Home In focus What was agreed at Cabinet this week?

What was agreed at Cabinet this week?

by Gemma Melling

Knowsley Council’s Cabinet met yesterday (Wednesday, 21 September), with a number of items on the agenda.

You can read all the papers on the council’s website – but in the meantime here’s our quick guide to what was on the agenda, and what was agreed at the meeting.

2015/16 Capital Outturn and 2016/17 Capital Monitoring

Councillors looked at how much the council spent against its annual predictions  – in the previous financial year and in the current year to date.

They noted and agreed the reallocation of some of the money not spent in the last financial year (for example on major highways projects that were delayed), and that the underspend could be carried over to this financial year.

They also heard an update on the council’s expenditure so far this financial year and the expected expenditure on major projects and projects before the end of March – as well as some projects which will be funded from future budgets.

Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2016-2020

Cabinet endorsed the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy which will now go onto Council for formal approval. The strategy is the key document which will show how health and wellbeing is to be improved in the borough, and has been consulted upon widely with partners and residents. It sets out two priority areas of focus for the health and wellbeing board over the next four years; promoting mental health and emotional wellbeing and promoting healthy living.

Implementation of respite policy

Cabinet approved the revised Respite Policy for Adult Social Care which sets out how carers of adults over 18 with care and support needs can access respite support.

The policy outlines the different types of respite support available, such as day or residential care, as well as social and leisure activities for carers. It also clarifies the assessment process, and states that almost 100% of carers are eligible for support to take a break from their caring role.

The council will maintain its commitment to not charging for carers’ respite services in non-residential settings.

Knowsley Carers’ Centre, Healthwatch Knowsley and the Carers’ Partnership Board have been consulted on the policy which will now be shared further with the disabilities and older people’s partnership boards.

Extra Care Sufficiency Strategy

The borough’s Extra Care Sufficiency Strategy was agreed by Cabinet on Wednesday, and will now be used to plan and identify sites for future Extra Care developments, potential partners to deliver them, and sources of funding.

Extra Care housing is similar to sheltered accommodation – offering older people and adults with support needs independence, plus the peace of mind of on-site care, security, as well as social and leisure activities. Extra Care enables many older people to live independently for longer, reduces loneliness and is more cost effective than placing people in residential care.

There are currently four Extra Care developments in Knowsley at Bluebell Park and Cranshaw Court, Huyton, Derby Court, Halewood and Bailey Court, Kirkby, with new developments in the pipeline in Prescot and Stockbridge Village. It is anticipated there will be 427 Extra Care units across Knowsley by 2020, against a predicted need for 592 places.

Council Leader Cllr Andy Moorhead has written to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government expressing the council’s concerns about the Government’s current review of the Local Housing allowance which may lead to Extra Care rents being capped, and a reduction in new developments.

Medium-term financial strategy: Efficiency plan

Councillors agreed to accept the Government’s four-year funding settlement offer (totalling no less than £122m over the next four years), and to publish an Efficiency Plan by 14 October in order to meet the conditions of the offer.  Cabinet agreed that the four year offer allows the council to have some certainty about its future resources, rather than having new budgets set for each financial year.

Cabinet looked at a draft copy of Knowsley’s efficiency plan – which is based on existing corporate plans and strategies covering the next four years.

Interested to know more?

All the papers for the meeting are available on the council’s website, giving more detail about each of the items discussed.