Agenda and draft minutes

Cabinet - Tuesday 17 January 2023 11.00 am

Venue: Ground Floor Meeting Rooms, 160 Tooley Street, London SE1 2QH

Contact: Paula Thornton and Virginia Wynn-Jones  Phone: 020 7525 4395/7055 Email:  paula.thornton@southwark.gov.uk;  virginia.wynn-jones@southwark.gov.uk

Link: Livestream

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

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    To receive any apologies for absence.

    Minutes:

    All members were present.

2.

Notification of any items of Business which the Chair Deems Urgent

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    In special circumstances, an item of business may be added to an agenda within five clear working days of the meeting.

    Minutes:

    The chair gave notice of the following late items:

     

    Item 8:   Policy and Resources Strategy 2023-24 to 2025-26 – Update

    Item 9:  Policy and Resources Strategy: Revenue Monitoring report, including Treasury Management 2022-23

    Item 10:  Policy and Resources – Capital Programme Update 2022-23

    Item 11:   Approval of the Housing Revenue Account Budget 2023-24 and Rent Setting.

     

    Reason for urgency and lateness will be specified in the relevant minutes.

3.

Notice of Intention to conduct business in a closed meeting, and any representations received

4.

Disclosure of Interests and Dispensations

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    Members to declare any interests and dispensations in respect of any item of business to be considered at this meeting.

    Minutes:

    There were none.

5.

Minutes

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    To approve as a correct record the minutes of the open section of the meeting held on 6 December 2022.

    Supporting documents:

    Minutes:

    The leader requested an update be provided to cabinet members in respect of the deputation presented to cabinet 6 December 2022 about the movement of large lorries and impact on residents in Astbury Road, Colls Road, Dayton Grove, York Grove, Regal Row and section of Queens Road, SE15.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    That the minutes of the meeting held on 6 December 2022 be approved as a correct record and signed by the chair.

6.

Public Question Time (15 Minutes)

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    To receive any questions from members of the public which have been submitted in advance of the meeting in accordance with the cabinet procedure rules. The deadline for the receipt of public questions is midnight Wednesday 11 January 2023.

    Supporting documents:

    Minutes:

    Barry Duckett

     

    “Why is the council considering a rent increase when the Canada Estate major works programme, a ten month contract, is still running 26 months late?  There has been no consultation with residents, officers have refused to meet us, and this looks like a waste of the housing revenue account (HRA).”

     

    Response by Councillor Darren Merrill, Cabinet Member for Council Homes and Homelessness

     

    The original contract period for the Canada Estate major works programme was 14 months. This has now been extended to 33 months.

     

    There are many reasons for this, which include:

     

    ·  Review of, and changes to, designs such as: 

    o  The inclusion of new pigeon netting following extended consultation with the resident project group (RPG).

    o  Wider consultation on windows following concerns from the tenants and residents association (TRA) with proposed designs.

    o  Wider consultation on the low-rise blocks on insulation and pointing as TRA not happy with advice by three separate consultants.

     

    ·  Review of flooring tiles within high-rise blocks - The RPG shared concerns with specification to refurbish tiles, which were considered not at the end of their useful life, and so will remain in situ.

     

    ·  Fire doors - Renewal of front entrance doors (FEDs) in response to new building safety regulation. i.e. Front doors must now be certificated and where they are not then new doors must be installed, which can take up to 12 weeks.

     

    ·  New windows to low-rise blocks – The RPG requested wider consultation with proposal on new windows in the low-rise block which resulted in delays.

     

    ·  New legislation – Building and fire regulations now require a broader more intrusive surveys by qualified fire engineers to understand the structure and fabric of our buildings to mitigate fire risks.

     

    ·  The impact of the COVID 19 – The pandemic meant that works had to be suspended, due to government guidelines and repeated lockdowns. The pandemic also caused delays through supply chain issues for materials and inflated costs.

     

    The council have undertaken wide ranging forms of consultation on this scheme as requested from the Resident Project Group (RPG) – often beyond the level of consultation we would normally apply to schemes that have been successfully delivered.

     

    The RPG Chair continues to be included in monthly project meetings and in additional briefings about the scheme, either in-person or online. We have engaged in this way to ensure residents are clear on the status of the project. This has been as a direct result of the level of requests made by the TRA.

     

    Officers and members including the day-to-day operational team are actively engaged in the consultation process at Canada Estate. This includes regular site visits by the project manager and also attendance of the strategic director, director of asset management, assistant director of building safety, often including councillors and lead members.

