Agenda and draft minutes

Cabinet - Thursday, 23rd June, 2022 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

Note: Please note that the webcast for this meeting is currently unavailable. 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies and Substitutes

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Mr Hill. Mrs Hohler was in attendance. Mr Murphy attended virtually.

2.

Minutes of the meeting held on 16 May 2022 pdf icon PDF 165 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved that the minutes of the meeting held on 16 May 2022 were a correct record and that they be signed by the Chair.

 

3.

Cabinet Member Updates

Additional documents:

Minutes:

1) Mrs Bell said there was less live data to review on Covid-19 but the Coronavirus was still circulating in Kent.

 

There was to be a heatwave in Kent and residents were asked to: keep cool, stay hydrated and be prepared. Kent’s residents were urged to stay indoors when it was very hot, avoid direct sunlight, stay in the shade, keep one’s room or house cool by drawing the blinds when the sun was coming in, or when it was cooler outside to open windows and doors. It was important to stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids. It was important to be prepared and to avoid travelling when it was really hot. If travel was necessary,  residents were asked to take common sense precautions.

 

KCC was seeking for health and social care professionals to identify people they cared for who were at high risk, make plans to support them and to check on them regularly during hot weather. Care home managers and staff identified people they were caring for at high risk and were making changes as necessary, using the Beat the Heat checklist. Advice was available on the KCC website regarding keeping cool in hot weather.

 

It was Carers Week between 6 and 12 June. This was an annual awareness campaign to celebrate and recognise the vital contribution made by the UK’s 6.5 million carers. It aimed to highlight the challenges unpaid carers face and recognised the contribution made to families and communities throughout the UK. It also helped people who did not think of themselves as having caring responsibilities to identify as carers and access much-needed support.

 

The campaign was brought to life by thousands of individuals and organisations who came together to provide support for carers, run activities, to highlight the vital role carers play in our communities and draw attention to just how important caring was. There had been numerous drop-in information sessions and coffee drop-ins across the county.

 

KCC urged everyone to recognise Kent’s carers and support them in getting the practical, financial and emotional help needed. Any carers not currently receiving help were encouraged to contact KCC for a care assessment so that they could be provided with all the support available to assist them to continue caring and to ensure their wellbeing. Anyone could ask for a carer assessment, even if the person being cared for was not receiving support from the council.

 

2) Mrs Chandler said that over the previous six years, HeadStart Kent had been an ambitious, county-wide programme, working to support the resilience and emotional wellbeing of young people in Kent through a variety of ways. The HeadStart Learning and Celebration Event on 8 June included hearing from young people involved in the programme, as well as from schools, organisations, The National Lottery Community Fund, and the HeadStart team, to share key learning, celebrate the many achievements and demonstrate how the programme’s elements were to be sustained and developed across the county.

 

The event was attended by 130 participants  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Provisional Revenue and Capital Budget Outturn Report 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 222 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

John Betts, Interim Corporate Director (Finance) was in attendance for this item

 

1) Mr Oakford said the report outlined the provisional outturn for 2021-22 and it was the 22nd year that KCC was able to demonstrate sound financial management. This was a considerable accomplishment considering the forecast position experienced throughout the year. The last reported position showed an overspend of £13.9 million. In the last quarter, KCC had managed this down to a slight underspend of £500,000. This was primarily due to proactive management, additional unexpected grant income, re-phasing of tenders and a review of expenditure that could be legitimately charged to various grants. Within the overall outturn position, there was significant overspend in Children’s Services totalling £8 million. This had been offset with underspends elsewhere. The provisional outturn was an underspend of £7.6 million, with ‘roll forward’ requests of £7.1 million, bringing the net position to an underspend of £0.5 million.

 

The Covid related spending had been closely managed and monitored throughout the year. The Covid related spending charged to the Covid-19 Emergency Grant reserve amounted to £17.9 million, leaving a balance of £53 million in the reserve. There were a number of commitments against the reserve going forward into 2022/2023.

 

KCC’s earmarked and general reserves had increased by £15.3 million to £408.1 million. The largest item was the emergency contribution to the General Fund of £14 million. This brought the general reserve to 5% of the revenue budget.

 

The capital outturn position was an underspend of £172 million with the vast majority of this related to re-phasing and a £2 million real underspend.

 

The Schools’ delegated budgets had reported an overspend of £41 million which reflected the increased number of children requiring an Education, Health and Care Plan. The needs of children had become more complex and with the complexity came more expense. The Dedicated Schools Grant deficit was £97.6 million. However, KCC had been invited by the Department for Education to take part in the second round of the Safety Valve Programme discussions to support the development of a sustainable plan for recovery.

 

2) Mr Betts said it was a remarkable achievement to demonstrate sound financial management and achieve an underspend given the pressures. There had been a consistent focus on good financial management. There was to be a considerable amount of financial challenge in the coming year but KCC was in a robust position.

 

3) RESOLVED to agree the recommendations set out in the report.

