Meeting documents

Tuesday, 21 July 2009


Return to Agenda






MINUTES of the meeting held on 23 June 2009 commencing at 2.00 pm and finishing at 3.55 pm.




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


Councillor Louise Chapman

Councillor Jim Couchman

Councillor Mrs J. Heathcoat

Councillor Ian Hudspeth

Councillor Rodney Rose

Councillor C.H. Shouler

Councillor Michael Waine


Other Members in         Councillor Zoe Patrick (for Agenda Items 6 & 11)

Attendance                     Councillor Alan Armitage (for Agenda Items 7 & 8)

                                          Councillor Jean Fooks (for Agenda Items 9 & 10)




Whole of meeting:           S. Capaldi and S. Whitehead (Legal & Democratic Services)


Part of meeting:


Agenda Item

Officer Attending


Head of Strategy, S. Howell, Policy Unit

7 & 8

L. Baxter and K. Wilcox (Finance & Procurement)


Corporate Performance & Review Manager


Head of Human Resources, S. James



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.





Apologies for absence were received from Councillor David Robertson.


58/09         MINUTES


The Minutes of the meeting held on 26 May 2009 were approved and signed.




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


Request from

Agenda Item


Ms Sarah Lawrence,



Councillor Chapman, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People & Families introduced Sarah Lawrence, Children in Care Council, who presented the County Council’s pledge to its children and young people in care together with a commitment from the Children in Care Council to support children and young people in making the most of opportunities available to them. Councillor Chapman thanked Sarah for her hard work.



(Agenda Item 5)


(a)    Appointment to Cabinet


The Cabinet noted the designation of Cabinet portfolios and appointment of Cabinet Members, as set out in the schedule of addenda.



(b)    Delegation Arrangements – Transport Portfolios


The Cabinet considered a report (CA5b) outlining proposals for the delegation arrangements in relation to transport portfolios.


RESOLVED:                        to:


(a)              confirm the arrangements for the creation of the ‘Transport Decisions Committee’ comprising the Cabinet Members for Growth & Infrastructure and Transport Implementation in order to discharge the executive functions in relation to their respective portfolios, to take effect from 24 June 2009;


(b)               adopt the rules and conventions set out at the Annex to the report for the operation of the Committee;


(c)               authorise the Assistant Head of Legal & Democratic Services to take all necessary steps to bring the arrangements into effect from that date, including:


(i)                 the setting of provisional dates and venues for decision meetings for each Cabinet portfolio, in consultation with the respective Cabinet Members and relevant directors; and

(ii)               making the arrangements known to other members and to officers; and,


(d)              review the working of the arrangements when they have been in operation for six months, subject to any detailed adjustments that may appear desirable in the interim.



(Agenda Item 6)


The Cabinet considered the Annual Report (CA6) which was intended to provide an overview of the previous year highlighting the council’s achievements and successes. The Annual Report used case studies to highlight many of the County Council services, the challenges they face and how Oxfordshire County Council has responded to them.


It was noted that the Annual Report was a working draft. Additional text and detailed appendices would be added including outturn performance data for the year as it became finalised.


Councillor Zoe Patrick, Leader of the Opposition, made detailed comments on the Annual Plan noting that there was more to be done in terms of educational attainment; council tax was one of the highest for County Councils and inquiring whether there was to be any extension to the scheme for Bicester Vision referred to at page 15.


The Cabinet responded to the comments made.


The Leader pointed out that the report was a backward look at the previous year. It was noted that the report was no longer a policy framework document so would not go to Council for approval. The report would be available on the Council web site.


RESOLVED:         subject to consideration of any comments from the Chairman of the Strategy & Partnerships Scrutiny Committee, to approve the draft Annual Report; incorporating the necessary detailed appendices and any presentational and editorial changes agreed by the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive.



(Agenda Item 7)


The Cabinet considered a report (CA7) which presented the 2008/09 provisional revenue and capital outturn and identified and explained variations of actual spend against budgets.  The report focused on the year end balance sheet position including the level of general balances and reserves.  Figures shown in the report reflected those included in the Council’s Statement of Accounts 2008/09, which was to be submitted to the Audit Committee on 24 June 2009, prior to audit.


The report also included proposals for the allocation of revenue carry forwards in 2009/10.


The Council's year end position for 2008/09 showed a revenue underspend of -£2.119m, a capital underspend of -£3.679m and general balances of £20.187m.


An addenda to the report was submitted in the schedule of addenda addressing an error in the table in paragraph 1, and then rounding figures in the tables in paragraphs 8, 23, and 37.


Councillor Alan Armitage, Shadow Cabinet Member for Finance & Property in commenting on the outturn report thanked the Assistant Chief Executive & Chief Finance Officer and her team for the tight and effective management of the Council’s finances. Referring to Annex 6 he noted that the surplus for on street parking was almost sufficient to cancel out the need to charge residents for residential parking schemes.


The Cabinet Member for Growth & Infrastructure responded to the comments in relation to on street parking and highlighted that the Local Transport Plan 2 had restrictions on the use of surpluses for other purposes such as community uses. He added his thanks to Councillor Shouler as the Cabinet Member for Finance & Property.


