Agenda and minutes

County Council
Thursday, 10th October, 2013 10.00 am

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

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

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

3.

Confirmation of the minutes of the Ordinary and Extraordinary Council meetings held on 25 July 2013

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVEDThat the minutes of the Ordinary Council meeting and Extraordinary Council Meeting, both held on 25 July 2013, be confirmed.

4.

Chairman's Correspondence

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Alderman Frank William Lewis MBE JP

 

The Chairman informed the Council of the death, on Tuesday, 24 September 2013 of Alderman Frank William Lewis MBE JP who was a Member of the County Council between May 1977 and May 2013 and represented the Lichfield Rural West County Electoral Division. 

 

Mr Lewis was awarded an MBE in 2006 for his service to Local Government.  During the 36 years he was a Member of the County Council he served on a wide range of the Council’s Committees including Policy and Resources, County Farms and Agriculture, Development Services Group, Highways and Transportation, Waste Disposal, Public Protection, Planning and Regulatory Committees.

 

Mr Lewis was also a Member of the Staffordshire Police Authority and the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Fire and Rescue Authority.  He was elected Chairman of the County Council between 2011 and 2012 and, following his retirement from the Council in May, was awarded the status of Honorary Alderman in July 2013.

 

Members paid tribute to Alderman Lewis and then stood in silence in his memory.

 

APSE Service Awards 2013

 

Members were informed that the County Council won the Best Partnership Working initiative (Public/Private Partnership Working)” category in the 2013 Association of Public Service Excellence Service Awards in recognition of the work of the Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership.  The Partnership brought together expertise from the public and private sectors to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on the County’s road network. It worked to raise awareness about road safety, to monitor vehicle safety issues and to encourage safe and responsible road use.

 

The County Council was also short-listed in the following three categories of the Awards:

 

·         Best Employment and Equality Initiative

·         Best Local Democracy Initiative

·         Best Service Team of the Year (Highways, Winter Maintenance and Street Lighting Service)

 

 

Chartered Institute for Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) Supply Management Awards

 

The Chairman also informed Members that the County Council had won the "Best Public Sector Procurement Project" award at the 2013 Chartered Institute for Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) Supply Management Awards for the Education Support Services (ESS) Joint Venture Procurement. These awards were the most prestigious awards for procurement, covering the private and public sector.  The project involved a spend of £4 Billion, the letting of a 20 year service delivery agreement with Entrust, and the protection / TUPE transfer of around 5,000 Council employees to the Joint Venture Company.

 

Federation of Small Businesses Award – Best Small Business Friendly Procurement Policy

 

The Council noted that Staffordshire Procurement had also recently received an award from the Federation of Small Businesses for having the Best Small Business Friendly Procurement Policy. The award was given based on the work undertaken by Staffordshire Procurement to increase SME access to, participation in and win Council tenders.  The work was not project based or a one off, but an on-going commitment to supporting SMEs in bidding for and winning SCC contracts.  This was the second consecutive year in which Staffordshire Procurement had won this award.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Statement of the Leader of the Council

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 and an overview of decisions taken by the Cabinet (and Portfolio Holders) since the previous meeting of the Council. 

 

Mid-Staffordshire Hospital

(Paragraph 1.1 of the Statement)

 

Mr Adamson welcomed the recommendations of the Administrators which, if accepted, would result in Cannock Hospital being retained.  He added that he shared Members concerns over the proposals to reduce the number of services available from Stafford Hospital and expressed the view that as many services as possible should be retained.  Ms Woodward and Ms Atkins referred to the complex health economy in Staffordshire and indicated that they did not support the Leader’s preferred option for a single acute Trust to serve the whole of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent as this would reduce patient choice and would not necessarily be any cheaper to run that retaining the two Trusts.  Ms Atkins and Mrs Rowlands also referred to the possible revenue implications for the University Hospital of North Staffordshire if Stafford Hospital was to be “downgraded” and the need for the government to confirm that they would “pick up the bill”.  Mrs Rowlands expressed the view that that the proposal for a Midwife led maternity Unit at Stafford Hospital would not cater for the needs of residents.  She also expressed concern about the additional travel costs which would be incurred by patients should some services cease to be provided at Stafford Hospital and be transferred elsewhere.

 

Mr Atkins thanked Members for their comments.  He indicated that Cannock Hospital came out of the Administrator’s proposals fairly well.  He also reminded Members that the problems were not limited to Stafford and Burton Hospital was under Special Measures.  Mr Atkins also outlined the preventative work undertaken by the County Council to keep people out of hospital and also the reablement work which enabled patients to return to their homes as quickly as possible after receiving treatment in hospital.  He also expressed the view that one Acute Trust for Staffordshire could work well and he stressed the need for the various partners, including the Health and Wellbeing Board and the Clinical Commissioning Groups,  to work together to improve the health of Staffordshire residents.  Mr Atkins concluded by indicating that, in his view, the model proposed by the Administrators was unsustainable and that the County Council needed to work together with its partners in the health sector to come up with something better.

