Agenda and minutes

Cabinet - Wednesday, 23rd February, 2022 6.30 pm

Venue: Committee Room, Municipal Buildings, West Street, Boston PE21 8QR

Contact: Lorraine Bush, Democratic Services Manager  Tel. no: 01205 314224 e-mail

No. Item


MINUTES pdf icon PDF 227 KB

To sign and confirm the minutes of the last meeting.


The minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 8 December 2021 were agreed and signed by the Chairman.




To receive apologies for absence.


Apologies for absence were received from the Chief Executive.




To receive declarations of interests in respect of any item on the agenda.





To answer any written questions received from members of the public no later than 5 p.m. two clear working days prior to the meeting – for this meeting the deadline is 5 p.m. on ………………..


There was one question from a member of the public, Mr Darron Abbott:


“I attach 2 photographs of very similar occurrences of fly-tipping where garden waste was placed in a ditch.

One the council fined the culprit £300 for the offence. The other offence the Council turned a blind eye despite this being the perpetrators 5 reported offence with the previous ones being ignored as well.

Could Councillor Evans please explain the council’s policy on this matter.”


Response by Councillor Deborah Evans, Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services:


“The Council replied to your complaint on 5th June 2020. The Council takes proportionate action against those fly tipping where sufficient evidence is secured and where it is in the public interest.”


Supplementary question asked by Mr. Darron Abbott:


“At this point I would normally thank the Councillor for the answer to my question.  I am afraid I cannot do that as you have not answered the question, but I do have to compliment you on how quickly you have become a proper politician and have learnt how to treat the public with contempt.


Let us go through this, indeed Christian Allen did write to me on 5th June 2020, I am sure you have read the letter that you mention and have a copy in front of you, I will come back to that.


I assume you are relying on the evidence as an excuse for not prosecuting in this case, so I have made things easy for you by sending you several photographs earlier today.


On 3rd August 2021 (please accept all dates are 2021) there is a screen shot of a family answering the call from the culprit to help clear the football pitch of grass, this family dumped the grass behind the pavilion, then there is a photograph of the grass that had been dumped that was sent to you on 4th August.  You replied to me at 13.25 on 4th August ‘brought up at a meeting, it is getting moved’.


20th August yourself and Adrian Sibley met with the culprit at the site of the fly tipping.  You assured me that grass would be cleared shortly.  On 7th September the grass was then dumped in the dyke.  I informed you of this fact and your response was that the culprit had had to put the grass in the dyke because they had found baby hedgehogs and could not move them.  So you had an admission from someone, is that not enough evidence.


This is another case of what is going on within this building ‘it’s a case of who you know’, are you not disappointed with yourself that you are actually condoning discrimination after all of your proclamations of no one is above the law?  Finally perhaps you would like to refer to the last paragraph of Mr. Allen’s letter at this point.


I hope you are taking notice of this Leader.”


Response by Councillor Deborah Evans:


“I was confident in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 47.




Recommendations from the Scrutiny Committees were reported as part of the presentation of the reports.








( A report by Samantha Knowles, Assistant Director Finance)


Portfolio Holder: Councillor Jonathan Noble, Finance

Additional documents:





Recommendation to Full Council that:


1.         The Revenue Estimates for the General Fund for 2022/23 (Appendix A) be approved.

2.         That the Council Tax for a Band A property in 2022/23 be set at £135.24 (£3.30 per annum increase on 2021/22 levels) and Band D £202.86 for 2022/23 (a £4.95 per annum increase on 2021/22 levels).

3.         The Boston Town Area Committee (BTAC) special expenses for a Band A property be set at £50.91 (previously £50.23 in 2021/22) and Band D £76.36 for 2022/23, (previously £75.34 in 2021/22)

4.         The Medium Term Financial Strategy (at Appendices A,1 and 2) be approved.

5.         That the Capital Programme (Appendix A) be approved.

6.         The Fees and Charges for 2022/23 (at Appendix 4) be approved.

7.         The use of Reserves detailed at Appendix 5 be approved.

8.         That the Treasury Management Statement and Strategy, including the Minimum Revenue Provision policy and Investment Strategy be approved. (Appendix 6).

