Venue: Parkside Suite - Parkside. View directions
Contact: Amanda Scarce Jess Bayley
To receive apologies for absence
At the start of the meeting the Chairman invited Amy Stokes a Mission Enabler from the Listening Service to give a short presentation on this project.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors J. M. L. A. Griffiths, L. J. Turner and M. J. A. Webb.
Declarations of Interest
To invite Councillors to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Other Disclosable Interests they may have in items on the agenda, and to confirm the nature of those interests.
There were no declarations of interest on this occasion.
The Minutes of the meeting of Council held on 21st November 2018 were submitted.
During consideration of the minutes the following areas were raised as a matter of accuracy:
· Councillor M. Thompson noted that whilst it had been recorded that he had not been happy with the recording of his motion under Minute No. 52/18 the Minutes from the meeting of 19th September had been resolved as an accurate record, which he did not think was correct. It was confirmed that it would be recorded that the resolution of the Minutes for the meeting of 19th September 2018 should have recorded that the minutes were approved subject to the pre-amble above, to take account of Councillor Thompson’s comments.
· Councillor C. Hotham asked for it to be recorded that whilst he had quoted a figures of £32 million in respect of his Notice of motion, Minute No. 64/18, this figure had since increased.
· Councillor M. Thompson made reference to his Notice of Motion under Minute No. 64/18 and commented that if the appropriate data had been available there may not have been the need for the Overview and Scrutiny Board to have set up a Short Sharp Review on the matter, which he was chairing.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the Council meeting held on 21st November 2018 be approved subject to the pre-amble above.
To receive any announcements from the Chairman and/or Head of Paid Service
The Chairman provided details of two events:
· Holocaust Memorial in the Parkside Suite on Monday 28th January 2019at 11 a.m. She was happy to report that again there would be a number of local schools attending this event.
· A Thai Evening fund raising event was planned for 22nd February to be held at the Maekong Thai Restaurant in Bromsgrove, to which invitations had been sent out to all Members.
The Head of Paid Service reported that Councillor M. Thompson had raised an issue with the Head of Legal, Democratic and Electoral Services in respect of an error in the Postal Vote Identifier Refresher Letters. He explained that it was a legal requirement that every five years postal voters were written to and asked to provide a new specimen signature for their postal vote identifier. It was a further requirement that requests were sent out during January for the period of 31st January the preceding year to 30th January in the current year (31st January 2018 to 30th January 2019).
Mail was sent out through downstream access where a third party printed and sent out the letters. Unfortunately, when creating the letters the operator omitted to add the request of a reply paid envelope to the electronic order and this was not spotted before sending to the printers. This had led to approximately 1,400 letters being sent out on 17th January without a return envelope and at a cost of around £550 to the Council.
It was explained that Officers had been made aware by callers on 21st January and since it was a legal requirement to send a reply paid envelope it was decided to re-run the batch. This was one on 21st January. Electors that had called the office regarding the missing enveloped had been given an apology and asked to wait for the replacement letter to arrive.
Action had been taken to ensure that moving forward any large mailing would be double checked by another officer before an order being sent.
A brief discussion followed in which the following points were raised:
· Whether the Leader had been aware of this and it was confirmed that he was not.
· Whether the Council was responsible for the costs or the third party – it was confirmed that the Council was responsible for the cost of rectifying the error.
· The low morale amongst staff which would only lead to further mistakes being made. The Leader advised that he was not aware of low morale. Councillor Thompson advised that he had evidence to support his claim.
· It was suggested that a meeting take place between the Group Leaders and the Chief Executive to discuss the morale and a number of other areas. The Leader agreed to this.
RESOLVED that a meeting be arranged between the Group Leaders and the Chief Executive.
To receive any announcements from the Leader
The Leader advised that he had three announcements:
1. The Leader had received a reply to his letter to the Heath Minister, which had arisen from the Overview and Scrutiny Board’s investigation into Hospital Car Parking Charges. He had received the letter on 31st December, although it was dated 14th December. The letter outlined the reasonings behind the charges and relevant acts but did not address the affordability question. He had therefore drafted a response:
“Thank you for your letter dated 14th December in response to the issues I raised regarding the cost of hospital car parking at Worcestershire Acute Hospital NHS Trust.
Whilst I note the explanation you have provided, the Overview and Scrutiny Task Group on hospital Car Parking Fees carried out its investigation one of the main findings was around affordability in light of the high level of fees charged. I can only re-iterate on behalf of the Council that the problems with affordability of hospital car parking charges represent a genuine source of concern for our local residents. I understand that this is a concern that affects many other areas of the country and it is disappointing that the current guidance has not been updated since 2015.
