Agenda and minutes

County Council
Thursday, 22nd March, 2018 10.00 am

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

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

Media

Items
No. Item

70.

Declarations of Interest under Standing Order 16

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest on this occasion.

71.

Confirmation of the minutes of the Council meeting held on 15 February 2018 pdf icon PDF 316 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That, subject to the inclusion of Mr Bryan Jones in the list of attendees, and Mr Worthington in the list of Members submitting apologies for absence, the minutes of the meeting of the County Council held on 15 February 2018 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman.

72.

Chairman's Correspondence

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman indicated that were no items of Chairman’s Correspondence on this occasion.

73.

Statement of the Leader of the Council pdf icon PDF 203 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.  In moving consideration of his Statement, the Leader circulated to Members the following additional item:

 

9. Gender Pay Gap

 

By the end of this month all large employers in England must by law publish a report on their Gender Pay Gap. It forms a major part of the Government’s work to eliminate the pay gap within a generation. Here at Staffordshire County Council we fully support the measure, the transparency it provides and how this will encourage employers to act faster to close the gap between men’s and women’s earnings. It is important to stress that this is not about equal pay. At the county council there is no difference between the pay of men and women employed in the same or equivalent roles. However, there is a difference between the average hourly pay of men and women employed here when looking at the entire workforce.

 

Our pay gap is 12% because we have more men employed in higher-paid senior roles. This is significantly lower than the national average of 17.4% and the average for the public sector of just under 18%. This is the result of our fair and consistent approach to pay, and how we encourage employees to take advantage of our family friendly policies and flexible working options. However we need to do more analysis to understand what is causing the pay gap here and what we can do to close it. As part of our strategic plan, we are currently developing a workforce strategy for the organisation – our staff remain our most important asset for delivering that plan - and this will look at what steps we can take, from promoting family-friendly policies to talent and succession planning, to ensure that everyone who works for us regardless of their gender, age or background, has the same opportunities to progress in their career.

 

Third Quarter Budget Monitoring Report 2017/18

(Paragraph 1 of the Statement)

 

In response to a questions from Mrs Woodward and Mr Adams in relation to implementing the new Children’s System and changes to HR Terms and Conditions, Mr Atkins confirmed that there had been delays in the implementation of the new Children’s System and revisions to HR Terms and Conditions but plans were in place to take these matters forward.  He also indicated that proposals were in place for the development of a new Workforce Strategy.

 

Quarter 3 2017/18 Performance Report

(Paragraph 2 of the Statement)

 

Mr Robinson, Mr Adams and Mr Atkins referred to school improvement and children’s attainment and the valuable role played by School Governors and teachers.

 

In response to a question from Mrs Atkins in relation to delayed transfers of care and whether the County Council was be able to meet the targets contained in the Better Care Fund, Mr Alan White indicated that the County Council was meeting with colleagues in the NHS to tackle this issue.

 

Mr Hussain  ...  view the full minutes text for item 73.

74.

Recommendations to the Council pdf icon PDF 389 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a) Treasury Management, Annual Investment and Minimum Revenue Provision Strategies 2018/19           

 

Members were informed that the management of the County Council’s cash flows and borrowing had a significant impact on the budget.  The Cabinet, at their meeting on 17 January 2018, approved the proposed strategies for the 2018/19 financial year.  Adoption of the Annual Investment Strategy (AIS) and the adoption of the Minimum Revenue Provision policy were, however, matters that were reserved for the Full Council to determine.

 

RESOLVEDThat, in accordance with the regulations:

 

(a) The Annual Investment Strategy (AIS) 2018/19 be adopted.

 

(b) That the Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) policy 2018/19 be adopted.

 

(b) 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 decisions on the nature and level of allowances were 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 on four occasions from October 2017 until the conclusion of its review of members’ allowances in January 2018.

 

As part of their deliberations and in response to feedback from Members of the Council, in addition to the Special Responsibility Allowance (SRA) for the Opposition Leader, the Panel proposed a change to the County Council’s Constitution to include three new roles of Opposition Select Committee Vice-Chairmen created from the single Shadow Cabinet Member Special Responsibility Allowance (SRA). Under these proposals, the Opposition Deputy Leader would hold a vice-chairmanship on the Corporate Review Select Committee and the three Opposition Select Committee posts would hold a vice-chairmanship on the Healthy Staffordshire Select Committee, Prosperous Staffordshire Select Committee and the Safe and Strong Communities Select Committee.

