VB are reporting live from the Cabinet meeting at County Hall.
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We will endeavour to report presentations and discussions as accurately as possible. Text surrounded by () signifies VB’s comments.
[18:00] And we’re off
The chamber is full – all opposition councillors here. Four Conservative (non-Cabinet). Other room being used.
Cll Pugh just declared an interest as “his partner” works at the council (that’s the first time, I’ve heard that)
Mark Chiverton question – cuts
Cllr Pugh: We can’t escape the reality. This will be felt across the Island. Other opportunities across the Island. Looking to draw down from the Regional Growth Fund. Offer for meeting Unison with Cllr Brown.
Central Government discussions – need to be targeted, not scatter gun. Working with LGA. They say deficit is important to reduce, but are concerned at front-loading.
[18.10] Update 2
A uniform approach needed across all Councils. Lobby potential on Damping (money taken back by Government). £3.3m – 3.4m each year for IWC. Some £18m. Thinks the new government will be more willing to listen. 18 Dec – details expected.
£8.5m reduction is expectant of Damping happening. If no damping, more money available.
Mark Chiverton: Are you aware of the growing sense of concern at the council rushing into cuts? Ideology?
(Applause from public)
Cllr Pugh: Pragmatism + Ideology don’t work together. All local authorities having cuts across the UK. We are at risk of suffering more than local authorties – Damping + Concessionary bus fares.
“Most of the items on the agenda are about starting a process.”
[18.20] Update 3
Written question: Waterside pool action group. A meeting was held. 60 people made it along. A community lead trust will be formed. A 90 day period, before closure, requested.
Cllr Brown: We’d like to have continued use of the pool. 113 days until the date of decision. We seek to continue swimming there.
Cllr Pugh extending questions
Robin Sivapalan, Ryde: Public services is the concern. How will conjure up these jobs for 500+ people?
Cllr Brown: Hard to do off the cuff. No. Of people in receipt of job seekers allowance is an accepted guide. September figures for the Island are 2,824 – 3.4% of working age population. UK 3.5%.
3.4% is not acceptable and we must seek to encourage private industry to assist
(Muttering from the gallery)
Q: I don’t thing you’ve provided any answers.
Cllr Brown: Investment – IWC will be a lead partner in LEP
[18.30] Update 4
Marine Energy Arc – harvesting the very sustancial energy flow up and down our coastlines
Pan development: Vestas R+D (not the levels of previous factory)
(Shouts of “it’s waffle!”)
Q: Concerned resident: £200m has been set aside. Wouldn’t that be better spent employee people?
Cllr Pugh: That was a central government fund. We don’t have access to it. On job losses: IWC has a large work force that cannot continue at those levels.
End of public question
[18.40] Update 5
Medium-Term Budget Strategy 2011/12 – 2014/15 – Paper B (PDF)
Adult care: We have an older demographic profile on the Island.
(Cllr Pugh having a few probs with a dry throat)
Concerned about front-loading of the proposed Gov cuts.
(Notes being passed around – eyes being cast to the public gallery. Not sure what’s going on)
(One from Beynon + other from head of legal)
(Cllr Pugh taken a Strepsil! *exciting*)
[18.45] Update 6
Proposed increase of IWC fees – 10% across the board
(For summary of other matters, look at VB coverage on proposed Budget Cuts)
Cllr Lumley: Number of issues. What’s the purpose of tonight’s meeting? It should be by IWC, not solely by Cabinet. Why are some parts of the paper so opaque? Eg Connections; Libraries.
£19.9m additional costs over the next four years. There’s no indications as to what it is.
(Head of legal has just fetched Cllr Pugh a hot drink in a mug. Very strange)
(Lots of applause from audience)
[18.50] Update 7
Cllr Pugh: The Cabinet is the executive. You’re right. Decision will be made in February.
Opaque – we have to strike a balance. Not much detail, because of consultation. Libraries a good example – a delegated decision will follow.
In some ways we haven’t been forceful enough in outlining what future increasing costs may be. Damping is one thing we can take up with government.
[19.00] Update 9
Cllr Lumley: Budget setting over the last three years have been more open – but I urge you to be more open with opposition members, not just keep it within the Conservative councillors.
Cllr Churchman: Parking income short fall. How did we get it so wrong? School transport £500
Cllr Pugh: Current economic climate has affected money at the parking meter. “Re-profiling” of this going on.
School transport: Statutory need. Government changes on ‘safe routes’ (eg Wroxall to Ventnor), has caused increases.
