Agenda and minutes

Council - Tuesday, 17 March 2020 10.00 am

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

Contact: Amelia Christopher  020 8213 2838


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    The Chairman to report apologies for absence.

    Additional documents:


    Apologies were received from Mrs Angell, Mrs Barton, Mr Beckett, Mr Bennison, Amanda Boote, Mrs Bowes, Mr Brett-Warburton, Dr Chapman, Mrs Clack, Mr Deach, Mr Ellwood, Mr Evans, Mr Few, Mr Furey, Mr Gardner, Mr Goodman, Mrs Goodwin, Mr Goodwin, Mr Islam, Rachael I. Lake, Mrs Lay, Mr Lee, Mr MacLeod, Mr Mallett, Mrs Mason, Mrs Mountain, Mr Ramsdale, Mrs Rivers, Mrs Rush, Mr Spence, Mrs Steeds, Ms Thomson, Mrs Thorn, Mrs White and Mrs Young.



MINUTES pdf icon PDF 165 KB

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    To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 4 February 2020.


    (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 4 February 2020 were submitted, confirmed and signed.



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    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:


    There were none.



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


    Recent visits and events


    • Queen’s Award for Voluntary Serviceand the British Empire Medals – I attended a reception hosted by the Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey for nominees of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS). It was an honour to learn of the wonderful work that has been carried out by volunteers to greatly benefit many Surrey residents. It was a truly humbling evening. I wish all nominees the very best of luck. Winners of the QAVS will be announced on 2 June.


    I alsohad the honour of attending the presentation of the British Empire Medals to several Surrey residents who have dedicated so much of their time over many years to help others. Their contribution to our county has been deservedly recognised and I offer them my heartfelt thanks and congratulations.


    • Surrey Armed Forces Covenant Conference 2020 – This event brought together all those supporting the Armed Forces Covenant in Surrey to share, celebrate and build on the partnership between Surrey’s armed forces and civilian communities. Representatives attended from local authorities, health, emergency services, service charities, local businesses, community stakeholders and all members of the Armed Forces community. An update was given from the Ministry of Defenceon the national and regional picture and we reviewed the successes of the partnership over the past year. We also focused on the benefits of working with cadets, supporting reservists and employing ex-service personnel. An extremely worthwhile event which highlighted the truly phenomenal contribution of our Armed Forces.






    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:


    Mr Harrison arrived at 10.05 am

    Ms Azad arrived at 10.09 am


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


    Members raised the following topics:


    ·         Offered full support to the actions taken by the Council in respect of the current circumstances concerning coronavirus, thanking officers and partners for continuing to support vulnerable residents.

    ·         Highlighted the importance of communities coming together to provide reassurance to one another, it was encouraging that volunteers and neighbours were offering to help vulnerable individuals and those self-isolating.

    ·         Recognised the changing priorities of the Council and that the challenges faced by the Council were met bravely and boldly by the Leader and Chief Executive.

    ·         Urged all Members to work proactively in communities to supporting local initiatives and noted that although it was a difficult time the Council were equipped to address the crisis.

    ·         Welcomed the cross-party support concerning coronavirus and requested more information from the Leader on the Council’s emergency helpline.

    ·         That some residents had written to the Leader querying the Council’s recently agreed precept percentage concerning Council Tax.




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    In light of the national situation around coronavirus and in preparation for any special arrangements that may be required in order to allow council business to continue, Council are asked to authorise the Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer to make the necessary amendments to the Constitution.


    Additional documents:


    The Leader of the Council introduced the report, noting that the draft report had been circulated to group leaders and committee chairmen. Legislation surrounding special arrangements for local government was constantly evolving in respect of new provisions by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government - such as holding meetings remotely. As a result, there would be small changes to the Council’s constitution to enable Council business to continue. He highlighted that those arrangements were time-limited until the County Council meeting on 13 October, subject to review by the Audit and Governance Committee.