Accordingly, I wold ask again that this issue be considered, and that an urgent review is undertaken of the current guidance with a view to either eliminating, or significantly reducing the level of charges for hospital car parking.”
The Leader advised that he intended to dispatch the letter by the end of the week and would be sending a copy to the Council’s MP.
2. In respect of the Highways Review the Leader was pleased to report that progress was being made in dealing with County Highways. At a meeting before the Christmas break he had met with the Leader of Worcestershire County Council (WCC) and the Chief Executive together with other relevant officers. The outcome had been their agreement to carry out a Strategic Traffic Assessment in the North of the County with immediate effect. He highlighted that signs of recording were already being seen and that this was a positive start. Councillor K. May had reported that the Worcestershire LEP were also supportive of this.
The Leader considered this to be a positive first step and there was a follow up meeting planned for 25th January, after which he would ask Officers to do a briefing note for circulation to Cabinet, Group Leaders and the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Board.
3. The Leader advised that there would be no Portfolio Holder update at this Council meeting. He explained that he had made the decision and notified the Group Leaders, so that as part of the rescheduled report Members could be provided with a position statement regarding the future management arrangements in delivering leisure and cultural services in Bromsgrove. This was following the current Head of Leisure and Cultural Services taking up a new role as Managing Director of Rubicon Leisure. The ... view the full minutes text for item 71\18
To receive comments, questions or petitions from members of the public
A period of up to 15 minutes is allowed for members of the public to make a comment, ask questions or present petitions. Each member of the public has up to 3 minutes to do this. A councillor may also present a petition on behalf of a member of the public.
The Chairman confirmed that three members of the public had asked to speak at this evening’s meeting.
From Martin Benbow
Mr Benbow commented on the Motion on Notice – The Motor Neurone Disease Charter to be considered later in the meeting. He explained that he was a campaign volunteer for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and was accompanied by Dr Anita Sharma-James, Chairman of Worcestershire Branch of MND Association and also a local Bromsgrove resident.
He thanked Councillor R. Jenkins for proposing the motion and also Councillors M. Sherrey and G. Denaro for being supportive when he had contacted them previously.
Mr Benbow went on to explain that he was a local resident living in Hagley and his personal interest in the motion was because his father died from Motor Neurone Disease. MND was a cruel disease, one that was rapidly progressing and always fatal. It attacked the nerve endings and made it impossible for the brain to send signals to the muscles. Sufferers ended up living in a shell of a body, unable to move, communicate or look after themselves and eventually unable to breathe. Life expectancy after diagnosis could be very short and one third of people died within 12 months. There was no cure.
He was currently aware of 3 cases of MND in Bromsgrove. The short life expectancy was one of the reasons that it was so important that all stakeholders had a clear understanding of MND and the role they could play to deliver speedy care and attention. When you only had one year to live, one week was a long time to wait for an assessment or a piece of equipment.
The MND Charter calls for 5 simple rights:
· Early diagnosis and information.
· Access to quality care and treatment.
· To be treated as individuals with dignity and respect.
· The right to maximise their quality of life.
· The right for carers to be valued, respected, listened to and well supported.
He believed that as a District Council Bromsgrove had an area of responsibility in relation to housing and Disabled Facilities Grants. Because the disease progresses so rapidly, it was essential that people living with MND get any adaptations to their homes made as quickly and easily as possible. He would also like to raise awareness of the disease within the Council and its staff, in order that support for sufferers and carers could be provided in a timely manner. Adoption of the Charter would send a message that the Council was supportive of the rights set out within it. Across the UK, 81 Councils had already adopted the Charter including Wyre Forest District Council and Worcestershire County Council.
The MND Association and its Worcestershire branch provided some local services and support which could complement the role of the Council. He would welcome the opportunity to work together with the Council in the future and asked the Council to support Councillor Jenkins’ Motion.
The Chairman thanked Mr. Benbow for his attendance.
From Kyle Daisley
Members were ... view the full minutes text for item 72\18
To consider the recommendations from the meeting(s) of the Cabinet held on 5th December 2018 and 16th January 2019.
Any recommendations from 16th January 2019 will be to follow.
Cabinet Recommendations 5th December 2018
Bromsgrove District Council’s Response to the Wyre Forest District Council’s Pre-Submission Local Plan
The recommendations from Cabinet in respect of the Council’s response to the Wyre Forest District Council’s Pre-submission Local Plan were proposed by Councillor K. Taylor and seconded by Councillor G. Denaro.