The Cabinet Member for Finance & Property noted that the problems in the printed pdf document as produced by Democratic Services were not acceptable. A revised copy of the report would be circulated and would also include the changes set out in the addenda.


RESOLVED:         to:


(a)          note the provisional revenue and capital outturn set out in the report;


(b)          approve the carry-forwards and virements as set out in Annex 2;


(c)          approve the changes to balances as set out in the table at paragraph 82;


(d)          agree that the surplus in the On-Street Parking Account at the end of the 2008/09 financial year, so far as not applied to particular eligible purposes in accordance with Section 55(4) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, be carried forward in the account to the 2009/10 financial year (paragraph 95); and


(e)          approve the creation of new reserves as set out in Annex 4 and paragraph 85 and 98;


(f)            agree the transfer of £1.187m from balances to a new reserve to fund future efficiency savings as set out in paragraph 83.



(Agenda Item 8)


The Cabinet considered the first financial monitoring report (CA8) for the 2009/10 financial year that covered the period up to the end of April 2009 for both revenue and capital budgets.  Given the difficulty in forecasting year-end outturn based on a single month of expenditure and income the report focused on key risk areas and emerging pressures.


The 2009/10 revenue budget was approved by Council in February 2009.  Subsequent budget reallocations to reflect final grant notifications and adjustments to support service recharges and pooled budgets were noted by Cabinet on 17 March 2009.  These updated budgets had been used for the Council’s Service & Resource Planning publications for 2009/10 to 2013/14 and would form the basis for the 2009/10 monitoring reports.


Councillor Alan Armitage, Shadow Cabinet Member for Finance & Property, referred to paragraph 25 of the report, noted that there was to be a report in September and his comments would be made at that time.


RESOLVED:         to:


(a)          note the report;


(b)          approve the requests to release the amounts carried forward from 2007/08 from balances, as set out in paragraphs 37 to 41;


(c)          approve the virement requests as set out in Annex 1a;


(d)          agree to freeze fees for Adult Learning classes at 2008/09 levels for the 2009/10 academic year on the understanding that the supplementary estimates will be repaid in the three year period 2010/11 to 2012/13 as previously agreed.



(Agenda Item 9)


The Cabinet considered the performance management report (CA9) on the Council's Balanced Scorecard that detailed progress against priorities and targets as at Quarter Four 2008/09.


Councillor Jean Fooks, Deputy Leader of the Opposition, commented on the report: she highlighted the need to address the action plans in relation to young people not in education, employment or training; noted that it was a cross party aspiration to improve the stability of placements for looked after children and queried whether the whole council was committed to the need to reduce energy use to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Cabinet Members responded to the comments made.


The Cabinet Member for Children Young People & Families responding to a suggestion from the Leader that a working group address the red targets in relation to Children, Young People and Families stressed that she was driven by outcomes and was happy to work with anyone in order to make progress.


RESOLVED:         to note the report.



(Agenda Item 10)


The Cabinet considered a report CA10) 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 31 March 2009 in terms of Full Time Equivalents was provided, together with the detailed staffing position at 31 March 2009. These were shown in the report by directorate and service area.


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


Councillor Jean Fooks, Deputy Leader of the Opposition, expressed the view that the figures did not reflect what was happening and more information would be helpful.


The Leader suggested that future reports refer to whole numbers of staff and cost figures for agency staff.


During discussion the Cabinet highlighted the importance of turnover figures including the turnover between directorates. Consideration should be given to providing information on exit interviews and on age profiles to get a picture of the shape of the workforce.


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 11)


(CA11) on member appointments to a variety of bodies which in different ways supported the discharge of the Council’s executive functions.  The report identified the basis on which appointments to the respective bodies had been made in the past and invited the Cabinet to agree arrangements for filling the places on those bodies.  Proposals from the Leader were submitted in the schedule of addenda. The Leader highlighted a number of further changes and referred to the reporting requirements for member Champions and members on strategic outside bodies.


Councillor Patrick, Leader of the Opposition hoped that care would be taken to appoint people who would attend the relevant meetings and felt it would be a shame if places were given only to the ruling group.


The Cabinet Member for Children, Young People & Families responding to a specific query stated that she welcomed any member that wished to attend the Corporate Parenting Panel.


RESOLVED:         to:


(a)         agree the basis for appointments to the respective bodies listed in

Annexes 1 to 4 of the minutes; (download as .doc file)


(b)         nominate the Cabinet Members for  Schools Improvement and Children, Young people & Families as observers to the Schools Forum;


(c)         make appointments to the Member Champion roles as set out in the attached Annex 5; (download as .doc file) and


(d)         make appointments to the bodies listed in Annex 6 of the minutes (download as .doc file).



(Agenda Item 12)


The Cabinet considered a list of items (CA12) for the immediately forthcoming meetings of the Cabinet together with changes and additions set out in the schedule of addenda. Changes were noted consequent on the portfolio changes reported earlier in the meeting.


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


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


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


Return to TOP