Agenda and draft minutes

County Council
Thursday, 25th July, 2019 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber, County Buildings, Stafford. View directions

Contact: Mike Bradbury  Email: michael.bradbury@staffordshire.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

15.

Declarations of Interest under Standing Order 16

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The following Members declared an interest in accordance with Standing Order 16.5:-

 

Member

Minute Nos.

Interest

Reason

Bryan Jones

Paul Snape

Bob Spencer

Mark Sutton

20

Personal

Served in the Police with one of the proposed appointees to the Independent Remuneration Panel

Martyn Tittley

N/A

Pecuniary

Managing a contract awarded to his employer in respect of HS2

Janet Eagland

Helen Fisher

Phil Hewitt

Johnny McMahon

Susan Woodward

18 and 23

Personal

Trustee/Member of Chasewater Friends

Susan Woodward

23 and 24

Personal

Husband is Opposition Leader at Lichfield District Council

Johnny McMahon

N/A

Personal

Family owned property in Blithbury affected by the proposed line of HS2

 

16.

Confirmation of the minutes of the Council meeting held on 23 May 2019 pdf icon PDF 405 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting of the County Council held on 23 May 2019 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman.

17.

Chairman's Correspondence

The Chairman will mention a range of recent items of news which may be of interest to Members

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

Her Majesty the Queen’s Birthday Honours

 

The Council extended their congratulations to Sue Ball in being awarded an MBE in Her Majesty the Queen’s Birthday Honours for her services to Libraries.  Sue began working in Staffordshire in 1988 as the Wombourne Mobile Librarian and was currently responsible for strategy and policy in Staffordshire.  In recent years she had overseen the transfer of Stafford and Newcastle town centre libraries into new premises.

 

The Council also extended their congratulations to two foster parents from Burton upon Trent, Margaret and William Foster who had both been awarded MBEs for services to fostering in Staffordshire.

 

Honorary Alderman Tim Corbett

 

The Chairman informed the Council of the recent death of Honorary Alderman Tim Corbett.  Mr Corbett was a Member of the County Council between 2001 and 2017 and represented the Needwood Forest County Electoral Division.  He served on a number of the Council’s Committees including the Policy and Resources Scrutiny Committee; Planning Committee (of which he was Chairman between 2009 and 2017); Corporate Review Committee; Charities and Trusts Committee; Prosperous Staffordshire Select Committee; Assets and Budget Select Committee; Enterprise, Environment and Transport Scrutiny Committee; and the Regeneration and Infrastructure Scrutiny Committee.  Mr Corbett was appointed as an Honorary Alderman in 2017.

 

Members paid tribute to Mr Corbett and then stood in silence in his memory.

 

Former County Surveyor – Allan Onions

 

The Chairman informed the Council of the death on 16 July 2019, of past County Surveyor, Allan Onions.  Mr Onions had been Area Surveyor at Lichfield Area Office before becoming Deputy County Surveyor and then County Surveyor in 1983 retiring at the end of 1987. He was also President of the Chartered Institution for Highways and Transportation (CIHT) in 1985-86.

 

Members paid tribute to the contribution made by Mr Onions during his employment with the County Council.

 

Councillor Syed Hussain

 

The Council extended their best wishes to Cllr. Hussain who was about to embark on a Pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

 

18.

Statement of the Leader of the Council pdf icon PDF 290 KB

The Leader will inform the Council about his work and his plans for the Council, and will give an overview of decisions taken by the Cabinet (and Portfolio Holders) since the previous meeting of the Council

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council presented a Statement outlining his recent work since the previous meeting of the Council.

 

New Supported Living Dynamic Purchasing System

(Paragraph 1 of the Statement)

 

In response to a question from Mr Dave Jones concerning how placements were quality assured, Mr Alan White indicated that not only were there mandatory systems in place through the Care Quality Commission, but the Council’s own commissioning quality officers also ensured that placements were appropriate and of the required standard.  He added that the Council also relied on those in receipt of placements, their family, Members of the Council who visit care settings and also Healthwatch to raise any concerns they may have.

