Agenda and minutes

Council
Tuesday, 10 October 2017 10.00 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

55/17

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

56/17

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 291 KB

    To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 11 July 2017.

     

    (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 11 July 2017 were submitted, confirmed and signed.

     

57/17

CHAIRMAN'S ANNOUNCEMENTS

    The Chairman to report.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Chairman made the following announcements:

     

    • Marisa Heath has been made an Honorary Associate of the British Veterinary Association.  This is awarded to very few individuals and is an incredible honour.
    • As his predecessor, Sally Marks, did, he would be hosting the Chairman’s Volunteer Awards, which were given to Surrey residents who deserve recognition for their services to the voluntary sector.  He urged Members to nominate volunteers for this award.
    • Headley Court had a formal farewell which the Countess of Wessex attended.  He paid tribute to the services provided at Headley Court, which would now move to a new centre in Nottinghamshire.
    • He paid tribute to David McNulty, who had retired as Chief Executive, and congratulated Julie Fisher on becoming the Acting Chief Executive.
    • A silent tribute was held in remembrance of Mr Michael Gammon and Mr Bill Bellerby, previous county councillors.

     

58/17

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

    NOTES:

    ·         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)

    ·         Members with a significant personal interest may participate in the discussion and vote on that matter unless that interest could be reasonably regarded as prejudicial.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Mrs Fiona White declared a personal interest in question 9 of Members’ questions as she was the Council’s nominee on the management committee of the Watts Gallery Trust.

    The Chairman declared a personal interest in question 6 of Members questions as he was a user of the Performing Arts Library.

59/17

LEADER'S STATEMENT pdf icon PDF 207 KB

    The Leader to make a statement.

     

    There will be an opportunity for Members to ask questions.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

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

     

    Members raised the following topics:

     

    • That the Leader was wearing a white ribbon in support of the Domestic Violence Management Board that was working towards achieving the White Ribbon Award.
    • Whether there was support from Surrey MPs for extra funding for the Council and what pressure had the Leader put on MPs – Members were reminded that it was the responsibility of all Members to bring pressure to bear on Surrey MPs.
    • What was the percentage rise in Council Tax needed to bridge the funding gap.

     

60/17

MEMBERS' QUESTION TIME pdf icon PDF 306 KB

    1.    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 Democratic Services by 12 noon on Wednesday 4 October 2017).

     

    2.    Cabinet Member Briefings on their portfolios

     

    These will be circulated by email to all Members prior to the County Council meeting, together with the Members’ questions and responses.

     

    There will be an opportunity for Members to ask questions.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Notice of 17 questions had been received. The questions and replies were published as a supplementary agenda on 9 October 2017.

     

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

     

    (Q1) Mr Robert Evans asked how many firefighters and engines would be deployed from Fordbridge Station and what the timescale was for its operation. The Cabinet Member for Communities reported that the station would be operating from summer 2018 and discussions were taking place regarding operations.

     

    (Q2) Mr Chris Botten asked if Surrey maintained schools were better off than academy trusts.  The Cabinet Member for Education explained that when a school became an academy the Council kept the deficit.  She also explained that Surrey had a family of schools that worked together on a voluntary basis and did not wish to set them against each other.

     

    (Q3) Mrs Angela Goodwin asked what the knock on effects of reduced Housing Related Support funding were. 

     

    Mr John O’Reilly asked if the Cabinet Member for Adults had anything further to say with regard to the response given to Mr Botten at Cabinet about the willingness to be flexible on the implementation of the scheme.

     

    Mr Andy MacLeod asked if this was an excellent example of what Members should be talking to MPs about.

     

    Mr Jonathan Essex stated that if this was found to have a detrimental impact on individuals that services could be restored and other sources of funding found.

     

    The Cabinet Member for Adults stated that he would be feeding back and would ensure that there was no one unattended.  Of the 4,000 receiving housing support, 553 of those received support under Adult Social Care. 30% of the saving had been held back as a reserve for any additional people requiring services under the eligibility criteria.  He also stated that flexibility was limited and that he supported Members speaking to MPs.

     

    (Q5) Mrs Fiona White asked if the Council should apologise to service users for the lack of an adequate consultation and would the Cabinet Member monitor delivery of family planning advice for young people.

     

    Mr Chris Botten asked if the Cabinet Member was concerned that there were now situations whereby only one provider was coming forward and was this an indication that services could not be offered safely under the contract offer.

