Agenda, decisions and minutes

Cabinet
Monday, 1st June, 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: Online Meeting using Zoom

Contact: A. Hendry (Democratic Services)  Tel: (01992) 564246 Email:  democraticservices@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Change in Cabinet Membership

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Please note that the membership of the Cabinet had been altered at the Annual Council meeting on 21 May 2020, after the agenda for this meeting had been published.

 

 

2.

Webcasting Introduction

This meeting is to be webcast and Members are reminded of the need to activate their microphones before speaking.

 

The Chairman will read the following announcement:

 

“I would like to remind everyone present that this meeting will be broadcast live to the Internet and will be capable of subsequent repeated viewing, with copies of the recording being made available for those that request it.

 

By being present at this meeting, it is likely that the recording cameras will capture your image and this will result in your image becoming part of the broadcast.

 

You should be aware that this may infringe your human and data protection rights. If you have any concerns then please speak to the Webcasting Officer.

 

Please could I also remind Members to activate their microphones before speaking.”

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of Council made a short address to remind everyone present that the meeting would be broadcast live to the internet, and would be capable of repeated viewing, which could infringe their human and data protection rights.

 

 

3.

Declarations of Interest

To declare interests in any item on this agenda.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Pursuant to the Council’s Member Code of Conduct, Councillors S Murray declared a non-pecuniary interest in agenda item 10 – Accommodation Project, by virtue of being a trustee of Citizens Advice. The Councillor had determined that his interest was non-prejudicial and that he would stay in the meeting for the consideration of the item.

 

 

4.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 192 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 15 April 2020.

Additional documents:

Decision:

The Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 15 April 2020 were agreed.

Minutes:

Decision:

 

The Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 15 April 2020 be taken as read and would be signed by the Leader as a correct record.

 

 

5.

Reports of Portfolio Holders

To receive oral reports from Portfolio Holders on current issues concerning their Portfolios, which are not covered elsewhere on this agenda and a verbal update on the Coronavirus situation.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no verbal reports made by Members of the Cabinet on current issues affecting their areas of responsibility.

 

 

6.

Public Questions and Requests to Address the Cabinet

To receive any questions submitted by members of the public and any requests to address the Cabinet.

 

(a)        Public Questions

 

To answer questions asked by members of the public after notice in accordance with the provisions contained within Part 4 of the Constitution (Council Rules, Rule Q3) on any matter in relation to which the Cabinet has powers or duties or which affects the District.

 

(b)       Requests to Address the Cabinet

 

Any member of the public or a representative of another organisation may address the Cabinet on any agenda item (except those dealt with in private session as exempt or confidential business) due to be considered at the meeting, in accordance with the provisions contained within Article 7 of the Constitution (The Executive, Paragraphs 27 and 28).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet noted that no public questions or requests to address the Cabinet had been received for consideration at the meeting.

 

 

7.

Overview and Scrutiny

To consider any matters of concern to the Cabinet arising from the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny function and to identify any matters that the Cabinet would like the Overview and Scrutiny Committee to examine as part of its work programme.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee reported that a new date had been set for the first Overview and Scrutiny Committee of this municipal year of 22 June 2020.

 

She asked Cabinet members if they had any items or topics that they would specifically like Scrutiny to look at. If so, they should contact her or the responsible democratic services officer directly. It was suggested that the recovery from the Covid 19 pandemic should be a prime topic for consideration.

 

 

8.

Council Housebuilding Cabinet Committee - 12 March 2020 pdf icon PDF 296 KB

(Housing and Property Services Portfolio Holder) to consider the attached minutes from the meeting of the Council Housebuilding Cabinet Committee, held on 12 March 2020, and any recommendations therein.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the minutes of the Council Housebuilding Cabinet Committee held on 12 March 2020 be noted.

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services, Councillor H Whitbread presented the minutes from the meeting of the Council Housebuilding Cabinet Committee, held on 12 March 2020. The Cabinet noted that there were no recommendations to consider.

 

Decision:

 

That the minutes of the Council Housebuilding Cabinet Committee held on 12 March 2020 be noted.

 

 

9.

Acceptance of Tender - Contract 590 External Maintenance Repairs and Redecoration Programme 2020-25 pdf icon PDF 297 KB

(Housing & Property Services) To consider the attached report (C-001-2020-21).

 

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

(1)          That, Gracelands Complete Maintenance Ltd be awarded the 1-year contract renewable annually for up to a maximum of 4-further years, for the external maintenance repairs and redecorating to Council-owned properties with an overall weighted price and quality score of 83.7%; and

 

(2)        That, Wilton Decorators Ltd be selected as the Council’s Reserve Tenderer and that, should it not be possible to enter into contract with Gracelands Complete Maintenance Ltd for some reason, Wilton Decorators Ltd be awarded the 1-year contract renewable annually for up to a maximum of 4-further years, for the renewal of the external maintenance repairs and redecorating to Council-owned properties, being the second most economically advantageous tender received, with an overall weighted price and quality score of 79.8%; and

 

(3)        That, the overall value of the works be capped to the sums included in the Housing Revenue Account 2020-21 for the External Maintenance Repairs and Redecoration Programme on an annual basis; and

 

(4)        That, this contract be designated as a serial contract to facilitate the annual adjustment to the tendered rates in accordance with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) BCIS ALLCOS Resource Cost Index of All Construction: All Repair and Maintenance Work #7419.  

