Scottish Borders Council

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Headquarters, Newtown St. Boswells

Contact: Louise McGeoch Tel 01835 825005  email  lmcgeoch@scotborders.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Convener's Remarks.

Minutes:

The Convener reminded everyone that the Friends of Cancer Research UK Tartan Gifts had a stand in the main reception area.

 

DECISION

NOTED.

 

2.

Minute pdf icon PDF 125 KB

Consider Minute of Scottish Borders Council held on 29 August 2019 for approval and signing by the Convener.  (Copy attached.)

 

Minutes:

2.1    The Minute of the Meeting held on 29 August 2019 was considered. 

 

2.2    With reference to paragraph 5 of the Minute of 29 August 2019, Councillor Haslam suggested that, although the Minute was accurate, for clarity the words “tackling climate change” in the final sentence of (b)(ii) be changed to read *promoting sustainable development” and this was unanimously agreed.

 

DECISION

AGREED that the Minute be approved, subject to the amendment detailed above, and signed by the Convener.

 

3.

Committee Minutes pdf icon PDF 22 KB

Consider Minutes of the following Committees:-

 

(a)     Local Review Body                                            19 August 2019

(b)     Executive                                                           20 August 2019

(c)     Hawick Common Good Fund                            20 August 2019

(d)     Chambers Institution Trust                                 21 August 2019

(e)     Peebles Common Good Fund                           21 August 2019

(f)      Audit & Scrutiny                                                 22 August 2019

(g)     Innerleithen Common Good Fund                     22 August 2019

(h)     Civic Government Licensing                              23 August 2019

(i)      Planning & Building Standards                           2 September 2019

(j)      Selkirk Common Good Fund                             9 September 2019

 

(Please see separate Supplement containing the public Committee Minutes.)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes of the following Committees had been circulated:-

 

Local Review Body                                                      19 August 2019

Executive                                                                     20 August 2019

Hawick Common Good Fund                                     20 August 2019

Chambers Institution Trust                                           21 August 2019

Peebles Common Good Fund                                     21 August 2019

Audit & Scrutiny                                                           22 August 2019

Innerleithen Common Good Fund                               22 August 2019

Civic Government Licensing                                       23 August 2019

Planning & Building Standards                                    2 September 2019

Selkirk Common Good Fund                                      9 September 2019

        

DECISION

APPROVED the Minutes listed above.

 

4.

Child Protection Committee Annual Report 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 132 KB

Consider report by Chief Social Work & Public Protection Officer.  (Copy attached.)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There had been circulated copies of a report by Chief Social Work and Public Protection Officer on the activities of the Child Protection Committee during the period 1 August 2018 – 31 July 2019 aimed at protecting children and young people in the Scottish Borders from abuse and neglect.  The Annual Report, which was appended to the report, covered the main activities of the multi-agency Child Protection Committee (CPC) and its Sub Committees.  The report detailed the continuing work being undertaken in the Scottish Borders to meet the Council’s statutory duties to protect children and young people at risk of harm.  This included information on the work of the Child Protection Committee, the statistical information collated and the significant training and development that had been provided in this area.  Mr Michael Batty, Independent Chair of the Child Protection Committee, was present at the meeting and highlighted the main areas of the report including the #AlwaysBeWary project where young people had been involved in developing the materials to raise awareness of child exploitation and grooming.  Members welcomed the report and asked a number of questions relating to levels of staff training, interaction with public health aims around adverse childhood events, the process for removing children from the At Risk Register and learning lessons from events in other areas. The Chief Social Work and Public Protection Officer, Mr Easingwood assured Members that child protection was a multi-agency service with robust processes in place although lessons could always be learned both from internal and external experiences.  Removing a child from the register was not the end of the journey and work would continue with the family concerned.  With regard to training, Mr Batty advised that the figure was just a snapshot in time and 100% would never be achieved due to staff turnover.  The Chief Executive confirmed that mandatory training was monitored on an ongoing basis with those who had not completed training contacted about this.  In response to a question on recruitment it was noted that there was a scheme in partnership with the Open University to train new social workers.

 

DECISION

NOTED the Child Protection Committee Annual Report for 2018/19, as contained in the appendix to the report.

 

5.

