Agenda and minutes

County Council
Thursday, 13th December, 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

35.

Declarations of Interest under Standing Order 16

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The following Member declared an interest in accordance with Standing Order 16.5:-

 

Member

Minute Nos.

Interest

Reason

Mark Winnington

38

Personal

Non-Executive Director of NEXUS

 

36.

Confirmation of the minutes of the Council meeting held on 11 October 2018 pdf icon PDF 190 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting held on 11 October 2018be confirmed and signed by the Chairman.

37.

Chairman's Correspondence

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Former County Councillor George Stanley Eyre

 

The Council were informed of the death on 30 October 2018 of former County Councillor George Stanley Eyre who represented the Churnet Valley (Staffordshire Moorlands) County Electoral Division between 1997 and 2001.

 

During his membership of the County Council, Mr Eyre served on a number of the Council’s Committees including the Cultural and Recreational Services Group Committee, Development Services Group Committee, Highways and Transportation Committee, Economic and European Affairs Committee, Public Transport User Forum (North), Countryside Service Committee, Arts and Heritage Services Committee, Library Services Committee, Cultural and Recreational Services Scrutiny Committee, Planning and Economic Development Committee and the Development Services Scrutiny Committee.

 

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

38.

Statement of the Leader of the Council pdf icon PDF 205 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. 

 

Quarter 2 2018/19 Integrated Performance Report

(Paragraph 1 of the Statement)

 

Mrs Woodward indicated that she had concerns around some of the MTFS proposals being put forward by the Cabinet and that, although she recognised that the need to make reductions in the Council’s expenditure was not of the Council’s making, she would be submitting some alternative proposals to the MTFS Working Group to make the case for changes before the final proposals were considered by Full Council in February 2019.  In response, Mr Atkins referred to the Chancellors Autumn Statement including the announcement of additional funding for Health and Social Care.  He also referred to the need for the Council to balance its budget and to the lobbying which was taking place with Central Government in relation to the Comprehensive Spending Review, Fairer Funding, and the need for an equitable split in the funding to County and District/Borough Councils.  He also mentioned that the County Council had been accepted for the Business Rates Pilot and that this would provide some additional funding in 2019/20.

 

Pan Staffordshire Approach to Children and Young People's Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health

(Paragraph 3 of the Statement)

 

Mrs Atkins enquired as to what early intervention initiatives had been tried in Staffordshire Schools and what had been the outcome.  In response, Mr Sutton indicated that the County Council was working closely with Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the six Clinical Commissioning Groups in the County to develop a unified approach to tackling mental health and wellbeing.  This approach would recognise that Children’s and Young People's Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health was a priority, have a collaborative commissioning arrangement, ensure that all commissioning decisions are informed by a robust assessment and would be transparent about what local services were invested in.  He also referred to the important roll which parents and carers could play in ensuring the mental health and wellbeing of young people in their care.  He added that officers had engaged with a number of the County’s schools and that the learning from this would be rolled out.  He also added that trailblazer applications under the Governments Green Paper had been submitted by the Council and its partners and that a decision on these was awaited.

 

Mrs Woodward referred to the call-in of the Cabinet’s decision on Pan Staffordshire Approach to Children and Young People's Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health and asked that the Cabinet Member forward to all Members of the Corporate Review Committee the detailed information he said that he would supply.  Both Mrs Woodward and Mr Clarke expressed concern that the work on this issue which had been undertaken by the All Party Member Group (APMG), and their recommendations thereon, was largely ignored, and that they hope that the Cabinet Member would address this issue in order that schools became central to the development of the strategy. 

 

Mr Adams and Mr Wileman indicated  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.

39.

Notices of Motion

(a) Mrs C. Atkins to move the following motion:

“In view of the level of public concern and the impact of the Autumn Budget, this Council urges the Cabinet to reconsider their decision to end funding for school crossing patrols.”

 

(b)  Mr Atkins to move the following motion:

 

“This Council uses its influence with partners in the public and private sectors to improve opportunities for those who are care leavers in employment and training, so when they leave our care they have the same opportunities and aspirations as other young people, and also to help those who are workless who need help in returning to work.”

