Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2DN. View directions
Contact: Joss Butler 020 8541 9702
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
The Chairman to report apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Mr Robert Evans, Mr Hussain, Mrs Mason, Mrs Moseley, Mrs Mountain and Mrs White.
To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 5 December 2017.
(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 5 December 2017 were submitted, confirmed and signed.
The Chairman to report.
A list of Her Majesty the Queen’s New Year Honour’s List 2018 is included within the agenda papers.
The Chairman made the following announcements:
i. Her Majesty the Queen’s New Year Honours List:
A list was included within the agenda and this included 31 Surrey residents. In addition, Members were informed that Russell Pearson, the Chief Fire Officer for Surrey Fire and Rescue Service, had been awarded the Queen’s Fire Service Model. Members were invited to congratulate all those that received awards.
ii. British Association of Social Workers – Lifetime Achievement Award:
A presentation was made to Andy Butler, the Principle Social Worker in Adult Social Care for a Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Association of Social Workers. Members congratulated him for this significant achievement.
iii. Related Party Disclosures:
Members were reminded that it was a legal requirement to complete their forms and return them to Finance by the 31 March 2018 deadline.
iv. Julie Fisher:
Members were informed that Julie Fisher, Acting Chief Executive, would be leaving the Council at the end of March.
v. Budget meeting:
The Chairman reminded Members that the budget meeting was different to regular Council meetings and that there would be no original motions. He referred Members to email guidance that he had circulated prior to the meeting setting out rules around voting on the Budget.
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.
This report is for the County Council to approve the:
· Council Tax precept for 2018/19
· revenue budget for 2018/19 and medium term financial plan to 2020/21
· capital programme quantum and principles
· key corporate and financial strategies.
The Leader presented the Report of the Cabinet on the Revenue and Capital Budget 2018/19 to 2020/21, the Council Tax Requirement for 2018/19, the Corporate Strategy and other key financial strategies. A copy of the Leader’s statement is attached as Appendix A.
The Director of Finance presented her report to Council. A copy of her statement is attached as Appendix B.
Each of the Minority Group Leaders (Mrs Watson and Mr Harrison), were then invited to speak on the budget proposals.
Key points made by Mrs Watson were:
· That she would be voting against the proposed budget.
· That it set out drastic cuts to libraries, road maintenance and services for people with learning disabilities on top of cuts already made to services such as community recycling centres.
· It was a failure of central government and the administration.
· She was pleased that the council tax proposal was not a 15% increase but not pleased that there was still a 6% rise proposed.
· That there were four Cabinet Ministers that were Surrey MPs.
· She had written to all Surrey MPs asking them to vote against the local government settlement and urged residents to do so too.
· That the business rates pilot should be extended beyond one year.
· The situation would worsen when the adult social care precept ended.
· In December 2016 a CIPFA (Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy) report on the Council’s finances referred to the organisation as ‘at risk of being financially unsustainable’.
· She welcomed the plans around capital receipts however these rules had been in place since 2016 and should have been introduced sooner.
· That the Council had spent a significant amount of money on maintaining empty buildings.
· She felt that during the financial crisis the Council should not spend £200m of council tax payers’ money on properties outside of Surrey.
· That the government had reminded councils that their prime duty was to provide statutory service.
· Residents were being asked to pay more for less, which did not provide value for money.
Key points made by Mr Harrison were:
· The Council was facing increasing demands and had lost £200m in core funding and the gap was being met by increasing council tax.
· That 90% of the Council’s income came from council tax compared to 60% for the rest of the country.
· He referred to the events of the 2017 Budget meeting and promise of increased funding from central government.
· That there had been an adult social care green paper promised and that the fairer funding review had been delayed.
· Central government could have a deficit that contributed to national debt however local government had to balance the books.
· Northamptonshire County Council was now in special measures.
· That a one year business rates retention pilot would not solve the issue.
· He welcomed appendix 6 of the papers and the involvement of the select committees in the budget setting process.
· A further £66m of savings would be harder to achieve.
· That the pace of transformation had not been enough and ... view the full minutes text for item 5/18
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 31 January 2018).
Notice of 11 questions had been received. The questions and replies are attached as Appendix C.
A number of supplementary questions were asked and a summary of the main points is set out below:
(Q2) Mr Eber Kington asked whether the new Chief Executive would be prioritising the key issues identified in the staff survey. The Leader stated that there would be a further report to the People, Performance and Development Committee regarding the staff survey results and that the new Chief Executive would attend that meeting.
Mr Matt Furniss asked Council to consider the staff survey results in relation to the culture of team working and asked the Leader to endorse the value of team work across the organisation. The Leader congratulated staff on the work that they do, particularly in times of austerity and commended them for their ‘one team’ approach.
(Q3) Mr Stephen Cooksey asked the Cabinet Member to explain the Conservative policy in relation to DIY waste. The Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport explained that the law was very clear and that the Council were able to charge for the disposal of DIY waste.
