Agendas, Meetings and Minutes - Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Venue: County Hall, Worcester

Contact: Simon Lewis  Committee Officer

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

Available papers

The members had before them:

 

A.    The Agenda papers (previously circulated);

 

B.    9 questions submitted to the Head of Legal and Democratic Services (previously circulated); and

 

C.   The Minutes of the meeting held on 8 November 2018 (previously circulated).

Additional documents:

2056.

Apologies and Declaration of Interests (Agenda item 1)

To receive apologies and invite any councillor to declare any interest in any of the items on the agenda.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Mr P Denham, Mrs E A Eyre, Mr A I Hardman and Mr R J Morris.

2057.

Public Participation (Agenda item 2)

To allow a member of the public to present a petition, or ask a question relating to the functions of the Council, or to make a comment on any matter on the agenda.

 

Members of the public wishing to take part should notify the Head of Legal and Democratic Services in writing or by e-mail indicating both the nature and content of their proposed participation no later than 9.00am on the working day before the meeting (in this case 16 January 2018). Further details are available on the Council’s website. Enquiries can also be made through the telephone number/e-mail address listed below.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Revd David Haslam asked a question relating to Syrian Asylum seekers.

2058.

Minutes (Agenda item 3)

To approve as a correct record and authorise the signing of the Minutes of the meeting held on 8 November 2018 (previously circulated electronically).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meeting held on 8 November 2018 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

2059.

Chairman's Announcements (Agenda item 4)

To receive any announcements to be made by the Chairman.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Noted.

2060.

Reports of Cabinet - Matters which require a decision by Council - A4440 Worcester Southern Link Road Structures (Agenda item 5 (a)) pdf icon PDF 79 KB

To consider the reports of the Cabinet and to receive answers to any questions asked on those reports as follows:

 

a)    Reports of Cabinet – Matters which require a decision (Yellow pages); and

b)    Report of Cabinet – Summary of decisions taken (White pages).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered the addition of A4440 Worcester Southern Link Road Structures to the Capital Programme.

 

In the ensuing debate, the following points were raised:

 

·         The Leader of the Council introduced the report. He indicated that the necessary funding would be provided to complete a footbridge over Broomhall Way in advance of the receipt of the funding by the developer to allow access by cyclist and pedestrians over the Southern Link Road (SLR). In addition, funding was required for a farm accommodation bridge and a footbridge linked to planning obligations as part of the dualling of the SLR 

·         It was queried why funding from developers had not been sought to complete the development of the ring road to the west of Worcester city and the construction of a bridge to the north. The Leader responded that proposals for development to the west of the city would be assessed by planning officers as part of separate planning applications at the appropriate time

·         These proposals were welcomed by local residents given the dangerous nature of the pedestrian crossing at Norton, where a near fatal accident had taken place a few years ago. The Leader responded that this tragic case emphasised the importance of providing good walking/cycling crossing points on a main dual carriageway

·         The apparent lack of understanding of how much the project would cost was queried. The Leader responded that costs had been assessed and would now be included in the capital programme. These proposals formed part of the wider scheme which amounted to a considerable sum of money.

 

RESOLVED: that

 

a)    £3.5 million of funding necessary to complete the Broomhall Way Footbridge is allocated to the Southern Link Road Phase 3 Dualling Project with funding ultimately being received from developers' S106 contributions and that the Capital Programme is updated accordingly; and

 

b)    the £3.5 million necessary to complete the Crookbarrow Way Footbridge and Upper Battenhall Farm Accommodation Bridge is provisionally allocated to the Southern Link Road Project and that the Capital Programme be updated accordingly and to vire £0.5 million from existing allocations within the Capital Programme.

2061.

Reports of Cabinet - Matters which require a decision by Council - New One-Off Grant - Adult Social Care Winter Pressures (Agenda item 5 (a))

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered the addition of a new one-off grant – Adult Social Care Winter Pressures to the Capital Programme.

 

In the ensuing debate, the following points were raised:

 

·         The Leader introduced the report. He welcomed the receipt of the £2.4 grant from the Government and was keen to spend the resource as soon as possible in liaison with the NHS to alleviate winter pressures. He emphasised that the funding was only available for new expenditure, not to ameliorate existing pressures

·         This Council was committed to supporting the most vulnerable members in society and therefore this extra funding was welcomed

·         A request was made that members be kept informed on how the funds were being spent.