     

    Our consultation process has included:

     

    ·  Section 20, Notice of Intention and Notice of Proposal

    ·  Resident Consultation meetings

    ·  Resident Project Group meetings 

    ·  Tenant and Resident Association meetings and AGMs

    ·  Newsletters

    ·  Special briefings on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Deputation Requests

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    To consider any deputation requests. The deadline for the receipt of a deputation request was midnight Wednesday 11 January 2023.

    Supporting documents:

    Minutes:

    The report had not been circulated five clear days in advance of the meeting. The chair agreed to accept this item as urgent (the request had been received in line with the council’s constitutional deadline for the receipt of deputation requests).

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    1.  That the deputation request from tenant representatives on item 11, approval of the housing revenue account budget 2023 and rent setting be heard.

     

    2.  A spokesperson for the deputation addressed cabinet for five minutes and questions were asked of the deputation for a period of five minutes.

8.

Policy and Resources Strategy 2023-24 to 2025-26 update

    To note issues associated with the policy and resources strategy and agree recommendations.

    Supporting documents:

    Minutes:

    The report had not been circulated five clear days in advance of the meeting. The chair agreed to accept this item as urgent as the council were committed to publishing budget proposals at the earliest possible opportunity to ensure they were available to the public for comments and questions. Presenting the report to cabinet on 17 January 2023 gave the opportunity for debate prior to presentation of budget figures to cabinet on 6 February 2023. Under the council’s constitution, there is a requirement for the overview and scrutiny committee to review and challenge budget proposals and this is due to take place on 23 January 2023.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    1.  That the outcome of the policy statement published on the 12 December 2022 (paragraphs 18-23 of the report) be noted.

     

    2.  That the outcome of the Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement published on the 20 December 2022 be noted (paragraphs 24-29 of the report).

     

    3.  That it be noted, as reported to cabinet on 6 December 2022, the intention remains to prepare a balanced one year 2022-23 budget for approval by cabinet in advance of council assembly in February 2023.

     

    4.  That the revised budget gap of £1.44m, down from £6m in December, be noted.

     

    5.  That it be noted that the budget proposals for 2022-23 contained within the report include:

     

    ·  Un-ringfenced settlement funding assessment grant of £162.4m, an  increase of £8.7m on 2022-23

    ·  Un-ringfenced other grant income of £6.2m, a decrease of £8.3m on 2022-23

    ·  An increase of £12.5m in ring fenced grants to £78.7m

    ·  Estimated retained business rates growth of £47m, an increase of £21m from 2022-23, due to business rate revaluation and updating for high levels of inflation

    ·  Estimated council tax revenues of £137.8m, including a council tax increase of 4.99% (2% adult social care precept and 2.99% general increase)

    ·  Pay provision and contractual inflation of £34.3m, for the 2-year period 2022-23 and 2023-24. 

     

    6.  That it be noted that the Greater London Authority (GLA) is expected to increase its council tax precept by 7.1% following publication of the Mayor’s draft budget in late December.

     

    7.  That it be noted that the GLA council tax precept is due to be set on 23 February 2023, one day after council assembly sets the budget for Southwark, therefore a council tax setting committee will need to be convened.

     

    8.  That the current budget options proposed to help achieve a balanced 2023-2024 budget (Appendices B to E of the report) be noted including:

     

    ·  Efficiency savings of £12.0m

    ·  Net income increase of £2.5m

    ·  Savings impacting on services of £2.3m

    ·  Commitments and growth of £9.0m.

     

    9.  That it be noted that in order to ensure that the base budget is on a secure financial footing a number of commitments are proposed for 2023-24.

     

    10.  That the proposed fees and charges schedules as set out in Appendix F of the report be approved.

     

    11.  That the departmental narratives and the ongoing equality analyses of the budget proposals (Appendix A of the report) be noted.

     

    12.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Policy and Resources Strategy: revenue monitoring report, including treasury management 2022-23

    To note the forecast revenue outturn position, including treasury management

    Supporting documents:

    Minutes:

    The report had not been circulated five clear days in advance of the meeting. The chair agreed to accept this item as urgent as presenting the report to cabinet on 17 January 2023 gave the opportunity for debate on the forecast outturn for 2022-23 prior to presentation of the draft budget for 2023-24, which is also on this agenda.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    That the following be noted:

     

    1.  The adverse variance forecast for the general fund in 2022-23.

     

    2.  That the forecast has worsened since the month 4 monitor was published in September 2022.

     

    3.  That no additional COVID-19 funding has been made available to councils in 2022-23 and that all ongoing expenditure has been included within the forecast.

