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Medway Council Cabinet decisions 01.04.08

Date: 01/04/2008           Category: Members Services / Chief Executive Office

MEDWAY Council’s Cabinet met today and discussed issues ranging from social regeneration to shoreline management. Fundamental Review of Services for Children with a Disability The scope of the review was agreed by Cabinet in December 2005 and was originally commissioned by Medway Council to look at its own provision, but was later widened to include partners. The aim of the review, as agreed by Medway Primary Care Trust and Medway Council, was to design a high quality service that was responsive, flexible and met local needs, improving the experience of disabled children and their families. Cabinet agreed to a number of recommendations resulting from the review, including: a jointly commissioned assessment and information service, the development of staff training; and a review of respite provision. Medway’s Social Regeneration Strategy The Social Regeneration Strategy is part of the council’s Regeneration Framework. It defines how local communities should benefit from Medway’s overall regeneration, particularly in specified neighbourhoods. The council’s Social Regeneration and European Affairs service has co-ordinated the development and delivery of an initial programme of social regeneration comprising more than 50 projects with a total funding of roughly £4.4million. Cabinet approved the Social Regeneration Strategy 2008-2016 and adopted it as part of the Regeneration Framework. The Future of Adult Education in Medway A report summarised the results of a recent consultation, as well as other matters relating to the future of adult education in Medway. Cabinet agreed that Medway Council should relinquish responsibility for adult education and allow the Learning and Skills Council to outsource the service to another provider. Cabinet also agreed that any lease arrangements should, if applicable, allow the continued use of adult education centres in Rochester and Gillingham. Authority to enter into the leases and any ancillary arrangements was delegated to the Assistant Director of Corporate Services. Revenue Budget Monitoring 2007/08 It is the responsibility of Cabinet to manage income and expenditure to remain within the budget approved by Council. This was the fifth and final monitoring report for the financial year 2007/08 and is based on income and expenditure to January 2008. Cabinet noted the January forecasts which indicate that break-even to budget is achievable for 2007/08, despite continued pressure on the budget from service directorates. Capital Budget Monitoring 2007/08 It is the responsibility of Cabinet to ensure that expenditure for each capital scheme remains within the budget approved by Full Council. However, it remains the responsibility of Council to approve schemes for inclusion in the capital programme. The report presented the capital monitoring for the period to January 2008, with an out-turn forecast for 2007/08. Cabinet noted that: spend and commitments on the approved programme since 1 April 2007 to date amount to approximately £69million; forecast spending during 2007/08 amounts to £93m; and virements and additions to the Capital Programme as detailed in the report. It also formally authorised expenditure against the approved capital programme for 2008/09 and future years. Constitutional Issues The council’s Constitution requires that a monitoring office review and monitor its operation and ensure that its aims and principles are being met. A report covered several constitutional issues and the allocation of seats on committees. Cabinet recommended a number of changes to the Constitution, as detailed in the report, to the Full Council meeting on 17 April, to take effect from the Annual Council Meeting on 7 May. The changes will bring the overview and scrutiny committees into line with the new directorate structure, as well as meet the requirements of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007. Shoreline Management Plans Preparation and adoption of a shoreline management plan (SMP) is a national government requirement. For Medway, two SMPs have been prepared, one for the open coast between Allhallows and South Foreland, the other for the Medway and Swale estuaries upstream as far as Allington Lock, near Maidstone. They set out long-term policies for dealing with issues such as coastal erosion, flooding and ‘squeeze’ – the loss of beaches and inter-tidal areas. Possible capital funding from government requires SMPs to be in place as a precondition. Cabinet agreed to adopt the Isle of Grain to South Foreland and Medway and Swale Estuaries management plans in accordance with government guidance, pending their approval by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Validation of Planning Applications From April 2008 the government is introducing changes designed to streamline the planning application process. This includes a standard application form and new information requirements for validating planning applications by local planning authorities. Cabinet agreed to adopt local validation checklists, which require more information than the statutory minimum to be supplied by applicants. This will ensure a quicker, more predictable and efficient planning service. Recruitment Freeze Cabinet agreed to unfreeze one post to enable the recruitment process to begin. Pre-Paid Short-term and Rehabilitation Beds A report requested the award of five single-source contracts from 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2009 for 15 pre-paid, short-term and rehabilitation residential care beds for older people. This will enable a full review and competitive procurement of the service to take place later this financial year. Cabinet approved the provision of the 15 beds being exempt from the procurement process. It also authorised the Assistant Director of Housing and Corporate Services, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Adult Services, to award contracts to the current providers. Contract award: Insurance Programme Tender The council takes out a various insurance policies that cover both property and liability issues. Cabinet agreed to award the insurance contract to the companies identified in the report for five years from 1 April 2008. The full agenda and record of the meeting are available at www.medway.gov.uk/index/council/cabinet.htm [ends]