CABINET MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 21ST JUNE 2004 Present: Mrs. A.L. King Mr. J.R. Baskerville Mr. A.J. Gunson Mr. H.A.S. Humphrey Mrs. R.V.G. Monbiot Mr. C.M. Mowle Mr. S.P. Murphy Mr. A.D. Tomkinson Apologies for Absence: Mr. R. Banham Mr. D.A.W. Turnbull Waste Management and the Environment Human Resources, Finance, Property and Corporate Affairs (in the Chair) Commercial Services Planning and Transportation Fire and Community Protection Education Social Services Libraries, Museums, Records and the Arts Economic Development Cabinet Support Members Present: Mr. L.E. Austin Mrs. S.M. Matthews Mr. L.G. Randall Mr. A.J. Vincent Also Present: Mr. C.W. Armes Mr. A.A. Blyth Mrs. J. Caldwell Ms. C.M. Cameron Miss E.J. Collishaw Mrs. B.M. Hacker Officers Present: Mr. P. Adams Mr. T. Byles Mrs. D. Bartlett Mr. M. Britch Mrs. L. Christensen Mrs. M. Curtis Mr. D. Dukes Mr. R. Elliott Mr. G. Hanning Mr. P. Hawes Mr. K. Hounsome Mrs. H. Jones Mrs. F. Kemp Mr. I. Lambert Director of Corporate Resources Chief Executive Head of Policy and Performance Managing Director, NPS Property Consultants Ltd Director of Social Services Education Department Economic Development Chief Fire Officer Planning and Transportation Department Managing Director, Norfolk County Services Ltd Head of Law Legal Services Chief Executive’s Department Head of Democratic Services Mr. P.J. Harwood Mr. C.E. Joyce Mr. I.A.C. Monson Mrs. B.M. Ravencroft Mr. M. Taylor Human Resources Social Services Fire and Community Protection Education Mr. B. Marfleet Mr. D. Pearson Mr. S. Ralph Mr. M. Shenstone Dr. B. Slater Mr. R. Summers Mr. A. Tidmarsh Planning and Transportation Department Planning and Transportation Department Director of Planning and Transportation Education Department Director of Education Director of Finance e-Service Director 1. MINUTES The Minutes of the meeting held on 17th May 2004 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman. 2. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST Mr. J.R. Baskerville declared a non-prejudicial interest in item 18 as a Director of Norfolk County Services Ltd. Mr. A.J. Gunson declared a non-prejudicial interest in item 23 as he owned property in Long Stratton. Mr. Gunson’s property was not on any of the proposed bypass routes or on the existing road. Following advice from the Head of Law he did not consider that he had a prejudicial interest in this item. 3. MATTERS OF URGENT BUSINESS There were no matters of urgent business. 4. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME The Cabinet received two questions from Denise Carlo, ‘No to the N25’ Group’. Ms. Carlo was not present at the meeting and the Chairman read the following questions in the absence of Ms. Carlo: Question 1 What are the disaggregated figures for the consultation responses according to postal code areas in Norfolk? (i.e. the breakdown in percentages of responses in favour of/against an Northern Distributor Road (NDR) in South Norfolk, South Norwich, North Norwich, mid Norfolk, North Norfolk, East Norfolk). Question 2 What is the justification for saying that an NDR would induce only one and half percent additional traffic over the whole network? Does this figure take into account any new development around North Norwich e.g. 29,000 new homes? Please would you make available the traffic modelling work for public scrutiny? The Cabinet Member for Planning and Transportation gave the following response: Answer to Question 1 A breakdown by district council area, of public consultation responses to a proposed northern distributor road has been provided. If Ms. Carlo wishes the figures to be broken down further she is welcome to request that information in writing to the Director. Answer to Question 2 I welcome the opportunity to clarify the figure in paragraph 3.3. of Appendix 2 of the Cabinet report (page 66). The figure of 1.5% refers to the level of induced traffic generated by including a northern distributor road in the traffic model. This is a measure of the level of traffic that may decide to make a journey that it wouldn’t otherwise do if the NDR were not built. In 1989, SACTRA, the Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Assessment were asked to advise on how induced traffic should be appraised. Guidance on how to model the generation of traffic due to new roads was issued in 1994 and updated in 1997. We have used this current Government guidance on Induced Traffic to assess the volume of traffic likely to be generated by the road. Traffic generated by planned developments in the Norwich area is separate to this and is not induced traffic, but traffic growth on the network as a natural consequence of the planned developments in the Norwich Area. The existing local plan allocations of 11,000 houses in the Norwich Area to 2011 is included in the base modelling work used to analyse options. The emerging Regional Spatial Strategy shows a requirement for additional housing in the Norwich Area up to 2025. Preliminary modelling of three possible scenarios of where this housing might be situated have also been tested with the traffic model. This indicates the new housing to the north of Norwich will likely result in considerable extra traffic growth on the wider highway network, which adds further justification to a Northern Distributor Road to ameliorate those effects. If Ms. Carlo has any particular queries on the traffic modelling she is welcome to raise those with the Director who will endeavour to answer those queries in writing. 