Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Samantha Walmsley, Democratic Services Officer 

Link: Watch this meeting on the Herefordshire Council YouTube Channel

No. Item



To receive any apologies for absence.


There were apologies from Councillors Terry James, Louis Stark and Dan Hurcomb.



To receive declarations of interests in respect of Table A or Table B or Other Interests from members of the committee in respect of items on the agenda.




MINUTES pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To approve and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 28 March 2024 and 25 April 2024.


Minutes of 25 April 2024 to follow. 

Additional documents:


Resolved:      That the minutes of the meeting held on 28 March and 25 April be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairperson.




Questions from members of the public pdf icon PDF 373 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 pdf icon PDF 82 KB

To receive questions from councillors.



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


Reports from Scrutiny Committees

To receive reports from the Council’s scrutiny committees on any recommendations to the Cabinet arising from recent scrutiny committee meetings.


One report:

·        Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee: Fostering services


There was one report from Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee.


Recommendations of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee: Fostering services pdf icon PDF 220 KB


The purpose of this report is to notify the Cabinet of the recommendations from the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee, made at its meeting on 7 May 2024, and to request a response from the executive

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The chairperson for the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee (CYPSC) detailed that the meeting on 7 May 2024 focused on fostering and the importance of sufficiency in placements for young people in the care system.  The committee noted that fostering had been at a low level but there were improvements and an action plan in place.  The committee felt that an elected member would help support foster carers.  Six recommendations were put forward for consideration by Cabinet. 


It was unanimously agreed that the recommendations on the Fostering Service report, made by the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 7 May 2024 be noted, and that an Executive Response to the scrutiny recommendations be prepared for consideration in due course. 




Herefordshire Council Plan 2024-2028 pdf icon PDF 234 KB

The council’s constitution requires Cabinet to make recommendations to council in respect of budget and policy framework items; the Herefordshire Council Plan forms part of this framework.


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The cabinet member for finance and corporate services provided an over view, it was noted that consultation had taken place widely and an all member briefing took place in February 2024. The Council Plan has aspired to be accessible for all and the intention is to deliver the best for Herefordshire. 


The priorities for the next four years were highlighted as; People (for residents to realise their potential), Place (to protect and enhance our environment), Growth (to create conditions to deliver sustainable growth) and Transformation (to be an efficient council that embraces best practice). 


Cabinet members discussed the report and it was noted that the Delivery Plan will set out the strategy and confirmed that use of the word endeavour within the Council Plan reiterates the Council’s ambition to strive for the best. 


It was noted that the Council Plan contains the Council’s intentions and it is an easy plan to use. 


It was referenced that the underpinning theme of ‘Safe, happy and healthy’ ran throughout the Council Plan.  Whilst the Council Plan could not contain all the detail, it is focused on the importance of working in partnership. 


Group leaders gave the views of their groups. The Council Plan was welcomed, it’s clear and plain language along with the use of diagrams connecting all key documents was helpful.  It was acknowledged that input from the Scrutiny Management Board had been received and noted that the recent recommendations had been incorporated into the Plan.  Inclusion regarding the river was also welcomed. It was suggested that a children’s version of the plan to set out how it will impact children’s and families would be welcomed. 


Concerns were expressed that the strategy wasn’t as strong as it could be and causing more damage, congestion and pollution in the North in respect of the proposed bypass than residents currently experience in the South. It was noted that residents of Southwye had placed congestion and pollution as a clear priority.  Concerns were raised regarding difficulty in raising inward investment and attracting people to the County.   It was noted there was inconsistency and lack of detail within the Plan regarding housing, affordable housing and the Place objective. 


In response to the queries it was confirmed that the Council are investing in employment land, there is a plan to promote the County which, alongside the growth corridor planned with housing, employment land and better transport infrastructure, will feed into the success of the Council Plan. 


Confirmed that housing is mentioned under the Growth priority and this will be underpinned by the Delivery Plan and the cross party working group. 


It was lastly noted there had been assistance from councillors, officers and cabinet and thanks was extended to all especially to the officers.


It was unanimously resolved that:


(a)   The Herefordshire Council Plan 2024-2028, as set out at appendix A, is approved by Cabinet to go forward to the annual Council meeting for agreement



Quarter 4 Budget Report pdf icon PDF 425 KB

To report the provisional financial outturn position for 2023/24 for revenue and capital budgets, subject to external audit.  The 2023/24 outturn shows a net overspend of £8.7 million after the use of reserves and recovery plan actions.


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The cabinet member for finance and corporate services advised the 2023/24 overspend of £8.7m demonstrated a significant reduction from forecast over spend at Quarter 2 and the £8.7m had to be funded from reserves. 


