Agenda and minutes

Council - Monday, 29th January, 2024 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Redditch Town Hall, Walter Stranz Square, Redditch B98 8AH

Contact: Democratic Services 


No. Item




The Mayor welcomed all present to the meeting.  He announced that the item about Land at Upper Norgrove had been withdrawn from the agenda and would be referred to the Executive Committee meeting on 6th February 2024.


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Juma Begum, Alex Fogg, Andy Fry, Anthony Lovell and Gemma Monaco.


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.



Councillor Joanna Kane declared an Other Disclosable Interest in minute number 65, Executive Committee, relating to Redditch Planning Enforcement Policy and the Planning and Environmental Enforcement Business Case, as she was a member of Worcestershire Regulatory Services Board.


The following members declared an interest in minute item no. 63, Motions on Notice, in relation to the Motion about Fire Services:


Councillor Matthew Dormer – in his capacity as a serving fire officer.


Councillors Brandon Clayton and Emma Marshall – in their capacity as members of the Fire Authority.


All three Councillors left the room during consideration of that Motion on Notice and did not take part in the debate or vote thereon.




Minutes pdf icon PDF 396 KB




The minutes of the meeting held on Monday 5th December 2023 be approved as a true and correct record and signed by the Mayor.


Announcements pdf icon PDF 184 KB

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 at the meeting:


a)    The Mayor’s Announcements


A list of the Mayor’s engagements during December 2023 had been included in the agenda pack for the meeting.


The Mayor announced that it was Councillor Sharon Harvey’s birthday and presented her with a bouquet of flowers.


b)    The Leader’s Announcements


Councillor Matthew Dormer announced that he had attended meetings of the West Midlands Combined Authority Board, Housing Land Delivery and Economic Growth Boards.


c)     The Chief Executive’s Announcements


The Interim Chief Executive confirmed that she had no announcements on this occasion.



Questions on Notice (Procedure Rule 9) pdf icon PDF 250 KB


Four questions on notice had been submitted for this meeting.


Social Value


Councillor Sid Khan asked the Leader: “Can the leader tell us how Redditch Borough Council has factored in Social Value in its contracting and tendering process in accordance with the Social Value Act 2012 for recent and?ongoing Redditch Borough Council Regeneration projects?”  


The Leader responded “Whilst the Council does not have a formal Social Value policy, Social Value is now considered in every major procurement undertaken.  The extent and nature of Social Value included in an individual procurement depend on the specifics of each project.


Social value is scored as part of the quality evaluation on any major procurement.  An example of Social Value scored in a recent Redditch Borough Council regeneration project is as follows:


Social Value and support to the Community and Local Businesses


Provide details of how you will ensure the local supply chain, subcontractors and people benefit fromthis project? How will you monitor local supply chain spend?

What are your quantifiable social valuecommitments to this project?
Consider how will your company directly improve the local economy, what local jobs will be createdand sustained by you to complete the works, what local Bidders will you utilise and what training orapprenticeship schemes will be provided.
What support will be offered to local community organisations to support their development.
What facilities will be provided for use by community groups and voluntary organisations as a direct result of this contract.
What time will be allowed for your employees to volunteer for community work in the local area (Number ofhours).

What donations to be made to local community funds to support local causes (value).
What is the total amount (£) to be spent in the local supply chain within the local area through the contract (value per year).
Provide details of support to be provided for local businesses to assist them to survive and grow (Number of hours).”


Councillor Khan asked a supplementary question about what social value the Council had gained for its residents in tangible and monetary terms.


The Leader replied that although no formal policy was in place social value was considered in every major procurement undertaken.  He agreed to provide an answer to the detail in the question outside the meeting.




Armed Forces Champion


Councillor Joe Baker asked the Leader “In the public interest can the Leader explain what exactly is the role of the Council’s Armed Forces Champion?”


The Leader replied: “The Armed Forces Champion is appointed by Council at the Annual Council meeting in May. 


