Agenda and minutes

County Council
Thursday, 20th July, 2017 10.00 am

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

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

Media

Items
No. Item

22.

Declarations of Interest under Standing Order 16

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest on this occasion.

23.

Confirmation of the minutes of the Annual Council meeting held on 25 May 2017 pdf icon PDF 499 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mrs Woodward referred to paragraph 8 of the minutes and indicated that the additional cost of the Special Responsibility Allowances was quoted as £29,687 whereas in the Addendum to the Interim Annual Report by the Independent Remuneration Panel it was shown as £31,780.  In response, the Director of Strategy, Governance and Change undertook to send to all Members a detailed breakdown showing how the figures were calculated.

 

Mr C Greatorex referred to minute number 7 and indicated that, at the meeting, Members had also paid tribute to Terry Finn, Frank Chapman and Mike Lawrence and that the minutes should be amended to reflect this.

 

RESOLVED – That, subject to the amendments referred to above, the minutes of the meeting of the County Council held on 25 May 2017 be confirmed.

24.

Chairman's Correspondence

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

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Minutes:

 

County Councillor Graham Burnett

 

The Council were informed of the recent death of County Councillor Graham Burnett.

 

Mr Burnett was elected to the Council in May 2017 and represented the Hednesford and Rawnsley (Cannock Chase) Electoral Division on the County Council.

 

Former County Councillor Dylis Cornes

 

The Council were also informed of the recent death of former County Councillor Dylis Cornes.

 

Mrs Cornes represented the Audley and Chesterton (Newcastle) Electoral Division on the County Council between 2009 and 2013.

 

She served on a number of the Council’s Committees including the Health Scrutiny Committee, the Social Care Scrutiny Committee and the Safeguarding Scrutiny Committee.

 

Members paid tribute to the contributions Mrs Cornes and Mr Burnett had made to the work of the Council, and the District/Borough Council’s on which they had also served, and observed a one minute’s silence in their memory.

 

The Chairman moved that the order of business be varied by taking items 6 and 7 on the agenda before item 5.

25.

Consideration of Petition - Save Leek Moorlands Hospital. Stop the Closure of Community Hospitals pdf icon PDF 250 KB

In accordance with the County Councils’ petitions scheme, to consider the petition – “Save Leek Moorlands Hospital. Stop the Closure of Community Hospitals.”

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members were informed that under the Council’s Petition Scheme any petition that exceeded 5,000 valid signatures automatically triggered a debate at the next available Council meeting. 

 

A petition had been received stating:  “Save Leek Moorlands Hospital. Stop the Closure of Community Hospitals”.  The petition consisted of a paper petition and an e-petition with a total number of valid signatures in access of 23,000.

 

Mrs P. Wood, as Chair of the Save Leek Hospital Action Group and spokesperson for the petitioners, outlined the reasons for the petition which included:

 

·         The need to stop the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) from down-grading health care in North Staffordshire and the systematic closure of Community Hospitals.

·         The North Staffordshire CCG was no longer fit for purpose.

·         The CCG had some of the worst waiting times in England for people attending Accident and Emergency Departments.

·         There was a severe problem with bed-blocking.

·         The CCG had a severe financial overspend.

·         The CCG closed Longton Hospital and was then forced to re-open it at short notice.

·         The CCG failed to adequately staff the recently up-graded minor injuries clinic at Leek Hospital.

·         The CCG had invested heavily in the building which they now wished to close.

 

In responding to the petition Mr. White moved, and Mrs Atkins seconded, the following motion:

 

“This council welcomes the petition and understands residents’ concerns and will press the Clinical Commissioning Group to communicate and consult with residents and address their concerns.”

 

Following a debate, during which Members expressed their support for the motion, it was:

 

RESOLVEDThis council welcomes the petition and understands residents’ concerns and will press the Clinical Commissioning Group to communicate and consult with residents and address their concerns.

26.

Notices of Motion

Mrs C. Atkins to move the following motion:

This Council recognises the vital role played by Leek Moorlands and other Staffordshire community hospitals and urges our Clinical Commissioning Groups to reconsider their proposals to close our community hospitals against the wishes of local people.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mrs Atkins moved, and Mr D. Jones seconded, the following motion:

 

This Council recognises the vital role played by Leek Moorlands and other Staffordshire community hospitals and urges our Clinical Commissioning Groups to reconsider their proposals to close our community hospitals against the wishes of local people.

