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Medway Council Cabinet decisions 11.03.08

Date: 04/03/2008           Category: Members Services / Chief Executive Office

MEDWAY Council’s Cabinet met today and discussed issues ranging from housing allocation to public conveniences. Negotiating Medway’s Second Local Area Agreement A Local Area Agreement (LAA) sets out national and local priorities for improvements in local authorities, and is built around negotiation of performance targets between national government and councils. Medway Council, along with Local Strategic Partnerships, must negotiate a new LAA with government by June this year. It will ultimately be recommended by cabinet to Full Council for final approval. Cabinet approved a list of LAA priorities and endorsed a list of indicators that will measure achievement of these. Cabinet also authorised officers to continue negotiation with the Government Office of the South East to refine the list of indicators and begin negotiations on target-setting. Cabinet also noted that a further report on the second LAA will be submitted in due course to agree LAA targets for recommendation to Council. Housing Allocation Policy Medway’s Housing Allocation Policy determines how social landlords prioritise who will be offered available properties. In September 2003, Cabinet noted that the current priority banding system needed to be simplified to achieve greater transparency and fairness as part of a planned review of the policy. Cabinet agreed to adopt the new policy and to review its outcomes annually as part of the council’s wider housing strategy, and to monitor its achievements. Fundamental Review of Drug and Alcohol Services The review evaluated the services’ current commissioning arrangements and identified gaps in the provision of services for drug and alcohol misuse. Cabinet agreed a number of recommendations resulting from the review, including: investigation of a pilot scheme that fast-tracks drug and alcohol cases through a specialist court; collaboration between the council and Medway PCT to provide advice and training to teachers; and the inclusion of routine drug and alcohol screening in school exclusions programmes. Critical Success Factors Cabinet considered a report on the council’s progress against its main priorities during the first three quarters of the year. These critical success factors (CSFs) provide a snapshot view of the council’s performance in key areas. Cabinet also noted comments made by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee concerning the CSF performance. Various Property Disposals Medway Council owns more than 1000 properties in the area. Five were identified as surplus and to be sold in order to reduce revenue costs to the council, realise capital receipts and provide for much-needed housing and regeneration. Cabinet agreed to declare surplus: Robin Hood Lane car park, Chatham; Gillingham; King Street car park, Rochester; land off the Broadway, Gillingham; land off Railway Street, Gillingham; and the Jezreels Tower site (on condition that the 16 parking spaces there are retained), Gillingham. Cabinet also delegated authority to the Assistant Director, Corporate Services, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance, to dispose of these assets at best consideration. Welfare Vehicles – Reorganisation and Extension Contract for Existing Fleet The council provides transport for clients to social care day centres using 23 leased minibuses. Changes in the provision of care services will result in a reduction of the number of vehicles required. Cabinet approved the extension of existing lease agreements for a period of up to 18 months, during which time a phased reduction in the number of vehicles will take place. Cabinet also supported the transfer of the welfare transport service from the Children and Adults Directorate to the Regeneration, Community and Culture Directorate from September 2008; as well as a proposal for a reduced in-house vehicle fleet supported by hired-in transport. Public Conveniences – Extension of Contract Cabinet agreed to the current cleansing contract being extended for ten months whilst a review is undertaken on the future provision of public toilet-cleaning services. Recruitment Freeze Cabinet agreed to unfreeze one post to enable the recruitment process to begin. The full agenda and record of the meeting are available at www.medway.gov.uk/index/council/cabinet.htm [ends]