 

In their report, the Panel also proposed to the Council that the Chairman of the County Council, in consultation with the relevant group leader, be given delegated authority to increase the allowance paid to the Vice-Chairmen of a Committee to the level of the corresponding Chairman’s allowance if they were required to take on the responsibilities of the Chairman for a sustained period. The Special Responsibility Allowance paid to the Chairman of the Committee would be suspended during this period.

 

In addition to reviewing the SRA’s paid to members, the Panel also reviewed the allowances paid to the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the County Council and made recommendations thereon.

 

Mr Atkins moved, and Mr Alan White seconded, “That –

 

(i)    The Council’s thanks be extended to the Independent Remuneration Panel for their report.

 

(ii)  The Council accepts their recommendation for an increase in overall allowances of 1% in line with the NJC pay award to staff.

 

(iii)That, as the Council is minded that the new Executive arrangements are still relatively new and that it is at this point in time premature to make changes to the levels of remuneration,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 74.

75.

Report of the Chairman of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority pdf icon PDF 112 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVEDThat the report be received.

76.

Questions pdf icon PDF 227 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 Robinson asked the following question of the Cabinet Support Member for Highways and Transport whose reply is set out below the question:-

 

Question

 

The roads and pavements on the new development of Mitchell Gardens in my division are yet to be adopted. Despite repeated requests for grit bins to be installed on the estate which is hilly and steep, the County Council's response has simply been one of refusal to act. Can some common-sense be brought to bear in order to assist affected residents - will the County Council urgently step in and install a few grit bins to ensure residents can go about their daily lives safely during periods of severe weather?

 

Reply

 

Our highways crews do a tremendous job, working in the harsh winter weather, day-and-night, to help keep over 2,400 Kms of Staffordshire’s busiest roads free from the dangers of ice and snow.

 

In addition we also have over 50 local communities that are engaged in the local ice buster’s activity and around 4,000 local grit bins/piles that have been located using strict criteria at key positions across the County’s remaining 4,000 Kms of adopted roads.

 

Mitchell Gardens is a private housing development.  It is still very much in the building stages, with unsurfaced roads and the builder’s construction plant moving around daily.  Until the development is complete and the application for public adoption of the new roads is approved consideration of any necessary winter gritting activity remains a matter for the developer and early residents of the site.

 

Mr Robinson asked the following question of the Leader of the Council whose reply is set out below the question:-

 

Question

 

Nearly 8 million tonnes of plastic are dumped into our oceans every year. Plastics are an integral part of daily life in the 21st century but the proliferation of single-use-plastics is having a devastating impact on our environment. The Government must act now to stop the excessive use of single-use-plastics, which often end up in our waters and are severely harming marine wildlife. Councils must also play their part in tackling this problem. Therefore will the Leader of the Council commit to working with the Labour Group to make this County Council one of the first plastics clever councils in the country? Will he meet with me to discuss further and agree to establish a cross-party member working group to lead on this initiative?

 

Reply

 

The issue of single use plastic and its impact on the environment has been in the news recently, however the problem is one we’re already aware of and recognise that it is not the only waste material that is causing problems with the environment.  Environmentally speaking it is micro plastics that cause the most significant damage in marine environments and the government has acted on this through restricting the use of micro beads.

 

Waste collection from households in Staffordshire is carried out by District and Borough Councils and they collect the majority of dry recycling materials, including a range of plastics,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 76.

77.

Petitions

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a) Improvements to the junction of Eastern Avenue and Grange Lane, Lichfield

 

Mrs Pullen presented a petition from local residents seeking improvements at the junction of Eastern Avenue and Grange Lane, Lichfield.

 

(b) Improvement to Broadband to Properties along Dunwood Lane, Endon

 

Mrs Heath presented a petition from residents of Dunwood Lane, Endon, seeking improvements to their Broadband speed and reliability.

 

 

 

Chairman