 

Mr White moved, and Mr Atkins seconded, the following amendment:

 

To delete all the words after “Clinical Commissioning Groups” and to replace them with the words “to look again at their proposals in relation to our community hospitals to make sure that they are in the best interests of patients and that the views of local residents have been heard.”

 

There then followed a debate during which Members raised a number of issues including:

 

·         The hospital was well used by the local community.

·         It would take five years to implement the proposals in Sustainability and Transformation Plan.

·         There was a shortage of GP’s in the area and, if the hospital was to close, there was not therefore the capacity to pick-up the additional work.

·         Leek Hospital was the furthest community hospital away from an Acute Hospital in the county.

·         The closure of the Hospital would put vulnerable people at risk and would increase pressures on home-based care.

·         It was more difficult to recruit care workers in rural areas.

·         The need for the public to engage with the CCGs.

·         The need to address the consequences of changing demographics and technological innovations.

·         The need to focus on services rather than buildings.

·         The important role played by community beds and extra-care facilities.

·         The need for communities to have Centres of Excellence.

·         The impact of proposed changes to NHS services elsewhere in the county.

·         The need to have capacity to cope with peaks in demand i.e. the winter pressures.

·         The role of the County Council in helping residents to stay healthy.

·         The need to use limited resources effectively and meet the needs of local people.

·         The need for CCG’s to improve engagement with service users.

·         The role of Members in being the voice of local people.

·         The CCG’s history of poor consultation.

 

Following a vote, it was:

 

RESOLVED - This Council recognises the vital role played by Leek Moorlands and other Staffordshire community hospitals and urges our Clinical Commissioning Groups to look again at their proposals in relation to our community hospitals to make sure that they are in the best interests of patients and that the views of local residents have been heard.

27.

Statement of the Leader of the Council pdf icon PDF 289 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

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Minutes:

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

 

Staffordshire Youth Offending Service Review

(Paragraph 2 of the Statement)

 

In response to a question from Mr Robinson in relation to the potential number of redundancies arising from the review of the Youth Offending Service, Mr Atkins indicated that, at this stage, the proposals were the subject of a consultation with stakeholders and that no decisions had yet been taken.  He added that the Council would be informed of the outcome of the consultation in due course.

 

Children’s and Families System Transformation

(Paragraph 3 of the Statement)

 

Mrs Woodward indicated that the transformation proposals would bring significant changes and asked if each of the local member priority meetings could receive an explanation of the impacts within their respective areas.  In response, Mr Sutton undertook to ensure that such briefings would be held.

 

Primary Alternative Education Provision

(Paragraph 4 of the Statement)

 

In response to a question from Mr Tagg, Mr Sutton indicated that previously there had not been provision in the County for children under the age of 11 to attend a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU).  The decision to extend the age range of the Lichfield PRU would ensure that such provision was available and that action could be taken to try to get excluded children back into mainstream education.

 

Mrs Woodward expressed a concern that the opening of a PRU for primary school aged children may prompt some schools to use the facility as a way of getting rid of a difficult pupil. In response, Mr Atkins indicated that a review would be undertaken to ensure that the PRU was being used appropriately.

 

Better Care Fund and Adult Social Care Grant

(Paragraph 5 of the Statement)

 

Mr D. Jones requested an update on the “Discharge to Assess” programme. In response, Mr White indicated that the programme was going well in North Staffordshire although there were some issues to be addressed in Stoke-on-Trent.

 

Ironman

(Paragraph 6 of the Statement)

 

In response to a question from Mr D. Jones, Mr Winnington agreed to provide him with details of the County Council’s costs associated with the sponsorship of Ironman events in Staffordshire.  He also agreed to provide Mrs Beech with details of the Council’s costs in supporting Staffordshire Day.  Mr Atkins added that the Ironman events had generated a lot of additional spend in the local economy.

