Cabinet Member decisions

Decisions published

11/06/2024 - 24/00023 - School Term Dates 2025/26, 2026/27 2027/28. ref: 2862    For Determination

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’s, 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 2025-8 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.’

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Decision published: 11/06/2024

Effective from: 19/06/2024

Decision:

As Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, I agree:

1)    the school term dates for KCC community and voluntary controlled schools for the school years 2025/26, 2026/27 and 2027/28.

Division affected: (All Division);

Lead officer: Ian Watts


11/06/2024 - 24/00048 - Adult Social Care Charging Policy - Self Funding Arrangement Fee ref: 2861    For Determination

Proposed decision

To introduce a one-off Self-Funding Arrangement Fee for new self-funders.

 

Reason for the decision

 

Kent County Council (KCC) is proposing to introduce a one-off Self-Funding Arrangement Set up Fee for new self-funders. This fee would be in addition to the existing annual Arrangement Fee.

 

Background

 

KCC provides adult social care services to approximately 16,394 residents aged over 18 years old (data taken January 2024). Approximately 15,806 of these people receive chargeable social care services, this includes providing services like residential care and support and care in a person’s own home or in the community.

 

When people living in Kent need adult social care, as well as assessing their care needs, we also assess their income to decide how much they pay towards their care. This is known as means testing. Some people do not need to contribute towards their care, some pay a contribution, and there are people that pay for all of their care (these people are known as full payers).

 

If the person has more than £23,250 in savings and other capital (not including the value of their main or only home) they must pay the full cost of their care and support. Self-funders can choose to arrange their care themselves or ask the council to do it on their behalf.

 

Where KCC makes arrangements for self-funders’ care the Care Act 2014 enables us to charge an “Arrangement Fee” to cover the cost to the council for doing this work. This only applies to non-residential care and support and only for certain categories of people who would pay the full cost of their care and support. KCC currently charges self-funders an annual Arrangement Fee (paid weekly). 

 

Options (other options considered but not taken forward)

 

Before deciding on the preferred proposal presented in the consultation, a number of options were considered:

Alternative/additional option considered

Why the option has not been taken forward to consultation

Increase the weekly Arrangement Fee only (no new initial set-up fee)

The majority of the work is the initial set up of care and support arrangements by KCC, which is reflected in the proposed one-off set-up fee.

Despite current self-funders not having had to pay a set-up fee it was felt that it would be unreasonable to increase the cost of the weekly fee to cover work that had taken place in the past and unfair to include a one-off cost in an annual fee.

Introduce a fee for changing provider

The review of other councils showed some had introduced a fee for changing provider. Changing a provider adds additional work and costs in making changes to care and support arrangements.

This option was considered as part of the review, but due to the complexities in applying this fee, it was agreed not to progress this further.

Do nothing

Due to the significant financial challenge being faced by KCC, we need to ensure we make the best use of our resources. By introducing the proposed initial set-up fee, we will cover the costs associated with supporting new self-funders. If we continue to not fully cover these costs, then other options will need to be considered.

 

How the proposed decision supports Framing Kent's Future - our council strategy for 2022 to 2026

 

The proposed decision aligns with the ambitions set out in Framing Kent’s Future to place Kent on a sustainable footing for the medium and long term and also aligns with Objective 2 of Securing Kent’s Future to identify opportunities to set a sustainable budget and MTFP.

 

 

Financial Implications

 

The latest budget monitoring presented to Cabinet on 21 March 2024 shows £30m budget gap for 2023-24, of which £31.3m relates to the ASCH directorate before management action and one-off use of reserves are considered. Members have agreed the immediate actions needed to reduce spending in the short term and have set the course for getting the council back to financial sustainability, securing the services that residents in Kent need the most.

 

Spending growth in KCC 2024-25 is £209.6m as stated in the 2024-25 budget. The net change to the budget is £113.9m (matched by funding increases through government grants, council tax, etc), leaving £95.7m savings which need to be found.

 

Of the above, the spending growth in Adult’s 2024-25 is £115.8m as stated in the 2024-25 budget. The net change to the budget is £61.7m (matched by funding increases through government grants, council tax, etc), leaving £54.1m in savings/additional income which needs to be found, of which this proposal is included within.

 

The proposed one-off arrangement fee would be for all new self-funders only. In 2023 there were 400 new self-funders. Based on this figure, it has been estimated that the proposed change could raise approximately £140,800 a year. We would use this money to help increase income so that we can continue to provide council services to those who need them.

 

Equalities implications

 

An initial Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) has been completed to help us to understand how this proposal could impact on people due to their protected characteristics (age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation) and those with carer’s responsibilities. The full EqIA can be found on the consultation webpage: www.kent.gov.uk/adultsocialcarecharging or upon request. This is a live document and will continue to be reviewed and updated following the consultation.

 

Whilst the proposed policy change does not actively promote equal opportunities, KCC uses the financial contributions that people make to ensure we are able to continue to help as many people as possible with the limited resources that are available. This proposed change would contribute to our objective of protecting front line services and continuing to provide the level of care and support needed by people in Kent.

 

Age, disability, sex, race and carer’s responsibilities have been identified as having potential for negative impact if we were to implement the proposed change.

 

The EqIA has identified that the highest proportion of self-funders currently paying the Arrangement Fee are older people aged 61 to 101 and females.

 

There are specific health and economic inequalities that need to be considered in terms of the impact of raising charges for social care. People from ethnic minorities are more likely to suffer from underlying health conditions. Therefore, new self-funders from ethnic minorities could be more negatively impacted by this proposal.

 

Some people may not want to pay the proposed Self-Funding Assessment Set up Fee and may choose to put their own arrangements in place. This may not be of the same quality of care organised by the council. Alternatively, those impacted may decide not to access the right levels of care and support or may decide to not access care and support at all. As a result, any carer may be required to provide more unpaid care, thereby affecting their economic, social and emotional wellbeing. This might also result in an increased need for support from other KCC services and an increase in safeguarding concerns due to carer breakdown.

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health

Decision published: 11/06/2024

Effective from: 19/06/2024

Decision:

As Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, I agree to :

 

a)    APPROVE the changes to the Adult Social Care Charging Policy ;and

 

b)    DELEGATE authority to the Corporate Director Adult Social Care and Health to revise the Adult Social Care Charging Policy and to take relevant actions, including keeping the policy updated as necessary, to implement the decision.

