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.


Apologies were received from Cllr Ange Tyler, cabinet member housing, regulatory services and community safety.



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 711 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 24 February 2022.


Resolved:       That the minutes of the meeting held on 24 February 2022 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairperson.




Questions from members of the public pdf icon PDF 288 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 79 KB

To receive questions from councillors.



There were no questions from councillors.



The leader of the council announced that the order of items on the agenda would change. The item on Herefordshire Children’s Services transformation would be taken first as this had greatest interest.




Herefordshire Children's Services Transformation pdf icon PDF 290 KB

To request the drawdown from the Financial Resilience Reserve, a total of £11.49m to support the ongoing delivery of the Children’s Services Improvement Plan.

Additional documents:


The cabinet member children and families introduced the item. She summarised the requested investment from the Financial Resilience Reserve, a total of £11.49m to support the ongoing delivery of the Children’s Services Improvement Plan. This funding would be allocated in two tranches, with £5m in tranche one from April 2022 and a further £6.49m from July 2022, with detail on progress to be reported back to Cabinet. The cabinet member thanked councillors who had attended recent presentations for their comments and challenges and also thanked officers for their work in putting together the investment proposal.


The cabinet member summarised the previous investment made in children’s services, the importance of ensuring the momentum was maintained and the key objectives of this additional investment proposal.


The corporate director for children and families spoke on the need for significant improvement, the progress that had been made over the past year in stabilising the service and understanding the challenges and the next stages in transforming the service. Improvements were starting to be seen in a number of areas but this needed to be maintained and embedded. It was expected that the transformation would take three years overall.


The corporate director then set out the key points of the proposals and explained the governance surrounding future decisions.


Cabinet members discussed the proposals and it was noted that:

·       This represented a significant investment in children’s services and showed the importance placed on addressing the issues that had been identified;

·       It was important to address recruitment and retention;

·       The scale of the investment was more than double what had originally been expected but this reflected the scale of the work required and was in keeping with the level of spend in other councils going through similar improvement journeys;

·       Areas of deprivation in the county create huge social problems and it would not be just for children’s services to address these, but would also involve public health, education providers and other services;

·       All councillors had supported the implementation of the improvement strategy for children’s services and it was hoped that they would understand the need for this investment and support it.


The chairperson of the children and young people scrutiny committee spoke on the report. The committee had not yet scrutinised the investment but the chair and vice chair had discussed the proposal and supported it in principle. He commented that it was realistic to say that a three year period was required to deliver sustained improvement and that increased capacity was needed to deliver the improvement plan. Good project management was critical to ensure that improvement and it was also important to keep councillors informed about progress.


Responding to points raised by the scrutiny chairperson, officers confirmed that the grant of £1.7m from the Department for Education had mostly been used to support increased improvement activity including scoping of some of the early help services. They also confirmed that progress would be reported back to Cabinet quarterly and that all councillors would receive updates bi-monthly. An independent  ...  view the full minutes text for item 101.


Delivery Plan 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 238 KB

To agree proposals for the Delivery Plan 2022/23.

Additional documents:


The cabinet member finance, corporate services and planning introduced the report. She explained that the delivery plan sets out what had been achieved in the last 2 years, taking account of the pandemic and severe weather events, and the key objectives for the year ahead. It should be noted that the council’s routine business as usual continued alongside the projects set out in the delivery plan.


Cabinet members spoke to highlight key areas of progress and objectives for the year ahead in their portfolio areas. They thanked officers for their work over the period of the previous plan and for the comprehensive forward planning for the new delivery plan.


Group leaders gave their comments and questions on the report. It was noted that:

·       Works to repair the Shirehall would take time due to the nature of the historic building, the council was working closely with the court service to make sure relationships were maintained during the period of closure;

·       The delivery of superfast broadband to 93% of premises represented a number of years of investment;

·       Having less than 1% of waste going to landfill was a huge achievement;

·       Not all of the flats at Station Approach were currently occupied but this was for City Heart to manage and there had not been any request for payment of rents from the council;

·       The report was well laid out and easy to digest;

·       The achievements of the last 2 years had been shaped to a degree by events such as the pandemic, the council had reacted well to the challenges posed and would need to continue to be resilient.


It was resolved that:


a) Cabinet approves the Delivery Plan, as set out in appendix A.


Communications Strategy 2022-2025 pdf icon PDF 156 KB

This report recommends to Cabinet a revised Communications Strategy and associated protocols to help align corporate communications to improve the way the council communicates to residents and stakeholders.

Additional documents:


The leader of the council introduced the report. He highlighted key points in relation to the strategy and accompanying protocols and principles and noted that:

·       the previous strategy had expired in 2020 and it was appropriate to have a new start with the new delivery plan;

·       the functions of the strategy were in line with the government guidelines to help residents and stakeholders feel informed and engage with them;

·       the strategy linked to key objectives and messages in the county plan.


The head of communications explained that:

·       the strategy was based on the principles of good strategic communication;

·       it established a framework for proactive communications work with greater focus on campaign-led activity, stakeholder engagement and internal communications;

·       the corporate narrative had been developed working with cabinet members, senior officers and a communications advisor from the local government association;

·       feedback provided as part of the consultation on the strategy was attached to the report.


Cabinet members discussed the report and welcomed the continuation of the Herefordshire Now publication as it was important to still have something physical to distribute.


Group leaders generally welcomed the strategy and supported the continued provision of hard copy information for those without access to the internet. It was important to provide information to residents and stakeholders so they could engage with the council.


Some minor amendments to the wording of the strategy were suggested during the discussion. It was noted that the head of communications would make minor alterations and corrections to the documents as necessary, in consultation with the cabinet member, housing, regulatory services and community safety, before final versions were published.


With this caveat, it was resolved that:


a)    The Communications Strategy is approved


b)    The accompanying Communications Protocols and Principles are approved.


Market Town Investment Plans (MTIP's) - to approve the Investment Plans pdf icon PDF 343 KB

To approve the Market Town Investment Plan (MTIP) for each of Herefordshire’s market towns.

Additional documents:


The cabinet member environment and economy introduced the report. She explained the key objectives of the plans and the need for investment in the market towns. Not all projects would be able to generate a return that would pay for themselves so opportunities to bid for grant funds would be sought. The plans would evolve, with additional projects added in future and the council would work closely with stakeholders in each of the market towns.


Cabinet members discussed the report, highlighting some of the key projects in each of the market towns. The process of creating the plans was also highlighted. The connections made through this process were equally important in delivering for the market towns.


Group leaders welcomed the proposals to invest in the market towns and gave the views and questions of their groups. The role of rural villages was noted and it was hoped investment in the market towns might also benefit these communities.


It was resolved that:


a)           The market town investment plans (MTIPs) in appendices 1 to 5 to the report are approved and adopted as providing direction for the identification of future economic development projects in the market towns;


b)           The MTIPs be used to guide the council’s capital investment in market towns, which will support the economic recovery and development of the market towns; and


c)           The Corporate Director, Economy and Environment, following consultation with the Section 151 officer and the Cabinet member for Environment and Economy is delegated authority to take all operational decisions required to implement the above recommendations.