Cabinet Member decisions

Decisions published

22/07/2021 - 21/00056 - Inward Investment Services ref: 2500    Recommendations Approved (subject to call-in)

Proposed decision –

 

The Cabinet Member for Economic Development to agree to entering a contract with the successful bidder once the selection process is completed.

 

Background 

Kent County Council is seeking to procure Inward Investment Services for the period August 2021 to April 2023. This will replace the existing inward investment services contract with Locate in Kent, which commenced in August 2016 and runs until the end of July 2021. Current and future contracts for this service are predominantly grant funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), with match funding from Kent County Council and Medway Council.

 

The Inward Investment Service will deliver, alongside Kent County Council and Medway Council, specific outcomes that contribute to economic development in Kent and Medway. These are:

           More investment opportunities from overseas markets

           Increased supply chain benefits for local businesses

           More inward investment in Kent and Medway

           Raised profile as a destination for inward and foreign direct investment. 

 

The Inward Investment Service will be contracted to a supplier for the period 1 August 2021 to 30 April 2023 (21 months). The contract period appears to be an unusual duration but is because of the previous contract being extended by agreement with the funding accountable body, MHCLG. The contract was extended because the previous exercise to reprocure a service provider was halted due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and a requirement to redirect KCC procurement services.

 

The purpose of the service will be to promote and raise the profile of Kent and Medway as an attractive business investment location for UK and foreign-owned businesses relocating and expanding within and into the county, and to create jobs from successful company investments.

 

The new inward investment services contract cost will be £1,666,667 + VAT. The contract will be funded by KCC, Medway Council and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Growth Programme. The ERDF funding is subject to a Grant Funding Agreement between KCC and MHCLG. 

 

The service will aim to promote and raise the profile of Kent and Medway as a business location with the aim of attracting new investment from Kent, UK, and overseas businesses, creating jobs and economic prosperity. Contracted outputs over the contract period will be 2,800 new jobs from SMEs and non-SMEs and a minimum of 100 successful business investment/location/expansion projects.  

 

 

Options

Five  options were considered:

 

           Option 1 Do nothing. This would mean having no further external service commission after the cessation of the current contract with Locate in Kent, and no in-house provision within KCC. This would provide significant financial savings to KCC. However, because there is currently no comparable business support service in Kent and Medway, this would result in a failure to capitalise on opportunities for growth in the local economy and job creation.

 

           Option 2 – Do minimum. This would mean establishing for the first time a bespoke, outward-facing business support service based in KCC. Although currently KCC does not have the expertise in-house to provide the specialised, face-to-face support that businesses want, this would potentially deliver cost savings to the County Council. However, it is unlikely to attract financial support from Medway Council, the ESIF programme and the private sector. There would also be TUPE implications of transferring staff from the current supplier to KCC. There are also currently difficulties of establishing a new team of this nature at a time when the return to office situation is not fully settled.

 

           Option 3 – Minimum Plus. This would mean an external supplier providing a less ambitious service at a lower price than currently. This would deliver financial savings to KCC and other potential funders and would maintain some specialised inward investment services in a post Brexit economy. However, it could result in a reduction in the county’s ability to compete for domestic and foreign inward investment, and it is uncertain whether financial support would be forthcoming from Medway Council.

 

           Option 4 – Targeted approach (Preferred option). This would involve delivering a targeted approach to attracting more domestic and foreign business investment to Kent and Medway, focusing specifically on the opportunities and challenges in a post-Brexit economy. This is the preferred option and is supported by the proposed funding partners, who will provide financial support for the duration of the proposed commission.

 

           Option 5 – Comprehensive service.   This would be expected to cover all sectors across Kent and would thus increase targets and outputs. Although there would be higher targets and more business beneficiaries, with the potential to create more jobs, this option would be too costly and therefore unaffordable.

 

The preferred option will deliver an improved service and a more targeted approach to attracting domestic and foreign investment in a post-Brexit economy. It is the best fit to offer an optimal service with the funding that is available.

 

How the proposed decision meets the challenges in the Interim Strategic Plan

The decision addresses the economic challenge by seeking to attract investment in Kent’s economy to support economic growth.

 

The project is also consistent with Kent’s Economic Recovery Plan, which recognises the need to support businesses in the return to growth including through focussed efforts on place marketing, sector specific support and supply chain development and support for innovation.

 

Financial implications:

 

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Economic Development

Decision published: 22/07/2021

Effective from: 30/07/2021

Decision:

As Cabinet Member for Economic Development, I agree to enter into a contract with the successful bidder for the provision of inward investment services and provide authority to the Director of Growth and Communities the delegated authority to enter into necessary contractual arrangements to let the contracts.

Lead officer: Richard Kidd


16/07/2021 - 21/00049 - Non-Maintained and Independent Special School Commissioning Strategy ref: 2498    Recommendations Approved

Proposed decision –

 

Implement a Hybrid Dynamic Purchasing System to enable a more co-ordinated approach to securing placements for children and young people (CYP) in Non-Maintained and Independent Special Schools (NMISS).  This will award contracts to schools after completion of a competitive tender process.