 

Lead officer: Cathi Sacco


10/06/2024 - 24/00030 - Granting of Formal Lease for Electricity Sub Station at Bapchild and Tonge Church of England Primary School, Sittingbourne ref: 2860    Recommendations Approved

Proposed decision:

The Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services to agree to:

 

1.    authorise the granting of a Lease for a term in excess of 20 years to UK Power Networks for occupation and use of a new Electricity Sub Station to be located within the grounds of the school; and

 

2.    delegate authority to the Director of Infrastructure, in consultation with the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services to take necessary actions, including but not limited to entering into relevant contracts or other legal agreements, as required to implement this.

 

 

Reason for the Decision:

The granting of a Formal Lease in excess of 20 years requires a Decision from the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services in accordance with the County Council’s Property Management Protocol.

 

Background:

UK Power Networks is currently planning an infrastructure improvement project in the local area.  An existing substation is sited on the edge of the school playing field on land leased by Kent County Council (KCC) to the (former) Southern Eastern Electricity Board with approximately 43 years unexpired on the term of the Lease. The current location of the substation is now considered unsuitable by the school due to its proximity to a school building which the school wish to expand. It is proposed that a new substation is installed in a more appropriate location within the school site and housed in a glass reinforced plastic unit, rather than a transformer in a compound. The new substation will supersede the existing substation which will then be removed upon completion of the project and the remainder of the existing Lease surrendered afterwards.

 

For consistency with other leases granted on operational school sites to UK Power Networks and similar Statutory Undertakers, a lease of 99 years will need to be granted for the provision and operation of the new substation.

 

Options Considered: 

KCC has an option not to grant what is effectively a surrender and regrant of the utility lease. Not doing so will mean that the current substation would remain in situ for the remaining 43 year lease term (which will impact on the school’s ability to expand its building) and prevent the substation from being re-provided to a modern specification).

 

Since the substation is required to provide electricity to the school and ensure it remains operational agreeing a relocation utilising a surrender and regrant under standard utility lease terms is the preferred option.  This relocation will also enable an existing school building to be extended to provide enhanced facilities to users of the school.    

 

How the proposed decision supports the Framing Kent's Future - Our Council Strategy 2022-2026:

This decision supports Framing Kent’s Future – Our Council Strategy 2022-2026 as the decision ensures the school remains operational and enhances facilities, supporting KCC's commitment to maintaining its strategic role in supporting schools in Kent to deliver accessible, high – quality provision. Communities will be maintained from the new substation to all the properties served by the existing substation, using modern materials and technologies associated with prevailing substation design and construction and protected for long term use by the presence of a long lease.  Environmental Step Change objectives will also be achieved, as the proposed lease will compel the operator to use sustainable materials and reduce any carbon emissions compared to the existing substation, which will help the County Council achieve its Net Zero targets.

Decision Maker: Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services

Decision published: 10/06/2024

Effective from: 18/06/2024

Decision:

The Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services agrees to:

1.    the granting of a Lease for a term in excess of 20 years to UK Power Networks for occupation and use of a new Electricity Sub Station to be located within the grounds of the school; and

2.    delegate authority to the Director of Infrastructure, in consultation with the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services to take necessary actions, including but not limited to entering into relevant contracts or other legal agreements, as required to implement this.

Division affected: Swale East;

Lead officer: Lesley Andrews


10/06/2024 - 24/00031 - Implementation of an independent Construction Consultancy Services Framework to support the implementation and delivery of the Capital Works Programmes ref: 2859    Recommendations Approved

Proposed decision:

The Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services to agree to:

 

1.    the implementation of a new Independent Construction Consultancy Services Framework to support the delivery of the Capital and Minor Works Programmes over a 6-year (4 year+1+1) contract period and includes the following disciplines:

 

o   Lot 1 – Multi-discipline (including client delegated duties)

o   Lot 2 – Project Manager (including client delegated Quantity Surveying duties)

o   Lot 3 – Supervisor

o   Lot 4 – Technical Advisor

o   Lot 5 – Construction Design and Management Advisor

 

2.    delegate authority to the Director of Infrastructure, in consultation with the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services to  take relevant actions, including but not limited to, awarding, finalising the terms of and entering into the relevant contracts or other legal agreements, as necessary, to implement the decision

 

3.    delegate authority to the Director of Infrastructure, in consultation with the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services to award extensions of contracts for commissioned services in accordance with the extension clauses within the contract (4 years + 2 x 1 year extensions).

 

 

Reason for the decision / Background

Kent County Council (KCC) have previously appointed consultants on a project-by-project basis via the Property Services Consultancy Framework to provide professional consultancy services to support construction projects. However, the Framework expired in June 2020 and procurement of such services has since been conducted on a project-by-project basis, tendered or by direct award procurements in-line with Spending the Council’s Money Policy and Public Contract Regulations.

 

The current method of procuring consultancy services is resource intensive and requires a more efficient approach. In addition, KCC need a professional consultancy services framework that aligns to the new construction partnership framework and can support the delivery of the minor works programme.

 

Options

There are 3 options to consider for the ongoing procurement of consultancy services:

·         Option 1 – Insource of consultancy provision.

·         Option 2 – Continuing with current arrangement of tendering/direct award for each requirement.

·         Option 3 – Establishing a new Construction Consultancy framework.

 

Following consideration of the benefits and disbenefits at the Policy and Resources Cabinet Committee on 13 July 2022, procurement activity has been progressed in relation to Option 3.

 

This option provides a pre-qualified framework of consultants to efficiently support the projects procured via the Construction Partnership Framework and support the delivery of the minor works programme on behalf of Kent County Council (KCC). It is likely that allocation of projects under the Framework will be on a rotational basis, so that all suppliers receive an equal allocation of works (performance and project dependant).  In addition, the facility to undertake mini fee bids will be included.

 

It is envisaged that the new Independent Construction Consultancy Services Framework will commence by late September/early October 2024.

 

How the proposed decision supports the Framing Kent's Future - Our Council Strategy 2022-2026:

The proposed decision will support the objectives of the Framing Kent’s Future – Our Council Strategy 2022-2026 by:

 

·         Supporting the delivery of the Council’s Capital and Minor Works Programmes.

·         Supporting the delivery of the Kent Commissioning Plan for Education Provision 2020-2024, including the Basic Need programme.

·         Supporting the KCC Corporate Estate maintenance programme.

·         Supporting the KCC Education Estate maintenance programme.

