Agenda and minutes

Cabinet - Thursday, 31st March, 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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Apologies were received from Mrs Prendergast.



Minutes of the meeting held on 3 March 2022 pdf icon PDF 164 KB

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Resolved that the minutes of the meetings held on 3 March 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 there were very high case rates of Covid-19 both in Kent and nationally. While there were rising hospital admissions, there were low rates of critical care admissions. Universal Covid-19 testing was to cease and there were concerns about the loss of the granularity of the local picture. It was felt that the true case rates of Covid-19 were higher than reported due to the fall in testing and tests not being available. Case rates in Kent were higher than the average for England and case numbers were highest in middle-aged adults.


As set out in the government’s plan for living with Covid, it was expected that it would be managed regionally and locally as part of a wider ‘all hazards’ approach – using existing health protection frameworks.


All testing regimes, infection prevention and control measures set up in care homes and hospitals were to continue but the government would no longer provide free universal symptomatic and symptom-free testing from 1 April 2022. The council-managed test centres at Ashford and in Maidstone were to close on 31 March 2022. Thanks were given to all the staff involved with setting up and operating the test centres across Kent.


National guidance released on 29 March listed groups of those who were to have access to symptomatic testing, including patients in hospital and staff and residents in high-risk settings including care homes, extra care and hospices. People were to be tested when they were discharged from hospitals into care homes and hospices. Non-symptomatic testing was to continue in some high-risk settings where infection can spread rapidly.


Following the Care Summit at the beginning of March, it had been noted that virtual attendees had not been part of the discussion sessions in the afternoon. An additional workshop was held on 23 March to capture the visions and experiences of the virtual attendees. A workshop was planned for 21 April to co-develop ideas from the Summit into actions and planning would start for the next Care Summit in 2023.


2) Mrs Chandler gave an update relating to her portfolio and gave an update on behalf of Mrs Prendergast.


With regard to the Schools White paper, KCC welcomed the Department for Education’s new pledges to provide the right support to children and young people in the right place at the right time so they could achieve their potential.


The Opportunity for All White Paper promised a range of support for the education system post Covid, building on existing best practice in schools. KCC was already working on a ground-breaking project with the Education Endowment Fund and looked forward to extending this further.


The key areas for change included pupil achievement, behaviour and attendance and school organisation.


KCC was committed to making Kent a county working for all children and reforms helping KCC work together to deliver outstanding outcomes for children, especially the most vulnerable, were welcomed. The evidence showed that pupils benefited from schools and trusts working collaboratively and KCC warmly welcomed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Quarterly Performance Report 2021/2022 Quarter 3 pdf icon PDF 153 KB

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Rachel Kennard, Chief Analyst was in attendance for this item.


1)    Rachel Kennard outlined the report for Quarter 3, reporting results until the end of December 2021. Overall, the position was positive. 27 of the KPIs were ‘RAG’ rated as green, 3 rated as amber and 3 performing below target rated as red.


2)    The 3 areas that had been ‘RAG’ rated as red were the same as in Quarter 2:


·       Under Customer Services, percentage of calls to Contact Point which were answered.  The percentage of calls answered had improved to 87%. However, in December, 96% of calls had been answered and figures for January show the same percentage were answered.


·       In Quarter 2, 75% of complaints had been responded to within timescale which was below the floor standard of 80%. There had been a further decline in performance, as 72% had been responded to within timescale.


·       There had been an improvement for the KPI under Children, Young People and Education, ‘ECHPs issued within 20 weeks’. While performance had been below the floor standard for some time, there had been improvements in each quarter of 2021-22. This KPI was expected to continue to improve.


3) Further positive points from the report were noted:


·       11 indicators showed a statistically significant improving trend which indicated sustained improvement over a period of 6 quarters. Only 4 KPIs had shown significant deterioration.


4) It was also noted during Members’ discussion of the Quarterly Performance Monitoring Report:


·       There was likely to be an increase in people requiring mental health support relating to the war in Ukraine.

·       The good work of the No Use Empty Initiative was highlighted.

·       The KPIs were reviewed annually to establish indicators which best captured the work being done by KCC.


5) Resolved that the Quarterly Performance Report – Quarter 3 be noted.






KCC Budget - Updated Financial Risks pdf icon PDF 198 KB

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Zena Cooke, Corporate Director, Finance was in attendance for this item.


