Agenda and draft minutes

Cabinet - Thursday, 28th October, 2021 10.00 am

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

Contact: Emily Kennedy  Tel: 03000 419625 Email: emily.kennedy@kent.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

17.

Mrs Ann Allen, MBE

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members stood to observe a moment of silence in memory of Mrs Allen.

18.

Apologies and Substitutes

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Mrs Bell.

19.

Cabinet Member Updates

Additional documents:

Minutes:

1) The Leader read Mrs Bell’s update:

 

Informed by a range of engagement events and co-production workshops earlier in the year, formal consultation on the newAdult Social Care Strategy 2022 - 2027 ran between 13 October and 24 October. The person-centred strategy summarises how it was planned to make changes over the coming years, focussed on putting the person first, improving and innovating across services, and measuring what matters. Contributions to the consultation were being evaluated and reviewed. A report on the feedback and the updated strategy was to be discussed at the Adult Social Care Cabinet Committee on 1 December.

 

Sunday 10 October was World Mental Health Day and to mark the occasion this year, KCC’s Public Health team launched the Kent and Medway Listens project. The project aimed to uncover and explore the issues that were impacting on the mental health and wellbeing of communities across Kent and to create a multi-agency action plan. Contributions to the project could be made at  www.kent.gov.uk/kentandmedwaylistens

 

Congratulations were given to the KCC Public Health team whose suicide prevention programme won the Suicide Prevention Services category at the recent National Mental Health Awards. This was a remarkable achievement and was testimony to the approach adopted in Kent which highlights initiatives to encourage multi-agency working.

 

Mrs Bell was delighted by the success of the Rethink Partners organisation who gainednational recognition at the HealthTech Awards in September by winning the Major Project Go Live category. Rethink Partners together with Alcove delivered a £1.5million digital care project “Kara” on behalf of the council last year. By the end of July 2020, they had successfully equipped over 1,700 vulnerable and digitally disadvantaged adults in Kent with video ‘carephones’, so that they could talk to friends, family, carers and other professionals, via video, when they were unable to meet due to COVID-19 restrictions.

 

Princess Christian’s Farmin Hildenborough was to stay open under new management. A new provider, KASBAH (Kent Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus), had been awarded the contract to provide services to disabled people at the farm and they were to take over management of the service on 1 November. Thanks were given to those using the farm and their families. KCC had gone through the process of engaging a new provider and it was acknowledged it had been a worrying and unsettling time for many people. It was felt that Princess Christian's would go from strength to strength under its new management and Mrs Bell was looking forward to visiting the farm in the near future.

 

2) Mrs Chandler said that earlier in October, KCC had provided oral evidence to the Work and Pensions Committees inquiry into Children in Poverty: No Recourse to Public Funds, giving an account of Kent’s experience of assisting children and families subject to NRPF conditions, particularly those who were born in the UK. Kent’s evidence was presented by the Assistant Director for Integrated Children’s Services. The key areas addressed included discretionary welfare payments, the Household  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.

20.

Spending Review - Verbal Update

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Dave Shipton, Head of Finance Policy, Planning and Strategy was in attendance for this item.

 

1) Mr Shipton said that the government had announced the settlement for local government within the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. KCC was to receive an additional un-ringfenced grant that could be used towards general budget spending pressures. The grant was to amount to £1.6 billion nationally in each of the next 3 years, £4.8 billion in total over the period. It was estimated that KCC’s share of the grant would be £20-30 million per year but it had not yet been announced how the grant would be allocated. The grant could be built into the general budget and could be used towards closing the budget gap. It was noted that it would be the same amount in each of the 3 years and would not be increased to take account of further spending growth in 2023-24 and 2024-25.

 

Information was not yet available to clarify whether the grant would have to be used to fund spending increases or income losses imposed by other measures from within the Spending Review. For example, the measures included freezing the inflationary uplift on business rates for all businesses. Normally, local authorities retained 50% of the increase in business rates coming through the uplift and this went towards funding KCC’s and Kent’s district budgets. In usual circumstances, KCC would be compensated and it had been announced that authorities would be compensated but it was not clear if it was within the grant or on top of it.

 

It was anticipated that there would be a further announcement in the next few weeks about the grant allocation and what would need to funded from the grant.

 

2) Mr Shipton said that the second announcement from the government was about additional funding for social care reforms. KCC was to receive a separate allocation from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities towards social care reforms. In total, this was to amount to £3.6 billion over 3 years, nationally. Unlike the un-ringfenced grant, this would be increased in incremental amounts: £0.2 billon in 2022-23, a further £1.2 billion in 2023-24 (taking the total to £1.4 billion) and a further £0.6 billion in 2024-25 (taking the total to £2.0 billion) and this was principally to do with the timings of the cap on the care costs for individuals due to come into force in October 2023, part-way through the 2023-24 financial year.