 

RESOLVED that the use of £2.4 million Adult Social Care Winter Pressures grant be approved and the revenue budget cash limits be updated accordingly.

2062.

Reports of Committee - Summary of decisions taken (Agenda item 5 (b)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council reported the following topics and questions were answered on them:

 

·         2019/20 Draft Budget and Medium Term Financial Plan update 2019-22

·         Development of Worcestershire Children First

·         'Good Education Places for all Worcestershire Children' – School Organisation Plan 2019-24

·         Review of Education Planning Obligations required under S106 and Community Infrastructure Levy

·         Commissioning a Prevention and Early Intervention Service for Children and Young People

·         Forward Look at Adult Services

·         Council-Provided Day Services for Adults with a Learning Disability and Connect Short-Term Service

·         Waste Contract

·         Scrutiny Report: Bus and Community Transport Provision

·         Balanced Scorecard Performance and Corporate Risk Update

·         Resources Report.

2063.

Notices of Motion - Notice of Motion 1 - Worcestershire Children First (Agenda item 6) pdf icon PDF 73 KB

To receive the report of the Head of Legal and Democratic Services on any Notices of Motion received by him (Lilac pages).

 

Councillors are asked to note that any Notices of Motion must be received by the Head of Legal and Democratic Services no later than noon on Tuesday, 8 January 2019.    

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council had before it a Notice of Motion set out in the agenda papers standing in the names of Mrs E B Tucker, Prof J W Raine, Mr M E Jenkins and Mrs F M Oborski.

 

The motion was moved by Mrs F M Oborski and seconded by Mrs E B Tucker who both spoke in favour of it, and Council agreed to deal with it on the day.

 

Those in favour of the motion made the following comments:

 

·         The establishment of Worcestershire Children First would create a democratic deficit in terms of members' ability to oversee the performance of educational services. There were concerns about the implications for future budgets, the future dual role of the Director of Children, Families and Communities as Chief Executive of the Company, the funding of SEND, the ability to transfer funds between different parts of the service, the relationship with the Schools Forum and Head Teachers Association, the way contentious decisions would be made and the future of the company at the conclusion of the intervention period. Schools had concerns about the value for money of the Babcock Prime contract and the lack of control over future contract arrangements. There would be minimal councillor representation on the Board. A scrutiny exercise was necessary with full partner consultation

·         The creation of the company represented a huge change for the Council and members were unaware of all the implications. There were queries about how the democratic oversight would work, how members could continue to fulfil their role as corporate parents, the mechanisms for the control of spending, and the governance and scrutiny arrangements

·         It was contended that contrary to other views expressed, the Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Panel had not undertaken a detailed scrutiny of the transfer of educational services into the company in November 2018

·         Educational Services were not under the direction of the Secretary of State and it was therefore a decision taken by this Council to include it. It was that aspect of the proposals that required full consultation and scrutiny.

 

Those against the motion made the following comments:

 

·         The Cabinet Member for Children and Families emphasised that the Council had no option under the direction of the Secretary of State but to move children's social care into an alternative structure. He stressed that the company created for this would be wholly-owned by the Council not independent of it. It was considered better to integrate educational services into the company to avoid fragmentation of education provision. Determination of the democratic involvement in the company had not been finalised but a Board would be established with Council representation (albeit not the lead member). Members would still have the opportunity to scrutinise the service and continue to undertake their role as corporate parents. The Council retained its legal responsibility for safeguarding. The budget would be set by Council and there would be no additional precept. Design principles were being worked on and these would be underpinned by key performance indicators established  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2063.

2064.

Notices of Motion - Notice of Motion 2 - Archives and Archaeology Service (Agenda item 6)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council had before it a Notice of Motion set out in the agenda papers standing in the names of Mr R C Lunn, Mr C J Bloore, Mr P Denham, Mr R M Udall, Ms P Agar, and Ms C M Stalker.

 

The motion was moved by Mr R C Lunn and seconded by Mr C J Bloore who both spoke in favour of it, and Council agreed to deal with it on the day.

