VB are reporting live from the Cabinet meeting at County Hall.
For details of agenda items, check the agenda and associated papers via the Isle of Wight council’s (IWC) website.
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We will endeavour to report presentations and discussions as accurately as possible. Text surrounded by () signifies VB’s comments.[17:49] Never seen so many chairs in the room. Strangely for a meeting with so many public wanting to attend it’s been held in a conference room, with the overflow in the main chamber. Everyone in place now.
Hush has descended
We’re off. Cllr Pugh in the chair.
[18:04] Update 1
Bob Blezzard Q: Dave Burbage. Company and employee for S.151officer. Why a consultancy? 4 years an excessive amount. What is the total amount? Pension funds + Other people being employed.
Cllr Pugh: We won’t normally talk about employees, but will in this case. Agency costs £30k year. Not paid now. External auditor OK with it.
Total costs – presented in 29.June. £167k. £27k pension. £14k NIC. Pension scheme – no disadvantage to other people.
Other manager – chose not to answer the question about other two staff contracted.
[18:10] Update 2
Q: If it’s done to save money, why not do it for all senior positions?
A: New and more flexible ways for employees will be explored.
Q: Young Chamber rep. Why cuts to youth services?
A: Cllr Cousins. Supporting young people is a key area. Connexion service decision haven’t been made. Seek to support. Will give details when we have them.
[18:13] Update 3
Q: Southampton research into floating bridge rejected. Why?
A: Cllr Giles – £200k saving will be needed if floating bridge not charged for. Southampton Uni – not professional consultants, but students. We see no value in seeking this consultancy.
Q: Steve Goodman: 7 CEOs in 13 years. 2 star rating. Why paying top money for senior staff?
A: Cllr Pugh: Turnover sometimes beyond our control. Academic results holds us back – it’s been the key factor. School changes will help. £1.5m saving in top staff cuts.
[18:20] Update 4
Ofsted Inspection Action Plan – November 2010 (Paper B)
Cllr Dawn Cousins. Unannounced inspection – a good report.
(It’s all going well is the summary)
Q: Cllr Welsford: Role of Scrutiny Committee. I’d like it to be more active. Bring people in, etc.
A: Cllr Cousins: We need to look at strengthening it in a workshop. Trying to get more young people involved. Possibly have one on Scrutiny Committee.
[18:31] Update 5
Cllr Howe: I’d like Scrutiny Committee to move on. I’d like to comment on items on Forward Plan and be able to pull people in to find out why decisions are being made.
Adult Social Care Performance Assessment 2009/10 (Paper C)
Cllr Mazillius: “This is another good news story”. Pointing out with pride that the council is doing “Well” (C2 item 1.9). One Excellent.
Cllr Cousins: This service has come a long way.
Q: Cllr Welsford: Will our performance be affected by raising of threshold? To critical
A: Cllr Maz: (Didn’t answer first), then pushed again said, it will not affect it, because we will manage it properly
[18:43] Update 6
2011/12 – 2013/14 Budget Strategy and Council Tax Setting (Paper D)
Cllr Pugh: Revised approach to cuts. Significant correspondence. Balanced budget still needed. Transparent looking at this important. Some people say we’ve inflated amounts. Urge putting budget together to share asap. Recommendations to be fed into full council. May have further adjustments before full council. Continue to invest in council – school, PFI, fireservice modernisation, etc.
Will continue to pursue £900k for damping. MP, Turner will bring it up in the house tomorrow. Met with him last week. Lots of people questioning in County Hall – rise from 350 to 700 staff.
It’s been part of medium terms strategy for two years. The economic situation has made it essential.
Reserves + balances – General Fund of £7.3m. £1.5-2m redundancy costs. Parish councils to be consulted on moving of Archives.
[19:05] Update 7
Parking permit options – not currently going to be reconsidered
£10.7 savings – cross council. £6.475m saving in 38 senior management posts (From delegated decision yesterday)
Officer to take a pay cut or reduced hours. Proposal stretch the management thin.
Complaint at FOIs and email asking questions. £7.25m saving from staffing cuts
Back office £1.5 – comms, etc.
(Sorry folks, I’m really feeling too knackered to stay up with this tonight – Simon)
An amendment has been made to the Budget which will take into consideration outcomes of the consultations on libraries, public toilets, Waterside Pool and charges on the floating bridge.
