CABINET MEETING – 20 FEBRUARY 2012

                          MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS

Minutes of a meeting of the Cabinet held at 7.00pm on Monday 20 February 2012 at
Westminster City Hall, 64 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 6QP

Cabinet Members Present: Councillors Colin Barrow (Chairman), Robert Davis,
Nickie Aiken, Daniel Astaire, Edward Argar, Melvyn Caplan, Brian Connell,
Jonathan Glanz, Philippa Roe and Lee Rowley

Also Present: Councillors Michael Brahams, Paul Dimoldenberg and Alastair Moss


1.1   Councillor Colin Barrow, the Leader of the Council, welcomed those present.


2.1   There were no declarations of interest.


      RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 30 January 2012 be
      signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

      Councillor Robert Davis spoke in tribute of the work of Councillor Colin Barrow
      who was Chairing his last Cabinet meeting as Leader of the Council. He
      thanked Councillor Barrow for his Chairmanship of the Cabinet and
      Leadership which saw, amongst others, during his period of office, the
      Council’s Living City programme, the City Recovery programme, in response
      to the economic downturn, the Tri-borough programme, the Education
      Commission, the improvements to Marble Arch and the Piccadilly two way
      works and all with maintaining a low Council Tax. On behalf of the Cabinet he
      wished Councillor Barrow well for the future.

      Councillor Dimoldenberg thanked Councillor Barrow for his services as Leader
      of the Council and also thanked him for making himself available to meet with
4.    ANNUAL AUDIT LETTER 2010/11 (see report of the Chief Operating

4.1   The District Auditor, Michael Haworth-Madden, addressed the meeting. He
      explained that he had been able to issue an unqualified audit opinion and that
      the arrangements for the preparation of the draft financial statements, the
      supporting working papers and the final post-audit financial statements
      continue to improve. Mr Haworth-Madden also explained that he had issued
      an unqualified Value for Money conclusion, stating that the Council had proper
      arrangements to secure economy, efficiency and effectiveness in its use of
      resources for 2010/11. He noted the budget for 2012/13 was still challenging.

      Resolved: That the actions set out in the Annual Audit letter be endorsed.

      Reasons for Decision: The Council is required to consider and respond to
      the Annual Audit letter.

5.    BUDGET AND COUNCIL TAX 2012/13 (see report of the Chief Operating

5.1   The Chief Operating Officer introduced the report. She reported that the
      Council was in a stronger position for budget setting than it had been 12
      months ago. The Council was on track to deliver the £84 million savings
      programme over 2 years. The Council was projected to achieve an
      underspend of £7-8m for 2011/12. By the end of 2011/12 reserves were
      expected to rise by £2-4m. Underpinning these improvements were more
      robust processes for risk assessment and for management across the Council
      which had been put in place last year.

5.2   The baseline for the 2012/13 Budget had been set last year and given the
      progress made in 2011/12 it could be anticipated that savings and efficiencies
      could be delivered with a higher degree of confidence. Some small changes
      were proposed to the base budget and these included £2m extra for cleaning
      and a reduction of £2m for parking. The budget being recommended included
      provision for increasing reserves and managing risks.

5.3   The 2013/14 budget appeared manageable based on current funding and
      service expectations, but there were rising risks and pressures, especially
      inflation. The Chief Operating Officer referred to paragraph 10 of the report
      which set out the budget projections for 2014/15 and 2015/16. These referred
      to funding reductions in 2014/15 and 2015/16 of approximately £7m to £10m
      per annum.

5.4   The Chief Operating Officer referred to paragraphs 1.12 and 1.14 of the report
      which set out background of the Council Tax freeze and the implications for
      future years. She drew the Cabinet’s attention to the additional report which
      set out the changes to the levies referred to in Section 19 of the report. The
      Chief Operating Officers assured Members that this would not impact on the
      Council Tax to be levied.

5.5    Councillor Michael Brahams, Chairman of the Budget and Performance Task
       Group addressed the meeting. He referred to the list of recommendations
       which he tabled. In particular he drew attention to the recommendations
       relating to transport procurement, the monitoring of the capital programme.
       He also urged that the savings be closely monitored to check in particular for
       the impact on services.