 

The following amendment was moved by Mrs L C Hodgson and seconded by Mrs K J May:

 

"This Council calls on the Cabinet Member with Responsibility to endeavour to protect the County award-winning Archive and Archaeology Service from cuts in funding which would adversely change its nature and reduce its effectiveness.

 

Council calls upon the Cabinet Member with Responsibility to confirm how she will provide an effective service which recognises the historic significance of the county."

 

Those in favour of the amendment made the following comments:

 

·         The Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Communities commented that the reference in the original motion to no compulsory redundancies being made could not be supported because no such guarantee could be given. To achieve the proposed savings set out in the budget for the next financial year, there would need to be a review of all aspects of the service to establish efficiencies by looking at other ways of working, a review of charging policies, and a review of staffing. The views of scrutiny had been taken into consideration. She felt that this motion was too early given that the budget would be determined at the February Council meeting. There were parts of the service that continued to increase its commercial activities and brought in grants for individual pieces of work. She would establish a Member Advisory Group, chaired by herself, to look at how these savings could be implemented and ways to improve income generation

·         The proposal to create a MAG could help protect the service. Compulsory redundancies might not be necessary but to rule them out would place an unnecessary restriction on the work undertaken to review the service

·         It was noted that there was no mention of the Archive and Archaeology Service in the Annual Report of the OSPB

·         The Leader of the Council commented that the Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Communities had listened to requests to protect this award-winning service. It was impossible to rule out staffing changes at this stage with the budget out for consultation and the plans to redesign the service. He emphasised that the plans to redesign were concerned with exploring commercial possibilities not just cost-cutting.

 

Those against the amendment made the following comments:

 

·         The fact that this motion had not been rejected out of hand by the administration and the proposal to create a MAG were welcomed. However the amendment could not be supported because of the removal from the original motion of the reference to compulsory redundancies not being made. The aim of the original motion was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2064.

2065.

Notices of Motion - Notice of Motion 3 - Sexual harassment in the workplace (Agenda item 6)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council had before it a Notice of Motion set out in the agenda papers standing in the names of Mr R M Udall, Ms C M Stalker, Ms P Agar, Mr P Denham and Mr R C Lunn.

 

The motion was moved by Mr R M Udall and seconded by Ms C M Stalker who both spoke in favour of it, and Council agreed to deal with it on the day.

 

The following amendment was moved by Mrs K J May and seconded by Mr M J Hart and accepted as an alteration by the mover and seconder of the motion which therefore became the substantive motion:

 

"Council believes it has a duty to take action to prevent sexual harassment for all of its employees and asks the Cabinet Member with Responsibility to issue a report to all members which will provide such a commitment and will illustrate how such a duty could be implemented by Worcestershire County Council."

 

In the ensuing debate the following points were made:

 

·         The Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Transformation and Commissioning emphasised that the Council took its responsibility to prevent sexual harassment of employees very seriously. She would commission a report to be brought back to all members that would highlight the activities already undertaken to prevent sexual harassment of employees. The report would outline all relevant activities including the bullying and harassment policy and an insight into the number of reported cases in this Council in the last 3 years. The Council was committed to treating all employees with dignity and respect in the working environment, free from bullying, harassment and intimidation

·         The acceptance of the amendment by the mover and seconder of the original motion was welcomed. The Council had a duty as a responsible employer to address harassment of any kind of any individual of whatever sex.

 

On being put to the vote, the substantive motion was agreed unanimously.

 

RESOLVED "Council believes it has a duty to take action to prevent sexual harassment for all of its employees and asks the Cabinet Member with Responsibility to issue a report to all members which will provide such a commitment and will illustrate how such a duty could be implemented by Worcestershire County Council."

2066.

Notices of Motion - Notice of Motion 4 - Asylum seekers (Agenda item 6)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council had before it a Notice of Motion set out in the agenda papers standing in the names of Mrs E B Tucker, Prof J W Raine, Mr M E Jenkins and Mrs F M Oborski.

 

The motion was moved by Mrs E B Tucker and seconded by Mr M E Jenkins who both spoke in favour of it, and Council agreed to deal with it on the day.