 

High Speed Rail 2 Phase One: Consultation Response

(Paragraph 2.1 of the Statement)

 

Several Members spoke in support of the County Council’s stance on HS2 including the support it was giving to Staffordshire communities who would be adversely affected by the project, its proposals to mitigate the impact of the new railway line on the local environment in Staffordshire and its support for fair compensation to be paid to those individuals directly affected by HS2.

 

Ms Peaple expressed concern at the spiralling costs of the scheme and suggested that the government should not issue HS2 with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Notices of Motion

Mr M Sutton to move the following motion:-

 

This Council supports the Police and Crime Commissioner’s (PCC) strategy ‘Safer, Fairer, United Communities for Staffordshire 2013-2018’ and the overwhelming (89% overall) support it has received from the public.

 

We welcome in particular the four priorities;

 

·        Early Intervention

·        Supporting Victims and Witnesses

·        Managing Offenders and

·        Public Confidence

We look forward to working with the PCC, the public and partners in developing and delivering operational plans to make a real and sustained difference to reducing crime and anti-social behaviour and improving community safety in Staffordshire.”

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mr Sutton moved, and Mr Tagg seconded, the following motion:-

 

“This Council supports the Police and Crime Commissioner’s (PCC) strategy ‘Safer, Fairer, United Communities for Staffordshire 2013-2018’ and the overwhelming (89% overall) support it has received from the public.

 

We welcome in particular the four priorities;

 

·        Early Intervention

·        Supporting Victims and Witnesses

·        Managing Offenders and

·        Public Confidence

We look forward to working with the PCC, the public and partners in developing and delivering operational plans to make a real and sustained difference to reducing crime and anti-social behaviour and improving community safety in Staffordshire.”

 

Mr Adamson expressed concern that the PCC had announced, at a recent meeting in Cannock, plans to reduce the number of Police Officers in Staffordshire despite saying 12 months ago that he would increase their number.  Mr Adamson also indicated that he welcomed the extension of partnership working with the police and cited the example of the Police moving into office accommodation at the Civic Offices in Cannock.  He also indicated that, although crime rates continued to fall, the fear of crime did not.

 

Several Members spoke in support of the motion.  Mr Parry welcomed the PCC’s proposals to put resources into frontline policing and his intention to work with partners around sharing back office functions.

 

Mr Taylor expressed concern at the delivery arrangements for the Plan.  He also asked how the Police would be working differently to reduce the risk of children being abused or, potentially, being killed in Staffordshire.  Mr Adams responded by indicating that he had a lot of confidence in the Plan.  He cited examples of where the Police was working with partners to safeguard young people such as through the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).  Mr Adams also outlined the importance of the partners working together around early intervention and tackling underlying issues.  He also welcomed the PCC’s commitment to work with local Community Safety Partnerships.

 

Mr Tagg welcomed the initiatives that had been introduced by the PCC including the drive to reduce the number of targets, the free policing of community events, the road safety “crackdown” on insurance dodgers, the launch of the Police Cadets Scheme and the “Let’s Talk” events.

 

In responding to the debate, Mr Sutton informed the Council that, with regard to child abuse and child exploitation, on 2 December 2013 there was to be a Community Safety Day where Members would have an opportunity to see “Chelsea’s Choice”, a play produced by a professional drama company using young adults to portray a really difficult message.  He added that the play was being rolled out to all Year 8 pupils across Staffordshire.

 

Following a vote, the Chairman declared the motion carried.

 

RESOLVED That this Council supports the Police and Crime Commissioner’s (PCC) strategy ‘Safer, Fairer, United Communities for Staffordshire 2013-2018’ and the overwhelming (89% overall) support it has received from the public.

 

We welcome in particular the four priorities;

 

·        Early Intervention

 

·        Supporting Victims and Witnesses

 

·        Managing Offenders and

 

·        Public Confidence

 

We look forward to working with the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Recommendations to the Council

Report of the Director of Democracy, Law and Transformation

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a) Independent Remuneration Panel Appointment

 

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.   

 

The County Council, at its meeting 15 March 2013, extended the period of office for Ray Betteridge, Jane Landick, Gerald Griffin and Ian Starkie as members of the Independent Remuneration Panel for a further period of 12 months to 31 March 2014.  Arrangements therefore needed to be made to appoint new members to the Panel upon the expiry of the term of office of the current Panel members.

 

RESOLVED  (a) That the Audit and Standards Committee be requested to make the necessary arrangements to advertise the vacancies for the appointment of members of the Independent Remuneration Panel.

 

(b) That the Audit and Standards Committee be given delegated authority to appoint a special committee of five members to select the prefered candidates to fill the vacancies on the Independent Remuneration Panel.