5.6    Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg addressed the meeting. He advised that he
       supported a freeze in Council Tax which was achievable only with the
       Government funding this year, which would not be available in future years.

5.7    Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg agreed that it was right to take advantage of the
       Government handout and freeze the Council Tax. He did however refer to
       warnings set out in the report of continuing to freeze the Council Tax. He also
       suggested that Council Tax freeze was of little benefit to Band H Council
       Taxpayers but when school meals, Council rents were going up and these
       charges impacted on those who could least afford them.

5.8    Councillor Dimoldenberg suggested that the following changes be made:

       Weekend Street Sweeping                                £700,000
       Increase Dog Warden Service                            £320,000
       Reverse cut in Taxicard Service                        £300,000
       Reverse cut in play service                            £100,000
       Add to Gangs/Vulnerable Teenagers budget               £250,000
       Reinstate Talking Book Service                         £ 5,000

       The above addition to the budget to be met by reductions of the same total in
       the Communications budget.

5.9    Councillor Philippa Roe said that the budget was a tribute to the work of
       Members and Officers. The Communications budget had already been cut
       substantially and over 50% of the budget reduction had been made to back
       office provision.

5.10   Councillor Daniel Astaire spoke in favour of the proposed budget which
       promoted, in accordance with the Adult Social Care Mandate, which had been
       well received. This promoted independence for people. Councillor Astaire
       referred to the talking book service and the service currently available in
       libraries. He explained that the small saving from the changes in Taxicard
       provision would be pledged towards community transport.

5.11   Councillor Ed Argar spoke in support of the budget proposals. He explained
       that he was in discussion with Veolia regarding weekend street cleansing.

5.12   Councillor Nickie Aiken also spoke in favour of the proposed budget. She
       explained that the play service remained an important part of the provision and
       had welcomed the support from the Home Office given to support the
       Council’s work on Gangs.

5.13   Councillor Melvyn Caplan advised that already steps were being taken to
       improve the position regarding the level of spend on transport across all areas
       of the Council and further work in this area would be followed up.

5.14   The Leader of the Council responded to Councillor Dimoldenberg’s suggestion
       that the Communications budget should be cut to fund his suggested
       increases. Councillor Barrow explained that the Communications budget had
       been reduced significantly last year. He also stressed the importance of
       maintaining significant two way communication. He also pointed to the
       successful lobbying programme carried out by the Communications team. He
       also advised that the Council had announced its intention to freeze its element
       of the Council Tax. He accordingly urged the Cabinet to support the budget
       for recommendation to the Council and also thanked the Budget and
       Performance Task Group for its work.


       (i)     That Cabinet approve the Budget and recommend to Council the
               approval of the 2012/13 Budget, as set out in this report, and
               recommend to the Council the Tax levels as set in the Council Tax
               resolution at Annex C.

       (ii)    That Cabinet approve the Capital expenditure programme as set out in
               Schedule 11. This programme is now subject to full review on a
               quarterly basis by Members and Officers.

       (iii)   That the level and use of Earmarked Reserves in Schedule 6 be

       (iv)    That the Westminster local element for Band D properties be confirmed
               at the same level as 2011/12 (ie £377.80) in 2012/13, with subsequent
               increases to be reviewed each year in the light of emerging risks and

       (v)     That the Council Tax for the City of Westminster excluding the
               Montpelier Square area, and the City of Westminster Montpelier Square
               area for the year ending 31 March 2013, be as specified in the Council
               Tax Resolution in Annex C and that the Council Tax be levied
               accordingly and that officers be authorised to alter the Council Tax
               resolution as necessary following the announcement of the (Greater
               London Authority) GLA precept, drawing specific attention to any

       (vi)    That Cabinet delegate to the Strategic Director of Housing,
               Regeneration and Worklessness the responsibility for setting fees and
               charges for temporary accommodation and Bed and Breakfast,
               including the storage of possessions.

