Agenda and minutes

Venue: The Council Chamber - The Shire Hall, St. Peter's Square, Hereford, HR1 2HX. View directions

Contact: Sarah Buffrey 

No. Item



To receive any apologies for absence.


There were no apologies from members of the cabinet.



To receive any declarations of interest by Members in respect of items on the Agenda.




MINUTES pdf icon PDF 325 KB

To approve and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 27 July 2018.


Resolved:       That the minutes of the meeting held on 27 July 2018 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.




Questions from members of the public pdf icon PDF 60 KB

To receive questions from members of the public.

Deadline for receipt of questions is 5:00pm on Friday 21 September.

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 34 KB

To receive questions from councillors.

Deadline for receipt of questions is 5:00pm on Friday 21 September.

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


There were no questions from councillors.


Youth Justice Plan 2018-2019 pdf icon PDF 113 KB

To review the draft Youth Justice Plan 2018/19 at appendix a, and agree for the plan to be considered by full council.


The Youth Justice Plan forms part of the council’s budget and policy framework and is reserved to full council to approve.

Additional documents:


The cabinet member children and families introduced the item, supported by the head of service, West Mercia Youth Justice Service. It was highlighted that:

·         it was a requirement of national government to produce an annual Youth Justice Plan, the plan covered the whole of the West Mercia area but included  specific data on Herefordshire;

·         the report had been considered by the children and young people’s scrutiny committee and subject to the decision of cabinet would progress to full council for final approval in October 2018;

·         there had been a decrease in the number of first time entrants and while the actual number of young people offending was very small it was still important to reduce this figure;

·         the use of custodial sentences was reducing;

·         the data showed that there was a higher level of reoffending in Herefordshire than in West Mercia as a whole but that those young people who did reoffend did so with less frequency;

·         the service had been subject to a pilot join inspection at the end of 2017/18, no inspection report was published as the main purpose of the pilot was to test the new inspection methodology and framework but commentary on the inspection findings was included in the plan;

·         the service was judged as requiring improvement overall but was rated as good in seven of the 12 inspection standards, an improvement plan had been agreed to address the findings of the inspection and the actions included in the delivery plan on pages 15 to 17 of the Youth Justice Plan.


In discussion of the item it was noted:

·         that appropriate staff training was required and this was planned as part of the delivery plan;

·         that through care for young people receiving custodial sentences was generally good although there were sometimes issues with accommodation;

·         the clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) were a statutory consultee on the plan as they contributed to the funding of the youth justice service.


The chair of the children and young people’s scrutiny committee gave feedback from the committee’s consideration of the draft report. She explained that the committee had questions about figures in the report which were not able to be answered on the day as representatives of partner agencies were not present. They would be invited to attend when the 2019/20 plan was scrutinised. The committee welcomed the progress that had been made in reducing first time entrants and supported the increase in the use of informal responses but expressed concern about the level of reoffending. It was noted that the committee had struggled to understand what the plan did, what it achieved and who it was aimed at. It was noted that the presentation of figures in a high level plan when actual numbers were very small was difficult.


Group leaders were invited to give the views of their group. The concerns regarding reoffending were generally shared and it was noted that as the plan was a service plan it was not a particularly engaging document.


It was agreed that:  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.


Fostering and adoption Service Annual Reports 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 88 KB

To review Adoption and Fostering Services performance and approve related documents.


Additional documents:


The cabinet member children and families introduced the item. She highlighted that:

·         the adoption service performed well, as recognised in the recent Ofsted inspection;

·         the service had had success in placing older children and sibling groups;

·         the service was required to join a regional adoption agency (RAA) by 2020 or to have delegated their adoption function to a RAA, Herefordshire planned to join Adoption Central England (ACE) which covered Coventry, Warwickshire, Solihull and Worcestershire;

·         the key priorities of the adoption service were summarised in section 11 of the annual report;

·         the fostering service was staffed by experienced and committee team members;

·         the service had been successful in recruiting foster carers but an increase in demand meant there was still a shortage of in-house placements;

·         both services were outperforming statistical neighbours and regional averages in some key areas;

·         the work of the teams and of the foster carers and adopters was commended.


