Agenda and minutes

County Council
Thursday, 26th July, 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

17.

Declarations of Interest under Standing Order 16

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest on this occasion.

18.

Confirmation of the minutes of the Council meeting held on 24 May 2018 pdf icon PDF 472 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mr Francis indicated that paragraph 6 of the minutes, Statement of the Leader of the Council, failed to include reference to his request to the Leader to set up a meeting between local members and senior engineers from HS2 and asked that the minutes be amended accordingly.

 

RESOLVED – That, subject to the amendment detailed above, the minutes of the meeting of the Annual County Council held on 24 May 2018be confirmed and signed by the Chairman.

19.

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 Queen’s Birthday Honours 2018

 

The Chairman reported that a total of 11 Staffordshire residents had been awarded Honours in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2018 including a County Council employee, Michael Francis Burke, a peripatetic caseworker, who received a British Empire Medal for services to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. The Council extended their congratulations to Mr Burke and the other recipients on their awards.

 

Municipal Journal Local Government Achievement Awards 2018

 

The Council were informed that Matt Biggs from the Council’s School Organisation Team had recently been awarded the prestigious Rising Star Award at the Municipal Journal Local Government Achievement Awards 2018.  Matt was nominated for this award because of his exceptional ability and dedication to raising the profile of Early Years Education on a national level and being at the forefront of policy development and innovation.

 

Matt’s award was the only award won by an individual, as all others on the night were won by Local Authority teams.

 

Governance of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Services – Transfer to the Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner

 

The Chairman informed the Council that the formal Order for the transfer of governance of the Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service to the Police and Crime Commissioner has now received Parliamentary approval.  The Order (The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire (Fire and Rescue Authority) Order 2018) would come into effect on 1 August 2018.

 

Under the Order, The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority would be abolished on 31 July 2018 and the Commissioner would be given the legal identity of Fire and Rescue Authority from 1 August 2018.

20.

Statement of the Leader of the Council pdf icon PDF 201 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. 

 

Final Outturn Report for 2017/18

(Paragraph 1 of the Statement)

 

In response to a question from Mrs Woodward relating to the financial challenges facing shire councils and whether any lessons could be learned from the issues within Northamptonshire, Mr Atkins indicated that the solutions the County Council had to its financial challenges were different to Northamptonshire’s.  He added that the lessons learned from the Northamptonshire case was that there needed to be a deliverable plan to tackle and overcome the challenges.

 

Mr D Davis referred to the proposed capital programme of £142m and enquired as to whether this included developer contributions under Section 106.  In response, Mr Atkins indicated that the £142m was funding to be provided by the County Council and did not include developer contributions.  Mr Davis thanked Mr Atkins for his response and requested if he could also have the information in writing.

 

Adoption of Revised Civil Contingency Policy for Staffordshire

County Council

(Paragraph 2 of the Statement)

 

Mr Dudson enquired as to whether any monies had been set aside to address any civil contingencies which may arise.  Mr Robinson also asked whether the Leader agreed that it was important for District, Parish and Town Councils to be adequately supported and furnished with the necessary resources as more responsibility was devolved down to them.  In response to the questions, Mr A. White indicated that there was a multiplicity of organisations involved in civil contingency and it was therefore difficult to quantify how much was being set aside across the board.  He also added that the Chief Executive, as one of the lead members in the civil contingencies unit, worked hard with other organisations to ensure that they new their role should there be a disaster.

 

Highways and Transport Capital Programme 2018/19

(Paragraph 3 of the Statement)

 

Mr Smith requested the Leader of the Council to use his best endeavours to ensure that local members were included in discussions with district councils relating to the provision of infrastructure.  In response, Mr Atkins indicated that the County Council worked closely with district and borough councils on the strategic infrastructure plan and that no one organisation would be able to deliver all of the required infrastructure in isolation.  He added that on schemes such as the Branston Locks development, the County Council had worked closely with the developer and the Local Enterprise Partnership.

 

Mr Robinson also referred to the structural maintenance programme and asked that Members have more of a say in the delivery of such schemes. In response, Mrs Fisher indicated that she would take the Member’s comments on-board and would speak to him about the issue.

 

Mr Clarke enquired about the funding for the Staffordshire Freight Forum.  In response, Mrs Fisher indicated that she did not have the information to hand and would therefore respond in writing.

 

Mr Brookes referred to the need to have a replacement programme to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.

21.

Recommendations to the Council pdf icon PDF 179 KB

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Minutes:

Independent Remuneration Panel - Appointment of New Members

 

Members were informed that the County Council was required to establish and maintain an Independent Remuneration Panel of between three and five members to provide advice and recommendations to the Council on its 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 County Council at its meeting 24 May 2018 extended the period of office for Leslie Trigg as a member of the Independent Remuneration Panel for a further period of 12 months to 31 March 2019.  The Independent Remuneration Panel currently had three members, the other two Members being Tom Roach and Christina Robotham whose term of office would expire in 2021.

 

At the County Council meeting held on 12 October 2017, it was agreed “That the Audit and Standards Committee be requested to carry out a further recruitment exercise for IRP members in 2018” so as to increase the Panel’s Membership from three to five. This process had recently been completed and the Special Panel of the Audit and Standards Committee had recommend to the Council that Mrs Annie Barrett and Mr Christopher Burden be appointed to the Independent Remuneration Panel for a period of four years ending 31 March 2022.

 

RESOLVEDThat the Council approve the recommendation of the Special Panel of the Audit and Standards Committee to appoint Mrs Annie Barrett and Mr Christopher Burden to the Independent Remuneration Panel for a period of four years ending 31 March 2022.

22.