[19.05] Update 10
Cllr Bacon: Opaque-ness – will you give an undertaking (say libraries) that it will be crystal clear what is being proposed?
Cllr Pugh: “we will seek to be as precise as possible”
Communities taking on services – We have “a tight window” We may not be able to hold back to wait for them.
Will have to “take a view” about discontinuing some services.
Cllr Brown: Final paper just arrived on my desk. Overall objective – maintain the heart of the service – getting books into people hands.
I hope the info will be as tight as it can be.
Cllr Bacon: I was also at Parish council meeting – they are all very keen to have info as quickly as possible.
[19.18] Update 10
Cllr Welsford: Car parking + loss of revenue. Resident permits – what impact? School transport costs – I said they would rise when fighting for middle school to stay open. Town + parish precept rises – how will they cope?
Cllr Pugh: Town + Parish – we need to be realistic about this. Can’t see them happening. Looking after parks won’t be Town + Parish this year. Other local groups might take up other slack.
Schools – Primary school staying for 2 years longer – less travelling. Level of transport over the Island does balance out. It’s an improved service for the young people.
Cllr Giles – Car Parking – most local authorities having a drop. We’re £300k ahead of where we were last year. Income from parking permits has been higher.
Cllr Pugh: we had accounted for the uplift in school costs.
[19.25] Update 11
Cllr Dyer: Was heartened at a Wightbus 4/5 times a week. I now see we’re not going to have that. Lots of elderly people in rural areas rely on Wightbus.
Cllr Giles: Wightbus – now it doesn’t have school lift, it’s rational has now gone.
(People calling out about Special Schools bus coverage)
Cllr Howe: Car parking: £50 permits in 2005. Do you regret this happening?
Cllr Pugh: Interesting question. 2005 thoughts were car drivers were getting a bad deal. Was an uplift in income. In hindsight, perhaps it was a mistake. Parking income, we found, is an inexact science.
*end of members questions*
Vote – 7 For
(I’ve just been told that Head of Legal often gets Cllr Pugh + other drinks)
[19.42] Update 13
Council Organisation: Future Shape And Direction Paper C (PDF)
*CEO Steve Beynon speaking*
It might not be popular, but it’s required.
Cllr Pugh: We as the cabinet area broadly support of the recommendations.
We will vote on recommendations individually, so question can be relevant to each section.
Overview – Budget gap – £17.1m anticipated
IWC put forward £18.3m – why? Consultation may adjust/reduce each one, so we need spare. More work to do for 2nd year also. This has attracted an unprecedented level of interest across the Island. Revenue support grant will be notified next Monday.
Right and proper that we start this process now.
Shared services – “right and proper” that we share services across the water
[19.52] Update 14
Paper C – Item 57. The principles in paragraph 9 with regard to defining the future shape and direction of the organisation be adopted.
Voted – 7 For
Paper C – Item 58. The Chief Executive prepares, for consultation with staff, a revised management structure (with changes at all levels) the outcome of which is subject to a Cabinet Member delegated decision by the Leader and will achieve the projected £7.25m savings (full year effect) in management and specialist staff costs (paragraph 21), and £6.475m in 2011/12. This structure should be sufficiently flexible to allow for future opportunities of joint working with the police (public protection); health (joint commissioning) and Portsmouth and Southampton local authorities (specialist services) and the voluntary and community sectors.
Discontinuing discretionary services, means a loss of staff in those areas. We need to have a smaller organisation. Will be made under delegated decision.
Cllr Lumley Q: Worried that this is cart before the horse. How can this happen before the vote on this in Feb?
Predict increasing pressure on elected members of the next 11 weeks – so you can’t be certain of the outcome of the votes.
Cllr Pugh: it says ‘preparing’ not finalising.
[20.05] Update 15
Beynon: It’s appropriate. No matter the outcome, we’ll not need so many senior officers. Those that remain will need to take one more responsibilities, for extra money.
Cllr Lumley: You’re looking into a future that we don’t know. Perhaps you’d like to do my Lottery numbers next week, Mr Beynon?
Beynon: Usually the opposition is asking for me to cut out management, you could say I’ve been listening to your advice
Cllr Lumley: We heading to a council that only does what it _has_ to do, not what we’d like to do.
Cllr Barry: I think this is the start of the slippery slope of us losing what’s special about the Island.
Cllr Pugh: I don’t agree. I’m not afraid of the Mainland. I think there’s a healthy relationship we can build.
