Agenda and minutes

Council
Thursday, 27th June, 2019 1.00 pm

Venue: Shekinah Room - Jubilee Church Life Centre, 1-5 London Road, Grantham. NG31 6EY. View directions

Contact: Jo Toomey 

Items
No. Item

17.

Public Open Forum

    The public open forum will commence at 1.00 p.m. and the following formal business of the Council will commence at 1.30 p.m. or whenever the public open forum ends, if earlier.

    Minutes:

    Question 1

     

    From: Phil Gadd, Grantham

    To: Councillor Barry Dobson, the Cabinet Member for Housing

     

    “On 1st April 2016 a policy was instigated by SKDC for use of community rooms to regulate use. Part of this involved a charge for the use or hire of the rooms at the sheltered or communal facilities. Any money raised was to be split 40% admin whilst 60% of the revenue was to be returned via the 'Residents Initiatives Fund'

     

    The principle behind the fund was to ‘promote social, health and wellbeing for residents’.  This was approved by council on 10th March 2016.

     

    SKDC reply to me on 14 March 2019 regarding money raised from the 'Residents Initiatives Fund'

     

    1/ The total amount raised through this each year is:

     

    2017/18: £12,648 (60% = £7588)

    2018/19: £14,322 (60% = £8593)

     

    No money has been 'sent back' to date from the fund. The policy underlying this is currently being reviewed.

     

    1/ Could you please explain why SKDC has levied over £27000 on residents to improve facilities, yet nothing has been returned?

     

    2/ What is the result of the review and when will the money be used as intended?”

     

    The Cabinet Member for Housing said the total sum collected was approximately £30,000, which would be spread across approximately 30 schemes. It was hoped that the total funds would be spent by December 2019 and Members were advised that one scheme had already benefitted through the provision of a pool table.

     

    Mr. Gadd asked how the funding could be accessed as residents were concerned that the money had been lost. The Cabinet Member for Housing stated schemes would be advised that funding was available, and applications invited for its use.

     

    Question 2

     

    From: Phil Gadd, Grantham

    To: Councillor Kelham Cooke, the Deputy Leader of the Council

     

    “I understand at last month’s Full Council Meeting (23/5) that a motion was raised regarding rising crime and additional police funding for the SKDC area. When I asked for the voice recording about that debate I was told that the Jubilee Centre does not have that facility. This has prevented any scrutiny by the public of the actual statements made regarding that meeting.

     

    Following release of the Council minutes it was stated that an additional £10 million pounds had been made available following a meeting of Lincs PCC with the Home Office on 21st May 2019.

     

    I have an FOI reply (04/2019) from the Lincs PCC on 20th June 

     

    Q/Have Lincs Police been awarded a further £10 million pounds from Central Government or is this 'new' funding actually from the recent 11% increase in Local Council Tax increases.

     

    RESPONSE:  The Police and Crime Commissioner did not receive an additional £10 million in funding either from Central Government or from the Council Tax precept. 

     

    I also asked Bill Skelly, Lincolnshire Chief Constable in an email on 26/5/19 if -

    “Lincs Police had won an additional £10 million in EXTRA funding after a meeting of Marc Jones with the Home Secretary on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.

18.

Apologies for Absence

19.

Disclosure of Interests

20.

Minutes of the meeting held on 23 May 2019 pdf icon PDF 407 KB

21.

Communications (including Chairman's Announcements) pdf icon PDF 128 KB

22.

Appointment of statutory officers pdf icon PDF 194 KB

    Report of the Chairman of the Employment Committee.

    Minutes:

    The Deputy Leader began by paying tribute to the outgoing Section 151 Officer, Debbie Muddimer. Originally appointed on an interim basis, Ms Muddimer subsequently took on the appointment on a permanent basis. The Deputy Leader wished Ms. Muddimer luck as she took on a new role as Deputy Finance Officer at De Montford University in Leicester. He thanked her for her service, praising the way that she had challenged budgets and the relationships she had developed with Members and officers. On the Council’s behalf, the Deputy Leader presented Ms. Muddimer with flowers to thank her for her service, whilst the wider membership showed their appreciation with a round of applause.

     

    13:22 - Richard Wyles and Shahin Ismail left the meeting because the item about to be discussed concerned their proposed appointment to statutory officer posts

     

    The Deputy Leader proposed the recommendations of the Employment Committee as set out in the report of the Chairman of the Committee. The Committee was recommending the appointment of Richard Wyles as Section 151 Officer and Shahin Ismail as the Council’s Monitoring Officer. In making the proposition, Members were given a precis of their respective qualifications for the roles. Thanks were also proffered to  Lee Sirdifield, who had been acting as the Council’s Monitoring Officer on an interim basis. The proposition was seconded.