Decision Maker: Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services

Decision published: 10/06/2024

Effective from: 18/06/2024

Decision:

As Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services, I agree to:

1.    the implementation of a new independent Construction Consultancy Services Framework to support the delivery of the Capital and Minor Works Programmes over a 6-year (4 year+1+1) contract period and includes the following disciplines:

·         Lot 1 – Multi-discipline (including client delegated duties)

·         Lot 2 – Project Manager (including client delegated Quantity Surveying duties)

·         Lot 3 – Supervisor

·         Lot 4 – Technical Advisor

·         Lot 5 – Construction Design and Management Advisor

 

2.    delegate authority to the Director of Infrastructure, in consultation with the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services to take relevant actions, including but not limited to, awarding, finalising the terms of and entering into the relevant contracts or other legal agreements, as necessary, to implement the decision.

 

3.    delegate authority to the Director of Infrastructure, in consultation with the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services to award extensions of contracts for commissioned services in accordance with the extension clauses within the contract (4 years + 2 x 1-year extensions).

Division affected: (All Division);

Lead officer: Amanda Jobey


07/06/2024 - 24/00033 - Coroners Removals and Transfer Service Contract ref: 2858    Recommendations Approved

Proposed decision

 

         To tender for the award of Contracts for the Coroners Removal and Transfer Service for the Kent and Medway coroners areas for an initial 3-year period, with an option to extend for up to 2 years;

         Delegate authority to the Director of Growth & Communities in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services to take relevant actions, including but not limited to, awarding, finalising the terms of and entering into the relevant contracts or other legal agreements, as necessary, to implement the decision

         Delegate authority to the Director of Growth & Communities in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services to Award Renewals of the current contracts in accordance with the current clauses within the contract for the period 00:00 on 22nd May 2024 to 23:59 on 31st December 2024 to accommodate the required procurement process

 

Reason for the decision

 

This decision is required to allow the KCC Coroners Service to put in place new Coroners Removals and Transfer Contracts, to allow it to meet its statutory responsibilities (as detailed in the background section below).

 

Background

 

The Coroners and Justice Act 2009 places a duty on Coroners to investigate deaths that are referred to them if they have reason to think that: 

·                The death was violent or unnatural. 

·                The cause of death is unknown; or 

·                The deceased died while in prison, police custody or another form of state detention e.g., where a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguard Order (DoLS) is in place. 

 

When a death is reported to the coroner, he or she: 

·    establishes whether an investigation is required. 

·    if yes, investigates to establish the identity of the person who has died; how, when, and where they died, and any information to register the death; and 

·    uses information discovered during the investigation to assist in the prevention of other deaths where possible. 

 

In some cases, the coroner will order a Postmortem (PM) to establish the cause of death. On behalf of the Kent and Medway Senior Coroners, KCC ensures access to body storage and PM facilities across the four Kent and Medway coroner areas. When a PM is necessary there is a requirement that the deceased be transported to a designated mortuary. KCC puts contracts in place on behalf of the Kent and Medway Senior Coroners for such transportation with funeral service providers.

 

 

Options (other options considered but discarded)

 

  • Direct Award of Coroners Removals and Transfer Service Contract – This approach is not compliant with the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 and would bring significant risk of legal challenge.  Lack of competition does not demonstrate compliance with the Council’s Best Value Statutory obligations.

 

  • Do Nothing –These Contracts support delivery of KCC’s statutory responsibilities with respect to the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.  Suitable contractual arrangements are required to ensure security of supply and service rates.

 

  • Use of External Procurement Framework –There are no available Frameworks that can be used to procure these localised services.

 

Delivery of Transport Service in house – Discounted.  The Council has not provided an in-house transport service to date. The Service would require the availability of trained staff 24/7 365 days per year; detailed cost information would need to be established to understand the viability of this option.

 

How the proposed decision supports the Framing Kent's Future - Our Council Strategy 2022-2026

 

The proposed (Lotted) Contract structure minimises potential environmental impact of the transport element of this service (Priority 3, Environmental step change).

 

How the proposed decision supports Securing Kent’s Future

 

Contract review work undertaken to date and plans for a competitive procurement process supports Objective 2 of Securing Kent’s Future (Delivering savings from identified opportunity areas to set a sustainable 2024/5 budget and MTFP).

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services

Decision published: 07/06/2024

Effective from: 15/06/2024

Decision:

As Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services, I agree:

 

         To TENDER for the award of Contracts for the Coroners Removal and Transfer Service for the Kent and Medway coroners areas for an initial 3-year period, with an option to extend for up to 2 years;

 

         DELEGATE authority to the Director of Growth & Communities in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services to take relevant actions, including but not limited to, awarding, finalising the terms of and entering into the relevant contracts or other legal agreements, as necessary, to implement the decision;

 

         DELEGATE authority to the Director of Growth & Communities in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services to Award Renewals of the current contracts in accordance with the current clauses within the contract for the period 00:00 on 22nd May 2024 to 23:59 on 31st December 2024 to accommodate the required procurement process.

Division affected: (All Division);

Lead officer: Belinda Hooker


07/06/2024 - 24/00042 - Contingency contract to provide emergency facilities in the event of a marine pollution incident ref: 2857    Recommendations Approved

Reason for the decision

KCC currently holds a contingency contract with a commercial provider for the provision of a marine pollution response capability (including equipment and personnel) in the event of an marine pollution incident. That contract expires this year, having been previously extended.

 

Whilst the retainer element of the contract represents relatively small expenditure (less than £5K), if it is required to be called upon then the expenditure is likely to be greater than £1M.

 

Background

KCC has legal duties to plan and prepare for emergencies which may occur in Kent. The potential for an emergency to occur which results in the pollution of Kent’s coastline is recognised. In relatively recent years there have been incidents that have come close to polluting areas of the Kent coastline, the most recent being the leak from a wreck on the Goodwin Sands in 2022. The location of the county, adjacent to the busiest shipping lane in the world, puts Kent at high risk of such events occurring.

 

Marine pollution events include pollution from marine / crude / waxy / vegetable oils, other noxious substances, cargo (e.g. timber, such as the Sinegorsk incident), land-based wastewater or sewage, algal blooms, or dead marine wildlife (i.e. whales, dolphins, porpoises or similar).

 

KCC has historically agreed to undertake a Tier 2 marine pollution response in support of boroughs / district / city councils (who undertake Tier 1 responses). This is a local agreement as there is no legal or regulatory duty upon KCC to cover Tier 2 responses. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency National Contingency Plan refers only to a local authority role in Tier 1 and 2 shoreline clean-up and doesn’t specifically mention county councils or upper tier authorities.

