and wouldn’t deliver any of the ambitions for green technologies or efficiency / sustainability).
Option 3 – Progress an early phase of the masterplan for the Eco Centre including the green technology power solutions within the new office building.
Option 4 – Build and deliver a new office with conventional/mains gas and electricity supply to help keep construction costs to a minimum (this helps support the building dilapidations, but does not allow opportunities to introduce or accelerate any of the eco / green technologies).
Option 5 – Install emergency portacabins powered by electricity to provide a temporary / efficient solution to ensure staff were working in safe and compliant accommodation. (This option fails to tackle any of the longer term building dilapidation issues and doesn’t introduce any of the green or sustainability ambition).
RESOLVED -That the Cabinet would consider the commercially sensitive information contained at Item 11 of the agenda before making a decision.
Consideration was given to a report of the Chair of the Health Scrutiny Committee which required the Cabinet to consider the recommendations of the Health Scrutiny Committee in relation to a ban on fast food and Energy Drinks advertising.
At the meeting of the Council held on 11th September 2019 the Council referred the following Motion to the Overview and Scrutiny Board –
“Council notes that:
•Fast food contains high level of fats, salt and sugar and energy drinks often contain high levels of caffeine and sugar.
•Excessive consumption of these products contributes to obesity, tooth decay, diabetes, gastro-intestinal problems, sleep deprivation and hyperactivity.
•The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health predicts half of all children in the UK will be overweight or obese by 2020.
•The Mayor of London banned all fast food advertising on publicly-controlled advertising spaces across London’s entire transport network.
•Sustain and Foodwatch recently published a report ‘Taking Down Junk Food Adverts’ which recommends that local authorities regulate adverts on public telephone boxes and that the Advertising Standards Authority should be able to regulate advertising outside nurseries, children’s centres, parks, family attractions and leisure centres.
As a local authority with a statutory responsibility for public health, Council believes that it should do all that is possible to discourage the consumption of fast food and energy drinks.
Council therefore resolves to:
•Ask the Chief Executive to write to the Chief Executive of Transport for Greater Manchester asking TFGM to impose a ban on the advertising of fast food and energy drinks on publicly owned poster sites etc across the Greater Manchester transport network.
•Ensure that fast food or energy are not advertised on any hoarding or within any building owned by this Council including large advertisements on bus stops.
•Ensure that such products are not sold to children or young people on any of our premises.
•Ask our NHS, social housing, voluntary and private sector partners, including the Mayor of Greater Manchester, to make a similar undertaking.
•Ask the Chief Executive to write to the relevant minister requesting the recommendations of the ‘Taking Down Junk Food Adverts’ report be adopted as government policy as soon as possible; copying in our local members of Parliament to seek their support.”
The matter was further referred to the Health Scrutiny Committee and consideration subsequently delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Health Scrutiny Committee gave full consideration to the Motion at a meeting held on 1st September 2020 on receipt of the report appended to this report. In discussion, it was suggested that the issue was one which would be very difficult to progress in isolation and that Oldham alone could make only small changes. While the intent of the Motion was considered to be good, it was further suggested that it would take leadership and support across Greater Manchester to make real progress. As such, it might be more appropriate to refer the matter to the Cabinet, rather than back to the Council, to consider the extent to ... view the full minutes text for item 9.
Exclusion of the Press and Public
That, in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they contain exempt information under paragraph(s) 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, and it would not, on balance, be in the public interest to disclose the reports.
RESOLVED that, in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they contain exempt information under paragraphs XXX of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, and it would not, on balance, be in the public interest to disclose the reports.
Alexandra Park Eco Centre
The Cabinet gave consideration to the commercially sensitive information in relation to Item 8 – Alexandra Park Eco Centre.
RESOLVED – That the recommendations as detailed within the report be approved.