Agenda and draft minutes

Council - Wednesday, 16th December, 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: Jubilee 2 - Dance Studio - (Second Floor) - Brunswick street, Newcastle, Staffs. View directions

Contact: Denise French 742211  01782 742222

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

APOLOGIES

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Walklate.

2.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

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

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest stated.

3.

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING pdf icon PDF 339 KB

To consider the minutes of the previous meeting(s)

Minutes:

Resolved:                 That the minutes of the meeting held on 23 September, 2020 be agreed as a correct record.

4.

MAYOR'S ANNOUNCEMENTS

Minutes:

The Mayor asked for ten Members to sign a nomination to award the Freedom of the Borough to the Royal Stoke University Hospital.

 

The Mayor’s Charity Fund had, as yet, not raised any money due to the current pandemic and the restrictions that were in place.  The Mayor was hopeful to make progress when the restrictions were eased.

5.

DESIGNATION OF A SECTION 151 OFFICER pdf icon PDF 372 KB

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report seeking to designate an officer as the Borough Council’s Section 151 Officer.

 

The Leader moved the recommendation and advised that Sarah Wilkes had joined the Authority in 2007 as Principal Accountant and became Head of Finance in 2019.  Council was now asked to appoint Sarah Wilkes as the Council’s Section 151 Officer.

 

Councillor Sweeney seconded the recommendation saying that it was nice to see an existing member of staff being promoted internally.

 

Resolved:     That, in accordance with Section 151 of the Local Government

Act 1972, Council designates Sarah Wilkes as the Council’s Section 151 Officer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.

NOTIFICATION OF A CHANGE TO THE CONSTITUTION - UPDATED JOB TITLE pdf icon PDF 624 KB

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report advising Members of an update to a job title in the Constitution.

 

The Leader moved the recommendation advising Council that the post, referred to in some parts of the Constitution, no longer existed and that the new job title had been applied and was shown in the appendix attached to the report.

 

Councillor Sweeney seconded the recommendation.

 

Resolved:     That, references in the Constitution to ‘The Head of Business Improvement, Central Services and Partnerships’ be changed to ‘Head of Legal and Governance’.

7.

NOTIFICATION OF URGENT DECISION TAKEN - ADOPTION OF A STATEMENT OF LICENSING POLICY pdf icon PDF 354 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report regarding an urgent decision, taken by the Chief

Executive in consultation with Group Leaders regarding the adoption of a Statement of Licensing Policy.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Finance and Efficiency, Councillor Sweeney moved the recommendation advising Council that the previous Policy had expired on 25 November, 2020. The adoption of the new Policy had been due to go to the 18 November Council which had been cancelled due to Covid 19 restrictions.  Therefore the Chief Executive took an urgent decision.

 

The Leader seconded the recommendation.

 

Resolved:       That the urgent decision taken by the Chief Executive, in consultation

with the Group Leaders, on 18 November, 2020 be noted.

 

 

 

 

 

8.

ADOPTION OF THE INTERNATIONAL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE ALLIANCE (IHRA) DEFINTITION OF ANTI-SEMITISM. pdf icon PDF 440 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report asking Council to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of Anti-Semitism.

 

The Leader moved the recommendation stating that this was an important document which had been taken to Cabinet in October.

 

The Government had asked all Local Authorities to sign up to the document and Newcastle would adopt the IHRA as set out in the agenda.  Over a year ago, Councillor Johnson had brought a Motion to Council relating to this and this would finish the process.

 

Councillor Stubbs seconded the recommendation stating that he found all types of discrimination abhorrent and although we now lived in an age of enlightenment there were still some individuals who were discriminatory.   Councillor Stubbs stated that he had great pleasure in seconding the recommendation and was delighted that Newcastle was joining the 250 plus, local authorities who had adopted this definition.

 

Resolved:       That Council adopts the International Holocaust Remembrance

 Alliance (IHRA) definition of Anti-Semitism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9.