The Schedule of savings set out in Appendix 5, subject to:
* consideration of the outcomes of the consultations on the future of the library service and public conveniences, and any recommendations, with budget implications, emanating from that;
* consideration of any viable proposal, under active consideration at the time of the budget setting process, for the future management of Waterside Pool;
* further work to be undertaken to find alternative savings that would not require the introduction of passenger charges on the Chain Ferry;
* further work to be undertaken to ensure that budget savings of £17.833m are still agreed, taking into account any revised recommendation and budget implications relating to the above
[19:20] Update 8
Changes to flow of info to parish / town councils. Straighten out confusion with parishes setting precept, without knowing what they’re being asked for.
Cllr Maz: Public consultation, 3 months. 273 replies representing 500 people’s view. ‘Substantial’ band, £1m drop in support from £7.5m. Result – People would like to have respite care in Newport
(hallelujah from the public)
[19:35] Update 9
Recommendation: “Explore transfer of Westminister House either to social enterprise model or to a private or voluntary sector provider.”
The future of The Gouldings + Adelaide will be carefully looked at in the near future.
Cllr Brown on Library consultations. “Very gratifying total response”. Responses ranged from (very many) don’t change how it is now, to community.
Further response: Hours of Sandown, Ventnor, Freshwater, Cowes are extended from consultation. 21 hrs per week, 3 times increase on proposals. Those “core libraries” to move to volunteers. East Cowes, Bembridge, Brighstone, Niton, to be continued for three months.
“Will limit feasibility saving”. Extended hours would costs additional £100k. Ryde – open 42 hrs/week rather than 50 proposed. Need to deploy library staff to branches as required.
‘Core library’ is Newport. East Cowes, Bembridge, Shanklin – self service terminal from the outset.
“Important that it’s installed.”
“Can operate rather more efficiently”
“This isn’t a comprehensive reply” that will come later.
Revised level of saving is £400k from £500k
Libraries Local – wasn’t well liked. Community libraries will be used in the future.
[19:49] Update 10
Cllr Pugh – Floating Bridge
It’s very clear that locals feel strongly. “If we can identify other savings, Foot passengers and cyclists would remain free”
Cllr Giles: I’ve made representations on behalf on the people of the town. See it as a floating bridge for a chain ferry. Practicality is also an issue
East Cowes meeting referenced again – this time on libraries
Saying people have volunteered to run the East Cowes library
Cllr Cousins: Newport North – concern at WightBus loss. Retaining their mobility is important. If the elderly can’t get around, they’re rely (read cost more in) social services.
Cllr Maz: “I honestly never thought that our suggestions would ever lead to the complete closures of any libraries”.
Cowes, Gurnard (and one other) – setup a cross council discussion about transport.
Cllr Ward: Thanks for finding a way forward. Ask that staff hours be used with some flexibility.
Cllr Sutton: Freshwater having IWC staff. Thank you
Cllr Humby: Sandown will welcome the news – 3 days a week.
Some costs to fall on Parish councils?
Cllr Brown: Yes to flexibility of hours. We hope there will be an enhancement of the IWC hours, by volunteers – translated volunteers can keep the libraries open longer. People have written in their hundreds.
A more flexible model. Precept setting is entirely parish concern.
Thanks for extension of the time for Waterside pool to get their ideas together.
We don’t have the consent of that member of staff to discuss him
Cllr Whittaker: On behalf of the clients of Westminster house – thanks
Ask you to keep clients fully informed.
Cllr Howe: why will our PFI be twice the amount that Portsmouth did?
Cllr Giles: Not aware Ports published all costs.
[20.10] Update 11
Cllr Howe: Cllr Pugh do you wish that you’d used the CCN, not pursued your own methods with the Gov on £900k?
Cllr Pugh: Summary – no.
Cllr Knowles: Derbyshire is employing head of finance on £75k. Is Dave Burbage Ltd too expensive?
Cllr Pugh: Burbage does a lots more.
Cllr Barry: £21m less than when Pugh came into leadership.
[20.21] Update 12
Cllr Barry: Cllr Giles said that reserves were £25m in East Cowes, Cllr Pugh tonight said £5m.
S.151 – has to be a employee, I think
Cllr Pugh: Legislation days – One ‘officer’ has to be used, not one person.
–end of meeting