Agenda and minutes

Venue: The Council Chamber, Shire Hall, St Peters Square, Hereford

Contact: Sarah Buffrey 

No. Item



To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies were received from Councillor Ange Tyler.



To receive declarations of interests in respect of Schedule 1, Schedule 2 or Other Interests from members of the committee in respect of items on the agenda.




MINUTES pdf icon PDF 239 KB

To approve and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 25 June 2019.


One point of accuracy had been notified to the monitoring officer. Councillor Peter Jinman had not in fact been present at the meeting of 25 June 2019 and it was agreed that this be corrected in the record.


Resolved:       That with the agreed correction the minutes of the meeting held on 25 June 2019 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.




Questions from members of the public pdf icon PDF 303 KB

To receive questions from members of the public.

Deadline for receipt of questions is 5:00pm on Friday 19 July.

Accepted questions will be published as a supplement prior to the meeting.

Please see for information on how to submit a question.

Additional documents:


Questions received and responses given are attached as appendix 1 to the minutes.


Questions from councillors pdf icon PDF 90 KB

To receive questions from councillors.

Deadline for receipt of questions is 5:00pm on Friday 19 July.

Accepted questions will be published as a supplement prior to the meeting.

Additional documents:


Questions received and responses given are attached as appendix 2 to the minutes.


The leader of the council gave an update on the planned decision on road infrastructure projects. The cabinet member infrastructure and transport had been working closely with officers with the previously advertised deadline in mind. However, the work involved had been more extensive than originally thought, so publication of the decision would be delayed most likely into the week beginning 29 July. The leader of the council and cabinet member were of the view that they should ensure that this very important decision was right and that this was more important than complying with a self-imposed deadline, which in hindsight was perhaps a little ambitious.


Herefordshire Suicide Prevention Strategy

To approve a Suicide Prevention Strategy for Herefordshire 2019 – 2023.


The cabinet member health and adult wellbeing introduced the report, supported by the head of strategic housing and wellbeing commissioning and the Senior Commissioning Officer.


Key points of the strategy were noted as follows:

·        The strategy had been produced and would be delivered with a number of partner agencies with all being responsible for monitoring progress;

·        The strategy covered all age groups and was prompted by the national strategy but with a focus on Herefordshire’s population profile and priorities;

·        There were multiple risk factors identified in suicides with three key groups being middle aged and younger men, users of mental health services and individuals with a history of self-harm;

·        Communities had an important role in the delivery of the strategy in Herefordshire and there were a number of proposals related to this;

·        Social media could have a negative impact and posed a risk in some instances but there was increasing evidence that it could also be protective and have beneficial aspects, use of a range of media would be important in delivering the strategy.


In discussion of the item it was stated that:

·        Talk Communities was a new initiative of the council guiding its approach to engagement with communities, Talk Community hubs would be led and organised by local volunteers and community groups with support from the council, it was hoped that 50 hubs would be in place by 2021;

·        The communications team would be involved in development the action plan and identifying the best media to use to target particular population groups;

·        There was not a large amount of direct data or analysis of links between criminal exploitation and suicide, however the risks arising from child sexual exploitation were a known factor and work was already taking place with partners on this;

·        Recent research had not particularly identified debt as a risk factor although it was recognised that financial worries generally were a source of anxiety and could lead to mental health difficulties;

·        There was a formal process for monitoring deaths from substance misuse and these were recorded separately from suicides, there were some commonalities including the involvement of the coroner in both cases;

·        Discussions were underway with the coroner’s office and public health to improve access to usable data on suicides as there was often a time lapse between the event and the data being available, it was hoped to establish a regular form of audit as this was a proven way to improve understanding;

·        The WISH (Wellbeing Information and Signposting for Herefordshire) service was looking to develop key words search to direct people to relevant sources of information;

·        The farming and wider agricultural community were a high risk group in Herefordshire, a key focus would be to establish how to reach those more vulnerable communities and the council would be looking to tap into existing networks and the communities themselves;

·        It was seen as important to build resilience in individuals, families and communities;

·        The advice for anyone concerned about someone who may be a suicide risk was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 78.


Quarter 1 2019/20 corporate budget and performance report pdf icon PDF 249 KB

To review performance for quarter 1 2019/20 and the budget outturn.

