Agenda and minutes

Council - Thursday, 25th January, 2018 2.00 pm

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

Contact: Jo Toomey 

Items
No. Item

The Council held a minute’s silence in memory of Councillor Terl Bryant and former Councillor Norman Radley, both of whom had recently passed away. The Chairman also read a tribute to Councillor Bryant made by Councillor Evans, Councillor Bryant’s fellow Councillor for Stamford St. John’s Ward.

59.

Public Open Forum

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    The public open forum will commence at 2.00 p.m. and the following formal business of the Council will commence at 2.30 p.m. or whenever the public open forum ends, if earlier.

    Minutes:

    A statement had been submitted by Jane Bennett from Grantham which related to agenda item 9d: notice of motion given under article 4.9 of the Council’s Constitution by Councillor Morgan. As Ms Bennett was unable to attend the meeting, her statement was printed in full and circulated to Members of the Council. The full text of Ms Bennett’s statement is copied below:

     

    Re Charmaine Morgan's call next week for SKDC contributions towards independent legal advice, it's obvious that the board have no intention of opening A&E and are intent little by little to leave the masses of people in Grantham without a hospital and therefore dependant on the overcrowded Lincoln and Boston after waiting dangerous hours on trolleys!

     

    I know I'm singing from my same old hymn sheet - but legally is the only way to make the board sit up and play the game. It worked for Lewisham and Leicester who used legal pressure and won their cases. It is surely illegal for the amount of Grantham people that ULHT are responsible for to be without any hospital cover at certain times. Even when A&E is open it is grossly overcrowded and the overworked staff are struggling to catch up from the night closure. It is also grossly out of order to expect all the long suffering staff of the hospital to keep working under the pressure of the uncertainty that the board keeps them under.

     

    Let's face it, pleading with Jeremy Hunt, Vigils outside the hospital, marching, banner waving and political point scoring, nothing has worked. Although these methods have been used with the best of intentions, you have got to hit them where it hurts.

     

    We have nothing to lose and everything to gain to save our hospital.

     

    The notice of motion to which this statement relates was withdrawn from the agenda because Councillor Morgan was absent from the meeting and had submitted written notification in accordance with Article 4.9.2 of the Council’s Constitution, stating that she wished to defer the motion until the meeting on 24 May 2018.

60.

Apologies for Absence

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    Minutes:

    Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Ashwell, Benn, Cartwright, Coutts, Craft, Exton, Mapp, Morgan, Powell, Judy Smith, Ian Stokes, Sarah Stokes, Ward, Webster and Wilkins.

61.

Disclosure of Interests

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

    Minutes:

    No interests were disclosed.

62.

Minutes of the meeting held on 23 November 2017 pdf icon PDF 224 KB

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                                                                                                                      (Enclosure)

    Minutes:

    The minutes of the meeting held on 23 November 2017 were proposed, seconded and agreed as a correct record.

63.

Communications (including Chairman's Announcements) pdf icon PDF 41 KB

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                                                                                                                      (Enclosure)

    Minutes:

    The Council noted the Chairman’s engagements.

64.

Recommendations from the Constitution Committee pdf icon PDF 113 KB

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    Report number LDS261 of the Chairman of the Constitution Committee.    (Enclosure)

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Decision:

     

    Council approves the recommendations from the Constitution Committee to amend Article 2.5 as follows:

     

    1.     At Article 2.5,  to add the words shown in bold underlined relating to child care and carers allowance:

     

    An allowance for child care and carers at £5.89 per hour is payable, subject to a ceiling of £1,110 per annum per Councillor, payable for approved duties on presentation of a receipt/invoice or signed verification from the carer to confirm the arrangements.

     

    2.    At Article 2.5.1(ii) to delete words prohibiting the payment of travel allowances and add words shown in bold and underlined relating to the payment of travel allowances to Councillors who attend who are not members of the committee:

     

    Cabinet, Committee or sub-Committee meetings of which the Councillor is a member or, if not a member of a meeting, is attending where they have a legitimate interest in a matter that is scheduled to be discussed.

     

    3.    To add Article 2.5.1(xii)  to allow the payment of travel allowance for:

     

    Meetings with officers to discuss items included on Council, Cabinet and committee agendas where the Councillor has made a pre-arranged appointment.

