Agenda and minutes

Cabinet - Monday, 16th May, 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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There were no apologies for absence.


Minutes of the Meetings held on 31 March 2022 and 21 April 2022 pdf icon PDF 286 KB

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Resolved that the minutes of the meetings held on 31 March 2022 and 21 April 2022 were a correct record and that they be signed by the Chair.



Cabinet Member Updates

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1) Mrs Bell said the Covid-19 routine symptom-free testing had ended at the beginning of April 2022 so KCC was reliant on a handful of indicators for Covid-19 surveillance, such as the national Covid-19 Infection Survey which only reported at south east level. Overall, indicators had shown declining trends in both infection rates and of patients in hospital with or because of Covid-19.


The Office for National Statistics (ONS) Survey figures up to the 30 April for the south east of England showed an estimated 2.2% of the population were infected with Covid-19, half the rate that had been recorded on 19 April. ONS rates by age showed infections were higher in older people, with 2.8% of over 50s infected compared to 1% of secondary education age children and 1.3% of primary education age children.


The number of care home staff and residents testing positive had continued to fall. The rolling 7-day average positive test count on 2 May was 5.4% for staff and 4.1% for residents.


People in hospital with Covid-19 had remained steady at 150 per day, down from 450 in late March 2022 and the majority were aged over 55. A daily average of 5 mechanically ventilated hospital beds were in use by Covid patients over the previous week. Weekly deaths from Covid-19 had continued to be at a nominal level. Sample sequencing for Kent showed BA.2 as the dominant strain.


The adult social care white paper was discussed at the last meeting of Cabinet. The Leader and Mrs Bell had written to Kent’s MPs sharing the Cabinet report, asking them to support the call for adequate funding for the reforms and sharing the view that consideration should be given to delaying the implementation of the reforms by 6 months.


Mental Health Awareness Week took place between 9 and 15 May 2022 with the theme of ‘loneliness’. Community Support Services, Live Well Kent and Kent Sheds reminded residents of the help available and activities took place online and in person at various locations across the county.


Live Well Kent is a network of community mental health and wellbeing support services delivered by charities, Porchlight and Shaw Trust, for KCC and NHS Kent and Medway CCG. The Kent Sheds Programme was set up specifically to combat loneliness, social isolation and mental health problems. KCC’s Mental Health Champions, Andrew Kennedy and Jordan Meade, visited Sheds in Faversham and West Malling. Information on the support available was on KCC’s website at


2) Mrs Chandler said she had the opportunity to meet the Children’s Social Work Teams in Swale and Gravesham and had listened to some of the issue that social workers were facing. The impact of Covid-19 and lockdowns were still being felt by frontline workers. The Covid-19 pandemic had taken a toll on children and families and this was reflected in the complexity of cases. Other agencies were only just returning to full capacity and were also still impacted by the pandemic. A letter had been written by  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Strategic Statement pdf icon PDF 463 KB

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David Whittle, Director of Strategy, Policy, Relationships and Corporate Assurance and Jenny Dixon-Sherreard were in attendance for this item


1) The Leader introduced the agenda item.


2) Mr Whittle outlined the report. The draft Strategic Statement built on the work of the interim 5-year plan. There were challenges for KCC around commissioning, the environment and the place and space agenda. It was felt that this was the first Strategic Statement where delivery of priorities was to be carried out through others and by others.


Engagement in the process of drafting the Statement had been significant, and feedback had been reflected on and changes had been made. It had been identified through engagement that staff wanted to see equality considerations foremost in planning arrangements and the corporate equality objectives which were a statutory duty had been included. County Council will be considering the item next week and subject to its approval, an assessment framework was being developed in order to oversee the delivery.


Thanks were given to the team who had worked on the draft Strategic Statement.


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


·       Preventative work would be one of the biggest challenges and partnership work would be important moving forward.

·       The corporate equality objectives had been included at the start of the statement and this reflected their importance.

·       KCC formally acknowledged the Environment and Climate Emergency in 2019; both before and subsequent to this, the local authority had been a key partner.


4) RESOLVED to endorse the recommendation as outlined in the report subject to the wording at point 8 of Priority 3 being clarified to reflect that this refers to household waste and the additional amendment above.


Schools White Paper pdf icon PDF 654 KB

Christine McInnes

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Christine McInnes, Director for Education and Mark Walker, Director for SEND were in attendance for this item.


1) Mrs Prendergast introduced the report.


2) Ms McInnes outlined the presentation (attached).


