Agenda and minutes

County Council
Thursday, 14th December, 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

48.

Declarations of Interest under Standing Order 16

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest on this occasion.

49.

Confirmation of the minutes of the Council meeting held on 12 October 2017 pdf icon PDF 389 KB

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Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting of the County Council held on 12 October 2017 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman.

50.

Chairman's Correspondence

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

County Councillor Robert Marshall

 

The Council were informed of the death on the evening of Wednesday, 1 November 2017 of County Councillor Robert Marshall.  Mr Marshall was elected to the Council in May 1997 and represented the Codsall (South Staffordshire) Electoral Division. He served on a number of the Council’s Committees including the Environment Scrutiny Committee, Social Care Scrutiny Committee, Corporate Policy Scrutiny and Performance Committee, Safe and Strong Communities Select Committee and the Audit and Standards Committee.  He also served as Chairman of the Pensions Committee and the Staffordshire Health and Wellbeing Board.  He was appointed to the Cabinet in 2009 as the Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Infrastructure and again in 2013 as the Cabinet Member for Health, Care and Wellbeing.

 

Honorary Alderman Elsie Ashley OBE JP

 

The Chairman also informed Members of the recent death of Honorary Alderman Elsie Ashley OBE JP.  Mrs Ashley represented the former Westlands (Newcastle-under-Lyme) Electoral Division on the County Council between 1973 and 1997.  During her 24 years as a Member of the Authority, she served on a number of the Council’s Committees including the Planning Committee, Fire and Public Protection Committee, Education Committee, Police Committee and Policy and Resources Committee.  Mrs Ashley was appointed as an Honorary Alderman in 1999.

 

Members paid tribute to the contributions Mr Marshall and Mrs Ashley 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.

51.

Statement of the Leader of the Council pdf icon PDF 371 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.

 

Staffordshire’s Mental Health Challenge

(Paragraph 1 of the Statement)

 

Mrs Woodward indicated that she welcomed the appointment of Mrs Edgeller as the Council’s Mental Health Champion and expressed the view that there should also be a staff champion so that Council officers facing mental health issues were not disadvantaged in any way.  In response, Mrs Edgeller stated that she would request  all Members of the Council to make life better for those with mental health issues by, for example, speaking to schools and major employers within their division to ensure that appropriate arrangements to assist pupils and employees with mental health issues were in place.  She added that one in four people would suffer from depression at some point in their lives.  Mrs Edgeller also asked that all Members become “dementia friendly” and, with this in mind, two training opportunities were to be arranged.

 

Staffordshire’s Libraries Strategy

(Paragraph 2 of the Statement)

 

Mrs Compton and Mrs Beech referred to the possible introduction of self-service libraries and the re-modelling of the mobile library service.  In response Mr Adams indicated that, despite the financial pressures facing the Council, it had kept all its libraries open whereas a number of other Councils had chosen to close some of their libraries.  He added that library usage was changing and that the library service needed to evolve.  Mr Atkins added that the consultation on the future of the library service was on-going and that, with regard to self-service libraries, technologies were available to ensure the safety of library users including through the use of CCTV and fingerprint recognition.

 

Mr Smith also referred to the success of the community library in Shenstone which had seen an increase in the number of users.

 

Staffordshire Transforming Care Partnership Financial Update

(Paragraph 3 of the Statement)

 

In response to questions from Mrs Atkins and Mrs Woodward concerning what plans the County Council had for developing more community based services, including supported housing, for people with learning disabilities, Mr Alan White indicated that the Council was continuing to work with the district and borough councils with a view to increasing the provision of supported housing. Mr Atkins added that there was still a long way to go but there was some really good work going on across the County.  He also indicated that the County Council was continuing to work with partners in both the local government and health sectors to improve provision.

 

Second Quarter Budget Monitoring Report

(Paragraph 4 of the Statement)

 

Mrs Atkins enquired whether the County Council had received Government approval to be one of the pilot authorities in relation to the retention of Business Rates.  In response, Mr Atkins indicated that the County Council would be around £10m better off if the County Council’s application to be part of the pilot scheme were to go ahead.

 

Quarter 2 2017/18 Performance Report

(Paragraph 5 of the Statement)

 

In  ...  view the full minutes text for item 51.

52.