 

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards – Amendments to the Mental Capacity Act 2005

(Paragraph 2 of the Statement)

 

Mrs Woodward expressed her concern that the Council had been reprimanded by the Local Government Ombudsman and had appeared to have been singled out for the way in which it triaged Deprivation of Liberty Safeguarding (DoLS) applications despite, as reported to the Council’s Audit and Standards Committee, other local authorities adopting similar approaches  She enquired as to whether the Council’s Safe and Strong Select Communities Committee would be permitted to continue to look into and monitor the situation?  In response, Mr Alan White indicated that the approach the Council had taken on DoLS was down to its interpretation of the legislation and, to his knowledge, the vast majority of local authorities were similarly non-compliant.  As a consequence, legislation to replace DoLS had been laid before Parliament and was currently awaiting Royal Assent. 

 

The Staffordshire County Council Apprenticeship Strategy

(Paragraph 3 of the Statement)

 

Mr Philip White welcomed the introduction by the County Council of its Apprenticeships Strategy which aimed to embed Apprenticeships within the county council’s workforce, achieve maximum levy spend and work towards meeting the public sector target.  He added that the Council would work with its other public sector partners and also businesses to make sure that maximum benefit is secured from the levy funding.

 

Adult Learning Disability Community Offer 2022 Programme

(Paragraph 6 of the Statement)

 

Mrs Woodward indicated that she welcomed the Council’s Adult Learning Disability Community Offer Programme and suggested that, with regard to sustainability of the Offer, financial sustainability should not be the only driver.  In response, Mr Alan White gave an assurance that the proposed Offer would not only be financially sustainable but also sustainable from the point of view of users of the service and also for the staff cohort who provided the service.  He added that a range of options were currently being considered and would be referred to Scrutiny before being considered by Cabinet.

 

Development of Council Owned Older People’s Nursing Homes

(Paragraph 8 of the Statement)

 

Mr Dave Jones welcomed the proposals for the Council to develop its own nursing home provision and enquired as to what role Members could play in helping to identify those areas where there was a shortage of provision.  In response, Mr Alan  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.

19.

Notices of Motion

Mr Wileman to move the following motion:

 

“The County Council values the importance of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals including the global challenges of poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation and prosperity, and welcomes the importance placed by HM Government on all levels of government working together and that its partnership with local government is a key component to successful domestic implementation of the SDGs and that the county council has a vital role to play in terms of the planning, implementation and monitoring in Staffordshire which will be key in delivering the UK’s progress on meeting the ambitions of the Agenda 2030.

 

This County Council therefore:

 

·       Calls upon Her Majesty’s Government to explore supporting domestic implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals through funded partnership roles within each local authority area;

·       Encourages councils to continue their work on linking their local priorities with the overall ambitions of the SDGs;

·       Declares a ‘Climate Emergency’, and commits to supporting Staffordshire councils in their work to tackle climate change by providing a strong unified voice for councils in lobbying for support to address this emergency, and sharing best practice; and

·       The county council refreshes the good work of Hard Rain, Hard Rain 2 and Green Shoots to meet these new targets and share best practice across all councils.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mr Wileman moved, and Mrs Woodward seconded, the following motion:

 

“The County Council values the importance of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals including the global challenges of poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation and prosperity, and welcomes the importance placed by HM Government on all levels of government working together and that its partnership with local government is a key component to successful domestic implementation of the SDGs and that the county council has a vital role to play in terms of the planning, implementation and monitoring in Staffordshire which will be key in delivering the UK’s progress on meeting the ambitions of the Agenda 2030.

 

This County Council therefore:

 

·        Calls upon Her Majesty’s Government to explore supporting domestic implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals through funded partnership roles within each local authority area;

·        Encourages councils to continue their work on linking their local priorities with the overall ambitions of the SDGs;

·        Declares a ‘Climate Emergency’, and commits to supporting Staffordshire councils in their work to tackle climate change by providing a strong unified voice for councils in lobbying for support to address this emergency, and sharing best practice; and

·        The county council refreshes the good work of Hard Rain, Hard Rain 2 and Green Shoots to meet these new targets and share best practice across all councils.”

