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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Virtual Meetings - This meeting will be held virtually. Details of how to access the meeting on YouTube are contained in the meeting page, along with the agenda and papers.. View directions

Contact: Tel: 01322 343430 email:  memberservices@dartford.gov.uk 

Note: This meeting may be viewed live from 1.30pm by highlighting and opening the following link: https://youtu.be/t4PJaqC6bpo 

Items
No. Item

103.

Welcome and Introductions

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council and Chairman of the Cabinet, Councillor J A Kite, welcomed the Cabinet to the first meeting to be held online and also welcomed viewers watching the meeting on YouTube. He introduced the members of the Cabinet and the officers attending the meeting. He explained that the Cabinet met on a monthly basis, usually preceded by a Cabinet Advisory Panel which provided a mechanism for Councillors outside the Cabinet to give their views on matters on the agenda. Although the CAP meetings were not being held due to the current national public health emergency members of CAP had been given the opportunity to raise issues for consideration at the meeting and one suggestion had been received. He explained that the Council’s democratic and decision making processes continued to operate during the emergency period and that, whilst the Cabinet had not met formally since the start of March, there had been weekly informal Cabinet briefings to which senior members of the other political groups on the Council had made constructive contributions. 

104.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

 

Councillor Wells joined the meeting by telephone during consideration of item 5, References from Other Committees, due to technical difficulties in accessing the meeting online.    

105.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of interest from Members including the terms(s) of the Grant of Dispensation (if any) by the Audit Board or Managing Director.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interests.

106.

Confirmation of the Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 5 March 2020 pdf icon PDF 231 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 5 March 2020 as an accurate record.

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered the minutes of the meeting held on 5 March 2020.

 

          RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 5 March 2020 be confirmed as an accurate record.

107.

Urgent Items

The Chairman will announce his decision as to whether there are any urgent items and their position on the agenda.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

108.

References from Other Committees

There are currently no references from other committees.

Minutes:

There were no references from other committees.

 

109.

Update on the Council's Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic pdf icon PDF 213 KB

Summary:

 

To update Members on the immediate implications for the Council of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the steps that the Council has taken to maintain essential services and to support the residential and business communities in the borough of Dartford.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the Cabinet note the contents of the report.

Minutes:

The Chairman introduced a report which detailed the implications for the Council of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the actions taken by the Council to maintain essential services and to support the residential and business communities in the borough of Dartford during the national emergency.

 

The report detailed the background to the emerging public health crisis following the declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation on 11th March and the emergency measures subsequently introduced by the Government to combat the spread of the virus on 23rd March, commonly called lockdown. This had resulted in the closure of most non-essential businesses, the shielding or self-isolation of the vulnerable and elderly, and arrangements for social distancing. The Government had subsequently introduced a number of national and local support programmes to be administered or supported by local authorities.

 

These measures had significant impacts for the Council in seeking to maintain ‘business as usual’ for its core services, and through additional service demands driven by the effect of the new restrictions on individuals and businesses, and also by the need to provide humanitarian community support to the most vulnerable residents.

 

The Chairman explained that the current situation was unprecedented and that it was important to provide an update on how the Council and the community had responded, and would continue to do so during the recovery period, the help that had been given to local people and businesses and how the Council had maintained its services and democratic processes during the crisis and would continue to provide leadership during the recovery phase.

 

The Council had initially provided emergency support to the most vulnerable and needy, Dartford’s share of the 1.4M people nationally identified as being most at risk. All those in this clinically vulnerable cohort received a letter from the NHS asking if they required support with accessing food and medicine during the 12 week period in which they were expected to be ‘shielded’ at home. Individuals were asked to register via a website or hotline indicating their need for support. The Council had initially focussed on providing support for this cohort and had set up a hub to monitor their needs and to ensure that interim food parcels were delivered where required until the Government was able to establish its own central distribution network. This had been managed by a small team of Council officers who had worked with key partners, such as the Priory Shopping Centre, to create a depot and facilities for sending out essential supplies to residents in need. The hub dealt with any issues arising from the Government scheme and to provide advice to vulnerable people in need of social contact support.

 

The Council then extended the circle of care and support to people who, whilst not designated as being in need of shielding by the NHS, nevertheless were vulnerable or facing a genuine food emergency and did not have access to family, friends or other support networks. The Council had also established  ...  view the full minutes text for item 109.

110.

Housing Repairs & Maintenance Policy 2020 pdf icon PDF 128 KB

Summary:

 

The Council’s current Repairs Policy has been operational since 2014.  Since then, some changes have been made to the way the repairs service operates. The Policy has been revised and updated to reflect these changes as well as ensuring that the information is set out more clearly, in terms of tenant and landlord responsibilities.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the draft Housing Repairs and Maintenance Policy, attached at Appendix A to the report, be approved.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report which outlined proposed changes to the Housing Repairs and Maintenance Policy as a result of legislative or operational changes made since the policy was first introduced in 2014. The policy had been reviewed to incorporate these changes, to provide greater clarity and clearly set out the respective responsibilities of Tenants and Leaseholders. Internal stakeholders and the Dartford Tenants and Leaseholders Forum had been consulted on the new policy which had been introduced to coincide with the new repairs and maintenance contract which began on 1st April 2020.