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


·       The ambition was that all schools would be involved in an academisation process by 2030. The government was altering policy to facilitate this and there would be implications for school funding. Comments were made about the provisions for local authorities to establish multi-academy trusts and it was noted that establishing these had been difficult in the past. It was questioned what the government’s thinking was around developing capacity and structures in that sector.

·       KCC had more single academies, rather than larger academy trusts. The government had not developed its thinking around models for academies and it was right to pilot some models to help form the thinking. For example, some authorities had groups of academies that had formed a cooperative rather than a chief executive model. The Department for Education (DfE) was to publish a more detailed note around this.

·       The proposed role of Schools’ Funding Forum would be involved with the supplementary funding or high needs funding, if a national funding formula was applied.

·       The ‘local’ nature of academy trusts was supported by the DfE and the phrase ‘family of academies’ was being used. There was a lot of anxiety where there was not a link through the academy governance structure with the community. This was to be addressed through the trust standards.

·       The white paper suggested protection for grammar schools and the selective nature of grammar schools. There were existing academy trusts in Kent that were a mixture of selective and non-selective schools, as well as informal partnerships between other selective and non-selective schools.

·       It was felt KCC would be in a good position to shape what was coming forward through participation in DfE pilot schemes.


4) RESOLVED to note the presentation.


SEND Green Paper pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Christine McInnes and Mark Walker

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Mark Walker, Director for SEND was in attendance for this item


1) Mr Walker outlined the presentation (attached).


2) Mrs Chandler outlined the second part of the presentation.


3) Further to comments and questions, it was noted:


·       It was acknowledged there had been difficulties in the past with regard to SEND policies in Kent. The green paper outlined that there would be clarification of roles and responsibilities and shared accountability across partners. KCC’s consultation response was to support shared accountability and propose how this might work to the benefit of children.

·       There would be an update brought to Cabinet following the engagement process.


4) RESOLVED to note the presentation.





Findings from New Philanthropy Capital Research - Full Cost Recovery and commissioning the VCSE pdf icon PDF 302 KB

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Lydia Jackson, Policy and Relationships Officer (VCS); David Whittle, Director of Strategy, Policy, Relationships and Corporate Assurance; Ben Watts, General Counsel; Josephine McCartney, Chief Executive of Kent Community Foundation


1) Mr Hill introduced the report.


2) Mr Whittle outlined the report. This was the first in-depth research work that had been conducted on this matter and it had attracted attention nationally from the wider public sector and from government. The research had highlighted challenges concerning consistency of practice, cost and quality. Also highlighted were challenges for the voluntary sector to respond to around behaviour, price, whether it appropriately shared risk and the responsibility of not meeting full cost recovery.


Strategic opportunities had been highlighted for KCC in how it conducts procurement moving forward and the building of strategic partnerships. Also, there were opportunities to come out of the recent procurement green paper.


The VCSE Steering Group was important in taking this work forward.


3) Mrs McCartney thanked KCC for work on this area and said it had highlighted the overall issues in the relationship with the voluntary sector and local authorities. Kent had led the way on addressing these issues and it was hoped that other local authorities and parts of the sector would also pick this up. The Steering Group had provided a forum for challenges to be shared and to open a more open relationship.


4) Ms Maynard said the research was welcomed and it was an exciting opportunity to make sure that existing commissioning activities remained fit for purpose. It had been positive to see many good examples of commissioning and contract management, where there had been a partnership ethos and mutual respect and understanding. Work was underway to adopt good practices into commissioning standards across the organisation to ensure consistency of approach and delivery to a high standard.


5) Further to comments and questions, it was noted:


·       There were challenges in not reinforcing previous behaviours and in deciding the next steps so that changes could be evidenced. There would be monitoring arrangements put in place and work would be ongoing with regard to commissioning standards. A reporting mechanism would be put in place to the relevant Cabinet Committee and alignment with the Civic Society Strategy would be considered.

·       There was an impact from the findings of the research on Cabinet Members’ decisions moving forward and given the commitments made.


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



Procurement of an E-voucher Distribution Provider pdf icon PDF 448 KB

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David Adams, Reconnect Programme Manager was in attendance for this item.


1) Mr Oakford introduced the report.


2) Mr Adams outlined the report. Thanks were given to officers across KCC for their support in accommodating a tight deadline in order that support could be delivered in the summer. A lead-in time was required where the support was provided via schools. The proposed contract period was for 3 years with 2 potential 1-year extensions.


3) Further to comments from Members, it was noted:


·       There would need to be full reporting on progress on this important piece of work.


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