Agenda and minutes

Council
Thursday, 25th July, 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

31.

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: Bob Sandall, Stamford

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

     

    “For the last 12 years, Stamford Town Council has been run by the Stamford Independent Group.

     

    After years of lobbying SKDC, 9 years ago they agreed to give us our Recreation Ground back. In that time we have improved the Recreation Ground beyond recognition. We have put an extension on the shack, where we now have a youth club and it is also used by the mental health group. We have re-designed the tots play area and furnished it with new play equipment. We have a nature trail, skate park, new toilets, 5 aside football pitch and put electric into the band stand for groups to use for shows. The list goes on.

     

    We have done this by keeping the precept for the last 8 of the 9 years for Stamford rate payers at zero and last year there was a small decrease in the precept. In other words in the 9 years we have had it there have been no increase to the Stamford rate payers.

     

    We have proved we can run our parks at no extra cost to the Stamford rate payer.

     

    My question is – Now we are at the start of the new council at SKDC, will the leader and the cabinet re-consider their decision and give us our sports fields back – Uffington Road and Empingham Road.

     

    You have had talks with us over the last 2 years, but nothing came from them.

     

    As Vice Chairman of the Finance Committee, the Chairman and I would like to restart talks in the hope of getting our sports fields back.”

     

    The Deputy Leader thanked Mr. Sandall for his question and stated that prior to the election he had met with Councillor Dawson and the clerk to Stamford Town Council to discuss the matter. He added that officers had already begun to look at how this could be facilitated. The Deputy Leader concluded by saying that he would arrange for a meeting to be set up to explore the proposal further and discuss the terms of any proposed transfer.

     

    Comment

     

    Rob Shorrock from Grantham had given notice that he wished to make a statement on agenda item 8a, which was the notice of motion submitted by Councillor Dilks on funding for Lincolnshire Police.

     

    During his statement Mr. Shorrock referred to the original motion on police funding, which was proposed by Councillor Dilks at the Council meeting on 23 May 2019. The motion asked the Council to show its support for Lincolnshire Police, the lobbying of local MPs and it raised concerns about increases in the crime rate across the district. An announcement was made at the meeting by the Council’s representative on the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel, which indicated that, following a meeting between the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Home Secretary, the force would receive £10m in additional funding, which Mr Shorrock suggested as the reason Council rejected the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.

32.

Apologies for Absence

33.

Disclosure of Interests

34.

Minutes of the meeting held on 27 June 2019 pdf icon PDF 245 KB

    Minutes:

    The minutes of the meeting held on 27 June 2019 were proposed, seconded and agreed as a correct record subject to the following amendments:

     

    ·         Minute number 18: the addition of “Apologies for lateness were received from Councillor Ray Wootten.”

    ·         Minute number 29(b): the addition of a sentence to state “While the proposer of the original motion accepted supporting the local campaign, his preference was clearly supporting the national campaign.”

     

    One Member stated that they did not feel that the minutes provided a complete record of the meeting held on 27 June 2019; he did not feel that the way the debate was recorded around the start time of Council meetings did not capture attempts made by a number of Members to discuss the matter. On the same subject he did not consider that accusations of disrespectful behaviour had been captured. He did not feel that recording of the items that referred to Lincolnshire Police captured the full strength of feeling expressed by Members. He concluded by saying the minutes did not capture a comment he made about the Lincolnshire fair share campaign carrying the same clout as the national campaign and querying whether the letter would be sent to all Lincolnshire MPs or only the MPs that represented South Kesteven.

     

    Other Members referred to Councillor Ray Wootten, who arrived part-way through the meeting, with one stating that they wished the times of his arrival and departure to be recorded in the minutes; this information was not available. Instead members agreed to settle for including his apologies for lateness to make it clear that he was not present for the whole meeting.

35.

Communications (including Chairman's Announcements) pdf icon PDF 94 KB

36.

Interim arrangements: Chief Executive and Head of Paid Service pdf icon PDF 224 KB

    The Council to consider the recommendations of the Employment Committee.

    Minutes:

    Copies of the report setting out the recommendations of the Employment Committee on interim arrangements for the role of Chief Executive and the Head of Paid Service were circulated.