Cllr Welsford – What’s “joint working” for the police and health?
Cllr Pugh: We want to retain those services on the Island. Eg Chief exec speaking to police on some of the functions that IWC used to provide.
[20.19] Update 16
Cllr Welsford: Are we looking at sharing chief exec?
Cllr Pugh: It could be considered. Could be considered for health services too.
IWC Chief exec needed here for the while, but poss in the future.
Cllr Pugh: We’ve very good at Benefits, so we could offer that to others.
Cllr Howe: I’d hate to see job that Islanders could do, being done by people on the Mainland.
Cllr Pugh: “many people like to go both ways” – (he was referring to Island people working on the mainland)
Cllr Stephens: Can you assure us that we remain fully informed?
Cllr Pugh: That is the procedure.
Vote on Item 58 – 7 For
Paper C – 59. As part of the revised organisational structure the Chief Executive ensures that the 2010/11 funding for supporting people is linked with, as appropriate, new Early Intervention Grant and aspects of social care funding to ensure that the support for vulnerable families is used in an effective and coherent way so that any unnecessary duplication and management costs are reduced (paragraphs 41 and 49).
Cllr Bacon: Will funding for Supporting People be affected?
[20.29] Update 17
Cllr Pugh: It’s likely that it is. The wider approach – we need to look at joint commissioning. This is an area that’s likely to change. We can set up a Member briefing.
Cllr Cousins: Big shift to supporting families, not just Supporting People.
Cllr Bacon: After be big hit in this area last year, we need to make sure there isn’t another one.
Vote on Item 59 – 7 For
Paper C – 60. The Transformation Programme is now absorbed into the wider restructure of the organisation and the logistical and procurement savings requirement from the project (£4.75m by March 2012) are secured (paragraphs 22, 23, 24, 26 and 27 refer).
Cllr Hunter-Henderson: Most of things are in place, so I see no problem
Vote on Item 60 – 7
Paper C – 61.
The spend on economic development activity is increased by £100,000 for 2011/12 and this is built into the budget planning for 2011/12.
Cllr Brown: We’re doing extensive work modeling the Island at the moment. Out of 140,200 residents, 33k are 65+. Economically active and working – 55,200.
We are supporting the Island’s economy on a smaller working base. 18,100 neither working or unemployed or seeking work. Might be people retiring early.
0-15 years – 23,000
[20.38] Update 18
There’s more of a burden being placed on the working population – and it’s only going in one direction. We must do everything that we can to increase the number of well paid jobs. I think we’re making sensible approach. We want projects to come here (via LEP).
Cllr Mazillius: We can use land the IWC own and inward investment to do good things. Planning rules too.
Cllr Howe: Worried at the number of houses being built on land that was reserved for industrial use.
Cllr Brown: The land we have isn’t ideal in its location. There is an important balance to strike. Employment land needs to be rated highly.
Cllr Churchman: Concerned that government has committed to funding LEPs. And we could end up as a small cog in a big wheel.
Cllr Pugh: I can assure you we are not a small cog. Funding can be applied for by 21 January.
Cllr Brown: We need to be at the table to receive money.
[20.58] Update 19
Cllr Lumley: Shame most of scrutiny panel isn’t here. Only Cllr Webster from the Conservatives.
(Cllr Pugh suggesting extending by an hour – votes 7 – yes)
Vote on Item 61 – 7
[21.10] Update 20
*Martin from the CP has just fronted me two chocolate bars, as I left my change in the car – hero – *
Paper C – 62. The previously identified investment in children’s social care is maintained in the 2011/12 budget but that regular progress reports are received by Cabinet to be assured that the necessary improvements are being achieved (paragraph 47).
Vote on 62 – 7 For
Paper C – 63.
Tourist Information Centres are closed with effect from 31 March 2011 (saving £175,000 in 2011/12 and £200,000 in a full year (2012/13) and discussions continue with the tourist industry as to how relevant information can be made available through alternative means (paragraph 30).
Cllr Brown – support officers conclustion that £250k that they’re not good value. Council currently spends £500k on Tourism.
44% of visits to TICs are Islanders.
Staff in all TICs are well know for their care. They’re very good ambassadors.
Cllr Pugh: Keen to ensure that info is made readily available. Regrettable this is the right decision. Some recognition that this is the right direction to go. No comments from hoteliers in my area.