     

    4.    To add Article 2.5.1(xiii) to allow the payment of travel allowances for attendance at town and parish meetings as follows:

     

    Town and Parish Council meetings, including Parish Meetings within the Member’s Ward that they attend as a representative of South Kesteven District Council.

     

     

    The Chairman of the Constitution Committee presented report number LDS261. At its meeting on 11 December 2017 the Committee considered the recommendations of the Independent Remuneration Panel and the decision made by Council at its meeting on 23 November 2017 to consider changes to the local scheme in relation to payments for informal caring arrangements and mileage for attendance at any meeting of the Council in which they have an interest, a meeting with an officer to discuss an item on any agenda where an appointment has been pre-arranged or attending meetings within a Member’s Ward. The Constitution Committee had also agreed that Parish Meetings and meetings of the Grantham Charter Trustees should also be included. The recommendations as made by the Constitution Committee were proposed and seconded.

     

    An amendment was made and seconded that would remove the payment of allowances for attending meetings of the Grantham Charter Trustees. The Council was advised that expense claims associated with the Grantham Charter Trustees were paid from the Charter Trustees’ precept fund.

     

    A vote was taken on the amendment, which was carried. The new substantive motion was then put to the vote and was also carried.

65.

Meetings of the Cabinet pdf icon PDF 86 KB

66.

Members' Open Questions

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    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 Wootten referred to a proposal that had been refused by Westminster Council to erect a bronze statue of Margaret Thatcher. He asked the Deputy Leader whether he would join Councillor Wootten in sending a message to the Leader of Westminster Council to say that the statue would be welcomed in Grantham. The Deputy Leader stated that if the statue would be available for free, then the Council should take advantage of it. He added that regardless of what people thought of her politics, her achievement of becoming the first female Prime Minister should be recognised.

     

    Question 2

     

    Councillor Baxter had previously asked a question about leisure facilities in the Deepings, after which the Leader had announced plans for a new leisure centre, the development of which was expected to commence in 2020. He stated that during term-time there were only two hours in the working week when members of the public could swim. He asked whether the Leader would work with officers and the school to find a solution to optimise the use of the existing centre and to develop an exit strategy for when the new facility was in place. The Leader reminded members that there was currently a contract that governed the school’s use of the facility. He stated that as plans were being brought forward he would work with the school and Council officers to discuss access requirements. He informed members that the existing facility was used a great deal by the school and clubs, which showed the huge demand from the public and education sectors.

     

    Question 3

     

    Councillor Forman asked what plans the Council had made to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the Representation of the People Act. The Leader stated that he was not immediately aware of any plans but he had seen a paper which referred to some work that was being done. He referred to centenary events to commemorate the end of the First World War of which there were quite a few, however they had not been pulled together. To help ensure that any such commemorative events were better co-ordinated, the Cabinet Member for Retail and Visitor Economy was taking a lead.

     

    Question 4

     

    Councillor Selby referred to a question that he had asked at the Council meeting on 23 November 2017, which related to the disposal of abandoned bicycles that had been collected by the Council. The Leader apologised that a response to this question had not yet been issued.

     

    Question 4

     

    Following the recent re-location of one of Market Deeping’s main shops to Deeping St. James, Councillor Judy Stevens asked about the progress of plans to hold a Saturday market in Market Deeping to ensure that the town stayed as buoyant as possible. The Cabinet Member for Retail and Visitor Economy stated that there was an opportunity to investigate a Saturday market and initial submissions had been made to Lincolnshire County Council Highways, which was beginning consultation with shop owners about the potential road closure. He  ...  view the full minutes text for item 66.

67.

Notices of Motion given under Article 4.9:

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67a

Councillor Tracey Forman

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    February is LGBT History Month. The council should show its support for this month, and solidarity with LGBT people by flying the LGBT Pride flag from the Council building during this month. This would link into the council’s duty under the Equalities Act 2010 in promoting and protecting the rights of this community.