Scottish Borders Council Accounts 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 855 KB

Consider the following reports (Copies attached.):-

Additional documents:

Minutes:

5.1    There had been circulated copies of a report by Audit Scotland, the Council’s Auditors, together with a report by the Chief Financial Officer and a copy of the Annual Accounts 2018/19.  The Chief Financial Officer’s report explained that this was the third year of Audit Scotland undertaking the external audit of the Council’s Annual Accounts.  They also covered the Council’s related charities. Audit Scotland had now completed the audit of the Council’s 2018/19 Annual Accounts and had provided an unqualified independent audit opinion.  The Annual Audit Report summarised Audit Scotland’s conclusions, including:

·         An unqualified audit opinion

·         They concurred with management’s accounting treatment and judgements;

·         They concluded positively in respect of financial management, financial sustainability, governance and transparency and value for money.

Audit Scotland had identified two recommendations requiring action and these had been accepted by management and would be enacted within the agreed timescales.  As required under the Local Authority Accounts (Scotland) Regulations 2014, the audited Annual Accounts for Scottish Borders Council, Scottish Borders Council’s Pension Fund, SBC Common Good Funds, the SBC Charitable Trusts and Bridge Homes LLP, copies of which had also been circulated, had been presented to the Audit & Scrutiny Committee prior to signature and no issues had been raised. 

 

5.2     With reference to the KPMG Audit of SB Cares and SB Supports an amended recommendation was circulated and the Chief Financial Officer made the following statement:-

 

“Late in the 2018/19 Audit process for SBcares KPMG the LLP Auditors  identified that the actuarial valuation obtained from the pension fund actuary Hymans Robertson with respect to the 2018/19 valuation of the pension fund liabilities of  SBcares LLP  had been prepared on a different basis to the 2017/18 pension fund liability figures .  A revised report has been obtained from the Actuary this week and the impact of the updated figures is to improve the actuarial valuation of pension fund liabilities in SB Cares accounts by £250,000.  This adjustment due to timing is not however reflected in the accounts for SB cares in your agenda pack.  I am drawing this to your attention because the draft unadjusted Sbcares accounts do however form part of the Council’s 2018/19 consolidated group financial statements which are submitted to you today as part of the council agenda for approval. 

 

          I can confirm to the best of my knowledge, that the adjustments required to the SBcares accounts will not require any amendments which will have a material impact on the Council’s Group financial statements for 2018/19.  I have concluded, based on the information available to me, that the amendments required should not require Audit Scotland to amend their opinion on the Council’s group accounts. I propose to note this issue in my standard letter of representation to the Mrs Woolman as the Council’s appointed auditor following your approval of the financial statements. Depending on the decision you take at Item 11 regarding the future of SBcares this may amend the status of the draft SBcares accounts from them being classified as a going  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Annual Treasury Management Report 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 110 KB

Consider report by Chief Financial Officer.  (Copy attached.)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There had been circulated copies of a report by the Chief Financial Officer presenting the annual treasury management activities undertaken during the 2018/19 financial year. The report explained that the CIPFA Code of Practice on Treasury Management in the Public Services (the Code) required an annual report on treasury management to be submitted to Council following the end of each financial year.  This report highlighted the Council’s treasury activity undertaken in the year ended 31 March 2019 and the performance of the Treasury function.  Appendix 1 contained the annual report of treasury management activities for 2018/19 and provided an analysis of performance against targets set in relation to Prudential and Treasury Management Indicators.  The performance comparisons reported were based on the revised indicators agreed as part of the mid-year report approved on 29 November 2018.  The Appendix showed the Council’s borrowing requirement to fund the capital investment undertaken during 2018/19, how much the Council actually borrowed against the sums budgeted, and the level of external debt within approved limits.  During the year the Council had again, where possible, deferred borrowing using surplus cash rather than undertaking new borrowing.  However, the Council did undertake long term borrowing of £10m during the year, for the purposes of debt rescheduling.  Treasury management activity for the year had been undertaken in compliance with approved policy and the Code. The Council remained under-borrowed against its Capital Financing Requirement (CFR) at 31 March 2019.  The Chief Financial Officer advised that in order to achieve an optimal return this would require a 5th Money Market Fund, and an increase in the Sector Limit to £25m.  It was recommended that this change was made to the current Treasury Strategy

 

DECISION

AGREED to:-

(a)     note that treasury management activity in the year to 31 March 2019 was carried out in compliance with the approved Treasury Management Strategy and Policy as detailed in this report and in Appendix 1; and

 

(b)     increase the investment limit for AAA Money Market Funds from £20m to £25m.

 

 

7.

Sustainable Development Committee pdf icon PDF 27 KB

(a)     Appoint 9 Members of the Council, being 5 members from the Administration and 4 members of the Opposition, to the Committee;

 

(b)     Appoint the Chairman of the Sustainable Development Committee.

 

(Extract from Scheme of Administration attached.)