Recommendations to the Council

Additional documents:

52a

High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill pdf icon PDF 226 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council were informed that the High Speed Rail (West Midlands to Crewe) Bill was deposited to Parliament on 17 July 2017, supported by a full Environmental Statement (ES). This was open for consultation until 30 September 2017. The County Council led a comprehensive joint response with affected District and Borough Councils. Views of Parish Councils and other key stakeholders were also taken into account where possible.

 

Second reading of the Bill was likely to occur in early 2018, triggering a petitioning period in the House of Commons. It was not possible at this stage to object to the principle of the scheme; however it was recommended that the County Council petition the Bill in order to secure optimal mitigation for Staffordshire. A number of potential key petitioning points had been identified, including:

 

·         The potential to lower the vertical alignment of the railway as it passes by Kings Bromley on viaduct.

·         Proper assessment of the potential to join Whitmore and Bar Hill tunnels, avoiding a range of impacts including loss of ancient woodland.

·         Ensuring maximum mitigation for the railhead/maintenance depot at Stone, including consideration of noise, visual impact, and transport planning issues.

·         Petitioning on alternative or improved construction routes where these are unacceptable in safety or capacity terms.

·         Ensuring proper mitigation and restoration for the borrow pits proposed in Lichfield and Newcastle.

·         A range of ecological, archaeological, landscape and Public Rights of Way matters.

 

The petitioning process was likely to closely follow that for Phase One, with a period of negotiation following submission of a petition. This may, if successful, result in reaching an agreement prior to a Select Committee appearance. If not the County Council would have to appear in front of Select Committee to present its case.

 

RESOLVED(a) That the Council acknowledge the work undertaken to date on Phase One.

 

(b) That in the judgement of the Council it is expedient for the Council to petition the High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill deposited in the 2017-19 session of Parliament.

 

(c) That the Council authorise the Cabinet Member for Economic Growth along with the Director for Economy, Infrastructure and Skills to develop the scope of the County Council’s petition to Parliament and take all necessary steps to carry the foregoing Resolution into effect.

 

(d) That the Council acknowledge the sum of £210,000 which has been allocated across 2017-18 and 2018-19 to the HS2 budget in order for the Council to petition the High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill.

 

The Chairman adjourned the meeting until 2:00 pm.

 

Present at 2:00 pm:

 

Ben Adams

Charlotte Atkins

Philip Atkins, OBE

David Brookes

Gill Burnett

Ron Clarke

Maureen Compton

John Cooper

Mark Deaville

Alan Dudson

Ann Edgeller

Helen Fisher

John Francis

Colin Greatorex Michael Greatorex

Phil Hewitt

Jill Hood

Syed Hussain

Keith James

Julia Jessel

Bryan Jones

Dave Jones

Jason Jones

Ian Lawson

Johnny McMahon

Paul Northcott

Kath Perry

Bernard Peters

Kyle Robinson David Smith

52b

Proposed Changes to the Constitution – Decision Making Structure for Property Related Matters - Property Sub-Committee of Cabinet and Officer Scheme of Delegation pdf icon PDF 103 KB

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Minutes:

Members were informed that the Leader of the Council had recently approved the establishment of a Property Sub-Committee of Cabinet to:

 

·         Exercise full delegated executive powers to consider and make decisions on all land and property transactions where the County Council has an interest and the value of the transaction is between £200,000 and £2million (transactions above £2million value are considered by full Cabinet).

 

·         To advise the Cabinet on the contents of the property strategy for the use of land and property in which the County Council has an interest including Economic Regeneration Sites, County Farms and Enterprise Centres.

 

The Sub-Committee membership was comprised of the Leader, the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Members for Commercial and Economic Growth. In addition the Cabinet Support Member for Learning and Employability would be invited to attend and participate in all meetings but would not have the right to vote.

 

The creation of the Sub-Committee and the band of £200,000 - £2million value on transactions which the Sub-Committee would consider had resulted in the need to also review the Officer Scheme of Delegation in relation to property matters.

 

RESOLVED – That the establishment of a Property Sub-Committee of Cabinet be noted and that the amendments to the Officer Scheme of Delegation (as set out in Appendix 3 to the report) be approved.

53.

Changes to Committee Memberships

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council indicated that he wished to nominate Colin Greatorex as Chairman of the Pensions Committee and David Williams as Vice-Chairman of the Corporate Review Committee.

 

In response to a question from Mrs Woodward as to whether Mr Greatorex would continue as Chairman of the MTFS Working Group, Mr Atkins indicated that this was a matter for the Corporate Review Committee to decide.

