Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2DN
Contact: Anne Gowing 020 8541 9938
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[Note: The Chairman announced two adjournments and the meeting began at 11am, when the Chairman re-ordered the agenda to take the Revenue and Capital Budget 2017/18 - 2019/20 and the Treasury Management Strategy item after the lunch break.]
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
The Chairman to report apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Mrs Bramhall, Mr Few, Miss Heath,
Mr Norman, Mr Orrick and Ms Thomson.
To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 6 December 2016.
(Note: the Minutes, including the appendices, will be laid on the table half an hour before the start of the meeting).
The minutes of the meeting of the County Council held on 6 December 2016 were submitted, confirmed and signed.
The Chairman to report.
A list of Her Majesty the Queen’s New Year Honour’s List 2017 is included within the agenda papers. The Chairman has written letters of congratulations to those who have received awards for services to Surrey communities.
The Chairman made the following announcements:
(i) The sad news of the deaths of two former County Councillors:
· Mr Geoffrey Marlow: he represented Woking East between 2001 – 2013 and was also Chairman of the County Council from 2009 – 2011.
· Mrs Marie King-Hele: she represented Farnham Central between 1981 – 2005 and was also a Member of Waverley Borough Council for 30 years, serving the Borough between 1973 – 2003. She was also Leader of Waverley Borough Council between 1991 – 1995.
Members stood in silent tribute.
(ii) Her Majesty the Queen’s New Year Honours List:
A list was included within the agenda. The Chairman informed Members that she had written letters of congratulations to those people who had received awards for services to Surrey communities. She drew the following names to Members’ attention:
· Mr David Hodge CBE, Leader of the County Council
· Mrs Janet Maines, former County Councillor.
(iii) She informed Members of particular events that she had attended recently:
· Tour of the Grange Centre for people with disabilities on 12 January 2017
· Downlands Partnership site visit on 18 January 2017
· Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January 2017.
(iv) Related Party Disclosures – she reminded Members that it was a legal requirement to complete their forms and return them to Finance by the 31 March 2017 deadline.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
All Members present are required to declare at this point in the meeting or as soon as possible thereafter
(i) Any disclosable pecuniary interests and / or
(ii) Other interests arising under the Code of Conduct in respect of any item(s) of business being considered at this meeting
· Members are reminded that they must not participate in any item where they have a disclosable pecuniary interest
· 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)
There were none.
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS
Any Member may make a statement at the meeting on a local issue of current or future concern.
(Note: Notice of statements must be given in writing, preferably by e-mail, to Anne Gowing in Democratic Services by 12 noon on Monday 6 February 2017).
Mrs Helena Windsor made a statement relating to Surrey’s Green Belt.
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 1 February 2017).
Notice of 12 questions had been received. The questions and replies are attached as Appendix A.
A number of supplementary questions were asked and a summary of the main points is set out below:
(Q1) Mr Robert Evans asked the Cabinet Member for Localities and Community Wellbeing if he considered that residents had a right to know which fire stations faced an uncertain future. The Cabinet Member responded by stating that it was difficult to predict anything in the current financial climate. However, he considered that Surrey’s Fire and Rescue Service was one of the finest in the country and he would do his utmost to protect it. He also referred to the Leader’s decision, made after listening to the views of local residents and the MP, to keep Staines Fire Station open until the new fire station was built in the area.
(Q2) Mr Sydney said that he was pleased that information about the county’s rural landholdings would be included in the Annual Report 2017/18 but asked the Leader why it had not been included in the current report. The Leader stated that the Conservatives valued the views of its countryside partnership and provided an assurance that information relating to countryside management would be included in the 2017/18 Annual Report of the Council.
Mr Mallett considered that the County Council owned a large number of properties and land but did not have a property / land scrutiny board, which he felt was a disadvantage to Members. The Cabinet Member for Business Services and Resident Experience disagreed, stating that property issues came within the remit of the Council Overview Board. The Chairman of the Council Overview Board also confirmed this and added that other scrutiny boards scrutinised areas within their remit, such as the Economic Prosperity, Environment and Highways Board examining the Surrey Wildlife Trust.
(Q4) Mrs Young asked the Leader if he was aware of the increasing pressures on family household budgets, due to rising prices and in particular energy costs.
Mr Kington referred to ‘welfare reform’ mentioned in the Leader’s response to this question and said that the County Council did not contribute to the Boroughs / Districts hardship fund.
The Leader did not respond specifically to these supplementary questions and asked Members to wait for his Budget statement later in the meeting.
(Q5) Mr Robert Evans referred to the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) and considered that there was nothing in it that would prevent voluntary information being given so questioned why was he not able to receive the information that he had requested.
Mr Essex said that he had previously asked for similar information and that his request had also been dealt with under FOI but that he had now received a response. He asked the Leader to confirm whether he considered that Adult Social Care was a national issue, which he did.
(Q6) Mr Sydney considered that his question had not been answered and asked the Leader why the time taken to consider income generation ... view the full minutes text for item 6/17
To receive the report of the meetings of the Cabinet held on 13 December 2016 and 31 January 2017 and to agree one recommendation in respect of the Admission Arrangements for Surrey’s Community & Voluntary Controlled Primary and Secondary Schools and Co-ordinated Schemes for all schools for September 2018.