       (vii)   That the responses to the views of the Budget and Performance Task
               Group set out in Annex B be noted and incorporated into the Cabinet’s
               report to Council in accordance with the Budget and Policy Framework
               Procedure Rules in the Constitution.
            Reasons for Decision

            The preparation of the Budget is the final stage of the annual business
            planning cycle leading to the approval of the Council Tax for the
            forthcoming financial year. There is a statutory requirement to submit
            budget returns to the Department of Communities and Local
            Government (CLG) and approval of the revenue estimates constitutes
            authority for the Strategic Executive Board to incur expenditure in
            accordance with approved policies.

      DETERMINATIONS (see report of the Chief Operating Officer)


      That the Cabinet recommends the Council to approve:

      1.    The proposed Treasury Management Strategy, the Annual Investment
            Strategy, the Borrowing Strategy and the Minimum Revenue Provision
            Statement for 2012/13 (as set out in this paper);

      2.    The Minimum Revenue Provision proposal for 2012/13, as set out in
            section five;

      3.    The proposed Prudential Indicators (A-I), as set out in Appendix two;

      4.    The Treasury Management Policy Statement as set out in Appendix
            three; and

      5.    An Affordable Borrowing Limit (as required under Section 3 of the Local
            Government Act 2003) as set out below. These remain unchanged
            from last year’s affordable borrowing limits.

            £430 million for the financial year 2012/13
            £480 million for the financial year 2013/14
            £500 million for the financial year 2014/15

            Reason for Decision: The Council is required to approve, on an
            annual basis.

      Strategic Director Housing, Regeneration and Worklessness)

7.1   Ben Denton, Strategic Director, Housing Regeneration and Worklessness
      introduced the report. He outlined the current position with the project and
      explained that the report sought approval for all remaining strategic decisions
      being delegated to either the Cabinet Member for Housing and Property or
      Officers. The report also sought approval to the submission of a formal
      planning application based on the principles set out in the report.

7.2   Councillor Alastair Moss, Maida Vale Ward Member, addressed the meeting.
      He confirmed the need to address the existing shortfall in design and quality of
      the current stock. He referred to the concerns with the present design
      regarding the height and bulk and also issues relating to the Community Hall.
      It was also noted that the proposal is not currently compliant with a number of
      planning requirements but that Housing and Planning Officers were discussing


      (i)     That the Cabinet reconfirms that a detailed planning application for
              Tollgate Gardens be submitted and confirms that the planning
              application follows the broad principles outlined in this report.

      (ii)    That Cabinet note that all future decisions made in respect of Tollgate
              Gardens will be made by the Cabinet Member for Housing and

      (iii)   That Cabinet agree that all strategic delivery decisions related to
              service charges at Tollgate Gardens be delegated to the Strategic
              Director of Housing Regeneration and Worklessness and the Head of
              Legal and Democratic Services.

      Reasons for Decision:

      To ensure that the Housing Renewal proposals for the Tollgate Estate which
      Members have already approved in principle may proceed and to allow the
      delivery of the regeneration project.

      report of the Strategic Director Built Environment)

8.1   Rosemarie MacQueen, Strategic Director, Built Environment, introduced the
      report. She explained the constraints on how the money could be spent and
      how the recommendations had been reached.

8.2   Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg addressed the meeting. He explained that he
      had been asking for this report for at least 2 years. He had no idea how the
      bids had been obtained and the Ward Members he had spoken to had not
      been consulted. He asked that next time a more transparent process be used.

8.3   Councillor Robert Davis, Cabinet Member for Built Environment, advised that
      the proposals had come forward following months of consideration and
      engagement with others including Ward Members. He asked the Cabinet to
      support the recommendations.


      (i)     That the allocation of £709,561.92 from the Paddington Social &
              Community Fund to the projects listed in paragraphs 4.2 and 4.3 of this
              report be approved.

       (ii)   That the applications in respect of the projects listed in Appendix A be
              refused on the grounds that they do not meet the Council’s criteria as
              set out in 3.1 of the report.

       Reason for Decision:

       There is a need to determine allocations from time to time.

9.     COUNCIL’S PAY POLICY (see report of the Acting Director of Human


       That Cabinet recommend the proposed Pay Policy statement, as set out in
       Appendix 1, to full Council.

       Reason for Decision

       The Council is required to publish a Pay Policy statement, which has been
       approved by full Council by 31 March 2012.