 

KCC currently holds the existing contract on behalf of coastal borough / district councils (excluding Medway Unitary Authority). The contract allows for KCC to call down elements of it to support any response required to a marine pollution incident. However for future contracts, KCC and the coastal borough / district councils have agreed that all authorities will contribute to the standby cost, and each will have the ability to call on the contract. The cost of activating the contract will also be split between the affected authorities.

 

Options (other options considered but discarded)

·      Do nothing.

o   This would leave KCC exposed to not meeting its duties to plan, prepare and respond to an incident that threatens the environment of the UK, as defined in the Civil Contingencies Act.

o   It would also lead to significant reputational risk for KCC if there is a significant impact on the environment and / or the economy (e.g. loss of tourist income).

 

·      Rely on national government, local mutual aid agreements or military support.

o   National government (through the Maritime & Coastguard Agency) has responsibilities for at-sea clean-up operations, but not onshore cleanup.

o   Mutual aid agreements between local authorities are already in place but they are limited in scope and do not provide the capability which would be required.

o   Military Aid to the Civil Authorities (MACA) may be sought in such an incident but it cannot be guaranteed and does not provide the specialist equipment required. MACA also requires that all civil options have been exhausted before it can be undertaken, including the commercial providers who could be contracted under this tender.

 

How the proposed decision supports the Framing Kent's Future - Our Council Strategy 2022-2026

The decision concerns the provision of infrastructure for the community in the event of an emergency and forms part of KCC’s role in making Kent’s communities safe.

 

How the proposed decision supports Securing Kent’s Future:democracy.kent.gov.uk/documents/s121235/Securing Kents Future - Budget Recovery Strategy.pdf

The decision results from a review of an existing contract. The new contract will be of a ‘call off’ nature, allowing KCC to only call off the elements it needs to support its duties. It will also provide the framework to allow partners to call off elements for their own purposes but will provide the means and clarity to ensure that KCC only pays for those elements which it calls off itself.

 

 

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services

Decision published: 07/06/2024

Effective from: 15/06/2024

Decision:

As the Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services, I agree to:

1.    KCC entering a contract for the provision of a marine pollution response capability, including equipment and expertise, in the event of a marine pollution incident.

2.    Delegate authority to the Director of Infrastructure, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services to take necessary actions, included but not limited to entering into relevant contracts or other legal agreements to implement the above for the provision of a marine pollution response capability, including equipment and expertise, in the event of a marine pollution incident.

Division affected: (All Division);

Lead officer: Bill Anderson


06/06/2024 - 24/00043 - Road Asset Renewal Contract ref: 2856    Recommendations Approved

Proposed decision:

 

APPROVE the procurement and contract award of a zero value Road Asset Renewal contract;

 

DELEGATE authority to the Director of Highways and Transportation, to take relevant actions to facilitate the required procurement activity;

DELEGATE authority to the Director of Highways and Transportation, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, to take relevant actions, including but not limited to, awarding, finalising the terms of and entering into the relevant contracts or other legal agreements, as necessary, to implement the decision; and

 

DELEGATE authority to the Director of Highways and Transportation, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, to award any extensions of the contract in accordance with the extension clauses within the contract, part of which includes undertaking market testing to ensure any extension(s) continue to provide best value to the authority.

 

Reason:

 

Our 5,400 road network in Kent has a replacement value of £10.2 billion. It plays a vital part in delivering council objectives set out in Framing Kent’s Future by enabling safe and reliable journeys around and through the county. Our roads support social wellbeing and economic prosperity. They are essential for emergency services to execute their work: policing, healthcare, fire, and emergency response provision all require an effective highway network. These services are a key part of a functioning society which cannot exist without well-maintained and well-managed roads.

 

Our current approach to road maintenance is set out in our Highways Asset Management Plan for 2021/22 to 2025/26 (HAMP) which was formally adopted and published in July 2021. The majority of road spend is on planned data-driven maintenance to prevent potholes and surface defects occurring in the first place, a key principle of asset management.  This includes £20-25m per annum being spent on road asset renewal.

 

The current contract with GW Highways that delivers this work expires in December 2024 and cannot be extended. To deliver this service from 2025, to fulfil KCC’s duties under the Highways Act 1980, KCC requires a new road asset renewals contract.

 

A report is to be presented to the Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee on 21 May 2024 to detail the procurement process for the provision of this service through a single multi-year contract.

 

Options:

 

That KCC commissions a single supplier contract to provide road asset renewal services for an initial period of five years with extensions up to a further five years.

 

Do nothing.

We have ruled out other approaches as they would not achieve the right conditions to maximise best value whilst maintaining quality standards.  They would also not encourage and maximise materials innovation and cost effective investment in plant and equipment to contribute to carbon reduction.

Financial Implications:

There are no financial risks to the Council from developing this zero-value contract, as the Council is only required to pay for work after it has been delivered.  There is also no guarantee of work under the proposed contract.

 

The anticipate expenditure over the initial five year period may be in the region of £20-25m per annum, based on the historic spend through the current contract. Should the extension period of up to five years be taken (ten years in total), we estimate a similar level of expenditure continuing, though there is uncertainty around government capital grants moving forwards.  Road maintenance works are funded through a combination of those DfT grants and KCC capital borrowing.

 

In establishing the zero value contract, Kent County Council does not commit in any way to awarding any volume or value of works to the appointed contractor. This will allow flexibility where services required may be affected by KCC budgetary pressures and uncertainty around internal and external funding.

 

 

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport

Decision published: 07/06/2024

Effective from: 15/06/2024

Decision:

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

 

(i) APPROVE the procurement and contract award of a zero value Road Asset Renewal contract;

 

(ii) DELEGATE authority to the Director of Highways and Transportation, to take relevant actions to facilitate the required procurement activity;

 

(iii) DELEGATE authority to the Director of Highways and Transportation, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, to take relevant actions, including but not limited to, awarding, finalising the terms of and entering into the relevant contracts or other legal agreements, as necessary, to implement the decision; and

 

(iv) DELEGATE authority to the Director of Highways and Transportation, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, to award any extensions of the contract in accordance with the extension clauses within the contract, part of which includes market testing to ensure any extension(s) continue to provide best value to the authority

Division affected: (All Division);

Lead officer: Alan Casson


06/06/2024 - 24/00038 - Kent's 2024 Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) ref: 2855    Recommendations Approved

Proposed decision

 

To APPROVE a BSIP initiative table for the period 2025-2029 for inclusion within Kent’s 2024 BSIP submission. The table details proposed initiatives across a range of focus areas (e.g. network, fares and ticketing, infrastructure) which could be delivered should additional external funding be awarded to KCC through the Government’s National Bus Strategy process.