5. LOCAL MEMBER ISSUE Mr. C.E. Joyce put the following question to the Cabinet: In light of recent fatalities and the response of the Courts, does the Leader of the Council agree that Norfolk County Council should use its position as a Highways Authority to lobby the Government to introduce legislation that will enable the Police to prosecute drivers of motor vehicles for manslaughter when they cause death through their use of a motor vehicle in a way that shows due care and attention was lacking by the driver? And/or when the driver of a motor vehicle is careless, negligent, reckless or is under the influence of alcohol or narcotics? The Chairman gave the following response: The issue of road deaths has been the subject of considerable publicity and review in recent years. It is technically already possible for the police to prosecute a driver for manslaughter in these circumstances, but the burden of proof is very high which is why the charge is usually for a lesser offence. The Department of Transport published a ‘Report on the Review of Road Traffic Penalti es’ in July 2002. This recommended that the maximum penalty for all causing death offences be increased to 14 years. This has now been brought into effect earlier this year in the Criminal Justice Act 2003. The maximum sentence for manslaughter is life imprisonment. The Association of Chief Police Officers Road Death Investigation Manual (2001) requires all incidents to be investigated as unlawful killings unless the contrary is proved. The Home Office is currently carrying out a review of offences including road traffic offences and road deaths. This report has not yet been published. In view of the current Home Office review and the recent increase in maximum sentences, it appears that the Government is already very much alive to the issue and I do not intend to recommend to the Cabinet that we lobby the Government. 6. REVIEW PANEL ISSUE The Chairman advised the Cabinet of the following recommendation from the Corporate Affairs Review Panel in relation to scrutiny of budget process and medium term plan: At the meeting of the Corporate Affairs Review Panel (CARP) on 20th May 2004 it was agreed to recommend the following approach to scrutiny of the Medium Term Plan and annual budget process: (i) CARP to undertake annual review of the budget process in July. All Review Panels to undertake scrutiny in relation to their particular remits only as follows: (ii) (iii) Revenue budget monitoring on a quarterly basis. Annual review of the Medium Term Plan in the autumn. The Chairman proposed that all Review Panels undertake revenue budget monitoring on a quarterly basis but stated that recommendations (i) and (iii) above were the responsibility of the Cabinet. Decision RESOLVED – (i) That all Review Panels undertake revenue budget monitoring on a quarterly basis in relation to their particular remits. That annual reviews of the budget process and the Medium Term Plan remain the responsibility of the Cabinet. (ii) Reasons for Decision The Cabinet agreed that quarterly budget monitoring by Review Panels in relation to their particular remits would be worthwhile but that annual reviews were the responsibility of the Cabinet. Alternative Options Considered There were no alternative options for the Cabinet to consider. 7. NORWICH AREA TRANSPORTATION STRATEGY – CONSULTATION RESULTS The annexed report (7) by the Director of Planning and Transportation was received. Decision (Key Decision) RESOLVED – (i) That approval be given to the draft Norwich Area Transportation Strategy (NATS) as set out in section 2 of the report. That approval be given to the further work required as set out in section 4 of the report. That an additional meeting of the Cabinet be arranged in Autumn 2004 to agree routes for consultation. That, subject to the formal adoption of the NATS Strategy, a meeting of the Council be held in early Spring 2005 in order to adopt a preferred route for the Norwich Northern Distributor Road (NDR). That approval be given to the following revised programme: Revised Programme No change No change June 2006 – July 2007 No change No change County Council (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) Programme in Cabinet report (paragraph 6.2) Regional Spatial Strategy May 2004 – Mid 2006 Broadland District Council Local Plan July 2005 - Mid 2006 South Norfolk Council Local Development Framework June 2006 – 2007 Broadland District Council Local Development Framework by 2009 Draft NATS Strategy June 2004 Cabinet Draft NATS Strategy + Principle of NDR July 2004 Adopt final NATS Strategy November 2004 Cabinet and County Council Autumn 2004 Submission of second Local Transport Plan (LTP) No change including NATS Strategy July 2005 Department for Transport response on LTP No change December 2005 NDR Stage 2 Environmental Impact Assessment No change June 2004 – September 2004 Second consultation on NDR route options end Mid November 