Agenda and minutes

Joint Executive Advisory Board - Monday, 10th January, 2022 7.00 pm

Venue: This meeting will be held via MSTeams

Contact: Andrea Carr, Committee Officer Tel no: 01483 444058  Email:


No. Item


Election of Chairman for the Meeting

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The Joint Executive Advisory Board (EAB)




that Councillor Ruth Brothwell be elected as Chairman for this meeting.



Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitute Members

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Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Paul Abbey and Graham Eyre.  There were no substitutions.



Local Code of Conduct and Notification of Disclosable Pecuniary interests

In accordance with the local Code of Conduct, a councillor is required to disclose at the meeting any Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (DPI) that they may have in respect of any matter for consideration on this agenda. Any councillor with a DPI must not participate in any discussion or vote regarding that matter and they must withdraw from the meeting immediately before consideration of the matter.


If that DPI has not been registered, the councillor must notify the Monitoring Officer of the details of the DPI within 28 days of the date of the meeting.


Councillors are further invited to disclose any non-pecuniary interest which may be relevant to any matter on this agenda, in the interests of transparency, and to confirm that it will not affect their objectivity in relation to that matter.

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Having declared a pecuniary interest in agenda item 7 (Mandate Proposal to Upgrade or Replace Housing Management and Asset Software Management Systems) as his employer was a provider of software associated with the submission of bids to provide the upgrade of replacement of the Council’s systems, Councillor George Potter left the meeting for the duration of the discussion of this item.  There were no other declarations of disclosable pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 347 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Joint Executive Advisory Board (EAB) held on 11 November 2021.

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The minutes of the meeting of the Joint EAB held on 11 November 2021 were confirmed as a correct record, and would be signed by the Chairman at the earliest opportunity.


Housing Revenue Account Budget 2022-23 pdf icon PDF 612 KB

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A report outlining the proposed Housing Revenue Account (HRA) budget for 2022-23 was before the Joint Executive Advisory Board (EAB) for consideration at its meeting held on 10 January 2022.


Following introductions by the Resources Director and Head of Housing, the Joint EAB considered the report and the ensuing points arose from related questions, comments and discussion for forwarding to the Executive:


1.           Some concern was expressed in relation to the comment in paragraph 5.5 of the report that the wider social housing sector was becoming increasingly commercial moving towards market rental levels.  However, the Council’s stock remained designated as social housing.  Approximately 97% of Council tenants were charged rent at social rent levels whilst the remainder paid affordable rent levels or were in a shared ownership arrangement.  Therefore the majority of Council rents were considerably lower than those charged by most housing associations, which limited the Council’s cashflow opportunities.  For those tenants in receipt of Housing Benefit, rent payments were covered up to the affordable level in accordance with the current Government framework.  There were no indications that this framework was likely to be amended in the near future.

2.           In terms of building cladding, fire risk assessments had been undertaken in respect of the Council’s entire housing stock following the Grenfell tragedy and the findings indicated that there was no cause for concern in this area as none of the stock was cladded with the type of cladding utilised at Grenfell Tower.  A recommendation arising from the Grenfell inquiry had been to review the manner in which fire risk assessments were undertaken resulting in the identification of new approaches and the issue of updated guidance.  The Council was therefore embarking on a fresh programme of assessments in line with this guidance.  This was one evolving area where the requirement for additional expenditure to remedy identified issues was anticipated and this had been factored into the budget.

3.           As the Government had not changed its stance in relation to the Right to Buy scheme, this initiative was continuing.  Where the Council sold residential units under this scheme, it received capital receipts and was working to ensure that the receipts were spent to enable new replacement properties to be added to its stock.

4.           Fees, Charges and Miscellaneous income predominantly related to service charges and rents associated with a number of HRA investment properties in the Council’s ownership.  Outstanding appendices would be added to the report when it was finalised and the amount of additional income referred to in paragraph 7.4 would be rounded to £2.7 million.

5.           There was currently no certainty with regard to the timescale for the full scale transition of recipients from Housing Benefit to Universal Credit.  Where tenants had transferred to date, they had been in receipt of advice and support from the Council and other agencies to assist with the process, which was particularly necessary in the case of vulnerable tenants.  The success of this was reflected in the low level of rent arrears,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 48.


Capital and Investment Strategy 2022-23 to 2025-26 pdf icon PDF 867 KB

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The Joint Executive Advisory Board (EAB) was invited to consider this report regarding the Capital and Investment Strategy 2022-23 to 2025-26 at its meeting held on 10 January 2022.


The Lead Specialist - Finance introduced the report and sought comments from the Joint EAB in respect of the capital bids outlined within the appendices to the report.  The following points arose from related questions, comments and discussion relating to the bids for forwarding to the Executive:


Guildford Economic Regeneration (GER) Programme


This programme, which consisted of the delivery of a proactive strategy incorporating a master plan for the comprehensive economic and physical regeneration of Guildford town centre, involved expenditure in the region of £3 million over a two year period.  In response to some expressed concern, the Joint EAB was assured that full consultation would be undertaken in respect of each element of this long term scheme, such as flooding, transportation, and delivery of homes.  Early work was likely to involve flood remediation measures.  Once the current work in this regard had been progressed to a sufficient stage with evidence of the intention to pursue the programme, available grants would be applied for to provide the necessary funding.


Stoke Park Paddling Pool


This bid sought capital funding to replace the Stoke Park paddling pool rubber crumb surface during April 2022 to enable the paddling pool to be operated for the next season and beyond.  Full support was expressed for the safe and hygienic continuation of this service which was highly valued by many families.  A query as to whether the service would be open from the commencement of the season for use of the pool would be referred back to relevant officers for a response.


Albury Closed Burial Grounds


There was a statutory obligation and health and safety reasons to maintain the heritage boundary wall of the closed burial ground at the old parish church of St Peter and St Paul, Albury.  Whilst these were recognised, some concern regarding the related level of expenditure, involving the engagement of specialist architects, was expressed in the light of the Council’s Savings Strategy.  It was confirmed that the burial ground was closed to new burials and not to visitors of the existing burials.  Queries around the timing of the bid to undertake the maintenance work and the estimated cost of the wall repairs could be referred to relevant officers for a response and explanation of the amount of the budget bid.


Chilworth Gunpowder Mills


Recent renovation and repair work at the Gunpowder Mills had led to the discovery of a significant defect with a stone culvert and spillway beneath the main access path into the site.  The possibility of temporarily or permanently closing this site was suggested in reflection of the Council’s financial constraints which limited its ability to address the related health and safety liability which would render the Council culpable in the event of any injuries.  Councillors were reminded of the outcome of the recent public consultation which had indicated that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 49.


Mandate Proposal to Upgrade or Replace Housing Management and Asset Software Management Systems pdf icon PDF 531 KB

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Having declared a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in respect of this item under agenda item number 3 (Local Code of Conduct and Notification of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests)earlier in the meeting, Councillor George Potter left the meeting at this point and did not return.


The Head of Housing introduced the proposal advising that the mandate had been developed around the replacement of the ICT system currently utilised for managing the Council’s housing stock of approximately 5,200 properties.  The existing system consisted of two elements, namely, Orchard, the current and main Housing Management System which had been operated by the Council for more than 20 years, and Keystone, which was utilised in tandem with Orchard as the Housing Property Asset Management System.  This mandate covered both systems which worked independently of each other.


Both systems were internally hosted and currently resided on the old Guildford network and prior to any upgrade or replacement, a lift and shift to the new network was planned by the ICT Team as part of the ICT Refresh Programme within the next 3 to 4 months.


Orchard and Keystone were approaching the end of their useful life and the providers would no longer support or update them which posed a problem for the internal hosting.  Although a short-term solution would be to transfer the systems to the new Council network, a support issue relating to the retirement of the products remained as the provider of Keystone had retired the product and introduced Cx Asset management to replace it.


This situation presented a need to move to a new modern system that fitted with the corporate direction of cloud first and could provide all functionality in one system, including interfaces with existing systems such as Business World and Salesforce.  Having been considered by the Corporate Management Team, the ICT Digital Board and the Executive / Management Team Liaison Group for comment, this proposal was now before the Joint EAB for support in progressing work to upgrade or replace the systems as part of the ICT forward plan for the next financial year and inclusion in the ICT Capital programme.  The proposal would be funded by the Housing Revenue Account.


The strategic options available to the Council to deliver a solution were:


Option 1 – Pursue a new combined Solution Procurement exercise to progress with successful change of systems and either replace with a new combined housing and asset system or undertake a full upgrade of both existing systems with innovative solutions.


Option 2 - Upgrade the Orchard system in the short term, the Keystone system to Cx Asset management and both onto the new network.  Although this was an upgrade only, it would require data clean-up data and information, and further updates / upgrades which would make ready the system in preparation for any future procurement exercise to update the system later.


Option 3 – Do nothing leading to unsupported and obsolete systems and processes without compliance with GDPR regulation or procurement guidance.


Therefore, based on consideration of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 50.