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.
Action against Knife Crime
Members considered the following Notice of Motion submitted by Councillor L. Mallett:
“Council notes the recent triple stabbing incident over the Birmingham border in Northfield, as well as incidents in our District and the growing rate of knife crime across the UK.
Council believes that key to tackling knife crime is integrated working across services including the police, education, health and youth services. Council is concerned about the impact of cuts to youth services and policing upon the ability to tackle this growing problem.
Council calls on the Leader and Cabinet to:
a) Write to Sajid Javid and the PCC to ask them to address Council on the issue of knife crime and police funding
b) To reaffirm our funding for youth projects in Bromsgrove and to encourage our partners to support knife crime reduction programmes.
c) To call on Worcestershire County Council to reinstate funding for publicly funded youth services in the District, and to support initiatives in education to keep knives out of our schools. “
The Motion was proposed by Councillor L. Mallett and seconded by Councillor C. Bloore.
In proposing the Motion Councillor Mallett firstly, confirmed that he was a trustee of a local youth charity, but did not believe that this was an interest which needed to be declared. He went on to highlight that there were hundreds of young people who had lost their lives from the growing knife crisis. Statistics showed that this was a crime, which had been on the rise and since 2015 had almost doubled to 40,000 per annum. This was a serious issue and he hoped that Members could reach a consensus as they had the ability to be able to do something about the growing problem. He believed that the cuts at both national and County Council level had impacted on this, in particular with the cuts to youth provision. The library cuts would further impact on the services, as many libraries were also used as a meeting place for many members of the community. The reduction in early intervention services had also played its part in isolating those in most need of support. The issue had been compounded by the reduction of Police officers, whilst it was acknowledged that the Police and Crime Commissioner was hoping to put more Police on the streets, this would in reality only take the County back to its position in 2010 before the cuts had begun to take effect. There had been a drastic cut in the number of youth workers and a clear link had been shown between the cuts and an increase in the level of crime.
Councillor Mallett went on to make reference to the recent knife attack in Northfield which was on the board with the District and that there had been arrests in Bromsgrove for possession of knives and that it was likely that there would soon be an incident where someone was injured in Bromsgrove if action was not taken soon. The Council had the ability to take action now, before it was too late and to show its residents that it was prepared to do what it could to address the growing problem.
A number of Members spoke in favour of the motion and in so doing highlighted the following:
· The impact of the significant cuts to youth services and the need for these to be properly funded.
· The need for appropriate funding to be provided in order to address the problems faced.
· The reintroduction of Youth Clubs in order for there to be somewhere for the most vulnerable to go and seek help and support. This type of support had proved to be a very effective way of dealing with issues.
· The importance of appropriate support being in place in order to ensure young people feel safe and have someone to talk to, and somewhere to go.
· The need for young people to be given a purpose and future and to be able to contribute positively to society.
Councillor P. Whittaker responded to the Notice of Motion and advised that 27 teenagers had lost their lives so far this year and he saw no reason for anyone to carry a knife. He believed that the Police had a bigger role to play in the matter and discussed the work of the North Worcestershire Community Safety Partnership (of which he was a member in his role as Portfolio holder). It was important that the Police and Police and Crime Commissioner were held to account. He also spoke about “county lines” and the growing issue of cross boarder crime, which impacted on the District. He advised that the Metropolitan Police Commissioner had only recently addressed Parliament about the issues and the need for action to be taken. There were a number of projects across England and Wales which had been set up specifically to try and deal with the problems. The Home Secretary and Police and Crime Commissioner were therefore very much aware of the problem and concerns of everyone. Councillor Whittaker therefore proposed an amendment, which was seconded by Councillor G. Denaro, as detailed below:
Council calls on the Leader and Cabinet to:
a) Write to Sajid Javid and the PCC to ask them to address Council on the issue of knife crime and advise of the current progress.
b) (To remain as per Councillor Mallett’s original Notice of Motion.)
c) To support initiatives in education to keep knives out of our schools.
Councillor Mallett thanked Councillor Whittaker for putting forward the amendment but advised that he was unable to accept it, as he believed the reduction in youth services at Worcestershire County Council played a large part in compounding the issues and that funding was a vital part to addressing the matter.
