Agenda and minutes

County Council
Thursday, 11th October, 2018 10.00 am

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

Contact: Mike Bradbury  Email:


No. Item


Declarations of Interest under Standing Order 16

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There were no declarations of interest on this occasion.


Confirmation of the minutes of the Council meeting held on 26 July 2018 pdf icon PDF 258 KB

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RESOLVED – That, subject to the correct spelling of Cotes Heath on the final page, the minutes of the meeting held on 26 July 2018be confirmed and signed by the Chairman.


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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Honorary Alderman Bob Fraser


The Chairman informed the Council of the death, on Wednesday, 19 September 2018, of former County Councillor Bob Fraser.


Mr Fraser represented the Dove (East Staffordshire) County Electoral Division on the County Council from 2005 to 2017.  He served on a number of the Council’s Committees including the Safe and Strong Communities Select Committee, Corporate Parenting Panel, Healthy Staffordshire Select Committee, Pensions Committee, Prosperity, Skills and Education Select Committee, Safeguarding and Public Protection Select Committee, Education Scrutiny Committee, Communities, Crime and Culture Scrutiny Committee, Corporate Review Committee and the Schools and Colleges Scrutiny Committee.


Mr Fraser also served as the Cabinet Member for Community Health between 2009 and 2010 and was Vice-Chairman of the County Council between 2011 and 2012 and also between 2015 and 2017. He was appointed as an Honorary Alderman in July 2017.


Members paid tribute to the contribution Mr Fraser had made during the time he served on the County Council, following which Members observed a one minute’s silence in his memory.


Statement of the Leader of the Council pdf icon PDF 255 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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The Leader of the Council presented a Statement outlining his recent work since the previous meeting of the Council. 


Strategic Plan and Financial Planning 2019-2024

(Paragraph 1 of the Statement)


Mrs Woodward referred to the call-in of the Cabinet’s decision in respect of the draft budget proposals for 2019/20 which included the removal of the Staffordshire Local Community Fund and reductions in funding to the voluntary sector.  She expressed concern that these reductions were at odds with the Council’s “People Helping People” strategy.  Mrs Woodward also indicated that, during the consideration of the call-in, the Leader had alluded to criteria for determining which services would not have the proposed financial reductions imposed should additional funding become available from Central Government.  She asked if this “criteria” could be shared with members, particularly the Members of the MTFS Working Group and the Corporate Review Committee.  In response, Mr Atkins indicated that the Council was continuing to lobby Central Government for additional funding, were seeking freedoms around the setting of the level of Council Tax and had also submitted a bid to become one of the pilot authorities for the retention of Business Rates.  He added that if additional funding became available, then a set of criteria would be required to determine how such funding would best be utilised; this would most likely be around “invest to save” and be able to demonstrate the ability to deliver savings in future years.  Mr Atkins also indicated that it was always the intention to diminish funding for the voluntary sector over a five-year period but that the current financial situation had meant that these reductions needed to be brought forward.  He added that the Cabinet would work with the Corporate Review Committee, Select Committees and the MTFS Working Group to determine what that criteria should be.


Future Model of Libraries Service

(Paragraph 3 of the Statement)


In response to a question from Mrs Compton concerning the self-service pilot at Stafford Library, Mrs Heath indicated that the pilot had not yet commenced as there was a need to first get the necessary technology in place.


Mr Smith referred to the proposals to increase the number of community-led libraries in the County and highlighted the success of the community-led Library in Shenstone.


Enlargement of Holy Trinity CE (C) Primary School, Burton-upon-Trent

(Paragraph 4 of the Statement)


Mr P. White welcomed the proposals to enlarge Holy Trinity CE (C) Primary School, Burton-upon-Trent and indicated that this was one of a number of similar proposals to expand schools in Staffordshire to meet the increasing demand for places.


Mr Clarke expressed concern that that the enlargement of the school may result in additional problems associated with parking as the school was located on a main road.  He enquired as to whether anything could be done to alleviate these difficulties.  In response, Mr Atkins indicated that there were a number of possible solutions including the use of zig-zag road markings and the promotion of walking busses.  He added that the local  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.


Recommendations to the Council pdf icon PDF 287 KB

(a) Financial Regulations

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Financial Regulations


The Council were informed that there was a requirement to review and update the Financial Regulations on a regular basis to ensure that they remained accurate and fit for purpose. A detailed review had been undertaken to reflect the changes that had occurred following the introduction of the My Finance and My HR financial systems, together with minor amendments reflecting changes to job titles of relevant officers.


