Agenda, decisions and minutes

Cabinet - Tuesday 7th December 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: The Forum, Towcester, NN12 6AF

Contact: Sofia Neal-Gonzalez, Democratic Services 

Note: Please use the following link to view the meeting from 6pm: 

No. Item




None Received


Declarations of Interest

Members are asked to declare any interest and the nature of that interest which they may have in any of the items under consideration at this meeting.


None Received


Minutes pdf icon PDF 238 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of Cabinet held on 9th November 2021


Agreed the Minutes of the meeting held in public on the 9th November 2021.


Chair's Announcements

To receive communications from the Chair.




Urgent Business

The Chairman to advise whether they have agreed to any items of urgent business being admitted to the agenda.





Corporate Plan Performance Report – 2021-22 Q2 pdf icon PDF 664 KB

Additional documents:



Cabinet noted the content of the appendix covering the second quarter of 2021-22



·         The report was for information purposes and discussion only, there were no direct decisions to be made following the report

·         The council was required as part of Local Government Act 1972 to report performance of the council to members






The Chair, Councillor Jonathan Nunn presented the report and invited Cabinet members to give an update on their portfolios.


Councillor Phil Larratt made the following comments.

  • There were now fewer outstanding road repairs.
  • Embracing new technologies was an important way forward.
  • The loss of trees had been noted, with a net loss of 140 on WNC land, this was worrying, and steps were being taken to find out why this had happened, storm damage was thought to be a factor.
  • There had been an increase in electric car charging points which was welcomed, it was noted that rural areas were also seeking charging points.


Councillor Matt Golby discussed the various figures available in the report and noted that they were what was expected for the services the council provides. Cabinet was reminded that we were only in Q2 of this new council.


Councillor Fiona Baker noted that there were some delays in the adoption process, with 20 family currently waiting, the Cabinet was informed that this due to court delays and as such was out of the Council’s hands.


Councillor Adam Brown noted that there were currently 200 homes in the construction phase, and various housing options were being created.


Councillor Rebecca Breese was happy with report and had nothing further to add.


Councillor Lizzy Bowen advised that there was now a dedicated support link for businesses on the website.


Councillor Malcolm Longley noted that the Council was slightly ahead on cash collection.


Councillors made the following comments:

  • It was noted that a working group had been created to look at tree planting, could councillors be given the date of publication of this plan.
  • Were the road repairs mentioned only potholes or had it included all works.
  • It was queried if there was an overall target for charging points provided.
  • The improvement of life chances had been mentioned, it was noted that there were significant discrepancies with life expectancy between different groups.
  • Did the 45 days assessment that was mentioned include contextual safeguarding as historically it had not been.
  • It was noted that the number of safeguarding referrals seemed high, could members be advised about who were making these referrals.
  • Research had taken place on personal care budgets, was there currently any information on this.
  • It was noted that WNC currently had 74 apprentices, it was asked if these included any care leaver programmes. 
  • It was queried whether the wiring that was due to take place would have a detrimental impact on the look of residential streets.  It was mentioned that previous removal of paving slabs and subsequent tarmacking had destroyed the aesthetic of some streets.
  • Clean and Green streets was important, but there were problems with the implementation of this, it was queried whether the answer to this would be through inter-agency work.
  • Thanks was given to portfolio holders who had been active with regards to the current problem with the loss of trees. 
  • It was questioned whether WNC would need expert advice on the manner and number of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 73.


2021 Employee Survey Results and Draft People Strategy pdf icon PDF 2 MB


RESOLVED: That Cabinet

a) Noted the findings of the activity to date around employee engagement

b) Noted the development of the draft People Strategy

c) Noted the headline Employee Survey results

d) Agreed to receiving a finalised People Strategy in early 2022.



·         To enable the Head of Paid Service to have a robust strategy in place to support all employees and help to become an employer of choice

·         Our people are our key asset, and we need to ensure we support all our employees in their development in West Northants Council to help maximise their productivity and to support the delivery of the key priorities for the council.

·         To share with Cabinet all background information and a position statement on employee views as part of this information paper before further activity is undertaken.



Work would continue finalising the People Strategy and there would be choices made in terms of its key themes and activities once the employee survey data has been analysed.


At the Chair’s invitation Councillor Mike Hallam presented the report copies of which had been previously circulated.

Cabinet was advised that the results would be available early next year. When WNC is over two and a half years old it was hoped that it would be added to the Best Companies list and excellent work was being done to make this happen.