 

The Chairman adjourned the meeting until 2:00 pm

 

Present at 2:00 pm:

 

 

Ben Adams

Charlotte Atkins

Philip Atkins, OBE

Ann Beech

David Brookes

Ron Clarke

Tina Clements

Maureen Compton

John Cooper

Mike Davies

Derek Davis, OBE

Mark Deaville

Janet Eagland

Ann Edgeller

Helen Fisher

Keith Flunder

John Francis

Colin Greatorex Michael Greatorex

Gill Heath

Phil Hewitt

Syed Hussain

Keith James

Julia Jessel

Trevor Johnson

Jason Jones

Ian Lawson

Alastair Little

Robert Marshall

Johnny McMahon

Paul Northcott

Jeremy Oates

Ian Parry

Kath Perry

Jeremy Pert

Bernard Peters

Jonathan Price  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.

28.

Local Business Case for Joint Governance of Police and Fire and Rescue in Staffordshire pdf icon PDF 268 KB

To consider the County Council’s response to the Stakeholder Consultation on the Business Case for Joint Governance of Police and Fire and Rescue in Staffordshire.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a report of the Director of Strategy, Governance and Change regarding the consultation on the Business Case proposing that the Police and Crime Commissioner takes on the functions of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority.

 

Members noted that The Policing and Crime Act 2017 received Royal Assent on 31 January 2017 and contained, among other things, a statutory duty for emergency services to collaborate and the opportunity for Police and Crime Commissioners to make a local case for taking on responsibility for the governance of their Fire and Rescue Services. 

 

The Act offered three options for future governance:

 

·         A Representation Model: which enabled the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) to have representation on their local Fire and Rescue Authority (FRA) with voting rights, where the local FRA agrees;

·         A Governance Model: where the Police and Crime Commissioner takes on the functions of the FRA;

·         A Single Employer Model: where a Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) takes on the responsibilities of their local FRA, further enabling him or her to create a single employer for police and fire personnel.

 

Where a PCC proposed to adopt either the Governance or Single Employer models, the PCC must demonstrate, through a local business case, that a change in governance is in the interests of economy, efficiency and effectiveness; or of public safety.

 

Staffordshire’s PCC was looking to maximise the possible synergies between local police and fire and rescue services, potentially by taking on responsibility for the governance of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service. He had therefore commissioned an independent business case which considered whether a change to the governance of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service would be in the interests of economy, efficiency and effectiveness; or public safety.

 

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

 

That the county council involve all Members in looking carefully at this business case by –

 

(i) using the Safe and Strong Communities Select and Corporate Review Committees to review the Business Case for Joint Governance of Police and Fire and Rescue in Staffordshire, consult with stakeholders and report thereon to the Full Council at its meeting on 12 October 2017.

 

(ii) to seek an extension to the consultation period until 20 October 2017 to fit with the Council’s cycle of meetings and, if that is not possible, to request the Chairman to call a special council meeting at the beginning of September, so the county council can consider the Safe and Strong Communities Select and Corporate Review Committees recommendations on the Council’s response to the Consultation on the Business Case.

 

Mr Davis requested that all Members of the Council be invited to the meeting of the Safe and Strong Communities Select and Corporate Review Committees to make their representations on the proposals.  Mr Atkins confirmed that Members would be invited to submit their evidence to the Committees.

 

Mr Francis, Mr Cooper, Mr Robinson and Mr Sweeney expressed their support for the motion.  Mr Francis added that a special  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.

29.

Recommendations to Council

Additional documents:

29a

Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) Asset Pooling pdf icon PDF 184 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a report of the Director of Strategy, Governance and Change regarding proposed amendments to the County Council’s constitution to clarify that the Director of Finance and Resources and the Director of Strategy, Governance and Change have the delegated authority to make all of the required decisions in relation to the formation, ongoing operation of and all other dealings in connection with the LGPS Asset Pooling arrangements (including, but not limited to, entering into all of the necessary legal agreements relating to this project).

 

They were informed that at the Council meeting on 23 March 2017 it was resolved that certain changes would be made to the County Council’s constitution to (amongst other things) empower the Director of Finance and Resources and the Director of Strategy, Governance and Change to enter into the Shareholder’s Agreement and the Inter Authority Agreement in relation to the new Pensions Pooling arrangements. 

