Venue: Council Chamber - Council Offices, St. Peter's Hill, Grantham. NG31 6PZ
Contact: Democratic Services
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.
Prior to the commencement of the formal business of the meeting, the Chairman of the Council invited members to observe a minute’s silence to remember former District Councillor Stephen Hewerdine. Following the minute’s silence, Councillor Ian Selby shared some of his memories of former Councillor Hewerdine.
The Chairman also passed on the best wishes of Council to Deputy Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer, Alan Robinson as he continued his recovery from illness.
No members of the public had registered to speak as part of the Public Open Forum.
Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from:
Councillor John Dawson
Councillor Matthew Lee
Councillor Nikki Manterfield
Councillor Kaffy Rice-Oxley
Councillor Judy Stevens
Councillor Ian Stokes
Councillor Jill Thomas
Councillor Rosemary Trollope-Bellew
Councillor Dean Ward
Councillor Mary Whittington
Disclosure of Interests
Members are asked to disclose any interests in matters for consideration at the meeting.
No interests were disclosed.
Minutes of the meeting held on 24 November 2022 PDF 294 KB
The minutes of the meeting held on 24 November 2022 were proposed, seconded and agreed as a correct record, subject to the inclusion of Councillor Jane Kingman’s apologies in the final minutes.
Communications (including Chairman's Announcements)
The Council noted the Chairman’s engagements which had been circulated at the meeting, for information.
The Leader of the Council informed Council that there had been a change to the membership of Cabinet. Those responsibilities previously with the Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy had been assumed by the Leader of the Council.
Designation of Interim Monitoring Officer PDF 179 KB
To provide Full Council with an opportunity to consider the recommendation from Employment Committee as to the designation of the Council’s Monitoring Officer.
Prior to the commencement of this item, it was proposed, seconded and AGREED that Council should exclude the public and press due to the likely discussion of personal information relating to the Monitoring Officer and Deputy Monitoring Officer. All officers with the exception of the Chief Executive and the Democratic Services Manager, as well as members of the public and press left the Council Chamber at this point.
The Cabinet Member for Corporate Governance and Licensing presented an opportunity to Council to consider the designation of the Council’s Monitoring Officer. The Council’s current Monitoring Officer, the Deputy Chief Executive was on long-term sick leave and therefore, given the statutory nature of the position, it was considered appropriate to designate an Interim Monitoring Officer in his absence.
The Monitoring Officer had statutory duties and responsibilities, including maintenance of the Constitution, ensuring the lawfulness of decision making, matters relating to Councillor conduct and the registration of Members’ interests.
The duties and responsibilities of the Monitoring Officer had been carried out by Graham Watts, Assistant Director of Governance and Deputy Monitoring Officer, in the interim.
The Employment Committee had responsibility to oversee the selection process of the Monitoring Officer and make recommendations to Full Council in this respect; the committee had met on 18 January 2023 and, following discussion, recommended to Full Council that Graham Watts, Assistant Director of Governance and Deputy Monitoring Officer, be designated as the Council’s Monitoring Officer until further notice on an interim basis.
The capabilities and experience of Mr Watts were discussed alongside his suitability for the role of Monitoring Officer. Members also took the opportunity to again wish the Deputy Chief Executive a speedy recovery and passed on thoughts to his family.
Having been proposed and seconded, upon being put to the vote the motion was AGREED.
1. That Council designates Graham Watts, Assistant Director of Governance and Deputy Monitoring Officer, as South Kesteven District Council’s Monitoring Officer from 26 January 2023 until further notice on an interim basis.
Note: Following the conclusion of the vote, the public, press and excluded officers were invited back into the Council Chamber.
Interim Review of Polling Places PDF 158 KB
This report details proposals for changes of some polling places following an interim review of polling places and polling stations.
The Chief Executive and Returning Officer introduced a report detailing proposals for changes of some polling places following an interim review of polling places and stations.
Members were thanked for their engagement with this review, and their comments and feedback were noted in appendices 1 and 2 of the report. There were 11 proposed changes, with one, GHC1 in Grantham Harrowby Ward, not being supported by the local ward member.
The report was proposed and seconded to allow for the start of debate. There was then a proposed amendment to the printed motion 8 by Councillor Ian Selby:
“The Central Place Communal Room be retained as the polling place for GHC1 Grantham Harrowby Ward.”
The amendment was seconded.
In debating the amendment, the following points were raised:
· There were no issues with moving polling place GHA1 from Canterbury Close to the Church of Ascension Hall. The contention was that Central Place should remain as an additional polling station.
· If Central Place were to be removed some voters would have to cross the busy Harrowby Lane in order to visit their polling station.
· Councillor Selby had a good working knowledge of the Harrowby Ward and his views were taken into account when writing the report; they were also included at Appendix 1 of the report.
