Venue: Virtual meeting - This meeting is being held remotely using Skype for Business
Contact: Email: Democracy@southkesteven.gov.uk
The Chairman of the Council welcomed Members to the meeting.
In accordance with the Constitution, the Chairman informed Members that it was her intention to exercise her discretion on the running order of the agenda, it would be amended as follows:
• Agenda Item 8, Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, would now be considered at Agenda Item 6.
• Agenda Item 7, Budget Proposals for 2021/22 and indicative budgets for 2022/23 and 2023/24, would remain at Item 7.
• Agenda Item 6, Pay Policy Statement 2021-22, would now be considered at Agenda Item 8.
It was also noted that Councillor Charmaine Morgan had withdrawn her motion at Agenda item 11a), therefore this would not be discussed and any declarations of interest relating to that item were not required to be disclosed at the meeting.
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.
No questions or statements were received.
Register of attendance and apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Kelly, Morgan and Robins.
The Chairman and Members of full Council wished to pass their condolences to Councillor Anna Kelly, whose brother, Councillor Bill Turner, who had served as the Mayor of Stamford, had sadly passed away. Member’s thoughts and prayers were with Councillor Kelly and her family.
Disclosure of Interests
Members are asked to disclose any interests in matters for consideration at the meeting.
No interests were disclosed.
The Chairman invited the Monitoring Officer to highlight to Members proposed changes to the minutes:
· Councillor Gloria Johnson to be added to the list of attendees.
· Agenda item 10: Members’ Open Questions. Question 10 to be amended, details as follows:
Currently shown in the minutes: Councillor Fellows asked a question in relation to the new public consultation in relation to the removal of statues, was this something that would be considered in relation to the Baroness Thatcher statue.
The Leader stated that the process for the erection of the statue was already underway. As part of the planning application process, consultation had taken place.
Be amended to: Councillor Fellows asked a question in relation to the new Government proposals that required public consultation in relation to the removal of statues. He asked if the Leader was content that public consultation had happened prior to the proposed installation of the Baroness Thatcher statue.
The Leader stated that the process for the erection of the statue was already underway. As part of the planning application process, consultation had taken place, but none other than that.
· Agenda item 10: Members’ Open Questions. Question 11 to be amended, details as follows:
Currently shown in the minutes: Councillor Exton asked if there were any plans to increase the residents parking in Stamford, to include Exeter Street and Exeter Road.
Be amended to: Councillor Exton asked if there were any plans to increase the residents parking in Stamford to include any extra streets and roads.
Councillor Knowles referred to item 63 of the minutes and requested clarification on the change of the recommendation, relating to the Council Tax Support Scheme. Councillor Knowles did not agree that this change had been Constitutional and asked for the Monitoring Officer to comment.
The Monitoring Officer noted that the recommendation of the report had been altered by the Cabinet Member at the meeting. Members were able to alter recommendations, prior to them being proposed. The minutes would be altered to reflect that this was not an amendment to the proposal, rather that of a change to the recommendation.
The minutes of the meeting held on 28 January 2021 were proposed, seconded, and agreed as a correct record, subject to the noted amendments.
Communications (including Chairman's Announcements)
On 8 March 2021 there would be the Annual Flag Raising for Commonwealth Day. Unfortunately, it would not be the usual event, as in previous years, however the Flag would still be raised in support.
The Chairman attended virtual training facilitated by Lincolnshire Association of Local Councils, looking at the role of the Councillor. It proved very useful and was a pleasure to meet Councillors from throughout Lincolnshire.
On 25 Feb 2021, the Chairman attended the virtual Lincolnshire Youth Commission, Big Conversation. It was very interesting to hear concerns raised by 16 – 24 year olds within Lincolnshire.
Members had provided very positive feedback on the ‘Jargon buster’ which had been compiled by the Chairman. This provided details on abbreviations and acronyms used within Local Authorities. The Chairman requested that abbreviations etc. used by specific committees, be noted on each agenda, which would prove useful for any substitute or new Members on a committee.
Members received a report from the Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations on the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.
The Council received a grant offer letter on the 11 February 2021 to confirm that it had been successful in a grant application to the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme and had provisionally been awarded £950,370 to complete energy efficiency projects in four Council buildings: St Peter’s Hill, South Kesteven House, Guildhall Arts Centre and Bourne Corn Exchange. The delivery of the project is expected to achieve a significant decrease of at least 223 tonnes of Carbon towards the Council’s Carbon reduction targets.
