Agenda and minutes

Venue: The Guildhall

Contact: Committee Administration 01905 722027, 722085 

Note: To view the live broadcast go to https://www.youtube.com/user/WorcesterCityCouncil 

Media

Items
No. Item

35.

Appointment of Substitutes

To receive details of any Members appointed to attend the meeting instead of a Member of the Committee.

Minutes:

Councillor Cockeram for Councillor Piotrowski, Councillor Lewing for Councillor Laurenson.

36.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

The following declarations of interest were made:

 

Councillor Riaz – Quarter 3 Performance Report For 2022/23 (Minute 45) - as Chair of Perryfields Community Association

 

Councillors Mrs Lucy Hodgson and Stephen Hodgson - Review of Funding Arrangement - Worcester Play Council (Minute 41) – As Trustees of the Lyppard Hub

 

Councillor Desayrah - Review of Funding Arrangement - Worcester Play Council (Minute 41) – As a Council representative on Worcester Play Council.

37.

Public Participation

To receive details of any Members appointed to attend the meeting instead of a Member of the Committee.

 

Minutes:

None.

38.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 226 KB

Of the meeting held on 2nd November 2022 to be approved and signed.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 2nd November 2022 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

39.

Annual Citizen Housing Update pdf icon PDF 205 KB

That the Committee notes the contents of this report.

Minutes:

The Committee received a presentation from Madeleine Nelson, Chief Operating Officer and Peter Gill, Director of Housing Care and Support, Citizen Housing. The presentation included information about Citizen Housing’s corporate objectives, its properties and activity in Worcester, and future priorities. They responded to questions from Committee Members.

 

In the ensuing discussion, the following main points were made:

 

·          Reference was made to Citizen’s Asset Strategy and its plans for improving properties. It was noted that some homes locally have an EPC D rating. Members were advised that Citizen are aiming to have all homes rated EPC C and above by 2025/26, subject to Government funding. Planned investment is based on both age and condition. More information about their investment programme can be provided to Members in writing.

 

·          In response to a question about Members being able to access Citizen staff, a list of contact details can be provided.

 

·          A question was raised about a Right to Buy case. Members were advised that whilst Citizen tenants do not automatically have the Right to Buy, those who don’t may be able to buy their property under another scheme called Right to Acquire.

 

·          More information can be provided on the number of staff working from Citizen’s Wainwright Road base.

 

·          A question was asked about providing support for looked after children transitioning from care to independent living. In response, it was explained that a model for this has been established in Coventry and Citizen are willing to explore developing this locally if the County Council has capacity.

 

       The slide on the location of Citizen’s homes in Worcester can be re-circulated containing more detail.

 

       Citizen’s policy on the upkeep of unadopted roads is that this should be done by those who use them or have responsibility for them. Reference was made specifically to Coberley Close and Citizen will look at this in detail.

 

·          Citizen have a dedicated team for investigating complains about damp and mould. Staff proactively undertake further checks after remedial work has been undertaken.

 

In conclusion the Chair thanked Madeleine Nelson and Peter Gill for their presentation.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee agree to note the contents of this report.

40.

Setting of the Budget for 2023/24 and Medium Term Financial Plan to 2027/28 pdf icon PDF 202 KB

1.   That the Committee notes the proposed Budgets for the various services identified for 2023/24;

 

2.   That the Committee considers the priorities within each service and recommends any change for the services’ Budgets;

 

3.   That the Committee considers the services’ Capital programme and future projects and recommends any changes or additions;

 

4.   That the Committee reviews any new budget proposals from members and makes recommendations to Policy and Resources Committee as appropriate.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on the proposed Budgets for various services for 2023/24, priorities within each service and any change for the services’ Budgets. The Committee also considered the services’ Capital Programme and future projects and any changes or additions. The Corporate Director – Finance and Resources presented the report and Officers responded to questions from Members.