1) Mr Oakford introduced the report and updated Members regarding the impact of rate of inflation and the war in Ukraine on KCC’s budget.


The rate of inflation had more than doubled since July 2021 and was continuing to grow. The Bank of England had forecast that the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation rate would be around 8% in April 2022.


Inflation had a significant impact on KCC’s budget but also on the providers of services commissioned by KCC. Around £1.3 billion of KCC’s total spend was directly impacted by inflation. It had been well publicised that the increase in energy costs was to have an impact on everyone within Europe.


Reductions in equity values had impacted on the capital values of KCC’s longer term investments and pension funds. It was anticipated these values would rise again and advice was being sought.


Interest rates had risen but the vast majority of KCC’s external borrowing was secured at long-term fixed rates. Provided KCC did not need to borrow more money, the situation was secure.


2) Ms Cooke said it was not certain what the risks would be around developments internationally. However, there had been adverse impact on an already challenging budget. Officers would continue to work to achieve a balanced budget but close monitoring was to be incredibly important in the coming year.


3) Miss Carey said more should be done to increase the number of solar parks and it was felt that there were opportunities at closed landfill sites in Kent. It was considered that this had the potential to benefit KCC’s financial position and meet its environmental goals.


4) RESOLVED to note and agreed the recommendations as outlined in the report.


KCC Share of Retained Business Rates and Final Local Government Finance Settlement 2022-23 pdf icon PDF 126 KB

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Zena Cooke, Corporate Director, Finance was in attendance for this item.


1) Mr Oakford introduced the report.


2) Ms Cooke said that information regarding the retained business rates and final local government finance settlement had been received late and the information had not been received from central government at the time of publishing papers for the Budget meeting of County Council. The figures constituted KCC’s estimated share of business rates. There had been agreement at the meeting of County Council to agree amendments.


It was proposed and agreed at the meeting to continue to retain a 5% general reserve policy. It was proposed to add £430,000 to maintain 5% of the net budget in general reserves.  Cabinet were asked to agree that the remainder of around £8 million be allocated to risk reserves, to cover potentially higher inflation challenges in parts of KCC’s supply chain and the potential impacts of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


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


Ukraine Refugee Resettlement Scheme Update pdf icon PDF 231 KB

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Rebecca Spore, Director of Infrastructure was in attendance for this item.


1) The Leader and Mr Hill introduced the report.


2) Ms Spore said the response to the humanitarian crisis as a result of the war in Ukraine from Kent residents had been extraordinary, with people supporting aid and making applications to the ‘Homes for Ukraine Scheme’. This was the formal scheme being run alongside the ‘Extended Family Scheme’.


The Kent Resilience Forum (KRF) structures had been established, enabling multi- agency partners to come together and to establish a ‘command and control’ structure, also ensuring central government engagement. Alongside visa checks undertaken by the Home Office, there were checks that needed to be completed at a local level. DBS and Enhanced DBS checks and home checks were required to support the scheme. The KRF was working across all organisations to support hosts and guests. Checks were being progressed and sponsor applicants were to be contacted. Host home checks were being undertaken by district councils. It was emphasised that safeguarding was key in these processes and checks.


All services and partners working through the KRF were ready to support the needs of individuals and to help coordinate activities relating to the scheme. Information was being updated daily and being shared through communications channels.


Further to questions and comments from Members, it was noted:


·       It was important that the DBS and home checks were brought forward. There had been frustration due to the speed of processing the sponsor applications to the resettlement scheme. Sponsor households were being contacted directly regarding the DBS checks.

·       Safeguarding was to be embedded in the processes.

·       The process around the scheme was to be systemised and surge capacity was to be developed into ‘business as usual’.

·       Challenges around relationship breakdown and homelessness issues were acknowledged. KCC’s partners were focussed on making contingency arrangements in order to address this.

·       Work was being undertaken with health authorities and trusts around capacity as it was expected there would be an impact on mental health service requirements and other services.

·       Communications had been shared with schools about how to manage some of the issues arising from the war in Ukraine and children coming from conflict zones. Further information was being sought from central government.


3) The Leader thanked the Director of Infrastructure, the Director for People and Communications and officers in the Communications Team. Key processes were being put in place but there would be longer term issues to resolve.


4) RESOLVED to note the update.