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a) Mrs Atkins moved, and Mr Dave Jones seconded, the following motion:

 

“In view of the level of public concern and the impact of the Autumn Budget, this Council urges the Cabinet to reconsider their decision to end funding for school crossing patrols.”

 

Mrs Atkins indicated that thousands of people had signed petitions asking the Council to think again in respect of the Cabinet’s proposals to remove School Crossing Patrols.  She also stated that there was a high level of public concern about the removal of the Patrols and that the such an action would put children’s’ lives at risk.  She added that schools did not have huge resources to enable them to meet the cost of providing the Patrols and that community groups were unlikely to have the appetite or funding to take on board responsibility for the provision of the Patrols.  She concluded by indicating that it was vital that the Cabinet reconsiders its proposals.

 

Mrs Fisher moved, and Mr Wileman seconded the following amendment:

 

To delete all of the words after “in view of” and replace them with “concerns and in anticipation of the local government settlement, this Council encourages people to take part in the ongoing consultation on school crossing patrols and for Cabinet to take into consideration the results of that consultation when they make their decision.”

 

Mrs Fisher indicated that the original motion implied that a decision to remove School Crossing Patrols had been taken and that this was not the case.  She also expressed the view that the motion would deter people from participating in the public consultation which was currently taking place.  Mr Wileman added that he would encourage all Members to get involved in this consultation.

 

Mr Robinson indicated that he was opposed to the removal of School Crossing Patrols and that the suggestions that Parish Council’s or community groups would step-in to provide the service was unrealistic, particularly in those areas of the County which were not “parished”.

 

Mr Atkins moved that the question be put.  The Chairman indicated that before doing so he would allow Mr Dave Jones, as seconder of the original motion, to speak; allow Mrs Fisher to respond; and then give Mrs Atkins the right of reply.

 

Mr Jones indicated that in his view the removal of school crossing patrols would put children’s lives at risk and that he could not support the amendment to the motion proposed by Mrs Fisher.  In response, Mrs Fisher stated that the Council recognised what a fantastic job those providing school crossing patrols did and she encouraged people to take part in the consultation and that, to date, nearly 400 responses had been received.  She reiterated that no decision on the future of School Crossing Patrols had been taken.

 

Mrs Atkins indicated that there was real public concern about the implications of removing School Crossing Patrols and that it was unlikely that community groups/volunteers would take on the role.

 

Following a vote the amendment was agreed and became  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.

40.

Recommendations to the Council pdf icon PDF 319 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a) Changes to the Constitution - All Party Working Groups

 

The Council were informed the County Council’s Constitution required amendment to reflect changes to Council structures, ensuring alignment with the priorities and ambitions of the Administration.  The proposed changes included the establishment of All Party Working Groups (APWGs) – (previously 4 All Party Member Groups), which would continue to be tasked with providing a forum to drive the debate and overview around the medium to long term issues that affect the communities of Staffordshire and how public services, working with the private and voluntary and community sector, could plan for and address these issues.  It was the intention that there would be two All Party Working Groups, taking an even more rigorous focus on developing new ideas and solutions to key challenges. The investigations would be driven by community and digital first thinking, draw further on community perspectives and Elected Member’s key role to help shape policy and reform of public services.

 

Mrs Woodward indicated that she did not support the proposal as the Leader of the Council had failed to consult her, as Leader of the Opposition, on the matter  She also expressed the view that the value of the All Party Member Groups had not been proven; and that the proposals could change the nature of the relationship with the Select Committees and that more discussion was needed on this.

 

Mr McMahon stated that that, unlike Mrs Woodward, he did not see the proposals as preventing Select Committees from undertaking an overview function.  He also suggested that it was important that in undertaking their work on policy development APWGs should be requested to consider the “health implications” of any proposals.

 

Following a vote, it was:

 

RESOLVED – (a) That, following on from the Audit and Standards Committee’s consideration and approval, the proposed amendments to the Constitution, as outlined below, be approved.

 

(i) That the Constitution be amended to reflect the changes to the All Party Member Groups (as detailed in appendix 1 to the report) and authority be given to the Political Group Leaders to agree Membership (to a maximum size of 10 Members per Group) following Full Council.

