Agenda and minutes

Venue: The Conference Room, Herefordshire Council Offices, Plough Lane, Hereford, HR4 0LE

Contact: Sarah Buffrey 

Link: Watch the recording of this meeting on the Herefordshire Council Youtube Channel

No. Item



To receive any apologies for absence.


There were no apologies from members of the cabinet.



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 728 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 25 November 2021.


Resolved:       That the minutes of the meeting held on 25 November 2021 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairperson.




Questions from members of the public pdf icon PDF 201 KB

To receive questions from members of the public.


Additional documents:


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


Questions from councillors

To receive questions from councillors.



There were no questions from councillors.


2022/23 council tax reduction scheme pdf icon PDF 221 KB

To approve the 2022/23 local council tax reduction scheme (CTR).

Additional documents:


Cllr Harvey gave an introduction to the scheme and emphasised the benefits of the scheme to less well-off households. The proposed scheme for 2022/23 was a continuation of the scheme for 2021/22.


Cabinet members welcomed the proposals in light of continued pressure on households, noting the increase in claimants during the pandemic. The scheme allowed targeted help for those who were struggling, irrespective of the tax band of their property.


It was suggested that the council examine its data to understand the demographics of households receiving this support in order to provide more targeted support. It was also highlighted that there were very few responses to the consultation, despite the increased numbers of claimants, and that the council would look at how to improve the response rate in future.


Group leaders supported the proposal to retain the current scheme. They highlighted the impact in rural communities and combination with other pressures such as high heating fuel and petrol prices. It was noted that Talk Community was providing a growing network to direct residents to the help they needed.



It was resolved that:


The council tax reduction scheme for 2022/23, with the same parameters as the existing scheme, be approved.


2022/23 Capital Investment Budget and Capital Strategy Update pdf icon PDF 504 KB

To recommend to Council for approval the capital investment budget and capital strategy for 2022/23 onwards.

Additional documents:


The cabinet member finance, corporate services and planning introduced the report and explained the sources of funding and the approach to managing investment and borrowing. She stressed that approval for a project to be added to the capital programme was not approval to proceed and that full business cases would be developed before expenditure was incurred, compliant with the council’s contract rules and project management approach.


Cabinet members highlighted the key projects in their portfolio areas and the expected benefits to the council.


The chairman of the general scrutiny committee commented on the work of the committee in scrutinising the proposals and welcomed the responses from the cabinet. He noted that it had been challenging to review everything in one meeting and that it would be helpful to have the figures earlier. The cabinet member explained the difficulty in achieving this as details of the settlement from central government was only received in late December.


The chairperson of the adult and wellbeing scrutiny committee highlighted the support of the committee for the use of technology in supported living and that proposals for the care home would be scrutinised when they came forward.


Group leaders made comments on behalf of their groups. The list of projects was generally welcomed. Key points noted included:

·       importance placed on robust project management;

·       the importance of investment in infrastructure to attract new businesses to the county;

·       the capital programme did not currently include money to improve the energy efficiency of older homes but the retrofit strategy would research ways to deliver this and would hopefully lead to future a capital project.


Concluding the debate cabinet members noted that it was important to consider the environmental impact of projects and that the council should aim for net zero carbon in its investments. The business case template now included a section on environmental and social impact. Every decision taken should be considered through the lens of the environment and sustainability. Future training and development for officers would look to incorporate opportunities to move to net zero carbon.



It was resolved that the following be recommended to Council:


a)             To approve the proposed capital programme from 2022/23 attached at appendix C; and


b)             To approve the capital strategy at appendix D.


2022/23 Budget setting pdf icon PDF 330 KB

To recommend to Council the proposed 2022/23 budget and associated medium term financial strategy and treasury management strategy for recommendation to Council 11 February.