Councillors made the following comments.

  • It was queried how the results of the survey would be fed back to staff.
  • What sort of guidance and support would be given to managers?
  • What measurements were planned for the subculture that was mentioned in the report?


The Executive Director of Corporate advised that the transformation team had been approached about creating bespoke work for each area. The measuring of the arrangements in place would occur with best practice in mind. 


Councillor Mike Hallam noted that response numbers had always be expected to be low for the first survey.


The Chair stated that the success of the council would have much to do with staff engagement. 


Recommendations were put to Cabinet.



Blueprint Change – Director of Public Health pdf icon PDF 836 KB


RESOLVED: That Cabinet;

a)    Agreed that the blueprint would be amended from 31st March 2022 to include a separate Director of Public Health for North and West Northamptonshire Councils.

b)    Noted that the Director of Public Health for West Northamptonshire Council will be funded by the Public Health Grant in accordance with s73A (2) National Health Service Act 2006.

c)    Noted that the Senior Appointments Employment Committee and the Chief Executive to take all necessary actions to complete the recruitment process and appoint a Director of Public Health for West Northamptonshire Council in conjunction with the Office for Health Improvements and Disparities at DHSC and the Faculty of Public Health.

d)    Noted that the salary of the post would be in line with the Pay Policy agreed by Council in February 2021.



The reason for the recommendation was to secure the specialist capacity and capability of a dedicated Director of Public Health to meet the statutory duties of the Council in relation to the health and wellbeing of West Northants residents, and ensure we maximise the opportunity of public health working more closely with our other unitary services to improve the wellbeing of

our residents.



As part of the discussions and review we had considered three alternatives:

      i.        Maintaining the single shared DPH

    ii.        Putting two new Assistant Directors in place as dedicated North/West Senior leads reporting to a single DPH, and

   iii.        Creating dedicated DPH roles in each Council


Maintaining the single shared DPH.

·         The focus on the ICS and the shared role approach, with the emerging levelling up agenda means that North and West Northamptonshire Councils need to review the benefits of the shared arrangement.

·         There were clear opportunities to link up a range of community, wellbeing and people services to deliver better outcomes for residents and to make the most of the responsibility now sat with the unitary councils for all elements of local government.

·         Each unitary now delivered adults social care, public health, economic development, education, housing, leisure and community services and this enabled each council to positively influence the key determinants of wellbeing, such as jobs, housing and access to green spaces; and links services in a way that was more challenging in the past.

·         Both Councils want to develop strategies that focus on local prevention and early interventions, and both have signed up to the ICS principles of population health management and outcomes measures with targeted local delivery designed to reduce local health inequalities and address local health issues, these vary across place, and this is reflected in the plan for the ICS and council services to operate at locality level.

·         There would also be a need to join up the people and place commissioning services in each Unitary with the DPH, Adults, Children’s and property commissioners all working together to inform place shaping and address specific local health inequalities in the two new areas.

·         The new ICS design recognised the benefits of a single population health strategy for  ...  view the full decision text for item 75.


At the Chair’s invitation Councillor Matt Golby presented the report, copies of which had been previously circulated.


Councillor Golby said that he wished to recognise the work that had been undertaken by the current Director of Public Health, Lucy Wightman, specifically with the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The committee was informed that the blueprint would now allow WNC to have a designated Director of Public Health separate from North Northants Council.


Recommendations were put to Cabinet.



Customer Experience Strategy 2021-24 pdf icon PDF 510 KB

Additional documents:


RESOLVED: That Cabinet approved the Customer Experience Strategy 2021-2024 and supported its implementation across the Council, on the basis of all costs and financial benefits being captured as part of the Customer Experience, Intelligence and Innovation programme of work.



The Strategy allowed us to align activity at the front door with the wider Council vision and priorities, and facilitated the delivery of the Council plan in the following ways:


·         Green and clean: the strategy would allow people to contact us in the most effective way, in line with their needs, and would provide localised customer services where they are needed, thus reducing the need for people to travel to our offices.

·         Improved life chances: increasing access to the right information and advice, at the right time, and provided wrap around support when needs are complex can be a powerful tool in levelling life and health inequalities. As such, the Customer Experience Strategy sets out how we would work with people to improve their life chances and positively influence the wider determinants of health.

·         Connected communities: accessibility is one of the main themes that would be focusing on during the implementation of the strategy. This was not just physical and technological connectivity, but also access to social networks and voluntary, community and grassroots organisations.