     

    The Cabinet Member for Health stated that public health was underfunded and urged Members to include public health when writing to MPs.  She stated that broad consultation did take place and the chosen providers had an excellent track record. She was content that whilst delivery would be monitored she would report back to council in due course.

     

    (Q6) Mr David Goodwin asked what was to happen following consultation on the future of the Surrey Performing Arts Library and requested that results go back to select committee before going to Cabinet.

    Mr Richard Walsh asked if the Cabinet Member for Communities would consider a private or commercial organisation, with volunteers, to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 60/17

61/17

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 Democratic Services by 12 noon on Monday 9 October 2017).

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Three Members made statements:

     

    1. Mr Chris Townsend – in relation to safety issues of a proposed crossing at Woodfield Lane/A24 junction in Ashtead and related infrastructure.
    2. Dr Andrew Povey – in relation to the need for a strategic approach to housing planning.
    3. Mr Jeff Harris – in relation to the reintroduction of junior citizens events.

     

62/17

ORIGINAL MOTIONS

    Item 8(i)

     

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

     

    This Council notes that:

     

    1)    Surrey County Council has invested £186m, as of 24.7.17, in purchasing commercial properties (such as warehouses, offices and retail premises) outside of Surrey via a wholly owned property company called Halsey Garton

     

    2)    There is a significant risk that Surrey County Council will lose money on these property investments as a result of the costs of maintenance, professional advisors, rates and other costs exceeding the income from rent, loss of rent as a result of voids and loss of value as buildings become outdated

     

    3)    That the County Council's stated intention is to invest up to £1bn by 2020/21, with a maximum return of only 2%

     

    4)    Surrey County Council owns a significant number of buildings across Surrey which have been left vacant for years, in some cases over a decade and that such vacant buildings constitute a waste of money as those assets are unutilised, deteriorating and thus losing value.

     

    Council is concerned that:

     

    The County Council has invested in a large property portfolio outside of Surrey despite its clear inability to properly utilise its own vacant buildings within Surrey.

     

    Therefore, Council calls upon the Cabinet to:  

     

    a)    cease further commercial property investment outside of Surrey as it risks losing public money

     

    b)    prioritise County Council owned vacant buildings to either be used to provide services, or to be sold or let.

     

    Item 8 (ii)

     

    Mr Eber Kington (Ewell Court, Auriol & Cuddington) to move under Standing Order 11 as follows:

     

    This Council notes:

     

    i.      the challenging financial position faced by SCC

    ii.     the savings made across several years to meet those challenges

     

    However, this Council expresses its concern that in many areas the priorities for both spending and service reductions, and also new and increased expenditure, are unreasonable and do not reflect the priorities of residents.

     

     

    This Council therefore calls upon the Leader and Cabinet to re-assess their spending and cost reduction plans through all-member and cross-political group discussions over the coming months to ensure that SCC has a set a priorities which will more closely reflect the concerns and aspirations of Surrey residents.

     

    Item 8 (iii)

     

    Mr David Harmer (Waverley Western Villages) to move under Standing Order 11 as follows:

     

    That the wording of the Financial Framework for Members' Allocations, contained in Part 5 of the County Council’s Constitution, be modified in the Section "What we cannot consider", point 5, to replace the word "core" with the word "statutory”.

     

    Item 8 (iv)

     

    Mr Jonathan Essex (Redhill East) to move under Standing Order 11 as follows:

     

    Council notes the widening gap in pay between the lowest and highest paid council employees in Surrey.

    Council believes that a pay ratio policy in Surrey would be transparent, open and would increase employee participation and morale.

    Surrey County Council therefore agrees that a pay ratio policy should be considered by the People, Performance and Development Committee  ...  view the full agenda text for item 62/17

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Item 8(i):

     

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

    Under Standing Order 12.1 Mrs Watson moved the motion, which was:

     

    This Council notes that:

     

    ·         Surrey County Council has invested £186m, as of 24 July 2017, in purchasing commercial properties (such as warehouses, offices and retail premises) outside of Surrey via a wholly owned property company called Halsey Garton

     

    ·         There is a significant risk that Surrey County Council will lose money on these property investments as a result of the costs of maintenance, professional advisors, rates and other costs exceeding the income from rent, loss of rent as a result of voids and loss of value as buildings become outdated

     

    ·         That the County Council's stated intention is to invest up to £1bn by 2020/21, with a maximum return of only 2%

     

    ·         Surrey County Council owns a significant number of buildings across Surrey which have been left vacant for years, in some cases over a decade and that such vacant buildings constitute a waste of money as those assets are unutilised, deteriorating and thus losing value.