    Members made the following comments:


    • That one recommendation stated that the Chairman of the Council and group leaders would be consulted on a protocol setting out the arrangements for decision making with committee members prior to any officer decision usually referred to committee, querying whether all Members could receive the draft protocol.
    • Felt that the report was a major step in altering democracy as it gave power to a small group of Members and officers, raising concerns with the provision for non-executive decision making (as far as the law allows) particularly the Planning and Regulatory Committee and its often contentious applications.
    • Welcomed the inclusion of time limit and consultation with group leaders and committee chairmen.


    In response the Leader explained that the constitutional changes would not change the power structure within the Council as it was a practical step to ensure the continuation of council business. He agreed that a draft protocol would be circulated to all Members. He was hopeful that the additional temporary powers granted such as the ability to hold meetings remotely, would lead to a future change in the legislation. He recalled that the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government had given special consideration to planning and licensing committees. The Leader noted that in some situations there would not be delegated decisions by officers regarding the Planning and Regulatory Committee, as significant decisions would be delayed where possible until full meetings were convened.


    The chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee asked for any committee members present to discuss outside of the meeting how it wished to operate as a result of the report’s recommendations - despite self-isolating he urged Members to contact him if they had any concerns.




    1.    To amend the definition within the Council’s Constitution (as far as the law allows) to define Cabinet as a formal meeting of Cabinet or the Leader or nominated Cabinet Member making a decision in consultation with at least two other Cabinet Members.


    2.    To delegate all non-executive decisions (as far as the law allows) to the relevant proper officer in consultation with the relevant chairman or member nominated by the chairman.


    3.    To agree that any member unable to attend a council meeting for a period greater than six months for virus related reasons, receives a dispensation further to section 85(1) of the Local Government Act 1972 to December 2020.


    4.    To resolve that a protocol  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18/20a



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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 11 March 2020).


    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:


    Member Questions:


    Notice of thirteen questions had been received. The questions and replies were published in a supplementary agenda on 16 March 2020.


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


    (Q1) Mr John O’Reilly did not ask a supplementary question.


    Mr Jonathan Essex noted the upcoming review by the Government on the Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS) concerning Heathrow and Gatwick expansion. He asked whether the Council would review its position on its support of the expansion of Gatwick to 15 million passenger movements annually, prior to the Court of Appeal’s recent ruling on the ANPS and despite the Government’s 10 million passenger movement limit set out in response to the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign.


    In response the Leader of the Council agreed to look into the query subsequent to the meeting as the Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste was not present to respond.


    (Q6) Mr Eber Kington asked the Cabinet Member for Highways to clarify his response concerning the Council's new application system for highway trees which he felt was unclear. He stated that applicants would be required to register online and pay a fee, which meant that data regarding requests on the number of trees and refused requests would be recorded. He asked if that data would be made available so the performance of the new policy could be assessed.


    The Cabinet Member for Highways responded that the Council did not currently have a system for recording all trees planted in the county, unless they went through the Highways Arboriculture Team (HAT). A system would be put in place to facilitate the recording of the proposed 1.2 million trees and he agreed to provide data recorded by the HAT to Members if they requested it regarding trees in their division.


    (Q8) Mr Robert Evans asked the Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste on whether issues on reducing emissions would still be prioritised in view of changed circumstances since the recent seminar on Climate Change in February.


    In response the Leader of the Council agreed to look into the query subsequent to the meeting as the Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste was not present to respond.


    Cabinet Member Briefings:


    These were also published with the supplementary agenda on 16 March 2020.


    Cabinet Member for Highways: A Member commended the Cabinet Member and Surrey Highways for their work in successfully resolving the long-standing flooding problem on the A24 near Downsend School. He also thanked the Council’s highways officers responsible for the Mole Valley area and thanked the Local Highway Services Group Manager for resolving issues in his division.




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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 16 March 2020).


    Additional documents:


     There were none.



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    Item 8 (i)

    Mr Chris Botten (Caterham Hill) to move under Standing Order 11 asfollows:


    This council notes:


    That the economy of Surrey relies significantly on workers from the EU in the care and health sectors, in construction and hospitality and other areas vital to our communities.

    EU nationals from the 27 EU member states are part of our shared communities alongside UK citizens. They are our husbands, wives, partners, parents, friends, neighbours and colleagues.