     

    Members were given an opportunity to ask questions and debate the proposals. The comments about the outgoing Section 151 Officer were echoed and the proposed appointment of Mr. Wyles received wider endorsement, with reference being made to his long service at the Council.

     

    In response to questions that were asked, the Deputy Leader explained that the Employment Committee had considered a range of options for making the appointments, including whether to go to competitive advert, making interim appointments and providing development opportunities for officers who were already employed by the Council. Confirmation was given that Ms. Ismail would continue to work on a part-time basis. To address concerns about whether the proposed appointment of the Monitoring Officer was compliant with requirements in the Local Government and Housing Act 1989, Members were advised that Ms. Ismail was employed by the Council through the Local Government Shared Services Framework, which made her eligible for the appointment.

     

    A vote was taken and the Council AGREED:

     

    1.    To approve the appointment of Richard Wyles, Chief Finance Officer, to the post of Section 151 Officer for a period of 15 months

     

    2.    To approve the appointment of Shahin Ismail, Interim Head of Legal as the Monitoring Officer

     

    13:28 – Richard Wyles and Shahin Ismail returned to the meeting

23.

Budget Framework Amendment 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 209 KB

    Report of the Cabinet Member for Finance

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Cabinet Member for Finance proposed the recommendations in his report on the Budget Framework Amendment 2019/20. He explained that the proposals that were put before Council followed on from the Cabinet meeting on 7 March 2019 and the decision to develop the leisure offer in the district.

     

    A number of Members stated that they welcomed the provision of new leisure facilities and asked questions about the proposals. A summary of responses and comments is provided below:

     

    ·         The external consultancy support for the development of new leisure centres for the four market towns was intended to be procured through a framework agreement

    ·         The Council already had a working relationship with the provider of the external consultancy services

    ·         The budget would cover the production of a business case, technical work and survey work. It would also include options appraisals, an assessment of delivery options and methods of procurement for each project

    ·         The proposed £250k for the provision of external consultancy services represented less than 1% of the £35m projected cost of the project

    ·         The mix of facilities and the order in which they would be delivered was to be determined as part of the feasibility work and through consultation

    ·         Artist’s impressions of the new facilities were available in the public domain

    ·         It was not yet possible to get an indication of timescales as negotiations were ongoing

    ·         No decision had been made on what would happen in respect of the leisure facilities for Grantham; consultation would identify whether the existing centre should be enhanced, a replacement facility provided on the existing site or a new facility provided on a different site

     

    The proposition was put to the vote and the Council AGREED:

     

    To approve the following changes to the 2019/20 budget framework:

     

    ·         £11,000 for the development of a new cycling strategy through the Sustrans Charity

    ·         £100,000 to provide adequate resources in order to progress the programme to enhance ‘leisure opportunities for everyone’

    ·         £30,000 to undertake a full consultation exercise around the options for the proposed leisure offer

    ·         £250,000 for external consultancy support to develop the leisure proposals with respect to Stamford, Bourne, the Deepings and Grantham

    ·         £50,000 for the funding of Town Centre Investment initiatives

    ·         The funding of the additional £441,000 to be financed from the Local Priorities Reserve for 2019/20 only

24.

Governance and Audit Committee Annual Report for 2018/19 and work programme for 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 197 KB

    Report of the Chairman of the Governance and Audit Committee including the Committee’s annual report for the year ending 31 March 2019 and the indicative work programme for 2019-20.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Chairman of the Governance and Audit Committee asked Council to approve the Committee’s Annual Report for 2018-19 and its indicative work programme for 2019/20. The proposition was seconded and, on being put to the vote, the Council AGREED to:

     

    1.    Approve the Annual Report of the Governance and Audit Committee for 2018-19

    2.    Approve the indicative work plan and timetable for 2019-20 which reflect the terms of reference of the Committee

25.

Recommendations from Constitution Committee

    Report of the Chairman of the Constitution Committee.

    Minutes:

    The Chairman of the Constitution Committee stated that she wished to withdraw the recommendations made by the Committee at its meeting on 10 June 2019 in respect of the terms of reference for the new Companies Committee. She indicated that the Committee would like to reconsider the draft terms of reference in the context of the Articles of Association of each of the Council’s companies to ensure that they complemented one another. She also indicated that the Committee wanted to consider the relationship between the companies, the Companies Committee and the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny function. This was seconded and a vote taken through which the Council AGREED:

     

    1.    To withdraw the item from this agenda to enable further consideration by the Constitution Committee

26.

Updates to membership of the Council's committees pdf icon PDF 197 KB

    Report of the Leader of the Council updating Members on changes to the membership of two of the Council’s committees.

