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 no apologies from members of the cabinet.


Apologies were received from Councillors James. 




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




MINUTES pdf icon PDF 669 KB

To approve and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 14 and 21 December 2023.


Minutes are to follow.

Additional documents:


Resolved:       That the minutes of the meeting held on 14 and 21 December 2023 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairperson.




Questions from members of the public pdf icon PDF 206 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 81 KB

To receive questions from councillors.


Additional documents:


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


Reports from Scrutiny Committees pdf icon PDF 231 KB

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


A)    Report from Scrutiny Management Board:

2024-25 budget – recommendations from Scrutiny Management Board

Report to follow

Additional documents:


2024-25 Budget Recommendations from Scrutiny Management Board

The chairperson for the Scrutiny Management Board (SMB) confirmed the meeting on 10 and 16 January 2024 was to consider the scrutiny of the 2024/25 Budget. The principle points were presented by the chair of the SMB regarding the reality of the balance of the Council’s budget. Three recommendations were made in respect of savings, firstly that it was not reasonable to rely on Children’s directorate to deliver £2.5m of savings without evidence of savings or an alternative source of savings being identified.  Secondly, detail was requested regarding how £450k of savings can be achieved from Balfour Beatty Living Places.  Thirdly, performance monitoring should take place for areas affected by MERS.  Two recommendations were made in respect of income, firstly that detail of income was provided for all directorates. Secondly, provide evidence that the income targets for planning services were realistic. The SMB also made two further recommendations; that a forecast was provided of which ear marked reserves will fund the £13.8m overspend in Children’s and Young People Directorate. Also, that investment to provide targeted support for hard up households is made clearer in the budget papers for Council.    


The Leader thanked the committee for their work in forming the recommendations, it was noted that Cabinet will give them due consideration and provide information requested for full council.  


Children and Young People directorate budget task and finish group

The chairperson of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee (CYPSC) confirmed the meeting took place on 23 January 2024 regarding the budget task and finish group. The committee noted numerous factors within the report were driving the overspend in Children’s and Young People Directorate. The recommendation proposed that the £2.5m savings within Children and Young people directorate should be assured from elsewhere within the budget. 


The Leader thanked the committee for their work in forming the recommendations. 



2024/25 Budget, Medium Term Financial and Treasury Management Strategy - Revenue pdf icon PDF 378 KB

To recommend to Council the proposed 2024/25 revenue budget, Medium Term Financial Strategy and the Treasury Management Strategy. 


Additional documents:


Opening remark by the Leader

Regarding the Budget and the local settlement, clarification was only received on 24 January in respect of the additional funding received and this will be discussed today along with the amendment to the recommendation.   

The Cabinet member for finance and corporate services introduced the report. It highlighted that the revised budget for 2024/25 was now £210m.  It was confirmed that; the central government settlement was better than expected at £2.5m; the Rural Services Delivery Grant was increased to £945,000 and the Social Care Grant for adults and children was increased to £1.835m.  The additional funds will be used to cancel the planned car parking increase; provide funding towards strategic housing activities; provide funding towards the Leominster heritage action zone; to remove the planned reduction in Library opening hours; to support Economy and Environment directorate by resourcing a funding officer; to provide funding for the community and volunteer sector; to allocate funding to Parish Councils for the lengthsmen scheme; to provide funding towards Herefordshire footpaths; to provide funding to address drainage works across the road network; add money to the financial resilience reserve and the new social care resilience reserve.

It was noted that each directorate has its own pressures and savings plan to deliver the directorate savings of £11.6m.   


The Medium Term Financial Strategy sets out the Council’s budget for 24/25 and the financial plan until 27/28.  Noted there was only a £1.9m funding gap over the medium term financial period.


Cabinet members discussed the report and it was noted to be a positive opportunity to allocate money to be used locally for the right of way footpaths, lengthsmen scheme and drainage.  Also, that the investment in the Children’s directorate will result in improved outcomes for children and families. 


Group leaders gave the views of their groups.  The additional funding announced was welcomed.  Concern was expressed regarding underfunding of public services and when progress will be made with improving the A49 and transport links to the motorway.  It was noted that there should be close monitoring over the use of contractors at the Council and caution taken with MERS.  The cancelation of car parking charges was welcomed.  It was queried what percentage of people fund their own care and what the impact will be due to the asylum seekers moving from the Three Counties Hotel and from the Talbot hotel.  It was asked that high school transport costs for families transporting children from Credenhill to Weobley are addressed.  Clarification was sought as to where funding monies have been allocated in the Budget report regarding targeted support for hard up households. 


In response to the queries it was noted that local government funding is tight and extra monies are welcomed. Regarding the A49 the Cabinet member advised the bypass will come to Cabinet in February. It was confirmed that monitoring of Council spending will be closely monitored with Cabinet portfolio holders conducting a monthly review of all expenditure and the £500 moratorium will continue next year.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 82.


2024/25 Capital Investment Budget and Capital Strategy Update pdf icon PDF 487 KB

To recommend to Council for approval the revised capital investment budget and capital strategy for 2024/25 onwards.