The Audit and Standards Committee recently considered the proposed revised Financial Regulations and resolved to recommend to the County Council that they be approved for inclusion within the Council’s Constitution.


Mrs Woodward indicated that she supported the recommendation contained in the report as it provided a welcome tidying-up of the Financial Regulations.  She also commended the work of the Council’s Audit and Standards Committee.


RESOLVEDThat the revised Financial Regulations be approved for inclusion within the Constitution.


Appointment of Vice-Chairman of the Corporate Review Committee

To consider the recommendation of the Leader of the Council

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Mr Atkins moved, and Mr Alan White seconded, and it was:


RESOLVEDThat Mr David Williams be appointed as Vice-Chairman of the Corporate Review Committee.


Outcomes of Overview and Scrutiny Work: January - June 2018 pdf icon PDF 382 KB

Report of the Chairman of the Corporate Review Committee

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Mr Brookes paid tribute members of the Council’s Select Committees and the officers who support them.


In response to a question from Mrs Atkins concerning how much money had been wasted on East Staffordshire CCG’s contract for urgent care services with Virgin which, a large part of which, had been terminated, Mr McMahon indicated that he did not have the information.


RESOLVEDThat the report be received.


Questions pdf icon PDF 200 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

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Mr Tagg asked the following question of the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport whose reply is set out below the question:-




Can the Portfolio Holder update the Council on her attempts to resolve the longstanding staffing issues that prevent the effective running of the ‘Community’ Highways team in Newcastle?  This has led to delays in the implementation of Members’ Divisional Highway Plan priorities and great frustration for the public at the lack of action on important highway issues that in this case do not result from any cuts to funding.




The Community Highways team perform a number of significant and strategic functions within the Infrastructure+ Partnership, which include: promoting the council’s People Helping People initiative; enabling the transformation to digital Highways information; ensuring local insight informs the development of forward programmes of work, policies and procedures; and dealing with substantial volumes of correspondence day-to-day from a variety of stakeholders.  


An extremely important element of the role is also to work with Members, inviting comment and challenge on strategic programmes of work and to facilitate the delivery of local community highway priorities through the Member’s Divisional Highways Programme.  There are just four local Community Infrastructure Liaison Managers across the county leading this work and every effort is made to ensure that the near 100 locally prioritised DHP initiatives are delivered, though a variety of delivery partners, within each financial year.


Our workforce is the most important asset we have for making a positive difference in the lives of Staffordshire people and they will continue to be supported with the skills, tools and confidence to do their jobs well.  Plans have been developed to restructure the team, enable effective succession planning and to resolve a number of longstanding vacancies and staff absences within the team.  However, progression is currently subject to resources being available within the council’s support services functions.


Supplementary Question


Will the Cabinet Member consider holding a meeting in Newcastle-under-Lyme with the local members about delivering our DHPs and can the responsible Commissioner also be involved?




Yes, I would be happy to do that.


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




Given the possibility that Jaguar/Landrover might leave the UK and relocate to Europe after BREXIT, has the County Council had any discussions about this threat?




The Commissioner for Business & Enterprise, Anthony Hodge, sits on the i54 Executive Steering Group which periodically holds its meeting at the JLR Engine Manufacturing Centre (EMC) on i54, where JLR senior personnel attend a part of the meeting. The latest such meeting was held at the EMC in September 2018 with the Deputy Plant Director, and the UK Head of Property for JLR present.  Although Brexit was mentioned and the impact on sales due to the issues around diesel, the feedback from the Deputy Plant Director was upbeat, and he was forecasting the output of the 1 millionth engine by the end of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.



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

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(a) Request for a Zebra Crossing on The Avenue, Kidsgrove


Mr Robinson presented a petition from parents and staff at St Thomas’ Nursery calling for the installation of a zebra crossing on The Avenue, Kidsgrove.


(b) Safety of Children Walking to Codsall High School


Mr James presented a petition from residents of Perton regarding the cost of transport and the safety of children walking to Codsall High School.


(c) Request for Traffic Management Measures along Stubbsfield Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme


Mr Sweeney presented a petition from local residents seeking traffic management measures along Stubbsfield Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme.


(d) Request for Traffic Management Measures along Grove Street, Westwood Terrace and Jubilee Terrace, Leek


Mrs Atkins presented a petition from residents of Grove Street, Westwood Terrace and Jubilee Terrace, Leek requesting traffic management measures along the roads.


(e) Road Safety Improvements along Clay Lake, Endon


Mr Flunder presented a petition from residents of Endon and Brown Edge seeking road safety improvements along Clay Lake.