Members were in great support of the significant offer and thanked those Members and Officers who had participated in the proposals.
The Leader noted that this would be of great benefit to the Council in improving the Council’s aging buildings, reducing the Council’s Carbon Footprint and would support the resolution of full Council in September 2019, in declaring a Climate Emergency.
The recommendations of the report were proposed and seconded, following a vote by exception, they were agreed unanimously.
1. Full Council approved the addition of £950,370 to the 2020/21 budget to reflect external grant funding to be received from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and/or Salix for Carbon reduction initiatives within Council buildings.
2. That authority be delegated to the s151 officer to accept the £950,370 Section 31 grant and enter into an agreement with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and/or Salix for receipt of the grant.
3. That authority be delegated to the Director for Commercial & Operations, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Commercial & Operations, to commission the works, draw down from the grant funding and to undertake any other required action in order to meet the grant conditions.
The Council is required to set a balanced budget and agree the level of Council Tax for 2021/22 and this report contains a summary of the proposals that have been considered for inclusion. The proposals were considered and scrutinised in detail by the Budget Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 13 January 2021. The draft proposals have been considered by Cabinet on 12 January 2021 and the final proposals were recommended by Cabinet on 2 February 2021
Members were presented with the Budget Proposals for 2021/22 and indicative budgets for 2022/23 and 2023/24, by the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources. There was a requirement for the Council to set a balanced budget and agree the level of Council Tax for 2021/22. Members were presented with a summary of the proposals.
It was highlighted that the proposals were also considered and scrutinised in detail by a meeting of Budget Joint Overview and Scrutiny on, 13 January 2021, followed by consideration at a meeting of Cabinet on 12 January 2021. A public consultation was undertaken with South Kesteven residents and businesses, during the period 13 – 27 January 2021. The final draft proposals were then considered by Cabinet on 2 February 2021 and were recommended to full Council for approval.
The Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources advised Members that at the Cabinet Meeting due to be held on 2 March 2021, a decision would be taken to no longer allocate £100,000 from the Local Priorities Reserve to underwrite the Public Realm Improvements, to support the unveiling of the Baroness Thatcher Statue. Therefore, the Reserve Movements for 2020/21, at Appendix C to the report would be updated.
It was noted to Members that 34% of responses from the Public Consultation were in support of a £5 rise in Council Tax per Band D Property, on SKDC’s element of the Council Tax, which was approximately 9% of the total sum paid by residents.
A review had been undertaken on the proposals of the Indicative Fees and Charges for Stamford’s Pay & Display car parks, after feedback given at the meeting of Budget Joint Overview and Scrutiny. The Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources was pleased to advise that the proposals had been reduced by 10p, therefore 1-hour car parking in Stamford, from April 2021 would be £1.20. The reduction in projected income would be met from applying for an additional Government Grant, that was mentioned in the provisional settlement announcement.
The Council’s Companies would continue to feature as a core part of the Service Delivery model, the report detailed funding levels for each company. The Companies Committee would continue to review those levels, especially with the impact of the closure of leisure facilities during the current lockdown. Members were re-assured that the Council’s financial situation was strong, despite the financial challenges.
The pay proposals had been formulated for 2021/22, following the Government’s guidance of a Public Sector Pay freeze, except for a 1% rise for those earning less than £24,000. The Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources gave thanks to Councillor Louise Clack who had highlighted that the Council had an opportunity to follow the Real Living Wage, which had also been noted by the Chancellor. This was to be incorporated into the Budget Proposal, which impacted several recommendations, which would be detailed to Members in due course.
Housing Revenue Account (HRA)
The HRA was facing a financial challenge with lower than expected rent increases and rises in ... view the full minutes text for item 78.
It is a requirement of the Localism Act 2011 that the Council produces an annual pay policy statement. This statement summarises current policies and arrangements already in place relating to pay – as such the Pay Policy Statement is one of fact. The Pay Policy Statement is approved each year by Council as part of the budget setting and approval process
Members received a report from the Chairman of the Employment Committee on the Pay Policy Statement 2021 – 2022.
The Leader of the Council and Member of the Employment Committee presented the report to Members and explained that a requirement of the Localism Act 2011 was that the Council produced an Annual Pay Policy Statement. This Statement summarised current policies and arrangements already in place relating to pay – as such the Pay Policy Statement was one of fact. The Pay Policy Statement was approved each year by Council as part of the budget setting and approval process.
