Agenda and draft minutes

County Council
Thursday, 21st March, 2019 10.00 am

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

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

Media

Items
No. Item

55.

Declarations of Interest under Standing Order 16

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest on this occasion.</AI1>

56.

Confirmation of the minutes of the Council meeting held on 14 February 2019 pdf icon PDF 412 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That subject to the following amendments, the minutes of the meeting of the County Council held on 14 February 2019 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman:

 

(i)              The “Note by Clerk” on page 10 being amended by the insertion of the word “predominantly” after the word “vote”; and

(ii)             The insertion of the words “asked Mr Lawson to apologise and” after the words “In response, Mr Sutton, Mrs Woodward and Mr Deaville” in the fourth paragraph on page 14.

57.

Chairman's Correspondence

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no items of Chairman’s Correspondence on this occasion.

58.

Statement of the Leader of the Council pdf icon PDF 318 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 introducing his Statement the Leader referred to paragraph 11 entitled “Financial Year” and added the following:

 

“While being in near employment together with creating more jobs will help provide more choice and flexibility for people, I am sure we were all deeply disappointed to hear the news about proposed job losses at both Wedgwood in Barlaston and Fox Biscuits in Uttoxeter.

 

In both cases, if the proposals do go ahead we will of course work with local partners and the Local Enterprise Partnership to see how we can best help those affected in terms of practical support and new employment or retraining opportunities.”

Better Care Fund 2019/20

(Paragraph 1 of the Statement)

 

Mrs Atkins enquired as to how much the Better Care Fund was now worth to the County Council; whether it had aided integration between social care and the NHS; what were the criteria the Council had to meet in order to secure the whole of the Better Care Fund and whether that criteria was achievable.  In response Mr Alan White indicated that the Better Care Fund was extremely complicated to administer but does deliver results.  He added that the relationship between the Council and the NHS has improved significantly and that the value of the Fund to the County Council was around £20m but this funding did come with strings.

 

Staffordshire Warm Homes Fund

(Paragraph 5 of the Statement)

 

Mr Robinson welcomed the news that the County Council had secured £3.795m for a Staffordshire Warm Homes Fund and enquired as to what monitoring would take place to ensure that all areas of the County would see some benefit; that local businesses would be able to secure some of the contracts for the work; whether any apprenticeships would be created; and how would Members be kept informed of progress of the initiative on the ground.  In response, Mr Winnington indicated that he would forward details of Staffordshire businesses to the partnership.  He added that the current funding was for urban homes but there was to be a future bid in respect of rural homes.  Mr Alan White added that the scheme would be delivered through a limited liability partnership and he echoed Mr Robinson’s comments in respect of the potential for local businesses to secure some of the contracts and the opportunity to create apprenticeships.  He also confirmed that the implementation of the scheme would be monitored carefully and that Mr Robinson may wish to speak to the chairman of the relevant select committee to request that the Committee also monitors the scheme.

 

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership Review – Move to Incorporated Body

(Paragraph 6 of the Statement)

 

In response to a question from Mr Smith in relation to the activity of an adjoining LEP and the need to protect Staffordshire’s interests, Mr Atkins indicated that the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent LEP worked closely with neighbouring LEPs through  ...  view the full minutes text for item 58.

59.

Recommendations to the Council pdf icon PDF 204 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a) First Review of the Staffordshire & Stoke-on-Trent Joint Waste Local Plan (2010 - 2026)

 

The Council were informed that the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Joint Waste Local Plan 2010 - 2026 (the Waste Local Plan) was prepared jointly with Stoke-on-Trent City Council and was adopted in March 2013. New regulations which came into effect on 6 April 2018 required a review of the waste and minerals local plans every 5 years, starting from the date of adoption of the local plan.

 

A joint review of the Waste Local Plan had therefore been carried out with Stoke-on-Trent City Council. Overall, the review concluded that the Waste Local Plan was performing well and was providing an effective planning policy framework for the determination of planning applications for waste development in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.  The Waste Local Plan was also in conformity with national waste planning policy and guidance and there had been no changes to local circumstances or strategic priorities which would suggest that revisions to the waste planning policies were necessary. Therefore, the Waste Local Plan could continue to carry weight in the determination of planning applications for waste development.

 

A report on the review was considered by the Planning Committee on 7 February 2019 and by the Cabinet on 20 February 2019.  The Planning Committee and Cabinet endorsed the conclusions of the First Review of the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Joint Waste Local Plan, that there was no need to revise the Waste Local Plan.Officers at the City Council were also seeking formal sign off of the conclusions of the review document.

 

RESOLVED – That the conclusions of the First Review of the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Joint Waste Local Plan (2010 – 2026) that there is no need to revise the Waste Local Plan at this time be accepted so that it can continue to carry weight in the determination of planning applications for waste development.

 

(b) Pay Policy Statement 2019/20 - Section 38 of the Localism Act 2011

 

The Council were informed that it was a legal requirement of the Localism Act 2011 for the County Council to have a Pay Policy statement which must be published annually before 31 March.

 

RESOLVEDThat the Pay Policy Statement for 2019/20 (as set out in Annex A to the report) be approved.

60.

Independent Remuneration Panel pdf icon PDF 100 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a) Members’ Allowances Scheme - Independent Remuneration Panel

 

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 annually to consider the recommendations to be made to the Council in respect of the level and nature of the forthcoming year’s allowances.

