Agenda and minutes

Cabinet - Thursday, 30th March, 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 Prendergast. Mr Hill was in attendance virtually.



Minutes of the meetings held on 26 January and 7 March 2023 pdf icon PDF 215 KB

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RESOLVED that the minutes of the meetings on 26 January 2023 and 7 March 2023 were a correct record and that they be signed by the Chair.



Cabinet Member Updates

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1) Mrs Bell said that Kent residents who keep pigeons or chickens on their property were amongst those being encouraged to register them with the Animal and Plant Health Agency to better protect them from avian influenza. It was noted that while there had been no confirmed cases of bird flu amongst commercial flocks in Kent during the outbreak, there had been cases found in wild birds. Public Health was advising hobby keepers, those with fewer than 50 birds, to voluntarily register as it would allow them to be contacted quicker if there was a local outbreak, helping to protect birds and the national poultry flock.  


Mrs Bell said the Government had announced £421 million for local authorities across England over the next 3 years to boost drug and alcohol treatment. The funding would mean that the total local authority funds for treatment would have increased by 40% between 2020/21-2024/25. For Kent, this meant an extra £3 million during the next financial year and then £5 million for each of the following two years. Together with the core grant for drug and alcohol treatment, this would be a total of £13.7 million for 2023/24 for Kent County Council. The additional funding would be used to enable the Council to focus support on homeless individuals into treatment services, maintain the treatment and recovery for those moving into new accommodation and help individuals into employment as part of their treatment.


Mrs Bell said that Kent Adult Social Care had won awards at the Public Sector Transformation Awards on 8 March 2023. Kent Adult Social Care won Bronze for the Best Use of Digital and Technology Award for their Technology Enabled Care Services. Silver for the Transformation of Health and Social Care Award for community micro-enterprises and Gold for the Communications Award for the Kent Adult Social Care strategy. It was also noted that the Kent Public Health and Strategy Team was successful in the Health Watch Recognition Awards on 29 March 2023 which Mrs Bell had attended. Mrs Bell congratulated and thanked all the staff involved.


2) Mrs Chandler said Dame Rachel de Souza the Children’s Commissioner, made a visit to KCC’s Reception and Safe Care Service for unaccompanied asylum seeking young people waiting for transfer to other local authority care. The young people spoke about the help, support and care they had received from the team at Millbank and Appledore and how safe they felt. They also had communicated that the delays with the National Transfer Scheme were difficult for the young people and the Children’s Commissioner agreed to take this issue up with other local authorities. Thanks were given to the whole team and service who worked with UASC on a daily basis.


On 22 February, Mrs Chandler visited the Front Door Team at Kroner House in Ashford. Mrs Chandler was encouraged by the positive attitudes and level of knowledge shown by staff and how dedicated and determined they were to ensure the safety of Kent’s children and young people.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


KCC Share of Retained Business Rates and Final Local Government Finance Settlement 2023-24 pdf icon PDF 128 KB

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


1)    Mr Oakford introduced and gave an overview of the report. 


2)    Mr Shipton gave further details. It was noted that the business rate retention calculation was complicated due to the revaluation of all the rateable values. The adjustment had not been fully completed yet and there could be further adjustments in 2024/25 and 2025/26. The revaluation was undertaken on a 3-year cycle. The final settlement was welcomed due to the extra funding from the services grant, there was no guarantee that this funding would be available in future years. Some figures were still estimates but major adjustments were not anticipated.


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



Update on Supporting Kent Residents with Financial Hardship pdf icon PDF 319 KB

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Lucy Alesbrook, Financial Hardship Programme Manager, was in attendance for this item. 

1) Lucy Alesbrook introduced the update.


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


  • There were strict requirements about what support could be provided by the Household Support Fund but there was some flexibility to target where funding went. There needed to be a publicly available scheme that members of the public could put themselves forward for, rather than KCC identifying individuals for support.
  • Since the announcement of the Household Support Fund, work had been undertaken and the eligibility criteria were being scoped out. The plan was to use a tranche version of the voucher scheme for a set amount of time to help manage demand and capacity. Residents were to be notified prior to the launch through press releases and the website.
  • The Helping Hands monies and the Household Support Fund monies were non-recurring. The programme team had been clear and careful not to create an assumption that the funding would continue. 