Report of the Chairman of the Staffordshire Police and Crime Panel pdf icon PDF 118 KB

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Minutes:

In response to a question from Mrs Woodward concerning the membership of the new Police, Fire and Crime Panel for Staffordshire, Mr D. Williams indicated that there was no intention to change the Membership or size of the existing Panel.

 

Mr D. Davis expressed his disappointment that the Police and Crime Commissioner was to take over the governance of the Fire and Rescue Service and had subsumed the responsibilities of the Fire and Rescue Authority.  In response, Mr D. Williams explained that the Police and Fire and Rescue services would not be combining, would have separate budgets, and that the Police and Crime Commissioner was only taking on the responsibility for their joint governance.

 

Mrs Clements expressed her concern over the latest statistics which showed that only 9% or reported crimes resulted in a prosecution and enquired as to what action was being taken by the Police and Crime Commissioner to improve this situation.  In response, Mr D. Williams explained that the nature of crime had changed dramatically over the years, especially in relation to cyber crime and cross border crime.  He added that the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Chief Constable had introduced a new hub based approach, the aim of which was to enable police officers to respond to reported crimes more quickly which, in turn, would facilitate the gathering of evidence.

 

Mr Winnington indicated his concern at the lack of visible policing in rural areas.  In response, Mr Williams indicated that there had been a reduction in the number of Police Officers in Staffordshire and it was hoped that the anticipated savings arising from the joint governance of the Police and Fire and Rescue services would enable more Police Officers to be employed, some of whom would be allocated to front-line services.  He also indicated that PCSO’s who were on duty at the time their respective Parish Council met were instructed to attend that meeting to provide the Parish Council with either a verbal or written report.

 

Mr Clarke referred to the need for a policy across public bodies on dealing with issues of trespass by travellers.  Mr D. Williams responded by indicating that the Police had no powers to remove travellers from land unless a crime had been committed.  Mr Tagg enquired about the “fast track system” in operation in Stoke-on-Trent and, in response, Mr D. Williams indicated that he would find out and would forward the information on to the Member.

 

Mrs Woodward enquired about the reference in the report to the financial management arrangements adopted by the Force and also to the PCCs review of the Safer Neighbourhood Panels.  In response, Mr D. Williams indicated that the Police and Crime Panel had robustly scrutinised the financial management of the Force and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and was supported in this by an officer from the County Council.  He added that, with regard to the Safer Neighbourhood Panels, attendance at Panel meetings had been poor and it was therefore correct  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.

23.

Report of the Chairman of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority pdf icon PDF 204 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mr Sweeney expressed his thanks to all Members of the Fire and Rescue Authority, past and present, for all their hard work during the time they served as Members of the Authority.  Mr D Davis added that he was proud of what the Fire and Rescue Authority had achieved since it was established, including the provision of new Community Fire Stations across the County and dramatically reducing the number of fire related deaths each year.

 

Mr Snape and Mr Sutherland praised the work of the Fire and Rescue service in supporting the Prince’s Trust initiatives and the positive effect this had had on the lives of young people.  Mr Clarke also asked that his thanks, and those of the Council, be extended to the Members of the Fire and Rescue Authority for their commitment and hard work.

 

Mr Winnington indicated that the County Council would retain its scrutiny role of the Fire and Rescue Service through the Police, Fire and Crime Panel.

 

Mr Sweeney extended his thanks to Members for their kind words.

 

RESOLVEDThat the report be received.

24.

Questions pdf icon PDF 180 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 Woodward asked the following question of the Leader of the Council whose reply is set out below the question:-

 

Question

 

Will the Leader join me, politicians across political Parties and many Staffordshire residents in condemning the behaviour of the Member of Parliament for Burton?

 

Reply

 

Those of us who have read the reports in the Sunday paper will be disgusted by the stories about the Member of Parliament for Burton & Uttoxeter. He has suspended himself from the Whip while an independent investigation is conducted by QCs and his Association are meeting to discuss his position. I encourage all of us in public life at whatever level to adhere to the Seven Principles of Public Life established by Lord Nolan and the Committee on Standards in Public Life:

 

1.  Selflessness – Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.

 

2.  Integrity – Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.

 

3.  Objectivity – Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.

 

4.  Accountability – Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.

 

5.  Openness – Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.

 

6.  Honesty – Holders of public office should be truthful.

 

7.  Leadership – Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour.

 

This Code is publicly available on the Conservative Party website and I would hope all Political Parties adhere to these seven principles.

 

Supplementary Question

 

Does the Leader share the ambition that the County Council will be a lead authority in taking gender issues and sexism forward and be seen as a gender neutral and female friendly Council?

 

Reply

 

Yes I do.

 

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

 

Question

 

A letter dated 22nd June 2018 from the Minister for Local Government, Rishi Sunak MP to Staffordshire MPs clearly states that over the next three years there is to be an increase in spending power of almost £19 million for Staffordshire County Council. Does the Leader agree with the Governments' response to MPs and will the Leader of the council now commit funding to help support the Kidsgrove community in their bid to re-open Kidsgrove Leisure Centre?

 

Reply

 

The government includes all funding streams and makes assumptions about an authority’s council tax levels and business rates income when  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.

25.

Petitions

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a) Blocked Drains in Broad Lane Ward in Essington

 

Mrs Perry presented a petition from residents of the Broad Lane Ward in Essington concerning blocked drains along the roads in the ward, resulting in flooding on a regular basis.

 

(b) Blocked Drains and Flooding in Greenacres and School Lane, Coven

 

Mr Sutton presented a petition from local residents concerning blocked drains and flooding in Greenacres and School Lane, Coven

 

(c) Traffic Speeds and Junction Safety in Coates Heath, Eccleshall

 

Mr Worthington, on behalf of Mr Pert, presented a petition from residents of Coates Heath, Eccleshall concerning traffic speeds and junction safety in the village.

 

 

Chairman