 

Reason for the decision

 

-      Affects two or more Electoral Divisions

-      Involves potential expenditure of over £1m should funding be made available by Government to support the proposed 2025-29 initiative programme

 

Background

 

           In October 2021, Kent County Council (KCC) worked in conjunction with the county’s bus operators to submit a Kent Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) to Government. The original BSIP was written in response to the National Bus Strategy, which set out an ambitious vision for the recovery and subsequent growth of the bus industry across England.

 

           In April 2022 KCC learnt that its BSIP had been well received by Government and that it had been allocated £35.1m of funding to deliver some of the interventions identified within the plan. The first tranche of this funding totalling £18.9m was received in March 2023 and has been utilised to roll out an initiative programme across the 23/24 financial year - see Decision - 23/00027 - BSIP Tranche One. The second tranche of funding, totalling £16.2m for the delivery of initiatives in 24/25 is expected to be formally accepted and received in June 2024 and was subject to Decision - 23/00104 - BSIP Tranche Two

 

           In January 2024, Government set out new BSIP guidance for all Local Transport Authorities (LTAs) requiring the submission of a revised 2024 BSIP by 12th June 2024.

 

The 2024 BSIP must consist of three main elements, with requirements “a” and “b” involving factual updates only – i.e. covering factual information and initiatives already agreed and approved through previous BSIP related Council Decisions:

 

a)    Updating the baseline to 2023/24: updating the 2021 BSIP’s account of the current situation to reflect all developments since 2021, including evolution of the local bus market post-pandemic and its issues and opportunities & highlighting achievements made since 2021 through BSIP funding received to date.

 

b)    Setting out the delivery programme for financial year 2024/25: should BSIP Tranche 2 funding for 24/25 be formally awarded and accepted.

 

c)    A plan for 2025 and beyond, refreshing the plan’s ambition and setting out a pipeline of proposals for the four years 2025/26 – 2028/29, ready for delivery should external funding be made available from Government through the National Bus Strategy process.

 

          Like all LTAs, KCC must produce and submit its BSIP in order to secure the formal offer and release of its BSIP funding for 2024/25.

         

          The release of related BSIP+ funding is also subject to this submission.

 

Government have been clear that there is currently no funding available to support 25-29 BSIP programmes but have indicated that future funding decisions/ allocations may be based on the BSIPs submitted through this process by LTAs.

        

 

Options (other options considered but discarded)

 

Option 1: To not produce a 2024 BSIP This has been rejected as failure to submit a       BSIP in line with Government requirements will result in the loss of tranche 2 BSIP funding for 24/25 and the release of BSIP+ funding which is vital for bus service support.

 

·     How the proposed decision supports Framing Kent’s Future 2022-2026: (https://www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council/strategies-and-policies/corporate-policies/our-council-strategy)

 

The decision supports Priority 2: Infrastructure for communities and the specific commitment to work with our partners through the Kent Enhanced Bus Partnership and with Government to explore sustainable and commercially viable options for providing bus transport to meet people’s needs, making the best use of Bus Service Improvement Plan funding.

 

How the proposed decision supports: Securing Kent’s Future:democracy.kent.gov.uk/documents/s121235/Securing Kents Future - Budget Recovery Strategy.pdf

 

The decision does not place any additional financial burden on KCC as all initiatives proposed within the 25-29 programme would be subject to external funding being made available by Government through the National Bus Strategy process. 

 

 

 

 

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport

Decision published: 06/06/2024

Effective from: 14/06/2024

Decision:

As Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, I agree to APPROVE a BSIP initiative table for the period 2025-2029 for inclusion within Kent’s 2024 BSIP submission. The table details proposed initiatives across a range of focus areas (e.g. network, fares and ticketing, infrastructure) which could be delivered should additional external funding be awarded to KCC through the Government’s National Bus Strategy process.

Lead officer: Dan Bruce


05/06/2024 - 24/00028 - Spending the Stop Smoking Services and Support Grant ref: 2854    Recommendations Approved

Proposed Decision

 

Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health (as part of progressing the Stop Smoking Grant agreement entered into earlier in 2024), to approve the enhanced stop smoking services and agree the framework arrangements for management of the related grant funding.

 

Background

 

On 4 October 2023, the Government published ‘Stopping the start: our new plan to create a smokefree generation’ which sets out the proposed actions the government will take to tackle smoking and youth vaping.This included a programme of funding to support current smokers to quit smoking, with £70 million additional funding per year for local authority stop smoking services and support.

 

The aim of this additional funding is to ensure there is a nationwide comprehensive offer to help people stop smoking across England and to increase the number of smokers engaging with effective interventions to quit smoking.

 

This new funding is in addition to the Public Health Grant and will be provided through a new Section 31 Grant on top of the current Public Health Grant allocations. This funding is ringfenced for local authority led stop smoking services and support. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) will provide the grant and the additional funding will be used to complement and enhance existing stop smoking services in Kent.

 

KCC received the full grant agreement in February 2024, detailing the relevant conditions and the full funding allocation for 2024/2025, £1,944,823.

 

The additional funding is anticipated to be provided over the next five financial years, starting from 2024-25 until 2028-29. The grant agreement covers the first year, with funding for subsequent years subject to spending review settlements, following the routine practice for all government expenditure. It will be important that KCC is able to demonstrate on an annual basis, that it is achieving good value for money and delivery of outcomes, while balancing the likelihood that any underspends in year may lead to future reductions in the grant allocation.

 

Local authorities will be required to maintain their existing spend on stop smoking services, based on the stop smoking service data they have submitted for the year 2022 to 2023. They should ensure they maintain this level of funding throughout the whole grant period.

 

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has determined that the grant will be paid based on the understanding that the funding will be used to:

 

  • Invest in enhancing local authority commissioned stop smoking services and support, in addition to and while maintaining existing spend on these services and support from the public health grant. This should not replace other/existing programmes which support smokers to quit, for example the tobacco dependency programme delivered within the NHS Long Term Plan
  • Build capacity to deliver expanded local stop smoking services and support
  • Build demand for local stop smoking services and support
  • Deliver increases in the number of people setting a quit date and 4 week quit outcomes, reporting outcomes in the Stop Smoking Services Collection.