3) The Leader said that services such as those offering money advice were important. If work being done in this area demonstrated the impact of people avoiding crisis, that it had beneficial effect on their lives and the benefits were lasting, this would inform potential future schemes.


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



Financial Monitoring Report pdf icon PDF 101 KB

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1) Mr Oakford outlined the report. There had been a reduction in the forecast overspend since the previously reported position. The overspend was still a cause for concern and work was ongoing to ensure that it was minimised. The Council's savings target for 2022/23 of £51.6 million had not been met, with £36.8 million forecast to be delivered by year-end. The savings targeted needed to be achieved in the next financial year as KCC could not keep bringing savings forward and rely on reserves. The High Needs deficit continued to be the Council's single biggest financial risk at £142 million by the end of the financial year. The Safety Valve Agreement with the Department for Education was expected to help in the medium term and put the budget on a sustainable footing. Difficult decisions were required to address the financial situation in the medium term.


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


·       The forecast pressure for Adult Social Care was £25.6 million, a reduction of £2 million since quarter 2. The pressures were identified as £13.3 from the non-delivery of savings, and £12.2 million was moved back to 2023/24. There was also £2.3 million for the required increase in bad debt provision and £9.9 million of activity-related pressures. There was ongoing targeted action on the use of short-term beds, which contributed to a reduction in spending. It was noted that joint work across health and social care on hospital discharge was ongoing. Efforts were being made to use innovative technology and community care options to reduce the reliance on nursing and residential care. Work was ongoing to recover funds owed to the authority, in line with ethical best practice while supporting those in financial hardship.

·       There was a long-term contract with the waste plant at Allington and the contract increased at an agreed rate linked to the Retail Price Index, causing a hit to the budget in April. The Waste Management Team had managed to absorb the cost pressure by improving recycling and recycling rates.

·       The challenge that the High Needs Block deficit placed on the Council was acknowledged. There had been an uptick in the number of children identified as having SEND needs or requiring an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), and there had been some evidence that the criteria for SEND in the SEND code of practice had been loosely applied. The intention was to ensure that the criteria were applied appropriately and this would relieve the pressure on the budget.

·       There had been a small increase in the number of Looked After Children, but the placement costs were high and a significant cost pressure. There was an issue with children with more complex needs as their placement costs were very high due to availability and staffing ratios. Work was ongoing to work in partnership with health colleagues to alleviate some of the pressures and recruit in-house foster carers. It was also noted the high costs of legal services. 

·       There were two  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Quarterly Performance Report pdf icon PDF 235 KB

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Rachel Kennard, Chief Analyst; Ben Watts, General Counsel and Richard Smith, Corporate Director for Adult Social Care were in attendance for this item. 


1) Ms Kennard outlined the report for Quarter 3 (Q3), 2022-2023 and said that out of 37 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) contained within the Quarterly Performance Report (QPR), 15 achieved target (rated green), 16 achieved and exceeded the floor standard but did not meet the target (rated amber), and 6 did not meet floor standard (rated red). It was noted that the number of red ratings had fallen as the financial year progressed, but there had been a growth in amber ratings, largely at the expense of green. The direction of travel analysis continued to be less positive.


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


  • The latest round of the Solar Together Scheme was open to households to use the collective buying scheme for solar panels and battery storage. 
  • KCC had statutory duties on Freedom of Information (FOI) requests. There had been improvements and there were plans in place across the services to improve KCC’s compliance. Improvements were necessary or the Council was at risk of being issued with an enforcement notice by the Information Commissioner.  
  • A new KPI was suggested for inclusion in future QPRs concerning response times to Highways and Transport enquiries.  
  • There had been targeted work on Care Needs Assessments. There had been improvements in the number of assessments and the number of annual reviews of individual care and support plans completed. Work was ongoing to meet the 28-day target.  


3) RESOLVED to note the report.