· All actions to increase voter turnout should be taken.
· The Church of Ascension Hall was used as a polling station in May 2021 as the Central Place Communal Room was closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Communal Room was housed within one of the Council’s housing blocks. Officers had been to both sites to make a full assessment; the Church was a ten-minute walking from the existing polling station, and voter numbers were not affected at the May 2021 election.
· The Presiding Officer and Poll Clerks at the polling station on election day would need to provide a private space for members of the public to satisfy the requirements of Voter ID, this would be accommodated at the Church of the Ascension Hall.
Prior to voting on this amendment, a point of order was raised about the mover of the original motion being able to speak on an amendment. The Monitoring Officer quoted paragraph 14.18 of the Council Procedure Rules “if an amendment is moved, the mover of the original motion has the right of reply at the close of the debate on the amendment but may not otherwise speak on it.”
A request had been made that a recorded vote on the amendment be taken, as in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 15.5 any ten Councillors present at the meeting of Full Council could request this.
For: Councillors Ashley Baxter, Harrish Bisnauthsing, Pam Bosworth, Bob Broughton, Louise Clack, Phil Dilks, Paul Fellows, Anna Kelly, Jane Kingman, Philip Knowles, Penny Milnes, Virginia Moran, Charmaine Morgan, Ian Selby, Lee Steptoe, Hilary Westropp, Amanda Wheeler, Jane Wood, Paul Wood. (19)
Against: Councillors David Bellamy, George Chivers, Kelham Cooke, John Cottier, Helen Crawford, Richard Dixon-Warren, Barry Dobson, Ben ... view the full minutes text for item 70.
Budget Framework Proposals PDF 303 KB
The purpose of this report is to seek budget framework amendments to the 2022/23 financial year and Budget Framework proposals for the period 2023/24 – 2024/25.
The Deputy Leader of the Council introduced a report seeking budget framework amendments to the 2022/2023 financial year and Budget Framework proposals for the period 2023/2024 – 2024/2025.
The report included:
· A proposal to accept the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) monies totalling £3.898,582, along with a £20,000 revenue contribution towards the investment plan. There was also a proposal to create a UKSPF and Rural England Board containing members of the Council, with associated terms of reference at Appendix B.
· The repayment of £1.3 million to the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (GLLEP).
· An increase to the annual green waste charge of £5, and an increase of £2.50 for each subsequent bin from 1 April 2023, with the aim of simplifying the standing charge for residents.
The Deputy Leader of the Council proposed the motions with slight amendments to recommendations 2 and 4, to include the words ‘and with the agreement of the Board as proposed at recommendation 3’. There was also an amendment to the terms of reference of the UKSPF and Rural England Board, as set out in Appendix B – all bullet points in the terms of reference at paragraph 1.4 would start with the words ‘consider and agree’.
The following points were raised during debate:
· The proposal to allocate £2,500 to the 82 parishes under the Town and Parish Community Fund did not factor in the population size of villages. The Member’s Grant Scheme could be a fairer way of apportioning this funding, if appropriate.
· One member had the view that large grants from the government should benefit residents proportionally, which would roughly equate to Grantham and surrounding villages receiving 40% funding, The Deepings and surrounding villages receiving 20%, Bourne and surrounding villages receiving 20% and Stamford and surrounding villages receiving 20%.
· A case was made to apportion funding to the Deepings Leisure Centre Community Group to enable refurbishment works to take place at the Leisure Centre. It was argued that the scheme met the three priorities set out by the Government on expenditure, the creation of jobs and people and skills.
· The amount of money proposed for CCTV and the wireless hubs was £244,000, which was for 40 free public WI-FI service hubs across the four towns. This was in part to enable to upgrade of CCTV and digital coverage across the District.
· The UKSPF was the Government’s domestic replacement for the European Structural and Investment Programme (ESIF). The amounts of money involved were not going to address the bigger projects within the District but it would certainly help. The Government was prescriptive about what the UKSPF money could be used for. In order to decide on the best use of the money it would be for the members of the UKSPF Board to consider and agree on the projects listed at Appendix A, which had been planned based on discussions at member workshops, engagement and consultation with voluntary and community sector umbrella groups, consultation with members through four locality based virtual sessions in Bourne, ... view the full minutes text for item 71.
Localised Council Tax Support Scheme 2023/24 PDF 233 KB
This report reviews the Council’s Localised Council Tax Support Scheme in advance of the 2023/24 financial year, as well as proposals made in relation to the discount for care leavers, discount for Special Constables and Discretionary Hardship Fund.