9.         That the South and East Lincolnshire Council’s Annual Delivery Plan 2022/23 (Appendix 7) be approved.

10.       That delegated authority be given to the Deputy Chief Executive Corporate Development (S151) to use the Covid budget pressures smoothing reserve during the 2022/23 financial year, to smooth any fluctuations in income the Council may still be experiencing as a result of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

11.       That delegated authority be given to the Deputy Chief Executive Corporate Development (S151), in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance, to make any necessary amendments to the budget prior to Council due to late notifications.


Portfolio Holders and Officer








Councillor Jonathan Noble, Portfolio Holder for Finance, introduced a report by the Deputy Chief Executive (Corporate Development) and S151 Officer, setting out the Council’s proposed Revenue and Capital Budgets for 2022/23 and onwards, the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) to 2026/27 and associated financial documentation for approval, including the Treasury Management Strategy and the setting of fees and charges.


The report stated that the draft Local Government Settlement announced on 16 December 2021 had been finalised and provided additional detail of continuing and additional one off support to councils, including confirmation of allocations of Revenue Support Grant, Rural Services Delivery Grant and New Homes Bonus (NHB).


An additional one year allocation of New homes Bonus would be received for 2022/23 due to delays in implementing a replacement scheme, however this was likely to be for one year only with no further legacy payments expected in future years.  Some NHB (£414,000) was supporting the base in 2022/23 and plans would need to be taken forward to address the situation for future years, depending on what future schemes emerged.


A Fair Funding Review had been expected to set new baseline funding allocations for all local authorities, to simplify the existing system and to provide an up to date assessment of authorities relative needs and resources.  Early consultation had been undertaken by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, but there was insufficient information  ...  view the full minutes text for item 50.



(A report by Sharron Hammond, Head of Revenue and Benefits)


Portfolio Holder: Councillor Jonathan Noble, Finance

Additional documents:





1.    That the Benefits Verification Policy for implementation with effect from 1 April 2022 be approved, replacing the current Risk Based Verification Policy.


2.    That subsequent reviews and revisions be delegated to the Section 151 Officer and Portfolio Holder for Finance.


Portfolio Holders and Officer









Councillor Jonathan Noble, Portfolio Holder for Finance, introduced a report by the Assistant Director – Finance setting out proposals for the introduction of a Benefits Verification Policy from 1 April 2022, to replace the current Risk Based Verification Policy.


The report stated that since 2012 verification of evidence for new Housing Benefit claims and Council Tax Support applications made to Boston Borough Council had been administered under a Risk Based Verification Policy.


Risk Based Verification was extended to local authorities on a voluntary basis, with clear requirements and expectations set out by the Department for Works and Pensions for authorities that had chosen to adopt that approach.   The adoption of RBV allowed for resources to be targeted towards those cases with greater risk of fraud and error.


The review of the approach to the verification process was timely as:-


  • The changed profile of work type and claimant base, since the introduction of universal credit in 2018, had substantially reduced the earlier benefits of RBV.
  • There were now fewer new claims for Housing Benefit as claimants moved to Universal Credit.  The administration and governance required under a RBV policy was now disproportionate to the original benefits.
  • Should the risk based approach to verification be continued the policy would need to be overhauled to ensure it was fit for purpose for the current times, and to ensure appropriate operational and governance processes and procedures were in place as necessary to satisfy the Department for Work and Pensions expectations in relation to Housing Benefit, which would be tested through the subsidy audit process.
  • Currently, different standards of verification applied to new claims and changes in circumstances; new claims were subject to RBV but changes were not, which resulted in different evidence requirements. The review would simplify the requirements into a single policy and standardise the approach.
  • The South and East Lincolnshire Councils Partnership (S&ELCP) provided the opportunity to align and standardise a single approach and policy for all three councils, delivered by the Public Sector Partnership Services Ltd (PSPS).  South Holland Dc and East Lindsey DC had replaced their risk-based approach to verification of HB claims and CTS applications in 2019.
  • In line with the digital and transformational aspirations of the Council and PSPS, it was anticipated electronic forms would be introduced in the future that enabled customers to carry out their business online.  A standard approach to evidence requirements would help simplify the administrative process for the customer experience.


The review had considered the type and nature of evidence that was acceptable and the verification that was required to ensure processes and controls remained robust to prevent fraud and error, but at the same time balanced the need for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 51.