    Minutes:

    The report of the Leader of the Council on updates to membership of the Council’s Committees related to changes to committee appointments for the Conservative Group. Councillor Judy Smith was being appointed to the Culture and Visitor Economy Overview and Scrutiny Committee to replace Councillor Susan Sandall, while Councillor Judy Smith would be replaced on the Constitution Committee by Councillor David Bellamy.

     

    The Deputy Leader also informed Members that, as Councillor Sandall had left the Conservative Group, she would be replaced on the Finance, Economic Development and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee by Councillor Linda Wootten.

     

    The Council noted the changes to the membership of its committees.

27.

Meetings of the Cabinet pdf icon PDF 190 KB

    Report of the Leader of the Council on minutes of Cabinet meetings approved since 23 May 2019.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Members were asked to note the Leader’s report which brought the approved minutes of Cabinet meetings before Members.

     

    The attached minutes related to the Cabinet meeting held on 7 March 2019 and included decisions relating to leisure provision. Further to the earlier item on amendments to the budget framework 2019/20, additional questions were put about the appointment of the external consultant. Whilst it was noted that the consultant was appointed from a list within a framework and with which the Council already had a working relationship, Members were interested in whether alternatives had been considered. The Council was advised that other alternatives had been considered, but, as the Council was already working with this consultant and they had a good understanding of the project, it would have been foolhardy to start from scratch with a different supplier.

     

    Reference was made to comments in the minutes relating to “the health conversation”. Members noted that this should be the Healthy Conversation, which was a specific programme being run by the NHS in Lincolnshire.

     

    Members of the Council noted the report and the attached minutes.

28.

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 Planning Committee, Licensing and Alcohol, Entertainment and Late Night Refreshment Licensing Committees and Governance and Audit Committee.

    Minutes:

    Question 1

     

    Councillor Dilks referred to the motion he put to the last meeting of Council and the question raised during the public open forum in respect of Lincolnshire Police. He stated that his motion had been brought forward seeking additional funding and scrutiny of policing in the area in light of cuts that were taking place and the context of increases in the rate of crime in the area. He said that on the basis of a comment made by Councillor Wootten on additional funding that had been secured when the Police and Crime Commissioner had met with the Home Secretary, his motion had been defeated. He stated that since the meeting it had come to light that the one-off grant was not as high as was indicated at the meeting. Reference was also made to comments in the speech that stated that there would be no cuts to the number of police officers and information received from Lincolnshire Police in response to a Freedom of Information request that indicated that by the end of the year there would be 50 fewer full-time police officer, 23 fewer PCSOs and fewer support staff. Councillor Dilks asked what the Council was going to do, as it had made its decision based on false information and asked for the Council’s representative on the Police and Crime Panel to make a statement of apology and note the latest crime figures, with specific reference being made to incidences of violent and sexual crime.

     

    The Deputy Leader responded to the question expressing his concern about the reported crime levels. He stated that it was unfair to comment when Councillor Wootten was not present but that he was aware Councillor Wootten did have a statement that he would provide to the Council. The Police and Crime Commissioner had also contacted the Council to apologise for his part in the misunderstanding. The Deputy Leader suggested that debate could be undertaken by the relevant overview and scrutiny committee with the Police and Crime Commissioner being invited to attend to explain his plans for the area. He added that the Police and Crime Commissioner was speaking to MPs about a new funding formula to ensure that the county got its fair share of funding.

     

    Another Member echoed that it was unfair to make comments about a Member when they were not present to respond. Councillor Wootten’s work as the Council’s representative on the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel was praised.  It was hoped that when Councillor Wootten arrived he would be given the opportunity to provide an explanation to Council.

     

    Question 2

     

    Councillor Selby invited the Deputy Leader to the South Kesteven Charity Cup football match. Matches were scheduled on 13 July 2019 and 20 July 2019. The Deputy Leader stated that he would try and find the opportunity to attend and congratulated Councillor Selby on his work on the initiative, referring to the positive feedback that he had heard.

     

    Question 3

     

    Councillor Steptoe referred to the change in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.

29.

Notices of Motion given under Article 4.9 of the Council's Constitution:

29a

Councillor Ashley Baxter pdf icon PDF 175 KB

    Charter for Trees

    This Council resolves:

    a)    to adopt the Woodland Trust’s Charter for Trees and the ten principles within it

    b)    to develop a Tree Strategy for South Kesteven

    [See attachment 13a]

    Minutes:

    Councillor Baxter presented his motion:

     

    “This Council resolves:

     

    a)    To adopt the Woodland Trust’s Charter for Trees and the ten principles within it

    b)    To develop a Tree Strategy for South Kesteven”

     

    In doing so he referred to the district’s historic relationship with trees, including the provenance of the word “Kesteven” and the Carta Foresta, which was an addendum to the Magna Carta and a copy of which was displayed in Lincoln. He also spoke about the role of the Woodland Trust within the district and its Charter for Trees, which was signed in Lincoln 800 years after the Carta Foresta. The firstpart of the motion asked the Council to adopt the Charter for Trees; he indicated that other councils and local authorities had already signed up to the principles, including parishes within South Kesteven. The second part asked the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee to work on the development of a Tree Strategy for South Kesteven. He said he had brought the motion before Council following a request to include trees on the work programme for the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The version of the document with which he was supplied had not included the item, so, he stated, he decided to bring the matter to Council. Reference was made to the first meeting of that Committee at which Members agreed that trees, hedgerows and biodiversity would form a key part of its work programme and support the wider climate change agenda. The motion was seconded.

