Agenda and minutes

Council
Wednesday, 21st November, 2018 7.00 pm

Venue: Astley Room - Castle. View directions

Contact: Geoff Durham  01782 742222

Items
No. Item

1.

APOLOGIES

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors’ Gardner, Pickup and Walklate.

2.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

To receive declarations of interest from Members on items contained within this agenda.

Minutes:

Councillor Lawley declared an interest in item 7 of the agenda as an employee of BET 365.  Councillors Jones and Kearon declared interests as employees of Keele University.

3.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 64 KB

To consider the minutes of the previous meeting(s)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved:                 That the minutes of the Special Council meeting and Council meeting held on 5 September, 2018 be agreed as correct records.

4.

MAYOR'S ANNOUNCEMENTS

Minutes:

The Mayor thanked everyone who had attended the Remembrance Day Parade and also, those who had supported her Christmas Craft Faye at the Guildhall which had raised £400 for her charity fund.

 

Members were advised of three upcoming events; the Chinese Banquet Charity Night, a Charity Bagpack at Morrisons and the Civic Carol Service at Saint Andrew’s in the Westlands.

5.

APPOINTMENT OF NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE pdf icon PDF 59 KB

Minutes:

The Leader introduced a report seeking Council’s agreement to appoint a Chief Executive.

 

The Leader introduced Martin Hamilton who had held many senior roles and was an experienced Local Government Director.

 

Members who had been on the selection panel all welcomed Martin and were looking forward to working with him.

 

Resolved:     (i)         That Martin Hamilton be appointed as the Council’s Chief

Executive (including the roles of Head of paid Service, Returning Officer and Electoral Registration officer) such an appointment to commence from a date to be agreed between Mr Hamilton and the Leader of the Council.

 

(ii)        That Mr Hamilton be appointed on a salary of £105,000 per annum (plus election expenses).

6.

APPOINTMENT OF ACTING SECTION 151 OFFICER pdf icon PDF 59 KB

Minutes:

The Leader introduced a report seeking Council’s agreement to appoint an Acting Section 151 Officer.  Ms Jan Willis had been appointed as Interim Executive Director – Resources and Support Services in consultation with the Leader and Deputy Leader.  The leader assured Members that this appointment did not affect the position of the suspended officer.

 

The Leader thanked the Council’s Head of Finance – Dave Roberts who had stepped up to the role for a short period.

 

Councillor Sweeney seconded the Leader’s recommendation stating that Jan was an experienced officer and an excellent choice for the role.

 

Councillor Kearon raised concerns about the appointment process whilst stating that it was not a criticism of Ms Willis.

 

The Leader stated that any financial implications would come from the Director’s role.

 

Resolved:     (i)         That Jan Willis be appointed as the Council’s Acting

Section 151 Officer while the permanent post holder remains suspended.

 

(ii)       That, for the purposes of the Council’s Financial Regulations, Jan Willis be authorised to take any decisions or actions or issue any authorisations thatwould normally be carried out by the Executive Director – Resources and Support Services or that may normally only be undertaken by an employee of the Council. 

 

For: 24

Abstentions:18

7.

GAMBLING POLICY pdf icon PDF 76 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder for Finance and Efficiency, Councillor Stephen Sweeney introduced a report on the Gambling Policy 2019-2021which had to be reviewed every three years.  Members’ attention was drawn to paragraph 2.1 of the report which listed various amendments.

 

Resolved:     That the Gambling Policy 2019-2021 be approved.

8.

PUBLIC PROTECTION SUB-COMMITTEES pdf icon PDF 85 KB

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder for Finance and Efficiency introduced a report on Public Protection Sub-Committee Arrangements.

 

Members were advised of an amendment that was required to the report.  Paragraph 3.2g should read as a quorum of three.

 

Amendments had been requested to the timetable as the current arrangements clashed with other meetings and commitments of Members.

 

Councillor John Williams asked the Chair of the Licensing and Public Protection committee and the Leader of the Council to monitor this as the Committee had changed in a fundamental way with three Members making a decision.  Councillor Williams asked for training to be given to Members on how the meeting should be conducted.

 

The leader agreed that the meetings would be monitored and as the Annual Council approached, further changes could be considered if required.

 

Resolved:     That the arrangements for the Public Protection Sub-Committee

be approved.  