     

    According to extensive research by Stonewall, one in five LGBT people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity in the last 12 months. Two in five trans people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity in the last 12 months. Four in five hate crimes and incidents go unreported, with younger LGBT people particularly reluctant to go to the police. (Stonewall 2017)

     

    Lincolnshire Police have also reported a rise in LGBT hate crimes across Lincolnshire over the last two years. (Lincolnshire Police February 2017)

     

    The council resolves to:

     

    1) Fly the LGBT Pride flag during the month of February

    2) Ensure that LGBT History Month and facilities to report hate crime are promoted on the council’s website.

    3) Provide a link to the single equality support organisation in Lincolnshire http://justlincolnshire.org.uk/

    Minutes:

    Decision:

     

    The Council resolves to ensure that LGBT History Month and facilities to report hate crime are sign-posted on the Council’s website including a link to the single equality support organisation in Lincolnshire http://justlincolnshire.org.uk/

     

    Councillor Forman was invited to present her motion and the background to it:

     

    February is LGBT History Month. The council should show its support for this month, and solidarity with LGBT people by flying the LGBT Pride flag from the Council building during this month. This would link into the council’s duty under the Equalities Act 2010 in promoting and protecting the rights of this community.

     

    According to extensive research by Stonewall, one in five LGBT people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity in the last 12 months. Two in five trans people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity in the last 12 months. Four in five hate crimes and incidents go unreported, with younger LGBT people particularly reluctant to go to the police. (Stonewall 2017)

     

    Lincolnshire Police have also reported a rise in LGBT hate crimes across Lincolnshire over the last two years. (Lincolnshire Police February 2017)

     

    The council resolves to:

     

    1) Fly the LGBT Pride flag during the month of February

    2) Ensure that LGBT History Month and facilities to report hate crime are promoted on the council’s website.

    3) Provide a link to the single equality support organisation in Lincolnshire http://justlincolnshire.org.uk/

     

    In proposing her motion, Councillor Forman referred to the Council’s duty under the Equality Act 2010 to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not. Reference was made to a series of events that would be taking place across the country to celebrate the lives and achievements of members of the LGBT community. She felt that by actively celebrating, the Council would be fulfilling part of its duty under the Equalities Act and demonstrating support to LGBT people living in South Kesteven. She stated that while there were some high profile figures in Lincolnshire who were gay, it did not mean that further action was not necessary or that the presence of those role models would end victimisation and discrimination. She described the positive effect that flying the rainbow flag might have on young LGBT people in communicating the Council’s support for them. While the proposer acknowledged that flying the rainbow flag might offend some people, she felt that this would be outweighed by the positive messages that would be sent.

     

    Reference was made to the Council’s Annual Equality Position Statement, which the proposer felt lacked ambition and drive in how the Council met the public sector equality duty. She added that the equality and diversity information published about the Council’s workforce showed that it held the data on employees’ sexual orientation. The proposition was seconded.

     

    An amendment was proposed:

     

    The Council resolves to ensure that LGBT History Month and facilities  ...  view the full minutes text for item 67a

67b

Councillor Ashley Baxter (1)

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    This Council believes:

     

    ·         the current three-tier system of Local Authorities is outdated and ineffective.

    ·         the bureaucracy of Lincolnshire County Council is geographically remote and has become out-of-touch with the needs and aspirations of residents across the County.

     

    This Council resolves to work towards:

    a)    the abolition of the Lincolnshire County Council; and

    b)    the devolution of power, assets and finance to a number of unitary authorities, each of a more appropriate size.

     

    This Council mandates its Leader, Cabinet and Senior Officers to lobby the Secretary of State for Communities, and other appropriate authorities including local MPs, regarding the abolition of the County Council and the establishment of smaller unitary authorities to better serve the needs of people living and working in Lincolnshire.

    Minutes:

    Decision:

     

    The Council does not support the motion submitted by Councillor Baxter in relation to the abolition of Lincolnshire County Council

     

     Councillor Baxter was invited to present his first motion:

     

    This Council believes:

     

    ·         The current three-tier system of Local Authorities is outdated and ineffective

    ·         The bureaucracy of Lincolnshire County Council is geographically remote and has become out-of-touch with the needs and aspirations of residents across the County

     

    This Council resolves to work towards:

     

    a)    The abolition of the Lincolnshire County Council; and

    b)    The devolution of power, assets and finance to a number of unitary authorities, each of a more appropriate size

     

    This Council mandates its Leader, Cabinet and Senior Officers to lobby the Secretary of State for Communities, and other appropriate authorities including local MPs, regarding the abolition of the County Council and the establishment of smaller unitary authorities to better serve the needs of people living and working in Lincolnshire.