The Deputy Leader of the Council introduced a report reviewing the Council’s Localised Council Tax Support Scheme (the Scheme) in advance of the 2023/2024 financial year, as well as proposals made in relation to the discount for care leavers, discount for special constables and the Discretionary Hardship Fund.
Each year the Council was required to review the Scheme; it came into effect in 2013 and provided 80% entitlement for working age claimants.
Despite the Scheme being ‘local’ due to the nature of protection provided to pensioners and vulnerable working age customers, there would always be an element of cost that the Council had to incur and for which it had no influence over.
The Scheme was determined locally by the Council after consultation with the public, key stakeholders and precepting authorities. 20, or 84.07% of respondents supported the current Scheme, which included the continuation of the Council Tax exemption for care leavers, the Council Tax discount for Special Constables and the Discretionary Payment Fund. Lincolnshire County Council and The Police and Crime Commissioner were also in support of the Scheme.
Cabinet considered the Scheme and recommended it to Council at their meeting held on 13 December 2022.
The following points were raised during debate:
· There were currently 94 special constables in Lincolnshire, and only three of these special constables, based in South Kesteven had claimed the discount.
· Whilst the discount for special constables was welcomed, one member made the point that this could be extended to trainee nurses and teachers.
· Reassurance was requested that the relevant signposting was in place for the Discretionary Payment Fund.
· The Council Tax exemption for care leavers was originally recommended by the Corporate Parenting Panel at Lincolnshire County Council. Both the Council and South Holland District Council paid the exemption for care leavers up to the age of 25, whereas other authorities in Lincolnshire paid it up to the age of 21.
· The Council Tax break for special constables was achieved several years ago. It was a difficult decision to know where to draw the line with concessions, however special constables protected everyone and, in some areas, doubled the uniformed presence.
· The Council Tax discount for special constables was demand led and the money would be there for support if anyone came forward to claim it. Last year three individuals came forward to claim this; the amount payable was less than £1,000.
An amendment was proposed and seconded to amend the wording of the motion to read:
“That Council approves the Local Council Tax Support Scheme 2023/2024 based on the same overarching criteria as the current year’s scheme, and the Council would seek to expand the Special Constabulary Discount Scheme from 2024/2025 onwards to include any Volunteer police community support officers (VPCSOs) verified by Lincolnshire Police as being regular volunteers completing at least 260 hours service per year.”
The proposer and seconder of the substantive motion were happy to accept this, provided the following wording was added in to the motion:
‘the views of the ... view the full minutes text for item 72.
Political Proportionality, Allocation of Seats on Committees and Appointment to Outside Bodies PDF 153 KB
To provide Full Council with an update on the political proportionality and allocation of seats on Committees since the last meeting, taking into account the results of a by-election held on 15 December 2022 and the formation of a new political group on the authority.
The Assistant Director of Governance provided Full Council with an update on the political proportionality and allocation of seats since the previous meeting of Full Council on 24 November 2022, taking into account:
· a by-election held in Toller Ward on 15 December 2022
· notification of the resignation of Rosemary Kaberry-Brown
· changes to the membership of the Conservative Group
· the formation of a new political group on the Council called the Democratic Independents Group
All Group leaders had been consulted and nominations for seats on committees had been received.
There was also the opportunity to appoint members to those outside bodies which now had a vacancy.
The Leader of the Council made the following proposals:
· Councillors Mary Whittington and Paul Wood (gifted seat) be appointed to two Conservative vacancies on Planning Committee.
· Councillor Helen Crawford to be removed from the Licensing and Alcohol, Entertainment and Late Night Refreshment Committees.
· Councillor Penny Robins to be the Council’s representative on the Health Scrutiny Committee at Lincolnshire County Council, with Councillor Kaffy Rice-Oxley being the substitute.
Councillor Ashley Baxter, Leader of the Alliance:SK group wished to continue the practice of holding a vacancy on each committee, with the exception of the Licensing Committee and Alcohol, Entertainment and Late Night Refreshment Licensing Committee where the seat was occupied by Councillor Phil Dilks.
Upon being taken to the vote the motion was AGREED.
That Full Council:
1. Notes the revised political proportionality and allocation of seats to Committee.
2. Approves the appointment of Councillors Mary Whittington and Paul Wood (gifted) for the two vacant Conservative Group seats on Planning Committee.