·         Thriving villages and towns: by supporting people before needs escalate (by preventing them falling into debt, providing advice on support available, putting them in touch with the most appropriate agencies) we could contribute to making our areas of the county economically and socially vibrant. We also wanted to provide services to people travelling to the county and businesses which operate here.

·         Economic development: access to the right education, at all ages, and employment support were critical pre-requisites of economic health. We will make information about services available in the most accessible format, via a variety of channels, making it easier for people to remain economically resilient.

·         Robust resource management: the strategy set out a number of approaches which would not only effectively manage demand, by directing people to the most effective channel, but would also save costs on the end-to-end customer journey, by removing unnecessary steps (inputting of information from one system to another, unnecessary tasks in the back office and at the front door, proactive updates to avoid chase ups etc). We had been very keen to maximise the value that technology can offer, by deploying solutions such as mail-bots, phone-bots, live chat etc, so that people were assisted while navigating our services, so they get the right response, at the right time, in the right way.





We could continue to operate as we do, but this would not build on best practice, the wishes of our Elected Members and customer feedback.


At the Chair’s invitation Councillor Mike Hallam presented the report copies of which had been previously circulated. The Cabinet was informed that the desire was to provide a customer experience that was the same throughout West Northants. This would include how members of the public communicated with the council, whether in person, over the phone, over the internet or via the post.


Recommendations were put to the Cabinet.



Bus Lane Enforcement Update pdf icon PDF 2 MB


RESOLVED: That Cabinet:

a)    Noted progress regarding the Bus Lane Enforcement Project, the results of the review of the usage of the St James’ Road bus lane and the outcome of the public consultation regarding the bus lane at St James’ Road.

b)    Agreed that the recommendations in paragraph 6.3 should be implemented as soon as possible to include:

i.) That the necessary steps would be followed to amend the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) governing the bus lane in St James’ Road so that it is operational during the morning peak only (07.30am – 09.30am) and that at the same time as changing the order, the revision would also permit private hire taxis and scooters to use the bus lane. In order to amend the TRO, it was necessary to follow a statutory process which involved publishing a proposed revised order and consulting on the contents, however given the responses to the consultation recently undertaken it would be not expected that this would prevent the TRO from being amended.

ii. ) The camera on St James’ Road would be removed from its current location, to be re-sited either at an alternative position on the Weedon Road / St James Road bus lane or at an alternative suitable location within the West Northamptonshire area.

iii.) Enforcement utilising the camera in its current location would cease following the expiration of the call-in period relating to this report.

a)    Supported the continued use of Bus Lane Enforcement in West Northamptonshire at suitable sites.

b)    Agreed that delegated authority be given to the Executive Director for Place Economy and Environment, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways, Transport and Waste,  considered and take all (legal and operational) steps necessary to install bus lane civil enforcement equipment at suitable sites identified in the future across West Northamptonshire.

c)    Agreed that delegated authority be given to the Executive Director for Place Economy and Environment, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways, Transport and Waste, to take all steps necessary to amend enforcement or remove bus lane civil enforcement equipment at those sites as deemed necessary.



·         For the council to have listened to and have responded appropriately to concerns raised by residents, taking into account the results of a technical review;

·         For the Council to have promoted bus lane priority in order to enable efficient public transport and sustainable, low carbon travel options;

·         For the Council to have acted in accordance with legislation and manage its resources.





·         Re-siting the camera close to the junction with St James’ Mill Road and Byfield Road facing inbound.

·         Re-siting the camera closer to the Railway Station facing outbound – this is the original preferred location however may need Network Rail agreement to site the camera on their bridge.

·         Turning the camera in its current location to face inbound – however this was not an optimal view as it would be impacted by a nearby tree and would include the pedestrian crossing in the  ...  view the full decision text for item 77.


At the Chair’s invitation Councillor Phil Larratt presented the report, copies of which had been previously circulated. It was noted that bus lanes and public transport play an important role in the council’s carbon objectives. Discussions had taken place as to where to place the enforcement camera,


Councillors made the following comments.

  • It was important for the public to be aware of what lanes they can and cannot use and this should be fair.
  • The fines had created large financial problems for some members of the public.
  • The camera had been responsible for £800,000 income for the council through fines, it was queried whether the council should rely on residents breaking the law to increase its finances.
  • Could payment plans be looked at as a way to help residents pay off any debts.


Councillor Phil Larratt made the following points.