The Leader presented the reports of the Cabinet meetings held on 13 December 2016 and 31 January 2017, which included a supplementary report of the Cabinet circulated to Members last week, giving the recommendations agreed at Cabinet on 31 January in relation to the Budget and the School Admissions item.
Recommendations on Policy Framework Documents
Admissions Arrangements for Surrey’s Community and Voluntary Controlled Schools and Co-ordinated Schemes that will apply to all schools for September 2018
That the following Admissions Arrangements for September 2018 for Surrey’s Community and Voluntary Controlled Schools and Co-ordinated Schemes for all schools be approved:
That a sibling link is introduced for Stoughton Infant School with Northmead Junior School for September 2018.
That the published admissions number for St Andrew’s CofE Infant School in Farnham is decreased from 40 to 30 for September 2018.
That the published admissions number for Walsh CofE Junior School is decreased from 75 to 64 in September 2018.
That Surrey’s Relevant Area is agreed as set out in Enclosure 3 of the Cabinet report.
That the aspects of Surrey’s admission arrangements for community and voluntary controlled schools for September 2018, for which no change is proposed, are agreed as set out in Enclosure 1 and its Appendices within the Cabinet report.
That the primary and secondary coordinated admission schemes that will apply to all schools for 2018 are agreed as set out in Enclosure 2 to the Cabinet report.
Reports for Information / Discussion
The following reports were received and noted:
Members had an opportunity to ask questions and make comments.
That the report of the meetings of the Cabinet held on 13 December 2016 and 31 January 2017 be adopted.
To approve the Counter Fraud Strategy and Framework for inclusion in the Constitution (Annex A to the report).
The Chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee introduced the report and informed Members that it was vital that a robust Counter Fraud Strategy and Framework should be adopted by the County Council.
That the new Counter Fraud Strategy and Framework, attached as Annex A to this committee’s submitted report, be approved and its inclusion in the Constitution be endorsed.
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 6 February 2017.
No notification had been received by the deadline from Members wishing to raise a question or make a statement on any matters in the minutes.
The meeting adjourned for lunch at 11.45am and resumed at 1.15pm with all those present who had been in attendance in the morning session except for Mrs Moseley.
This report is for the Full County Council to approve:
· the council tax precept for 2017/18;
· the revenue budget for 2017/18 to 2019/20;
· the capital programme quantum and principles; and
· the treasury management strategy.
For the last six years Surrey County Council has faced unprecedented increases in demand, particularly for adult social care and children’s services. At the same time central government funding for the council has reduced significantly, especially over the last two years, and this will continue until at least 2019/20. Furthermore the main methodology used to distribute Government funding nationally has changed.
The Council has a legal duty to prepare a balanced and sustainable budget and to deliver statutory services to residents. To maintain essential services, the council requires a budget that funds these shortfalls and the funding for this can either come from further Government support or locally raised sources.
Annex 3, Council Tax requirement – To Follow
The Chairman said that the papers for this item were included in the agenda, the supplementary report of the Cabinet circulated last week and Annex 3, which set out the Council tax requirements. This was emailed to Members yesterday and paper copies were tabled.
She asked Members to note that the recommendations before them today were set out in the supplementary agenda.
She said that the debate on the Budget would be conducted in accordance with the County Council’s Standing Orders.
The Leader presented the Report of the Cabinet on the Revenue and Capital Budget 2017/18 to 2019/20, the Council Tax Requirement for 2017/18 and the Treasury Management Strategy. A copy of the Leader’s statement is attached as Appendix B.
The Budget proposals were formally seconded by the Deputy Leader.
The Director of Finance presented her report to Council. A copy of her statement is attached as Appendix C.
The Leader of the Council announced that he believed that the County Council no longer required residents to pay additional council tax above 4.99%, which included the 3% Adult Social Care precept, and therefore tabled both revised recommendations and council tax requirement - Annex 3 (Appendices D and E respectively). The Chairman proposed an adjournment of 20 minutes to consider this new information prior to the minority Group Leaders being invited to speak.
Each of the Minority Group Leaders (Mr Harrison, Mrs Watson and Mrs Windsor), were then invited to speak on the budget proposals.
Key points made by Mr Harrison were:
· Disappointment that there was no specific detail in relation to the funding
· Concern about the issues of funding Adult Social Care and that the Government grant for Surrey was unfair
· The county of Surrey paid more income tax, apart from London, than any other part of the country
· Income tax was a fair tax but council tax was not
· That there had been much dialogue and lobbying with all the Surrey MPs and that they were listening. However, there was no evidence to date that Surrey would receive more funding
· The Better Care Fund and its funding issues for Surrey
· Surrey had a large number of residents with learning disabilities
· The continued reduction of the Revenue Support Grant, which would be a negative figure by 2018/19, and that the formula for calculating it was wrong
· Concern that the proposed savings of £93m were unidentified and that the cuts would have to be made in non-statutory areas such as bus services, youth service, fire stations and road schemes
· He suggested a review of: Members Allowances including Special Responsibility Allowances, staffing numbers including back office and accommodation costs, Surrey Matters.
Key points made by Mrs Watson were:
· That the last minute changes had been secretive and shambolic
· Members were being asked to keep their fingers crossed and hope that the funding appeared in the council’s bank account
· She questioned where the £93m savings would be made
· That the Liberal Democrats would not serve on the newly formed Sustainability Review Board