     

    4.  The key adverse variations and budget pressures:

     

    (i)  The dedicated schools grant (DSG) is forecasting an in-year pressure of £3m, in addition to the £21.7m accumulated deficit brought forward

     

    (ii)  The continuing budget pressures within children’s social care

     

    (iii)  The emerging budget pressures in adult social care, mitigated by the use of resilience reserves

     

    (iv)  The continuing budget pressures on temporary accommodation

     

    (v)  Pay and contractual inflation across all services.

     

    5.  The ongoing inclement macro-economic environment, with inflation running at 10.7% in November and interest rates at their highest since 2008.

     

    6.  The final pay settlement was agreed in October, with an average impact across the organisation of 5.95% (the fixed sum award means the actual % varies by grade and spinal point).

     

    7.  That the un-budgeted element of the pay settlement has an adverse impact on the budget forecast of approximately £6.1m.

     

    8.  The housing revenue account forecast for 2022-23 (Table 2, paragraphs 68-77 of the report).

     

    9.  Treasury management activity undertaken in 2022-23 (paragraphs 81-88 of the report).

     

    That the following be approved:

     

    10.  The interdepartmental budget movements that exceed £250k, as shown in Appendix A of the report (noting those under this threshold).

10.

Policy and Resources - Capital Programme Update 2022-23 - Month 8

11.

Approval of the Housing Revenue Account Budget 2023-24 and rent setting

    To agree recommendations associated with the housing revenue account rent setting and budget for 2023 – 2024.

    Supporting documents:

    Minutes:

    The report had not been circulated five clear days in advance of the meeting. The chair agreed to accept this item as urgent as it was critical that decisions were made in good time to ensure the 28-day statutory notification period could be complied with (and avoid losses in the event of not doing so), such that the changes to rents and charges can be implemented and become effective from 3 April 2023.

     

    Appendix F setting out resident engagement was circulated.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    1.  That a capped rent increase of 7% for all directly and tenant managed (TMO) housing stock within the housing revenue account (excluding supported accommodation) be agreed. This is the maximum permitted under the government’s temporary rent cap for 2023-24, as set out at paragraphs 16-17 of the report, with effect from 3 April 2023.

     

    2.  That supported accommodation rents by consumer price index (CPI) +1% (11.1%) be increased, in line with the government’s prescribed rent formula and in accordance with the specific exclusion granted in the autumn statement, as set out at paragraph 18 of the report with effect from 3 April 2023.

     

    3.  That the rent increase be capped for the council’s shared ownership properties at 7% in line with the council’s other housing stock, as set out at paragraph 19 of the report with effect from 3 April 2023.

     

    4.  That tenant service charges, comprising estate cleaning, grounds maintenance, communal lighting and door entry maintenance as set out in paragraphs 36-37 of the report be agreed with effect from 3 April 2023.

     

    5.  That the increase to sheltered housing service charges as set out in paragraphs 38-39 of the report be increased with effect from 3 April 2023.

     

    6.  That the increases in charges for garages and other non-residential facilities as set out in paragraphs 40-41 of the report with effect from 3 April 2023 be agreed.

     

    7.  That the increases to district heating (fuel) charges, including metered (fuel) charges as set out in paragraphs 42-60 of the report with effect from 3 April 2023 be agreed.

     

    8.  That officers be instructed to undertake more frequent review of district heating (fuel) charges in light of the exceptional rise in energy costs and realign them as necessary, to ensure the ring-fenced district heating account remains in balance over the medium-term.

     

    9.  That in relation to recommendation 8 above, that subject to proper notice being given and the correct procedure being followed, the price charged to tenants for fuel should move up or down in line with the actual cost incurred by the council be agreed. Furthermore, that consultation be carried out on varying the provisions of the tenancy agreement accordingly to exempt the requirement to consult on district heating (fuel) charges, as set out at paragraphs 49-50 of the report.

     

    10.  That it be agreed to match fund the government’s allowance for discretionary housing payments (DHP), on a one-off basis for 2023-24, as set out in paragraph 72 of the report.

     

    11.  That the budget proposals  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

Gateway 1 - Procurement Strategy Approval - Southwark Works employment support commissioning framework

    To approve the procurement strategy for the Southwark Works Employment Support Commissioning Framework for four years commencing on 1 July 2023.

    Supporting documents:

    Minutes:

    RESOLVED:

     

    1.  That the procurement strategy outlined in the report for the Southwark Works Employment Support Commissioning Framework for four years commencing on 1 July 2023, for a maximum total value of £9.26m be approved, which will be split between:

     

    a.  An estimated maximum annual spend of £1.815m by Southwark Council

    b.  A total additional spend of £2m to accommodate possible future external funding sources.

