Meeting documents

Tuesday, 20 January 2009



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MINUTES of the meeting held on 16 December 2008 commencing at 2.00 pm and finishing at 3.55 pm.




Voting Members:          Councillor Keith R Mitchell CBE – in the chair


Councillor Roger Belson

Councillor Louise Chapman

Councillor Jim Couchman

Councillor Mrs J. Heathcoat

Councillor Melinda Tilley

Councillor Ian Hudspeth

Councillor David Robertson

Councillor C.H. Shouler

Councillor Michael Waine


Other Members in         Councillor Alan Armitage  (for Agenda Item 5)

Attendance:                   Councillor Catherine Fulljames (for Agenda Item 9)

                                          Councillor Colin Lamont (for Agenda Item 9)





Whole of meeting:           Assistant Chief Executive (Strategy), S. Whitehead (Legal & Democratic Services).


Part of meeting:


Agenda Item

Officer Attending


K. Wilcox (Financial Planning)


Assistant Chief Executive & Chief Finance Officer


Head of Partnership Working, C. Evans (Partnerships)


Head of Major Programmes, Social & Community Services


Head of Sustainable Development, R. Dance (Sustainable Development)


D. Calver (Corporate Performance)


County HR Manager, S. James (Corporate Human Resources)



The Cabinet considered the matters, reports and recommendations contained or referred to in the agenda for the meeting, together with a schedule of addenda tabled at the meeting, and decided as set out below.  Except insofar as otherwise specified, the reasons for the decisions are contained in the agenda, reports and schedule, copies of which are attached to the signed Minutes.


123/08    MINUTES


The Minutes of the meeting held on 25 November 2008 were approved and signed.




The following requests to address the meeting had been agreed: -


Request from

Agenda Item


Mr Kerford-Byrnes, Finmere Parish Council




(Agenda Item 5)


The Cabinet considered a report (CA5) that set out the Council’s forecast financial position for the 2008/09 financial year based on seven months of actuals to the end of October 2008.  It included projections for revenue, balances, reserves and capital.  The report set out explanations where the forecast outturn was significantly different from the budget with action plans to recover the position where appropriate.


The in-year overspend for Directorates was forecast to be £0.567m.  This position excluded the -£1.000m underspend on the ICT Investment Fund which will be carried forward to 2009/10.  The year-end forecast of general balances was £21.352m.  After taking into account the forecast Directorate outturn, the consolidated revenue balances forecast was £20.785m.


The projected in-year commitment on capital was estimated at £100.4m, compared with the October capital programme of £100.7m, a variation of -£0.3m. Actual expenditure to the end of October was £42.7m, 43% of projected spend.


Councillor Alan Armitage referred to page 33 relating to the supplementary estimates and noted that he found them difficult to understand. However he had spoken to officers who would be supplying him with a fuller explanation.


The Cabinet Member for Finance referred to the recent arrest on fraud charges of Bernard Madoff, who ran a major business investment advice company and advised that the County had no exposure to risk in respect of either the use of cash flow surpluses, nor the pension fund.


RESOLVED:         to:


(a)          note the report;


(b)          approve the virements as set out in Annex 2a;


(c)          approve the supplementary estimates as set out in Annex 2c.


126/08    SERVICE & RESOURCE PLANNING REPORT FOR 2009/10 - 2013/14

(Agenda item 6)


This Cabinet considered a report (CA6) that was the third in a series on the Service and Resource Planning process for 2009/10 to 2013/14, providing councillors with information on budget issues for 2009/10 and the medium term. It followed on from reports to Cabinet on 16 September and 25 November 2008.  The report set out the review of charges, provided an update on the Service and Resource Planning process and included relevant information from the Chancellor’s Pre Budget Report and outcome of the draft Local Government Finance Settlement.


The position in the report was not balanced in 2009/10 and over the medium term, with more pressures and priorities for funding than funding available. The Cabinet noted that the outcome of the individual scrutiny committees during December would be fed back to and considered by Cabinet in January 2009.


The Cabinet considered a supplementary report containing further information relevant to the financial position of the Council and the impact it had on the financial position for 2009/10 and the medium term and proposing an additional recommendation.


RESOLVED:         to:


(a)          note the report and latest financial position;


(b)          note those charges prescribed by legislation;


(c)          approve those charges where there is local discretion as set out in Annex 4;


(d)          approve those charges for which an increase will commence before April 2009;


(e)          approve that those charges which are Standard VAT rated will not be increased in January 2010; and


(f)             consider the option of reducing the inflation provision in the budget for 2009/10 to provide savings.



(Agenda item 7)


Oxfordshire 2030 is the sustainable community strategy for the county. It has been developed by the Oxfordshire Partnership and sets out a long-term vision for improving quality of life for all our residents and businesses.


The priorities were developed through a process of analysis of data and consultation, which also fed into the development of the second local area agreement (LAA). It is therefore consistent with the Council’s own Corporate Plan and the Local Area Agreement.


The strategic objectives are:


(a)          A world class economy

(b)          Healthy and thriving communities

(c)          Environment and climate change

(d)          Reducing inequalities and breaking the cycle of deprivation


The Cabinet considered the report (CA7), that sought agreement to recommend the Strategy to Council for approval in January 2009.


RESOLVED:         that Cabinet RECOMMEND to Council that ‘Oxfordshire 2030: A partnership plan for improving quality of life in Oxfordshire’ is adopted at its meeting in January 2009.



