Agenda and minutes

Council - Monday, 27th February, 2023 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services 

No. Item




The Mayor welcomed all those present to the meeting.




Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received on behalf of Councillors Joanne Beecham, Juliet Brunner, Brandon Clayton, Andrew Fry, Timothy Pearman and Craig Warhurst.




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.




Minutes pdf icon PDF 411 KB

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The minutes of the meeting of Council held on 30th January 2023 were considered. 


Members commented that, as detailed in the minutes, there had been different views expressed by Councillors at the previous meeting in respect of the proposed increase of rents for Council House tenants by 7%.


Questions were raised about whether the supplementary question that had been asked by a member of the public at the previous meeting had been answered.  Officers confirmed that an answer had been provided to the gentleman concerned.




the minutes of the meeting of Council held on 30th January 2023 be approved as a true and 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.




The following announcements were provided:


a)          The Mayor’s Announcements


A list of the civic engagements that had been attended by the Mayor since the previous meeting of Council was tabled at the meeting (Appendix 1).


The Mayor commented that highlights during this period had included attendance at the local Star Wars exhibition, which had been attended by visitors from a range of destinations, as far afield as Sweden.


The funeral for former Councillor, Gareth Prosser, had taken place in February 2023 and the Mayor had attended this on behalf of the Council.  The funeral had been very moving and thought provoking.


The Mayor had also undertaken a tour of William Smith and Son Limited’s factory in Redditch during this period.  The business was still producing needles and had provided a helpful reminder of the Borough’s rich history.


b)          The Leader’s Announcements


The Leader explained that, since the previous meeting of Council, he had attended meetings of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Board, the District Councils’ Network (DCN) Conference, a Business Leaders’ meeting and a meeting of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) Board.


c)          The Chief Executive’s Announcements


The Chief Executive confirmed that he had no announcements to make on this occasion.




Executive Committee pdf icon PDF 172 KB

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Independent Remuneration Panel Recommendations 2023/24


The Leader presented recommendations that had been made at the meeting of the Executive Committee held on 7th February 2023 in respect of Members’ Allowances for 2023/24.  Council was informed that, whilst the Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP) had proposed an increase to the basic allowance for Members, the Executive Committee had concluded that it would not be appropriate at this time to increase the basic allowance.  The Executive Committee had also chosen not to endorse the IRP’s proposals in respect of the Special Responsibility Allowances (SRAs) paid to Members.  Members were asked to note that whilst the basic allowance would not increase at this time, there would be a need to increase the basic allowance in future to ensure that new and young candidates could continue to stand in local elections moving forward.


During consideration of this item, Councillor Joe Baker presented an amendment on behalf of the Labour Group (Appendix 2).


The amendment was proposed by Councillor Baker and seconded by Councillor Sharon Harvey.


In proposing the amendment, Councillor Baker commented that he agreed with the Executive Committee’s proposal not to increase the basic allowance for Members and to retain existing arrangements for travel, subsistence and carer’s allowance claims.  However, the amendments proposed changes to the level at which various SRAs for different positions at the Council should be set.  This included proposing an increase to the SRA for the position of leader of the opposition, to reflect the increasing importance of the role, as well as a reduction in the SRAs for the positions of Deputy Leader, Portfolio Holders and the Chairs of a number of Committees.  In addition, the amendment proposed that there should be no SRAs payable to Members of the Executive Committee without portfolio and that no Member should be able to claim multiple SRAs.  The amendment, should it be agreed, would result in savings of £21,872 for the Council.


In seconding the amendment, Councillor Harvey highlighted that not paying multiple SRAs and not paying SRAs for the position of Executive Committee member without portfolio, corresponded with proposals from the IRP.  She commented that she supported proposals not to increase the basic allowance at this time, but she suggested that, under the current Scheme of Allowances, payments of SRAs were over inflated and the amendment was designed to address this.


Members discussed the amendment in detail and in doing so commented on the following:


·             The fact that Members had been able to claim multiple SRAs in Redditch for many years.

·             The arrangement in place at other Councils in Worcestershire, whereby Members were not permitted to claim multiple SRAs.

·             The level of increase proposed to the SRA for the leader of the opposition and the appropriate remuneration for this post.

·             The role of the IRP in providing advice to the Council about Members’ allowances and the need for the authority to be mindful of the IRP’s proposals.

·             The amount of time that Portfolio Holders needed to dedicate to undertaking their  ...  view the full minutes text for item 78.