Additional documents:


The cabinet member, finance and corporate services introduced the report. Key points highlighted were:


·         Projected budget position at year end was a £16k under spend, this was an improvement from the same point in the previous financial year;

·         Projected overspend in the children and families directorate reflected an increase in LAC costs but this was balanced out by a projected underspend in treasury management costs due to reduced and delayed borrowing for capital expenditure;

·         There were no corporate risks that remained red after mitigation had been applied;

·         Savings in workforce design in economy and place directorate of £270k still remained to be delivered;

·         The cabinet member would be working with officers to improve the relevance and coverage of metrics as part of the next corporate plan;

·         The persistent level of staff absence in the adults and communities directorate was under active investigation by managers.

In discussion of the report, it was noted that:

·         Expenditure on fastershire was less than planned due to phasing of works to get best value for money, all funds were expected to be spent but might not be fully committed in the current financial year;

·         Reasons for the level of staff absence in adults and communities directorate were being explored but possible factors included pressures of workload, extensive manual handling in some roles and a desire not to pass on illness to vulnerable individuals they were supporting.

Group leaders were invited to give the views of their group. It was noted that it was early in the new administration to make any real judgements but the current performance was satisfactory from a budgetary point of view. Concerns were expressed about the delay in progressing the Waverley House and Hillside projects and whether they still represented value for money. The cabinet member health and adult wellbeing explained that the two projects were on pause and would be reported on in the very near future.


In relation to the progress of the fastershire project, it was noted that active discussions had taken place with Gloucestershire on delivering the last 14% of the rollout and this would be reported on in the next quarter.


It was agreed that:


(a)  Performance and financial outturn for quarter 1 2019/20, as set out in appendices A - G, were reviewed and the Cabinet did not identify any additional actions to be considered to achieve future improvement.



Budget planning and Corporate Plan consultation pdf icon PDF 262 KB

To agree consultation arrangements to inform the process for setting the 2020/21 budget and developing the medium term financial strategy (MTFS).


The cabinet member finance and corporate services introduced the report, supported by the head of corporate performance. It was highlighted that:

·        There was intended to be a more actively consultative approach to setting the 2020/21 budget;

·        It was proposed that engagement with stakeholders be frontloaded in the timetable and would take a variety of forms across a range of localities;

·        Existing forums, groups and meetings would be utilised;

·        Formal consultation would take place later than in previous years and would be based on a draft budget and corporate priorities informed by the stakeholder engagement;

·        The new corporate plan would run for a four year period, the new budget and medium term financial strategy would align to the priorities in the new plan.


In discussion of the report, it was noted that:

·        The settlement from central government was expected to be a single year settlement and the announcement was likely to be very late December, officers were working hard to make robust assumptions about what the settlement would contain;

·        Revenue funds would remain tight and it would be necessary to establish the absolute key priorities;

·        The council would look at opportunities to make savings in a sustainable manner and at options to increase income streams from chargeable services and other sources;

·        It was important to consult with trade unions as part of the process;

·        Council staff would also be encouraged to identify new and more efficient ways of doing things;

·        Ward members would be encouraged to help identify hard to reach areas and methods to engage these communities.


The scrutiny committees would be engaged with as part of the consultation process. The chairman of the general scrutiny committee noted that the committee hoped to have an early meeting to discuss the budget and then a further meeting in January 2020. The cabinet member finance and corporate services welcomed this approach and noted that a draft budget should be ready in November for early consideration.  


Group leaders were invited to present the views of their group. In response to comments, it was noted that:

·        Pressures were anticipated in the children and families directorate due to the uncertainties that were inherent in child protection work and in the rising costs of adult social care due to the aging population;

·        Parish councils would be an important stakeholder in the consultation and a parish summit about the budget would take place in the early autumn;

·        Individual meetings with the city council and market town councils would also take place in recognition that these bodies represented two thirds of county residents.


It was agreed that:

(a)         the proposed timetable for the development and adoption of the Medium Term Financial Strategy and the 2020/21 budget be approved;

(b)        the approach for consulting on budget proposals for 2020/21  as set out in paragraphs 12 to 17 be approved; and

(c)         the timescales and proposals for engagement on the council’s priorities for a new corporate plan be approved.