Venue: Virtual Meeting via Microsoft Teams
Contact: Mike Bradbury Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting of the County Council held on 8 October 2020 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman.
The Chairman will mention a range of recent items of news which may be of interest to Members
The Chairman made the following statement:
“As we move from the second national lockdown into the Very High Alert Level under the Government’s new tier system for England, may I take this opportunity to pay tribute to those frontline and key workers who continue to care for and provide support to everyone within our communities. I’d like to extend an unreserved thank to each and every one of you for your continued commitment, selflessness and hard work.
We all have a responsibility to help to keep people safe, keep Staffordshire open and do everything we can to prevent further restrictions and disruption to businesses, schools and our way of life. This means that we should all abide by the Government’s guidance, means wash our hands, covering our face in shops or on transport, and keep social distancing.
Christmas this year will be very different for many of us, but I would like to wish my fellow Members, Council staff and their families all a Merry Christmas and a healthy and safe new year in 2021”.
Staffordshire residents recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours
The Council extended their congratulations to the following Staffordshire people who had been honoured by Her Majesty the Queen in her Birthday Honours 2020:
· Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for Ms Suzanne Banks, of Stone, lately Chief Nurse at Sherwood Forest NHS Foundation Trust, for services to nursing in the NHS;
· Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for Mr Richard Gill, of Lichfield, CEO of the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership, for services to Education;
· Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for Mrs Carol Shanahan, of Stone, Founder and Trustee of the Hubb Foundation, for services to the community in Stoke-on-Trent, including during the Covid-19 response;
· Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for Ms Elizabeth McWhirter, of Croxton, Officer in the British Transport Police, for services to policing and public safety, particularly during Covid-19;
· Medallist of the Order of the British Empire (BEM) for Mrs Dorothy Bailey, of Stoke-on-Trent, for services to the Scouting movement and the community in Staffordshire;
· Medallist of the Order of the British Empire (BEM) for Mrs Jennifer Ann Dunn, of Cannock, for services to the community in Cannock;
· Medallist of the Order of the British Empire (BEM) for Mrs Molly Henriques-Dillon, of Penkridge, Quality Nurse Team Leader for the Birmingham and Black Country CCG, for services to nursing during Covid-19;
· Medallist of the Order of the British Empire (BEM) for Mr Peter Jackson, of Tamworth, for services to the community in Tamworth;
· Medallist of the Order of the British Empire (BEM) for Mrs Carol Kind, of Newcastle-under-Lyme, for services to the community in Stoke-on-Trent during Covid-19;
· Medallist of the Order of the British Empire (BEM) for Mr David Moreton, of Tittensor, General Manager at Oak Tree Farm Rural Project, for services to people with learning disabilities in Staffordshire;
· Medallist of the Order of the British Empire (BEM) for Mrs ... view the full minutes text for item 26.
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
Cllr Woodward referred to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and encouraged all Members to liaise with their local schools with regard to ensuring that they had Education and Care Plans in place for those pupils who required them.
Staffordshire Better Care Fund 2020/21 and the Disabled Facilities Grant
Cllr Charlotte Atkins enquired whether the Leader was aware of the poor reputation of Millbrook Health Care in respect of their delivery of the contract for Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs), particularly in relation to poor workmanship, delays and lack of promotion of the scheme. Cllr Woodward also enquired as to what the County Council was doing to assist the district councils in respect of the underspend on the provision of DFGs. In response Cllr McMahon indicated that he would look into the matter to see what assistance the County Council could give but that it was his understanding that responsibility for the spend on DFGs rested with the district councils.
Impact of COVID-19 on SCC Communities, Economy and Organisation – October 2020 Update
Members spoke about the impact of Covid-19 on their local communities and discussed a number of matters including the Council’s support for the local economy including through the roll-out of the 5G network, the provision of enterprise centres, apprenticeships and the building of appropriate infrastructure to support businesses; the important on-going role played by Support Staffordshire, SCVYS, other voluntary organisations and local communities throughout the pandemic; and how Covid-19 had indirectly impacted positively on the climate change agenda including through the creation of new “green” businesses.
Cllr Oates added that he hoped that many of the advances and improvements brought about as a result of the pandemic, such as through the use of information technology, would not be lost when things returned to the norm. He also referred to the need for both Central and Local Government to “build back better”.
Cllr Philip White thanked Members for their comments and indicated that the Cabinet, at their meeting on 16 December 2020, were to receive a report on what the Council was doing to support the Staffordshire economy. He also informed the Council that, despite the pandemic, unemployment rates in Staffordshire remained below both the regional and national averages and that the vast majority of employees who had been furloughed had recently returned to work.
Update from COVID-19 Member Led Local Outbreak Control Board
Members spoke about the important and vital role played by the COVID-19 Member Led Local Outbreak Control Board. They also paid tribute to the Council’s Director for Health and Care and the staff within the Public Health team for their on-going work in leading the local response to the pandemic. Cllr Charlotte Atkins also expressed the view ... view the full minutes text for item 27.