 

Support was expressed for the proposed Budgets, as submitted. There were no new budget proposals from Members.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee agree to:

 

1.    note the proposed Budgets for the various services identified for 2023/24;

 

2.    note the priorities within each service;

 

3.    note the services’ Capital Programme and future projects and recommends any changes or additions; and

 

4.    recommend the Policy and Resources Committee to agree the Proposed Budgets as set out in the report.

41.

Review of Funding Arrangement - Worcester Play Council pdf icon PDF 235 KB

That the Committee:

 

1.   Notes the contents of the report and in particular, the work undertaken to review the outcomes delivered by funding provided to Worcester Play Council by this Council;

 

2.   Approves funding of £15,000 to Worcester Play Council for 2023/24, to be taken from the 2023/24 Community Grants Fund, for the delivery of play sessions as part of the Fun Squad holiday activity programme; and

 

3.   Notes that a further report will be presented to this Committee during 2023/24 to present options for how the Council may wish to enable community play and activity to be funded for 2024/25 and beyond.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on work undertaken to review the outcomes delivered by Worcester Play Council. The Contracts and Performance Manager presented the report and explained that, after undertaking the due diligence required as part of this service review, Officers had found discrepancies in the performance information submitted as part of the requirements of the Service Level Agreement (SLA) and a lack of evidence to substantiate the level of service delivery.

 

As a consequence, it was proposed that the Council makes a grant of £15,000 for one year only to Worcester Play Council for 2023/24, to be funded from the Community Grants Fund. Closer monitoring and scrutiny of the delivery of the SLA will be undertaken during the year. A further performance review will be conducted with a report to be brought back to this Committee identifying options for 2024/25 and beyond.

 

In the ensuing discussion, Members expressed support for the proposal to review performance with a view to establishing a more collaborative approach and delivering more effective outcomes. In response to questions, Officers clarified that there is a balance of £70,665 available in the Community Grants Fund for 2023/24 and the £15,000 grant proposed will be taken from this. Future governance arrangements will be addressed as part of the review.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee agree to:

 

1.    note the contents of the report and in particular, the work undertaken to review the outcomes delivered by funding provided to Worcester Play Council by this Council;

 

2.    approve funding of £15,000 to Worcester Play Council for 2023/24, to be taken from the 2023/24 Community Grants Fund, for the delivery of play sessions as part of the Fun Squad holiday activity programme; and

 

3.    note that a further report will be presented to this Committee during 2023/24 to present options for how the Council may wish to enable community play and activity to be funded for 2024/25 and beyond.

42.

Worcester Community Trust - Annual Update Report pdf icon PDF 354 KB

That the Committee:

 

1. Notes the contents of this report and in particular:

a)  Worcester Community Trust presentation on progress in delivering year 1 their Strategic plan 2021-26 at Appendix 1

b)  Worcester Community Trust presentation on their approach to future delivery and draft business plan 2023-26 at Appendix 1 and 2.

c)   Financial Statements for the Year Ended 31 March 2022 for Worcester Community Trust at Appendix 3; and

 

2.Approves the continuation of the existing arrangement that the Council bears 75% of the costs of maintenance and service charges at each of the 6 community hubs, reducing in line with the WCT Draft Business Plan proposal 2023 -26.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a presentation from Jon Newey, CEO of Worcester Community Trust (WCT). The presentation explained progress in delivering Year 1 of the Strategic Plan 2021-26 and the Trust’s approach to future delivery and draft business plan 2023-26. A copy WCT’s Outline Business Plan 2022 – 2026 and Financial Statements for the Year Ended 31 March 2022 were appended to the accompanying Committee report.

 

Jon Newey responded to questions following his presentation.

 

The report concluded that WCT has had a successful year, delivering against the aims of its Plan. Officers recommended that the Committee agrees to continue to provide maintenance grant support to WCT in line with current arrangements, with the level of support reducing in line with the WCT Draft Business Plan proposal 2023 -26. 