 

It was noted that there would be other legal agreements which would need to be entered into from time to time and decisions which would need to be made in relation the above Pensions Pooling arrangements.  It was therefore necessary to clarify that the above officers would be empowered to take all actions and make all decisions in relation to those arrangements.

 

Mr Marshall and Mr C. Greatorex expressed their support for the recommendations contained in the report.

 

RESOLVED – That the County Council’s constitution be amended to clarify that the Director of Finance and Resources and the Director of Strategy, Governance and Change have the delegated authority to make all of the required decisions in relation to the formation, ongoing operation of and all other dealings in connection with the LGPS Asset Pooling arrangements (including, but not limited to, entering into all of the necessary legal agreements relating to this project).

29b

Procurement Regulations pdf icon PDF 212 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered recommendations of the Audit and Standards Committee seeking the Council’s approval to revised Procurement Regulations for inclusion within the Constitution.

 

It was noted that the procurement regulations were last updated in 2011 and that the following things had led to a review of the regulations:

 

           The enactment of the Public Contract Regulations 2015

           A number of audit report observations

           The imminent introduction of a new financial management system

 

In addition, a number of system and process improvements had been implemented since the creation of a corporate commercial unit within the Council and these improvements were formalised in the revised regulations.

 

RESOLVED – That the revised Procurement Regulations (Appendix 1 to the report considered by the Council) be approved for inclusion within the Constitution.

29c

Independent Remuneration Panel - Addendum to the Interim Annual Report 2017-18 pdf icon PDF 127 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members were informed that, as resolved by the Council at its meeting on 23 March 2017, the Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP) met to reconsider the scheme for recommendation to the new Council following the Annual Meeting in May, with a view to proposing such changes as concluded to be appropriate to the structure of the new Council.

The new Council had made some considerable changes affecting the availability of Special Responsibility Allowances (SRAs).

Whilst the scheme had foreseen the possibility of a number of Cabinet Support Members there would now be three levels rather than one, i.e. –

 

·         Three Cabinet Support Members with specific portfolios.

·         Four Cabinet Support Members to chair and lead the All Party Member Groups.

  • Eight Community Cabinet Support Members to support the Cabinet Member for Communities

This had resulted in an increase in the availability of SRAs by twelve. 

It was noted that the results of the elections were such that there was no longer the need to provide a minority opposition leader allowance and a decision to limit the majority opposition allowances to Leader, Deputy Leader and one shadow cabinet SRA [which was to be shared between three members].  This resulted in a reduction of five SRAs.

Mrs Woodward indicated that the number of available SRAs remained a considerable concern to the Panel, with the changes resulting in an increase in cost of the member allowances of £31,780. She expressed her disappointment that the Panel did not intend to make further recommendations for the scheme in 2017/18.  Mrs Woodward also indicated that it was understood that a system of self-appraisal was being introduced for members of the Conservative Group and she confirmed that members of her Group would also be participating in the scheme.  She concluded by expressing her disappointment that she had not been contacted by the Eight Community Cabinet Support Members or by the four Cabinet Support Members in relation to the proposals to establish All Party Member Groups.

It was noted that, after some deliberation, the Panel concluded that, in part, these new arrangements were so different from those previously in place that there was a need to allow them to be established and to show their worth prior to any further review. Bearing in mind the points detailed above, the Panel had expressed the view that the existing scheme remained fit for purpose in the short term.

The Panel had also indicated their intension to review the effectiveness of those members undertaking new arrangements and the increased workloads and responsibilities for which the SRAs were paid. They also intended to review the level of allowances payable to the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Council as part of the 2018-19 report.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be received.

30.

Outcomes of Overview and Scrutiny Work: November 2016 - May 2017 pdf icon PDF 307 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a report which provided an overview of scrutiny work undertaken between November 2016 and May 2017, highlighting how scrutiny had added value to the democratic process.

 

Mr Brookes recorded his thanks to former County Councillor Philip Jones for the contribution he had made during the time he had served as Chairman of the Corporate Review Committee.

 

Mrs Woodward commended the report to Members and referred to the value which Scrutiny had added to the work of the Council.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be received.

31.