2004 – Late September 2004 – March 2005 (includes December 2004 preparation of documents, consultation and analysis of responses) Cabinet decision on preferred route for NDR July Cabinet Spring 2005 2005 Full Council to follow County Council Spring 2005 Submit planning application for NDR December No change 2006 Planning application decision on NDR January No change 2008 Compulsory Purchase Orders for NDR Early 2008 No change Work up funding package for NDR June 2005 – April 2005 – July 2009 September 2009 Reasons for Decision The Cabinet agreed that the revised draft NATS Strategy should be further developed over the summer as response from the consultation showed that, in general, there was support for the preferred strategy and that supplementary consultation on the NDR was necessary in view of the issues raised. Alternative Options Considered The Cabinet considered the alternative options outlined in paragraph 8 of the report. 8. 2003-2004 REVENUE BUDGET AND CAPITAL PROGRAMME MONITORING The annexed report (8) by the Director of Finance was received and noted. 9. REPORT OF THE CABINET WORKING GROUP HELD ON 14TH JUNE 2004 The annexed report (9) was received. Decision RESOLVED – (i) That the Director of Education be authorised in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Education to modify the proposals where the building and site issues demand it and to take any necessary steps required to implement such changes, for example further local consultation and/or publication of amended public notices. That the Director of Education be authorised to finalise implementation details and proposed admission numbers for all schools in Annexes A and B to the report of the Director of Education which was considered by the Cabinet on 17th May 2004. That the Director of Education be asked to implement appropriate arrangements for closing and opening or changing age ranges for Voluntary Aided or Controlled schools in discussion with the Church of England and Catholic Dioceses and appropriate governing bodies. That where two or more schools are being brought together to form one, the amalgamating schools be closed and a new school created. That the Director of Education should seek alternative uses for any vacant accommodation or sites resulting from the review that will help to meet the goals of the County Council and where there are no alternative uses, to look at the sale of the site as a means of contributing to the costs of the overall school review and that local members should be involved in this process. That with regard to the funding of improvements to highways connected with school improvement schemes, all improvements inside the curtilage of a school be funded from the education capital programme and all improvements outside the curtilage of a school be funded from the highways capital programme and that in all cases the corporate interest of the County Council should be taken into account. (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) (vii) That further discussions be undertaken should the amount of funding required for these highways improvements become prohibitive. Reasons for Decision The Cabinet agreed that this approach was the best way to progress issues relating to the review of school organisation. Alternative Options Considered There were no alternative options for the Cabinet to consider. 10. REPORT OF THE SERVICE DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE HELD ON 29TH APRIL 2004 The annexed report (10) was received. Decision RESOLVED – (i) That approval be given to the termination of the following Best Value Reviews: (ii) Library Service Strategic Review Health and Safety across County Council Services Excellent Procurement Support for Weak Schools That the Best Value Review of Support to the Primary Phase of Schooling be terminated. Reasons for Decision The Cabinet agreed that the reviews to be terminated had reached satisfactory conclusions and that continuation of the Best Value Review of Support to the Primary Phase of Schooling would not represent value for money. Alternative Options Considered There were no alternative options for the Cabinet to consider. 11. POST OFFICE CLOSURES IN GREAT YARMOUTH The annexed report (11) by the Head of Democratic Services was received. Mr. A.A. Blyth (Magdalen East and Claydon), Chairman of the Great Yarmouth Area Committee, said that he hoped the proposed closure of these two post offices could be prevented and indicated his support for the recommendation in the report. The Chairman stated that Mr. B.J.E. Collins (Gorleston St. Andrews) had indicated that closure of the post offices was detrimental to the area. People who were unable to walk very far would have to walk at least a mile across dangerous roads and he considered that they should be kept open. Decision RESOLVED – (i) That the County Council write to the Post Office requesting a meeting to discuss the urban and rural closure programme and the mechanisms used to identify urban and rural post offices for closure. That a further combined report to inform the Cabinet of the current position with both urban and rural post office closures be submitted to a future meeting. (ii) Reasons for Decision The Cabinet agreed to request a meeting with the Post Office as the situation in Great Yarmouth was an issue reflected elsewhere in the County. Alternative Options Considered The Cabinet considered the alternative options outlined in paragraph 4 of the report. 