 

         Decision

 

-         This decision is required because the total value of the contracts involved will exceed the threshold for a Key Decision.

 

-         The proposed decision is to implement a Hybrid Dynamic Purchasing System to enable a more co-ordinated approach to securing placements for CYP in NMISS.  This will award contracts to schools after completion of a competitive tender process.

 

         Background

 

-         Non-maintained Independent Special School (NMISS) placements form part of the wider Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Service and are required to fulfil KCC’s statutory responsibility to provide suitable education for all students. There is a need for a strategy to commission placements in a consistent manner, with mechanisms to enable KCC to monitor quality, improve outcomes and ensure placements offer best value for money.

 

         Options Appraisal

 

          1. Establish a Qualified Provider List

          2. Establish a hybrid Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS)

          3. Increase internal, maintained provision

                     4. Flexi-block contracts/bespoke arrangements with providers

          5. Do nothing

 

-         Option 2, to create a hybrid Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS), is the preferred option as it allows for strategic relationships to be developed. Both block contracts and individual placements can be procured through the DPS in a way compliant with the Public Contract Regulations (PCR) 2015.

 

-         A DPS is a type of framework contract that allows other providers to join throughout the term of the contract, as long as certain criteria are met, and is the DfE recommended approach to procuring NMISS placements.

 

-         A hybrid DPS offers more flexibility in procurement options to encourage more engagement from providers and to adapt to the changing SEND landscape over the next few years.

 

-         The proposed decision to establish a hybrid DPS would enable KCC to improve outcomes for vulnerable CYP whilst improving the value for money of placements.

 

-         Option 1, to establish a Qualified Provider List, was discounted because it would not enable more strategic conversations to take place with schools.  A Qualified Provider List is better suited to stabilising markets, rather than shaping them, and it would not provide clarity of costs for placements.

 

-         Option 3, to increase internal, maintained provision, is to be considered alongside the proposed option but the need to manage the NMISS market will remain.

 

-         Option 4, to have flexi-block contracts/bespoke arrangements with providers, can be incorporated into a hybrid DPS, so this option was not considered independently.

 

-         Option 5, to do nothing, was discounted because of the increasing spend, which is non-compliant with the PCR 2015, and inconsistent outcomes for students with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHC Plans).

 

-         The risks involved with not taking this decision include:

 

         continued non-compliant spend (PCR 2015);

         increasing costs; and

         inconsistent provision and outcomes for CYP with EHC Plans.

         Strategic Plan

 

-         Through the commissioning of the contract, we will support the following strategic outcomes of KCC:

 

         Kent’s children have the best start in life and families get the right help and support when they need it; and

         every young person in Kent gets the education, skills and experiences they need for a successful future.

 

In addition, this service will support achievement of the following priorities:

 

         Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND): We are committed to working in partnership to make the necessary improvements for children and young people with SEND and their families.

         Implementing the Kent Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Written Statement of Action Plan: […] Following the result of our Ofsted and Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection in 2019, we are focusing on designing better, more inclusive services to improve the quality of services for children and young people with SEND.

         Support for vulnerable young people: Our role is to champion children, young people, parents and families. We want to improve life chances and close the achievement gap for vulnerable young people.

 

KCC Strategic Delivery Plan, 2020-23

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Integrated Children's Services

Decision published: 16/07/2021

Effective from: 24/07/2021

Decision:

As Cabinet Member for Integrated Children’s Services, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for education and Skills, I agree to:

 

A)  Implement a Dynamic Purchasing System to procure Non-maintained and Independent Special School (NMISS) placements

B) Delegate decisions about the establishment of the new arrangements to the Corporate Director for Children, Young People and Education (CYPE), or other Officer as instructed by the Corporate Director for CYPE

Division affected: (All Division);

Lead officer: Christy Holden


16/07/2021 - 21/00054 - School Term Dates 2022-23 ref: 2497    Recommendations Approved

Proposed decision:

 

The Cabinet Member for Education and Skills is asked to determine the School Year dates for community and voluntary controlled schools, by the local authority (LA)

 

Further information:

 

Schools are required by statute to provide schooling for 190 days. Teaching

staff are required by their terms and conditions to complete 195 days

including 5 development days.

 

Term dates and holidays, in England, are set:

         for community and voluntary controlled schools, by the local authority (LA)

         for foundation, voluntary aided schools, academies and free schools by the governing body.

 

The government’s policies to promote academies and free schools will mean that increasingly school governing bodies will be determining the school term dates for their schools.

 

The proposed calendar will be considered by Children, Young People and Education Cabinet Committee and following this the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills will take the final decision. Following the consultation and approval the agreed school term dates calendar for 2022-23 will be published.

 

Setting school term dates has a relationship to one of the priorities in Delivering Vision and Priorities for Improvement 2018 – 2021.  The priority states KCC will ‘ensure that the maximum number of children and young people of statutory school age are enabled to attend education provision on a full-time basis.’

 

Risks:

Following the recent announcement that the Government is looking at the possibility of shortening the summer holiday and moving to a five-term school year, it is possible that the proposed term dates for 2022-23 may have to be altered following determination.  However, our neighbouring LAs have already either determined or are currently consulting on their term dates for 2022-23 and there is the potential that if Kent delayed determination, it would have to follow the majority to ensure a co-ordinated approach.  In addition, if we do not determine the term dates, the LA will not be meeting its statutory obligation.