 

(ii) That the Constitution be amended to reflect changes to the Cabinet Support Titles with detailed responsibilities being determined by the Leader following Full Council.

(b) That the Director for Strategy, Governance and Change be granted authority to make the necessary changes to the Constitution to give effect to the changes set out in the report.

(b) Review of Audit & Standards Committee Terms of Reference

 

The Council considered proposed revisions to the terms of reference for the Audit & Standard’s Committee following publication of CIPFA’s latest guidance - Practical Guidance for Local Authorities and Police 2018 Edition.

 

Mrs Woodward commended the work of the Chairman and Members of the Audit and Standards Committee and suggested that all Members of the Council should be made aware of the range of work which the Committee undertakes.

 

RESOLVED – (a) That  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.

41.

Report of the Chairman of the Staffordshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel pdf icon PDF 275 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In moving consideration of his report, Mr Sweeney informed the Council that the Fire and Rescue Service had recently been recognised in the Excellence in Fire and Emergency Awards as the top performing service in the Country.

 

Mr Adams referred to the financial pressures in relation to Police Pensions and indicated that he understood that Central Government had now agreed to cover those costs.

 

RESOLVEDThat the report be received.

 

The Chairman adjourned the meeting until 2:20 pm

 

Present at 2:20 pm:

 

Charlotte Atkins

Philip Atkins OBE

Ann Beech

David Brookes

Gill Burnett

Ron Clarke

Tina Clements

Maureen Compton

Mike Davies

Mark Deaville

Alan Dudson

Janet Eagland

Ann Edgeller

Helen Fisher

Keith Flunder

 

Colin Greatorex

Michael Greatorex (Chair)

Gill Heath

Phil Hewitt

Jill Hood

Keith James

Julia Jessel

Bryan Jones

Dave Jones

Ian Lawson

Alastair Little

Johnny McMahon

Paul Northcott

Jeremy Oates

 

Jeremy Pert

Bernard Peters

Kyle Robinson

David Smith

Paul Snape

Mike Sutherland

Mark Sutton

Stephen Sweeney

Alan White

Philip White

Bernard Williams

Victoria Wilson

Mark Winnington

Susan Woodward

 

 

 

42.

Questions pdf icon PDF 190 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 Leader of the Council whose reply is set out below the question:-

 

Question

 

Will the Leader of the Council set out the total cost to date for the ‘Options for Reform in Staffordshire’ documentation that Grant Thornton LLP have been commissioned to produce? Will he also share the ‘Options for Reform in Staffordshire’ documentation so that County Councillors can share information with residents about discussions regarding future models for delivery of the public services they fund?

 

Reply

 

Council will be aware that in September 2018, Staffordshire County Council was the subject of Corporate Peer Review by the Local Government Association. This examined a range of issues, including the county council’s unprecedented financial challenges next year and in the medium term – a matter on which you have been notified during previous meetings of Full Council. Over the past few months both members and officers have worked tirelessly to set a balanced budget for 2019/20, and beyond. It is our responsibility as members of Staffordshire County Council to do so, and it is also incumbent upon us to manage the expected £35 million budget shortfall in the best way possible, whilst considering the longer-term sustainability and role of the authority.

 

We take this role very seriously and the LGA Peer Review team would expect us a well-managed and well-run council to explore all options; leaving no stone unturned to meet these challenges.  As part of this we commissioned Grant Thornton to undertake a desk top analysis of all the possible options for the delivery of local governance in Staffordshire – both in terms of the needs of our growing population and about the potential cost savings that may be achieved if local government reorganisation was to be implemented.  As one would expect, this required exploration of the status-quo, of unitarisation, and of the regionalisation of local government services. Grant Thornton carried out this work discretely to ensure that their work remained an exploratory exercise that could be delivered without prejudice and without becoming an unwelcome distraction at a time when there is already much deliberation about devolution and re-organisation nationally.

 

The final report which will be published in January 2019 will recommend the development of enhanced two-tier governance for Staffordshire and that this remains the most effective form of governance for the county. This is pleasing, and I personally have long been an advocate of this form of local governance. This report reaffirms and endorses this view, and I look forward, and remain firmly committed, to, the 8 district and borough councils that alongside the county council deliver essential frontline service for the people of Staffordshire.