 

Reason for Decision

 

A Key Decision (Decision No: 24/00001) was taken in February 2024, which approved the Council entering into the agreement to secure the funding. A further key decision is required to approve the commissioning of enhanced stop smoking services and agree the framework for management of related grant funding.

 

The additional funding is a great opportunity for KCC to increase and enhance the stop smoking service offer for Kent residents and therefore improve outcomes (measured through 4 week quits). The funding will be used to build demand and capacity in stop smoking services and increase targeting.

 

It is proposed that commissioning activity is undertaken to enhance the stop smoking services and support available for residents of Kent. Work is underway to plan commissioning activity for 2024/2025 and future years. All planned activity is in line with the Grant Conditions and will aim to increase the number of people in Kent quitting smoking.

 

It is also proposed that a ‘Stop Smoking Service Framework’ will be used to determine spend of local stop smoking service grant funding and support decision making. Under this Framework all expenditure of Local Stop Smoking Services and Support Grant funding must be in line with budget forecasting and adhere to DHSC Local Stop Smoking Services and Support Grant terms and conditions. Proposals for spend must meet one of the following criteria:

 

  1. Will support the council in enhancing commissioned stop smoking services and support. This should not replace other/existing programmes which support smokers to quit, for example the tobacco dependency programme delivered within the NHS Long Term Plan
  2. Will support the council to build capacity to deliver expanded local stop smoking services and support
  3. Will build demand for local stop smoking services and support
  4. Will support the council to deliver increases in the number of people setting a quit date and four week quit outcomes.

 

An example of a project that would meet the criteria:

 

  • Develop marketing materials and social media campaigns to increase awareness of local stop smoking services (this may involve engagement with people who smoke).

 

KCC will be required to work with the DHSC to provide the necessary information and data to monitor and evaluate progress.

 

Options (other options considered but discarded)

 

Reject the Stop Smoking Services and Support Grant – The option of turning down the additional stop smoking services funding was discarded as there are many people in Kent who will benefit from this resource, and it is a great opportunity for KCC to increase and enhance the stop smoking service offer for Kent residents and therefore improve outcomes.

 

Distributing funding on an individual basis with some via Key Decision and some managed operationally – The option for handling all funding activity on an individual basis, with certain projects managed at operational level and others progressing via the Key Decision process as and when required was considered. That option would not enable the council to respond quickly and flexibly to changing demand and need or provide a clear strategic plan for delivering against the Local Stop Smoking and Support Grant requirements.

 

How the proposed decision meets the priorities of New Models of Care and Support as set out in ‘‘Framing Kent’s Future – Our Council Strategy 2022 – 2026’’

 

Stop smoking services supports KCC to achieve the following priorities set out in the Councils Strategy 2022-2026 ‘Framing Kent’s Future’:

 

Priority 1: Levelling up Kent

 

  • To see significant improvements in the economy, connectivity, educational attainment, skills and employment rates and public health outcomes in deprived communities in coastal areas so that they improve faster than the rest of Kent to reduce the gaps

 

  • To work with our partners to hardwire a preventative approach into improving the health of Kent’s population and narrowing health inequalities.

 

How the proposed decision supports Securing Kent’s Future

 

Stop smoking services supports KCC to achieve the priorities set out in Securing Kent Future, by preventing people from getting long term health conditions linked to smoking, which increase’s demand and costs in Health and Social Care.

 

Financial Implications

The table below shows the confirmed maximum amount of funding allocation for Kent.

 

Table 1: Kent Funding Allocation 2024/2025

 

 

Average 3- year smoking prevalence (2020 to 2022)

Estimated number of smokers (2021

populations)

Confirmed additional allocation 2024/2205

Kent County Council

13.14%

163,208

£1,944,823

 

The grant allocation will initially apply for the first year of the grant (the financial year 2024 to 2025).

 

The additional funding is anticipated to be provided over the next five financial years, until 2028-2029.

 

The government cannot provide specific allocations for 2025 to 2026 and beyond at this stage. Funding for subsequent years will be subject to spending review settlements, following the routine practice for all government expenditure. Authority has been delegated via the previous decision, for Officer agreement to accept any future funding allocations providing it is on similar terms.

 

Important to highlight that this funding is in addition to the Public Health Grant and therefore the Stop Smoking activity and spend for this programme does not create any additional pressure on KCC’s base budget.

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health

Decision published: 05/06/2024

Effective from: 13/06/2024

Decision:

As Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, I agree to:

 

     I.        APPROVE the commissioning of Stop Smoking Services to deliver against the Support Grant and project requirements;

 

    II.        APPROVE the framework arrangements set out in the report for ongoing management of the Stop Smoking Services and Support Grant 2024/2025 to 2028/2029;

 

  III.        DELEGATE authority to the Director of Public Health, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health and Corporate Director for Finance, to revise and amend the arrangements set out in the framework details, subject to the scope and terms and conditions of the grant funding;

 

  IV.        DELEGATE authority to the Director of Public Health, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, to take relevant actions, including but not limited to, awarding, finalising the terms of and entering into the relevant contracts or other legal agreements, as necessary, to implement the decision; and

 

   V.        DELEGATE authority to the Director of Public Health, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, to award extensions of contracts for commissioned services in accordance with future grant allocations.


04/06/2024 - 24/00035 - Contract for Receipt and Treatment of Street Sweepings and Highway Mechanical Arisings ref: 2853    Recommendations Approved

Proposed decision

The Cabinet Member for Environment to approve the award of new contractual arrangement for the receipt and treatment of Street Sweepings and Highway Mechanical Arisings delivered to KCC’s Transfer Stations by Collection Authorities and delegate authority to the Corporate Director of Highways and Transport, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport to take relevant actions, including but not limited to, awarding, finalising the terms of and entering into the relevant contracts or other legal agreements, as necessary, to implement the decision

 

Reason for the decision

·      KCC is seeking a new contractual arrangement for the receipt and treatment of this material.

 

Background

·      As the Waste Disposal Authority, KCC has a statutory responsibility to dispose of waste collected by the Waste Collection Authorities, which includes waste collected by street sweeper vehicles.

·      By treating this waste, it is seperated into constiuent parts, such as sand, stones, metals glass, soil, leaves, organic matter and litter, and reused in construction and restoration projects.

·      It is envisaged that the commission will be presented in three geographical lots: West Kent,  East Kent & Mid Kent, to take account of haulage considerations to the treatment facility and will include provision for managing 11,000 tonnes of street sweepings and highway mechanical arisings collected by the collection authorities across Kent.