 

(c) That the Special Committee consist of five members of the Audit and Standards Committee to be nominated by the Leaders of the Controlling group and the Major Minority group on the Council.

 

(b) Staffordshire County Council Constitution –

Proposed amendments and additions

 

Members were informed that the Audit and Standards Committee had made recommendations for changes to the County Council’s constitution in respect of the following:

 

·         Proposed amendments to the Scheme of Delegation to the Director for Place and Deputy Chief Executive

·         Establishment of a Charities and Trusts Committee

·         The Countryside and Rights of Way Panel and the Quorum for Sub-Committees/Panels

 

RESOLVED - That:

 

(a)   the recommendations of the Audit and Standards Committee meeting on 16 September 2013 in relation to the following be approved:

 

(i)            The Scheme of Delegation to the Director for Place and Deputy Chief Executive

 

(ii)          The establishment of a Charities and Trusts Committee

 

(iii)         Amendments to the Constitution in relation to the Countryside and Rights of Way Panel and the quorum for Sub-Committees/Panels

 

That Council appoint 5 members to serve on the Charities and Trust Committee and that the appointment of those Members be delegated to the Chief Executive in consultation with the Group Leaders.

8.

Report of the Chairman of the Staffordshire Police and Crime Panel

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman of the Staffordshire Police and Crime Panel outlined the role of Panel, how it was constituted and its powers.

 

He added that the Panel had been consulted on the Police and Crime Plan for Staffordshire and the Police and Crime Commissioner had taken on Board the Panel’s response.  He also indicated that the Panel had completely endorsed the principles set out in the Plan.

 

RESOLVED – That the Periodic Report of the Staffordshire Police and Crime Panel be received.

9.

Report of the Chairman of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority informed the Council that the FBU strike was still to be resolved.

 

Ms Woodward welcomed the news that work had commenced on Chase Terrace Fire Station following the final close of the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) 2.

 

RESOLVED – That the Periodic Report of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority be received.

10.

Questions

Questions to be asked by Members of the County Council of the Leader of the Council, a Cabinet Member, or a Chairman of a non-Scrutiny 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 C. Cooke asked the following question of the Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing whose reply is set out below the question:-

 

Question

 

Given that -

 

·         it was well over 60 years ago that it was decided that water fluoridation at 1 part per million was the “optimum” level for preventing cavities in children; 

·         since that time most toothpaste now has an added fluoride content of around 1,500 parts per million;

·         American Health Authorities have now reduced the recommended fluoridation content of its water supplies from 1 part per million to 0.7 parts per million and is also recommending that babies are not fed fluoridated water;

·         Ireland also has reduced its water fluoride levels to 0.7 parts per million;

·         hexofluorosalicic acid, the chemical used to fluoridate, is a dangerous industrial waste product, itself with up to 2% heavy metal pollutants, and is a poison listed in Part 2 of the Poisons Act 1972;

·         fluoride these days is found to be in much greater quantities than previously suspected in the environment, with up to 180 parts per million in non-organic UK food as a result of fluoride-containing pesticides being used;

·         all sides are now agreed that fluoride only works – if it works at all – topically on the surface of the tooth and not through ingestion; 

 

and given the resulting undisputed health problems of dental and skeletal fluorosis as well as many other disputed health concerns; now that fluoridation has become the competency and responsibility of this County Council, will the Health Portfolio holder assure me that he will review, or will initiate a Council review, of the estimated £200,000 this council will spend each year on this water fluoridation programme in Tamworth and South Staffordshire with a view to either following the USA and Ireland into reducing the level of water fluoridation, or to possibly using the money elsewhere in other dental health interventions that can be better targeted towards population needs?

 

Reply

 

Overall 5 year olds in Staffordshire County continue to enjoy some of the best dental health in England.

 

Water supplies in Southern Staffordshire have been fluoridated since the mid to late 1980s.

 

5 year olds living in Cannock Chase, Tamworth and East Staffordshire enjoy better dental health than the England average – in contrast to some of their general health ratings. 

 

497,000 people in the south and east of Staffordshire are supplied with fluoridated water at a cost of c£200k – 40 pence per person per year.

 

There is no evidence that alternative methods of reducing dental decay levels would be as effective or as cost-effective as this water fluoridation scheme.

 

Fluoridated water works both systemically and topically; water fluoridation is more effective especially for high risk communities as it does not require behaviour change.  It has been shown to have a positive impact on reducing inequalities in dental health. 

 

There is no evidence of the harmful effects from water fluoridation raised by Councillor Cooke.  The 2011 European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Petitions

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a) Green Lane, Whitgreave

 

Mr Chapman presented a petition from local residents in Whitgreave concerning the poor state of the road surfaces in the parish and, in particular, along Green Lane.

 

(b) Little Aston Lane, Little Aston

 

Mr Smith presented a petition from residents objecting to speeding traffic and lorries using Little Aston Lane, Little Aston.