10.    TRI-BOROUGH LEGAL AGREEMENTS (see report of the Head of Legal
       and Democratic Services and the Chief Operating Officer)

10.1   Peter Large, Head of Legal and Democratic Services, introduced the report.
       He explained that the agreements were intended to be short, simple and
       based on trust.

10.2   Cabinet Members, whose services are the subject of a legal agreement asked
       to be given the opportunity to see a full copy of the relevant legal agreement,
       prior to formal approval under delegated authority.


       (i)    That the Executive Director for Finance and Corporate Governance
              (LBHF), the Town Clerk and Executive Director of Finance (RBKC) and
              the Chief Operating Officer (WCC) be authorised to enter into the Tri-
              Borough Agreements in respect of the services set out in paragraph 6
              on the terms set out in paragraph 5 or such other broadly similar terms
              as she/he, in consultation with the relevant Head of Legal & Democratic
              Services, considers appropriate.

       (ii)   That the Legal Agreements themselves be cleared by the Head of Legal
              and Democratic Services and the relevant Cabinet Member be given the
              opportunity to see the full copy.

       Reasons for Decision

       The Bi and Tri Borough arrangements approved by the Cabinets in June 2011
       need to be formalised through agreements pursuant to s.113 of the Local
       Government Act 1972 in order to establish the legal relationship between the
       parties and comply with the Authorities’ various public law duties including
       their fiduciary duties to their Council Tax payers.


       RESOLVED: That under Section 100 (A) (4) of the Local Government Act
       1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the following item
       of business because it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information on
       the ground shown below:

       Item No:      Ground                        Para of Part 1 of Schedule
                                                   12A of the Act

       12            Information relating to the         3
                     Financial and business
                     affairs of an individual,
                     including the authority
                     holding the information

12.    HOUSING INVESTMENT STRATEGY (see report of the Strategic Director
       of Housing, Regeneration and Worklessness)

12.1   Ben Denton, Strategic Director, Housing Regeneration and Worklessness,
       introduced the report. He explained that the report set out the Council’s
       overarching strategy for funding housing investment programmes over 2012-
       2017, including:

            Funding to maintain and improve existing tenanted and leasehold

             Funding to enable the housing regeneration and renewal programme.

             Funding to deliver new affordable housing supply; and

             Funding to enable the delivery of complementary private housing,
              improvement and replacement of community and commercial
              accommodation, and environmental improvements in the housing
              renewal areas.

12.2   The strategy also realised opportunities for the Council to lead on the delivery
       of cross-cutting priorities, for example delivery of access to employment and
       training programmes, addressing health inequalities, community safety and
       social exclusion.

12.3     The Strategic Director explained that whilst the Cabinet was being asked to
         approve the overarching strategy, individual programme elements would
         remain subject to existing approvals processes. For example, the HRA capital
         programme spend is subject to annual approvals by the Cabinet Member for
         Housing and Property, while Affordable Housing Fund expenditure is subject
         to approval by the Strategic Director of Housing, Regeneration and
         Worklessness, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Housing and
         Property, as schemes are developed.


        (i)       That Cabinet agrees the attached five-year strategy as an overarching
                  framework for funding of housing investment programmes.

        (ii)      That Cabinet approves a loan facility of up to £12m from the General
                  Fund to Westminster Community Homes, on commercial terms for five
                  years and renewable at the discretion of the Council thereafter.

         (iii)    That Cabinet delegates to the Chief Operating Officer authority to agree
                  loan terms with Westminster Community Homes.

         (iv)     That Cabinet authorises officers to prepare a version of the attached
                  strategy document that removes commercially sensitive financial
                  information, so that the strategy may be made available to the public.

         Reasons for Decision

        The proposals outlined in this report and the attached strategy will enable the
        Council to deliver its key housing programmes over 2012-17 including:
        improvements to over 22,000 homes; delivery of nearly 1,000 new affordable
        homes; and nearly 400 new private homes on estates. The decision will allow
        the implementation of the initial phases of the Council’s housing renewal
        programme and associated investment programmes.


         The meeting ended at 8.32pm.

CHAIRMAN __________________________                           DATE ___________________

Committees\Cabinet\Minutes\2012\Cabinet Minutes 20 Feb 2012


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