Agenda and minutes

Cabinet - Thursday, 27th January, 2022 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone. View directions

Contact: Emily Kennedy  Tel: 03000 419625 Email:


No. Item


Apologies and Substitutes

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Miss Carey attended the meeting virtually.


Minutes of the Meetings held on 9 December 2021 & 6 January 2022 pdf icon PDF 254 KB

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Resolved that the minutes of the meetings held on 9 December 2021 and 6 January 2022 were a correct record and that they be signed by the Chair.



Cabinet Member Updates

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1) Mrs Bell said that the overall Covid-19 rate had fallen by 3.9%. There were 7 school outbreaks in the county and 7 outbreaks in care homes. Dover had the highest rate of 1034 cases per 100,000 closely followed by Tonbridge and Malling and Gravesham. Tunbridge Wells had the lowest rate at 783 cases per 100,000. Covid-19 rates were highest in school age children, with those age 5 to 9 years old showing a 66% increase on the previous week and cases in children aged 10 to 14 years old had increased by 42% on the previous week.


Outbreaks recorded in the prisons on the Isle of Sheppey and at the asylum centres at Ashford and Folkestone were being managed. PCR testing has fallen in the last week but reporting of lateral flow tests had remained stable. There had been a decline in the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 and staff sickness rates across the hospital trusts had not increased.


The take up of the booster vaccination had continued to rise gradually. Dartford and Gravesham had the lowest rates of booster vaccination but rates of first and second doses were continuing to rise in 12-15 and 16-17 year olds.


There had been issues with sporadic ‘anti-vaxx’ protestors at certain vaccination clinics and Kent Police had provided support for the clinics.


The legal obligation to wear a mask in certain settings was being removed but KCC’s advice remained that the public should exercise caution and wear face coverings in settings such as supermarkets.


The government had announced that restrictions relating to Adult Social Care in England were to be eased from 31 January 2022. The limit to the number of visitors to care homes was to be removed, self-isolation periods were to be cut and care homes would only have to follow outbreak management rules for 14 days, not 28 days.


2) Mrs Prendergast said Covid-19 guidance in schools had been updated and face coverings were no longer advised for staff and pupils in communal areas of education settings. Directors of Public Health would only be able to recommend that staff and pupils wear masks in places where there were outbreaks or where the local public health situation justified it. This would require sign off from the Education Secretary. Circumstances in each school were different and some schools were experiencing significant levels of infection. KCC’s advice remained that dependent on the outcomes of their own risk assessment, they may decide to implement additional infection control measures. Officers were meeting regularly to exchange information and to ensure that schools were supported to best manage the change in regulations.


On the Isle of Sheppey, under the umbrella of the government’s raising school standards and Levelling Up agendas, the DfE approached KCC regarding development of a partnership project to improve school outcomes within a geographic area. Since then, work had been underway to develop an evidence based model building the community and wider assets on the island. The project aimed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Capital Programme 2021-24 and Revenue Budget 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 131 KB

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1) The Leader introduced the report and advised that the draft budget proposals had been published on 5 January, had been presented at Cabinet Committees and feedback had been received. Thanks were given to the portfolio holders for their input in the process.


2) Mr Oakford said the draft budget proposals had been through process of being presented at Cabinet Committees and Scrutiny Committee. Finance officers have gone through questions and points raised by Members at those meetings. There was a requirement to consider those points and move forward to approve the budget proposals which were to be agreed at Full Council on 10 February.


3) Children’s, Young People and Education Cabinet Committee


In response to comments and questions raised, it was noted:


·       Directorates were to apply for funding from a central budget where demography related need could be evidenced and this contingency budget had been set aside specifically for demography related costs.


·       Mrs Chandler said that a review of Open Access was to take place later in 2022 and would be subject to consultation. There were a range of savings in the budget.


·       Mrs Prendergast said school transport savings had not been possible. There was work underway to look at efficient ways of transporting children such as standard pick-up points, charging for post-16 and exploring options for the Kent 16+pass.


4) Growth, Economic Development and Communities Cabinet Committee


In response to comments and questions raised, it was noted:


·       The Strategic Reset Project was looking at how KCC was to move forward to future-proof and offer services in a more digital way.


·       A request for the reserves information to be set out in the final budget book. That has now been finalised and will be published with the budget before full council.


·       An extra £600,000 had been allocated to address some immediate issues with regard to the Country Parks and Public Rights of Way but additional funding would be welcomed to deal with the backlog.


·       During the pandemic, the cost of building materials and labour had gone up. The extraction of 106 agreements from developers was likely to become more difficult- it was planned to ‘beef up’ the team within existing resources. It was not proposed to seek additional resource.


5) Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee


In response to comments and questions raised, it was noted:


·       The budget situation was extremely challenging, coming out of a 2 year pandemic where some of the new costs are staying as ‘the norm’. There had been a huge increase in demand and complexity, which had impacted on the draft budget.


·       Further clarity was needed from central government as there would need to be a balance between environmental measures and housing developments.


·       Kent Highways were underfunded but the condition of Kent’s Highway network was better than ever within Mr Brazier’s memory due to the work of senior officers and Members. Climate change and the associated weather conditions had caused stress on the drainage system in Highways.


·       The Kent Travel Saver had been provided to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Special Educational Needs Strategy 2021-2024 - Update pdf icon PDF 298 KB

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Matt Dunkley, Director of CYPE was in attendance for this item.


1) Mrs Chandler said the report set out the additional ambition statement for SEND which was agreed in March last year. The statement showed how KCC planned to deliver a model of provision which promoted greater inclusion of children and young people within mainstream schools and the realignment of SEND schools in Kent. There was an aim for the proportion of children in each provision type to reflect Kent’s statistical neighbours and national averages. Considerable work and progress had been made in this area.


Mrs Chandler said that one of the key paragraphs in the report was 2.3:


The concept of a SEND inclusive mainstream school is underpinned by evidence that the educational experience and outcomes for many pupils with additional and special needs can be better in a mainstream school, and they are better prepared for adult life in society


There were mainstream schools in Kent that had embraced inclusion and that had good outcomes for all pupils. The amazing work undertaken in special schools would continue to play an important part of the schools’ offer.


There had been significant pressure and demand on services during the pandemic and these issues had been felt nationally. The situation was unsustainable and went against the wishes of parents and children who supported inclusion.


Work had been undertaken in line with evidence that had emerged through engagement with schools, parents and carers. Significant progress had been made in workstreams identified in the Written Statement of Action, particularly on requests for ECHPs and completion of educational psychology assessments. KCC had been working closely with the Kent Parents and Carers Together Forum to make sure parents’ and carers’ views were understood.


2) Mrs Prendergast said that she had worked closely with Mrs Chandler. There was comprehensive evidence showing benefits of SEND inclusion for pupils without SEND. It also played a huge role in increasing social inclusion and removing discriminative attitudes.


3) Mr Dunkley said that there had been a commitment to inclusion but this update to the strategy would strengthen and emphasise the authority’s desire to no longer be an ‘outlier’ in terms of data and national averages. There was a danger of KCC becoming a financial outlier as a consequence of these differences. All outcomes would be better if KCC’s ambitions could be achieved and parents and carers had confidence that local schools could meet the needs of children with SEND.


4) RESOLVED to agree the recommendations as outlined in the report.