     

    2.  That it be noted that the tenders for the initial call-off contracts will be invited from suppliers at the same time as inviting applications to the framework. The call off contracts will be for a period of two years with an option to extend by a further period of two years.

     

    3.  That authority be delegated to the chief executive (or relevant senior officer with responsibility for the service) to approve the gateway 2 report for the establishment of the framework and the award of individual call off contracts for the reasons set out in paragraph 21 of the report and in accordance with contract standing orders.

13.

Gateway 1 - Procurement Strategy Approval - Voids and Temporary Accommodation Voids Works for Contracts A, B C & D

    To approve the procurement strategy to undertake a restricted tender procedure for four voids and temporary accommodation voids contracts.

    Supporting documents:

    Minutes:

    RESOLVED:

     

    1.  That the procurement strategy outlined in the report to undertake a restricted tender procedure for four voids and temporary accommodation voids contracts be approved:

     

    ·  Contract A - Bermondsey, Rotherhithe and Borough and Bankside at an estimated annual cost of £2.95m

    ·  Contract B - Peckham and Nunhead at an estimated annual cost of £2.95m

    ·  Contract C - Camberwell and Dulwich at an estimated annual cost of £2.95m and

    ·  Contract D - Walworth and temporary accommodation out of Southwark at an estimated annual cost of £2.95m.

     

    for a period of three years from September 2023 (£35.4m) with the option to extend up to a further two years (in increments at the council’s sole discretion subject to performance) making an estimated total contract value of £59m.

     

    2.  That it be noted that asset management is required to prepare and present a detailed in-house strategy for the future services in the spring of 2023.

     

    3.  That it be noted that the procurement strategy in the report will result in bidders being required to bid as backup to each other on their tendered rates to ensure an efficient service delivery.

     

    4.  That it be noted that as the repairs improvement plan progresses and is embedded in a dedicated in-house voids team will be set up to deliver high quality voids by Southwark repairs consisting of operatives and managers within three years as further detailed in paragraph 16 of the report.

     

    5.  That authority be delegated to the strategic director of housing and modernisation to approve the gateway 2 report for four voids and temporary accommodation voids works contracts for the reasons outlined in paragraph 43 of the report.

14.

Tustin Estate - Appropriation of Land for Planning Purposes

    To approve the appropriation of land to facilitate the carrying out of development proposals for the area.

    Supporting documents:

    Minutes:

    RESOLVED:

     

    1.  That the land shown outlined on the plan at Appendix A of the report known as Phase 1 of the Tustin Estate that is currently held for housing purposes, be confirmed as no longer required for those purposes and appropriation of the land to planning purposes to facilitate the carrying out of the development proposals for the area in accordance with section 226 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and section 122(1) of the Local Government Act 1972 be approved.

     

    2.  That following completion of the appropriation at paragraph 1 of the report the land shown outlined on the plan at Appendix A be confirmed as no longer required for planning purposes, and the appropriation of the land to housing purposes in accordance with section 9 of the Housing Act 1985 and section 122(1) of the Local Government Act 1972 be approved.

15.

Gateway 3 - Variation Decision - Contract for the Supply of Agency Workers

    To approve the extension of the council’s contract with Comensura for a period of up to nine months starting on 1 April 2023.

    Supporting documents:

    Minutes:

    RESOLVED:

     

    1.  That the extension of the council’s contract with Comensura for a period of up to nine months starting on 1 April 2023 at an estimated maximum value of £28.4m and including a three month break clause be approved.

     

    2.  That it be noted that this extension is required to provide time for a new procurement exercise to be undertaken.

     

    3.  That it be noted that the large majority of contract spend is passed to agencies providing temporary workers and the fee payable to Comensura is less than 1% of the total contract value.

16.

Gateway 1 - Procurement Strategy Approval - Contract for the Supply of Agency Workers

    To approve the proposal to let a new contract for the supply of agency workers via Lot 1 of the Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO) framework Managed Services for Temporary Agency Resources (MSTAR3).

    Supporting documents:

    Minutes:

    RESOLVED:

     

    1.  That the proposal to let a new contract for the supply of agency workers via Lot 1 of the Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO) framework Managed Services for Temporary Agency Resources (MSTAR3) for a period of three years with the option to extend for up to two years in one year increments, making a total estimated maximum contract value of £190.5m inclusive of the extensions be approved.