Councillor Denaro spoke in support of the amendment and highlighted that he was not belittling the importance of the issue in any way. He commented on the assertions that the lack of Police and youth funding was a factor in the increase in stabbing incidents and that he had noted that the Chief Constable for the West Midlands had set out to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee the previous day his three reasons for the increase in the area, these were, the drug trade, other crime including car theft and the proliferation of weapon carrying (the fist fight had become a knife fight). He had observed that young people at the moment felt under protected. When asked what he would do if more funding were provided, the Chief Constable had responded that visibility around school closing times, safe routes for young people to travel in areas were the strategies he would employ.
Councillor Denaro believed that a multi-stranded approach was essential to tackling serious violence and involved a range of partners across different sectors. It was also crucial that that the issue was understood and owned locally in order for all relevant partners to tackle the issue. The role of the Police and Crime Commissioner was a pivotal one, by working with community Safety partnerships and other local partners, in order to prioritise tacking serious violence at a local level.
Members were advised that the Government had made available new rounds of the anti-knife crime Community Fund for 2018-19 and 2019-20 to help communities tackle knife crime and which had funded 68 projects so far. The Government would also continue to provide match funded support for local and regional reviews in England and Wales to respond to “county lines” and gang related problems. Early Intervention Youth Funding was already supporting 29 projects in England and Wales and funding had already been allocated to projects delivering interventions to young people at risk of criminal involvement, gang exploitation and “county lines”.
The Safer Bromsgrove Group via North Worcestershire Community Safety Partnership had provided £20k to fund a dedicated worker at the Bromsgrove Youth Hub, based in the Baptist Church, alongside this the Hub had received substantial funding from the Ward Member, the PCC, the New Homes Bonus Scheme and the Heart of England Baptist Church alongside multiple donations, in-kind donations and match funding from a range of businesses, stores and local organisations.
Councillor Denaro further advised that WCC had informed him that all Positive Activities organisations that were receiving funding had had confirmation of a further year’s allocation to March 2020 at current levels. The YMCA ran positive activities provision in the Bromsgrove District and were also members of the Children and Young People’s Providers consortium that developed the Bromsgrove Youth Hub, alongside the delivery of other youth activities. Discussions would take place about the future programme in alignment with the development of the 0-19 Early Intervention Strategy.
Following the tabling of the proposed amendment, number of Members spoke to it and made a number of points, including:
· Disappointment that the proposed amendment had not been discussed prior to the meeting.
· The benefits of youth services and the opportunities they provided.
· The lack of understanding by WCC in respect of the impact of youth services.
· Concerns that young people in some areas are frightened to leave their homes and the worries parents faced when they did.
· The need for investment in young people and the need for the Council to be able to help, as those that were affected were unable to vote.
· The need to make people throughout the district aware of what actions were being taken to give them confidence that the Council was doing all it could.
· Holding those responsible to account – it was understood that the PCC was attending an event in Hagley and suggested that he might have been better attending a Council meeting.
· The need for the Council to do more and the need for the focus to be on preventative work which was where the youth services became invaluable.
· That WCC seemed to be looking at the taking action when it was too late, rather than at the earlier stages, again this was where more adequate youth services would be able to help.
· Whether it was appropriate for the Youth Hub to be based at the Baptist Church and the need for such services to be more accessible to all.
· The need for action to be taken before it was too late and there was a fatality in the district due to knife crime. It was noted that there had been an incident recently in Sanders Park.
A proposal was put forward and seconded, for the amendments to be voted on individually, rather than as a whole. Following a brief, 5 minute, adjournment to consult with the Monitoring Officer on the logistics of this, it was agreed that the amendments to a) and c) would be voted on individually.
In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 18.3 a recorded vote was taken in respect of the amendments to a) and b) of the Motion and the voting was as follows:
a) Write to Sajid Javid and the PCC to ask them to address Council on the issue of knife crime and advice of the current progress.
For the Motion Councillors Cooper, Deeming, Denaro, Dent, Glass, Jenkins, Jones, Laight, May, Peters, Sherrey, Taylor, Mike Webb, Shirley Webb, Whittaker, Spencer (16)
Against the Motion Councillors Baxter, Bloore, Mallett, Peter McDonald, Christine McDonald, Shannon, Thompson, Turner, Van der Plank (9)
Abstaining from the Motion (0)
c) To support initiatives in education to keep knives out of our schools.