     

    Council is concerned that:

     

    The County Council has invested in a large property portfolio outside of Surrey despite its clear inability to properly utilise its own vacant buildings within Surrey.

     

    Therefore, Council calls upon the Cabinet to:  

     

    a)    cease further commercial property investment outside of Surrey as it risks losing public money

     

    b)    prioritise County Council owned vacant buildings to either be used to provide services, or to be sold or let.

     

    Mrs Watson made the following points:

    • SCC invests large amounts in property outside of Surrey and encouraged the council to invest more in property inside of the Surrey borders in order to increase economic growth.
    • Investment in retail premises was risky with a low rate of return.
    • Some SCC owned properties had been vacant for years, which amounted to a waste of money.
    • She considered there was secrecy around the vacant properties that were owned by SCC.  Whilst there was a project looking at this it was still not open to the public and she requested that a full list of sites be published.
    • She considered that SCC should prioritise investing more in Surrey.

     

    The motion was formally seconded by Mrs White who reserved her right to speak.

     

    Nine Members spoke on the motion and made the following comments:

     

    • That a number of inaccuracies had been given to the media by Mrs Watson and Mr Essex and that, rather than criticising the council, they should help to find a solution.
    • Informed decisions were made, supported by expert officers and CBRE using a scoring matrix.  A full business case was then prepared for the Investment Board and Cabinet.  Select committees were able to look at those proposals.
    • Property in Surrey would also carry a risk.  The Council had a limited ability to raise income and property was a long term investment.
    • Considering the Council’s own properties should be done in a controlled way and providing lists of vacant properties  ...  view the full minutes text for item 62/17

63/17

REPORT OF THE CABINET pdf icon PDF 181 KB

    To receive the report of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 18 July and 26 September 2017 and to agree one recommendation in respect of:

     

    ·         the Annual Report of the Shareholder Board

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Leader presented the report of the Cabinet meetings held on 18 July 2017 and 26 September 2017.

     

    Reports for Information/ Discussion

     

    A – Annual Report of the Shareholder Board

    B – To note that there had been no decisions taken under special urgency arrangements in the quarter 1 July – 30 September 2017.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    That the report of the meetings of the Cabinet held on 18 July 2017 and 26 September 2017 be adopted.

     

64/17

SURREY COUNTY COUNCIL PROGRESS REPORT pdf icon PDF 108 KB

    To consider the report and matters which the Chief Executive draws to attention.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Chairman pointed out an error in the report and suggested that line 5 of the second paragraph on page 5 should begin:

     

    Due to the financial challenges we don’t have funding is reduced for this financial year, ..

     

    The Leader presented the Surrey County Council Progress Report, the sixteenth of the Chief Executive’s reports to Members. He said that included in the report were some outstanding examples of achievements where the Council had listened and delivered.

     

    Members made the following comments:

     

    ·         The case studies used in the report were commended.

    ·         That the report was an understatement of the fantastic work undertaken by staff.

    ·         Tracey Morris of Epsom Charities Rotary Club and volunteers were commended.

    ·         Members were encouraged to view the Corporate Strategy page on the Council’s website.

    ·         A comment was made that there was not enough information on environmental services

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    1.    That the report of the Chief Executive be noted.

     

    2.    That the staff of the Council be thanked for the progress made during the last six months.

     

    3.    That the support for the direction of travel was confirmed.

     

    4.    That line 5 of the second paragraph on page 5 of the report should begin:

     

    Due to the financial challenges we don’t have funding is reduced for this financial year, ..

     

65/17

INDEPENDENT REMUNERATION PANEL REPORT pdf icon PDF 956 KB

    To receive the report of the Independent Remuneration Panel and any changes to the Members’ Allowances Scheme.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Leader of the Council tabled an amendment to the Independent Remuneration Panel’s (IRP) recommendations, attached as Appendix B.  It was proposed that any increases in allowances be backdated to the Council’s AGM of 2017 rather than the date of the election because Members were not in their roles until the AGM.  It was also proposed that any reductions for Members currently receiving Special Responsibility Allowances take effect from the Council’s AGM 2018, as the same consideration was given to staff when their pay was reduced.  It was suggested that the IRP be asked to review allowances for the members of the Fostering and Adoption Panel because they did a great amount of very complicated work which was a huge responsibility.  The savings, if the recommendations were approved, would total £225k.