 

Committee Members expressed support for the recommendation.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee agree to:

 

1.    note the contents of this report and in particular:

 

a)  Worcester Community Trust presentation on progress in delivering year 1 their Strategic plan 2021-26 at Appendix 1;

b)  Worcester Community Trust presentation on their approach to future delivery and draft business plan 2023-26 at Appendix 1 and 2;

c)  Financial Statements for the Year Ended 31 March 2022 for Worcester Community Trust at Appendix 3; and

 

2.    approve the continuation of the existing arrangement that the Council bears 75% of the costs of maintenance and service charges at each of the 6 community hubs, reducing in line with the WCT Draft Business Plan proposal 2023 -26.

 

There was an adjournment following consideration of this item.

43.

Management of Freedom Leisure Contract 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 427 KB

That the Committee:

 

1.Notes the contents of this report and in particular the additional £585,000 unbudgeted costs associated with operating the contract during 2023/24, primarily relating to energy;

 

2.Notes the findings of the Leisure Contract Options Appraisal undertaken by Sports & Leisure Consultancy as set out in this report and within Private Appendix 1;

 

3.Approves £40,000 annual cost reduction measures as specified at Appendix 1 for implementation as of 1st April 2023;

 

4.Recommends to Policy & Resources Committee a capital allocation of £550,000 to undertake energy efficiency works as specified within this report, and included at Appendix 2;

 

5.Notes that a further report setting out a full and detailed business case for the capital investment referred to in recommendation 1.4 will be presented back to this Committee in June 2023;

 

6.Recommends the draft Freedom Leisure Fees & Charges 2023/24 for approval to Income Management Committee, included at Appendix 3;

 

7.Recommends to Policy & Resources Committee the approval of up to £315,000 in financial support for 2023/24 to Freedom Leisure which has been built into the draft budget for 2023/24;

 

8.Notes that open book account meetings will continue to be held in order to reconcile the level of financial support required by Freedom Leisure, up to the maximum value specified in recommendation 1.7.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on the Management of the Freedom Leisure Contract for 2023/24. The Corporate Director – Operations, Homes and Communities presented the report, which set out a range of proposals associated with operating the contract during 2023/24.

 

The report explained that additional unbudgeted energy costs for 2023/24 were now forecasted to have risen to £585,000.

 

Sports & Leisure Consultancy (SLC) were commissioned to undertake a contract review. The full SLC Contract Review was provided in a private Appendix to the Committee report.

 

A “shadow bid” had been developed which estimates the base value of the contract, based on pre-pandemic 2019/20 income and expenditure information provided by Freedom Leisure. The report summarised the key findings of the shadow bid assessment. It was forecast that income will continue to grow but is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels.

 

The report explained that several cost reduction proposals had been submitted by Freedom Leisure and appraised by SLC. Further discussions with Freedom Leisure had developed 2 proposals to reduce operating times at both Perdiswell Leisure Centre and Nunnery Wood Sports Centre, details of which were set out in the report. The Council would expect all of this reduction to offset the additional costs of energy in 2023/24.

 

The report also set out proposals for capital investment of around £550,000. The proposed works would reduce the energy costs and carbon emissions associated with each site and deliver future energy savings. It was recommended that an allocation be included within the capital programme. Its release will require a full and detailed business case being presented back to this Committee and Policy & Resources Committee for approval.

 

The draft fees & charges proposal submitted by Freedom Leisure was included with the report. The average increase proposed across all activities was 8.8%. The additional income from this proposal would be in the region of £230,000 and the Council would expect that all of this additional income would contribute to offsetting the additional costs relating to energy in 2023/24.

 

The report concluded that, whilst approval of the above measures will contribute to reducing the additional £585,000 in unbudgeted energy costs, an operating deficit of around £315,000 is still forecast in 2023/24. With the SLC report indicating that the other options are likely to be significantly more expensive, the preferred option was to provide Freedom Leisure with financial support up to £315,000 in 2023/24 via an ongoing open book arrangement, so that the provision of leisure is safeguarded.