In proposing the recommendations Councillor Taylor explained to Members that this had already been submitted to Wyre Forest due to the time constraints and that if it had been done any later it would have been out of time. He drew Members’ attention to item 6.1 of the response which made it clear that the Council was the Wyre Forest Local Plan was unsound, and that the Council did not consider that the plan was justified, effective or consistent with National Policy. Details supporting this were highlighted within the report, in particular the objection focused on Policy 12 – Strategic Infrastructure and Policy 13 – Transport and Accessibility, together with the evidence base which purported to support them.
Councillor Taylor thanked all those involved in preparing the response and in particular the Ward Councillors from Hagley who had attended the Cabinet meeting to put forward their views and concerns.
Following presentation of the report Members discussed a number of areas within it and Councillor S. Colella thanked both the Portfolio Holder and the Strategic Planning Manager for the detailed response stated that he fully supported it. It was questioned whether the inclusion of this item within the agenda impacted on a Notice of Motion to be considered later in the meeting and Councillor Taylor advised Members that it did not.
The papers had been marked as confidential and Members questioned whether this should have been considered in private session. Councillor Taylor explained that originally the document had been confidential but it was not a public document and as such he was happy for it to be discussed in public.
a) that the Officer response to the Wyre Forest Local Plan Review Pre Submission Plan, be approved by Council as its formal response, and that this be confirmed with Wyre Forest District Council; and
b) that delegated authority be given to the Head of Planning and Regeneration to ensure that the Council is represented at the Examination in Public element of the Wyre Forest Local Plan Review.
Finance Monitoring Quarter 2 Report
The recommendation from Cabinet in respect of the Finance Monitoring Quarter 2 Report was proposed by Councillor B. Cooper and seconded by Councillor G. Denaro.
In presenting the report Councillor Cooper advised that it outlined the Council’s financial position at the end of quarter 2 in September 2018. It was early in the financial year to draw any conclusions; however, it appeared that the Council seemed to be on target to achieve a modest under-spend for the full year. The table on page 58 of the agenda suggested that the Council would make a surplus of over £500k but this was misleading because the figures in the ... view the full minutes text for item 73\18
Minutes from the meeting on 16th January 2019 (to follow)
The minutes of the Cabinet held on 5th December 2018 and 16th January 2019 were submitted for information.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the Cabinet meetings held on 5th December 2018 and 16th January 2019 be noted.
The Leader introduced the report and in so doing highlighted to Members that the SRA recommendations made were identical to those made in the previous year, which he had rejected. The Leader confirmed that he had asked to meet with the Panel to discuss his concerns, but this had been delayed as a new panel had been formed as current terms had expired. He had sat on the recruitment panel in the autumn and believed that a good cross section of people had been selected.
He had subsequently met with two members of the Panel (one old/one new) as mentioned in the report and had had a good frank discussion with them. He had undertaken to provide them with supporting data, which related to the roles of Deputy Leader, Planning Chair and Licensing Chair.
The recommended increase of 18% for Cabinet/Scrutiny Chair could not be supported without detailed evidence to present to Council. This formed part of his discussions as did his rejection of their proposed reductions which was also discussed. He hoped to see progress from the discussions in next year’s report when hopefully the Council would endorse without change.
The Leader went on to explain that in the chart on page 33 within the agenda pack the cost ratios were reasonably in line with other authorities in the County. The figures on page 39, column 2 showed current multipliers out of sync and this was due to the SRAs being frozen in the previous year.
The Leader proposed the recommendations and these were seconded by Councillor B. Cooper.
Following presentation of the report Members discussed a number of areas in more detail, this included:
· Concern around the make-up of the actual Panel itself and that it was made up of people within local government who did not represent the residents of Bromsgrove. It was believed that the Panel was not representative of the people of Bromsgrove.
· The recruitment process for the Panel members – the Leader explained that the positions were advertised in the normal way and that following the recent recruitment process a number of new members had been appointed. He was hopefully that they would be more effective and “think outside the box”.
· Members discussed the need to recruit more young people into the role of councillor and that this may necessitate changes to payments received for the role.
· The information that the IRP received in order to make the recommendations within the report and how the allowances were calculated against the amount of time spent carrying out the relevant duties.
· Whether it was possible to view the data that had been used before making a decision and review the Scheme of Allowances before the elections took place in May 2019.
· It was acknowledged that the nature of the role and the allowance paid influenced the type of people that came forward. It was often retired people using it as an additional income.
· The role of the councillor was to focus on doing what was best ... view the full minutes text for item 75\18
Questions on Notice
To deal with any questions on notice from Members of the Council, in the order in which they have been received.
A period of up to 15 minutes is allocated for the asking and answering of questions. This may be extended at the discretion of the Chairman with the agreement of the majority of those present.