    It further notes that since 2016 EU nationals have been promised again and again that "there will be no change for EU citizens already lawfully resident in the UK and [they…] will be treated no less favourably than they are at present”.

    According to the Home Office’s December 2019 statistics, of the estimated 3.5m EU nationals in the UK, 2.7m had by then applied for the Settled Status which only 58% had been granted while 41% of them had been granted the inferior Pre-Settled status, thus requiring them to reapply for the Full Settled status later on. Thus, a number of EU nationals are left at risk of becoming unlawful residents the mercy of the Home Office’s “Hostile Environment”.

    Therefore it resolves that: 

    1. The Council will launch a publicity campaign aimed at:

    a)    Advising EU residents that they are welcome in Surrey

    b)    Alerting EU residents of the required timescales for achieving settled status

    c)    Encouraging employers to support their staff who are EU residents with a view to mitigating as much risk as possible to the continuity of service in their sectors


    1. That  the Leader of the Council will write to the Home Secretary seeking clarification of,  and suggesting improvements to the European Settlement scheme, which include:

    a)    Confirming that there will be no reduction in the rights of Settled Status EU citizens from what they currently have and committing to ratifying this as primary legislation before 31st December 2020

    b)    Confirming what support is to be provided to EU Citizens who did not achieve Full Settled Status and over what timescales

    c)    Providing a means for EU Citizens to rapidly and without charge obtain physical proof of Settled Status that can be used to access services if required with the option to apply for full British citizenship waiving the fees involved

    d)    Providing EU citizens the right to full participation in civic life, including the ability to stand for office and vote in UK referendums, European elections from within the UK and UK general elections as well as local elections.

    e)    Replacing the current European Settlement scheme with a better free registration scheme without a deadline where EU citizens living in the UK for 5 years or more are considered lawful by default.


    Additional documents:


    Item 8 (i)

    Mr Botten agreed to withdraw his motion.





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    The report seeks Council’s approval of a new Financial Framework for Members’ Community Allocation (MCA) from 1 April 2020. The Framework aims to more closely align MCA with the Organisation Strategy in supporting the realisation of the Community Vision for Surrey 2030. 




    Additional documents:


    The Leader of the Council introduced the report and stated that there were no major changes to the Members’ Community Allocation (MCA). The revised MCA encouraged Members to consider the wider ambitions of the Council as set out in its Organisation Strategy 2020-2025, which included eight main areas of focus such as improving quality of life and addressing the inequality of opportunity and life expectancy.


    The Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families emphasised that one way in which to tackle inequality was to continue to support Looked After Children (LAC) in the county. She was pleased that the Leader had agreed that Members could contribute £250 from their allowance to the Celebration Fund for Looked After Children and Care Leavers. She informed Members that the panel who were responsible for administering the Fund, had met recently to give out awards and the panel agreed that a report would be provided to Members detailing where MCA contributions were dedicated to last year. She encouraged Members to contribute again this year and noted that officers from other local authorities had said that it was a unique way to demonstrate corporate parenting.



    That Council:


    1. Approved the new MCA grant criteria of tackling inequality; supporting independence; joined up health and social care; creating a greener future; embracing surrey’s diversity; partnership; supporting the local economy; and digital revolution.


    1. Approved the revised MCA exclusions disallowing the funding of political organisations and activities; national curriculum teaching or learning activities; planning disputes; reputation-damaging activities; and conflicts of interest.


    1. Approved the new Financial Framework for Members’ Community Allocation, with effect from 1 April 2020.




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    Council is asked to approve the Pay Policy Statement for the period 2020/2021.


    Additional documents:


    The Leader of the Council introduced the report noting that it had been agreed at the People, Performance and Development Committee (PPDC) and was a requirement that the Council agreed it annually. He thanked the Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development for her work on the report. He summarised the main points on the Statement which were the remuneration of Chief Officers, the terms to which those Chief Officers were employed and the Council’s current policies on equal pay, redundancy and Severance which involved sensitive discussions with Council’s two Trade Unions and staff.




    That Council agreed the Pay Policy Statement for 2020/2021.






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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 16 March 2020.




    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.