 

5.

Quarterly Performance Report pdf icon PDF 157 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

 

1)    Rachel Kennard outlined the report for Quarter 4, reporting full year results for 2021-22 as well as proposed indicators and targets for the coming year. Overall, the position was positive. 24 of the KPIs were ‘RAG’ rated as green, 6 rated as amber and 3 performing below target rated as red.

 

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

 

·       77% of complaints had been responded to within timescale which was below the floor standard of 80% but this was an improvement to the previous quarter. Work was ongoing to improve this area.

 

·       The KPI relating to Section 106 developer contributions had been affected by one large site in Thanet. Work was being undertaken to rectify the situation.

 

·       There had been an improvement throughout the year for the KPI under Children, Young People and Education, ‘ECHPs issued within 20 weeks’. This KPI was expected to continue to improve.

 

3) It was noted that only 5 KPIs had shown deterioration.

 

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

 

·       The KPIs demonstrated a resilient operating environment and how well KCC stood up against pressures.

 

5) Resolved that the Quarterly Performance Report – Quarter 4 be noted.

 

6.

Economic Strategy pdf icon PDF 205 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

David Smith, Director of Economic Development and Ross Gill, Associate Director at SQW were in attendance for this item.

 

1) Mr Murphy introduced the report.

 

2) Mr Smith outlined the report and advised that work had been ongoing to make a document which was to be supported across Kent and Medway and would form the basis of an 8-year framework for specific actions. The strategy was completely aligned with the KCC Strategic Statement.

 

3) Mr Gill said a draft of the document had been considered at a meeting of Growth, Economic Development and Communities Cabinet Committee (GEDC CC) on 10 May and it was also shared with county partnerships. Comments had been incorporated into the revised Strategic Framework draft. Members of GEDC CC were keen to have a greater ‘line of sight’ over evidence so this had been built into the document. The evidence, in many cases, was historical and reflected gradual, incremental changes and it was considered how to reflect the changes in context within the draft Strategy.

 

There would need to be a consensus on the strategic as while KCC was a driver in the work, support was needed from the districts and Medway. There would need to be a balance in the longer term between flexibility and a certain amount of abstraction and grounding actions.

 

Some actions had already been taken forward in the multi-agency context.

 

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

 

·       It was considered there was a huge opportunity in improving access through the Port of Dover. The strategy built on the strength of Dover and one of the actions already being worked on was a ‘green route’ through to the continent.

·       There was a huge movement where people had gone from working in offices in London to working where they lived in Kent and where people were spending money in their communities. However, it was important to press for more investment in Kent’s transport network, in particular the train and highway networks. Kent’s proximity to London was also a strength.

·       Alignment with existing strategy around education and the skills base was important. It was queried how the Strategy was being linked with business and how to strengthen links in Kent. The next stage would involve publicly engaging with partners such as universities, FE colleges and places like Discovery Park. They would be crucial in delivering the strategy alongside districts.

 

5) RESOLVED to note the draft Strategic Framework.

7.

Ukraine Update pdf icon PDF 745 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

 

1) Ms Spore outlined the presentation (attached).

 

2) In response to questions and comments, it was noted:

 

·       The expectation was the government would reimburse local authorities for costs such as school transport. The DFE guidance had still not been received so there was a risk the cost would not be met.

·       Some groups were going back to Ukraine but the majority of people were securing places to work and for children to go to school in the community.

·       Concerns were raised about housing issues due to placement breakdown. Homelessness was recognised as key risk and the longer placements go on, the more likely there could be breakdowns. There will be challenges around accommodation for when the 6-9 months of placement ends and capacity moving forward.

 

3) RESOLVED to note the update.

 

8.

South East Migration pdf icon PDF 355 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Sarah Hammond, Interim Corporate Director for CYPE; Louise Fisher, Assistant Director (Front Door); Chris Grosskopf, Refugee Resettlement Programme Manager; and Roy Millard, Head of Partnership (South East Strategic partnership for Migration) were in attendance for this item.

 

1) Ms Hammond outlined the presentation (attached).

 

2) Ms Fisher outlined the section of the presentation relating to UASC.

 

3) Mr Millard and Ms Grosskopf outlined the presentation regarding South East Strategic Partnership for Migration (attached).

 

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

 

·       Thanks were given to the Area Education Officers for their assistance with young people coming from Afghanistan.

 

·       There were 53 female UASCs between January and June with the majority in 15-17 age group.

 

·       It was reported that 80% of claims for asylum were successful last year on the first hearing and the figure rose on appeal. It was high in comparison to ‘normal’ years, where the percentage was around 60% and it was not clear how much the pandemic affected this. Negative decisions were not being served during the pandemic. Once granted, there was not the same system to track where people had gone to settle down. However, it was important when considering the modelling for full dispersal.

 

·       Most Ukrainians were not claiming asylum but some were as they had ‘fallen between the schemes’, as was the case for Syrians a few years ago.

 

5) RESOLVED to note the report.