Additional documents:


The Cabinet member for finance and corporate services introduced the report. It highlighted there was one further addition from the Department of Transport of a grant for £3.36m over a two year period to address pot holes. It was confirmed that inclusion of a project in the capital programme is not approval to proceed, each project will be subject to its own governance, a full business case will be presented for approval where required and in full compliance with the Council’s contract procedure rules.  The additional projects and further detail were set out for Community and Economy.  Confirmed that the Capital Strategy will be updated in line with the County Plan 2024-2028 and the Delivery Plan with the aim to benefit the community, with a community impact assessment to be included in the decision report for any new capital scheme commencing. 


There were no comments from Cabinet members. 


Group leaders gave the views of their groups.  Concern was expressed regarding borrowing for capital projects when interest rates are high and the impact on council tax payers in the future; ensuring that sensible value for money policies are implemented to nurture growth for local businesses; the governance regarding the road programs being reinserted into the Capital programme and ensuring that they are part of the Council’s policy framework. 


In response to the queries it was noted that the Council has lower levels of borrowing than other authorities and to achieve goals, which cannot be achieved solely from the revenue budget, financial mechanisms are in place to enable this.  It was confirmed that any help was welcomed to ensure the Council achieves best value for money and it is obligatory on all Councillors to do so.  In regard to allocation of capital for the Southern Link Road it was confirmed that on 8 December (2023) there was a resolution to allocate monies to the project. 


It was unanimously resolved that:


That Cabinet recommends the following to Council


I.               To approve the revised capital programme for 2024/25 attached at appendix C; and

II.              Approve the capital strategy at appendix D.



2024/25 Council Tax Reduction Scheme pdf icon PDF 215 KB

To recommend to Council the 2024/25 local Council Tax Reduction (CTR) scheme. 


Additional documents:


The Cabinet member for finance and corporate services introduced the report. It was highlighted that charges can be reduced if certain requirements are met for working age individuals and pensioners.  It was confirmed that the pensioner council tax reduction scheme is set nationally but the working age council tax reduction scheme is set locally by Hereford Council. 


Cabinet members had no comments.


Group leaders gave the views of their groups.  The continuation of the council tax reduction scheme was welcomed by all but clarification was sought regarding when change of circumstances are notified to the Council. 


In response to the queries it was noted that the majority of households do inform the Council of their change in circumstances. 


It was unanimously resolved that;


a)    The Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2024/25, with the same parameters as the existing scheme, be recommended to Council for approval.



Procurement of new waste collection service - update pdf icon PDF 304 KB

Further to the approved Cabinet report on the 5th October this report seeks approval to award the new waste collection contact.


Report to follow. 

Additional documents:


The Cabinet member for community services and assets introduced the report and highlighted that on completion of the procurement process a new contract will be awarded.  Confirmed the new contract includes options and flexibility for the Council to phase the introduction of the new collection model and each element will be subject to a business case and a subsequent decision.  It was noted that the new contract will commence on 1 September 2024 with an initial term of 8 years with the option to extend by a further 12 years.  It will commence on the current collection model, meaning there will be no immediate changes for residents or businesses. In respect of the optional chargeable garden waste service the public consultation responses will be reviewed to support the business case for a subsequent decision.  Noted that further information is awaited from the Government’s waste reforms regarding the introduction of the food waste service. 


There were no comments from Cabinet members. 


Group leaders gave the views of their groups. There was support for the new waste collection service but concern was expressed regarding Herefordshire’s low recycling rates and if fly tipping will increase if the contract is too rigid.  More information should be provided to businesses and residents regarding what is recyclable in the interim. Clarification was sought regarding the Council’s current recycling rate and how is it going to be improved, what is the time frame for implementing the enhanced service and what protection does the Council have when new legal obligations are set when the Council is already committed to a contract. 


In response to the queries it was noted fly tipping will be monitored and despite how the waste contract is handled, the Council will try and remove fly tipping from the County.  It was acknowledged that the Council will encourage households to recycle and has the ambition to increase the information provided.  It was confirmed that the current recycling rate is 39.5% as of November 2023 and it was noted that not all Councils are the same, for example Herefordshire Council’s food waste goes to energy from waste not landfill but not all Council’s do this at this point.  Clarified that enhanced elements of the waste contract cannot be brought forward as the Council is awaiting confirmation of the new obligations from Government.  Confirmed that anticipated future changes are built into the contract and are benchmarked to avoid unfair price increases by the provider.


It was unanimously resolved that;


a)    Authority is delegated to the Corporate Director for Economy and Environment in consultation with the Cabinet Member Community Services and Assets, Cabinet Member for Environment and the Director of Resources and Assurance to award the contract to the preferred bidder for the new waste collection service under the existing collection model, within the proposed 2024/25 annual revenue budget, for an initial term of 8 years, including options to extend by up to a further 12 years (following budget approval and conclusion of the procurement process);


b)    Authority  ...  view the full minutes text for item 85.