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Decision published: 16/07/2021

Effective from: 24/07/2021

Decision:

As Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, I agree to: the School Term dates for 2022-23.

 

Division affected: (All Division);

Lead officer: Ian Watts


16/07/2021 - 21/00053 - SEN Therapies Commissioning Strategy ref: 2499    For Determination

Proposed decision –

 

Implement A Qualified Provider List to fulfil the Council’s responsibilities for SEN Therapies provision – which will meet the needs identified in a child’s Education Health and Care Plan and where there is an identified gap in health provision.

 

         Decision required because total value of contracts will exceed threshold for a Key Decision.

 

         Background – KCC currently commission a range of therapy services to meet the needs identified in a child’s Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and where there is an identified gap in health provision.  Services are currently purchased from multiple different providers, ranging from special schools to individual therapists.

 

         There are currently three distinct arrangements in place, Preferred Provider List, Non-preferred providers and personalised funding arrangements.

 

         Services are currently purchased from over 47 providers, ranging from special schools to individual therapists.  The types of therapies purchased include speech and language, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), hydrotherapy, play therapy and Occupational Therapy (OT).

 

Options                  

 

1. Do Nothing.

 

         The services continue to be delivered via the current spot purchasing                   arrangements - no additional staff resources would be required or disruption to delivery of current service levels. However, this option does not comply with the Public Contract Regulations 2015. Therefore, the current arrangements limit KCC’s ability to shape and control the market to ensure the right capacity and provision is available. KCC has limited influence over the outcomes of the service and limited contract management tools to improve supplier poor-performance.

                    

2. Establish a Dynamic Purchasing System

 

         Implementing a DPS would have limited disruption to status quo and delivery of current services. The DPS would allow new entrants into the market with providers being required to pass a minimum capability standard can be split into lots to accommodate different specialism, or location.

 

         There is however, currently a complex supply market, with a mixture of larger suppliers, NHS providers, charities, and sole traders. The market is also delicate in that there are scarcity of provision and supply in particular with Occupational Therapy services and is essential that care is taken to prevent destabilising the current market that we have. These differing categories of suppliers could result in a variable appetite for a formal tender process, possibly impacting continuity of supply.

                    

3. Establish a Qualified Provider List

 

         The Proposed decision to establish a Qualified Provider List would enable KCC to stabilise this market and allow better planning for future demand for services.  This option is also preferrable for smaller providers.

 

         Currently there is a preferred provider list and qualities framework to ensure best outcomes for children and young people, however moving to a QPL, will in addition provide some stability and sustainability to this market and provide a compliant contractual basis to work more closely with providers when planning future requirements.

 

Risks

 

           The risk if we do not take a decision are discussed in Option 1, this option does comply with the Public Contract Regulations 2015. Therefore, the current arrangements limit KCC’s ability to shape and control the market to ensure the right capacity and provision is available. KCC has limited influence over the outcomes of the service and limited contract management tools to improve supplier poor-performance.

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Integrated Children's Services

Decision published: 16/07/2021

Effective from: 24/07/2021

Decision:

As Cabinet Member for Integrated Children’s Services, I agree to:

 

A)  Implement a Qualified Provider List for Special Educational Needs Therapies provision to fulfil the Council’s responsibilities in meeting the needs identified in a child’s Education, Health and Care Plan.

B) Delegate decisions about the establishment of the new arrangements to the Corporate Director for Children, Young People and Education, or other Officer as instructed by the Corporate Director for Children, Young People and Education

 

Lead officer: Sarah Challiss


16/07/2021 - 21/00052 - Increasing capacity within The Education Programme to fulfil SENs (Special Educational Needs Service) responsibilities for tuition when required ref: 2496    Recommendations Approved

Proposed decision:

 

Increase the capacity within The Education Programme to fulfil the SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) Service’s responsibility to provide education provision for children and young people (CYP) with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHC Plans) who are not attending school through a Service Level Agreement (SLA).

 

         Decision

 

-         This decision is required because the total value of the SLA will exceed the threshold for a Key Decision.

 

-         The proposed decision is to increase the capacity within The Education Programme to fulfil The Council’s responsibilities for tuition through a Service Level Agreement (SLA).

 

         Background

 

-         SEND requires tuition to meet a child’s EHC Plan’s education provision short-term whilst a long-term placement is sought, most often due to a delay in finding a special school place.

 

-         There are two distinct types of tuition arrangement utilised by Kent County Council (KCC):

 

-         an internal provision provided by The Education Programme within Fair Access, Education; and

-         spot purchased placements with external tuition companies.

-         The provision provided by these two types of tuition is inconsistent. Due to capacity issues The Education Programme offers an average of 5 hours per week, whilst external companies are commissioned for 10 hours per week.