12. EVERY NORFOLK CHILD MATTERS The annexed report (12) by the Chief Executive was received. The Cabinet congratulated officers on this significant and comprehensively researched report and thanked them for the huge amount of effort afforded to this crucially important project. Decision (Key Decision) RESOLVED – That approval be given to: (i) (ii) The vision as set out as the basis for future work in paragraph 3.3 of the report. The criteria against which any new model of service would be judged, the framework and the next steps for local working and the delivery of some ‘quick wins’ as set out in paragraph 5.16 of the report. Further work on information sharing and assessment as set out in paragraph 6.5 of the report. Further work on performance management as set out in paragraph 7.7 of the report. The arrangements to appoint a Director of Children’s Services as set out in paragraph 8.8 of the report. Further work on the management arrangements for other services as set out in paragraph 9.3 of the report. The establishment of a Strategic Partnership for Children and Young People and its terms of reference as set out in paragraph 10.7 of the report. (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) (vii) (viii) Consideration of the role of the Lead Council Member alongside other changes to member arrangements as set out in paragraph 11.3 of the report. The next steps to Children’s Trust(s) as set out in paragraph 12.3 of the report. The outline plan for the next steps including the development of options for a Local Safeguarding Board as set out in paragraph 14.2 of the report. That the next phase of the project take into account the results of the impact assessment carried out under the terms of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 and that positive policies be approved by the Authority to overcome the risk to transient families and to provide outreach services for young people. (ix) (x) (xi) Reasons for Decision The Cabinet agreed that this project would improve outcomes and services for children and young people in Norfolk and that, at the completion of the current phase of the project, the Authority would be well placed to move forward to the next stages towards integration. Alternative Options Considered The Cabinet considered the alternative options outlined in paragraphs 8 and 9 of the report. 13. MEDIUM TERM PLANNING – ANNUAL ACTIONS FOR 2004/05, PERFORMANCE FOR 2003/04 AND THREE YEAR TARGETS FOR BEST VALUE PERFORMANCE INDICATORS The annexed report (13) was received. Decision (Key Decision) RESOLVED – (i) That the actions in the Annual Performance Plan be agreed as set out in Appendix 2 to the report. That the Best Value Performance Indicators (BVPIs) for the year 2003/04 be noted as set out in Appendix 3 to the report. That the targets for BVPIs for 2004/05, 2005/06 and 2006/07 be agreed as set out in Appendix 3 to the report. That the statement on Code of Practice for Workforce Matters be noted as set out in Appendix 4 to the report. (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) That any final amendments for BVPI figures and targets are cleared with the Leader of the Council prior to sending to the Audit Commission for formal auditing. Reasons for Decision The Cabinet agreed the actions in the Annual Performance Plan and the Best Value Performance Indicators as these developments met the requirements of revised guidelines from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for a ‘good’ authority and provided a clear link between longer term strategic objectives and specific actions for the forthcoming year. Alternative Options Considered There were no alternative options for the Cabinet to consider. 14. CENTRAL GOVERNMENT EFFICIENCY REVIEW AND A SHARED SERVICES ORGANISATION The annexed report (14) by the e-Service Director on behalf of the Chief Officers’ Group was received. Decision RESOLVED TO RECOMMEND TO COUNTY COUNCIL – (i) That the creation of a shared services organisation for the County Council be approved in principle with a view to commencing trading by 1st April 2005. That the creation and filling of the post of Managing Director be authorised. (ii) and RESOLVED – (iii) That the Cabinet agree that preparation of a business plan for the new entity be commissioned. Reasons for Decision The Cabinet agreed that the creation of a separate organisation would assist the County Council in addressing the implications and meeting the requirements of the current national review of efficiency. Alternative Options Considered The Cabinet considered the alternative options outlined in paragraph 8 of the report. 