(Agenda item 8)


The Cabinet considered a report (CA8) that outlined the need for a Stage 2 redevelopment programme in respect of eight care homes, the case for redeveloping the financial model for the OCP contract and the likely timescale and impact on people.


During discussion Cabinet recognised that with regard to the benefits of consolidating certain preventative and rehabilitative services into a single large ‘centre of excellence’ there was a debate still to be had in terms of resolving that with the need for strong primary care local centres.


The Cabinet received assurances that 24 hour care would be available at elderly care homes.


RESOLVED:         that Cabinet agree to the:


(a)          overall strategy for Stage 2 of the redevelopment of the OCP contract;


(b)          Portfolio Holder giving approval for the financial model underpinning the OCP contract; and


(c)          Portfolio Holder giving approval for the development proposal and timescale for each of the eight Stage 2 care homes.


At this point it was agreed to vary the order of the agenda.



(Agenda Item 10)


The Cabinet considered a quarterly monitoring report (CA9) detailing the performance against key targets contained in the Council's Balanced Scorecard at the end of the second quarter of 2008/09.


The Cabinet Member for Children, Young People & Families highlighted that the LAA target relating to a reduction in conception rates was unlikely to be met. The rate was increasing nationally and she felt that the original target was unrealistic.


RESOLVED:         to note this report.



(Agenda Item 11)


The Cabinet considered a report (CA11), which gave an update on activity since the implementation of the  Establishment Review and associated Recruitment Approval process on 1 August 2005. It provided detail on the overall objectives of the review and summarised progress made against the targets which were agreed to ensure delivery of those objectives. Details of the agreed establishment figure at 30 September 2008 in terms of Full Time Equivalents were provided, together with the detailed staffing position at 30 September 2008. These were shown in the report by directorate and service area.


The report also provides information on current activity and in addition there was information on grant-funded posts and those vacancies that were being covered by agency staff and at what cost.


Responding to comments from the Cabinet Member for Children, Young People & Families relating to a request from some members of the Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee the Deputy Leader agreed that the   establishment figures relating to schools be made available to that Committee on request and in any case to the next available meeting.


RESOLVED:         to:


(a)          note the report;


(b)          confirm that the Establishment Review continues to meet the Cabinet’s requirements in reporting and managing staffing numbers.



(Agenda Item 9)


The Cabinet considered an information note (CA9 (a)) that gave an introduction to the Finmere Quarry Review Report. The final report was considered at the Environment & Economy Scrutiny Committee on 10 December 2008 and its outcomes will reported to the meeting, together with an officer response to the recommendations.


Mr Kerford-Byrnes, representing Finmere Parish Council and local residents of Finmere made a statement that is attached as an annex to the minutes (download as .doc file).


Councillor Catherine Fulljames, speaking as a local Member referred to the problems faced by the residents of Finmere, which had accelerated over the last few years. She referred to the parties involved in the report and recommendations but felt that the role of the operator had been missed out. She would have preferred to have seen an independent review. She considered the recommendations woolly but hoped that it would prevent problems elsewhere. She referred to her best efforts to resolve the problems earlier that she felt had been frustrated.


Councillor Colin Lamont, speaking as the Lead Member of the Review expressed his sorrow that the Review had been unable to find a solution. The best they could do was to make recommendations to improve processes in the future. He recognised that local people felt that they were deserving of redress but the Review had not been in a position to make recommendations.


In responding to the recommendations Councillor Belson made the following statement:


“I would like to thank the Environment and Economy Scrutiny Committee for their inquiry into this difficult matter.  I’m sure I speak on behalf of my cabinet colleagues and the council as a whole when I say that I am sorry for what the residents of Finmere have had to endure.


The report outlines clear lessons that need to be learnt and I am encouraged by the officers’ response and their commitment to learn from what has happened.  In the same terms, I hope that all the other bodies involved will take on the recommendations of this review and ensure that they fulfil their responsibilities. 


I would like to pay tribute to the residents of Finmere, Councillor Mrs Fulljames and Tony Baldry MP who have all worked hard to raise this issue and ensure that this inquiry took place.  I hope that they accept that the council has taken this matter seriously and undertaken a review that has lead to clear recommendations which are leading to real improvements being made.


RESOLVED:         to support the comments of the Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development as set out above and to respond to the Environment & Economy Scrutiny Committee, as per the response to the recommendations circulated in the schedule of addenda to this meeting.




The Cabinet Member for Transport referred to comments from Mr Kerford-Byrnes in relation to surface drainage problems at Finmere. He undertook to take the matter away for investigation.



(Agenda Item 12)


The Cabinet considered a list of items (CA12) for the immediately forthcoming meetings of the Cabinet and the amended forward plan as detailed in the schedule of addenda. 


RESOLVED:         to note the items currently identified for forthcoming meetings.



           (Agenda Item 13)


Under the provisions set out in Section 100B(4) of the Local Government Act1972 (as amended) the Chairman of the meeting was of the opinion that the report Appointment to South East England Councils be taken as urgent business by reason of the need not to delay consideration by Council and a subsequent appointment to South East England Councils


The Chairman of the Corporate Governance Scrutiny Committee had been notified of the need to consider this item as a matter of urgency.


RESOLVED:          to RECOMMEND Council to add South East England Councils to the list of ‘strategic’ Outside Bodies to which the Cabinet makes appointments.


................................................................................... in the Chair


Date of signing.................................................................. 2009


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