Our Armed Forces Champion is currently Councillor Fogg and this appointment was made at our AGM as part of the appointment to outside bodies process.  We are invited to appoint to the role by Worcestershire County Council’s Armed Forces Covenant Partnership. 


The purpose of the role is:


To act as a positive focus for the local community at elected Member level in respect of the Armed Forces Covenant.


The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 62.


Motions on Notice (Procedure Rule 11) pdf icon PDF 101 KB

The Motions on Notice will be published in an Additional Papers pack.


The Mayor advised that three Motions on Notice had been received for this meeting.


Post 16 Education


Councillor Jane Spilsbury submitted the following Motion for consideration:


In light of Osprey House being repurposed, I move that Redditch Borough Council seek guarantees from Worcestershire county council that the quality and breadth of the post-16 education offer in Redditch is at least maintained, and ideally, enhanced to address the needs of school leavers and adult learners, as well as addressing the needs of the local economy.”


In proposing the Motion, Councillor Spilsbury referred to the current provision for post 16 education across the town.  She reported that Sixth form provision was thriving and there was a broad and balanced offer at A-level.  In the past Osprey House had offered level 4 and beyond provision via Heart of Worcestershire (HOW) College.  In the light of Osprey House being repurposed, she was concerned that degree level education would no longer be provided in Redditch, especially in disciplines such as social work and education.  It appeared that only one level 4 course would be offered by HOW College, in Therapeutic Counselling. Councillor Spilsbury acknowledged that the Borough Council was not responsible for education provision in the town, but suggested it was in a position to influence provision via the County Council.


Councillor Sid Khan seconded the Motion.  He referred to the regression in the levels of education available in Redditch which increased the potential for young people to get into debt if they had to leave to complete their studies. Enhancing the post 16 education provision would increase the intellectual capital in the local population.


The main points raised during the debate were:


·       Worcestershire County Council was not responsible for post 16 education, it was the responsibility of HOW College.

·       The Leader offered to raise this issue at one of his regular meetings with the Principal of the College who he considered was receptive to the need for change.

·       There would potentially be access to resources via regional funding, so it was important that the Council pursued this issue with other authorities, including the West Midlands Combined Authority.

·       Retaining in Redditch the ability to learn at degree level was important in enabling access to a wide range of the population as an alternative to leaving the Borough to attend University.


Councillor Craig Warhurst proposed an amendment, that the issue was tackled via a Short Sharp review.  This would enable the relevant organisations to be approached for input whilst reflecting the concerns expressed by Councillors.  The amendment was seconded by Councillor Joanne Beecham and was accepted by the proposer, so became the substantive motion.



During discussion of the Motion the following points were made;


·       Work was being undertaken by the County Council and partners to achieve a smoother transition between children’s and adults’ services.

·       The statistics on educational achievement quoted earlier in the meeting formed the basis of a case for improvement and to raise the aspirations of young people in the town.

·       Adult  ...  view the full minutes text for item 63.


Outcomes of the Corporate Peer Challenge pdf icon PDF 239 KB

Additional documents:


The Leader presented the Corporate Peer Challenge progress report and proposed the recommendations. 


The Leader reported that the update set out progress against the 6 key recommendations from March 2023 and reflected the continued good working relationship with Bromsgrove District Council, a recognition of the Council’s review of its strategic objectives and revised priorities agreed in November 2023, and support for developing and bringing forward the Council’s vision and priorities during 2024.  It also referred to a strong purpose and direction in the management team and progress with improving decision making in the Council, although some members had raised issues about the provision of information and delivery of improved member to member and member – officer relations.  Officers were prioritising the workforce strategy and the huge steps made in addressing the section 24 notice had been noted.  The peer team was pleased to note the Council was taking the right and necessary steps.  The Leader had been encouraged by their feedback.


Councillor Brandon Clayton seconded the recommendation and spoke in favour of carrying out the challenge as a benchmark for the action the Council was taking.  The process would be ongoing to aim for continuing improvement.