Recorded Vote
TitleTypeRecorded Vote textResult
Recorded vote on the Labour Group's Alternative Budget 2023/24 to 2025/26 Amendment

In accordance with the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 the alternative budget from the Labour Group was subject to a named vote.


Recorded Vote on the Executive Committee's Recommendations on the Medium Term Financial Plan 2023/24 to 2025/26 Resolution Carried
Council Tax Resolutions 2023/24 Resolution

In accordance with the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 the recommendations in respect of the Council Tax Resolutions 2023/24 were subject to a named vote.

  • View Recorded Vote for this item
  • 79.

    Constitutional Review Working Party - Recommendations pdf icon PDF 204 KB

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    Council considered recommended changes to the constitution that had been made at a meeting of the Constitutional Review Working Party held on 23rd January 2023.  The recommendations focused on proposed changes to the Council’s Policy Framework, detailed in the Articles of the constitution, and to the Scheme of Delegations.


    The content of the report was considered in some detail and during the debate specific reference was made to the changes that had been proposed to the Council’s Policy Framework.  Members commented that items that no longer existed should be removed from the Policy Framework.  In addition, Members suggested that items that were likely to be considered by a more appropriate body should also be removed from the Policy Framework.


    During the Constitutional Review Working Party meeting, Members had agreed that further information should be provided at the group’s following meeting in respect of the Emergency Plan, Enforcement Policies and the Sustainable Community Strategy.  Members suggested that the Single Equalities Scheme should also be considered at this meeting, as concerns were raised about whether it was necessary for this to be removed from the Policy Framework at this time.  The decision was taken, therefore, not to remove the Single Equalities Scheme from the Policy Framework at this time and to instead debate the issue at the following meeting of the Constitutional Review Working Party.


    Concerns were raised about the extent to which it was appropriate to reduce the size of the Policy Framework and to add further delegations to officers in the Officer Scheme of Delegations.  Members commented that it was important to ensure that Councillors continued to have a role in decision making as an integral part of the local democratic process.  However, it was also commented that the content of the current Policy Framework was out of date.  In addition, the extra delegations to officers that had been proposed would help the Council to comply with best practice and to improve the efficiency of the Council’s approach to processing Government grants.  Members also noted that the delegation in respect of Government grant funding only related to grants that had been ring fenced for specific purposes and which needed to be distributed quickly in order to avoid needing to return any of the funds to the Government.


    RESOLVED that


    1)          the Section 151 Officer be delegated authority to accept, administer and distribute ring fenced Government Grant Funding, or Funding from bodies acting on behalf of Government, and to make the necessary and corresponding adjustments to the Medium Term Financial Plan following consultation with the relevant Portfolio Holder and subject to meeting the conditions of grant funding;


    2)          the Chief Executive be delegated authority, as Proper Officer, to declare the office of Councillor vacant immediately after a person has ceased to be a Councillor where s/he has not attended a Council or Committee meeting for six months or more; and


    3)          subject to retaining the existing reference to the Single Equalities Scheme, the Policy Framework be updated to remove reference  ...  view the full minutes text for item 79.


    Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 1 MB


    The Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Councillor Bill Hartnett, presented the Committee’s Annual Report 2022/23.


    Council was advised that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had had a busy year and had held a signficant number of extra meetings largely to enable Members to pre-scrutinise some important reports.  The Committee had also received some overview items for debate at meetings but, due to limited officer capacity, had not been able to launch any Task Group investigations during the year. 


    Members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee were thanked for their hard work, particularly the Vice Chair, Councillor Joanna Kane, who had chaired the Budget and Performance Scrutiny Working Groups as well as Councillor Michael Chalk, who had provided regular updates on the work of the Worcestershire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Overview and Scrutiny Committee.  Local residents who had submitted evidence during the course of the year for the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s consideration were also thanked for their time and contributions.


    RESOLVED that


    the Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report 2022/23 be noted.




    Urgent Business - Record of Decisions

    To note any decisions taken in accordance with the Council’s Urgency Procedure Rules (Part 9, Paragraph 5 and/or Part 10, Paragraph 15 of the Constitution), as specified.


    (None to date).


    Members were advised that no urgent decisions had been taken since the previous meeting of Council.




    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 urgent business for consideration on this occasion.



    Appendix 1 - Mayor's Engagements since the previous Council meeting pdf icon PDF 489 KB

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