 

          RESOLVED:

 

That the draft Housing Repairs and Maintenance Policy, attached at Appendix A to the report, be approved.

111.

Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund for Businesses pdf icon PDF 138 KB

This report is ‘to follow’.

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report which provided details of the new Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund, an additional fund created by the Government aimed at small businesses which were not eligible for funding under the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Fund. Local authorities would be responsible for administering the fund and to establish the details for a local scheme to supplement the national criteria, thereby allowing local authorities to support and prioritise according to local circumstances. It was anticipated that the Council’s allocation of funding for this scheme would be £680,500.  Local authorities could disburse grants of up to £25,000 but the Government expected grants of under £10,000 to be more prevalent. It was anticipated that there would be significant demand for funding from local businesses and important that a local scheme was established as soon as possible in order to have the scheme up and running and grants being made in early June.

 

The Chairman reminded Cabinet that the criteria and eligibility for the initial Government grant schemes had been prescriptive and that the application of the schemes had therefore been fairly straightforward. This was not the case with the new Discretionary Grant Fund where both eligibility and the level of grant made were not prescribed. Whilst the Government had issued guidelines on the types of organisations that it envisaged would be eligible it had allowed much more local discretion. It was anticipated that there would be significant take up of the new scheme and that it would be more difficult to administer. He was also aware that applicants might be reliant on their accountants to provide some of the information required to support their applications, which could result in additional delays, and wanted the scheme to be as flexible as possible in terms of process and the setting of deadlines for the submission of information to ensure that nobody was deterred from applying and that additional time should be allowed for the provision of information if necessary. He expected that given the level of demand most of the grants would be relatively small and this should be taken into account when determining the amount of supporting evidence required.

 

The Strategic Director (Internal Services) confirmed that whilst the Government had listed the sorts of businesses that could be eligible, the list was not exhaustive and that there was considerable flexibility. The aim was to make the application process as simple as possible and to have it up and running by early June. 

 

 

 

          RESOLVED:

 

 

1.    That the Cabinet notes the contents of the report; and

 

2.    That delegated authority be granted to the Strategic Director (Internal Services) to agree details of the Council’s Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund, in consultation with the Leader of the Council and the Lead Member for Business and Enterprise.

112.

Street Naming and Numbering - Phase 4 of the Northfleet West Sub-Station Development pdf icon PDF 195 KB

Summary:

 

To approve two new  road names for Phase 4 of the Northfleet West Sub-Station development.

 

Recommendation:

 

That Christabel and Wymer be approved as the two new  road names for Phase 4 of the Northfleet West Sub-Station development.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report which proposed two new road names for Phase 4 of the Northfleet West Sub Station development, consisting of flats and houses on Ackers Drive and Emmeline Avenue. The proposed names for the new roads had links with the existing road names and had been subject to consultation with Members, Emergency Services, Royal Mail and the developers. The outcome of that consultation was detailed in the report. The names complied with the Council’s policy on Street Naming and suitable suffixes would be chosen once the final road names had been approved.

 

          RESOLVED:

 

That Christabel and Wymer be approved as the two new road names for Phase 4 of the Northfleet West Sub Station development.

 

113.

Report of Delegated Actions taken under Standing Order 38 pdf icon PDF 114 KB

Summary:

 

To report to Cabinet, in accordance with the requirements of Standing Order 38(2)(b), the delegated actions taken under Standing Order 38(2)(a) by the relevant  Director, in consultation with the Cabinet Chairman, outlined in the appendices to this report.

 

Recommendation:

 

That Cabinet note the actions taken by the Directors, in consultation with the Cabinet Chairman, under Standing Order 38(2)(a), outlined in the appendices to the report and for the reasons stated.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report which detailed the delegated actions taken under Standing Order 38(2)(a) by the relevant Director in consultation with the Cabinet Chairman during the COVID-19 national public health emergency.

 

The Chairman explained that there were a larger number of delegated actions than usual due to the need to take action urgently in response to the public health emergency which could not wait for action by the relevant Council committee.

 

The Strategic Director (External Services) confirmed that the SO38 delegated actions process was only being used where it was necessary to take urgent action which could not wait for committee approval or to deal with very routine matters which would not normally be formally reported to committee.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the Cabinet note the actions taken by the Directors, in consultation with the Chairman of the Cabinet, under Standing Order 38(2)(a), outlined in the Appendices to the report and for the reasons stated.