Venue: Committee Room 2, CO3, New Road, Grays, RM17 6SL
Contact: Lucy Tricker, Senior Democratic Services Officer Email: Direct.Democracy@thurrock.gov.uk
To approve as a correct record the minutes of Cabinet held on 7 December 2022.
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Extraordinary Cabinet held on 14 December 2022.
The minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 7 December were approved as a true and correct record. The minutes of the Extraordinary Cabinet meeting held on 14 December were approved as a true and correct record.
Items of Urgent Business
To receive additional items that the Chair is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency, in accordance with Section 100B (4) (b) of the Local Government Act 1972.
There were no items of urgent business.
Declaration of Interests
There were no interests declared.
Statements by the Leader
The Leader began his statement and explained the changes to the waste service that were taking place within the Council, to ensure residents bins were collected on time. He explained that a new director for the service had been appointed and changes were taking place to the senior management waste service team. The Leader explained that these changes were being introduced to improve the service for residents.
Briefings on Policy, Budget and Other Issues
There were no briefings on policy, budget and other issues.
Petitions submitted by Members of the Public
No petitions had been submitted by members of the public.
Questions from Non-Executive Members
No questions had been submitted by Non-Executive Members.
Matters Referred to the Cabinet for Consideration by an Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Other than those items already contained within the agenda, no items had been referred to the Cabinet for their consideration by an overview and scrutiny committee.
The Leader introduced the
report and explained that the Chair of the Lower Thames Crossing
(LTC) Task Force was unwell and therefore unable to attend the
Cabinet meeting. He thanked the LTC Task Force Chair for his
diligent attendance at Cabinet to present the Task Force reports
over the past few years. Councillor Jefferies requested assurance
from National Highways that the planned proposal of one million
trees would be planted in South Ockendon and Aveley as mitigation
for the scheme. The Leader felt that the Council was in a good
position regarding opposition to the scheme, as Thurrock MPs,
Members and many residents did not want the route in its current
location. He felt that if the route was approved by government,
Thurrock needed to push for appropriate mitigation, including
junctions into and out of Thurrock to promote local growth.
Councillor Jefferies introduced
the report and stated that Thurrock had never previously had a
formal Cemetery and Burial Strategy, and the report presented to
Cabinet outlined the Council’s aims and ambitions, including
a new crematorium in Thurrock and areas for natural burial. He
explained that a consultation had taken place between June and
August 2022, and approximately five hundred responses had been
received, the findings of which were outlined in the report. The
Leader felt that it was important for Thurrock to have its own
crematorium. He explained that currently residents had to travel to
Pitsea or the London Borough of Havering for a crematorium, and
this could be made more difficult due to the expanding ULEZ area.
He felt that having a crematorium within Thurrock would make it
easier for residents to pay their last respects to their loved
The Interim Director of Housing
presented the report, as Councillor Spillman was unwell and had
sent apologies. She stated that the report set out the
recommendations for the contract term and proposed modification to
the contract value, as the contract was not due to expire until
2025. She stated that the amount spent on the contract had
increased since its agreement in 2015 due to new legislation and
regulations following the Grenfell tragedy, inflationary changes,
and additional works undertaken by Mears such as energy efficiency
works. She added that the contract had been well-performing so far
and the proposed contract modification would not affect the service
provided to residents. The Interim Director of Housing explained
that the team were currently working on re-procurement of the
contract to ensure this was in place by contract end in 2025. She
summarised and explained that an additional recommendation had been
added which outlined the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund
Councillor Snell introduced the
report and stated that it proposed a continuation of the Local
Council Tax Scheme (LCTS), which was introduced in 2017, and would
be renewed for the 2023/24 financial year. He explained that the
LCTS helped to support the most vulnerable in Thurrock, and would
be reviewed over the coming year, ahead of the 2024/25 financial
year. The Leader felt pleased to see that the scheme was being
renewed for another year as it helped vulnerable residents whilst
seeing good collection rates. He asked how this would be reviewed
going forward. Councillor Snell explained that he had spoken with
the finance team, who would be considering changes to the scheme
for 2024/25, which were in the early stages of development. The
Leader asked if the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny committee could
be involved in the design of the scheme. Councillor Maney queried
the level of council tax support. He highlighted that Castle Point
District Council offered 70% support, and asked what their
collection rate was. He felt that as the scheme was developed,
officers and Members should undertake a comparative exercise
regarding the level of council tax support and collection rates.
Councillor Snell confirmed that officers would be undertaking a
comparative exercise and the report would be scheduled for the
Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
The Deputy Leader introduced
the report and explained that it proposed a second one-year
extension to the contract, as it had previously been extended due
to the COVID-19 pandemic. She stated that the public health team
were currently experiencing a backlog regarding data collection due
to the pandemic, and this was one of the reasons for the contract
extension request. She explained that this was a significant
contract as it contributed to many public health programmes for
children aged 0-19, and had a total spend of £20million over
the five years. She clarified that this money came from public
health grants and was separate to Council funding. She added that
the contract was a statutory government contract and provided
funding for services such as school nurses, child vision screening
and antenatal provision. The Deputy Leader stated that contract
regulations for this contract were due to change, and due to
increased service costs, the report was proposing a 6.5% reduction
on service spend. She commented that some services would move
online, some non-statutory services would cease, and some services
would be run directly through schools. She summarised and stated
that if Cabinet chose not to extend the contract, procurement would
be rushed and the team would be unable to consult on, redesign and
future-proof the service.
Councillor Duffin introduced
the report and stated that this had been presented to the Corporate
Overview and Scrutiny Committee in December 2022, who had
questioned why the report had been delayed. He stated that the
report findings and feedback would lead into the work currently
being undertaken on the Best Value Inspection (BVI) and Improvement
and Recovery Plan (IRP). Councillor Snell highlighted feedback from
the Local Government Association on page 122, who had undertaken a
financial diagnostic in December 2021 and had found the investment
programme had helped to raise funds for the Council. He urged
Members to wait until the publication of the BVI to ensure all the
facts were available. The Leader highlighted that the Commissioners
and BVI team had read the Corporate Peer Challenge report. He felt
that some of the feedback from the report had already been enacted
by the Council. The Leader urged all Members to engage with the IRP
and BVI processes, and to challenge Cabinet decisions. He felt that
cross-party working was important for the Council and discussions
should be had between all Members. The Leader wanted the Council to
own their recovery and be involved in every step of the