Agenda and draft minutes

Cabinet - Thursday, 26th January, 2023 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber

Contact: Emily Kennedy  Tel: 03000 419625 Email:


No. Item



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Apologies were received from Mrs Bell.



Minutes of the Meeting held on 5 January 2023 pdf icon PDF 155 KB

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RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting on 5 January 2023 were a correct record and that they be signed by the Chair.



Cabinet Member Updates

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1) Mrs Chandler confirmed the final total figures for Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC) referrals in 2022 as 1,378, which was significantly higher than in previous years. The staff who had been responsible for the referrals were thanked for their efforts during a challenging year. As of 20 January 2023, there had been 45 UASC referrals since the start of the year. There were also 48 open cases of under-18s who had not claimed asylum on arrival.


An update was provided on the 0-5 strategy task and finish group chaired by Mrs S Hamilton, two meetings had been held, with six additional meetings planned. Four would be focussed on operational matters and the final two to discuss the next steps. Feedback had been positive, and Mrs Chandler was confident that a range of positive outcomes would be produced in the future. 


2) Mr Love said that the Department for Education had announced that 8 Kent schools had been successful in their bids under the School Rebuilding Programme. The schools were a mix of both primary and secondary and the funding would ensure that they were fit for the future and open the opportunity for expansion.


Mr Love visited Simon Langton Girls Grammar School, 10 January 2023, to see the Biojoyversity programme and learn about the new initiative, Encompass. Mr Love thanked students and staff for all their work, energy and passion displayed during the visit.


Mr Love said that he had visited the recently opened Barton Manor School in Canterbury. Mr Love remarked on the school’s ethos and design and said that new capital investment had been made due to its links as an academy trust. Mr Love had also met with two members of Kent PACT where important issues were discussed and their ongoing contributions to the SEND assurance board. The first meeting of the SEND Assurance Board had occurred on 18 January 2023 and Deborah Glassbrook had been appointed as the Independent Chair and would bring much experience that would be of benefit to the Kent area. Mr Love said that the first meeting had been productive and would be an important step to improve the experience of all those who used SEND services. 


3) Miss Carey said that the Environment Team had won a further set of grants from the Public Sector De-carbonisation scheme, pending sign-off from the Corporate Director for Finance. The funding was to be used on projects which would contribute to carbon savings and result in reduced energy costs. This was to be achieved through a new building management system upgrade and switching from gas to electric heat pump at Worrall House. The Yew Tree Centre was also to get a building management system upgrade, double-glazed windows, LED lighting and a switch from a gas boiler to an electric heat pump. The Ashford Gateway Plus would get LED lights and switch from a gas boiler to an electric heat pump. Also, the KCC building at Oxford Road would get a new building management system, double-glazed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Capital Programme 2023-33, Revenue Budget 2023-24 and Medium Term Financial Plan 2023-26 pdf icon PDF 205 KB

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David Shipton, Head of Financial Strategy, was in attendance for this item.


1)    Mr Oakford introduced the report. Mr Oakford said that budget reviews had been completed with each of the Cabinet Committees and outlined some of the common themes that were raised. Members had been encouraged to submit suggestions for adjustments to the draft budget. Mr Oakford said that many Members had wanted  the administration to present a range of alternatives to the budget proposals.. There had been many questions on the Safety Valve, but it was explained to Members that this was not part of the current budget as negotiations were ongoing. There was much interest in the state of the Reserves and the effect of any future drawdowns on the Council's financial resilience. Mr Oakford said that no formal suggestions for budget adjustments were passed to be brought to Cabinet. Mr Oakford thanked the Finance officers for their work and the balanced budget was to be put forward to full Council for their consideration.


2)    Mr Shipton gave a PowerPoint Presentation (find attached). He outlined a summary of the comments that were raised during the review of the draft budget from the Cabinet Committees. 


Responding to the comments, Mr Shipton noted that KCC had responded to the provisional settlement proposals from government and always responds to all government consultations on financial matters.


In past budgets, the savings and income as a percentage of the net budget was 2.8% in 2022-2023 and 3.2% in 2021-2022 but in the draft budget for 2023-2024 this had increased to 4.2%.  There were significantly more policy savings than previously. Projected future savings in the medium term financial plan anticipated that this would be at around 3% in 2024-2025. 


The Fair Funding Review was to be delayed by at least 2 years with no definitive date given for when the review would be carried out.     


Mr Shipton said that if the Council was to become insolvent, there was a process to be undertaken which would ultimately lead to a Section 114 Notice. KCC was a long way from being insolvent as long as adequate reserves were maintained commensurate with the risks inherent in the budget. 


There were questions posed by Members in the Cabinet Committees regarding insecure funding.  There were three sources of insecure funding which the Council could not rely on to support the budget: the direct proceeds from the business rate pool with Kent districts, the new homes bonus grant and Kings Hill.


3)    The Leader thanked the Finance Team and other teams from across the Council. The Leader said the risk of a Section 114 Notice was mitigated by adequate reserves being maintained and bysavings being delivered as outlined in the budget.   


4)    Miss Carey noted the difficulty of achieving a balanced budget and said that challenges and suggestions to the budget from backbench Members had not been effective in resolving the underlying issues facing the Council. Miss Carey thanked Members and Finance officers.


5)    Mrs Chandler responded to some  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Kent Commissioning Plan pdf icon PDF 229 KB

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Nick Abrahams, Area Education Officer – West Kent, was in attendance for this item.  


1) Mr Love introduced the report. Mr Love thanked head teachers, governors and academy trusts for their support and said that he had, and would continue to, meet with school leaders as the directorate deliver this strategic plan. Mr Love noted that the Kent Commissioning Plan (KCP) had been endorsed by the Children’s, Young People and Education Cabinet Committee on 29 November 2022. 


2) Mr Abrahams gave further details on the plan. The KCP was produced annually with changes tracked over time and the key changes made in this year’s iteration were outlined.


3) The Leader said that the longer-term house building would put further pressure on school place provision. It was noted that developer contributions to education provision would be significant going forward.


4) Mr Abrahams said that work had been commissioned focussed on special provision and inclusion within mainstream schools. This work was to have an ongoing impact at an individual level, but it would take time for this to be reflected in the overall forecast. This year's Kent Commissioning Plan forecasts the number of children with Education Health Care Plans (EHCPs) and the rate of placement within special schools or mainstream schools. Future iterations of the KCP would provide more detail and take the Safety Valve into account. 




Strategic Reset Programme pdf icon PDF 408 KB

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Liz Sanderson, SRP Strategic Lead, was in attendance for this item.


1) Ms Sanderson introduced the report.


2) The Leader noted that the Strategic Reset Programme was a mechanism to ensure that the Council would make the best use of limited resources and focus them on the most important areas. Ongoing monitoring of the programme and its priorities would be required going forward. Ms Sanderson responded that there would need to be flexibility in the programme to respond to challenges and priorities that the Council faced in the future.


3) Mr Oakford said that with the limited budget and human resources, the Council had to focus on strategic priorities. It was noted that the relationships that Ms Sanderson and the Strategic Reset Programme team have built with the directorates must be maintained and Directors’ focus was on achieving what was set out in the programme. Much of what was outlined in the budget was tied to the ongoing achievements outlined in the Strategic Reset Programme. Mr Oakford thanked Ms Sanderson and her team for their work and communication. 


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