     

    Members made the following comments:

     

    ·         A vote should be taken on each of the separate elements of the recommendation and proposed amendments.

    ·         It was difficult to justify pay increases so the reduction in special responsibility allowances (SRA) was welcomed.

    ·         There was no moral argument not to make reductions from 1 November as proposed by the IRP.

    ·         The IRP had not commented on the Lead Member of the Police and Crime Panel. 

     

    Mr Nick Harrison, seconded by Mr Chris Townsend, proposed the following amendment to the IRP recommendations:

     

    ·         That the Surrey Lead Member on the Surrey Police and Crime Panel should receive an SRA only if they are the Chairman of the Panel.

     

    On being put to the vote the motion was lost. 

     

    The Leader proposed that the allowance for the Lead Member on the Surrey Police and Crime Panel be included on the list of items for the IRP to review further.  This was agreed.

     

    Members continued to make the following comments on the main report:

     

    ·         It was important that Members take the lead in reducing allowances.

    ·         The Leader was asked if he had confidence in the IRP in understanding the work of council.  It was also asked how much the IRP were paid, to which the Leader responded that he would find out.

    ·         One Member did not agree with no allowance or no rise in allowance as in the long term this would mean that the Council would find itself out of alignment and have to make larger rises which residents would see as a ‘hike’. 

    ·         That the basic allowance may be too large.

    ·         Various Members stated that they currently did not claim the allowances they were entitled to and would continue not to take them.

    ·         The report needed to be clearer when talking of the Pension Committee which was sometimes referred to as Pension Board.  Pension Board allowances were set by the People, Performance and Development Committee.

    ·         Would be happier to talk about reductions across the whole board and even a reduction in councillors, especially when there were several levels of government across the county.

     

     

    Mr Eber Kington, seconded by Mr John Beckett, proposed that cuts in allowances should be made from 2 November 2017, not May  ...  view the full minutes text for item 65/17

66/17

UPDATES TO THE CONSTITUTION - ARTICLES REFRESH pdf icon PDF 163 KB

    Surrey County Council has a Constitution which is agreed by Members and sets out how the Council operates, how decisions are made and the procedures to be followed to ensure that they are efficient, transparent and accountable to the residents of Surrey.

     

    The Constitution contains Articles that set out the basic rules governing the Council’s business and these have been updated to ensure that they are fit for purpose.

     

    The County Council is asked to agree the updated Articles so that these can be implemented and published on the Council’s website.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Vice Chairman introduced the report and thanked Members for their comments.

     

    Mrs Clare Curran proposed an amendment, which was circulated at the meeting.  It read:

     

    Article 5, section 5.02, sub paragraph (b) - page 157 of the agenda - "appointment of the Cabinet including the Lead Member for Children's Services"

     

    Article 11, section 11.01 subparagraph (d) - page 180 of the agenda - "Director of Children's Services and such other posts as are referred to in legislation as "Chief Officer" posts.”

     

    The amendment was seconded by the Vice-Chairman and on being put to the vote the amendment was accepted.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    1.    That the updated Articles of the Constitution as shown in Annex A to the report, with the inclusion of the amendments below, be adopted and included within the Council’s Constitution and published on the Council’s website:

     

    a.    Article 5, section 5.02, sub paragraph (b) to include "appointment of the Cabinet including the Lead Member for Children's Services"

     

    b.    Article 11, section 11.01 subparagraph (d) to include "Director of Children's Services and such other posts as are referred to in legislation as "Chief Officer" posts.”

     

    2.    That the Select Committee Chairmen’s Group and Group Leaders will report back to Council with a review of the effectiveness of the new scrutiny arrangements (Article 7) at the end of the municipal year 2017/18.

     

    3.    That the procedural information formally contained in the Articles, as shown in Annex B to the report, be inserted into the relevant sections of Part 4 of the Constitution (Standing Orders).

     

67/17

Minutes of Cabinet Meetings pdf icon PDF 4 KB