 

-         Currently SEN consult with The Education Programme before referring to the external market. There is not a Service Level Agreement (SLA) in place between SEN and Education to describe the service to be delivered; quantities, quality and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

 

         Options Appraisal

 

1.       Do nothing

2.       Continue using The Education Programme at current levels and formalise external provider arrangements

3.       Increase The Education Programme capacity to support all standard tuition requirements and formalise the arrangement with an SLA

 

-         Option 3, to increase The Education Programme’s capacity to support all standard tuition requirements and formalise the arrangement with an SLA, is the preferred option as it is offers best value for these types of placements whilst supporting good outcomes for CYP with EHC Plans.

 

-         The increase will include ensuring all students are offered suitable hours per week in a consistent manner to fulfil KCC’s statutory duty to provide an appropriate timetable and ensure equity across placements.

 

-         The proposed decision will contribute to the outcome “Children and young people in Kent get the best start in life” by ensuring consistent, high-quality, and best value standard tuition for CYP with EHC Plans requiring temporary education.

 

-         Option 1, to do nothing, was discounted because the spend is non-compliant with the Public Contract Regulations (PCR) 2015 and the provision is inconsistent for students with EHCPs.

 

-         Option 2, to continue using The Education Programme at current levels and formalise external provider arrangements, was discounted as it did not represent best value.

 

-         The risks involved with not taking this decision include:

 

         continued non-compliant spend (PCR 2015); and

         inconsistent provision and outcomes for CYP with EHC Plans.

         Strategic Plan

 

-         Through the commissioning of the contract, we will support the following strategic outcomes of KCC:

 

         Kent’s children have the best start in life and families get the right help and support when they need it; and

         every young person in Kent gets the education, skills and experiences they need for a successful future.

 

In addition, this service will support achievement of the following priorities:

 

         Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND): We are committed to working in partnership to make the necessary improvements for children and young people with SEND and their families.

         Implementing the Kent Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Written Statement of Action Plan: […] Following the result of our Ofsted and Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection in 2019, we are focusing on designing better, more inclusive services to improve the quality of services for children and young people with SEND.

         Support for vulnerable young people: Our role is to champion children, young people, parents and families. We want to improve life chances and close the achievement gap for vulnerable young people.

KCC Strategic Delivery Plan, 2020-23

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Decision published: 16/07/2021

Effective from: 24/07/2021

Decision:

As Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Integrated Children’s Services, I agree to:

 

A) Increase the capacity within The Education Programme to fulfil the SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) Service’s responsibilities to provide education provision for children and young people (CYP) with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHC Plans) who are not attending school; and

 

B) Delegate decisions about the establishment of the new arrangements to the Corporate Director for Children, Young People and Education (CYPE), or other Officer as instructed by the Corporate Director for CYPE.

Lead officer: Christy Holden


07/07/2021 - 21/00047 Dover Fastrack ref: 2494    Recommendations Approved

The Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation is asked to give approval for the County Council to:

 

i) all acts required to carry out and complete the Dover Fastrack scheme;

 ii) all acts required to acquire the land and rights for the carrying out and completion of the Dover Fastrack scheme, including by means of a compulsory purchase order;

 iii) the delegation to the Interim/Corporate Director of Growth, Environment & Transport under the Officer Scheme of Delegations following prior consultation with the Cabinet Member, any further or other decisions as may be appropriate to deliver the Dover Fastrack scheme.

 iv) confirm that other decisions in Record of Decision 15/00053 remain extant.

 

Dover Fastrack (formerly known as Dover Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)) is a proposed high quality dedicated bus scheme (like that operating in North Kent) that is a fundamental part of Dover District Council’s Local Plan Core Strategy and current Local Plan Review to 2040 to support inter alia the delivery of 5,750 new homes as part of the Whitfield Urban Expansion.  It will also provide connectivity to the White Cliffs Business Park, the development of up to 500 new homes at Connaught Barracks, the town centre and Dover Priory station.  The key infrastructure involves i) a link from White Cliffs Business Park on a new bridge over the A2 and a route through Phase 1A of the Whitfield Urban Expansion to link up with Archers Court Road; ii) a link from White Cliffs Business Park to Dover Road and iii) localised widening and improvements to Dover Road.  The scheme received planning consent in March 2021.

 

Land is required, primarily, from the developer of Phase 1A of the Whitfield Urban Expansion.  Negotiations have commenced and while it is hoped that agreement can be reached the use of compulsory purchase is required to give overall land availability and programme certainty.

 

Following a Report to Environment & Transport Cabinet Committee 8 August 2019, a Record of Decision 19/00053 gave a wide range of authorities to allow the scheme to proceed.  However, compulsory purchase is a strong power available to local authorities and it is appropriate to seek an updated and specific authority for its use.

 

How the proposed decision meets the objectives of ‘Increasing Opportunities, Improving Outcomes: Kent County Council’s Strategic Statement (2015-2020)’

 

The scheme supports the objectives by reducing congestion, improving the highway infrastructure to provide more reliable journey times and improved public transport links and accessibility, to support Kent business and housing growth and encourage economic activity to benefit the local and wider communities.