 

Minutes:

The Housing and Community Portfolio Holder noted that in order to undertake the Planned External Maintenance Repairs and Redecoration Programme to Council-owned properties during the financial year 2020-21 and over the following 4-year period, it would be necessary to undertake a procurement exercise based on the Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT) taking cost and quality into account to satisfy the Council’s Procurement Rules. 

 

The existing contract for the Planned External Maintenance Repairs and Redecoration Programme 2020-25 for works to Council owned properties was due to expire and therefore in order to complete the programme it was necessary to re-tender the works.

 

It was noted that the contract was initially for a period of one year but was renewable annually up to a maximum of five years.

 

Councillor Hadley asked at what stage were the contract negotiations with the new supplier. He was told they were in place to continue the contract from the end of June.

 

Councillor Hadley asked about the reserve tenderer who would take over the contract if needed, he wanted to know if there was a formal agreement in place for this. He was told that there was no formal agreement in place as this was not critical work to be done within a certain timescale.

 

 

Decision:

 

(1)          That, Gracelands Complete Maintenance Ltd be awarded the 1-year contract renewable annually for up to a maximum of 4-further years, for the external maintenance repairs and redecorating to Council-owned properties with an overall weighted price and quality score of 83.7%; and

 

(2)        That, Wilton Decorators Ltd be selected as the Council’s Reserve Tenderer and that, should it not be possible to enter into contract with Gracelands Complete Maintenance Ltd for some reason, Wilton Decorators Ltd be awarded the 1-year contract renewable annually for up to a maximum of 4-further years, for the renewal of the external maintenance repairs and redecorating to Council-owned properties, being the second most economically advantageous tender received, with an overall weighted price and quality score of 79.8%; and

 

(3)        That, the overall value of the works be capped to the sums included in the Housing Revenue Account 2020-21 for the External Maintenance Repairs and Redecoration Programme on an annual basis; and

 

(4)        That, this contract be designated as a serial contract to facilitate the annual adjustment to the tendered rates in accordance with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) BCIS ALLCOS Resource Cost Index of All Construction: All Repair and Maintenance Work #7419.  

 

 

 

Reasons for Proposed Decision:

 

The current contract for the Planned External Maintenance Repairs and Redecoration Programme expires in June 2020 and therefore requires to be re-tendered in accordance with the Council’s Procurement Rules.

 

The Council undertake a rolling programme of external maintenance repairs and redecoration on all Council owned properties in order to maintain the condition and the fabric of the buildings. A 5-year contract was required for the Planned External Maintenance Repairs and Redecoration Programme 2020-25, to prevent Council-owned properties falling into disrepair and subsequently fail the Decent Homes Standard.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Changes to Agenda Running Order

Additional documents:

Minutes:

With the agreement of the meeting, the Leader took agenda item 11, Financial Issues – Covid 19, before agenda item 10, the Accommodation Programme.

 

 

11.

Financial Issues - Covid 19 pdf icon PDF 134 KB

(Leader) To consider the attached report (C-003-2020-21).

 

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

(1)          The Cabinet discussed the report and agreed the actions and priorities set out in sections 2 and 3.

(2)          The Cabinet agreed to review detailed investment proposals at their July Cabinet meeting.

(3)          The Cabinet noted that a further report including details of intended proposals and purchases would be taken to Cabinet in July.

 

Minutes:

The Leader introduced the updating report on how the Covid 19 situation was affecting the Financial position of the Council. He noted that we were in unprecedented times and praised officers for doing a good job both for residents and local businesses. He noted that they had delivered 97% of government grants to businesses in record time.

 

The Council had lost something in the region of £900k a month in Business Rates, Council Tax, Leisure income and Car Parking fees and this would be ongoing for some time yet. They were hoping to see recovery start from July onwards, but the expected loss of income could be in the region of £6million, depending on what the recovery looked like.

 

They have a vision for the future including the St John’s Road project and the Accommodation Project as indicated elsewhere in this agenda. Also, part of their vision to move forward from Covid recovery was to set up a cross party Covid Recovery Portfolio Holder Advisory Group.

 

Councillor Philip noted that the start of this crisis had started at the end of the last financial year and some of the impact would be seen on the accounts for that financial year, causing a reduction. Initial indications would be that we would have some degree of underspend and clearly, we would not be able to do everything we would like to do. Some difficult decisions would have to be made. He hoped to give a verbal update at the next meeting.

 

Councillor Patel noted that we needed viable High Streets but with ongoing support. The Covid legacy would be felt for the next 10 years and this would need to be a cross council endeavour to do something positive for our residents.

 

Councillor Avey noted that Epping Town had its first Market today for some time, it was smaller than usual but still successful.

