Agenda and minutes

Council - Tuesday, 10 December 2019 10.00 am

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

Contact: Amelia Christopher  020 8213 2838


No. Item



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    The Chairman to report apologies for absence.

    Additional documents:


    Apologies for absence were received from Mrs Barton, Mr Brett-Warburton, Mr Carasco, Dr Chapman, Mr Ellwood, Mrs Mason, Mr McIntosh and Mrs Steeds.


MINUTES pdf icon PDF 263 KB

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    To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 8 October 2019.


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


    Additional documents:


    The minutes of the meeting of the County Council held on 8 October 2019 were submitted, confirmed and signed.



    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)

    ·         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:


    Dr Andrew Povey declared a non-pecuniary interest as he was a trustee for the Surrey Hills Society.


    Mr Nick Harrison declared a personal interest as the chair of governors to a maintained primary school in Surrey


    Mr Will Forster declared a personal interest in Woking Borough Council as a borough councillor and Chairman of the County Council’s Moving Closer to Residents Task Group




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    • Please do take a look at the Chairman and Vice-Chairman notice boards (situated outside their offices) which provides pictorial information about recent visits and activities.


    Recent visits and events


    • Chairman’s Volunteers’ Reception – last month saw the fifth Volunteers’ Awards evening since its inception, celebrating those who work tirelessly in their communities for the benefit of local residents. It was truly inspiring, humbling and heart-warming.


    Details of the next Volunteer’s Reception, which will be held in the spring, will be sent shortly from my office and I invite each of you to nominate at least one volunteer from your area who is deserving of an award.


    • Remembrance – Members and staff of Surrey County Council came together to remember and commemorate those who fought for our freedoms, those who lost their lives and those who continue to fight for our country and freedoms today.


    • Long Service Awards – We celebrated the loyalty, dedication and hard work of colleagues with 25 and 40 years of service to Surrey County Council. It was a wonderful afternoon full of celebration.


    • I would like to wish everyone a safe, healthy and happy Christmas and I look forward to seeing you all in 2020.



    Additional documents:


    The Chairman:


    ·         Highlighted to Members that the Chairman’s Announcements were located in the agenda front sheet.




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    The Leader to make a statement.


    There will be an opportunity for Members to ask questions and/or make comments.


    Additional documents:


    Mrs White arrived at 10.03am

    Mr Islam arrived at 10.04am

    Miss Griffiths arrived at 10.05am

    Ms Azad arrived at 10.38am


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


    Members raised the following topics:


    • Noted that climate change must remain at the top of the Council’s agenda and that there had been a positive start by Surrey’s Greener Future Task and Finish Group and looked ahead to the report on highway trees in January.
    • Stated that the Organisation Strategy 2020-2025 was aspirational as the reality across services was one of austerity. Local government required continuous funding from the Government rather than one-off grants to adequately address the pressures in key areas such as adult social care, highways, climate change and housing.
    • Supported the Council’s move to Woking as County Hall was not fit for purpose, but the new building must ensure lower carbon dioxide output and be good value for money for residents.
    • The move must also consider that staff would be looked after during the transition and there would be functioning IT systems upon arrival.
    • Welcomed the reports in the agenda as they ensured a forward-looking Surrey and stressed that the Council must be committed to continuously ensure the competency and sensitivity in the delivery of services to the most vulnerable of Surrey’s residents.
    • Praised the positive future outlook by the Council, and noted the essential partnership work involved in the Leader’s upcoming Future Economy Surrey Commission.
    • Supported the use of electric buses, the need to address youth and public services, to tackle county lines, continue to seek social care reform and alleviate school funding cost pressures from the Government.
    • Commended the Council’s decision to retain the Community Recycling Centres (CRCs), the move back into Surrey, the reversal of the decision on car parking charges in the countryside and the Leader chairing the ‘Cut the Pollution’ campaign in Farnham which identified traffic changes in the area.
    • Sought clarification if the Future Economy Surrey Commission would take on the declared ‘Climate Emergency’ by confirming whether the Council will oppose Gatwick Airport’s expansion and would deal with inequality in Surrey. 
    • Acknowledged Extinction Rebellion’s call for divestment in the Council’s Pension Fund away from fossil fuels and halting planning permissions for oil drilling companies.
    • Welcomed the Council’s commitment to keep its libraries open but asked for confirmation on how it would address the financial pressures in funding the high needs block of Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND).





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    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 December 2019).


    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:




    Notice of ten questions had been received. The questions and replies were published in a supplementary agenda on 9 December 2019.