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport

Decision published: 07/07/2021

Effective from: 15/07/2021

Decision:

As Cabinet Member for Highways & Transport, I agree to:

 

i) all acts required to carry out and complete the Dover Fastrack scheme;

 

ii) all acts required to acquire the land and rights for the carrying out and completion of the Dover Fastrack scheme, including by means of a compulsory purchase order;

 

iii) the delegation to the Interim/Corporate Director of Growth, Environment & Transport under the Officer Scheme of Delegations following prior consultation with the Cabinet Member, any further or other decisions as may be appropriate to deliver the Dover Fastrack scheme;

 

iv) confirm that other decisions in Record of Decision 19/00053 remain extant.

Division affected: Dover North; Dover Town; Dover West;

Lead officer: John Farmer


07/07/2021 - 21/00046 - A229 Bluebell Hill Improvement Scheme ref: 2492    Recommendations Approved

The Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation is requested to give approval to:

i) the feasibility design options for A229 Blue Bell Hill Improvement Scheme to be developed and further explored to establish a preferred option which best meets the objectives for the scheme;

ii) to progress the preferred option through the next stages of development and delivery including any ancillary works such as drainage and environmental mitigation;

iii) to submit a planning application/development consent order for the scheme, following completion of the outline design process and public consultation;

iv) take all steps necessary to obtain and implement all Statutory Orders and approvals or consents required for the schemes;

v) all acts required to acquire the land and rights for the carrying out and completion of the A229 Blue Bell Hill Improvement Scheme, including by means of a compulsory purchase order;

vi) to enter into Agreements to allow the County Council to design and deliver a scheme on Highways England and Network Rail (High Speed 1) infrastructure;

vii) to enter into Large Local Majors funding, developer funding and other such funding Agreements subject to the approval of the Corporate Director for Finance;

viii) to enter into construction contracts as necessary for the delivery of the scheme, subject to the approval of Strategic Commissioning;

(ix)   the Corporate Director of Growth, Environment & Transport, under the Officer Scheme of Delegations, to take further or other decisions as may be appropriate to deliver the A229 Blue Bell Hill Improvement Scheme in accordance with these recommendations.

 

Background

The A229 Blue Bell Hill is a strategically important link providing the shortest route between the M2 and M20 and connecting both the County town of Maidstone and the conurbation of Medway.

The scheme is needed to provide improvements to the junctions at either end of Blue Bell Hill, A229/M2 J3 and A229/M20 J6, as well as the length of Blue Bell Hill itself, to provide safer and more reliable journeys for strategic traffic, including following the opening of the Lower Thames Crossing, and additional capacity to support local growth.

 

Options (other options considered but discarded)

Two options are currently being progressed (options 1 and 2 from the public consultation) and will be further developed to establish a preferred option which best meets the objectives of the scheme. A third option was presented at public consultation but has since been dropped as a result of further design work which showed unacceptable impacts on the M20 and surrounding area.

 

How the proposed decision meets the challenges in the Interim Strategic Plan

 

·         Economic Challenge - Bring forward infrastructure to stimulate economic growth

The project brings central government funding into the county to invest in infrastructure, supporting the construction industry and supply chain and providing an opportunity for green infrastructure.

·         Demand Challenge - Understand and meet long-term demand for transport

The project considers the use of active travel, providing facilities and routes for walking and cycling and provides additional capacity to accommodate future growth.

·         Demand Challenge - Invest in effective prevention

The project provides opportunities for asset upgrades and maintenance as part of the scheme, provides improved quality assets and aims to minimise future maintenance liabilities.

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport

Decision published: 07/07/2021

Effective from: 15/07/2021

Decision:

As Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, I agree to approve the following:

 

i)          the feasibility design options for A229 Blue Bell Hill Improvement Scheme to be developed and further explored to establish a preferred option which best meets the objectives for the scheme;

 

ii)         to progress the preferred option through the next stages of development and delivery including any ancillary works such as drainage and environmental mitigation;

 

iii)        to submit a planning application/development consent order for the scheme, following completion of the outline design process and public consultation;

 

iv)        take all steps necessary to obtain and implement all Statutory Orders and approvals or consents required for the schemes;

 

v)         all acts required to acquire the land and rights for the carrying out and completion of the A229 Blue Bell Hill Improvement Scheme, including by means of a compulsory purchase order;

 

vi)        to enter into Agreements to allow the County Council to design and deliver a scheme on Highways England and Network Rail (High Speed 1) infrastructure;

 

vii)       to enter into Large Local Majors funding, developer funding and other such funding Agreements subject to the approval of the Corporate Director for Finance;

 

viii)      to enter into construction contracts as necessary for the delivery of the scheme, subject to the approval of Strategic Commissioning Board;

 

ix)        the Corporate Director of Growth, Environment & Transport, under the Officer Scheme of Delegations, to take further or other decisions as may be appropriate to deliver the A229 Blue Bell Hill Improvement Scheme in accordance with these recommendations.

Division affected: Maidstone North East; Maidstone Rural North; Malling North East;

Lead officer: Victoria Soames


07/07/2021 - 21/00045 - Vision Zero - Road Safety Strategy for Kent ref: 2491    Recommendations Approved

·   Background

Vision Zero road safety strategy for Kent states an ambition of zero deaths on Kent’s roads by 2050, adopting the Safe Systems Approach which includes: Safe Roads and Streets, Safe Speed, Safe Behaviours, Safe Vehicles and Post Collision Response, to achieve this goal. The strategy proposes ‘Community CIRCLE’ listening to and working with local communities to reduce road danger, to enable KCC to be more proactive in our approach.