Confirmed that a detailed overview of ear marked reserves had been undertaken to identify balances with no future commitments or planned use to fund the £8.7m overspend.  The total reserve balance as of 31 March 2024 was £82.8m and will undergo routine monitoring across 2024/25.


The 2023/24 approved revenue budget was £193.3m.  Table 1 sets out the revenue outturn by Corporate Director portfolio and Table 2 sets out the management recovery actions implemented during the last year, the impact of these recovery actions were set out. 


It was noted that full Council approved £20m of savings for 2023/24 and as of 31 March 2024, 79% had been delivered. Confirmed that £15.8m savings had been delivered and £4.2m had not.  Confirmed the full details were set out in Appendix E.  Confirmed that this was the evidence requested by Scrutiny Management Board earlier in the year. 


Confirmed the capital outlay and the revised 2023/24 capital budget of £68.4m which included additional grants and approved changes. The capital budgets had been re-profiled in line with expected delivery, set out in Appendix B Table C. This has reduced the 2023/24 capital budget by £78.9m which has been reallocated across the following three years, set out in Table 4. The final spend position is £47.3m which represents an underspend of £21.1m against a budget of £68.4m.  Full details for each project area were set out in Appendix B.  The underspend is as a result of projects being delivered under the project budget. 


Confirmed that the Council’s financial position remains very stable with a deliverable balance budget for 2024/25, a Medium Term Financial Strategy which shows the Council will be able to deliver balanced budgets over the four year period and confirmed that the Council has strong reserves. 


Cabinet members discussed the report and it was noted that whilst the majority of the Community Wellbeing budget is demand driven, it has still saved £6.1m and has come in on budget.  The cabinet member for adults, health and wellbeing stated that the hard work to achieve this is due to the director and their staff. 


The Children Services Improvement Plan was discussed and it was noted that the Council approved the budget which enabled the delivery of that Plan and included a three year financial plan based on assumptions in three key areas.  Firstly, regarding a reduction on the number of children in care.  It was noted that operational practice is informed by careful assessment of the individual children’s needs, the risks, their best interests and the circumstances. The assumption was to reduce children in care to 395 and it was confirmed the current figure is 389.  It was acknowledged that more progress was needed and the cabinet member for children and young people provided assurances to Cabinet and thanked officers for their  ...  view the full minutes text for item 124.


Quarter 4 Performance Report pdf icon PDF 239 KB

To review performance for Q4 2023/24 and to report the performance position across all Directorates for this period.


Additional documents:


The cabinet member for finance and corporate services provided an overview of the report and noted that this is the final report on the previous administration’s County Plan and its associated Delivery Plan for 2023/24.  It was confirmed that the performance reports based on the 2024/25 financial year will be based on the Council Plan themes of People, Place, Growth and Transformation.  The measures will be detailed in the Delivery Plan.  Noted where comparisons can be made with last year, performance was generally better than 12 months ago.  It was confirmed that where the status of items was amber or red, there is a corresponding comment from the relevant project manager explaining why. 


Within Economy there are 52 activities on the Delivery Plan, 27% were completed, 37% are on track, 35% are on amber and 2% were red.  Where performance measures were set 58% are on target which was an improvement on the 50% at Quarter 3. 


Within Environment there are 37 activities on the Delivery Plan with 33% complete, 46% are green, 19% are amber, none are red and 3% are currently paused.  It was noted that Environmental Health and Planning continued to carry vacancies which has impacted performance and confirmed that both services are part of the transformation program to improve efficiencies, introduce new planning and regulatory software and review structures.  In respect of the new household waste contract, FCC has been appointed as the Council’s new provider for the collection of household waste and the new contract will provide the Council with new vehicles across the fleet and two electric vehicles will operate in the city centre. 


Within Community there are 84 activities on the Delivery Plan, 38% are complete, 36% are green, 20% are amber, none are red and 6% are paused.  Progress is continued to be made in relation to short breaks for children including mobilisation of new providers offering group based activities and one to one daytime support.  In February 2024, Ofsted carried out their fourth monitoring visit focusing on children in care aged 16 and 17 and care leavers.  It was noted that the Council’s practice is still too variable and whilst some children and young people received a better service, not enough did.  Ofsted acknowledged improvements had been made but not all quick enough and basic practice is not consistent for all children and young people.  Improved practice across the service is focusing on the quality of assessments, the quality of plans and planning, supervision and management oversight, purposeful visiting and safely reducing numbers of children in the Council’s care.  It was confirmed that the Ofsted annual conversation has been moved to 21 August 2024 and the self-evaluation form was being prepared.  A fifth Ofsted monitoring visit is likely to take place in the summer and the SEND inspection is also anticipated.  The refreshed improvement plan is due to be presented to Cabinet in June 2024.  Confirmed that Deborah McMillan has taken over from Gladys Rose White as the Council’s DfE improvement  ...  view the full minutes text for item 125.