 

It had been estimated that KCC’s share of the social care reform grant in the first year of allocation would be £4-5 million, reflecting that most of the costs in the first year would be preparation costs. It was estimated that this would then rise to £30-33 million in 2023-24 and then £42-47 million in 2024-25. These were estimated numbers as it had not been announced how grants would be distributed but the grant would need to fund the cost of the reforms, including the cost of limiting  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.

21.

Supporting Kent Residents Through the Covid-19 Pandemic and Contain Outbreak Management Fund (COMF) - Support for Residents and Businesses pdf icon PDF 445 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Lucy Alesbrook, Helping Hands Programme Manager was in attendance for this item.

 

1) The Leader introduced the report and proposed that Agenda Items 5 and 6 be presented together. In the extraordinary circumstances created by the pandemic, one-off grants were given to KCC and work had been done to consider how to best use those grants to build a legacy and resilience for the future.

 

There had been various sources of funding and what started as the Winter Fund later became the Covid Local Support Grant and the latest incarnation was the Household Support Grant.

 

There had been £95 million Covid-19 grants in various tranches which covered a range of different support. KCC had launched the Helping Hands initiative which covered various areas but there had been four points of particular focus: low-income households and those in financial distress, business and the self-employed, digital poverty and exclusion and match-funding for crowdfunding of local projects. Close work had been undertaken with Kent Support and Assistance Service (KSAS), district and borough councils and the voluntary sector.

 

There was also the Contain Outbreak Management Fund which made an important contribution across a number of areas.

 

The Household Support Grant had to be spent by the end of the 2021-22 financial year and was worth £11 million to Kent. A quick decision was made as an officer decision under delegated authority regarding free school meals over October half term to ensure this was deliverable. Future arrangements through to spring of 2022 were forthcoming as part of an urgent decision.

 

The Leader had asked the Monitoring Officer to write to government regarding the timing of grant announcements and the way in which local government decision making processes are impacted in order to make full use of the grants.

 

2) Ms Alesbrook outlined the reports and presented the attached slides.

 

3) Members asked questions and the following points were noted:

 

·       Work had been done by KCC with energy and water companies around poverty. It was hoped that there would be a change to energy provision and how services were delivered.

·       Congratulations and thanks were given to Ms Alesbrook and others working on support for Kent residents. Local government at all levels had been successful at delivering at speed and ensuring funding reached families and businesses.

 

4) RESOLVED to note the reports, endorse the current and future programme of work for supporting Kent residents through the Covid-19 pandemic, endorse the proposed future use of the remaining grant and for Cabinet to receive updates as to how it is spent.

22.

Kent County Council COP26 Environment Paper pdf icon PDF 191 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Stephanie Holt-Castle, Director for Growth and Communities was in attendance for this item.

 

1) Miss Carey introduced the report. KCC had aligned its work with the 4 key goals of COP26. The 26th Conference of Parties was to be held in Glasgow and had raised the profile of the environmental agenda. It was hoped that by aligning with the goals, significant progress could be made for Kent and for the planet.

 

2) Ms Holt-Castle said that work had been done to align and look at what areas KCC were taking forward in line with the 4 key objectives of COP26. Goal 1 of COP26 was focussed on the Net Zero agenda which had been discussed at the meeting of Cabinet in September 2021. Goal 2 of COP26 was around adaptation; KCC was a national leader in this area and had been shortlisted by the Local Government Chronicle (LGC) National Awards on Climate Response.

 

KCC had been invited to present to the government’s Climate Change Committee – Adaptations Sub-Committee. KCC had made practical adaptations in response to the challenge of climate change and had engaged partners and public. There were 3 key areas of adaptation: methodology and analysis; application on the ground and different tools that partners could use - maximising the ability of everyone to look at adaptation.

 

The 3-pronged approach included Plan Bee – pollinator plan; Plan Tree and Natural Solutions to Climate Change. KCC was pioneering in having a Climate Change Risk and Impact Assessment in 2019 as one of the first local authorities in England to have this assessment. The Climate Change Risk and Impact Assessment had been refreshed. It was thought that for Kent, climate change would result in warmer, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers. It was expected that extreme weather events would occur more frequently. As well as challenging impacts to Kent and Medway, there would also be opportunities. There would be challenges in terms of the impact to agricultural land, changes to some of the crops, overheating in public buildings, habitat loss, flooding and disruption to travel.  In terms of opportunities, it was expected that there would be decreased excess winter mortality amongst the elderly, reduced energy in buildings, longer growing seasons, increased soft fruit production and viticulture.

 

There was an adaptation programme across 7 key sectors: agriculture, natural environment, people and the built environment, local government, transport, industry and utility. A report was being taken to the Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee on 3 November 2021 and there would be a consultation in 2022.

 

The government had announced funding which would support work on climate change: sustainable transport, support for businesses to adopt low carbon technologies, decarbonisation of public buildings, grants for housing including social housing amongst other funding streams.

 

Work was being done with finance colleagues to understand the impact of the budget announcements on existing capital and revenue plans for meeting Net Zero and for climate change.

 

Partnership working was important for meeting the challenges of climate change. KCC  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.