Agenda and draft minutes

County Council - Thursday 17th March 2022 10:00am

Venue: Council Chamber - County Buildings

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

Media

Items
No. Item

56.

Apologies for absence (if any)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Section 85 of the Local Government Act 1972 - County Councillor Ian Lawson

 

The Chairman informed Members of Cllr Lawson’s continuing absence from Council meetings due to ill health.

 

RESOLVED – That, in light of Cllr Ian Lawson’s continuing ill health, and for the purposes of section 85 of the Local Government Act 1972, his continuing absence from Council meetings be authorised until 17 September 2022.

57.

Declarations of Interest under Standing Order 16

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Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest on this occasion.

58.

Confirmation of the minutes of the Council meeting held on 10 February 2022 pdf icon PDF 250 KB

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Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting of the County Council held on 10 February 2022 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman.

59.

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.

 

60.

Statement of the Leader of the Council pdf icon PDF 173 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.

 

Ukraine

(Paragraph 7 of the Statement)

 

Cllr Alan White referred to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and indicated that Staffordshire stood ready, with open arms, to welcome those fleeing the conflict.  He also referred to a letter sent to the Prime Minister recently jointly form the leaders of the County Council and the eight Borough and District Councils showing the strength of the Councils’ support and combined efforts to assist those fleeing Ukraine.  He added that many residents of the County had already offered to open their homes to the refugees.

 

Cllr Charlotte Atkins added that she welcomed the joint letter from the leaders of the County Council and the eight Borough and District Councils and added that she was sure that the tremendous generosity of the British people would be shown towards the Ukrainian people.  She also indicated that there was a need to ensure that those fleeing the trauma of war were not exploited by the few who sought to make a financial gain from trafficking and enquired as to whether the County Council had sufficient staff to carry out the necessary checks to ensure the safety of both those fleeing Ukraine and those residents opening-up their homes to the refugees.  Cllr Atkins also referred to the existing Ukrainian communities in Staffordshire and to the vital role they would play in supporting the refugees.

 

Cllr Smith and Cllr Deaville spoke about the people of Ukraine living in fear, and particularly the impact of the conflict on young children. Cllr Smith called on the Council, and the residents of Staffordshire, to do everything they could to provide the necessary support to those fleeing the conflict and, once the war had ended, to enable them to return to Ukraine if they so wished.

 

Cllr Hood referred to the need for the Council to lobby the Government to ensure the availability of the necessary resources to provide counselling and therapy to those fleeing the conflict.  She also referred to the impact on the mental health of young people in this County who had been following the war in the Ukraine on the news and on social media, and the need for counselling to be available in all Staffordshire schools.

 

Cllr Winnington spoke about all those who were suffering under Putin’s regime, not just those from the Ukraine.  He, together with Cllr Phillip Atkins, also referred to the impact of the war on food production and how the sanctions imposed on Russia would have an impact on the price of many commodities in the UK.

 

Cllr Tagg indicated that, in times of crisis like this, it was fantastic so see the good in society and how communities came together to support those in need.  He, together with Cllr Wilson, Cllr Sutherland, Cllr Oates and Cllr Phillip Atkins, referred to many examples, across the county, where individuals and groups had come together to appeal for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 60.

61.

Recommendations to the Council pdf icon PDF 178 KB

(a)        Members’ Allowances Scheme - Independent Remuneration Panel Report

(b)       Pay Policy Statement 2022/23

(c)        Review of the Constitution

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a) Members’ Allowances Scheme - Independent Remuneration Panel Report

 

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 decision 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 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.

 

Members received the Independent Remuneration Panel’s report of March 2022, including recommendations on the Members’ Allowances Scheme for 2022/23.  As part of their deliberations and in response to feedback from Members of the Council, the Panel proposed that the Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of the Pensions Committee and Audit and Standards Committee receive the same remuneration as the Planning Committee Chairman and Vice-Chairman respectively. The Panel also proposed, for consistency, that the Chairman of the Pensions Committee must also Chair the Pensions Panel.

 

It was also noted that the Panel had indicated their intentions for next year which included a review of the allowances paid to the Chairman and Vice-Chairmen of the County Council, the difference in allowances paid to the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the allowance paid to the opposition. 

 

Cllr Trowbridge expressed her thanks to the Panel for their work and also spoke about the need for an appropriate level of remuneration to Members as the allowances paid in Staffordshire were lower than those paid by comparable authorities.  Cllr Smith added that, with the current level of remuneration, it was difficult to attract young people to stand for election.  He also referred to the need for the cost of the stationery which Members used to be covered in the Scheme.