Points raised during the debate included:


·       The process was important in that there was feedback from peers who were external to the Council, but it was suggested some issues raised with the peer reviewers were not included in the report.

·       Officers had worked very hard to address some of the issues raised in the first peer review report, especially the financial issues, but it was suggested that the reviewers were not in a position to comment on these as the audited accounts had not been signed off.




the report in respect of the outcomes of the Corporate Peer Challenge progress review from the Local Government Association peers be noted, and thereafter published on the Council’s website.


Executive Committee pdf icon PDF 123 KB

Additional documents:


Members considered recommendations that had been agreed at the meetings of the Executive Committee held on 5th December 2023 and 9th January 2024.


Finance and Performance Quarter 2 Report 2023/24


Council considered bringing forward a capital sum to improve the resilience of the Council’s IT system for dealing with cyber security. 


Redditch Borough Council Planning Enforcement Policy


The Council’s Enforcement Policy had been updated in accordance with national guidance, best enforcement practice and to provide greater clarity and transparency on expectations, processes and limitations in relation to the Council’s role.  Members spoke in support of the new Policy and the Leader commended the flow chart in the Policy for setting out the process involved.


Council Tax Base and Non-Domestic Rates Yield


The Council considered details of the calculation of the tax base for council tax setting purposes. The calculation of the council tax base was required as part of the determination of the council tax for 2024/25.


Council Tax – Discretionary Council Tax Reduction Policy – Council Section 13A1(C) Policy


The Council had the power under The Local Government Finance Act 1992 (LGFA ’92) to reduce the amount of council tax that a person was liable to pay. The section 13A(1)(C) power could be exercised on a case-by-case basis or by determining a class of case in which the liability would be reduced.


Examples of where the Council exercised the discretionary power included providing a discount to Worcestershire County Council care leavers resident within the district and following a severe weather event such as flooding.


Council Tax Empty Homes Discounts and Premiums


Council Tax was introduced on 1st April 1993 and from this date until 1st April 2004 dwellings in England which were unoccupied were eligible for a council tax discount of 50%.


A series of amendments to council tax legislation, made since 2004, had given billing authorities the power to reduce or remove the discount for unoccupied dwellings and, in the case of long-term empty homes, to impose a council tax premium. The Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023 had introduced further changes to the discount and premiums for unoccupied homes, the main one being to reduce the length of time, from 2 years to 1 year, the period for which a dwelling must be vacant before it was classed as a long-term empty dwelling.  Billing authorities also had discretion to apply premiums up to 100%.


The amendment to the legislation meant that, from 1st April 2024, the premium would be applied to all dwellings that had been vacant for 12 months or more. Members spoke in favour of the approach as being a tool to encourage homes being brought back into use.


The meeting was adjourned at 21.06 and resumed at 21.18.


Final Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2024-25


The Council was required by the Local Government Finance Act 1992 to make a council tax reduction scheme specifying the reductions in council tax that would be provided to people who were in financial need, or to classes  ...  view the full minutes text for item 65.


Regulatory Committees pdf icon PDF 235 KB

Additional documents:


The Council considered the proposals from the Licensing Committee to designate all current and future streets as consent streets for the purposes of street trading.




a)    the draft resolution reported to the Licensing Committee on 27th November 2023 be passed, and


b)    officers be authorised to publish notice that the resolution has been passed in accordance with the requirements of Schedule 4 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982.




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).


The Mayor advised that there had not been any urgent decisions since the last meeting of the Council.


Urgent Business - Political Balance pdf icon PDF 139 KB

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.)

Additional documents:


The Mayor agreed to consideration of this item as urgent in order that the change to the political balance of the Council and actions arising from this could be agreed promptly.


The Council considered a report which set out a proposed revised political balance of the Council following the resignation of Councillor Kerrie Miles from the Labour Group.




1)     the Political balance of the Committees of the Council be agreed.


2)     the arrangement where the seats on the Overview and Scrutiny Committee are not allocated in accordance with the political balance requirements be continued; and


3)     appointments by political group leaders to the places on each Committee be noted.