     

    In making his proposition Councillor Baxter referred to a duplication of functions between county and district council and the confusion this caused with members of the public. He also considered Lincolnshire County Council to be remote, citing specifically the distance between the Deepings and Lincoln He felt that Lincolnshire was too big, which made the County Council inaccessible, except through the periodic surgeries held by the local County Councillors. He felt that the functions of Lincolnshire County Council should be devolved to a more local level either through a unitary authority of South Kesteven or by combining with one or two other districts to make those unitary authorities slightly larger.

     

    In seconding the proposal, reference was made to the area over which the County Council was required to spread its resources, which meant that there were some teams and equipment, specifically relating to road maintenance, that the seconder had not seen in the area. He supported a return to a model like the old borough councils, which would provide more local control over local affairs.

     

    During debate on the motion reference was made to those functions of the County Council that were set out in statute including the burdens and responsibilities associated with that tier of local government. The complexities of changing from a two-tier to a single-tier model of local government were highlighted, including the time it would take and the amount of service reorganisation that would be required. A member who had previous experience of serving in a unitary authority stated that Councillors serving in that authority had found the same issues and frustrations as Members in two-tier areas. The benefit of the Leader lobbying the Secretary of State in the first instance was challenged because, prior to any approach, clear proposals would need to be worked up with local partners.

     

    Reference was made to the original speaker’s comment about the duplication of services; it was clarified that there was a clear distinction between the functions of county and district councils in respect of waste collection and disposal, and that both parties worked together effectively as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 67b

67c

Councillor Ashley Baxter (2)

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    The Council recommends that the annual election of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Council should be conducted by secret ballot and instructs that the Constitution be amended accordingly.

    Minutes:

    Decision:

     

    To not support the motion submitted by Councillor Baxter asking for the election of Chairman to be done through a secret ballot.

     

    Councillor Baxter was invited to present the second motion of which he had given notice:

     

    The Council recommends that the annual election of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Council should be conducted by secret ballot and instructs that the Constitution be amended accordingly.

     

    In so doing he referred to the change of the Council’s voting system to a show of hands and indicated that voting in such a way may mean that Members feel compelled to vote along party lines. He felt that the election of Chairman should be above politics and about the personal qualities of an individual. Councillor Baxter stated that whilst he was an advocate for openness and transparency, he felt that the best way to ensure that the election of the Chairman of the Council was not politicised was to allow for a secret ballot. The proposition was seconded and in doing so, the sentiments of the proposer were reiterated.

     

    In speaking against the motion, a Member stated that a secret ballot would remove any openness and transparency from the proceedings. The Leader added that he would invite the group leaders to make any nominations, which he would put before the Conservative group for consideration.

     

    A number of members who spoke said that they felt that the role of Chairman was a reward on a non-political basis for a job well done and that they would like that kind of system to continue.

     

    One Member expressed some concern that the motion related specifically to the role of Chairman; he referred to a gentleman’s agreement that meant that the sitting Vice-Chairman would become the Chairman of the Council and that they did not want to see that jeopardised.

     

    In summing up, Councillor Baxter reiterated his stance that whilst his view on transparency and openness had not changed, he felt that the position of the Chairman of the Council should be above politics.

     

    A vote was taken and the motion was lost.

67d

Councillor Charmaine Morgan

    In view of the continued night closure of Grantham Hospital A&E and recommendation to downgrade the unit on a permanent basis, SKDC will support local hospital campaigners and make a contribution of a minimum of £1,000 and a maximum of £10,000 toward the cost of independent legal advice from an appropriately experienced barrister the sum to be paid directly to the QC.

    Minutes:

    Written notification had been received from Councillor Morgan in accordance with Article 4.9.2 of the Council’s Constitution, stating that she wished to defer the motion until the meeting on 24 May 2018.

68.

Close of meeting

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    Minutes:

    The meeting was closed at 15:45.