Agenda and minutes

Council
Tuesday, 14 October 2014 10.30 am

Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2DN

Contact: Anne Gowing  020 8541 9938

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

57/14

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

58/14

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 68 KB

    To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 15 July 2014.

     

    (Note: the Minutes, including the appendices, will be laid on the table half an hour before the start of the meeting).

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The minutes of the meeting of the County Council held on 15 July 2014 were submitted, confirmed and signed.

59/14

CHAIRMAN'S ANNOUNCEMENTS

    The Chairman to report.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Chairman made the following announcements:

     

    ·         There were three presentations made:

     

    (i)         Mr Du Bois, Chairman of SATRO presented a ‘Thank You’ certificate to the Chairman, to mark 30 years of successive Surrey County Council chairmen giving their support to this voluntary organisation.

     

    (ii)        The Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Flooding Recovery informed Members that the County Council had won the Best Practice award from the British Construction Industry for the A244 Walton Bridge project. James Young, Principal Design Engineer for this highways project presented the award to the Chairman.

    (iii)       The Cabinet Member for Business Services congratulated the officers within the Shared Services Centre who worked on the Local Assistance Scheme within My Helpdesk for winning the ‘2014 Peer Award for Excellence’. They had entered the category for Corporate Responsibility - Giving to the Community.

    ·         He also mentioned attending the World War 1 commemoration Service held on 4 August 2014 in Guildford Cathedral.

    ·         He drew Members attention to the charity wine tasting event, to be held at the Living Planet Centre in Woking, in aid of the Guildford Cathedral ‘Make your Mark’ fund raising campaign.

    ·         He also advised Members that he would be abseiling down Guildford Cathedral tower on 24 October 2014.

    ·         Finally, he said that Members were invited to view the beautiful display and demonstration of lace work in the Grand Hall today.

     

60/14

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

    To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests from Members in respect of any item to be considered at the meeting.

     

    NOTES:

     

    ·           Each Member must declare any interest that is disclosable under the Relevant Authorities (Disclosable Pecuniary Interests) Regulations 2012, unless it is already listed for that Member in the Council’s Register of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests.

    ·           As well as an interest of the Member, this includes any interest, of which the Member is aware, that relates to the Member’s spouse or civil partner (or any person with whom the Member is living as a spouse or civil partner).

    ·           If the interest has not yet been disclosed in that Register, the Member must, as well as disclosing it at the meeting, notify the Monitoring Officer of it within 28 days.

    ·           If a Member has a disclosable interest, the Member must not vote or speak on the agenda item in which it arises, or do anything to influence other Members in regard to that item. 

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    There were none.

61/14

LEADER'S STATEMENT

    The Leader to make a statement.

     

                There will be an opportunity for Members to ask questions.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Leader made a statement. A copy of his statement is attached as Appendix A.

     

    Members raised the following topics:

     

    ·         The impact of any increased infrastructure for any proposed expansion at Gatwick or Heathrow airports, on the provision of school places in Surrey.

    ·         Support for the Environment and Transport Select Committee’s flooding task group.

    ·         The fairer funding settlement for schools and that forecasting and planning for school places was critical, along with lobbying the Government for adequate funding for elderly care.

     

62/14

MEMBERS' QUESTION TIME pdf icon PDF 140 KB

    The Leader of the Council or the appropriate Member of the Cabinet or the Chairman of a Committee to answer any questions on any matter relating to the powers and duties of the County Council, or which affects the county.

     

    (Note:  Notice of questions in respect of the above item on the agenda must be given in writing, preferably by e-mail, to Anne Gowing in Democratic Services by 12 noon on Wednesday 8 October 2014).

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Notice of 17 questions had been received. The questions and replies are attached as Appendix B.