Cllr Bacon: For an Island that is so reliant on tourism, this greatly concerns me. Closure date is a week before the Easter holiday. It’s an important time – people come along at Easter, find they like it, then come back again in Summer.
Cllr Pugh: People are booking over the Internet. We aren’t looking for this to be transfered to another body to run it. We think it’ll be taken over by the Internet.
Cllr Brown: The market has moved on.By the time people are in the TICs, they’re already on the Island. A long-established services has been taken over by time. The sale of books, etc is creating a competitor to Island shops
Cllr Bacon: It’s the continuity of service that concerns me.
Cllr Howe: Money saved. Does it include redundancy money + money received from selling the buildings.
Cllr Pugh: Redundancies costs will be netted off. Where there’s pension amounts, their costs will be over a number of years.
[21.23] Update 21
Cllr Brown: There’s a certain degree of guestimates. There’s a number of TICs where we need to get out of the leases.
Vote on 63 – 7 For
Paper C – 64. The provision of beach lifeguards is ceased with annual savings of £100,000 (paragraph 33).
Cllr Brown: Life guards are needed for Blue Flags. Local councils might make the decision to fund their life guards.
Cllr Welsford: Have discussion with RNLI broken down?
Cllr Brown: I understand that they wanted £100k.
Cllr Welsford: Possible that we might not have coverage on beaches next summer, because local councils haven’t had time to put it in place. Coastguards said 100 life-threatening incidents could have taken place in the Bay Area alone.
Cllr Brown: I don’t believe discussions have taken place with Coastguard. “These are vital services.”
Vote on Item 64 – 7 For
Paper C – 65. Subject to a forthcoming Cabinet Member delegated decision, an invitation for proposals to be brought forward for Waterside Pool will be launched unless a viable proposal, at nil longer term cost to the Council is under active consideration at the time of the budget setting process in Feb 2010, a recommendation will be made to remove the £250,000 annual operating subsidy from 2011/12 onwards, leading to its closure with 31 March 2011(paragraph 32).
Cllr Brown: Our primary task to maintain services after the cuts. Group to run it has come forward – frankly this is a positive way forward.
Cllr Churchman: This is an email from Wayne Whittle – Joint funding possible? (Like the West Wight)
Cllr Pugh: Could be considered, but we need to save money.
Cllr Churchman: Think about the loss of parking revenue.
Cllr Stephens: What’s the framework for people to work too?
Cllr Brown: The Delegated Decision paperwork should have this. We don’t want anything hidden. We want it open for quick reaction.
Cllr Stephens: Can we have more time?
Cllr Brown: As we used to say in my past of Mergers + Accusations – The end of a long illness is death. These things need to happen quickly.
*Many opposition councillors are saying that they’ve had lots of emails about the closure of the pool – so lots of people use it*
Cllr Brown: “we want it to happen, so we will do everything we can to make it happen”
Vote on Item 65 – 7
[21.50] Update 23
Paper C – 66. Wight Bus is ceased as from 31 August 2011 with a saving of £75,000 in 2011/12 and £150,000 in a full year (paragraph 35).
Cllr Giles: Wightbus is now inviable. A number of groups are interested in setting up their own bus services – discussions with them.
Cllr Pugh: If we continued services, there’d be capital costs
Cllr Giles: Yes, buses are old, so new ones would need to bought/leased
Cllr Churchman: Government are cutting 20% subsidy, so till become even more important.
Vote on Item 66 – 7
Paper C – 68. Discussions continue with schools regarding services they may choose to purchase or wish in partnership with the local authority, provided the cost of such support is not subsidised and therefore will have a nil effect on the Council’s budget.
(Some uncertainty between the Cabinet as to if the whole agenda should completed tonight)
*Four opposition members left in the chamber. No conservatives (except the Cabinet). Only one audience member left here (except you on VB)*
Vote on Item 68 – 7 For
*Extension needed at 10pm – vote taken, but the Cabinet split. First time I’ve ever seen them not vote together*
Paper C – 69. The capital programme for the rebuild of the fire stations in Newport and Ventnor is put on hold until such time as the revenue costs can be met with a saving of £220,000 in 2011/12 and £500,000 in 2012/13 (paragraph 31).
Cllr Abraham: Desperate times, desperate measure. Fire service can continue to operate.