 

Those in favour of the motion made the following comments:

 

·         The motion was aimed at establishing clarity on the Council's values and restate the Council's support for the resettlement of a small number of refugees and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in the county

·         It should be emphasised that the Government, not the Council had funded the resettlement scheme. The motion was concerned with establishing the facts about this Council's approach to the Government's resettlement scheme, not to debate the merits or otherwise of the views of individual councillors

·         The main concern was the impact on asylum-seekers  and refugees, fleeing from persecution of the negative comments made by a member of the administration about them in the local press

·         After the conclusion of the debate and during the mover's summing up, she indicated that she would be willing to propose an amendment withdrawing the first two paragraphs of the motion. The Head of Legal and Democratic Services advised that Council had concluded the debate on the motion as printed and the opportunity to alter the motion had not been taken. It was too late to propose an amendment during the summing up after the debate.

 

Those against the motion made the following comments:

 

·         The Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Communities commented that everybody had different views on immigration and it was not the role of Council to criticise individual councillors for expressing their opinion. The comments made by the individual councillor did not reflect the work being undertaken in the county to support asylum-seekers and refugees, particularly from Syria. She set out the history of the resettlement programme, examples of successful integration and future resettlement proposals. She emphasised the important role the welcome groups and volunteers in supporting the programme in the county

·         The Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Highways commented that this motion addressed two issues, freedom of speech and "who cares most about what". Although he recognised the important role of immigration in the history of the country, he queried how the current level of immigration was sustainable, given the pressures on local council services and budgets.

 

On a named vote, the motion was lost.

 

Those voting in favour were:

 

Ms P Agar, Mr C J Bloore, Mr A Fry, Ms P A Hill. Mr M E Jenkins, Mr R C Lunn, Mr P M McDonald, Mr L C R Mallett, Mrs F M Oborski, Prof J W Raine, Mrs M A Rayner, Ms C M Stalker, Mrs E B Tucker, Mr R M Udall, Mr T A L Wells. (15)

 

Those voting against were:

 

Mr B Clayton, Mr  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2066.

2067.

Annual Report of the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Performance Board (Agenda item 7) pdf icon PDF 64 KB

To receive the annual report of the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Performance Board and answer questions on it (Grey pages).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Performance Board introduced the report. He thanked the Chairmen of the scrutiny panels, officers and all other participants for their contribution to the scrutiny process over the past year.

 

The Chairman answered questions on the report.

 

The report was noted.

2068.

Annual Report of the Chief Executive (Agenda item 8) pdf icon PDF 87 KB

To receive the report of the Chief Executive and any answers to questions on it (Cream pages).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Executive presented his report to Council which covered various topics including:

 

·         Strategic Leadership

·         Delivering the Corporate Plan

·         Governance

·         Financial Management

·         Partnership Working

·         Organisational Culture and Staff Engagement

·         Looking Forward.

 

The Chief Executive then answered a broad range of questions from members.

 

The Chairman thanked the Chief Executive for his report.

2069.

Question Time (Agenda item 9) pdf icon PDF 77 KB

To receive answers to any questions asked by Councillors (Orange pages).

 

(Members are reminded of the timescale adopted by Council for notice of questions. A Councillor may only ask a question if:

 

·         It is delivered in writing to the Head of Legal and Democratic Services by noon on Tuesday, 8 January 2019 or

·         If it relates to urgent business, the Head of Legal and Democratic Services is notified at least half an hour before the start of the meeting.)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Nine questions had been received by the Head of Legal and Democratic Services and had been circulated in advance of the meeting. The answers to all the questions asked are attached in the Appendix.

2070.

Reports of Committees - Audit and Governance Committee (Agenda item 10 (a)) pdf icon PDF 83 KB

To consider the reports of Committees and to receive answers to any questions asked on those reports as follows:

 

a)    Audit and Governance Committee;

b)    Pensions Committee; and

c)    Planning and Regulatory Committee.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council received the report of the Audit and Governance Committee containing a summary of the decisions taken.

2071.

Reports of Committees - Pensions Committee (Agenda item 10 (b))

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council received the report of the Pensions Committee containing a summary of the decisions taken.

2072.

Reports of Committees - Planning and Regulatory Committee (Agenda item 10 (c))

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council received the report of the Planning and Regulatory Committee containing a summary of the decisions taken.