 

Following the Corporate Director’s presentation, the Committee resolved to exclude the press and public from the meeting under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 in order to consider the findings of the SLC Contract Review and the outcome of the shadow bid. The press and public were excluded from the meeting at this point as the items contain commercially sensitive information involving the likely disclosure of information as defined in Schedule 12A of the said Act.

 

David Rushton, Associate Director, SLC was in attendance. He summarised the main findings  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43.

44.

Draft Worcestershire Housing Strategy 2021-2040 pdf icon PDF 342 KB

That the Committee:

 

1.     Notes the contents of the report, and in particular the Draft Worcestershire Housing Strategy 2021 – 2040 at Appendix 1;

 

2.   Approves the undertaking of an 8-week public consultation exercise to be undertaken on the Draft Worcestershire Housing Strategy 2021- 2040;

 

3.   Delegates authority to the Corporate Director (Operations, Homes and Communities), in consultation with the Chair and Vice-Chair of Communities Committee to consider consultation feedback provided, and agree any proposed changes that should be communicated back to the Worcestershire Housing Board for further consideration;

 

4.   Notes that if no changes are proposed following the review of consultation feedback, that the Draft Worcestershire Housing Strategy 2021 – 2040 be recommended to Council for adoption.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on work undertaken to develop the draft Worcestershire Housing Strategy 2021-2040. The Head of Homes and Communities presented the report and summarised the main points of the Strategy. He highlighted that Worcester faces significantly different pressures in respect of housing by comparison to the rest of the County. Therefore, it was not intended to adopt the Countywide action plan but instead to develop a Worcester City action plan, to be informed by the public consultation undertaken on the Strategy.

 

The Head of Service responded to questions and comments from Committee Members. In the ensuing discussion, the following main points were made:

 

·        It was explained that the Strategy will complement the South Worcestershire Development Plan.

 

·        It was noted that the table at paragraph 3.2 of the Strategy, setting out the typical allocation of local authority responsibility for major services in England, needs to be completed.

 

·        The Chair emphasised the need to develop an action plan which reflects Worcester’s individual circumstances, whilst contributing towards the ambitions of the strategy across the County.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee agree to:

 

1.    note the contents of the report, and in particular the Draft Worcestershire Housing Strategy 2021 – 2040 at Appendix 1;

 

2.    approve the undertaking of an 8-week public consultation exercise to be undertaken on the Draft Worcestershire Housing Strategy 2021- 2040;

 

3.    delegate authority to the Corporate Director (Operations, Homes and Communities), in consultation with the Chair and Vice-Chair of Communities Committee to consider consultation feedback provided, and agree any proposed changes that should be communicated back to the Worcestershire Housing Board for further consideration;

 

4.    note that if no changes are proposed following the review of consultation feedback, that the Draft Worcestershire Housing Strategy 2021 – 2040 be recommended to Council for adoption.

45.

Quarter 3 Performance Report For 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 186 KB

That the Communities Committee notes the Council’s quarter 3 performance for 2022/23.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report on Quarter 3 performance for the Communities Committee. Officers responded to questions from Members on detailed aspects of the report.

 

In the ensuing discussion, a request was made for more information on the number of children placed in B & B accommodation, in particular whether the latest number includes new children and how many of those from the previous quarter have now been placed in independent accommodation. Officers advised that this data is closely monitored and more detailed narrative can provided in the Q4 report.

 

With reference to the number of recorded anti-social behaviour incidents, it was noted that this has reduced. More information as to whether these are now recorded as crimes can be provided in writing.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee notes the Council’s Quarter 3 performance for 2022/23.

46.

Any Other Business

Which in the opinion of the Chair is of sufficient urgency as to warrant consideration.

Minutes:

None.