     

    2.  That it be noted that the large majority of contract spend will be passed to agencies providing temporary workers and the fee payable to the successful supplier is expected to be 1% or less of the total contract value.

     

    3.  That authority be delegated to the chief executive to approve the contract award to the successful supplier in consultation with the cabinet member for communities, equalities and finance

17.

Authorisation of Debt Write-offs over £50,000 for National Non Domestic Rates - Revenues and Benefits Service

18.

Motions referred from Council Assembly - 23 November 2022

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    To consider the following motions referred from council assembly 23 November 2022:

     

    ·  Good quality housing is a human right: the plan for Southwark

    ·  Council funding crisis: We need a general election now

    ·  Councils for Fair Democracy

    ·  Free school meals for all primary school children

    ·  Tackling food poverty

    ·  Care leaver as a protected characteristic

    ·  Free period products in Southwark Council buildings

    ·  Supporting insourcing of cleaning staff at our anchor institutions including University of the Arts London (UAL)

    ·  The Home Office and the unacceptable backlog of visa cases.

    Supporting documents:

    Minutes:

    RESOLVED:

     

    Good quality housing is a human right: the plan for Southwark

     

    That the motion referred from council assembly as a recommendation to cabinet, set out below be agreed.

     

    1.  Council assembly notes:

     

    a.  The government’s rash economic experiments in recent months, followed up by multiple U-turns have created a confidence crisis and worsened the current economic situation. 

     

    b.  The country faces a cost of living crisis with food bills rising, fuel bills rising wages stagnating, this has created a huge fall in the standard of living.

     

    c.  The disastrous mini-budget in September mortgage spiked the interest rates, making it harder for people to pay their own mortgage and raised the barrier even higher for first time buyers.

     

    d.  Private rental costs in London are up a staggering 14% on last year.

     

    e.  Those in private rented accommodation now spend on average 52% of their median monthly income on housing costs.

     

    f.  1/3 of our residents live in privately rented homes; that is why Southwark Council introduced the Gold Standard Charter (GSC) which is a voluntary scheme that rewards landlords and managing agents who provide a professional level of service and good practice to their tenants in the private rented sector.

     

    g.  Council housing is the way to tackle the housing crisis and that good quality homes change people’s lives. That is why, since 2014, Southwark has completed or started on site building of 2,561 new council homes and approved 1,000 more. This is a huge achievement in delivering affordable homes for our residents and Southwark stands out as one of the most prolific council house builders in the last 5 years.

     

    h.  Since 2014-15, the council has been proactive in working with external partners to ensure that social rent homes are delivered as part of every major schemes. This has led, directly, to a net increase of 3,618 approved social rent homes in Southwark. 

     

    2.  Council assembly believes:

     

    a.  Good quality housing is a human right.

     

    b.  Private rented homes have their place but we believe that social rented homes are the best way to create long term secure housing for residents and good quality social housing can set the standard of housing across both the public and private sector.

     

    c.  Resident involvement is vital to brings residents, leaseholders together to find a way forward in these challenging times. 

     

    d.  The rental market is not working; we need a rental system that works for Southwark. Until we have enough affordable homes, we need to control rent levels. Families are being priced out of Southwark and London.

     

    3.  Council assembly resolves:

     

    a.  To call for increased regulation in the private rented sector to protect renters and would lobby a future Labour government to introduce these.

     

    b.  Join voices with the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, in calling on the government to grant City Hall powers to set fair limits on private sector rents rises, a move that City Hall have shown would save families an average of £2,988  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.

19.

Appointments to Outside Bodies 2022-23 - Various

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    To consider the appointment to a number of outside bodies for 2022-23.

    Supporting documents:

    Minutes:

    RESOLVED:

     

    That the appointments to the following outside bodies for 2022-23 be agreed:

     

    ·  WeAreWaterloo Business Improvement District (BID) outside body (one member vacancy plus a staff representative as detailed in paragraph 9 of this report) – Councillor Victor Chamberlain

     

    ·  Potters Field Park Management Trust (one vacancy) – deferred to 6 February cabinet

     

    ·  Kings College Hospital NHS (Council of Governors) (one vacancy) - Councillor Renata Hamvas.

Exclusion of the press and public

That the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in category 3 of paragraph 10.4 of the access to information procedure rules of the Southwark Constitution.

 

The following is a summary of the decisions taken in the closed part of the meeting.

20.

Tustin Estate - Appropriation of Land for Planning Purposes

Minutes:

The cabinet considered the closed information relating to this item. Please see item 14 for the decision.