Parental Leave Policy for Elected Members
Members were informed that the Council, at their meeting on 23 May 2019, passed the following motion:
“(a) That this Council notes that Staffordshire County Council does not currently have a formalised policy relating to Parental Leave for elected Members as there is at present no legal right to Parental Leave for those elected to public office.
(b) It is proposed that this Council should adopt a Parental Leave Policy for elected Memberson a new addition to their family. This council resolves to set up a working group to consider the attached policy proposals on Parental Leave.”
On completion of the Working group’s consideration of this matter, the draft Parental Leave Policy was submitted to the Audit and Standards Committee at its meeting on 12 October 2020 who resolved “That full Council be recommended to approve the proposed Parental Leave Policy for Members.”
With regard to the payment of allowances to Chairmen of Committees who take parental leave, in 2019 the County Council approved that the following paragraph be added to Annex 1 to the Members’ Allowances Scheme:
4.3. The Chairman of the County Council, in consultation with the relevant group leader, has delegated authority to increase the allowance paid to a Vice-Chairman of a Committee to the level of the corresponding Chairman’s allowance if they are required to take on the responsibilities of the Chairman for a sustained period. The Special Responsibility Allowance paid to the Chairman of the Committee will be suspended during this period.
It was suggested, however, that this be amended as follows:
4.3 The Chairman of the County Council, in consultation with the relevant group leader, has delegated authority to increase the allowance paid to a Vice-Chairman of a Committee to the level of the corresponding Chairman’s allowance if they are required to take on the responsibilities of the Chairman for a sustained period. The Special Responsibility Allowance paid to the Chairman of the Committee will be suspended during this period unless the Parental Leave Policy has been applied.
Several Members spoke in support of the proposals. Cllr Little and Cllr Clements added that by adopting the Parental Leave Policy, the Council may encourage more young people to enter into local politics.
Recommendation – (a) That the Parental Leave Policy for Elected Members be approved.
(b) That paragraph 4.3 of Annex 1 to the Members’ Allowances Scheme be amended to read as follows:
The Chairman of the County Council, in consultation with the relevant group leader, has delegated authority to increase the allowance paid to a Vice-Chairman of a Committee to the level of the corresponding Chairman’s allowance if they are required to take on the responsibilities of the Chairman for a sustained period. The Special Responsibility Allowance paid to the Chairman of the Committee will be suspended during this period unless the Parental Leave Policy has been applied.
RESOLVED – That the report be received.
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
Cllr Woodward asked the following question of the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport whose reply is set out below the question:-
The Cabinet Member will be aware that £50,000 of funding was allocated in or before 2017 to prepare a design brief for Public Realm works at Sankey’s Corner, Burntwood, which would include much-needed traffic management improvements. Discussions have continued between Burntwood councillors and the lead officer since then and a range of options were brought forward in July of this year. However, there is no allocation in the Capital Budget as yet for any proposed works to take place.
Can the Cabinet Member therefore provide me, please, with an update on progress and an assurance that funds will be allocated for these works during the next budget round with a view to early implementation?
Please see below breakdown of the Section.106 spend to date on the project.
2018-19 (circa. £9k)
Inception meetings, site meetings / investigations / observations, traffic surveys at various locations (including turning counts), public realm best practice research, land searches and highways extents enquiries, accident data, feasibility report (commenced) and topographical surveys.
2019-20 (circa. £20k)
Preliminary design options for Sankey’s corner (3no.) including bus terminus layout, traffic calming options for Cannock Road and the surrounding area, A5190 cycle route design in conjunction with Sustrans, preparation and attendance at Town Council Meeting, data collection for signage review (including extensive on-site surveys), feasibility report development including traffic data analysis/accident data analysis and extensive drainage CCTV survey including a report.
2020-21 (circa. £21k)
Topographical survey extension along Bridge Cross Road (for inclusion in public realm design), drainage survey review, detailed design of public realm 3no. options (based on preferred preliminary option from 2019-20 designs) including material palettes and accompanied by technical note including budget estimates, attendance at Town Council meetings, review of comments from meetings and final report compilation.
The County Council has secured £128,000 for 2021/22 from the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Getting Building Grant for the delivery of the following:
· 0.3km cycle and pedestrian provision along A5190 Milestone Way between High Street and Sycamore Road, including upgraded toucan crossing, footway widening and cycle provision
Further funding in 2021/22 for additional schemes in Burntwood will be dependent on the availability of resources and other spending commitments throughout the County. The decision on the final 2021/22 programme will be made by Cabinet in April 2021.
Will this scheme be considered as a priority for the County Council as significant funds have already gone into the planning and design phase?
Yes, you can rest assured that it will be treated as a priority.
Cllr Hewitt asked the following question of the Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills whose reply is set out below the question:-
Cannock Chase residents, along with others in Staffordshire want their towns to flourish.
How will the County Council Support Staffordshire Towns in accessing the Chancellors £4bn “Levelling Up Fund?
Supporting our town centres and high ... view the full minutes text for item 30.
An opportunity for Members to present and speak on petitions submitted by their constituents
Land south of the A513 near Orgreave and Alrewas