3. Approves the appointment of the nominations from the Democratic Independents Group to the following Committees:
· Planning Committee – Councillors Harrish Bisnauthsing and Paul Fellows
· Licensing Committee – Councillors Harrish Bisnauthsing and Paul Fellows
· Governance and Audit Committee – Councillor Murray Turner
· Constitution Committee – Councillor Paul Fellows
· Employment Committee – Councillor Anna Kelly
· Companies Committee – Councillor Harrish Bisnauthsing
· Finance, Economic Development and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee – Councillor Philip Knowles
· Culture and Visitor Economy Overview and Scrutiny Committee – Councillor Richard Cleaver
· Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee – Councillor Murray Turner
· Rural and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee – Councillor Richard Cleaver
· Chief Executive’s Appeals Panel – Councillor Anna Kelly
4. Approves the following nominations from political groups:
· Licensing Committee – Councillor Paul Wood (Independent Group)
· Finance, Economic Development and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee – Councillor Jane Wood (Independent Group)
Honorary Alderman and Alderwoman Protocol PDF 136 KB
This report provides Full Council with an opportunity to consider a draft protocol for the appointment of Honorary Aldermen and Alderwomen, which seeks to set out a clear process for bestowing such an honour.
The Cabinet Member for Corporate Governance and Licensing introduced a report to consider a draft protocol for the appointment of Honorary Aldermen and Alderwomen, which sought to set out a clear process for bestowing such an honour.
The Council did not currently have a prescribed process in place to formally receive, consider or determine nominations for Aldermen or Alderwomen.
The Cabinet Member proposed the motions, with an amendment to the printed motion (1), in bold, which read:
1. “That Full Council approves the draft Honorary Alderman and Alderwoman Protocol, as set out in Appendix 1, subject to an amendment to paragraph 4 of the Protocol so that it reads:
Nominations for Honorary Alderman or Honorary Alderwoman may be submitted by any serving Member of the Council within a six-year period of a Member’s last day in office at the Council. Consideration will be given to nominations submitted outside of this six-year period, by exception only. No public nominations are accepted.”
The motions were seconded.
The following information was raised during debate:
· Considering nominations submitted outside of the six year window was important as there were a handful of members that may be suitable for this honour.
· It was important to have an honour in recognition of long service; it did not matter what this award looked like.
· Some members were uncomfortable with this honour as it would lead to the comparison of people’s service. Members who had served shorter terms were not necessarily less effective than those who had been a member of the Council for a long period of time. One option could have been to have an award for merit based on long service.
Upon being taken to the vote the motion was AGREED.
That Full Council:
1. Approves the draft Honorary Alderman and Alderwoman Protocol, as set out in Appendix 1, subject to an amendment to paragraph 4 of the Protocol so that it reads:
“Nominations for Honorary Alderman or Honorary Alderwoman may be submitted by any serving Member of the Council within a six-year period of a Member’s last day in office at the Council. Consideration will be given to nominations submitted outside of this six-year period, by exception only. No public nominations are accepted.”
2. Amends the Constitution so that reference to Honorary Alderman also includes reference to Honorary Alderwoman.
Proposed amendments to the Constitution PDF 245 KB
This report provides Full Council with an opportunity to consider recommendations from the Constitution Committee.
Proposed amendments to the Constitution was not considered due to time constraints and would be considered at the next ordinary meeting of Full Council on 1 March 2023.
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.
Members’ Open Questions were not considered due to time constraints.
Notices of Motion
Councillor Amanda Wheeler
The UK’s current voting system (known as First Past the Post) originated when land-owning aristocrats dominated parliament and voting was restricted to property-owning men.
Currently in Europe, only the UK and authoritarian Belarus still use the archaic single-round FPTP for general elections. Meanwhile, internationally, Proportional Representation (PR) is used to elect parliaments in more than 80 countries. These countries tend to be more equal, freer and greener. Under PR, MPs and Parliaments better reflect the age, gender and protected characteristics of local communities and the nation. MPs better reflecting their communities leads to improved decision-making, wider participation and increased levels of ownership of decisions taken.
Proportional Representation ensures all votes count, have equal value, and those seats won match votes cast.
PR would also end minority rule. In 2019, 43.6% of the vote produced a government with 56.2% of the seats and 100% of the power.
PR is already used to elect the parliaments and assemblies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. So why not Westminster?
South Kesteven District Council therefore resolves to write to Government calling for a change in our outdated electoral laws to enable Proportional Representation to be used for general elections.
Councillor Wheeler’s motion was not considered due to time constraints and would be tabled at the next ordinary meeting of Full Council on 1 March 2023.
Councillor Phil Dilks
To ensure members of the public, councillors and council officers can have confidence that the highest standards of probity and integrity are followed and that any alleged breaches of the Codes of Conduct are dealt fairly, impartially and in a timely manner:
Council resolves to:
2. Adopt the latest Local Government Association’s Guidance on Handling Alleged Breaches of the Code of Conduct, including the process for undertaking hearings, in its entirety.
Councillor Dilks’ motion was not considered due to time constraints and would be tabled at the next ordinary meeting of Full Council on 1 March 2023.
Close of meeting
The meeting closed at 4:36pm.