 

The overall cost of the work undertaken on behalf of the county council was approximately £48,000. I am sure Mr Robinson will agree that this work has helped reassure the LGA Peer Review team that Staffordshire County Council is financially viable despite the experience of other county councils, and that we are clearly committed to the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 42.

43.

Petitions

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a) School Crossing Patrols

 

Mrs Woodward presented the following petitions relating to School Crossing Patrols:

 

·       A petition entitled “Save School Crossing Patrols” containing approximately 1049 signatures.

·       A petition entitled “Protect School Crossing Patrol at Chase Terrace Primary School” containing approximately 148 signatures.

·       A petition from residents of Burntwood and Hammerwich entitled “Protect School Crossing Patrols” containing approximately 532 signatures.

·       A petition entitled “Retain Our County Council Funded Crossing Patrols” containing approximately 68 signatures.

 

(b) Blocked Grids in Spring Gardens, Leek

 

Mrs Atkins presented a petition from residents of Spring Gardens, Leek seeking to improve the maintenance of the grids along Spring Gardens to prevent the pooling of water.

 

44.

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:

Minutes:

RESOLVED - 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

 

45.

Dismissal and Redundancy Arrangements - Chief Officer and S151 Officer - Director of Finance and Resources

(Information exempt from publication by virtue of paragraph 1 of schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, and the Data Protection Act 1998)

 

Report of the Chief Executive

Minutes:

(Information exempt from publication by virtue of paragraph 1 of schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, and the Data Protection Act 1998)

 

The Council were informed that, in consultation with the Leader and Deputy Leader, the Chief Executive had made a decision to re-structure his Senior Leadership Team by reducing the number of Directors from five to four; deleting the existing posts of Director of Strategy, Governance and Change and Director of Finance and Resources and creating, within a new revised structure, a new post of Director of Corporate Services.  A Special Committee of the Council, on 7 November 2018, appointed John Tradewell to the new post of Director of Corporate Services.  The Chief Executive explained that, as a consequence of the above-mentioned proposals and, in accordance with the recommendation of a Special Committee of the Council at their meeting on 21 November 2018, it was now proposed that, in his capacity as Director of Finance and Resources, Andrew Burns be dismissed by reason of redundancy and his employment with Staffordshire County Council be terminated on 14 December 2018. In accordance with the Council’s Constitution any such recommendation must be approved at a meeting of the Full Council.

 

The Council were also informed that upon the termination of employment of Andrew Burns, Director of Finance and Resources with the Council, it would be necessary for the Council to appoint a replacement S151 Officer (Chief Financial Officer). Since one and the same person could not hold the roles of both S151 Officer and Monitoring Officer, it was recommended that Robert Salmon, Deputy Director of Finance be appointed as the Council’s S151 Officer with effect from 15 December 2018.  In addition, as a consequence of the deletion of the post of Director of Strategy, Governance and Change, it was proposed that the statutory role of Monitoring Officer to be transferred to the new post of Director of Corporate Services with effect from 15 December 2018.

 

RESOLVED - (a) That the decision taken on 21 November 2018 by a Special Committee Staffordshire County Council (“the Council”) that the Chief Officer, Andrew Burns, Director of Finance and Resources, be dismissed by reason of redundancy with effect from 14 December 2018 as a result of the Chief Executive’s proposal to re-structure the Senior Leadership Team by reducing the number of Directors from five to four by deleting the existing posts of Director of Strategy, Governance and Change and Director of Finance and Resources and creating, within a new revised structure, a new post of Director of Corporate Services, be approved.

 

(b) That the payments detailed below be made upon termination of Andrew Burns, Director of Finance and Resources, employment by reason of redundancy, in accordance with the provisions of section 38(4)(f) of the Localism Act 2011 and section 11.1 and section 11.2 of the Localism Act: Pay Policy Statement Year: 2018/19:

 

·        In accordance with Part 11 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 and Regulation 5 of the Local Government (Early Termination  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.