Committee Membership and Appointment of Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of Committees

Oral Report of the Leader of the County Council

Additional documents:

Minutes:

On the motion of the Leader of the Council, it was:

 

RESOLVED – (a) That Ben Adams be appointed as Vice-Chairman of the Planning Committee in place of Paul Snape

 

(b) That Paul Snape be appointed to the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority in place of Graham Burnett.

32.

Report of the Chairman of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority pdf icon PDF 167 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In moving the consideration of his report, Mr Sweeney commended the progress of the Community Sprinkler project.  Mr Robinson expressed the view that the Government should be urged to make additional funding available to enable sprinkler systems to be installed in local authority housing stock.

 

Members also discussed the Grenfell Tower Fire and the Fire and Rescue Authority’s resolution of 13 July 2017 to urge the Government to undertake a detailed review of all the circumstances which led to the fire with a view to establishing a fire safety routine, guidance and, if necessary, legislation that would reduce the prospects of a similar incident occurring in the future.

 

RESOLVEDThat the report be received.

33.

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 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:

Mrs Atkins asked the following question of the Cabinet Member for Health, Care and Wellbeing whose reply is set out below the question:-

 

Question

 

What is the outcome of the Review into the support for the maintenance and repair of fixed disability equipment?

 

Reply

 

Following the resolution of the Full Council at their meeting on 16 February 2017 calling on the Cabinet to review its decision regarding the costs of maintaining fixed equipment to assist people with disabilities in their own homes, we have reviewed the options available to the Council and discussed these with equipment maintenance companies.

 

We believe that we will be able to offer equipment maintenance to Staffordshire residents at a discounted price for new customers and at a subsidised rate for existing customers for a transition period. I expect to make a final Cabinet Member Delegated Decision in early August.

 

We have written to all existing customers in March to update them about the progress of the review.

 

The District Council are working on a new pathway for providing equipment and home modifications funded by Disabled Facilities Grants. We anticipate that this will be in place from April 2018. This will clearly set out the offer to new customers as well as their own responsibilities for ongoing maintenance at the point at which equipment is provided.

 

Supplementary Question

 

Will the County Council be retaining the ownership of this disability equipment and, if so, what will the County Council do if families do not maintain the equipment, remembering that most people who live with a disability are on low incomes?

 

Reply

 

I will find out the answer and will get back to you.

 

Mr. Hussain asked the following question of the Cabinet Support Member for Highways whose reply is set out below the question:-

 

Question

 

Can the Cabinet Support Member tell me what the total net budget for Highways maintenance has been for each of the past 5 years?

 

Reply

 

The revenue budget for highway maintenance covers a wide range of day to day highway management activities. Just over 50% of the budget covers activities like:

 

·      Reactive pot hole repairs;

·      Gully emptying;

·      Grass cutting; and

·      Winter gritting operations.

 

The other half of the highway maintenance revenue budget is ring-fenced to finance the 25-year Street Lighting renewal (PFI) contract and the associated annual energy bill.

 

The total net Revenue Budget for Highway Maintenance in each of the last 5 years is as follows:

 

·      2013/14     £25.5m

·      2014/15     £23.9m

·      2015/16     £22.2m

·      2016/17     £21.7m

·      2017/18     £21.9m

 

Between 2013/14 and 2017/18 this marks a reduction of £3.6m (14%). This is comparable with other budget pressures experienced by the County Council and reflected in the savings that have had to be made within the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS).

 

These savings are being managed through a combination of:

 

·      Improved durability provided across large parts of the network by the extra £50m investment made between 2009-2014;

·      Ongoing capital investment in preventative maintenance techniques, that reduces the pressure on revenue funded activities such as pothole  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.

34.

Petitions

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(i) Safe Walking Route from Rocester to Dove First and Ryecroft Middle Schools

 

Mr Atkins presented a petition from local residents supporting proposals for a safe walking route from Rocester to Dove First and Ryecroft Middle Schools.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chairman

 

35.

Exclusion of the Public

The Chairman of the Council will move the following motion so that the County Council can consider confidential business in private:-

 

“That the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business which involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the paragraphs of Part 1 of Schedule 12A (as amended) of the Local Government Act 1972 indicated below”.

 

 

PART TWO

(All reports in this section are on pink paper)

 

 

Additional documents: