Agenda and minutes

Budget Meeting, Council - Tuesday, 9 February 2021 10.00 am

Venue: Remote - during Covid-19, meeting link:

Contact: Amelia Christopher  Email:; 020 8213 2838


No. Item



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    The Chairman to report apologies for absence.

    Additional documents:


    Apologies were received from Dr Chapman and Mr Lee.



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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:


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


                      Rachael I Lake declared a non-pecuniary interest noting that her son was an employee of Surrey County Council.


    Mrs Clare Curran declared a personal interest in item 5 (2021/22 Final Budget and Medium-Term Financial Strategy to 2025/26) as a director of Surrey Choices.


    Mr Nick Darby declared a non-pecuniary interest noting that his daughter was an employee of Surrey County Council.


    Mr Jeff Harris declared a non-pecuniary interest as he was an elected Member director of one of the Council’s own Local Authority Trading Companies called Hendeca.


    Mr Keith Witham declared a non-pecuniary interest as his step-daughter was an employee of Surrey County Council in the Finance department.




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    Welcome everyone to today’s Council Meeting - I hope you and your loved ones are all safe and well. 


    Welcome 2021

    It is not the start of the year we had all hoped for but there is undeniably light at the end of the tunnel with vaccinations happening at pace. Please do continue to follow the guidance and we will all be with our friends and families once more. We are on the home stretch - stay strong and stay safe.


    Queen’s New Year Honours 2021

    ‘Well done and a huge thank you’ to all Surrey residents who were honoured. I would like to give a special mention to John Bangs who dedicated many of his 48 years’ service to supporting and improving the lives of unpaid carers. John developed vital services providing practical and emotional support, which made a huge difference and positive impact on many young people’s lives.


    On behalf of Surrey, I would like to Congratulate John on his work being nationally recognised.


    Please find the list of Surrey New Year Honours 2021 attached to the agenda.


    Meeting Surrey Teams

    I had the pleasure of joining several Surrey County Council team meetings to hear all about the impact Covid-19 has had on their work. It was an honour to gain an insight and hear what absolutely fantastic work is happening to support our residents. It just shows what can be done and I am immensely proud of the incredible input into the recovery of Surrey. I am looking forward to speaking with more teams in the near future. If you would like me or the Vice-Chairman to join your team meeting and hear about what you have been doing over the past year, please contact my office -


    Holocaust Memorial Day 2021

    Sadly, this year we were unable to gather together to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day and remember all those who perished so needlessly and so horrifically at the hands of Nazi Germany.  


    In place of our annual commemoration service, Ted Truscoe, a Holocaust survivor and former Surrey County Council employee who always speaks so movingly at our ceremonies, along with a message from me were uploaded to our Surrey web pages with information about the Holocaust and how Surrey helped Jewish refugees. The University of Surrey hosted an HMD event on YouTube, which I had the honour of speaking at.


    When you can, please do take a moment to pause and reflect on the atrocities. It is so important that we remember and pledge to do our bit to ensure that such horrendous and unspeakable acts of violence never happen again.


    Thank You

    Once again, I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to the fantastic people of this Council as they continue to do their utmost to serve and protect the residents of our county.


    It has been a tough start to 2021 but our staff continue to put our residents at the heart and soul of all that they do. A huge  ...  view the full agenda text for item 4/21

    Additional documents:


    The Chairman:


    ·         Highlighted to Members that the Chairman’s Announcements were located in the agenda front sheet, including theQueen’s Surrey New Year Honours 2021 list.




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    Council is asked to approve the 2021/22 Final Budget and Medium-Term Financial Strategy to 2025/26.


    • Leader’s Statement (Budget) - to be appended to the minutes.


    Additional documents:


    The Leader presented the 2021/22 Final Budget and Medium-Term Financial Strategy to 2025/26 and made a statement in support of the proposed budget. A copy of the Leader’s statement is attached as Appendix A.


    Each of the Minority Group Leaders (Mr Darby and Mr Botten) were invited to speak on the budget proposals.


    Key points made by Mr Darby were that:


    ·         Noted the background of the budget including the fact that the Government’s Spending Review 2020 was for one year only, there was no Fairer Funding Review, there were mixed messages about Covid-19 funding and its adequacy for local authorities, Adult Social Care (ASC) funding proposals were still missing, there was an acknowledgement that mental health issues were increasing - spend per head in Surrey was among the lowest in the country - there was press speculation about the changes to Council Tax and Stamp Duty Land Tax and that there was no evidence of dealing with extra funding by adding more top tier Council Tax bands to ensure greater fairness which he had recommended.

