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The Mayor welcomed those present to the meeting.
Apologies for Absence
An apology for absence was received on behalf of Councillor Jennifer Wheeler.
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.
The Monitoring Officer advised Members that at a meeting of the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee held on 30th July 2018 all Members had been granted a dispensation to make decisions in respect of the Budget, Council Tax and Members' Allowances. For this reason all Members could participate in the discussions and votes in respect of the recommendations from the Independent Remuneration Panel and the Medium Term Financial Plan 2019/20 to 2022/23, including the Council Tax Resolutions.
the minutes of the meeting of Council held on Monday 28th January 2019 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Mayor.
To consider Announcements under Procedure Rule 10:
a) Mayor’s Announcements
b) The Leader’s Announcements
c) Chief Executive’s Announcements.
a) The Mayor’s Announcements
The Mayor advised that she had recently visited Mrs Molly Fisher, a Redditch resident who had celebrated her 100th birthday. Mrs Fisher had reported that her longevity was due to hard work. The Mayor had also visited the Snowdrop Festival at Beoley Church.
During the Mayor’s announcements Mrs Karen Martin from Inspire Community Training Community Interest Company (CIC) was presented with a certificate in honour of her community work. Ms Martin thanked Members for inviting her to the meeting and noted that she considered the certificate to be an award for the work of the whole team at Inspire Community Training CIC.
b) The Leader’s Announcements
The Leader advised that there had been a change in terms of the Government’s approach to the review of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). The implications of this for the Worcestershire and Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEPs would be clarified in due course.
c) Chief Executive’s Announcements
The Chief Executive confirmed that he had no announcements to make on this occasion.
Redditch Community Lottery
Members discussed the Redditch Community Lottery in detail and in so doing raised the following points:
· The running costs for the lottery which would be £2,500 per year.
· The management company that would be operating the lottery on the Council’s behalf.
· The insurance coverage that would be required by the Council in order to operate a community lottery.
· The potential financial risks arising from the Redditch Community Lottery and the scale of these risks.
· The introduction of policies for the lottery, which would ensure that vulnerable groups within society, including children and young people, were protected.
· The concerns that had been raised in respect of the Redditch Community Lottery at a recent meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
· The funding that would be raised from the lottery for local Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) groups.
· The examples of community lotteries delivered by other local authorities which had been taken into account when the decision had been taken to introduce a Redditch Community Lottery.
· The extent to which gambling was a problem within the Borough of Redditch.
Independent Remuneration Panel Report and Recommendations for 2019/20
There was a detailed discussion about the recommendations from the Independent Remuneration Panel in relation to Members’ allowances. During this discussion the following matters were highlighted:
· The Executive Committee had supported the recommendations proposed by the Independent Remuneration Panel and had added a further proposal to increase the allowances available to members of the Executive Committee without portfolio.
· The level of increase in Members’ allowances, should the recommendations be approved, which would result in a total increase of £60,000.
· The potential to invest that £60,000 in other Council services.
· The financial difficulties experience by some members of society.
· The significant number of years that had passed since Members’ allowances had last increased.
· The reasons why Members had chosen not to increase allowances in previous years.
· The allowances that were already paid to Members and the fact that these were the lowest in the county.
· The extent to which an increase in Members’ allowances would encourage more people to stand as candidates in local elections.
· The amount of work required from Chairs of Committees and Portfolio Holders and the suitable level of Special Responsibility Allowance (SRA) that should be provided to Members in these positions.
· The request that had been submitted by Members in previous years for the Government to determine the level of allowances that should be paid to local Councillors across the country.
· The potential for individual Members to choose not to accept the allowances to which they were entitled.
· The fact that the review of Members’ allowances had been conducted by an independent panel of people.
During consideration of this item a named vote was requested in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 17.5 in relation to the Executive Committee’s first, second and seventh recommendations on the subject of the Independent Remuneration Panel Report and Recommendations 2019/20.
Members Voting FOR the Resolutions below
Councillors Salman Akbar, Tom Baker-Price, Joanne Beecham, Roger ... view the full minutes text for item 84.
The proposals detailed in the review of the Constitution were discussed by Members in some depth. During the debate in respect of this item the following points were raised:
· The proposed changes had been considered at a recent meeting of the Constitutional Review Working Party.
· The introduction of an Electoral Matters Committee would help to reduce the length of time spent debating the subject at meetings of Council.
· However, it was also noted that electoral issues were very important an should the Electoral Matters Committee be introduced they would be considered by only a small number of Councillors.
· The delegation of powers to senior officers to consider employment appeals would ensure that the Council’s disciplinary policies were more compliant with ACAS guidelines as appeals should be considered as soon as possible and the Employment Appeals Committee process caused delays.
· However, concerns were raised that staff should have an opportunity to appeal to their ultimate employer, elected Members, who could act in an independent capacity.
· There was general consensus that the introduction of public speaking arrangements at more Committee meetings would help to enhance public engagement in the democratic process.
1) an Electoral Matters Committee be established and the proposed terms of reference for this Committee be approved;
2) the Officer Scheme of Delegations should be amended so as to delegate Directors with the power to consider appeals by employees in respect of discipline and dismissal for staff below the level of Head of Service;
3) the current employment policies remain in place (including the relevant appeal processes) until such time as replacement policies have been formally approved;
4) the Parental Leave Guidance for Councillors be adopted;
5) public speaking should be permitted to take place at all Committee meetings held in public where there are currently no opportunities for the public to register to speak; and
6) the updated Code of Practice in Relation to Licensing matters under the Licensing Act 2003 and the Gambling Act 2005 be adopted.
Members were advised that the introduction of an Electoral Matters Committee, agreed during consideration of the report in respect of the review of the Council’s constitution, impacted on the Council’s political balance.
Members agreed the proposals detailed in the report with nobody voting against.
1) the political balance of the Committees of the Council be agreed as set out in paragraph 3.5;
2) the arrangement where the seats on the Overview and Scrutiny Committee are not allocated in accordance with the political balance requirements be continued;
2) the arrangement where the seats on the Crime and Disorder Scrutiny Panel are not allocated in accordance with the political balance requirements be continued;
4) appointments by political group leaders to the places on the Electoral Matters Committee be approved;
5) the Council appoints a Chair and a Vice-Chair of the Electoral Matters Committee.
Urgent Business - Record of Decisions
To note any decisions taken in accordance with the Council’s Urgency Procedure Rules (Part 6, Paragraph 5 and/or Part 7, Paragraph 15 of the Constitution), as specified.
(None to date).
There were no urgent decisions to note.
Urgent Business - general (if any)
To consider any additional items exceptionally agreed by the Mayor as Urgent Business in accordance with the powers vested in him by virtue of Section 100(B)(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972.
(This power should be exercised only in cases where there are genuinely special circumstances which require consideration of an item which has not previously been published on the Order of Business for the meeting.)
There was no general urgent business for Members’ consideration.