STATEMENT OF THE LEADER OF THE COUNCIL pdf icon PDF 179 KB

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.

 

Paragraph 2:

 

Councillor Julie Cooper asked the Leader for an update of the number of cases of Covid-19 in the Borough.

 

The Leader advised that the number of cases had fallen dramatically in the Borough over the past couple of weeks, which was now at around 190 cases.  The numbers had also fallen in all Staffordshire districts.  The City, however still had a high number of cases.  Testing was being rolled out across the area at Kidsgrove Town Hall, Bradwell Lodge and the Ryecroft site.

 

Councillor Fox-Hewitt referred to the extra leave awarded to all officers and expressed thanks to the Trade Unions and those in the Joint Consultative Committee for recognising all staff in the Council for continuing to deliver a first class service throughout the current pandemic.

 

The Leader echoed Councillor Fox-Hewitt’s comments and thanks to staff, whether working from home or on the front line for the work that they had done.

 

Councillor Gardner asked about the roll out of the Covid vaccine in Newcastle and how residents could have access to these.  Also, were there to be any priorities - especially the vulnerable and elderly.

 

The Leader advised that he had sent an email out to all Members with details which he had received from the County Outbreak Board and said that he would send it out again, along with any other information that was received.

 

Councillor Parker stated that pubs and restaurants were suffering as a result of the pandemic and asked what help the Council and its partners were giving.

 

The Leader agreed that the hospitality sector was suffering and especially at the current time which was an important period for them.  The Council had given grants to businesses and some were continuing to be given out. The Leader, along with other Leaders across the County had written to the Prime Minister asking him to consider hospitality and what needs to be done to help those businesses. The Leaders would be writing again in the next couple of days to suggest a test and dine philosophy which could be rolled out to enable some businesses to reopen.

 

There was a summit of Council Leaders and MP’s who were lobbying the Government to give funding to help hospitality during the period that they were closed.

 

Paragraph 3.1:

 

Councillor Paul Waring asked the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Efficiency to update the Council with the figure given by the Government to support the Council during Covid-19.

 

Councillor Sweeney advised that the Council had received £3,278,173 and it was estimated that the Council should receive £4,599,671

 

The Government had been campaigned and had listened.  Councillor Sweeney thanked the Government for listening.

 

Paragraph 3.2:

 

Councillor Gill Heesom asked the Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

REPORTS OF THE CHAIRS OF THE SCRUTINY COMMITTEES pdf icon PDF 142 KB

Written reports are attached for the following:

 

·         Economy, Environment and Place Scrutiny Committee

·         Health, Wellbeing and Partnerships Scrutiny Committee

 

A verbal update will be given for the Finance, Assets and Performance Scrutiny Committee

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Written reports were submitted for the Committees that had met since the last Council meeting. 

 

Councillor Holland gave a verbal update for the Finance, Assets and Performance Scrutiny Committee which had met earlier this week to discuss the Medium Term Financial Strategy with a first draft of potential savings for the Council and a quarterly review.

 

Resolved:     That the reports be received.

11.

REPORTS OF THE CHAIRS OF THE REGULATORY COMMITTEES pdf icon PDF 344 KB

Written reports for the following are attached:

 

·         Audit and Standards Committee

·         Licensing and Public Protection Committee

 

A verbal update will be given for the Planning Committee

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Written reports were submitted for the Committees that had met since the last Council meeting. 

 

Councillor Fear gave a verbal update for the Planning Committee stating that the Committee had continued to meet on its regular cycle via hybrid and had maintained good attendance. At the last meeting the performance figures for the Planning department were excellent and Councillor Fear thanked officers for their efficiency.

 

Resolved:     That the reports be received.

 

12.

MOTIONS OF MEMBERS pdf icon PDF 425 KB

Sustainable Development Goals

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A Motion was received on the Adopting of the UN Sustainable Development Global Goals proposed by Councillor Mike Stubbs and seconded by Councillor Simon Tagg.