 

Cllr Philip Atkins referred to the proposals for the Chairman of the Pensions Committee also being responsible, going forward, for Chairing the Pensions Panel.  He expressed the view that he could not support the proposal as the roles of the Pensions Committee and Pensions Panel chairs were distinct and required different knowledge and, therefore, required different Chairs.

 

Following a vote it was:

 

RESOLVED That (a) the Independent Remuneration Panel report be received.

 

(b) That the following recommendations of the Panel be agreed:

 

(i)         the Members’ Allowance Scheme within the Council’s Constitution be amended to increase the allowance paid to the Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of the Pensions Committee and Audit and Standards Committee.

(ii)        The Council’s Constitution be amended to reflect that the Pensions Committee Chairmen must also Chair the Pensions Panel.

(iii)      As a general rule, Committee Vice-Chairmen should receive 35% of the respective Committee Chairman allowance.

 

(c) In their report for 2023, the Independent Remuneration Panel be requested to review the allowances paid to the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the County Council.

 

(b)  ...  view the full minutes text for item 61.

62.

Report of the Chairman of the Staffordshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel pdf icon PDF 162 KB

(a)        31 January 2022

(b)       14 February 2022

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In response to questions from Cllr Pardesi and Cllr Edgeller concerning the future of Stafford Police Station, Cllr Peters indicated that this matter was to be considered at the next meeting of the Police, Fire and Crime Panel.

 

Cllr Charlotte Atkins enquired as to whether any progress had been made with regard to her question at the February Council meeting regarding when the Community Rooms at Fire Stations would be re-opening.  Cllr Hood also raised the same issue regarding Stone Fire Station.  In response, Cllr Peters indicated that he would raise this matter with the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.

 

RESOLVED That the report be received.

63.

Questions pdf icon PDF 258 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:

Cllr Pritchard asked the following question of the Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture whose reply is set out below the question:-

 

Question

 

Staffordshire will be hosting part of the Commonwealth Games, as well as most likely seeing the baton relay and other Commonwealth Games celebrations take place in the county. What will Staffordshire County Council be doing to ensure that there is a lasting health and sports participation legacy from the Commonwealth Games in Staffordshire?

 

Reply

 

Staffordshire County Council (SCC) are committed to ensuring there is a lasting health and sports participation legacy for the Commonwealth Games. The following information are examples of where this work has already begun and how further work is underway to fulfil this commitment.

 

Building the Legacy Forestry England Project for Commonwealth Games 2022

SCC made an allocation of £50,000 and became a project partner working with Forestry England to deliver the legacy project building on from the Commonwealth Games. This involved the development, at Cannock Chase, of a Blue Trail Cycle track (aimed at intermediate level), a play centre for learning to ride and a full legacy programme to ensure the facilities have continued use and access by Staffordshire residents. Funding was allocated equally from Families and Communities and Health and Care budgets. Cannock Chase District Council also contributed financially to this project.

 

Public Health

For the past few months, we have been engaged with emergency planning, resilience, and response processes to ensure preparations are in place to consider potential threats from infectious disease (including, but not limited to, Covid) as well as environmental and other hazards.  This includes proactive action, communication, and strategy to ensure a resilient and robust plan is in place to prevent and respond to any issues which may impact on public health.  This work includes messages and distribution of condoms to promote safe/good sexual health.

 

SCC public health officers have recently engaged in a group led by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) which is focused on how to capitalise on promotion of physical activity/health and wellbeing as part of the Games legacy.  Colleagues from Cannock District Council are also involved in this group, as well as Together Active, to review and consider physical activity and leisure opportunities related to the events being held in Staffordshire. 

 

Together Active-Projects and Funding Opportunities

Commonwealth Games Small Grants Fund (Administered by Together Active)

·       £100,000 has been made available in Staffordshire & Stoke

·       Grants of between £100 - £2,500

·       Aims to use Sport And Physical activity to:

A.      Bring people together

B.      Improve health and wellbeing

C.      Help the region to grow and succeed

 

Generation 2022 – Volunteering programme for the Commonwealth Games (Brokered by Together Active)

       Targeting young people who may not consider volunteering (those with Care experience, in pupil referral units or known to Youth Offending teams)

       Aged 16-24

       30 hours of quality volunteering opportunities – incentivize by tickets to CWG &

       Sourcing placements that can provide formal qualifications and potential employment opportunities

 

School Games Legacy  ...  view the full minutes text for item 63.

64.

Petitions

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

- Request for 20 mph Speed Limit in Leek Town Centre

 

Cllr Charlotte Atkins presented a further petition from local residents requesting a 20 mph Speed Limit in Leek Town Centre.