  • The importance of clear signage would be considered.
  • He could not comment on decisions made by the previous council.
  • He wished to make it clear that the Council did not rely on members of the public breaking the law to increase its funds.
  • He would investigate the possibility of a payment plan.


Recommendations were put to the Cabinet.



Transformation Update Quarter 2 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 536 KB

Additional documents:


RESOLVED: That Cabinet noted the content of this report.


REASONS RESOLVED: Updated paper for information only no decisions required.





The Chair, Councillor Jonathan Nunn presented the report, copies of which had been previously circulated. The report presented a summary of the projects that were taking place, some were still in draft form. It was advised that various projects had been created since vesting day.


Councillors made the following comments.

  • It was requested that the Council ensured that not everything be digitised to increase accessibility. The difficulty of the keypad system to advise the council of any missed bin collection was given as an example of this.
  • It was advised that at times the amount of information from the transformation team was a bit overwhelming.
  • The report had mentioned ‘potential savings’, would this be the priority of the Council, or would it be service outcomes?
  • Would it be possible to see how WNC are co-designing transformation, as well as what the added social value was?


Councillor Mike Hallam made the following comments in response to some of the queries raised.

  • It advised that the phone system had been heavily mentioned in the last report and was a top priority.
  • It was noted that some members of the public were more digital than others and that it was important to be able to communicate with people in the correct way.


The Chair agreed with the importance of service outcomes.


The recommendations were put to Cabinet.



Northampton Towns Fund - Skills and Social Enterprise Development Fund pdf icon PDF 444 KB

Additional documents:


RESOLVED: That Cabinet.

a)    Approved the business case for the Skills and Social Enterprise Development Fund project to draw down on £500,000 of Towns Funding.

b)    Noted the next steps of project development that officers would finalise the grant criteria, scheme and process the grants in partnership with West Northamptonshire Social Enterprise Towns - WNSET (please see below for further detail on WNSET)



The recommendation has been made so the regeneration of Northampton town centre can continue as set within the TIP.





At the Chair’s invitation Councillor Lizzy Bowen presented the report, copies of which had been previously circulated.


Cabinet was advised that this project would draw down £500,000 from the Towns Fund and would be the third business case to have come to Cabinet. The project would be subject to the local assurance framework and had been independently assessed. It was announced that Northampton had been accredited as a social enterprise town which was a positive. It was stated that if the recommendations were not agreed we would lose the funding, Cabinet was reminded that WNC was not required to provide any additional finance and there had also been extensive consultation.


Councillors made the following comments.

  • It was also important for the Council to tackle problem areas within the town.
  • The bid Golden Ticket competition that was taking place in the town centre was a positive way to engage the public. 


The recommendations were put to Cabinet.



Vehicle Maintenance, South Area Waste and Cleansing Service pdf icon PDF 712 KB


RESOLVED: That Cabinet approved the recommendation to award the contract to Cherwell District Council for a period of three years with a possible two-year extension.



·         The waste and cleansing service must continue without disruption to households and businesses, and the Council had a responsibility to ensure the vehicles were safe to drive and operate.

·         The recommended course of action would identify the most cost effective and reliable solution.

·         To accord with the statutory duty to collect waste and keep the streets clean.




The Assistant Director for, Highways and Waste and the Waste and Cleansing Manager had identified three options for future provision of the service:

1.    Undertake a procurement exercise using the YPO Framework Agreement 921 for an outsourced service for maintenance.

2.    Enter into a new Service Level Agreement with Cherwell District Council under revised and improved terms to the previous arrangement.

3.    Operate a hybrid arrangement with part of the service done in-house and part outsourced.


·         The advantages and disadvantages of the three options had been analysed and are listed in Appendix A.

·         Each option has been explored to assess the overall cost, certainty of cost and flexibility of service to determine which solution to choose.

·         The options had been assessed using the same criteria to ensure a fair comparison and due diligence checks had been carried out as part of this.

·         Cherwell District Council had submitted a bid for the service based on an estimate of £305,000 for the first year. This is an estimate of the likely costs for parts and labour based on the age and type of the fleet. Although there would be some risk with a contract priced in this way it is believed that this would be the most cost-effective option and there was an existing working relationship from when the service was under shared management. Entering a contract with another local authority, rather than a commercial supplier, was preferred and the contract would be based on partnership principles of providing a good public service. Costs for subsequent years would rise by CPI (the CPI rate in September (of the preceding contract year) would be applicable on 01 April of the subsequent year, with the first increase on 1 April 2023). It should be noted that the fleet has increased by one extra HGV food waste vehicle in the last year so the additional cost to the revenue budget was expected.