     

    A number of supplementary questions were asked and a summary of the main points is set out below:

     

    (Q1) Mr Robert Evans asked whether it was acceptable for the Council to enter into this project without a cost benefit analysis and budget. He also expressed concerns relating to the increased response times for 999 calls to Surrey Fire and Rescue. In the absence of the Cabinet Member for Community Services, the Cabinet Associate for Fire and Police Services was invited to respond. She said that commercial sensitivity was critical when purchasing property or land and therefore, any details would be confidential. However, Members were able to contact officers directly to obtain that information. She also confirmed that funding for the new fire station in Spelthorne was included within the Surrey Fire and Rescue budget. Finally, she said that ‘community’ risk was constantly monitored, looked at across the county and that the proposed location for the new fire station in Spelthome would be able to meet the response times for emergency incidents.

     

    (Q2) Mr Forster said, as the Cabinet Member for Community Services was not at the meeting, he would take his supplementary question outside the meeting.

     

    (Q4) Mrs Watson asked the Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Flooding Recovery why the quality issues concerning Bailley Road and Ashley Road had not been addressed. The Cabinet Member explained that the solution was dependent on weather conditions and the work could only be undertaken between May – September. However, he confirmed that the improvements would be included in the programme for next year.

     

    (Q6) Mr Beardsmore asked the Cabinet Member for Schools and Learning to provide re-assurance, which she did, that the new commissioning model for youth provision would still ensure good provision at Spelthorne Youth Centre.

     

    (Q7) Mr Cooksey expressed concern about the rate of progress to date in reducing the number of wetspots across the county. The Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Flooding Recovery said that Mr Cooksey was aware of the wetspots programme and its’ progress – he hoped that the county would continue to reduce the number. However, progress was subject to availability of resources.

     

    (Q8) Mr Jenkins asked if it was the case that SITA’s design failed to meet Ofgem criteria for Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROC) and why had it failed to be accredited to date. Also, was the County Council going back on a previous statement that the Plant would not be accepted as a gasifier if it failed to qualify for Ofgem accreditation.

    Mr Beardsmore made three points: (i) it is Ofgem’s opinion that counts because they were a determining factor on whether or not the plant was a gasification plan, (ii) that ‘pre-accreditation’ and ‘accreditation proper’ were different things so the reference to ‘accreditation power’ was irrelevant, and (iii) it was not essential to have the revenue from ROCs for the plant to run but it probably  ...  view the full minutes text for item 62/14

63/14

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

64/14

ORIGINAL MOTIONS

    ITEM 8(i)

     

    Mr Chris Townsend (Ashtead) to move under Standing Order 11 as follows:

     

    ‘This Council notes that, underlying the extensive funding and overall provision of school places in Surrey, fundamental problems still exist in the planning and delivery of school places.

     

    2014 has again seen failures in forecasting based on birth rates, the planning of school places, the early phase co-ordination of planning, education and highway, and the promotion of sustainable transport and travel options.

     

    As a result:

     

    ·         parents seeking school places have experienced unnecessary concerns about their children's opportunities to both attend their local schools, but also to arrive at that school safely and

    ·         residents living close to schools have seen their concerns in relation to planning and highways ignored.

     

    This Council therefore calls upon the Cabinet Members for Schools & Learning, Highways, Transport & Flooding Recovery, Environment & Planning and Business Services to work together to produce an Action Plan which tackles the current problems related to forecasting, the early coordination of teams responsible for the expansion of schools, late planning applications, and travel arrangements to schools, to be in place by the end of 2014.

     

    This Council further agrees that the Action Plan be subjected to scrutiny by a joint meeting of Members of the relevant Select Committees.’

     

     

    ITEM 8(ii)

     

    Mr Peter Martin (Godalming South, Milford and Witley) to move under Standing Order 11 as follows:

     

    ‘This Council welcomes the statement made by the Prime Minister following the No vote in the Scottish Referendum and in particular welcomes the formation of a Cabinet sub-committee to examine English constitutional change and the continuing commitment that “power can and must be devolved more locally.” 

     

    This Council commends the One Place, One Budget initiative taken by the County Councils Network and chaired by the Leader of Surrey County Council, which creates an ambitious vision for public services to be more closely controlled by local people.  This envisages a new devolution settlement between Whitehall and the Counties to move decisions about how all local services are delivered closer to the people affected by those decisions.  This would deliver better public services, reverse decades of centralisation and revitalise UK democracy. 