Minutes:

With reference to paragraph 5 of the Minute of 29 August 2019, there had been circulated copies of the proposed remit of the new Sustainable Development Committee.  Councillor Haslam nominated Councillors Aitchison, Edgar, Greenwell, S. Scott and herself.  She further proposed that Councillor Aitchison be appointed as the Chairman.  Councillor Bell nominated Councillors H. Anderson, Laing, Robson and Paterson.  All nominations were unanimously accepted.

 

DECISION

AGREED that:-

 

(a)     the Committee comprise Councillors Aitchison, H. Anderson, Edgar, Greenwell, Haslam, Laing, Paterson, Robson and S. Scott; and

 

(b)     that Councillor Aitchison be appointed as the Chairman

 

8.

Private Business

Before proceeding with the private business, the following motion should be approved:-

 

“That under Section 50A(4) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the relevant paragraphs of Part 1 of Schedule 7A to the aforementioned Act.”

Minutes:

The Convener advised that although the report dealing with the future of SB Cares had been circulated as a public report the discussion would be taken in private to enable Members to properly debate all the issues.

 

DECISION

AGREED under Section 50A(4) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 to exclude the public from the meeting during consideration of the business detailed in paragraph 9 below on the grounds that it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 1of Part I of Schedule 7A to the Act.  However, the Minute would be made public

 

9.

Strategic Review of SB Cares - Future Provision of Adult Social Services pdf icon PDF 221 KB

Consider report by Chief Executive.  (Copy attached.)

Minutes:

There had been circulated copies of a report by the Chief Executive on the future of SB Cares.  The report explained that Scottish Borders Council transferred the majority of its adult care services to a new Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) following approval of a report which included a detailed business case on 26 June 2014.  The LLP, trading under the name of SB Cares, was established on 1 April 2015.  The LLP currently employed 570 full time equivalent staff with the same terms and conditions, including pension benefits, as staff directly employed by the Council.  SB Cares had its own Board, consisting of the Managing Director, Chief Operating Officer, Operations Director, and Chair along with two independent members. The activities of the LLP were overseen by the Council’s Major Contracts Governance Group, comprising seven Elected Members. The use of arm’s-length external organisations (ALEOs) was widespread across Scotland with a number of Councils establishing ALEOs in recent years to manage a range of Services from Culture and Leisure Services to Adult Social Care.  Given the increasing numbers of ALEOs that were being established, Audit Scotland published a report “Councils’ use of arm’s-length organisations” in May 2018 which outlined how Councils were using ALEOs.  The key messages from this report highlighted that Councils should keep their ALEOs under regular review.  Audit Scotland also noted that the operating context under which ALEOs delivered services did change, and that the original rationale for their establishment may weaken over time.  Audit Scotland also concluded that the establishment of an arms-length ALEO was a major strategic consideration for any Council.  Elected Members should therefore have a clear understanding of how their ALEOs were performing and how they fitted with the Council’s culture, its overall strategic priorities and those of the local community.  These priorities could change over the years in response to changing demographic, financial, market and political considerations.  It was essential therefore that Councils regularly reviewed their ALEOs to ensure they delivered the benefits expected and that their continued operation delivered demonstrable best value.  Where this was not the case alternatives should be considered.  The report assessed the current operational performance, the management structures, and the effectiveness of the governance mechanisms in place to monitor SB Cares.   The report evaluated the additional costs and financial benefits directly attributed to the current service delivery model, with SB Cares operating as a separately managed LLP.  It also identified and evaluated the mechanisms in place to review how SB Cares was performing, to oversee the quality and safety of its services, and how the current arrangements fitted with the Council’s culture and priorities and those of its partners and communities.  It was noted that the original financial savings envisaged from the establishment of the ALEO covered the period 2015/16 – 2019/20.  No further financial savings from SB Cares were assumed within future years of the current Financial Plan.  The report considered the changing operating context of the Council, particularly following the establishment of the Health and Social Care  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Deanfield Care Home - Investment to Remodel and Upgrade Facility pdf icon PDF 139 KB

Consider report by Chief Executive.  (Copy attached.)