·         The YPO framework exercise was undertaken and one bid was received from a list of six preapproved bidders. This bid, although satisfactory, was shown to be significantly more expensive than the approved budget and was therefore not recommended for approval (the detail of the price proposal is commercially sensitive and therefore not included in this report).

·         The hybrid arrangement was assessed which would involve part of the work being done in-house by directly employed mechanic staff and part outsourced, where work cannot be completed at the depot due to specialist equipment or facilities being needed. The main  ...  view the full decision text for item 80.


At the Chair’s invitation Councillor Phil Larratt presented the report copies of which had been previously circulated. The report explained the arrangements for a new fleet of waste vehicles.


The recommendations were put to Cabinet.



Northampton Railway Station Multi Story Car Park Proposal pdf icon PDF 805 KB

Additional documents:


RESOLVED: That Cabinet:

a)    Noted the work to date undertaken to assess the proposal brought to the council from Network Rail and Blocwork.

b)    Approved “in principle” the key terms as set out in Appendix A for entering into an Agreement for Lease and Subsequent Lease new MSCP at Northampton Railway Station.

c)    Delegated authority to the Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Town Centre Regeneration and Growth in consultation with the Chief Finance Officer, the Monitoring Officer and the Executive Director Place and Economy to take the final decision, take all necessary steps and complete the necessary documentation related to the new MSCP at Northampton Railway Station subject to (d)

d)    Agreed that the Council should only proceed with the proposed lease arrangements subject to gaining approval from the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) and the Northampton Waterside Enterprise Zone (NWEZ) Board that the business rates from the proposed development can be retained for use on the project.



The council had been approached by Network Rail and Blocwork with a proposal and that proposal needed to be considered. The proposal would help to achieve a number of key objectives including helping to meet an identified undersupply of car parking and providing a new income stream for the council. Meeting an undersupply of car parking at this site would support economic growth and the prosperity of the town and make significant enhancements to the overall environmental laity and pedestrian connectivity of the surrounding area. The recommendations would enable the scheme to proceed, whilst there remain outstanding risks and interdependencies, without these approvals, the project could not continue at this stage.





The Chair advised that three of the appendices to this report were exempt and as such any conversation around this would need to proceed in a closed meeting.


At the Chairs invitation Councillor Lizzy Bowen presented the report. The report was explained in detail and the committee was advised that the project was a very complicated one. It was noted that there was a clear need for more parking at the train station, this extra parking would be the catalyst for further development.  It was advised that the Executive Director of Place & Economy and the Executive Director of Finance had met with key funding investors to attain the best deal for this project. It was advised that many of the top bids had committed to the Council’s green causes, this had been a key criterion. The recommendations were then discussed.


Councillors made the following comments.

  • The loss of the Buckton Fields park and ride was a disappointment.
  • It was important for WNC to think green when choosing an investor.
  • It was requested that the parking charges be sensible and fair.
  • Would there be charging points for electric cars available?
  • It was queried whether WNC would be creative with the design of the new car park, an urban habitat was given as an example.
  • It was questioned whether there had been any discussion about the building of social housing on that site.
  • It was noted that the giving of delegated powers would be a concern due to the size of the project.
  • The construction would occur in the middle of one of the most historic areas of Northampton, this should not be overlooked.


Councillor Lizzy Bowen made the following comments in response to the queries raised.

  • The loss of the park and ride had been noticed and a way forward was under review.
  • It was confirmed that WNC would choose a green investor.
  • The idea of a more creative design was noted as something to investigate.
  • With regards to social housing, it was confirmed that all options were on the table.
  • Councillors were assured that the delegated powers would not be granted to one person alone but various and there would be consultation with colleagues.
  • It was advised that this option had been the less risky of the two available.


Councillor Adam Brown advised that he was not aware of any discussions regarding NPH housing on that land.


Councillor Phil Larratt requested that appropriate disabled parking and accessibility be provided on the new site, it was then confirmed that there was a plan in place for this. 


The Executive Director of Place & Economy made the following comments.

  • Should there be any change in the direction of the project it would return to Cabinet.
  • Any risks had been explained in the report, without WNC underwriting the project it could not go ahead.
  • It was advised that any work carried out on Network Rail land would be challenging.


The recommendations were put to Cabinet.