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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Council Offices, St. Peter's Hill, Grantham. NG31 6PZ. View directions

Contact: Jo Toomey 

Items
No. Item

34.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Adams, Ashwell, Bosworth, Broughton, Cook, R. Cooke, Coutts, Craft, Cunningham, Kaberry-Brown, Mapp, Powell, Selby, Judy Smith, Ward and Webster.

 

Members sent their best wishes to Councillor Mike Cook following a recent spell in hospital. The Council also sent its best wishes to Councillor Mrs. Kaberry-Brown.

35.

Disclosure of Interests

Members are asked to disclose any interests in matters for consideration at the meeting.

Minutes:

No interests were disclosed.

36.

Minutes of the meeting held on 26 July 2018 pdf icon PDF 227 KB

                                                                                                                  (Enclosure)

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 26 July 2018 were proposed, seconded and agreed as a correct record.

 

At previous meetings of the Council reference had been made to a planning enforcement issue which had led to Councillor Peter Stephens seeking retrospective permission for work to part of his property. At those meetings there had been calls for Councillor Stephens to make an apology to the Council. Councillor Stephens addressed the meeting and made his apology, saying that he regretted the situation. Members of the Council accepted Councillor Stephens’ apology.

37.

Communications (including Chairman's Announcements) pdf icon PDF 44 KB

                                                                                                                  (Enclosure)

Minutes:

The Council noted the Chairman’s engagements.

38.

Amendments to the Budget Framework pdf icon PDF 221 KB

Report number CFM473 by the Cabinet Member for Finance.

(Enclosure)

Please note that the exempt appendix to this report will follow

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision:

 

The Council approves

 

1.         A revenue budget in 2018/19 of up to £100k for initial set-up costs and up to £500k as initial working capital for DeliverSK and to approve the use of the Council’s local priority reserve to finance this budget amendment

 

2.         The necessary capital budget allocation as set out in paragraph 1.12 of exempt appendix 1 to report number CFM473 in order to proceed with the acquisition of a parcel of land in the South Kesteven area, and the associated capital financing costs in future years’ revenue budgets

 

3.         That the Governance and Audit Committee is asked to consider any changes necessary to the Council’s Treasury Management Strategy to allow the initial and future investments in DeliverSK activities and projects

 

It was proposed, seconded and on being put to the vote agreed that the press and public should be excluded from the meeting because of the likelihood that information exempt under paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) as contained in the exempt appendix to report number CFM473 would be disclosed to them.

 

14:11 – Members of the press and public left the meeting

 

The Cabinet Member for Finance introduced report number CFM473 and proposed the recommendations detailed in the report, adding that he wished a single vote to be taken on all recommendations. The proposition was seconded.

 

Several Members spoke in support of the acquisition of land in South Kesteven and the potential opportunities and advantages it presented.

 

Some reservations were expressed that a broader range of Members would not be involved in the selection of the private sector partner for DeliverSK. It was noted that the formation of the company had been considered in depth by the Growth Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Members were reminded that the proposed model for DeliverSK was not unique and in order to enable its formation to progress as swiftly as possible, the Chairman of the Governance and Audit Committee promised an early meeting at which the Committee would consider updates to the Treasury Management Strategy. Members recognised that the projects allowed the Council to proactively influence the economic development of the district.

 

14:31 – The meeting returned to open session and members of the press and public returned to the meeting

 

A request was made that a recorded vote be taken. As the request was supported by more than ten Members of the Council, in accordance with Article 4.13.4 of the Council’s Constitution, a recorded vote was taken.

 

For

Against

Abstain

Councillor Baxter

Councillor Benn

Councillor Cartwright

Councillor Chivers

Councillor K Cooke

Councillor Dilks

Councillor Dobson

Councillor Evans

Councillor Exton

Councillor Forman

Councillor Goral

Councillor Griffin

Councillor Jeal

Councillor King

Councillor Kingman

Councillor Lee

Councillor Manterfield

Councillor Dr. Moseley

Councillor Neilson

Councillor Robins

Councillor Russell

Councillor Sampson

Councillor Jacky Smith

Councillor Stephens

Councillor Stevens

Councillor A Stokes

Councillor I Stokes

Councillor S Stokes

Councillor Brenda Sumner

Councillor Brian Sumner

Councillor Taylor

Councillor Trollope-Bellew

Councillor Turner

Councillor Westropp

Councillor Wilkins

Councillor Wood  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.