For the Motion Councillors Cooper, Deeming, Denaro, Dent, glass, Jenkins, Jones, Laight, May, Peters, Sherrey, Taylor, Thomas, Mike Webb, Shirley Webb, Whittaker, Spencer (17)
Against the Motion Councillors Baxter, Bloore, Hotham, Mallett, Peter McDonald, Christine McDonald, Shannon, Thomson, Turner, Van der Plank (10)
Abstaining from the Motion (0)
The Chairman declared a) and c) of the amended motion to be carried.
On summing up part b) of the substantive motion Councillor Mallett he expressed his disappointment in Members reaction and decision to “water down” the main body of his motion. He reiterated his concern that the reduction in Youth Services had and would continue to impact on the young people in the District and inevitably the problem of knife crime would continue.
On being put the vote the Chairman declared b) of the substantive motion to be carried.
Funding of the NHS
The Chairman confirmed that there was 10 minutes remaining from the allotted time for consideration of Notices of Motion. Councillor C. Bloore proposed an extension of time to 9.00 p.m. to allow his Motion to be discussed. As there had been an adjournment earlier in the proceedings, and with Council’s agreement the time allotted to consider Notices of Motion was extended by 10 minutes to 9.00 p.m.
Members considered the following Notice of Motion submitted by Councillor C. Bloore:
· Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock’s recent visit to the Royal Worcester Hospital, to discuss the ongoing problems facing healthcare services in Worcestershire.
· The publication of the government’s long-term ten-year plan for the NHS.
· The shared view of the Office for Budget Responsibility and the Institute for Fiscal Studies was that 4% was the annual increase needed by the NHS to reverse its decline.
· That instead of meeting the identified 4% target, the government has proposed 3.4% (£20.5bn over five years) investment in funding for the NHS.
· Since this announcement cuts to public health spending – including on alcohol and sexual health clinics funded by councils – means the true size of the increase in health spending is still lower: just 2.7% in 2019-20.
· The woefully inadequate targets for mental health diagnosis, support and treatment contained in the ten-year plan.
· The current 100,000 vacancies in the NHS workforce and the absence of a specific workforce plan as part of the report.
· The publication of the government’s green paper on Adult Social Care has been delayed several times: from an original publication date of “summer 2017” and then to “the end of” 2017, a revised timeframe of “before the summer [Parliamentary] recess” (i.e. 25 July 2018) was announced. In June 2018, the then Health and Social Care Secretary announced a further delay to the “autumn” of 2018 following the announcement that a ten-year plan for the NHS would be developed; this was later tweaked to “before the end of the year”.
· That the NHS is the jewel in the crown of our public services and the public expect it to be funded properly which means the government should follow the advice of the Office for Budget Responsibility to increase funding by 4% annually.
· The continued failure and postponement of the government’s green paper on the funding of adult social care is having a drastic effect on local health services. And until Hospitals can discharge patients safely into the community or back home with the appropriate car packages, hospital beds will remain oversubscribed.
· That it is imperative for any long term plan for the NHS to include a specific workforce plan that tackles the likely loss of clinical staff through Brexit and clearly identifies how it will train, retain and attract 100,000 new staff to the NHS
· That if Mental Health is truly to gain parity of esteem with physical conditions then targets for Mental Health diagnosis and treatment must reflect those of physical conditions.
· To write to the Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock to call for the government to increase annual funding to the NHS by 4%
· Noting the comments of Simon Trickett (NHS accountable officer) that between 250 and 300 EU nationals currently work in the NHS in Worcestershire. To write to the Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock for clarification on plans in place to deal with the potential loss of staff due to Brexit in Worcestershire.
· To write to the Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock to urge him to raise targets for mental health diagnosis and treatment found within the plan.
· To write to the Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock urging him to publish the governments green paper on Adult Social Care funding so that the NHS, local authorities and families can properly plan for the plan.
· To write to the Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock to show its support for ‘competitive tendering introduced by 2012’s Health and Social Care Act to be scrapped’.”
The Motion was proposed by Councillor C. Bloore and seconded by Councillor L. Mallett.