15. FEASIBILITY STUDY INTO ALTERNATIVE RISK MANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENTS IN THE THETFORD AREA The annexed report (15) by the Chief Fire Officer was received. Mr. C.W. Armes (Thetford East) spoke in favour of the recommendation in the report. Decision RESOLVED – (i) That approval be given to the risk evaluation for the Thetford area including the recommendation for provision of a flexible call focussed duty system and the financial implications set out in paragraph 3.1 of the report. That the Chief Fire Officer be authorised to evaluate options to apply the flexible call based duty system to other urban and rural areas bringing further proposals back for consideration through the Integrated Risk Management Planning process. (ii) Reasons for Decision The Cabinet agreed that the key findings of the review into risk management arrangements in the Thetford area should be implemented as they presented a new opportunity to provide a flexible, risk focussed service in the area. Alternative Options Considered The Cabinet considered the alternative options outlined in paragraph 5 of the report. 16. SURE START PRIORITIES FOR 2004-2006 The annexed report (16) by the Director of Education was received. Decision (Key Decision) RESOLVED – That approval be given to the Sure Start priorities for 2004/2006. Reasons for Decision The Cabinet agreed the Sure Start priorities as the Authority had a statutory duty to deliver locally the priorities outlined in Sure Start Guidance. Alternative Options Considered The Cabinet considered the alternative options outlined in paragraph 5 of the report. 17. HIGHWAYS MAINTENANCE PLAN 2004/05 The annexed report (17) by the Director of Planning and Transportation was received. Decision (Key Decision) RESOLVED – That approval be given to the Highways Maintenance Plan 2004/05. Reasons for Decision The Cabinet approved the Highways Maintenance Plan as it contained a strategy, programmes and standards for highways maintenance which provided evidence of the County Council’s good practice. Alternative Options Considered The Cabinet considered the alternative options outlined in paragraph 6 of the report. 18. PARTNERSHIP SUFFOLK COASTAL DISTRICT COUNCIL, NORFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL AND NORFOLK COUNTY SERVICES LTD The annexed report (18) by the Head of Law. The Head of Law advised the Cabinet that it was not now proposed that Suffolk Coastal District Council would be represented on the Board of the new company, however, the District Council would be represented on a Partnership Project Board. Decision RESOLVED TO RECOMMEND TO COUNTY COUNCIL – That the County Council accept a delegation of functions from Suffolk Coastal District Council as set out in the report. Reasons for Decision The Cabinet agreed to recommend this proposed partnership through the delegation of certain functions from Suffolk Coastal District Council to the County Council as these arrangements were considered to be in the longer term interests of the County Council and Norfolk County Services Ltd. Alternative Options Considered The Cabinet considered the alternative options outlined in paragraph 3 of the report. 19. DRAFT SCHOOL TRAVEL BILL – CONSULTATION RESPONSE The annexed report (19) by the Director of Planning and Transportation and the Director of Education was received. Decision RESOLVED – (i) That approval be given to the suggested response to the consultation on the draft School Transport Bill subject to the following amendments: The first two lines of paragraph 20 be amended to read ‘Norfolk would welcome opportunities to expand the provision of school transport but not at the expense of having to charge existing pupils who get free travel. It would be necessary for additional funding to be provided to enable us to reduce the maximum walking distance to, say one mile and provide free travel for everyone beyond this distance’. That the County Council’s opposition to charging for journeys currently provided free of charge as outlined in paragraph 1.3 of the report be included in the response. (ii) That a further report be received on the implications for Norfolk prior to the October 2005 deadline for expressions of interest in the pilot scheme. Reasons for Decision The Cabinet agreed that this response represented the best way forward for Norfolk should this legislation progress to law. Alternative Options Considered The Cabinet considered the alternative options outlined in paragraph 4 of the report. 20. EXCLUSION OF THE PUBLIC RESOLVED – That the public be excluded from the meeting under section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972 for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 5, 7, 8 and 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act. SUMMARY OF MINUTES EXCLUDED FROM PUBLIC DEPOSIT 21. A140 LONG STRATTON BYPASS The Cabinet received a report, containing exempt information, by the Director of Planning and Transportation and the Managing Director of NPS Property Consultants Ltd and, for the reasons given in the report, rejected a request for the discretionary purchase of a property. 22. FORMER BOWTHORPE SCHOOL – LEASE OF SITE FOR FIRE STATION The Cabinet received a report, containing exempt information, by the Chief Fire Officer and the Managing Director of NPS Property Consultants Ltd and agreed the lease of a former school site for the construction of a new fire station. 23. ENGINEERING ENTERPRISE HUB FOR NORFOLK The Cabinet received a report, containing exempt information, by the Head of Economic Development and agreed to develop an Engineering Enterprise Hub for Norfolk.