Additional documents:


The cabinet member finance, corporate services and planning introduced the report and explained the scale of the revenue budget and the services this provided. The financial position of local government nationally remained a concern with the longer term outlook uncertain. The council was fortunate not to have to rely on reserves to balance the budget and it was important to avoid that situation. The proposed budget had been subject to extensive consultations across a number of different formats and forums. All the responses had been closely considered by officers and cabinet members.


The proposals had been scrutinised by each of the council’s scrutiny committees. The response to the recommendations produced had been published as a supplementary document to the cabinet report.


In response to the recommendation that consideration be given to the use of 50% of the capital surplus for highways in 2023/24 and 2024/25 the cabinet noted that the council’s headroom for borrowing in future years needed careful consideration. A planned audit of the previous injection into the highway network would assess how effective that approach had been. The further involvement of scrutiny in shaping these ideas would be welcome.


In response to the recommendation that the council should aim to become more targeted and to give funding support to those most in need it was highlighted that additional revenue funding had been identified due to an increased estimate of business rate income. It was proposed to use £500k of this additional funding to triple the fund for the discretionary Housing Payment scheme budget, to support those most in housing related need. The remaining funds would be added to general reserves for unforeseen cost pressures during the coming year. It was proposed that the recommendations to Council be adjusted for this.


The scrutiny committee had recommended that consideration be given to the use of the existing earmarked reserves for Adult Services to offset the requirement for the 1% adult social care precept for 2022/23. A detailed response had been provided explaining the need for the earmarked reserves and concerns that using reserves in this way would mean the council entering future budgeting rounds with known unfunded pressures. 


The cabinet member concluded her presentation by thanking officers for their work in compiling the budget proposals.


Cabinet members highlighted some of the cost pressures, developments and opportunities in their portfolio areas. It was noted that:

·       It was a strategic choice to seek to close funding gaps in the economy and environment directorate by increasing income through charges rather than cut funding to services;

·       No savings were being required for the children and young people directorate during this period of transformation, it was necessary to invest in this service area but this did have a knock on effect elsewhere;

·       The council continued to make use of covid recovery funds as they became available;

·       The proposed budget sought to spend the money available as wisely as possible but it was difficult to continually have to keep squeezing to keep to a balanced budget;  ...  view the full minutes text for item 82.


Future Delivery of Public Rights of Way (PROW) & Traffic Regulation Orders (TRO) pdf icon PDF 334 KB

To recommend approval of the insourcing of the Public Rights of Way (PROW) and Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) now to be known as Traffic Management (TM) Services from the Public Realm Contract delivered by Balfour Beatty Living Places (BBLP) which will involve the necessary TUPE staff transfer process.


The cabinet member infrastructure and transport introduced the report and explained the expected benefits of bring these teams back in house. He thanked the cabinet support member who had been heavily involved in this project.


There was a backlog of over 120 schemes waiting to be assessed and it was felt that an in house team would be more efficient and be able to make progress on this. The move would also remove the management fee currently paid. The change had been mutually agreed with the current contractor and it was expected that the transfer would be progressed in a co-operative way.


Group leaders welcomed the proposals and expressed their hopes that the expected improvements would be delivered.


It was resolved that:


a)    That the Public Rights of Way (PROW) and Traffic Management (TM) Services currently delivered by BBLP on behalf of the Council as part of the Public Realm Contract, be insourced to Herefordshire Council for delivery as Phase 1 of a transformation of services project;

b)    That the Public Realm contract currently delivered by Balfour Beatty Living Place be varied accordingly to enable the insourcing of PROW and TM Services to the Council;

c)    That staff within the Public Rights of Way and Traffic Management Services be transferred to Herefordshire Council in line with Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations (TUPE);

d)    That a Service Level Agreement (SLA) be entered into with Hoople for the delivery of all revenue maintenance activities for PROW.

e)    A formal review of the PROW/TM service is undertaken post April 2022 as Phase two and any outputs and recommendations are presented in a further report for Cabinet Member approval by November 2022; and

f)      That all operational and budgetary decisions regarding this transfer be made by the Interim Service Director Environment, Highways and Waste following consultation with the s151 Officer.