Vote on Item 69 – 7 For
[22.09] Update 24
Paper C – 70. Subject to a forthcoming Cabinet Member delegated decision, consultation and active discussion take place with town and parish Councils, local communities and businesses regarding regarding the future management of public toilets with a potential saving of £100,000 in 2011/12 and £250,000 in a full year (2012/13) (paragraph 33). The delegated decision on consultation to commence as soon as is practical after this meeting and will inform a further Cabinet Member delegated decision on the proposals.
Cllr Giles: Review of public toilets. About 70 on the Island. Consultation once there’s been the review.
Cllr Bacon: Orig review was going to be in Feb, now it’s been brought forward to this side of xmas. The gap between decisions by IWC and local councils that might take them on is very narrow.
Cllr Pugh: Should be published before xmas. It should be names of facilities, but not the costs of running them.
Cllr Bacon: Concerned that there’s only a month between this and precept setting by local councils,
Cllr Pugh: Shanklin has, I would think too many toilets at 7. So I would imagine some would close.
Vote on Item 70 – 7 For
Paper C – 71. Annual savings of £200,000 will be dewlivered in relation to the maintenance of parks and gardens and town and parish councils will be invited to bring forward ideas and sugestions for how these public amenities could be maintained in the longer term. The delegated decision on consultation to commence as soon as is practical after this meeting and will inform a further Cabinet Member delegated decision on the proposals.
Frequency of grass cutting. Remain committed to support all current park + gardens for the rest of the year
Cllr Bacon: St Helen has 2nd largest green in the country. Concerns over a drop of coverage
Vote on Item 71 – 7 For
Paper C – 72. Continuing work is undertaken to establish a joint approach to commissioning with the IOWNHS and GPs and that the provider services within the Council are separated from commissioning activity so that the Council ceases to be a direct provider of care services no later than 1 April 2012 (paragraph 40). This, along with the proposals to adjust the application of the eligibility criteria and introduce changes to the charging policy, will – subject to forthcoming decisions – deliver a saving of £3.1m in 2011/12 and £5.2m in a full year (2012/13).
Cllr Mazillius: It’s a whole new ball game. People choose what they want.
Vote on Item 72 – 7 For
[22.24] Update 25
Paper C – 73. Subject to a forthcoming Cabinet Member delegated decision, consultation is undertaken on the proposed changes to the library service to achieve a saving of £763,000 in 2011/12 and £833,000 in a full year (2012/13) (paragraph 43). The consultation to commence as soon as is practical after this meeting and will inform a further Cabinet Member delegated decision on the proposals
Cllr Brown: delegated decision within the next two weeks and answer all questions raised with us
Vote on Item 73 – 7 For
Paper C – 74. Further work is done on the Museum and Heritage Service to identify ways in which savings can be made whilst seeking alternative providers for Ventnor Botanical Gardens, Dinosaur Isle and Newport Roman Villa (paragraphs 43 and 44), which would deliver a combined potential saving of £132,000 in 2011/12 and £525,000 in a full year (2012/13).
Cllr Brown: No flesh on the bones yet. Will be setting up advisory panels like we have for VBG
Vote on Item 74 – 7 For
[22.34] Update 26
Paper C – 75. Charges are introduced for passengers on the chain ferry and this revenue is used to fund the costs of the revenue impact of the capital investment to replace the ferry in 2014 (paragraph 36).
Cllr Giles: The Chain ferry barely ‘washes its face’ with income like this. Need to increase for up coming costs. Concusios that I’ve spoken against this in the past, but I’ll support it.
Vote on Item 75 – 7 For
Paper C – 76. A revised Corporate Plan is brought to Cabinet in March 2011 which identifies the Council’s priorities for the next two financial years.
Vote on Item 76 – 7 For
Paper C – 77. In view of the urgency, and that they will be the subject to separate Cabinet Member delegated decisions, call-in be disapplied to recommendations 65, 70 and 72. Although it be noted that the subsequent Cabinet Member delegated decisions will not necessarily have call-in disapplied.
Cllr Pugh: Will ask officers if this can happen.
Vote on Item 77 – 7 For
*All non-cabinet councillors have gone*
Report of the Cabinet Member for Major Projects, Performance & Customer Services Quarterly Performance & Strategic Risk Management report – Quarter 2 2010/11 – (Paper D PDF)
Cllr HH: Cabinet members and directors continue to meet regularly.
Cllr Brown: Disappointed we’re going to have to gallop through this at such a late hour. It’s letting down the process.
Vote 7 For
Remaining two reports will be done at the January meeting.
Cllr Cousins: Disappointed that we shouldn’t have time to go through it tonight..