 

·     Options (other options considered but discarded)

Not to adopt the new strategy  but this would mean continuing with a primarily reactive approach to road safety which does not reflect the ambition of zero deaths on Kent’s roads by 2050 or the broader proactive working with partners and local communities supported by the Safe systems approach

 

·   How the proposed decision meets the challenges in the Interim Strategic Plan

Financial Challenge: Cost Avoidance: The costs from road injuries are significant, the social care implications alone of a serious injury to a child are substantial. Safer roads and streets will lower these costs in the long term. It is also essential that this authority produces an ambitious strategy to stand a good chance of attracting central government and grant funding.

 

Economic Challenge: Development of safer streets could be part of the investment to spur growth. Increasing the public’s confidence that their journey will be safe, can only benefit the economic recovery from the pandemic.

 

Demand Challenge: Working with partners, stakeholders, and communities to share responsibility for road safety will in the medium to long term reduce demand for KCC services.

 

Partnership Challenge: Vision Zero - Safe Systems – Community CIRCLE is all about working in partnership to achieve combined goals. Partnering with communities, stakeholders, internal teams, and departments. Working with KALC members will be the focal point.

 

Environmental Challenge: Creating safer streets will encourage more walking and cycling and lower car use with benefits for health, environment, and air quality. The focus on safer vehicles will also have benefits in creating cleaner vehicles.

 

 

·   Financial Implications:

It is essential that the authority maintains its financial commitment to road safety education and engineering. The revenue budget for the Casualty Reduction Team for staff and education, training and publicity, transport intelligence, safety camera partnership, safer mobility and road crossing patrols currently stands at £1,810k pa. This does not include the capital budgets required for engineering works.

 

The implementation of the strategy and the drafting and development of subsequent delivery plans will be met from existing base budgets. This will allow us to build the evidence base to leverage in central government funding, the level of which will depend on how quickly we will be able to meet our Vision Zero aspirations. At the time of writing, we do not have details for the next funding round.

 

There are therefore no direct immediate financial implications for this strategy, as it outlines a new approach which can be tailored to available funding. In the longer term the adoption of this strategy will enable KCC to lever higher levels of funding for safer roads and streets from central government and charities.

 

Reducing the level of serious injuries on Kent’s roads will also reduce the County Council’s spending on social care and special education.

 

 

·     Legal Implications  

There are no legal issues regarding the strategy.

 

·     Equalities implications

An EqIA was undertaken before we went to consultation which showed no major equalities issues. Representatives of protected characteristic groups were invited to consult on the strategy and attend stakeholder meetings. Disability groups for instance have contributed to the consultation and are supportive of Vision Zero. 

 

·     Data Protection implications

The consultation report has been developed closely with the consultation team to ensure that no personal data is shared.

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport

Decision published: 07/07/2021

Effective from: 15/07/2021

Decision:

As Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, I agree to formally adopt Vision Zero – The Road Safety Strategy for Kent 2021 – 2026 for subsequent development of delivery plans and pilots.

Division affected: (All Division);

Lead officer: Andrew Roach


07/07/2021 - 21/00028 - Highways Asset Management Plan 2021/22-2025/26 - an Investment Strategy and Action Plan for the next five years ref: 2493    For Determination

Proposed decision:

 

Adoption of Highways Asset Management Plan 2021/22-2025/26 – An Investment Strategy and Action Plan for the next 5 Years.

 

To adopt and publish a single document that sets out our approach to highways asset management over the next five years.

 

Background and reasons:

 

Over the past years we have significantly developed our approach to highways asset management enabling KCC to maximise Department for Transport (DfT) funding. As part of this work, KCC has formally adopted various key documents - Our Approach to Asset Management in Highways, Implementing Our Approach to Asset Management in Highways and Developing Our Approach to Asset Management in Highways. We have also introduced various measures to implement the Well-managed Highway Infrastructure (WMHI) code of practice, again resulting in the adoption and publication of a range of documents – Applying the code of practice in Kent, Implementing the code of practice in Kent and A Risk Based Approach –

Service Level Risk Assessments. As a result we have been able to demonstrate consistently that we are a Band 3 DfT Incentive Fund authority, make the case for additional funding, and optimise our ability to defend claims. Collectively, these published documents form our existing Highways Asset Management Plan (HAMP).

 

Despite making significant progress in recent years, we, as other highways authorities, are in an increasingly challenging environment, with deteriorating assets, increasing traffic volumes, uncertainty around future funding and, more recently, facing the impacts of the global pandemic.  It is therefore timely to develop a new single and updated HAMP document, to identify a clear investment strategy and associated action plan for the future that is fit for purpose and recognises the challenges and opportunities ahead.