9.

REVISED FINANCIAL REGULATIONS pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder for Finance and Efficiency introduced a report on the Revised Financial Regulations.  Members were advised that these needed to be reviewed regularly and revised as and when necessary.  The post of Head of Business Improvement, Central Services and Partnerships had now been removed from the structure with the role being passed to the Chief Executive.

 

Resolved:     (i)         That the revised Financial Regulations and Procedures

be approved.

 

(ii)        That, on an annual basis the financial regulations and

Procedures be reviewed and presented to the Constitution and Member Support Working Group for consideration.

10.

STATEMENT OF THE LEADER OF THE COUNCIL pdf icon PDF 182 KB

To receive a statement by the Leader of the Council on the activities and decisions of Cabinet and items included on the Forward Plan.

Minutes:

The Leader, Councillor Simon Tagg submitted a report which provided an update to Members on the activities and decisions of the Cabinet together with the Forward Plan.

 

The Statement was taken a paragraph at a time to allow for questions to be asked.

 

Councillor Robinson raised a point from the 7 November Cabinet meeting regarding the underperforming of the Planning function and asked if this was the result of a lack of staffing.

 

The Leader agreed that there was a long term shortage of staff and a deal was currently being put together in relation to market supplements.   The Leader stated that the section had recently acquired a new member of staff.

 

With regard to the Council Plan, Councillor Holland said he was happy that one of the Council’s Corporate Priorities had changed from being a ‘Co-operative Council’ to ‘Council Services Working for Local People’.

 

Councillor Panter was pleased to see that this Council was committed to working with the County Council and Councillor Jones suggested working with the County Council to find a solution regarding the loss of school crossing patrols across the Borough.

 

The Leader agreed that the corporate priority – Council Services Working for Local People  was what this Council was all about.  In addition, it removed a costing as the Council no longer needed to pay a subscription to a related organisation.

 

The Council Plan  sets our working with the County Council to enhance the two-tier system.  The two Authorities were working together on the growth and regeneration of the Borough which included Kidsgrove, Knutton and the University site.

 

Councillor Olszewski asked, in relation to the future recycling strategy – which had been called-in, what changes had been made to the scheme following the scrutiny process.

 

Councillor Robinson asked the Leader if consideration had been given regarding the impact that charging for garden waste collection on low income families.

 

Councillor Fox-Hewitt asked if a Quality Impact Assessment had been undertaken and if so, could this be circulated.

 

The Leader stated that the call-in had been listened to and felt that it was clear that there was to be more member involvement.  Changes to the recycling service would take between eighteen and twenty-four months to implement and the relevant Scrutiny Committee(s) would be involved in the process. 

 

Regarding the garden waste collection, the public would all be informed on the Council’s Recycling Collection’s ‘Christmas Card’ giving charges and full terms and conditions.

 

Concerns had been raised about the introduction of a charge for collecting garden waste resulting in fly tipping.  Councillor Proctor stated that he had contacted other local authorities who already charged for this service and it had not resulted in any fly tipping of garden waste.

 

Councillor Brian Johnson had been contacted by residents within his ward – many of whom were on low incomes, who had concerns about the charge. Councillor Johnson asked if it was a fair charge – being the same for families on low/high incomes.

 

Councillor Kearon asked whether any consultation  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

REPORTS OF THE CHAIRS OF THE SCRUTINY COMMITTEES pdf icon PDF 92 KB

Reports are attached for:

 

a)         Economy, Environment and Place Scrutiny Committee

b)         Health, Wellbeing and Partnerships Scrutiny Committee

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Written reports had been submitted for the Scrutiny Committees which had met since the last Council Meeting.

 

Resolved:     That the reports be received.

12.

REPORTS OF THE CHAIRS OF THE REGULATORY COMMITTEES pdf icon PDF 34 KB

Chair’s Report Audit and Standards Committee.

Minutes:

Written reports were submitted for the Committees that had met since the last Council meeting except for the Planning Committee where the Chair gave a verbal update.

 

Councillor Fear, Chair of the Planning Committee advised that the rules public speaking at committees had varied slightly in that speakers could now speak with plans of proposed developments up on the screens.  These plans would, however, be restricted to the official ones that had been submitted with the application.

 

More regular updates on enforcement had also been requested by planning committee members.

 

Resolved:     That the reports be received.