     

    The meeting adjourned between 13:33 and 13:44 to give Members an opportunity to read the report. During the adjournment Paul Thomas left the meeting as the matter about to be discussed concerned his proposed appointment as Interim Chief Executive and Head of Paid Service.

     

    The Chairman set out that the agenda item was only to consider the recommendations of the Employment Committee on interim arrangements for the Chief Executive and Head of Paid Service and not the departure of the previous Chief Executive. She stated that the Council had made an official statement and that there was nothing further that would be added to that.

     

    In presenting the report, the Leader of the Council informed Members that prior to the Council meeting, the Employment Committee had met to consider interim arrangements for the Chief Executive and Head of Paid Service. The recommendation made by the Employment Committee was to appoint Paul Thomas, the Strategic Director, Growth, as the Interim Chief Executive and Head of Paid Service. This was seconded and the proposal to appoint Mr. Thomas was endorsed.

     

    Several Members spoke in support of the proposal to appoint Mr. Thomas as Interim Chief Executive and their experiences of how he had fulfilled his current role. Another Member highlighted what he considered to be the benefits of making an internal appointment.

     

    One of the Members who spoke expressed their gratitude to Mr. Rave for the support he had given them.

     

    A number of the Members expressed concerns that they would not be able to debate the departure of the previous Chief Executive. Members referred to the questions that had been raised by the public through the local media and stated that they believed a full explanation was owed about Mr. Rave’s departure, including its financial implications. Reference was also made to the wider review of the Council’s senior management team and how the resignation of the former Chief Executive affected directorships of the Council’s Companies. A Member suggested that questions ought to be permitted so that the Council could understand why it was in the position where interim arrangements needed to be made. A Councillor questioned what assessment had been made of the likely impact of the former Chief Executive’s departure, referring specifically to staff morale and their impressions around job security. One Member also asked about what lessons had be learned to help improve staff retention, with concerns being expressed about the risk of appointing a new Chief Executive and them leaving shortly afterwards.

     

    During debate one Member expressed their concerns about whether the Council had discharged its duties as an employer, including whether it had followed all relevant processes and met contractual obligations, both from a moral and legal standpoint, with regard to trust and confidence and the welfare of the individual.

     

    One Member referred to a question he had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 36.

37.

Meetings of the Cabinet pdf icon PDF 190 KB

    Report of the Leader of the Council on minutes of Cabinet meetings approved since 27 June 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 11 June 2019. Reference was made to a question that had been put by a non-Cabinet Member, asking why the Persimmon Estate in Market Deeping was not ready for adoption; at the Cabinet’s meeting, the Cabinet Member for Planning had agreed to investigate the matter and provide a response. The Cabinet member for Planning stated that he would get officers to provide a response to the Councillor straight away.

     

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

38.

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 Wood asked the Leader to clarify how the changes in the senior management structure affected the directorships of Council-owned companies. The Leader stated that in addition to his resignation from the Council, Mr Rave also resigned from the board of InvestSK. It would be up to the Council to go through a process to determine a replacement.

     

    Question 2

     

    Councillor Morgan highlighted concerns that had been raised through the Local Government Association regarding a lack of government funding and the budgets made available to local authorities. She asked about the up-to-date position relating to South Kesteven District Council and how the situation affected the Council’s ability to budget for the forthcoming period.

     

    The Leader stated that both he and the Deputy Leader regularly attended meetings of the Local Government Association and that funding arrangements was an area of concern for the whole local government family. He highlighted 3 principal areas that would affect the district council; the first was the fairer funding settlement, of which work was ongoing, the second was business rate retention and the third was around the period over which any spending settlement would last. He added that it remained preferable for the present business rate arrangements to continue for another year before the introduction of the anticipated new arrangements. He also stated that it was difficult to budget from year-to-year without indicative figures; this had led to lobbying to ensure councils received a multi-year funding settlement.

     

    Question 3

     

    Councillor Steptoe asked Councillor Goral about the potential relocation of Grantham leisure centre from the Earlesfield Ward. He asked whether there was any update and what form the public consultation before any decision was made would take.