Question submitted by Councillor M. Thompson
“In late 2018 representatives of BDC met with BDHT to discuss the Burcot Lane site and the council’s housing company. Please can the Leader tell us:
Who attended the meeting on behalf of BDC?
What were the objectives and outcomes of the meeting?
Particularly, given BDHT’s experience, what BDHT thought of the council’s venture into housing development?”
The Leader responded to Councillor Thompson’s question and advised that senior officers from the Council and BDHT had met on 18th December 2018 – Council officers present were the Deputy Chief Executive, the Housing Strategy Manage and the Housing strategy and Enabling Team Leader and BDHT officers were the Chief Executive, Director of Housing and Communities and the Director of Asset Management and Development.
The Purpose of the meeting had been to provide an update to BDHT on the current position regarding proposals for the Burcot Lane development which had been endorsed by Council and specifically the position regarding ongoing dialogue with Homes England in respect of the Accelerated Growth bid funding, the proposed timelines for scheme development. It had also included confirmation that the Council had commissioned external support, an overview of the basis of affordable housing on site and BDHT’s views were also sought around potential future regeneration opportunities working with the Council on a partnership basis.
In addition there were a number of operational issues raised and actions agreed, and also an overview provided on the current partnership arrangements in place regarding community safety in Bromsgrove and North Worcestershire. The Leader confirmed that there was no view given by BDHT at this meeting regarding thoughts as to the Councils venture into housing development.
The Leader thanked Councillor Thompson for raising to Council’s attention the ongoing positive collaborative partnership arrangements which existed with BDHT. Members were advised that officers met regularly with colleagues at BDHT and that it was vitally important that there was ongoing shared dialogue given the current ownership and interests at the Burctot site, not least of which BDHT’s major stakeholder status as housing provider on site and the shared access arrangements and current hostel provision.
The Leader confirmed that as there were no formally recorded notes from the meeting in December, the contents of this response had been shared with all officers present at the meeting who had endorsed that this was a true and accurate reflection of the issues discussed.
Question submitted by Councillor S. Colella
“Does the Leader agree with me and other members of this Council whose wards are likely to see cuts in essential Public Library Services and Public bus services that we cannot stand by and watch WCC cut these services without this Council stepping in with both financial support in its Medium Term Financial Plan and without stepping in to look at what options exist for this district council to take responsibility for the statutory control of these services away from WCC who obviously see them as burdens on its role and responsibilities.” ... view the full minutes text for item 76\18
A period of up to one hour is allocated to consider the motions on notice. This may only be extended with the agreement of the Council.
Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Charter
Members considered the following Notice of Motion submitted by Councillor R. Jenkins:
"This motion is to endorse the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Charter, which sets out the care and support that people who are living with MND and also their carers deserve and should expect and to call upon the Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Environmental Services to ensure the Council adopts the Charter.
By adopting the MND Charter, this Council would be agreeing to promote the Charter and to make it available to all councillors, council staff, partner organisations and health and social care professionals who deliver services for the council.
As Bromsgrove District Council we would raise awareness of MND and what good care for those living with this devastating disease looks like, as stated in the Charter, and we will do everything we can as the Council to positively influence the quality of life for local people with MND and their carers living in our community.
Adoption would also mean taking on successful steps including identification of key programme leads by the Council, publicity and developing links with the Motor Neurone Disease Association who would provide resources and advice.”
The Motion was proposed by Councillor R. Jenkins and seconded by Councillor M. Sherrey.
In proposing the motion Councillor Jenkins thanked Mr Benbow for attending and for his support. She reiterated the areas covered by him and the five rights outlined in the charter, and also explained the complex needs and challenges faced by MND sufferers. It was important that all partner organisations worked together to ensure that those sufferers were supported as quickly and efficiently as possible. It was important that the Council and its staff raised awareness and the importance of the right care in order to help support sufferers in maximising their quality of life. As it was an disease that rapidly took hold it was important that their needs were prioritised, as a week in the life of a MDN sufferer was like a year. The Council must ensure that its services were able to respond to the needs to sufferers in providing such things as housing, disabled facilities grants and any benefits that they were able to access.
Councillor Sherrey was happy to second the motion and explained that she had experience of this disease and was aware of the rapid way in which it took hold and affected people. She hoped the Council could help influence all partner organisations in being able to provide support to those suffering and to provide them with prompt access to the services they needed. It was important to remember that it was also those caring for the sufferers that needed support too.
Members were in full support of having the charter and believed it was an excellent idea, and hoped that a way would be found in order to promote it locally and to do its utmost best to ensure that the services provided and support needed were available.
Members ... view the full minutes text for item 77\18