Home Knowsley Council On the agenda at Cabinet: 21 November, 2018
on the agenda

On the agenda at Cabinet: 21 November, 2018

by Gemma Melling

Knowsley Council’s Cabinet meet on Wednesday, 21 November, 2018, at 5pm. Here’s our quick guide to what’s on the agenda.

Building control

Since July 2015, a collaboration agreement has been in place between Knowsley and Halton Councils to explore the potential for a shared Building Control service. This collaboration aims to reduce costs whilst maintaining the quality of the services.

Cabinet is being asked to agree the establishment of a shared service agreement between Knowsley and Halton with a joint structure to be hosted by Knowsley until March 2020. Cabinet are also being asked to approve the proposal to explore the establishment of a Building Control ‘Regulation 12’ company, which would be subject to a future Cabinet report.

Review of gambling policy

Cabinet members will consider the draft Statement of Gambling Policy which has been reviewed in line with requirements of the Gambling Act 2005.

An extensive consultation exercise, which went much wider than the statutory requirements, has been carried out to seek the views of stakeholders.

The Sustainable Borough Scrutiny Committee recommended that the current fees charged for gambling licences and permits should be increased to the maximum level allowed by the Act. It also recommended that the revenue generated by such an increase in fees should be used to increase local regulation of gambling premises (such income being ring-fenced by law to fund such activities).

If the policy is endorsed by Cabinet it will be submitted for approval at the full meeting of the Council on 12 December 2018.

Knowsley’s commitment to refugee resettlement

Cabinet will be asked to consider a request from the Home Office for Knowsley to welcome an additional number of refugee families to the borough.

It follows the successful resettlement programme in the borough, which began in 2015/16, when Knowsley agreed to help re-home 60 refugees in the borough, in family groups. The last of those 12 families recently settled in the borough. The families report that they have settled in well, and a number of the adults have been supported into employment. Meanwhile, the children are doing well at school and are developing their language skills.

Across whole the Liverpool City region, more than 470 refugees have been welcomed, and now the Home Office has asked all the local authorities to agree to take more.

Knowsley councillors will review the feedback from the programme so far, and will consider the request for the borough to take another 50 refugees (approximately 10 families) in the coming years, supported by additional funding from the Home Office that will cover the cost of their resettlement here.

2018/2019 Revenue budget monitoring mid-year update

Members will receive a mid-year budget monitoring update. There are forecast overspends in Children’s Social Care (outlined in the Children’s Social Care Financial Strategy, which is also being discussed at Cabinet) with a forecast surplus of £0.300m against council-wide budgets and contingencies following the announcement of additional Government grants for Adult Social Care. Approved savings are on target to be achieved by year end.  A review of one-off resources has been undertaken which has resulted in proposals for investments which Cabinet will be asked to consider, including investments in parks and green spaces.

Financial Strategy update

Cabinet will receive an update on the council’s financial strategy.  A shortfall of £2.1m is forecast for 2019/2020.  A review has identified a number of actions which could balance this shortfall which will be considered by Cabinet including funding swaps, income targets, treasury management and Council Tax collection rates. These could balance the shortfall for 2019/20 without any need for additional service savings to be considered.

Children’s Social Care Financial Strategy

Cabinet will consider the Children’s Social Care Financial strategy which proposes a £1.8m permanent budget pressure for 2019/2020. Children’s social care services nationwide are facing significant financial challenges and in Knowsley there has been rapid and continued growth in the number and cost of more complex cases. The service have included an indicative cost reduction target of £0.5m which will be delivered through an action plan which focusses on; effective management of demand, efficient use of resources and ensuring the right resources are in place.

Corporate Plan and Strategic Risk Monitoring Update

Cabinet will hear the Council has continued to make progress in delivering the priorities in its Corporate Plan. The update outlines a number of achievements, including positive feedback from Ofsted on Knowsley’s Children’s Social Care ‘front door’ arrangements, as well as progress on the borough’s ambitious growth plans, new housing targets and financial management. The report also highlights areas where risks need to be managed, such as work to progress integration with health agencies, implementing the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Strategy, improving educational outcomes and addressing Knowsley’s health challenges.

Want more information?

All the papers for this meeting are available on the council’s website.