·      The contract is expected to commence on 1st June 2024 for a duration of up to 4 years, with a break clause in the 2nd year. The market engagement exercise informed the contract length as being the most attractive to the industry, whilst giving KCC flexibility to review the arrangements based on performance.

 

Options (other options considered but discarded)

 

·      Option 1 – Do nothing – the current arrangements will continue; This is not a viable option as the incumbent’s extension proposal is not financial sustainable for the Authority.

·      Option 2 – Discontinue accepting the street sweeping and highway mechanical arisings waste from the collection authorities in Kent; this is not an option due to KCC’s obligation to take this waste as the Waste Disposal Authority.

·      Option 3 – Continue to accept the waste, but utilise alternative disposal options by using landfill or incineration; this is not an option as there is an obligation to comply with the waste hierarchy and to meet landfill diversion targets.Furthermore, to send this material to incineration would be costly against a treatment option.

Preferred option:

·         Option 4 is the preferred option. The Authority is seeking to appoint a new provider to secure a contract (for up to four years) that will benefit and achieve the best outcomes for the authority and Kent households and fulfil the statutory duty of KCC operating under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, to dispose of collected municipal waste.

 

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Environment

Decision published: 04/06/2024

Effective from: 12/06/2024

Decision:

As Cabinet Member for Environment, I agree to:

 

(i)            COMMISSION and award a contract for the receipt and processing of street sweepings and highway mechanical arisings for up to 4 years and

 

(ii)          DELEGATE authority to the Director of Environment and Circular Economy in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services to take relevant actions, including but not limited to, awarding, finalising the terms of and entering into the relevant contracts or other legal agreements, as necessary, to implement the decision.

Division affected: (All Division);

Lead officer: Kay Groves


03/06/2024 - 24/00034 - Decision to award contracts for Public Rights of Way Vegetation Clearance ref: 2852    Recommendations Approved

Proposed decision:

To agree the re-procurement and the award of new contracts for Public Rights of Way (PRoW) vegetation clearance, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services, for a further period of five years and an allowable extension of two years subject to performance; and, to delegate authority to the Director of Growth and Communities to take  other relevant actions, including, but not limited to finalising the terms of and entering into  required contracts or other legal agreements, as necessary to implement the decision. 

 

Reason for the decision:

The contracts to manage the vegetation on the PRoW network are due for renewal, with the previous contractual arrangements ending at the end of the 2024-5 financial year.

 

The proposed contracts would have a five-year term with the option to extend for a further two.

 

The annual spend on vegetation clearance on the PRoW network is approximately £400K. When considered over the five-year term of the contracts, and allowing for inflationary increases, the aggregate spend will exceed £2M. Given that the likely expenditure will exceed £1m a key decision is required to enable the procurement to proceed and, subject to successful procurement, to award contracts for the delivery of PRoW vegetation clearance work.  

 

Background:

The Public Rights of Way network in Kent extends to 6995Km. PRoW are public highways and approximately 99% of the network in Kent is maintainable at the public expense. Vegetation growing from the surface of the highway (other than crops) is the responsibility of the County Council to manage. Vegetation overgrowth is the single most reported issue on the PRoW network by the public.

 

The Asset Management Plan 2019 identified that the optimum length of vegetation clearance is 1758802m per annum, below which lengths of the network will be obstructed or unpleasant to use. The authority would fail to meet its statutory obligation to maintain the network.  The length cleared will vary reflecting the nature/ length of the growing season. Inevitably with a warmer climate we are experiencing longer growing seasons.

 

Failure to deliver the optimum level of service in the short term would simply defer the activity with substantially greater costs being incurred at a later date in order to recover the position. Ie the vegetation would still need to be cleared but the additional growth would take longer to clear and would require heavier machinery. 

 

Vegetation clearance ensures that the PRoW network (public highway) is available to the public, is safe and supports Kent’s economy, health and well-being. Obstruction of, or interruption to, access results in an associated loss in public benefit & economic impact on businesses reliant on visitors.

 

Preferred option:

The outcome of market engagement for vegetation clearance and preparation of the commercial case is a recommendation that the work be split into 10 lots with no individual supplier awarded more than three lots.  The recommended contract duration of 5-7 years allows the service providers sufficient certainty to invest in specialist equipment and their labour force. It is expected that this will encourage more local SMEs to bid.  The expectation, based on previous procurement, is that four contractors will deliver the contracts. The opportunity for businesses to tender for the work will be published on the Kent Business Portal.

 

Options (other options considered but discarded):

Do nothing: This is not an option. The County Council would not be delivering a minimum level of service to meet its statutory obligations. It would be at risk of third-party action to compel it to undertake the work and at risk of increased numbers of third party injury claims. The long terms costs of maintenance would be increased appreciably.

 

Single supplier contract:  Previous procurement rounds have failed to identify any single supplier that can deliver the levels of clearance required or compete on price other than through sub-contracting with significant implications for quality and reliability. Previous rounds of procurement have not identified a single supplier with the capacity to deliver the programme without sub-contracting much of the work,  adding significant risk to the County Council in terms of performance and delivery.

 

Multi supplier framework: The County Council would not be able to enter contracts of sufficient length that it would be financially and logistically fitting for suppliers. The use of similar frameworks for small works in the past has seen a rapid diminution in the contractors available through the framework.

 

In house: There are significant barriers to entry in terms of purchasing/ leasing the machinery required and recruiting, retaining and managing the scale of workforce required for what would be short term seasonal contracts.

 

How the proposed decision supports Framing Kent’s Future 2022-2026:

The procurement accords with the County Council’s Strategy “Framing Kent’s Future”:

i)        Levelling up Kent:  Priority 1: supporting ambitions to improve the health of Kent’s population particularly promoting healthy behaviours  Priority 1-4

ii)        Infrastructure for Communities,  Priority 2: 2 Invests in Kent’s high-quality landscapes.  6. Supports the choice of alternative travel options by prioritising the maintenance of accessible walking routes and cycle lanes

iii)       Environmental step change. Priority 3: Improve access for our residents to green and natural spaces especially in urban and deprived areas and through our Public Rights of Way network to improve health and wellbeing outcomes

 

How the proposed decision supports Securing Kent’s Future:

The procurement of vegetation clearance contracts seeks to secure best value in the delivery of what is a statutory function (the maintenance of the publicly maintainable highway). It seeks to deliver this work in the most efficient, economic and effective way, consistent with the prioritisation of the Council’s best value duty. In that respect it is consistent with, and supports, Securing Kent’s Future.