     

    This Council urges the Government to take the opportunity now for a radical English Devolution settlement devolving power to both the Counties and the Cities of England.’

     

     

     

    ITEM 8(iii)

    Mrs Hazel Watson (Dorking Hills) to move under Standing Order 11 as follows:

     

    ‘Council notes:

     

    ·                The strong and enthusiastic participation shown by the people of Scotland in a remarkable democratic process leading to the Referendum on 18 September;

     

    ·                The resulting increased discussion on the devolution of powers from central government in Westminster and Whitehall. 

      

    Council believes:

     

    ·                That power should be devolved to the people in all parts of the United Kingdom;

    ·                That England is currently ruled by an over-centralised state that fails to reflect localities and regions;

    ·                That concentrating more power to English MPs in Westminster is not the answer for English devolution and that passing power down to local areas  ...  view the full agenda text for item 64/14

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Item 8(i)

     

    Under Standing Order 12.3, the Council agreed to debate this motion.

     

    Under Standing Order 12.1, Mr Townsend moved the motion which was:

     

    ‘This Council notes that, underlying the extensive funding and overall provision of school places in Surrey, fundamental problems still exist in the planning and delivery of school places.

     

    2014 has again seen failures in forecasting based on birth rates, the planning of school places, the early phase co-ordination of planning, education and highway, and the promotion of sustainable transport and travel options.

     

    As a result:

     

    ·         parents seeking school places have experienced unnecessary concerns about their children's opportunities to both attend their local schools, but also to arrive at that school safely and

    ·         residents living close to schools have seen their concerns in relation to planning and highways ignored.

     

    This Council therefore calls upon the Cabinet Members for Schools & Learning, Highways, Transport & Flooding Recovery, Environment & Planning and Business Services to work together to produce an Action Plan which tackles the current problems related to forecasting, the early coordination of teams responsible for the expansion of schools, late planning applications, and travel arrangements to schools, to be in place by the end of 2014.

     

    This Council further agrees that the Action Plan be subjected to scrutiny by a joint meeting of Members of the relevant Select Committees.’

     

    Mr Townsend made the following points:

     

    ·         That planning for school places should have started earlier.

    ·         It was difficult for parents to find out information re. school places in their local areas.

    ·         School expansions – parents of pupils attending the schools were consulted. However, the consultation process did not necessarily extend to local residents.

    ·         Proper consultation and communication was key to the success of school expansions.

    ·         The importance of addressing traffic issues around schools and ensuring pupil safety.

    ·         A need to look at school place planning for secondary schools now.

    The motion was formally seconded by Mr Kington.

     

    Thirteen Members spoke, making the following points:

     

    ·         The Leader’s statement, which had been about the rising demand for school places in Surrey, and the actions taken by the Council, was welcomed.

    ·         In order that all Surrey children could have a school place, no one in the Chamber was against the expansion of schools, but concern was expressed about the consultation process and communication issues, particularly with local residents – it was considered that the key issue was to ensure that Highways officers worked more closely with local residents.

    ·         Pupil forecasting was not an exact science, due in part to some children crossing borders and coming into Surrey for education. The Plan needed to be constantly updated. Also, the exact figures for primary schools would only be known in January each year for the following September.

    ·         More land was needed to build new schools.

    ·         Frustration and lack of confidence, in relation to the Council’s plans to deliver school places in some Members’ divisions.

    ·         That the Council was doing its best for Surrey residents and that this motion was an attack on officers.

    ·         The Council was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 64/14

65/14

REPORT OF THE CABINET pdf icon PDF 47 KB

    To receive the report of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 22 July and 23 September 2014.

     

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Leader presented the report of the Cabinet meeting held on 22 July and 23 September 2014.

     

    (1)        Statements / Updates from Cabinet Members

     

                There were none.

     

    (2)        Reports for Information / Discussion

     

    The following reports were received and noted:

     

    ·         Local Government Ombudsman Report with a finding of maladministration

     

    Mr Goodwin asked the Leader of the Council, who agreed to provide a response outside the meeting, for the timeframe for Members to receive the response to the Monitoring Officer and the Ombudsman’s report.