 

Councillor Bedford would like to acknowledge that officers had already started making contact with Town and Parish Councils as soon as the government had talked about lifting some of the Covid restrictions. They have also ordered over a thousand place markers to go on the floor and pavements to be made available to local councils.

 

Councillor Janet Whitehouse asked about the relationship between the proposed Advisory Group and the existing High Street Task and Finish Panel. The Leader said that the Task and Finish Panel was under the remit of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, but he saw them working together as there would be some joined up thinking involved.

 

Councillor Heap asked what was the projected debt at the end of this year and were we still on track to repay the debt from last year. N Dawe said that they could provide the current assumptions in writing tomorrow as they were revisiting the assumptions in light of the current situation. They were looking at refinancing the debt.

 

Councillor Heap said he was asking as he understood there would still be borrowing for Quails. Councillor Philip noted  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

Accommodation Programme pdf icon PDF 242 KB

(Leader) To consider the attached report (C-002-2020-21).

 

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

Cabinet approved the award of contract to ISG Fit Out Ltd for the sum of £5, 663, 062.00 (excluding VAT) for the refurbishment of the Civic Offices.

 

Minutes:

The Leader introduced the report on the Accommodation Project seeking to appoint the contractors on the refurbishment and regeneration of the Civic Offices.  This would also pave the way for providing new housing on the adjacent Conder building site.

 

S Jevans noted that the recent situation with Covid 19 has tested the organisation’s ability to homework and had demonstrated that EFDC had the capacity to work flexibly in a way that was previously unknown.  The refurbishment of the Civic Offices was based on an approach that moved to a reduced ratio of 6:10 fixed desk ratio with additional meeting and collaborative workspaces.  The home working had not been without its challenges and there were still roles/teams that would benefit from the office environment, most importantly the collaborative working spaces.  It was a good time to reflect on the purpose and usage of the Civic Office space and to review the benefits of this refurbishment project for the longer term. 

 

She noted that the report had listed the benefits of the refurbishment project for the long term. The report also set out how the tender process was taken forward; Gardener and Theobald were the cost consultants commissioned to undertake the tender process for the major works. And their report was annexed to the Cabinet report.

 

Councillor Philip noted that the key driver would be to have as much money as possible to help support the district. We have a property here that had not had much money spent on it in the last few years as we had been planning to redevelop it. However, if we decided to keep the building then we would have to catch up on this maintenance deficit. Added to this would be making use of the space occupied by the Conder building and making it a significant revenue stream from the redevelopment of this area and making it a good place for people to live. Also, works to the Civic Offices would make it a more flexible place for us to work in and have spaces for new starter businesses.

 

S Jevans added that there were a number of spaces in the building that could be used for service offices or small businesses and officers were currently speaking to our partners across the district on the benefits of co-location.

 

Councillor Bedford was pleased that the Council had recognised the new agile working, working with partners, how we were getting better use of the offices and making a community hub at the centre of Epping. He commended the work that was done by Councillor Lion for getting the high-speed broadband set up across the District. This was echoed by the Leader.

 

Councillor S Kane emphasised the importance of home working, some 400 staff were now doing so, which freed up space for outside partners to come in and build a community hub for the district.

 

Councillors N Avey and H Whitbread commented that they to were very supportive of this scheme.

 

Councillor Murray noted that initially 6  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.

13.

Any Other Business

Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972, together with paragraphs 6 and 24 of the Council Procedure Rules contained in the Constitution requires that the permission of the Chairman be obtained, after prior notice to the Chief Executive, before urgent business not specified in the agenda (including a supplementary agenda of which the statutory period of notice has been given) may be transacted.

 

In accordance with Operational Standing Order 6 (non-executive bodies), any item raised by a non-member shall require the support of a member of the Committee concerned and the Chairman of that Committee.  Two weeks' notice of non-urgent items is required.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was noted that there was no other urgent business for consideration by the Cabinet.

 

 

14.

Exclusion of Public and Press

Exclusion

To consider whether, under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press should be excluded from the meeting for the items of business set out below on grounds that they will involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the following paragraph(s) of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act (as amended) or are confidential under Section 100(A)(2):

 

Agenda Item No

Subject

Exempt Information Paragraph Number

Nil

Nil

Nil

 

The Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006, which came into effect on 1 March 2006, requires the Council to consider whether maintaining the exemption listed above outweighs the potential public interest in disclosing the information. Any member who considers that this test should be applied to any currently exempted matter on this agenda should contact the proper officer at least 24 hours prior to the meeting.

 

Background Papers

Article 17 of the Constitution (Access to Information) define background papers as being documents relating to the subject matter of the report which in the Proper Officer's opinion:

 

(a)        disclose any facts or matters on which the report or an important part of the report is based;  and

 

(b)        have been relied on to a material extent in preparing the report and does not include published works or those which disclose exempt or confidential information and in respect of executive reports, the advice of any political advisor.

 

The Council will make available for public inspection one copy of each of the documents on the list of background papers for four years after the date of the meeting. Inspection of background papers can be arranged by contacting either the Responsible Officer or the Democratic Services Officer for the particular item.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet noted that there was no business for consideration which would necessitate the exclusion of the public and press from the virtual meeting.