The new document is a forward-looking document covering the next five years which:

           includes a vision statement

           sets out how highways asset management, as a key enabling service, contributes to achieving strategic outcomes and delivering Kent’s interim strategic plan

           describes how we go about asset management and risk-based decision-making

           explains what we know about the condition of our assets both now and going forward based on various investment levels

           sets out what our service levels are in terms of what we do and what we do not, alongside an assessment of associated risks

           outlines our asset management and WMHI improvements and achievements in recent years

           includes a five-year forward works programme (for specific asset groups), and

           lists the actions we will take forward in the coming years to further improve our approach to asset management, maximise asset lifespans, reduce lifecycle cost and improve future maintainability. 

 

In addition to being an asset management plan for highways, the document essentially amounts to an Investment Strategy and Action Plan for the next five years. It seeks to move towards treating the management and maintenance of our highway assets as a multi-year plan, rather than an annual one. In that respect, the document highlights the importance of consistency of (broad levels of) funding and approach over that longer period, to enable us to deliver a more efficient service with better condition outcomes.

 

At the time of writing, the Department for Transport has only confirmed the levels of capital grant to be provided for highway maintenance in 2021/22.  This funding is, in real terms, around 20% lower (around £9m) than in 2020/21 (but higher than 2019/20), though KCC was able to maintain existing budget levels overall in 2021/22 using unallocated 20/21 resource.

 

 There is considerable uncertainty about DfT funding in 2021/22 and beyond.  In the event that available resource over the next five years is considerably different to the broad levels of funding assumed in our analyses, (based on current funding levels continuing), the new strategy  provides detailed information to enable informed decision-making around how we  prioritise investment going forward. The HAMP document confirms our approach to asset management and how funding is allocated, which is particularly important in the event that funding reduces.

 

 

The main document also proposes new maintenance hierarchies for our road and footway  assets, following detailed work during the last year in which we examined a number of options. The preferred hierarchies are based on those recommended in WMHI, as these provide sufficient granularity for our use given the scale and make-up of Kent’s network. For roads, we have adjusted the WMHI hierarchy to include our Resilient Highway Network as a new top category. The proposed hierarchies also enable us to adjust our future inspection and maintenance approach, for example to move resource away from little used or impassable country tracks, so that higher risks can be targeted.

 

The new HAMP document also sets out in detail the asset management and related services we provide (and equally those we do not), and an assessment of risk associated with that balance.

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport

Decision published: 07/07/2021

Effective from: 15/07/2021

Decision:

As Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, I agree to adopt and publish a single Highways Asset Management Plan document that sets out our approach to highways asset management over the next five years.

Lead officer: Alan Casson


07/07/2021 - 21/00048 A228/B2017 and B2017/B2160 Paddock Wood Junction Improvements ref: 2495    Recommendations Approved

The Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation is asked to give approval for the County Council

i) to progress the proposed junction improvements as indicatively shown on drawings SK24 Rev 4; and SK49 Rev D and SK50 Rev D through surveys, design and construction;
ii) to submit the proposed junction improvements shown on drawings SK24 Rev 4; and SK49 Rev D and SK50 Rev D for Land Charge disclosures and development control;
iii) to take a transfer of land for the B2160 junction improvements from the adjacent housing development under a S106 planning obligation and to acquire other land and rights as necessary;
iv) to progress all statutory approvals and consents required for the scheme including detailed planning consent, drainage and environmental consents and securing temporary use of land for a construction site compound;
v) to enter into construction contracts as necessary for the delivery of the scheme, subject to approval of the Infrastructure Commissioning Board to the recommended procurement strategy; and
vi) for any further decisions required to allow the scheme to proceed through to delivery to be taken by the Interim/Corporate Director of Growth, Environment & Transport under the Officer Scheme of Delegations following prior consultation with the Cabinet Member.

 

·   Background

Paddock Wood is a housing growth area within Tunbridge Wells Local Plan.  Three developments at Mascalls Court Farm, Mascalls Farm and Church Farm were given planning consent in 2018.  Development progress is at various stages but has started at all three sites and together they will deliver nearly 1,000 new homes.  As part of the traffic mitigation to accommodate these new developments, improvements were identified for the A228/B2017 and B22017/B2160/Mascalls Court Road junctions.

The proposed improvement of the A228/B2017 junction is for an enlarged roundabout within the existing highway boundary to achieve  an increased diameter with wider entry lanes and more circulating space.  The proposed improvement of the B22017/B2160/Mascalls Court Road junction is to locally realign the B2170 and change the current staggered priority junction into a traffic signal-controlled crossroads together with pedestrian crossing facilities.

As three developments are involved with no individual development willing to take overall responsibility or liability to implement the works under a S278 agreement, the former Leader of the County Council decided in 2014 that KCC would deliver the junction improvements and the S106 agreements were completed on that basis.

The S106 agreements have intervention triggers but there was an over-riding longstop date of 1 April 2021 whereby KCC was obliged to notify the developers of its intent to progress the improvements.  That notification was issued on 29 March 2021 and that triggered the full or progressive payment of the contributions such that they will all have been received by 31 December 2021.  There is also an obligation to transfer a small area of land required for the B2017/B2160/Mascalls Court Road junction scheme.