     

    ·         Developing the first University Technical College in Surrey

     

    The Cabinet Member for Schools and Learning informed Members that since the report had been submitted, Babcock / FourS had joined the Academy Trust.

     

    ·         National Autistic Society / Cullum Autism Centres in Surrey Schools

     

    ·         Quarterly report on decisions taken under Special Urgency Arrangements: 1 July – 30 September 2014

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    That the report of the meetings of the Cabinet held on 22 July and 23 September 2014 be adopted.

     

     

66/14

Report of the Constitution Review Group pdf icon PDF 60 KB

    To consider the findings of the Constitution Review Group and agree changes to Standing Orders in relation to Council meetings. 

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Mrs Marks, Chairman of the Constitution Review Group introduced the report and thanked Rachel Crossley and Katie Booth for their officer support to the Group.

     

    She explained the objectives for the review and the consultation that had been undertaken, including the survey results, all of which had contributed to the final recommendations of the task group.

     

    She highlighted the following key points from the review:

     

    ·         The offer of training to Members, if required and, particularly for new Members who joined the Council mid-term.

    ·         Improvements to the Council Chamber, including webcasting and the electronic voting system.

    ·         Inclusion of Cabinet Member briefings within the Member Question Time item.

    ·         Limiting the number of motions at each meeting.

    ·         Reducing the number of signatures required on a petition which would trigger a debate at Council.

     

    Finally, she drew attention to the recommendations and said that recommendations (1) to (6) had the unanimous support of the Review Group but a further two recommendations, set out on page 25 of the agenda had the support of the majority of the task group. However, she hoped that Council would support the report in its entirety.

     

    Mrs Lewis formally seconded the recommendations of the task group and made the following points:

     

    ·         Reinforcement of the points made by Mrs Marks and emphasis of the spirit of the task group and the proposals put together by the group.

    ·         Adjustment to the start time would help those Members with carer responsibilities.

    ·         The ability to question Cabinet Members would make Surrey a better Council.

    ·         The proposed changes for motions and the reasons for them.

    ·         That the recommendations were a package which could be reviewed again in future years.

     

    Other Members of the task group were invited to speak.

     

    Mr Harrison focussed on the two recommendations that had been agreed by the majority of the task group. He considered that the proposed changes to time limits would give more opportunity for backbenchers to speak and hoped they would avoid a cap on the number of motions for each meeting, which if exceeded could be a difficult decision for the Chairman to make. On petitions, he considered that it was unlikely that a petition would receive 10,000 signatures to enable it to be debated at Council.

     

    Mrs Watson also had concerns in relation to limiting the number of motions to three per meeting, with none permitted at the Budget meeting. She considered that these restrictions would limit the democratic debate. She also strongly opposed the proposed threshold of 10,000 signatures for petitions to be debated at Council and proposed amending this figure to 3,000, which she considered achievable.

     

    Mr Skellett said that the purpose of the full Council meetings was for the Administration to report the business of the Council and for the opposition to challenge it and put down motions. He referred to the key issues of concern raised during the task group’s review, including the increased number of motions at recent Council meetings. He said that many Members wanted morning only meetings, which  ...  view the full minutes text for item 66/14

67/14

The Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014 pdf icon PDF 41 KB

    The Council is asked to agree amendments to the Constitution to reflect requirements of the Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations, which came into effect on 6 August 2014.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    A report from the Democratic Services Lead Manager was included in the agenda asking the Council agree amendments to the Constitution to reflect requirements of the Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations, which came into effect on 6 August 2014.

     

    Mr Kington referred to the Chairman’s right to suspend webcasting of any meeting held in public if the need arose and said that the requirements of the Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014, could enable members of the public to have and circulate an electronic version of a debate where the webcasting of a meeting had been suspended. He requested that any amendments required to the Constitution, arising from these regulations would have Member input. The Leader of the Council confirmed that he would discuss it further outside the meeting.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    That the relevant changes to its Constitution, as set out in the Annex to the submitted report, be approved, to ensure that the requirements of the Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014 are met.