Mrs Woodward indicated that she, together with the other Members of the Opposition Group were in support of the motion and, following a short debate followed by a vote, it was:

 

RESOLVED The County Council values the importance of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals including the global challenges of poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation and prosperity, and welcomes the importance placed by HM Government on all levels of government working together and that its partnership with local government is a key component to successful domestic implementation of the SDGs and that the county council has a vital role to play in terms of the planning, implementation and monitoring in Staffordshire which will be key in delivering the UK’s progress on meeting the ambitions of the Agenda 2030.

 

This County Council therefore:

 

·        Calls upon Her Majesty’s Government to explore supporting domestic implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals through funded partnership roles within each local authority area;

·        Encourages councils to continue their work on linking their local priorities with the overall ambitions of the SDGs;

·        Declares a ‘Climate Emergency’, and commits to supporting Staffordshire councils in their work to tackle climate change by providing a strong unified voice for councils in lobbying for support to address this emergency, and sharing best practice; and

·       The county council refreshes the good work of Hard Rain, Hard Rain 2 and Green Shoots to meet these new targets and share best practice across all councils.

20.

Recommendations to the Council pdf icon PDF 187 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a)           Members’ Allowances Scheme – Independent Remuneration Panel Report

 

Members were informed that the County Council was required to establish and maintain an Independent Remuneration Panel to provide advice and recommendations to the Council on its Members’ Allowances Scheme. Any decision on the nature and level of allowances was a matter for the full Council, but the Council must have regard to any recommendations submitted by the Independent Remuneration Panel before establishing or amending the Members’ Allowances Scheme. The Panel met each year to consider the recommendations to be made to the Council in respect of the level and nature of the forthcoming year’s allowances.

 

The Council, at its meeting on 21 March 2019, considered the Independent Remuneration Panel report of March 2019 and resolved that “The Council does not accept at this moment in time their recommendation for an increase in overall allowances of 2% in line with the NJC pay award to staff.” It was also resolved that “The Council also feels in a time of change, that the recommendations of the Panel to make changes to the levels of remuneration be deferred for further consideration later this year, as the recommendations do not reflect the future ongoing developing roles of Members.”

 

Mr Tittley moved consideration of the following recommendations contained in the Panel’s report:

 

(i) That, in line with normal practice, the level of allowances be increased by 2% in line with the employee pay award for 2018-19.

 

(ii) That the three opposition leads supporting Select Committees be more formally recognised through the creation of three Opposition Select Committee Vice-Chairman from the single Shadow Cabinet SRA together with the Opposition Deputy Leader formally taking the Opposition Select Committee Vice-Chairmanship of the Corporate Review Select Committee.

 

(c) That the Chairman of the County Council, in consultation with the Leader of the County Council, be authorised to increase the allowance paid to the Vice-Chairmen of Committees to the level of the corresponding Chairman’s allowance if they are required to take on the responsibilities of the Chairman for a sustained period and, in those circumstances, the Chairman’s allowance will cease for the duration of their absence.

 

Mrs Woodward indicated that she was in full support of “(ii)” above as it recognised the input of the lead opposition members in respect of the Council’s scrutiny function.

 

Following a vote, it was:

 

RESOLVED(a) That the recommendation of the Independent Remuneration Panel that, in line with normal practice, the level of allowances be increased by 2% in line with the employee pay award for 2018-19, be agreed and be implemented with immediate effect.

 

(b) That the recommendation of the Independent Remuneration Panel that the three opposition leads supporting Select Committees be more formally recognised through the creation of three Opposition Select Committee Vice-Chairman from the single Shadow Cabinet SRA together with the Opposition Deputy Leader formally taking the Opposition Select Committee Vice-Chairmanship of the Corporate Review Select Committee be agreed and that the Council’s Constitution be amended to include  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.

21.

Staffordshire Corporate Parenting Panel - Annual Report 2018-19 pdf icon PDF 212 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mr Sutton moved consideration of the Staffordshire Corporate Parenting Panel Annual Report 2018-19.  He extended his thanks to Members of the Panel, and the officers who supported them, for the valuable contribution they had made.