In proposing the Motion Councillor Bloore reiterated the areas covered within his Notice of Motion and discussed a recent meeting of the Worcestershire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) which he had attended and where the NHS 10 Year Plan had been discussed. It appeared from that, that the ongoing problems were not addressed and that there had been a missed opportunity to deal with this. A number of areas were highlighted, including the aging population in the district, the fact that there was no plan in place to deal with staffing issues post Brexit and any plans in place to address the inability to fill the current vacancies. Councillor Bloore also raised concerns in respect of problems within the Adult Social Care service and its cost. It was apparent to him that HOSC was not able to deal with the issues raised and it was therefore important that this Council took action before it was too late.
Councillor K. May proposed an amendment to the Notice of Motion, which was seconded by Councillor M. Sherrey. In proposing the amendments Councillor May advised that she believed that the figures quoted were incorrect and elements of the ‘notes’ section and the Council ‘believes’ section were factually incorrect. She therefore proposed the following amendments:
a) The Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock’s recent visit to the Royal Worcester Hospital, to discuss the ongoing problems facing healthcare services in Worcestershire.
b) The publication of the Government’s long term ten year plan for the NHS.
c) The shared view of the Office for Budget Responsibility and the Institute for Fiscal Studies was that 4% was the annual increase needed by the NHS to bring stability.
d) That instead of meeting the identified 4% target, the government has proposed 3.4% (£20.5bn over five years plus £12bn already allocated) investment in funding for the NHS, with the balance being made from efficiency in the long term plan.
e) The inadequate targets for mental health diagnosis support and treatment contained in the ten-year plan.
f) The current 100,000 vacancies in the NHS workforce and the absence of specific workforce plan as part of the report.
g) The publication of the Government’s green paper on Adult Social Care has been delayed several times; from an original publication date of “summer 2017” and then to “the end of” 2017, a revised timeframe of “before the summer [Parliamentary] recess” (i.e. 25th July 2018) was announced. In June 2018, the then Health and Social Care Secretary announced a further delay to the “autumn” of 2018 following the announcement that a ten-year plan of the NHS would be developed; this was later tweaked to “before the end of the year”.
a) That the NHS is the jewel in the crown of our public services and the public expect it to be funded properly which means the Government should follow the advice of the Office for Budget Responsibility to increase funding by 4% annually.
b) The continued failure and postponement of the Government’s green paper on the funding of adult social care is having an effect on local health services, but notes there is no evidence that County Council delayed discharges are having any effect on the system; since they are amongst the lowest delays in the West Midlands.
c) That it is imperative for any long term plan for the NHS enacts the plan for workforce contained in Chapter 4, which builds on the 5,000 extra doctors and 8,000 extra nurses employed in the service since 2010.
d) That if Mental Health is truly to gain parity of esteem with physical conditions then targets for Mental Health diagnosis and treatment must reflect those of physical conditions.
a) To write to the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, to welcome £32bn of investment into the NHS, and ask him to review the formula of distribution of funds since changes made under Labour administrations would appear to disadvantage counties like Worcestershire. This change would enable the counties health system to be on a long term secure footing.
b) Noting the comments of Simon Trickett (NHS Accountable Officer) that between 250 and 300 EU nationals currently work in the NHS in Worcestershire.
c) To write to the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, for clarification on plans in place to deal with the potential loss of staff due to Brexit in Worcestershire.
d) To write to the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, to urge him to raise targets for mental health diagnosis and treatment found within the plan.
e) To write to the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, the Shadow Chancellor John MacDonald and the Shadow Secretary for Health urging them to work on a cross party basis so progress can be made on Adult Social Care funding to ensure local authorities and families can properly plan for the future.
Councillor Bloore accepted the amendments and reiterated his concerns in respect of the workforce and the need for a separate plan in future year. Due to the time constraints he was happy for the amended motion to be put to the vote.
On being put the vote the Chairman declared the amendment to the Notice of Motion to be carried.
The Chairman confirmed that the remaining motions would be carried over to the next full Council meeting.
Motion submitted by Councillor M. Thompson.
Living Wage – Contractors
Motion submitted by Councillor P. McDonald.
Private Sector Landlords
Motion submitted by Councillor S. Colella.
Committee Governance System
Motion submitted by Councillor C. Hotham.
Motion submitted by Councillor M. Glass.