39.

Overview and Scrutiny Committee Annual Report 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 90 KB

Report number LDS294 by the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Chairmen.

(Enclosure)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Vice-Chairman of the Growth Overview and Scrutiny Committee presented the Scrutiny Annual Report 2017/18 on behalf of the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Chairmen. It provided a synopsis of the work undertaken by each of the five Overview and Scrutiny Committees during the 2017/18 municipal year. Another of the Chairmen also commended the document to the Council.

 

During debate, Members referred to the changes that had been made to the Overview and Scrutiny structure noting that 2017/18 was the first year in which the new arrangements had operated. Several Members who spoke stated that they felt that the arrangements had led to some improvement in the way that scrutiny was carried out while acknowledging that further improvements could still be made.

 

One Member spoke about difficulties he had experienced getting items included on agendas for Overview and Scrutiny Committees with some other Members agreeing that it could be made easier for Councillors to add items to Overview and Scrutiny Committee agendas. It was noted that any additional agenda items that Members wished to put forward would need to be prioritised in the context of other items on the Committee’s work programme.

 

A suggestion was made that it might be appropriate to review the arrangements now they had been in place for a full year, including a review of good practice and how it might be shared across Committees. A number of Members spoke about the roles of scrutiny and how strong scrutiny leads to robust decisions.

 

A number of comments were made about the importance of fully engaging opposition Councillors and back bench Members of the administration. Several Members praised the way the Committees on which they sat were chaired and how they felt that all members of those Committees were given a fair chance to contribute.

 

The Council noted the contents of report number LDS294 and the contents of the Scrutiny Annual Report for 2017/18.

40.

Leader's Report on Urgent Decisions pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Report number LDS320 of the Leader of the Council.                   (Enclosure)

Minutes:

The Council noted the contents of the Leader’s report on urgent decisions (report number LDS320).

41.

Meetings of the Cabinet pdf icon PDF 89 KB

Report number LDS321 of the Leader of the Council.                   (Enclosure)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members noted the minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 12 July 2018 as appended to report number LDS321.

 

One Member asked why the street lighting policy, which had been referred back to the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee had not been on the agenda for the first meeting following the Cabinet meeting at which it had been referred back. Members were advised that at that meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee the Cabinet Member for Environment had given a robust and critical explanation of why the Cabinet had referred the matter back to the Committee. Members were also informed that a workshop had been organised to talk about those issues and that it was hoped that the amended report would be forwarded to Cabinet as soon as possible.

42.

Members' Open Questions

A 45-minute period in which members may ask questions of the Leader, Cabinet Members, the Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees and opposition group leaders excluding the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Development Management Committee, Licensing and Alcohol, Entertainment and Late Night Refreshment Licensing Committees and Governance and Audit Committee.

Minutes:

Question 1

 

Councillor Dilks referred to a recent meeting of the Governance and Audit Committee at which Members heard about gas boilers that had been fitted. The boilers had a design fault which caused failure because of condensation issues. The Committee had asked that a letter be written to the company that manufactured the boilers asking what they were going to do to remedy the problem. Councillor Dilks asked the Cabinet Member for Housing whether the letter had been written, whether he could have a copy and whether the boilers had been fitted in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

 

The Cabinet Member for Housing stated that he would expect the boilers to have been fitted in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. He was not aware whether the letter had been written but committed to finding out and e-mailing an answer to Councillor Dilks.

 

A subsequent speaker referred to the same issue and stated that it should be a top priority for the Council to ensure that the most vulnerable people in the community were protected. The Leader responded, saying that he would ask the Cabinet Member for Housing and the relevant Director to urgently address the issue to form a plan of what was wrong, what action was being taken and the associated timescales.

 

Question 2

 

Councillor Ian Stokes addressed a question to the Cabinet Member for Environment which concerned the different rules that applied to the separation of refuse and recycling across the county, querying how members of the public were supposed to know what they were and were not able to recycle.

 

The Cabinet Member for Environment made reference to a new strategy that had been agreed by members of the Lincolnshire Waste Partnership; one of its aims was to overcome these challenges. He stated that plastics presented the biggest challenge, with several different categories, some of which were recyclable while others were not. The partnership was working towards a common set of recyclable streams in the future. He added that the ‘reduce’ strand of the waste hierarchy was key and referred to shopping practices that could support reductions in packaging materials, in turn reducing the materials for disposal.