The Leader advised of some errors and required amendments contained within the report, which had been circulated to Members prior to the meeting. These amendments were as follows:
· Paragraph 13.5 legislation of Public Sector Exit Payments
This national policy was challenged in the High Court, by Trade Unions and was subsequently repealed on 13 February 2021. It was proposed that Paragraph 13.5 be deleted, in its entirety, from the Pay Policy Statement.
· Section 4 - Definition of officers covered by the Pay Policy Statement
Information detailed within this section contained errors relating to pay and job titles. A revised version had been sent to Members prior to the meeting and was displayed on screen, during the meeting, for ease of reference. It was noted that the errors had been included within the report agreed and recommended to full Council, by the Employment Committee. Both the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Committee had agreed that they were happy to accept the proposed amendments and recommended full Council approved the Policy, with their inclusion. The Leader noted apologies had been provided by the Chief Executive and Officers, for the errors.
The Leader advised that the decision which had been agreed as part of the Budget, for the Real Living Wage, would form part of the Pay Policy Statement.
Approval of The Pay Policy Statement 2021 – 2022 was proposed and seconded.
Members were happy that the Policy would now include the Real Living Wage and agreed that the changes and amendments be incorporated.
A Member queried if Council wholly owned Companies would also benefit from the agreement for the Real Living Wage to be implemented.
The Leader advised that the Council was not able set the pay policies for the Council’s wholly owned, arm’s length companies, this was the responsibility of their Board of Directors. The Member was welcome to raise the matter at Companies Committee.
Following a vote by exception, the Pay Policy Statement 2021 – 2022, was agreed as follows:
That the Pay Policy Statement be approved, delegated authority also be given to the Chief Executive, to make the following amendments and additions:
· Paragraph 13.5 Public Sector Exit Payments be removed in its entirety.
· That Section 4 of the report be amended, as per Appendix 1 to the minutes.
· That the implementation of the Real Living Wage be incorporated into the Pay Policy Statement 2021/22.
Updates from the Leader of the Council
The Leader of the Council confirmed that there were no updates.
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.
Question 1 – Councillor Ray Wootten to The Leader of the Council
Councillor Wootten noted that in 2014 Council agreed a motion to call upon United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (ULHT) to liaise with Grantham Councillors on the future of the old Grantham Hospital. Now that the building was up for sale and would potentially be demolished would the Leader of the Council write to Simon Evans, Chief Operating Officer ULHT calling on Grantham Councillors and local residents before any decision is taken.
The Leader of the Council advised that on 26 February 2021 he had met with both Simon Evans and Paul Matthew, Director of Finance ULHT and Gareth Davies MP to discuss the future of the site. It had been disused since 2006, as the building became too costly to maintain, with the provision of health care services being the top priority of the Trust. In the meeting ULHT had agreed to the request to look at all options available and to look at alternative paths other than demolishing the historic building. They agreed to engage with local Councillors and local community representatives. The Leader noted that he was happy to follow up with further correspondence, to re-iterate the interest of South Kesteven Councillors and for them to be involved in the discussion on the future of the building.
Question 2 – Councillor Ian Selby to The Leader of the Council
Councillor Ian Selby asked that Members of the Council join him in providing thanks to South Kesteven employee, Ian Yates for his years of service to the Council and Community. Ian Yates had retired after many years of service and Councillor Selby wished him all the best for his retirement.
The Leader thanked Councillor Selby for the question, he noted that Ian Yates was one of the first Officers he had met when he first joined as a Councillor. Ian would be helping support the Council in a consultative capacity and warm wishes were given for a happy and healthy retirement.
Question 3 – Councillor Jan Hansen to The Leader of the Council
Councillor Jan Hansen enquired about an incident that took place in his ward approximately 18 months ago, after a Parish Council meeting. A subsequent investigation had taken place, by a firm of lawyers. Councillor Hansen wished to know how he could be provided with information relating to the outcome of that investigation, so that he could inform residents. He was concerned about the supply of information to elected representatives.
The Leader of the Council advised that he was aware of the incident and requested that the Monitoring Officer contact Councillor Hansen, to discuss the matter.
Question 4 – Councillor Lee Steptoe to the Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning
Could re-assurances be provided that all residents of the Riverside Flats now had fully operational heating and hot water.
The Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning advised that there were still 6 flats outstanding and was due to the lack of consent from the occupants, this ... view the full minutes text for item 81.
Close of meeting
The Chairman closed the meeting at 16:18.