KCC has a ‘reasonable endeavours’ obligation to complete the improvements by 1 April 2023.  However, while Officers are proceeding diligently, surveys are required before detailed design can proceed, public engagement will be required and the B2017/B2160/Mascalls Court Road junction proposal will require planning consent and it is possible that construction may not be able to start before spring 2023.  One agreement also has an obligation to return the contribution if the improvements have not started within 5 years – April 2026 – however, the construction period is only about 9 months and so that risk is minor.

 

·   How the proposed decision meets the objectives of ‘Increasing Opportunities, Improving Outcomes: Kent County Council’s Strategic Statement (2015-2020)’

The scheme supports the objectives by reducing congestion, improving the highway infrastructure to provide more reliable journey times and improved public transport links and accessibility, to support Kent business and housing growth and encourage economic activity to benefit the local and wider communities.

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport

Decision published: 07/07/2021

Effective from: 15/07/2021

Decision:

As Cabinet Member for Planning, Highways, Transportation and Waste, I agree to give:

 

i.          Approval to progress the proposed junction improvements as indicatively shown on drawings SK26 Rev P4; and SK49 Rev A and SK50 Rev B through surveys, design and construction;

ii.         Approval for the proposed junction improvements shown on drawings SK26 Rev P4; and SK49 Rev A and SK50 Rev B to be used for Land Charge disclosures and development control;

iii.        Approval to take a transfer of land for the improvements from an adjacent housing development under a S106 planning obligation and acquire other land and rights as necessary;

iv.        Approval to progress all statutory approvals and consents required for the scheme including detailed planning consent, drainage and environmental consents and securing temporary use of land for a construction site compound;

v.         Approval to enter into construction contracts as necessary for the delivery of the scheme subject to the approval of the Infrastructure Commissioning Board to the recommended procurement strategy; and

vi.        Approval for any further decisions required to allow the scheme to proceed through to delivery to be taken by the Corporate Director of Growth, Environment & Transport under the Officer Scheme of Delegations following prior consultation with the Cabinet Member.

Division affected: Tunbridge Wells Rural;

Lead officer: John Farmer


06/07/2021 - 21/00062 - COVID Support Grant - Summer ref: 2490    Recommendations Approved

Reason(s) for decision:

 

Government confirmed in late June that the COVID Local Support Grant would be extended over the Summer Break.  While previous acceptance and management of related grants was possible via delegated authority arising from previous decisions, it is appropriate and necessary for these previous arrangements to be noted and the ongoing acceptance of the Grant to be subject to Executive Member decision-making.

 

Government confirmed on 6 July 2021 that the extension would make £4.239m available for use over the Summer break.

 

Reason for urgency

Confirmation from Govt of the latest extension and associated arrangements prevents compliance with normal Executive decision-making timeframe while allowing for implementation in advance of the School Summer break.

 

Background

 

Urgent Decision 20/00110 was taken in November to accept the £4.5m  Government’s Covid Winter Grant and allocate it as follows:

 

·          £2.5m on providing vouchers during the Christmas and February school holidays to families with children in receipt of benefits-related Free School meals, and other low income families as set out in paragraph 2.4

·          £900k to be allocated to Districts, on the same funding formula used by DWP, to target vulnerable households in their areas

·          £800k to be used by KCC services to distribute to families in financial hardship

·          £500k to be earmarked for low income families who need help with food and utilities bills

 

The grant had to be spent between early December 2020 and 31 March 2021.

 

Subsequent to this initial COVID grant, various extensions and additional grants have been provided by Govt.  These have been processed by KCC through a mixture of existing Officer delegation (where permitted under the previous decisions) and additional Executive Member decisions.

 

The DWP advised LAs that “for the summer break it is unlikely that we will be in a position to notify LAs of any funding extension until early/mid-June 2021 and appreciate that this is not ideal as LAs would prefer much more notice in order to plan and prepare for a grant extension.”  The DWP issued a draft letter to LAs on 21 June 2021 informing them that the Covid Local Support grant will be extended over the summer break, with funding to be spent by 30 September 2021.  Therefore, it is certain that the usual democratic processes cannot be adhered to, and an urgent decision will need to be taken by the Leader.

 

Decision Maker: Leader of the Council

Decision published: 06/07/2021

Effective from: 06/07/2021

Decision:

As Leader of the Council, I agree to:

 

1) Accept the grant extension from the COVID Local Support Grant for use in line with the guidance published by Department of Work and Pensions and relevant terms and conditions

 

2) Confirm the arrangements used to deploy previous grant funding administered under the delegated authority from Key Decision 21/00038

 

2) Approve use of the grant to support the provision of vouchers to families with children in receipt of benefits-related Free School Meals or families in need of support through KSAS during the Summer 2021 school holidays.

 

3) Authorise the Corporate Director Finance to take any other actions needed to ensure that the grant is spent in full by the date stipulated by the Department for Work and Pensions.

 

4) Authorise the Corporate Director Finance to take other necessary actions, including but not limited to entering into contracts or other legal agreements, as required to implement this decision.

 

5) Authorise the Corporate Director Finance to accept and administer any further grant monies providing they are given by government on very similar terms of reference and that they can be appropriately managed under the funding / governance framework put in place by this decision.

 

 

Division affected: (All Division);