     

68/14

Report of the People, Performance and Development Committee pdf icon PDF 119 KB

69/14

Report of the Audit and Governance Committee pdf icon PDF 27 KB

    To approve amendments to the terms of Reference for the Audit and Governance Committee.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee said that his committee had undertaken a review of its effectiveness and he commended the minor changes which reflected the actual work of the committee to Council.

     

    RESOLVED:

    That the Audit and Governance Committee’s terms of reference be amended as follows:

     

     i.          A brief Statement of Purpose to be included: “The Council recognises the importance of undertaking scrutiny of the management of the internal control systems and the Audit & Governance Committee provides an independent and high-level focus on audit, governance and financial accounts matters”.

    ii.          To amend section (b) under Regulatory Framework to read: To monitor the effectiveness of the councils’ anti-fraud and anti-corruption strategy, including by reviewing the assessment of fraud risks”.

    iii.          To add “To approve the Internal Audit Charter” under Audit Activity, following section (b).

    iv.          To amend section (b) under Audit Activity to read: “To approve the annual Internal Audit Plan & Inspection Plan and monitor its implementation”.

    v.          To add “To provide oversight to the Annual Report of the Council” under Regulatory Framework, following section (e).

    vi.          To add “That the Chairman (or in his/her absence, the Vice-Chairman) be consulted upon the appointment or removal of the Chief Internal Auditor” under Audit Activity, following section (d).

     

70/14

Amendments to the Scheme of Delegation pdf icon PDF 71 KB

    It is the Council’s responsibility to approve changes to the Scheme of Delegation regarding non-executive functions, while amendments to executive functions are delegated to the Leader and are brought to County Council to note.

     

    This report seeks Council’s approval for changes to the Scheme of Delegation relating to section 106 agreements, Pensions functions and Rights of Way orders. The executive functions brought to Council for information in this report refer to revised decision making arrangements regarding youth services, changes to delegations on adopting roads and streets, and new delegations regarding local transport schemes. New Financial Regulations have also been prepared for Council’s approval, proposing the amendment of approval thresholds for virements and changes to the review process for fees and charges.

     

    These changes are brought to Council in accordance with Articles 4.10 and 5.02 of the Council’s Constitution.

    .

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    This report outlined the changes to the Scheme of Delegation relating to section 106 agreements, pensions functions and Rights of Way orders.

     

    Also, included in this report were the executive functions brought to Council for information. These referred to revised decision making arrangements regarding youth services, changes to delegations on adopting roads and streets, and new delegations regarding local transport schemes.

     

    New Financial Regulations which proposed the amendment of approval thresholds for virements and changes to the review process for fees and charges were included as Annex A to this report. The Council was also asked to agree a further deletion on page 86 of the agenda, namely: ‘Over £500,000, £250,000 (full year effect) and within a portfolio directorate – relevant Cabinet Member’

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    1.       That the relevant changes to the Constitution be approved, regarding:

     

    i)     the extension of delegations in relation to Section 106 agreements to Senior Managers in the School Commissioning and Libraries services;

    ii)    the new division of responsibilities regarding pensions functions and the Internal Disputes Resolution process;

    iii)    the reinstatement of the provision to enable officers to make rights of way orders where no significant objections are made and related updates to wording;

    iv)   revised Financial Regulations.

     

    2.       That the amendments agreed by the Cabinet to the Scheme of Delegation be noted.

     

71/14

Minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet pdf icon PDF 235 KB

    Any matters within the minutes of the Cabinet’s meetings, and not otherwise brought to the Council’s attention in the Cabinet’s report, may be the subject of questions and statements by Members upon notice being given to Anne Gowing in Democratic Services  by 12 noon on Monday 13 October 2014.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    No notification had been received from Members wishing to raise a question or make a statement on any of the matters in the minutes, by the deadline.

     

    [Note: there was a typo on P.104 – first bullet point in the Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Flooding Recovery’s response – ‘not’ should be deleted.]