Mr Bob Gardner asked the Cabinet Member to explain what was being done about prosecuting people for fly-tipping. Mrs Bernie Muir also asked the Cabinet Member to comment on fly-tipping. The Cabinet Member stated that there was a strategy in place to prevent fly-tipping and that work was being undertaken with District and Boroughs to tackle this problem. He went onto say that there had been a successful campaign on fly-tipping and that residents have informed knowledge in this area.
Mr Wyatt Ramsdale requested an explanation on how fixed penalty notices are benefiting Surrey. The Cabinet Member stated that Epsom and Ewell Borough Council had the highest number of fly-tipping convictions with a large monetary value.
(Q4) Mr Matt Furniss thanked the Cabinet Member for the work that had been done on the Ash Bridge scheme and asked whether he would consider making this one of his key priorities. The Cabinet Member for Highways confirmed that local schemes are always a priority.
(Q5) Mrs Hazel Watson asked whether the Leader would be equally sympathetic to non-Cabinet Members in relation to the use of IT to enable paperless meetings. The Leader stated that leadership roles were very important and that there were occasions when paper would be necessary.
(Q7) Mr Chris Townsend asked for confirmation that no children’s centres would close as part of the Early Help review.
Mr Mark Brett-Warburton asked what links existed between the Early Help work and the Improvement Board.
The Cabinet Member for Children responded by confirming that the Improvement Notice had made the Early Help offer a mandatory area of work. She said that many Members had been involved in their local areas and that work around children’s centres was a part of this. She explained that the ambition was to work with partners to join up services at children’s centres and other community venues.
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 5 February 2018).
There were none.
1. To receive the report of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 31 October and
28 November 2017 and to agreed recommendations in respect of:
· Schools Organisation Plan 2018-2017
· Admission Arrangements for Community and Voluntary Controlled Schools and Co-ordinated Schemes for September 2019
· Revenue and Capital Budget 2018/19 to 2020/21, Corporate Strategy and Key Financial Strategies
2. Note the Quarterly Report On Decisions Taken Under Special Urgency Arrangements: 1 October – 31 December 2017.
The supporting papers for the School Organisation Plan and Admission Arrangements for Community and Voluntary Controlled Schools and Coordinated Schemes for September 2019 can be found with the Cabinet meeting papers for 30 January 2018 on the council’s website or via the Modern.Gov app.
The Leader presented the report of the Cabinet meetings held on 14 December 2017 and 30 January 2018.
Recommendations on Policy Framework Documents
A – School Organisation Plan 2018 to 2027
That the County Council approved the School Organisation Plan 2018 to 2027 (as set out in the submitted Cabinet paper from 30 January 2018).
B – Admission Arrangements for Community and Voluntary Controlled Schools and Co-ordinated Schemes for September 2019
Members were informed that this item set out the admission arrangements for community and voluntary controlled schools and co-ordinated schemes for September 2019 and it was recommended that these were approved by Council.
That the County Council approved the admission arrangements for community and voluntary controlled schools and co-ordinated schemes for September 2018 (as set out in the submitted Cabinet report from 30 January 2018).
C – Revenue and Capital Budget 2018/19 to 2020/21, Corporate Strategy and Key Financial Strategies
The Chairman explained that this item was for Council to note the recommendations that the Cabinet had put forward for Council to approve.
That the County Council noted the recommendations that had been debated under item 5 of this meeting.
Reports for Information/ Discussion
D – Quarterly Report on Decisions taken under Special Urgency Arrangements: 1 October – 31 December 2017
Following a vote, with 52 in favour, 4 voting against and 7 abstaining, Council noted that one urgent decision had been taken by the Cabinet on 30 November 2017.
That the report of the meetings of the Cabinet held on 14 December 2017 and 30 January 2018 be adopted.
To approve the inclusion of the updated Counter Fraud Strategy and Framework (Annex A of the report) in the Constitution.
The Chairman of the Audit & Governance Committee introduced the report setting out the revised Counter Fraud Strategy and Framework and stated that this had been debated at length and approved by the Committee at its meeting on 4 December 2017.
That the revised Counter Fraud Strategy and Framework be included within the Council’s Constitution.
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 Democratic Services by 12 noon on 5 February 2018.
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.
This report details the appointment of a Cabinet Associate and confirms the appointment to the resulting Overview and Budget Scrutiny Committee vacancy.
The Leader confirmed that he wished to appoint Ms Charlotte Morley as Cabinet Associate for Property and Business Services and confirmed that this post would not receive any remuneration. He also informed Members that John O’Reilly would replace Ms Morley on the Overview and Budget Scrutiny Committee.
1. That the Council noted the appointment of Charlotte Morley as Cabinet Associate for Property and Business Services.
2. That John O’Reilly be appointed to serve on the Overview and Budget Scrutiny Committee for the remainder of the 2017/18 Council year.