 

Mrs Woodward also informed the Council that Ann Beech had been appointed as the opposition lead on Prosperous Staffordshire Select Committee (in place of Maureen Compton who was to continue to take a lead role on Arts/Culture).

 

RESOLVED– That the following recommendations of the Leader of the Council relating to changes in Committee membership be approved

 

(a) That Colin Greatorex be appointed as Chairman of the Pensions Committee.

 

(b) That David Williams be appointed as Vice-Chairman of the Corporate Review Committee.

54.

Report of the Chairman of the Staffordshire Police and Crime Panel pdf icon PDF 183 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In response to a question from Mr Clarke as to whether the Police and Crime Panel had supported the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Business Case for the adoption of the Governance Model for collaboration between the Police and Fire and Rescue Services in Staffordshire primarily to secure the additional 40-70 frontline Police Officers promised by the PCC, Mr Williams indicated that the Panel had given very careful consideration to the Business Case and had concluded that the Governance Model was the best option.

 

In response to a question from Mr Dudson concerning the scrutiny of the PCC, Mrs Edgeller indicated that, in her view, the PCC was scrutinised effectively by the Panel.

 

RESOLVEDThat the report be received.

55.

Report of the Chairman of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority pdf icon PDF 147 KB

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Minutes:

The Council were informed that, in summer 2017, HMIC took on inspections of England’s fire and rescue services.  To reflect this new role, the Inspectorate’s name had changed to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Service (HMICFRS). HMICFRS would be carrying out inspections of all 45 fire and rescue services over the next two years and the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Service was one of three Services who were to be included in a “trial” inspection in the Spring.

 

RESOLVEDThat the report be received.

56.

Questions pdf icon PDF 193 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:

Mrs Compton asked the following question of the Cabinet Member for Economic Growth whose reply is set out below the question:-

 

Question

 

Given General Electric’s statement on Thursday, 7th December that they are restructuring their business and that many jobs at Stafford could be lost, what is Staffordshire County Council going to do to assist those who face redundancy at Christmas?

 

Reply

 

The County Council, along with partners, will be doing all we can in the coming weeks to support those affected by the GE announcement.  We are already working with Stafford Borough Council, DWP Jobcentre Plus and a number of other key agencies to form a ‘Task Force’ to ensure appropriate timely support is put in place.  The Borough Council has agreed to lead the ‘Task Force’ and the first meeting is scheduled for the 16 January 2018.

 

DWP Jobcentre Plus has a rapid response service and this will be engaged once GE has submitted the HR1 redundancy notification to DWP.  GE has entered a 90 day consultation on the proposed redundancies.

 

There is a specialist response to redundancy programme commissioned by the LEP and funded via ESF and this service plus others such as the National Careers Service will be used alongside the DWP’s rapid response service.  These services will help to redeploy, retrain, upskill and signpost people to new employment opportunities ensuring support is available to the individuals affected and their families.

 

These services will address the effects of job losses on individuals and on the local community by helping people move rapidly into alternative employment without the need to claim welfare benefits.

 

The support is managed by Jobcentre Plus and delivered with the aforementioned partners.  Decisions are made locally about the appropriate support drawing together local partners to deliver support tailored to the needs of the situation.

 

Rapid Response Service support is available through the notice period and for 13 weeks after, irrespective of whether a claim for benefit is made.

 

The support offered by Jobcentre Plus and partners can include:

 

Øconnecting people to jobs in the labour market;

Ømatching people facing redundancy to known job vacancies;

Øhelping people to construct a CV;

Øhelping people to enhance their job search skills;

Øproviding general information about benefits;

Øhelping people to identify their transferable skills and training needs;

Øproviding job-focused training to help people develop additional vocational skills;

Øhelping to meet discretionary costs e.g. travel to work expenses; and for large redundancies potential for on-site services to promote jobs or to take benefit claims.

 

Getting the right information in a timely manner is essential and the above services will provide the appropriate support to individuals by signposting them to sources of help, support and advice. This might be how to find a new job, improve skills, find out about benefits that individuals may be entitled to, to ease money worries, or coping with the emotional pressure of being made redundant.

 

Supplementary Question

 

With regard to your point about securing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 56.

57.

Petitions

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

High Street, Halmer End

 

Mrs Woodward (on behalf of Mrs Beech) presented a petition from residents of Halmer End calling on the County Council to repair and resurface Halmer End High Street and the adjacent pavements.

 

 

 

Chairman