 

While the Cabinet Member said that there was no simple answer, he reassured Members that the Council had a strong voice in the partnership and was pushing its agenda with regard to making recycling easier and in turn making it more efficient and valuable.

 

Question 3

 

Councillor Ray Wootten posed a question to the Leader. In doing so he referred to the instruction made by the Minister for Health to United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust and the Clinical Commissioning Group to produce a plan for future services at Grantham Hospital which should be submitted by December 2018. Councillor Wootten asked the Leader whether he agreed with residents, campaign groups and Councillors that they needed to be consulted on the plans and that the hospital’s accident and emergency department should return to a 24-hour service as soon as possible.

 

The Leader  ...  view the full minutes text for item 42.

43.

Notices of Motion given under Article 4.9:

43a

Councillor Phil Dilks

Following the conviction and jailing last year of 11 members of a fraud and slavery ring centred in Lincolnshire, our local police force revealed they have FIVE further ongoing investigations into modern slavery in our county.

 

Lincoln Crown Court heard horrific stories of how the gang forced 18 victims into gruelling jobs and squalid living conditions over a long period.

 

The National Crime Agency stated that the horrific case was

 

…merely the tip of the iceberg  and there are thousands of people being kept as slaves in the UK – far more than previously thought and affecting all types of communities across every part of the country.

 

In the spirit of working to do everything within its power to eradicate this and recognising recent changes in the way projects and services may be delivered, the Council now resolves to take the lead in strengthening and building on its existing public statement on Modern Slavery.

 

Specifically, the Council will take the following actions:

 

1          Ensure that all those employed to procure goods and services for the Council -including those working for Gravitas Housing Limited, InvestSK, DeliverSK and any other company set up by the Council – are trained through the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply’s (CIPS) online course on Ethical Procurement and Supply to understand modern slavery

 

2          Require all contractors and private sector partners of Gravitas Housing Limited, InvestSK, DeliverSK, - and any other company or partnership set up by the Council - to comply fully with the Modern Slavery Act 2015, wherever it applies, with contract/partnership termination as a potential sanction for non-compliance.

 

3          Challenge any abnormally low-cost tenders or offers to work in partnership with the Council - or with companies set up by the Council - to ensure they do not rely on the potential contractor or partner practising modern slavery.

 

4          Write into agreements and contracts with the Council’s suppliers and potential partners that contracted workers are free to join a trade union and are not to be treated unfairly for belonging to one.

 

5          Require tendered contractors and partner companies working with the Council - whether directly or through Gravitas Housing Limited, Invest SK, Deliver SK or any other company set up by the Council - to adopt a whistle-blowing policy which enables their staff to blow the whistle on any suspected examples of modern slavery.

 

6          Publicise the Council’s whistle-blowing system for staff and those working for companies set up by the Council to blow the whistle on any suspected examples of modern slavery.

 

7          Regularly review all such contractual spending and partnerships to identify any potential issues with modern slavery.

 

8          Highlight for suppliers to the Council and partners in companies set up by the Council any risks identified concerning modern slavery and refer them to the relevant agencies to be addressed.

 

9          Refer for investigation via the National Crime Agency’s national referral mechanism any contractor or partner working with the Council or its companies, which may be identified  ...  view the full agenda text for item 43a

Minutes:

Decision:

 

In the spirit of working to do everything within its power to eradicate this and recognising recent changes in the way projects and services may be delivered, the Council resolves to work with contractors, Police and H M Revenue and Customs to deal with instances of modern slavery and to build on its existing Public Statement. The Council further undertakes to request the Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee review the Council’s existing commitments, including those set out in the Equality and Diversity Annual Position Statement 2017 and propose any further recommendations as appropriate.

 

Councillor Dilks proposed his motion:

 

In the spirit of working to do everything within its power to eradicate this and recognising recent changes in the way projects and services may be delivered, the Council now resolves to take the lead in strengthening and building on its existing public statement on Modern Slavery.

 

Specifically, the Council will take the following actions:

 

1.    Ensure that all those employed to procure goods and services for the Council -including those working for Gravitas Housing Limited, InvestSK, DeliverSK and any other company set up by the Council – are trained through the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply’s (CIPS) online course on Ethical Procurement and Supply to understand modern slavery

 

2.    Require all contractors and private sector partners of Gravitas Housing Limited, InvestSK, DeliverSK, - and any other company or partnership set up by the Council - to comply fully with the Modern Slavery Act 2015, wherever it applies, with contract/partnership termination as a potential sanction for non-compliance.