 

Mr Bryan Jones outlined some of the vital work undertaken by the Council in its role as a corporate parent including the “Care Leavers Offer” and the work of the “through care team”.  Mrs Woodward also extended her thanks to the Corporate Parenting Panel and enquired as to whether every district/borough council in Staffordshire was represented on the Panel.  In response, Mr Sutton confirm that all boroughs/districts were represented and that some Members of the Panel were dual members, representing both the County Council and a borough/district council.

 

RESOLVED That the Staffordshire Corporate Parenting Panel Annual Report 2018-19 be received.

22.

Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of Committees

Oral report of the Leader of the Council

Additional documents:

Minutes:

With the consent of the Chairman, Leader of the Council withdrew this item.

23.

Questions pdf icon PDF 187 KB

Questions to be asked by Members of the County Council of the Leader of the Council, a Cabinet Member, or a Chairman of a Committee.  The question will be answered by the relevant Member and the Member asking the question may then ask a follow up question which will also be answered

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mr Brookes asked the following question of the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport whose reply is set out below the question:-

 

Question

 

Could Members be assured that the extra investment allowed for each division within the budgets for highway improvements can be used in full and that there will be minimal and little administrative costs to allow maximum highway investment for the much-needed improvements and repairs ensuring maximum value to the ratepayer and residents of Staffordshire?

 

Reply

 

This one-off additional funding has been devolved to Members for locally identified maintenance priorities to directly replace or enhance the life of existing highway assets.

 

Members have been given the opportunity to discuss how to maximise the impact of the investment; including consideration of pooling divisional allocations, combining wider Divisional Highway Programme funding and the utilisation of the funding to secure additional external contributions.

 

A significant number of Member priorities have now been identified and work programmes are being drawn up and delivered.  To ensure the available funding makes the greatest impact, effective planning and co-ordination is essential and delivery will take place throughout the financial year, with the majority of works completed by 31 March 2020.

 

Estimates for each element of identified work have been provided but all costs are indicative and are heavily dependent on factors such as site constraints, adverse weather and existing asset condition.  In addition, works that involve excavations or tying in to existing structures can sometimes lead to unforeseen costs once on site.

 

The estimated costs for the Member’s £20k maintenance schemes will include all associated activities to get the work on the ground, such as any necessary design; community engagement; legal noticing; statutory liaison with utility companies; and traffic management requirements (e.g. road closures, temporary traffic signals etc.).  There are no additional funding streams to cover these activities and they would also have to be factored in to any works you were to commission yourself through a local contractor.

 

Mr Brookes asked the following question of the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport whose reply is set out below the question:-

 

Question

 

Where wild flowers have been sown on or adjacent to the road verges, does the contractor moderate their cutting regime to allow the wild flowers to finish flowering and go to seed, encouraging further biodiversity within our landscape in both urban and rural highways?

 

Reply

 

Several years ago, the highways team worked with the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust to review rural grass cutting specification and help protect local biodiversity.  Across the Staffordshire Moorlands there are significant lengths of rural verges that are cut just once each year in late September / early October in order to preserve the self-seeded wild flowers.  Elsewhere, rural highway verge cutting is kept to just one swathe width (approximately 1m), or full visibility splays at junctions, and carried out 2 or 3 times per year to maintain highway safety.

 

In the urban areas most grass verges are maintained by Borough, District and Parish Councils through effective two-tier working  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.

24.

Petitions

An opportunity for Members to present and speak on petitions submitted by their constituents

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a) Request for 20mph speed restriction along the roads forming the Cathedral View and Roman Heights Developments, Streethay

 

Mrs Eagland presented a petition from residents of Fradley and Streethay seeking a 20mph speed restriction along the roads forming the Cathedral View and Roman Heights Developments in Streethay.

 

(b) Save the Friary Grange Leisure Centre in Lichfield

 

Mr Colin Greatorex presented a petition opposing the possible closure of the Friary Grange Leisure Centre in Lichfield.