    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 Community Safety, Fire and Resilience if she felt that the current reciprocated use of Surrey’s fire services in the county with neighbouring forces was the most efficient way to run Surrey’s Fire and Rescue Service. That in recent discussions with firefighters they expressed concern on the differing approaches and training between fire services and noted the lack of contingency for the water rescue service.


    The Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Fire and Resiliencestated that Surrey Fire and Rescue Service reciprocated more incidents in neighbouring forces than it  received. Water rescue facilities were based in Walton andFordbridge and were adequately equipped to deal with evolving risks such as flooding.Those practices had been in place since 1947 in the Fire Services Act and Surrey had the most advanced system in the United Kingdom to identify the nearest suitable appliances to deploy.


    (Q3) Mr Chris Botten asked that in subsequent papers, the Organisation Strategy 2020-2025 and the Next Phase of Transformation be amended to reflect the written question response by the Leader of the Council.


    Mr Essex noted that as the Council had £100 million available in the Community Investment Fund, whether it could be used to address the ‘Climate Emergency’.


    The Leader of the Council responded to Member queries by stating that the purpose of the Community Investment Fund was to support meaningful projects in local communities - not solely restricted to addressing climate change or highways improvements. The Fund would be spent appropriately through regulation by Member and officer boards and the Leader suggested that there would be a future all-member workshop on the issue in early 2020.


    (Q4) Mrs Hazel Watson stated that she would be happy to champion the Cabinet Member for Highway’s recommendations - as the relevant cabinet member in her district council - as detailed in his written response and sought clarification on the responsible officer for parking enforcement within the County Council.


    The Cabinet Member for Highways responded by thanking the Member for her support on the matter and would notify her of the appropriate contact.


    (Q5) Mr Jonathan Essex asked the Leader of the Council to confirm why food banks were part of the Council’s future vision of ‘looking forward’ within the Impact Statement. That the conversion of the Council’s surplus land should not be restricted to public allotments where food would be grown voluntarily but should include community initiatives that employed people on the land.


    The Leader of the Council responded by stating that he would look to change the wording from ‘looking forward’ and would support community initiatives to address the issues. He had recently spoken to the Chief Executive of the Trussell Trust and would look to extend to the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 78/19



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    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 December 2019).


    Additional documents:


    There were none.



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    None received.


    Additional documents:


    None received.




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    Council is asked to approve the Surrey County Council Organisation Strategy 2020-2025.


    Additional documents:


    Miss Alison Griffiths returned at 11.10am

    Mr Mike Bennison left at 11.12am


    The Leader of the Council introduced the report and noted that a significant amount of work was done last year concerning the Council’s Community Vision for Surrey in 2030, which served as a roadmap for service improvement with key stakeholders and partners. The Organisation Strategy 2020-2025 was a living document which updated the Vision 2030 and set out eight key areas to be addressed over the next five years. The Strategy would ensure the effective delivery of services in collaboration with the Council’s Transformation Programme. In response to the Member’s earlier query on the wording of ‘looking forward’ with regards to food banks, the Leader stated that the Impact Statement highlighted pledges to residents on what the Council had delivered and where it was looking ahead to address - he welcomed Members’ comments and would answer any queries.


    A Member drew the Council’s attention to a local project on the use of ground source heat pumps on four public buildings in a local village to fuel 50-75% of energy in place of conventional combustion heating. That project echoed the Council’s commitment to a greener future, through its initiatives to increase biodiversity, the planting of more trees and recycling waste to which the Member praised as important steps to ensure a sustainable Surrey.


    A Member commended the Strategy and in particular its reference to ‘ensuring value for money’ through the use of performance measures. He recommended that mental health should be more prominent in the Strategy rather than its passing reference. He welcomed the Council’s promotion of libraries, use of land to build truly affordable housing, the rollout of 5G - especially in rural areas - the development of existing infrastructure such as community facilities and schools, and the work on Surrey’s 2050 Place Ambition.


    In response, the Leader of the Council informed Members that the Strategy’s success was based on the genuine improvement of outcomes rather than figures alone. Mental health was key to the Council’s overall Health and Wellbeing Strategy as driven by Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership. The Council would continue to work with districts and borough councils on affordable housing.




    Council approved the Surrey County Council Organisation Strategy 2020 –

    2025, which set out how the council would work with residents and partners to contribute to the achievement of the Community Vision for Surrey in 2030. It set out priority areas the council would focus on over the next five years.





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    For Council to adopt the Call for Action and to agree to the development of a zero carbon strategy and action plan.



    Additional documents:


    The Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste noted that it was disappointing that Extinction Rebellion who were protesting outside were not allowed in the public gallery.