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services

Decision published: 03/06/2024

Effective from: 11/06/2024

Decision:

As Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services, I agree to:

 

         AGREE the re-procurement and the award of new contracts for PRoW vegetation clearance, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services, for a further period of five years and an allowable extension of two years subject to performance; and,

 

         DELEGATE authority to the Director of Growth and Communities to take other relevant actions, including , but not limited to finalising the terms of and entering into  required contracts or other legal agreements, as necessary to implement the decision.

Division affected: (All Division);

Lead officer: Graham Rusling


03/06/2024 - 24/00032 - New contracts for the provision of Post-Mortem Facilities for the Mid Kent & Medway, North West Kent, North East Kent, Central and South East Kent coroner areas ref: 2851    Recommendations Approved

Proposed decision:

1)     Issue new contracts, via direct awards, for the provision of Post-Mortem Facilities in Mid-Kent and Medway, Northwest Kent, East Kent, Central and South East Kent to commence from 1 April 2024 for a period of 3 years (36 months) with the option of extending for up to a further 2 years (24 months) 

 

2)     Delegate authority to the Director for Growth and Communities, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services to take relevant actions, including but not limited to, awarding, finalising the terms of and entering into the relevant contracts or other legal agreements, as necessary, to implement the decision

 

3)     Delegate authority to the Director for Growth and Communities, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services to  award extensions of contracts for commissioned services in accordance with the extension clauses within the contract (3 years + 2 year extension)

 

Reason for the decision:

The current contracts for PM facilities and staff expire on 31 March 2024. There is a need for these contracts to be renewed from 1st April 2024 to ensure continuity of this critical service.

 

Background:

The Coroners and Justice Act 2009 places a duty on Coroners to investigate deaths that are referred to them if they have reason to think that:

 

·       The death was violent or unnatural;

·       The cause of death is unknown; or

·       The deceased died while in prison, police custody or another form of state detention.

 

In some cases, the Coroner will order a Post-Mortem (PM) to establish the cause of death, and in such cases, the deceased is taken to one of five NHS mortuaries across Kent and Medway. On behalf of the Kent Senior Coroners, KCC ensures access to body storage and PM facilities across the Kent coroner areas. 

 

Options (other options considered but discarded):

Option 1: Do nothing

This is a statutory service, and unless contracts are put in place the system of coronial death investigation and certification in the Mid Kent & Medway, North West Kent, North East Kent, Central and South East Kent coroner areas will fail. The Council will also be at risk of receiving an inconsistent provision and quality of service, a lack of control over costs, and subsequent reputational ramifications.

 

Option 2: Go out to tender Competitive Tender Process

There are no private sector organisations within this marketplace locally, and previous experience of mortuary use outside of Kent has not delivered a suitable service. A competitive tender process will not yield a competitive process.

 

Option 3: Use of Framework or other viable contract mechanism.

There are no known frameworks or other viable mechanisms for the provision of mortuary facilities in England and Wales.

 

Option 4: One NHS Trust delivers all PMs.

No single facility can accommodate the number of PMs required. 

 

How the proposed decision supports the Framing Kent's Future - Our Council Strategy 2022-2026:

The decision supports Priority 2 of Framing Kent’s Future: Infrastructure for Communities, as it supports KCC’s duty to resource the Senior Coroners in Kent in carrying out their role.

 

How the proposed decision supports Securing Kent’s Future:

Contract review work and negotiation undertaken to date supports Objective 2 of Securing Kent’s Future (Delivering savings from identified opportunity areas to set a sustainable 2024/5 budget and MTFP).

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services

Decision published: 03/06/2024

Effective from: 11/06/2024

Decision:

As Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services, I agree to:

 

(i)       ISSUE new contracts, via direct awards, for the provision of Post-Mortem Facilities in Mid-Kent and Medway, North West Kent, North East Kent and Central and South East Kent coroner areas to commence from 1 April 2024 for a period of 3 years (36 months) with the option of extending for up to a further 2 years (24 months).

(ii)       DELEGATE authority to the Director for Growth and Communities, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services to take relevant actions, including but not limited to, awarding, finalising the terms of and entering into the relevant contracts or other legal agreements, as necessary, to implement the decision.

(iii)      DELEGATE authority to the Director for Growth and Communities, in consultation with the Cabinet member for Regulatory Services to award extensions of contracts for commissioned services in accordance with the extension clauses within the contract (3 years + 2 year extension).

Division affected: (All Division);

Lead officer: Belinda Hooker


29/05/2024 - 24/00050 - Disposal of the Former Rosemary Centre, 189 High Road, Wilmington DA2 7DP ref: 2844    For Determination

 

Reason for the Decision

 

Under competitive tension, as part of an auction sale, the property sold for a figure exceeding the £1m threshold and so now requires a key decision.

 

Due to the timescales involved an urgent decision from the Cabinet Member is required to confirm the appropriate approvals for the completion of this disposal.

 

Background

 

The Constitution’s Property Management Protocol provides delegated authority to the Director of Infrastructure to agree freehold disposals up to a value of £1m, with disposals more than this figure to be determined as a key decision by the Cabinet Member. In this case a valuation was obtained along with advice from the auctioneer and local agents which indicated that the expected sale price was likely to be well under the £1m threshold.

 

The property was entered into the 1 May 2024 auction, with a reserve agreed by the Director of Infrastructure under delegated powers set out in the Property Management Protocol.

 

The final bid achieved was above expectations, exceeding the £1m limit of officer delegations.

 

Options Considered 

 

Obtain an urgent decision – This will ensure compliance with KCC’s governance processes.

 

Follow the normal route for a decision – The property was sold at auction and therefore a decision is required by 31st May. This would not be achieved. REJECTED

 

Do not obtain a decision from the Cabinet Member – The Governance process for authority would not be compliant. REJECTED

 

Decision Maker: Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services

Decision published: 29/05/2024

Effective from: 29/05/2024

Decision:

As Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services, I agree to:

 

1.        Approve the sale of the property for £1.274m under the auction terms and conditions;

 

2.        Confirm the Director of Infrastructure’s decision under delegated authority to dispose of the property known as Rosemary Centre PRU, 189 High Road, Wilmington DA2 7DP, noting that the property’s performance at auction exceeded the expectations underpinning the original disposal plan; and

 

3.        Delegate authority to the Director of Infrastructure, in consultation with the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services to finalise the sale and take other actions including but not limited to, entering into relevant contracts or other legal agreements, as necessary to implement this decision.

Lead officer: Hugh D'Alton