 

3.    Challenge any abnormally low-cost tenders or offers to work in partnership with the Council - or with companies set up by the Council - to ensure they do not rely on the potential contractor or partner practising modern slavery.

 

4.    Write into agreements and contracts with the Council’s suppliers and potential partners that contracted workers are free to join a trade union and are not to be treated unfairly for belonging to one.

 

5.    Require tendered contractors and partner companies working with the Council - whether directly or through Gravitas Housing Limited, Invest SK, Deliver SK or any other company set up by the Council - to adopt a whistle-blowing policy which enables their staff to blow the whistle on any suspected examples of modern slavery.

 

6.    Publicise the Council’s whistle-blowing system for staff and those working for companies set up by the Council to blow the whistle on any suspected examples of modern slavery.

 

7.    Regularly review all such contractual spending and partnerships to identify any potential issues with modern slavery.

 

8.    Highlight for suppliers to the Council and partners in companies set up by the Council any risks identified concerning modern slavery and refer them to the relevant agencies to be addressed.

 

9.    Refer for investigation via the National Crime Agency’s national referral mechanism any contractor or partner working with the Council or its companies, which may be identified as a cause for concern regarding modern slavery.

 

10.Report publicly  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43a

43b

Councillor Ashley Baxter

This Council notes the continued and increasing use of ad hoc workshops and briefings to discuss Council policies, programmes and progress.

 

These meetings take place behind closed doors and, in many cases, they are called at short notice at the direction of Committee Chairs without reference to Committee members or other Councillors.

 

Therefore the Council recommends:

 

1.    Councillor briefings and workshops will be held in public unless the content is likely to be exempt under Para 3 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

 

2.    Details of time, date, venue and subject area of workshops and briefings will be publicised to all Members, and the wider public, at least two working days before they take place.

 

3.    Action notes and recommendations from committee workshops will be presented to the next available formal meeting of the relevant committee.

Minutes:

Decision

 

The Council did not support the motion put by Councillor Baxter

 

Councillor Baxter proposed his motion:

 

This Council notes the continued and increasing use of ad hoc workshops and briefings to discuss Council policies, programmes and progress.

 

These meetings take place behind closed doors and, in many cases, they are called at short notice at the direction of Committee Chairs without reference to Committee members or other Councillors.

 

Therefore the Council recommends:

 

1.    Councillor briefings and workshops will be held in public unless the content is likely to be exempt under Para 3 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

 

2.    Details of time, date, venue and subject area of workshops and briefings will be publicised to all Members, and the wider public, at least two working days before they take place.

 

3.    Action notes and recommendations from committee workshops will be presented to the next available formal meeting of the relevant committee.

 

Councillor Baxter referred to working group meetings where access to Members was restricted to a particular Committee and the way the action notes from those meetings were shared with the wider Member cohort and members of the public. While there was recognition that some of the information discussed at meetings and contained in action notes might contain information that was exempt and should therefore not be disclosed to the public, he indicated that it should be made clear that a meeting had taken place. Specific reference was made to a workshop held by the Shareholder Committee in January 2018, the action notes from which had only recently been published. Reference was also made to a future workshop meeting about wellbeing, which had been organised in association with the Communities and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee and to which all Members of the Council had been invited. He suggested that it was a topic that members of the public may also find of interest. Unless a meeting was to deal with exempt information, he felt that they should be open to the public and that the public should know that the meeting had taken place. The motion was seconded and the sentiment of ensuring public access to meetings of the Council was reiterated.

 

A number of Members spoke against the proposition. During debate some concerns raised by Members included distinguishing those meetings at which it might be appropriate for the public to attend and those where it would not, with specific reference being made to briefings for Committee Chairmen. Comments were also made about how the workshop structure facilitated full debate on complex issues where sensitive proposals could be fully considered without fallback for any individual Councillor. It was noted that any policy considered in a workshop session would still go to a meeting of an Overview and Scrutiny Committee for public debate and consideration.

 

Several Members referred to measures that had been put in place to improve openness and transparency by the administration that came into place in May 2017, including Members’  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43b

44.

Close of meeting

Minutes:

The meeting closed at 15:52.