 

Councillor Stubbs stated that, after a difficult year, Sustainable Goals could

contribute positively.  The document contained 143 targets that were relevant to Newcastle.

 

Ambitious and measurable goals are set out on how the world should look by 2030. These include targets for both global and national development.

 

The Council was encouraged to formalise its commitment to the goals and to clearly set out how serious it was to set out and achieve these targets.  By working alongside Civil Society and other partners the Council would be able to utilise the rich experience of the Borough’s diverse residents to help strengthen communities. 

 

The Council would be re-enforced as an Authority committed to social Justice.

 

The Council had passed several motions over the past year with good intention but little assurance of completion and delivery.  Councillor Stubbs stated that he firmly believed that every report brought to Council from 2021 onwards should highlight how each report dovetails with the UN Sustainable Goals and how each report would include the symbol(s) of the goals that it looks to achieve.  Only then would the SDG’s be embedded firmly in the minds of Officers and Members.   A guide was available which was a joint UK and Local Government Association publication that introduces the SDG’s to the Council and provides a guide as to how they might be incorporated into the Council’s daily business.

 

Councillor Simon Tagg seconded the motion and stated that the British Government was involved in the development of the SDG’s and also the LGA document appended to the report.

 

Reference was made to the 17 policies at the bottom of page 5 which would be integrated into everything that the Council does and all of the Policies being brought forward.  The Council was already adopting a sustainable approach and a way of measuring that.  It would be well appreciated by the Borough.

 

Councillor Jones reminded Council of a personal interest as an employee of Keele University and stated that the UN Goals have a strong local connection namely with the University that has the reputation for sustainability.  Also, with the recent appointment of John Statham as the Professor of Sustainable Livestock Systems.  John is a European recognised specialist in dairy cattle.  He was involved in the drafting up of the Sustainable Development Goals so the Borough had the author of some of the goals, particularly surrounding the agricultural economy and he would be pleased to see some of his concepts playing out within the Borough, which has a large number of dairy farms.

 

This a real opportunity and the Council should strive to exemplify the expertise that we have within our academic community.

 

Resolved:     That the Motion be carried.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13.

QUESTIONS TO THE MAYOR, CABINET MEMBERS AND COMMITTEE CHAIRS pdf icon PDF 101 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Fox Hewitt asked the Leader how many new build homes had been earmarked for the land adjacent to Bradwell Crematorium.

 

The Leader advised that plans had been published as part of the Asset Management Plan and the next stage would be a consultation process.  The outcome of the consultation would be awaited before details were decided upon.  The Leader was aware of a petition which had been started and this would be included with the consultation.

 

Councillor Fox Hewitt stated that residents of Bradwell claimed that the land was gifted to the people of Bradwell for community use and asked the Leader to commit that the Council would not breach any such conditions should this be the case.

 

The Leader stated that this would be looked into and be part of the report that goes to the Cabinet in due course.

 

Councillor Fear asked the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Efficiency for an update on the external Auditors professional opinion on the Council’s 2019/2020 Statement of Accounts.

 

Councillor Sweeney stated that they were completed ahead of the deadline for 2021 and an unqualified opinion was given on the Statement of Accounts which meant that the accounts gave a true and fair view of the position of the of the Authority as at 31 March, 2020.  They had been properly prepared and in accordance with the required Acts.  The officers who had worked on these should be commended.

 

 

 

 

14.

RECEIPT OF PETITIONS

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

Minutes:

There were no petitions handed in at the meeting.

 

15.

URGENT BUSINESS

To consider any communications which pursuant to Appendix 7, Procedure Rule 8 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.

Minutes:

Head of Customer and Digital Services

 

The Leader paid thanks to David Elkington who was leaving the Authority this week especially for his work during the pandemic in adapting the Council to do online and hybrid meetings.  The Leader wished David all the best and a round of applause was given.

 

 

Councillor David Grocott

 

Councillor Stubbs passed his condolences to Councillor Grocott whose father had recently passed away.