     

    The Chairman of the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee stated that the matter had been included on the work programme however an incorrect version had been circulated to Members, from which the item on trees had been omitted.

     

    Some Members who spoke against the proposition stated that it should have come forward through the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee with an assessment of the potential financial implications. It was suggested that, by going through the overview and scrutiny process, Council would be provided with greater detail and background information that could help inform its decision and ensure that any actions  could be carried out to the best of the Council’s ability. Those members made it clear that they would not be against the Council signing up to the Charter in the future but indicated that needed more information before they could make that decision. They suggested that it might be helpful if the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee invited representatives from the Woodland Trust who could assist Members in their considerations

     

    Other members who spoke referred to tree planting events and initiatives in which they had been involved and their previous experience of working with the Woodland Trust.

     

    Members who spoke in support of the motion stated that the Council agreeing to support the principles within the Charter for Trees would not commit the Council to expenditure, but show support to the Woodland Trust, a key organisation within the district and demonstrate the Council’s commitment to protecting and promoting  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29a

29b

Councillor Jan Hansen pdf icon PDF 170 KB

    Fairer Funding for Lincolnshire

    a)    That we instruct our chief executive to write to each of our local M.P.'s, in order to voice our concerns as a council, not only of the historical unjust treatment we have been receiving from central government with regards to funding, but also to highlight our concerns regarding what appears to be a lack of solidarity amongst the counties M.P.'s in showing support for this campaign.

    b)    To invite the appropriate Chairman of the relevant Overview and Scrutiny Committee, to carry out research in order to ascertain, exactly how much this council has had its grants from central government reduced over the past 4 years.  

    [See attachment 13b]

     

    Minutes:

    Councillor Hansen proposed his motion:

     

    a)    “The Council instructs our Chief Executive to write to each of our local MPs in order to voice our concerns as a Council, not only of the historical unjust treatment we have been receiving from central government with regards to funding, but also to highlight our concerns regarding what appears to be a lack of solidarity amongst the county’s MPs in showing support for this campaign

    b)    To invite the appropriate Chairman of the relevant Overview and Scrutiny Committee, to carry out research in order to ascertain exactly how much this Council has had its grants from central government reduced over the past 4 years”

     

    In proposing his motion, Councillor Hansen referred to the disparity in funding per head of population between urban and rural areas. He spoke about the impact of this disparity on the delivery of public services within the county. Reference was made to the ‘Rural Fair Share Campaign’, which was formed by a cross-party group of MPs who represented mainly rural areas with the objective of helping ensure rural counties received a fair share of national resources. He stated that of the seven MPs who represented Lincolnshire, three had signed-up to the campaign. He asked Council to support the motion to do its best for residents within the district and to ensure officers had the funds to deliver services. The proposition was seconded.

     

    Reference was made to the Fairer Funding for Lincolnshire campaign, which was being led by Lincolnshire County Council with the support of the district councils in the county. The programme had been running for approximately two years and it was suggested that the Council would be better served by resolving its commitment to this campaign over the national ‘Rural Fair Share Campaign’. On the back of the programme, five Lincolnshire MPs, council leaders and the Minister for Local Government met with the Secretary of State to put forward the case for fairer funding for Lincolnshire. An amendment was therefore proposed and seconded:

     

    “The Council asks the Leader to reaffirm our support for the Lincolnshire Fairer Funding campaign by writing to our local Members of Parliament.”

     

    Members sought clarification that the Fairer Funding for Lincolnshire was a separate programme to the Rural Fair Share Campaign and that the amendment would see letters being sent to all Lincolnshire MPs.

     

    All Members who spoke referred to the history of campaigning for fairer funding in Lincolnshire. Members who spoke against the amendment felt it diluted the original proposition. Reference was made to the reduction in local government funding over the past 10 years and the impact of those cuts on the delivery of services, as such, support was expressed for the original proposition which included a review to establish the total amount of grant funding lost over this period.

     

    One Member who had been involved in the campaign as a County Councillor gave an analogy to illustrate the different levels of funding for London Boroughs, metropolitan councils, unitary authorities and two-tier  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29b

30.

Close of meeting