The chair of the children and young people scrutiny committee gave feedback from the committee’s consideration of the draft report. At a subsequent meeting of the committee it was agreed that the committee should write to various cultural organisations to encourage schemes to improve access for young people in care to cultural activities. This would be an expansion of current schemes to promote access to sport and leisure activities. Councillors were requested to forward on any suggestions of organisations that could be approached.


Group leaders were invited to give the views of their respective groups. There was widespread admiration and gratitude for the work of foster carers and adopters. It was also stated that:

·         the increase in the number of looked after children was a concern;

·         transition from care was a vulnerable time for young people and required focus;

·         there was concern about the impact of universal credit rollout and pressures on families, there should be focus on edge of care support;

·         there was a range of services which had potential impact on children in care which were interrelated and the success of each depended on the others.


In discussion of the report cabinet members noted that:

·         those foster carers who had been recruited were of high quality, including some excellent respite care being offered;

·         costs for a looked after child stemmed from a wide range of services that had to be provided and included staffing costs, placement costs and legal costs associated with court orders;

·         the whole council had a duty to looked after children as corporate parents.


All those present put on record their thanks to foster carers and adopters for their care, work and support to looked after children in Herefordshire. 


It was resolved that:


(a)    the performance of the adoption service as outlined at appendix 1 to this report be reviewed, any risks to achievement of objectives noted and relevant mitigating actions approved;


(b)    the statement of purpose for the adoption service (appendix 2) be approved;


(c)    the performance of the fostering service as outlined at appendix 3 to this report be reviewed, any risks  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.


End of June 2018 Corporate Budget and Performance Report pdf icon PDF 145 KB

This report is designed to provide assurance that progress is being made towards achievement of the agreed revenue and service delivery targets, and that the reasons for major variances or potential under-performance are understood and are being addressed to the cabinet’s satisfaction. Cabinet is asked to review projected revenue outturn for 2018/19 and consider performance for the first quarter of the year.

Additional documents:


The cabinet member finance and corporate services introduced the report. He noted that the focus from this quarter was on the latest budget forecast position and that the commentary in the report was now aligned to the corporate priorities rather than given by directorate.


The following key points were noted from the report:

·         there was a forecast budget overspend which was predominantly due to an increase in residential placements for adults and a net increase in looked after children;

·         pressures were being experienced nationwide and in this context Herefordshire was in a good position, however there was great uncertainty regarding council funding post 2020;

·         55.6% of measures showed a positive shift in performance, two additional measures were proposed regarding housing claims which reflected an area of concern identified in the last end of year report;

·         work was progressing on achieving permanency for a number of looked after children;

·         a key milestone from the corporate delivery plan had been achieved in identifying the preferred route for the Hereford bypass;

·         the Fastershire project had recently won a national prize, recognising the progress made in delivering optimum full fibre provision.


In discussion of the report cabinet members noted that:

·         resurfacing funded by the Challenge Fund grant was progressing, with the final part to be delivered in 2019, this would help secure a benefit to the council’s economy of £143m;

·         the council had used additional funding from revenue reserves to deliver a jet-patcher, with the latest count of pot holes filled standing at over 9,000;

·         refurbishment of Hereford high town was progressing well and would be completed in 2019;

·         improvements continued to the enterprise zone with work having commenced on the cycleway along the straight mile;

·         the project to convert the recently closed Hillside community hospital into a nursing care facility had evolved as options had been identified to increase the number of beds and provide an element of future proofing, this would require additional funding and a decision would be sought on this once the feasibility study had been completed;

·         despite the increase in looked after children all other areas of children’s wellbeing services were spending according to plan;

·         the increase in looked after children was a nation issue but Herefordshire had a traditionally high level so were starting from a high point anyway, the costs of care had also increased as there were fewer placement options;

·         additional funds had been allocated to legal services to support the preparation of court documents for LAC cases, this had reduced the external spend on legal services and there was evidence of better case work due to improved engagement between legal and children’s services;

·         the Fastershire project had been successful in delivering full fibre access but there was a need for innovative solutions to connect hard to reach properties, of which Herefordshire had many, work was progressing on 10 dispersed clusters across the county using a hybrid solution called rural optic;

·         the enterprise zone continued to develop with a host of new buildings under  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.