13.

MOTIONS OF MEMBERS pdf icon PDF 45 KB

A notice of motion, under Appendix 7 – paragraph 12 other than those listed in Appendix 7 – paragraph 10 of the Constitution must reach the Chief Executive at least ten clear days before the relevant Meeting of the Council.

Minutes:

A Motion was received on the use of Single-Use Plastics, proposed by Councillor Holland and seconded by Councillor Jennifer Cooper.

 

Members debated the Motion all welcoming its contents.  A query was raised regarding single-use plastics that were necessary for medical proposes.  The Motion was aimed more towards the plastic packaging on foodstuffs, drinking straws rather than necessary usage.

 

Resolved:     That the Motion be carried.           

14.

QUESTIONS TO THE MAYOR, CABINET MEMBERS AND COMMITTEE CHAIRS pdf icon PDF 59 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Maxfield asked the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Growth about background work on the Joint Local Plan.

 

Councillor Northcott stated that the Joint local Plan would show where housing development would take place and  would be a safeguard for development when they came forward.  In July, a revised National Planning policy Framework had been produced which meant that Newcastle had to revisit its policies.  Originally the second round had been due to begin in the next few weeks but this had been put on hold to look at our Policy.

 

 

 

Councillor Fear asked The Leader of the Council for an update on his work with the Business Improvement District (BID).

 

The Leader outlined his work with the BID since December, 2017 and stated that the Council would continue to work closely with them in terms of the Ryecroft site, markets and carparking.

 

 

 

Councillor Rout asked the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Efficiency about the withdrawal of the contract from the Borough’s churches for servicing and Maintenance of the clocks.

 

Councillor Sweeney stated that there were three clocks involved and the Council continued to support the servicing contracts.  The maintenance contracts would need to be discussed.

 

 

 

Councillor Kearon asked the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Efficiency for an update on the commissioning process for demolition of the former Civic Offices.

 

Councillor Sweeney advised that officers had prepared a brief to undertake a survey to assess the amount of asbestos within the building.  The commissioning process would cost £30,000 and information should be available around Easter 2019.  Councillor Sweeney assured that he would share the information with Members when he received it.

 

The former Civic Offices is a 1960’s building – full of asbestos so it was difficult to work out costs of demolition without full information of its extent.  Demolition of the former Sainsbury’s building had cost two to three hundred thousand pounds to demolish. 

 

 

 

Councillor Shenton asked the Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Wellbeing  what plans were in place for a no deal Brexit.

 

The Leader answered this question as it affected all Council services.  A Local Government Association report had been sent to all Council’s.  The Council’s Acting Chief Executive would be attending an event on 13 December and would report back on this.

 

Councillor Shenton asked about the “reasonable worst case scenarios” for a no-deal Brexit and what discussions the Leader and Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Wellbeing had had with the multi-agency tactical coordination groups in the event.

 

Councillor Jill Waring would do a written response on this.

 

 

 

Councillor Robinson asked the Leader of the Council why the recent appointment of the Head of Human Resources had not been an internal one.

 

The appointment had been made on advice given by an HR Officer from South Staffordshire District Council who advised to bring in extra capacity and an Interim Head of Human Resources.

 

Councillor Robinson asked what training was being given to officers to encourage career progression.

 

The Leader replied that progression training  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.

15.

RECEIPT OF PETITIONS

To receive from Members any petitions which they wish to present to the Council.

Minutes:

Councillor Ian Wilkes handed in a Petition from the residents of Scot hay in connection with traffic calming measures.  The Petition would be forwarded to the County Council as requested by Councillor Wilkes.

16.

STANDING ORDER 18 - URGENT BUSINESS

To consider any communications which pursuant to Appendix 7 – paragraph 7 of the constitution are, in the opinion of the Mayor, of an urgent nature and to pass thereon such resolutions as may be  deemed necessary.

17.

MR NEALE CLIFTON

Minutes:

The Leader led tributes to the Executive Director for Regeneration and Development, Neale Clifton  who was retiring at Christmas.

 

Mr Clifton was described as a credit to the Borough for his professionalism, hard work and loyalty.  Members wished he and his family well.

 

Mr Clifton thanked Members for their kind words and for their support through some challenging times.  He said that he had enjoyed being a public servant.

 

Mr Clifton received a standing ovation.