 

As part of their deliberations this year, and in response to feedback from Members of the Council, 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). The Independent Remuneration Panel also proposed that the Opposition Deputy Leader should hold a vice-chairmanship on the Corporate Review Select Committee and the three Opposition Select Committee posts should hold a vice-chairmanship on the Healthy Staffordshire Select Committee, Prosperous Staffordshire Select Committee and the Safe and Strong Communities Select Committee.

 

In the report, the Panel also proposed 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.

 

Mr Brookes moved, and Mr David Williams seconded, the following motion:

 

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

 

(ii)The Council does not accept at this moment in time their recommendation for an increase in overall allowances of 2% in line with the NJC pay award to staff.

 

(iii) The Council also feels in a time of change, that the recommendations of the Panel to make changes to the levels of remuneration be deferred for further consideration later this year, as the recommendations do not reflect the future ongoing developing roles of Members.

 

Mrs Woodward indicated that she was content to accept the motion and added that there needed to be a lot more discussion about the developing roles of Members.  She also stated that she had particular concerns about the remuneration for the Joint Chairs of the All Party Working Groups and at the lack of engagement with the Labour Opposition Group.  Mrs Woodward sought reassurance that the Opposition Group would be involved in any future discussions on this issue.

 

Following a vote, the Chairman declared the motion carried.

 

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

 

(b) The Council does not accept at this moment in time their recommendation for an increase in overall allowances  ...  view the full minutes text for item 60.

61.

Report of the Chairman of the Staffordshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel pdf icon PDF 203 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mr Robinson expressed concern at the proposals of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner to increase the precept by £24 per household especially when the Staffordshire Police had seen a reduction of 600 police officers since 2010.  He enquired as to what the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) had been doing in respect of Lobbying Central Government for additional funding to protect front line services rather than passing on the cost to Staffordshire ratepayers.  He also enquired as to why the PFCC was implementing a policy of closing public desks including the ones in Kidsgrove, Leek, Cheadle, Newcastle, Biddulph and Stone.  Mrs Eagland also raised concerns at the proposed increases in Police precept.  In response, Mr Sweeney indicated that it was not for him to answer on behalf of the PFCC and that Mr Robinson and Mrs Eagland could raise these issues directly with the PFCC and/or the Chief Constable.  He added that the Panel, at its next meeting, was to receive the PFCC’s detailed proposals on how this additional funding would be utilised.  Mrs Woodward requested that, once available, this information be shared with all Members of the Council.

 

Mrs Woodward also enquired as to why the Panel chose to support the increase in precept rather than exercising their power to veto the PFCC’s proposals.  In response, Mr Sweeney stated that the Panel had the power to veto the Precept if they considered it to be too high or too low. The veto had to be approved by two-thirds of the Panel membership (ie 8 of the 12 members). If vetoed, the Commissioner had to submit a revised higher or lower Precept depending on the Panels reasons for veto. After considering that revised Precept the Panel had no further power of veto and the Commissioner could action his revised version.

 

In response to a further question from Mrs Woodward relating to changes to the Police Pensions Scheme, Mr Sweeney and Mr Snape indicated that they would be happy to meet with her to discuss this matter further.

 

RESOLVED That the report be received.

62.

Questions pdf icon PDF 51 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:

Syed Hussain asked the following question of the Cabinet Member for Learning and Employability whose reply is set out below the question:-

 

Question

 

What percentage of working age people in Anglesey and Stapenhill earn less than the average weekly wage (£551)?

 

Reply

 

Average earnings data is not available below district/borough level from data sources including the ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE).  Latest figures for East Staffordshire show that the average weekly wage in 2018 was £501 compared to the Staffordshire average of £551 and UK average (including London) of £569.

 

Since 2010, the wages of Staffordshire’s residents have increased by around £57 per week, with the average £551 earned by a resident of Staffordshire working full-time exceeding the West Midlands Region average of £537. 

 

Although average wages for residents of East Staffordshire are currently less than the national average, the cost of living within the district and county overall is far more favourable than many other parts of the country.  A useful indication of this is housing affordability; in East Staffordshire the average price of a house is currently 6.4 times the average annual wage compared to 7.9 times in England as a whole.

 

Supplementary Question

 

This is evidence which shows that average wages for so many people in Anglesey and Stapenhill are currently less than the national average.  May I ask the Cabinet Member what will the County Council do to enable these people to achieve their aspirations?

 

Reply

 

The County Council is already doing a great deal, not just in Anglesey and Stapenhill, but across the whole of the County.  As is mentioned in my response to your original question, we have made tremendous progress in terms of wage growth in Staffordshire, performing better than the region and getting dangerously close to the national average.  Mentioning a few things we have done, we have, through the European Social Fund, created 18,000 new learners within the County; we have the sixth best performance in the Country for reducing the number of people not in employment, education or training (NEETs); since 2014, we have also seen a 50% reduction in the number of people with no qualifications; we have over 4,000 people on community learning projects; we have the open door programme which has supported internships to over 1,000 people since 2009; and we have a very low unemployment rate of 1.4%.  As you can see, there is already an enormous amount of work ongoing and I’d be very happy to talk to you further about these initiatives and others, and how we can use then within Anglesey and Stapenhill. 

 

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

 

Question

 

Barnett’s Field, also known as Clough Hall Playing Field, in the Talke and Red Street Division was put forward by Staffordshire County Council to be included in the Joint Local Plan process for the future development of 424 homes. The Joint Local Plan is  ...  view the full minutes text for item 62.

63.

Petitions

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no petitions on this occasion.