     

    The Cabinet Member for Growth stated that the Council was still defining the consultation process. She agreed it was important that, whatever happened to the leisure centre, account was taken of the current location and the surrounding communities. She was keen to ensure that consultation included residents, local business and stakeholders, but also those groups that used the centre to ensure that whatever was provided was fit for purpose.

     

    The Cabinet Member for Growth stated that so comments she had received so far had been varied and stressed that the outcome of the consultation exercise would be the key to determining future arrangements for Grantham leisure centre. She reiterated that no decision would be made without consultation and without rigorous scrutiny of that consultation. She also made a commitment that the site and community would benefit from  any decision that was made and that their views would be taken into consideration.

     

    Question 4

     

    Councillor Dilks asked the Leader to confirm whether a PR consultant who had previously been engaged by the Council was now working for the authority. He asked that if the individual was once again working for the Council, whether he was being employed directly or as a consultant. The Leader stated that a job had been advertised for which the individual had applied; the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.

39.

Notices of Motion given under Article 4.9:

39a

Councillor Phil Dilks pdf icon PDF 169 KB

    This Council resolves to:

    1.         Instruct the Chief Executive to write to all Lincolnshire MPs to lobby for a fairer funding settlement for Lincolnshire Police particularly given the Police and Crime Commissioner’s warning of a £6.5 million funding gap next year.

    2.         Formally invite the Police and Crime Commissioner to an evidence-based scrutiny of all aspects of crime and policing across South Kesteven. Council requests that in light of recent events and to ensure public confidence, it would be inappropriate for scrutiny of policing to be chaired by Councillor Ray Wootten.

    3.         Urge the Leader of the Council to consider replacing Councillor Wootten as the Council’s representative on the Police and Crime Panel to ensure that the public – and this council – can have confidence that future information provided regarding policing and police funding is accurate and properly researched.

    Minutes:

    Councillor Dilks proposed his notice of motion:

     

    This Council resolves to:

     

    1.      Instruct the Chief Executive to write to all Lincolnshire MPs to lobby for a fairer funding settlement for Lincolnshire Police particularly given the Police and Crime Commissioner’s warning of a £6.5 million funding gap next year.

     

    2.      Formally invite the Police and Crime Commissioner to an evidence-based scrutiny of all aspects of crime and policing across South Kesteven. Council requests that in the light of recent events and to ensure public confidence, it would be inappropriate for scrutiny of policing to be chaired by Councillor Ray Wootten.

     

    3.      Urge the Leader of the Council to consider replacing Councillor Wootten as the Council’s representative on the Police and Crime Panel to ensure that the public – and this Council – can have confidence that future information provided regarding policing and police funding is accurate and properly researched.

     

    In proposing his motion Councillor Dilks stated that his intention when it was first put forward on 23 May 2019 was to support the Police and Crime Commissioner’s fairer funding campaign in the face of a funding shortfall, a reduction in police numbers, and an increase in crime, specifically violent and sexual offences. He referred to a statement that was made during debate at that meeting, which indicated that the Police and Crime Commissioner had secured an additional £10m funding and gave an assurance that there would be no cuts. It subsequently transpired that the additional grant funding awarded to the Police and Crime Commissioner was not for £10m and that there was an expectation that by the end of 2019, there would be 50 fewer police officers than at the start of the year. This position had been confirmed through a request made to the Police and Crime Commissioner under the Freedom of Information Act. Reference was also made to a question that was put at a previous meeting of the Council, the response to which suggested that the Police and Crime Commissioner had been misinterpreted. The member who had made the statement at the meeting on 23 May 2019 was not present at the time that question had been put. Reference was made to letters that had been published in the Journal and to a feeling that the subject had been turned into a political issue. He stated that the Council should expect the highest standards of probity, and where a mistake had been made, there should be an expectation that the Council should be given an explanation and an apology. The proposition was seconded.

     

    Reference was made to the answer that had been given to the question that was put at the previous meeting, which indicated that Councillor Wootten had prepared a statement to Council. He had not, however, been present at a point when it could be presented. Councillor Wootten was given the opportunity to make his statement, in which he explained that the information he had given Council previously had been provided in good faith and that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39a

40.

Close of meeting