    The Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste thanked Surrey’s Greener Future Task and Finish Group and officers for formulating the Call for Action - since the Council announced its ‘Climate Emergency’ in July - in conjunction with eighteen witnesses.


    • He stated that the commitments within it were ambitious and challenging but necessary to address climate change and were driven by firm support from the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive. Significant proposals would be put forward to the Council’s budget next year to ensure real changes to deal with this.
    • The Council began the process of planting 1.2 million trees and will launch the Tree Strategy in March 2020, committed to ultra-low emission buses in Surrey by 2030 and a small fleet of electric buses in the next few years, by March 2020 all electricity used by the Council will be renewable and were developing solar farms to produce all its electricity by 2025.
    • He positively noted that Surrey was leading the way in addressing climate change, it had seen the 32% reduction of carbon dioxide between 2007-2017 and was developing a Climate Change Strategy to be launched in April 2020 which would provide a benchmark to measure the Council’s performance.
    • He welcomed the Task Group’s suggestion for a separate Member Reference Group to help shape both the Tree and Climate Change Strategies.
    • He praised the crucial partnership work of district and borough councils, health partners, the University of Surrey, Surrey Climate Commission and the Council’s consultation with its residents.
    • That it was vital that Members were kept informed, a seminar in February 2020 would be arranged.
    • The Council would follow up its written letter to the Government concerning the Committee on Climate Change’s inadequate letter on ‘International aviation and shipping and net zero’.
    • He stressed that a culture change was needed and noted that addressing climate change was the responsibility of all.
    • He would shortly be writing to Government ministers to highlight that financial help was needed to aid local governments in addressing climate change.
    • He restated the ‘Trees for Christmas’ campaign where a £3 donation to the Surrey Wildlife Trust would go towards the planting of trees.


    The Chairman of the Task Group thanked the Cabinet Member for his positive endorsement of the Task Group’s work, noted the hard work of officers throughout the eight witness sessions and praised the varied expertise of the Members within the Task Group. He highlighted the use of mobile agile working through Skype which reduced journeys to County Hall and facilitated discussions with witnesses across the country. He noted the 157 responses from organisations and members of the public which aided the Call for Action and that two of the witnesses, Woking Borough Council and Bristol City Council were leading the charge. He emphasised the importance of young people in tackling climate change, particularly  ...  view the full minutes text for item 83/19



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    To receive the report of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 29 October 2019 and 26 November 2019.





    Additional documents:


    The Leader presented the report of the Cabinet meetings held on 29 October 2019 and 26 November 2019.


    Reports for Decision:


    A.    Moving Closer to Residents: Delivering Our Ambition


    Mr Will Forster declared a personal interest in Woking Borough Councilas a borough councillor and Chairman of the County Council’s Moving Closer to Residents Task Group


    A Member highlighted Value for Money (VfM) concerns in relation to the move to Woking and had asked the Task Group and Cabinet to obtain an independent evaluation. He noted that he should have received it by that morning and that it hindered effective scrutiny by Members on the matter. He asked the Leader to explain the energy rating of Midas House in Woking and it was a concern that the Council were buying parking spaces as this discouraged the use of public transport.


    A Member noted that more information was needed to be able to address residents’ queries on the balance of money between County Hall in Kingston and Midas House in Woking.


    In response, the Leader of the Council stated that there was no uncertainty on the matter as there was a Part 2 item presented at the last Cabinet with the costings of the move and the independent valuation from Vail Williams supported those costings. He stated that the energy rating for Midas House was an E and County Hall was a C. The lower rating at Midas House was dependent on it having air conditioning, inefficient lighting - which would be replaced with LEDs - and an open atrium to which the Council were proposing to cover in order to create the new council chamber.


    In accordance with Standing Order 28.1 Mr Kington requested a recorded vote, this was rejected as there were fewer than ten Members who stood in support.


    The recommendation was put to a vote with 56 members voting for, 2 voting

    against and 8 abstentions.




    Council approved the acquisition of Midas House, Woking on the terms set out in the attached report as the County Council’s new Civic Heart.


    B.    Organisation Strategy 2020-2025 and the next phase of transformation




    Council approved the Surrey County Council Organisation Strategy 2020-2025 (as reported at item 9 on Council agenda).  


    Reports for Information/Discussion:


    C.   Review of Charges for Parking in Countryside Estate Car Parks

    D.   Libraries: Out Next Phase

    E.    Quarterly report on decisions taken under special urgency arrangements






    1.    That the report of the meetings of the Cabinet held on 29 October 2019 and

    26 November 2019 be adopted.


    2.    That Council noted that there had been no urgent decisions in that quarter.




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    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 Monday 9 December 2019.



    Additional documents:


    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.