Minutes:

There had been circulated copies of a report by the Chief Executive proposing urgent investment, not currently included within the Council’s capital programme, to upgrade and remodel Deanfield Care Home in Hawick.  The investment was required as a matter of urgency given significant shortcomings in the condition, internal fabric and configuration of the current facility which had been operated by SBcares since 2015.  The Chief Executive advised that following concerns raised with her, she had undertaken a personal inspection of Deanfield with a team of officers and while this had identified a need to improve the fabric of the building, no health and safety or risk to individual clients had been found, simply a tired care home.  The investment proposed would not only improve the quality of the home but also facilitate a revised model of care, including the development of new respite care facilities in an underutilised wing of the current building.  This would require the re-allocation of £2.8m within the current capital plan 2019/20 – 2028/29.  It was proposed that this funding would come specifically from the budget presently allocated for the proposed development of a new Residential Dementia Care facility within the Borders.  The new dementia facility was still in the planning phase and compensatory funding would need to be reinstated in the capital programme to deliver the dementia project as part of the budget process for 2020/21.  In the meantime, this budget provided an appropriate source of funding for the enhancement of services at Deanfield.  Deanfield Care Home in Hawick was a 35 bed 1980’s built traditional care home now in urgent need of upgrading.  The configuration of the care home lent itself to re-modelling into 5 domestic style and sized homes which would support a revised model of care.  This model of care was based on the care village approach used successfully in the Netherlands.  This approach provided specialist dementia care in a homely setting for people with complex needs but was flexible in supporting people with a range of needs and would importantly include much needed respite care facilities.  The care home presented an urgent need to improve due to its current condition.  Fixture and fittings throughout were aged.  Kitchens were in need of replacement.  Individual bedrooms required a complete overhaul to meet modern care standards.  New furniture was required throughout as well as up-grades to new “wet room” bathrooms.  The investment proposed would include appropriate elements of the building plant, plumbing and wiring with significant improvements made to the energy efficiency of the home.  Cumulatively, the works proposed to the fabric of the home would extend the life of the Deanfield Care Home up to an estimated 25 years.  Members welcomed the proposed renovations and proposed care model.  Councillor Bell requested that the report mentioned in recommendation (c) be brought back in October and this was agreed.

 

DECISION

AGREED to:-

 

(a)     approve the reallocation of £2.8m from the current Capital Investment Plan from the budget currently allocated for Residential Dementia Care to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Open Questions pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Minutes:

The questions submitted by Councillors Marshall, McAteer, Ramage and Robson were answered. 

 

DECISION

NOTED the replies as detailed in Appendix I to this Minute.

 

12.

Partnership Arrangement for Trading Standards between Midlothian Council and Scottish Borders Council pdf icon PDF 108 KB

Consider report by Service Director Regulatory Services.  (Copy attached.)

Minutes:

There had been circulated copies of a report by the Service Director Regulatory Services proposing a partnership arrangement between Midlothian and Scottish Borders Councils to oversee the management of Midlothian Council’s Trading Standards service until 31 March 2020 and to consider opportunities for a wider exploration of joint working activities and benefits.  The report explained that the opportunity had arisen to develop a partnership agreement to sustain and deliver the Trading Standards Service between Midlothian Council and Scottish Borders Council.  Initially this would involve Scottish Borders Council’s Protective Manager leading both the Midlothian and Scottish Borders Trading Standards teams on a strategic level, supported operationally and on a day to day basis by Principal Officers in each Council.  It was proposed that this arrangement be for an initial period until March 31 2020 providing an opportunity to allow for the wider exploration of joint working activities and benefits.  This partnership arrangement would provide a platform for continuous improvement, leadership and direction to both teams.  In response to a query regarding the possible opportunities for joint working the Chief Legal officer clarified that this related to work within Protective Services.

 

DECISION

AGREED to:-

 

(a)     proceed with a partnership arrangement between Midlothian and Scottish Borders Council Trading Standards Services with immediate effect until 31 March 2020;

 

(b)     a wider exploration of joint working activities and benefits; and

 

(c)     receive a further report from the Service Director Regulatory Services prior to 31 March 2020.

 

13.

Private Business

Minutes:

DECISION

AGREED under Section 50A(4) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 to exclude the public from the meeting during consideration of the business detailed in  Appendix II to this Minute on the grounds that it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1, 6, 8 and 9 of Part I of Schedule 7A to the Act.

 

      SUMMARY OF PRIVATE BUSINESS

 

14.

Minute

Consider private Section of Minute of Scottish Borders Council held on 29 August 2019.  (Copy attached.)

Minutes:

The private section of the Council Minute of 29 August 2019 was approved.

15.

Committee Minutes

Consider private Sections of the Minutes of the following Committees:-

 

(a)     Hawick Common Good Fund                            20 August 2019

(b)     Peebles Common Good Fund                           21 August 2019

(c)     Civic Government Licensing                              23 August 2019

(d)     Selkirk Common Good Fund                             9 September 2019

 

(Please see separate Supplement containing private Committee Minutes.)

Minutes:

The private sections of the Committee Minutes as detailed in paragraph3 of this Minute were approved.

 

 

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