    ·         That for the first time the funding for the Council’s 2021/22 final budget totalled over £1,003.6 million, with over £1 million daily for ASC and £500,000 daily for Children’s Services; noting the 2.49% increase in Council Tax but anticipated the possibility of a 4.49% increase next year above inflation.

    ·         Welcomed that the budget balanced without the use of reserves, which had been achieved despite the pressures of pay increases, inflation and increased demand particularly in ASC and Children’s Services; but noted the use of efficiencies or cuts in recent years such as to youth centres and Sure Start Children’s Centres.

    ·         Noted that the need to make efficiency savings highlighted the Council’s past inefficiencies as demonstrated in the Council’s failed value for money test in its previous annual audit.

    ·         In reference to the Council’s continued focus on a strength-based approach, noted misgivings as how that was applied to care packages and that the market management of care home places implied significant cost reductions despite a time of increased demand.

    ·         Highlighted failed inspections concerning Children’s Services and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), Youth Offending Services, Surrey Fire and Rescue Services (SFRS), the ambulance service and the need to take the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) contract back in-house.

    ·         That it was difficult to tell residents that the Council was making necessary organisational savings as more senior officers earning £100,000 a year were added to the payroll, raising the total from nine to twenty-six.

    ·         That reputation was equally important as the Council’s finances, questioned the Council’s reputation for providing decent services, being prudent with residents’ money and being a can-do organisation.

    ·         Noted major concern over the Council’s commercial property investments, noting that the costly property review undertaken two years ago achieved little and the property joint venture with Places for People had achieved nothing.

    ·         That the Council had spent £50 million on Woodhatch Place - with a further £90,000 for the Woodhatch travel plan  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5/21



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    Council is asked to note the updated Cabinet portfolios in the attached report.


    Additional documents:


    The Leader of the Council presented the report noting that Mr Mel Few and Dr Zully Grant-Duff had both stepped down and had been replaced by Mrs Becky Rush, Cabinet Member for Resources and Corporate Support. Mr Mark Nuti had filled the new Cabinet Member for Communities portfolio.


    The Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families highlighted that the Council had a strong focus on equality, diversity and inclusion, and that each Cabinet Member sponsored one of the Council’s inclusion networks. She noted that the Cabinet Member for All-Age Learning was the main sponsor for the Women’s Network who noted at a recent meeting of the Network that there were few women cabinet members across councils and even fewer women cabinet members taking portfolios such as finance, environment and highways. She acknowledged the Leader’s appointments to Cabinet Member portfolios of which more than half were women, including the portfolio holders for Environment and Climate Change as well as Resources and Corporate Support. That greater women representation was needed across the Council’s political groups and recognised that on other diversity matters the Council were not doing well in terms of Member representation, she hoped that the upcoming local elections would provide an opportunity for all political groups to field a more diverse range of candidates so that Member representation could better reflect the county.




    That Council noted the updated Cabinet portfolios.




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    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 3 February 2021).

    Additional documents:




                         Notice of twelve questions had been received. The questions and replies were published in a supplementary agenda on 8 February 2021.


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


                     (Q1) Mrs Hazel Watson had no supplementary question.


    Mr Stephen Cooksey asked whether the Leader of the Council had been sent the same KPMG report that the Leaders of Surrey’s borough and district councils had authorised and if he had could he point to the sections of the report that reflected the Leader’s response where he noted that it “recognised that the current system of local government was not sustainable” and “proposed the creation of unitary councils in Surrey”; as he and others had checked the report and found no such text. He explained that the report was sent to the Leader as a courtesy and regarded the Leader’s misrepresentation of its content discourteous.


       In response, the Leader of the Council noted that the report had been sent from the Surrey Chief Executives who have had considerable discussions around it. He noted that all councils across the country had financial challenges noting twelve that had declared financial difficulties and the report concentrated on the ways in which Surrey’s borough and district councils could share back office resources and find greater savings as well as looking at the creation of two or three unitary authorities in Surrey. He noted that he was happy to have a more detailed conversation with the Member.


    (Q2)Mr Robert Evans noted that the Cabinet Member for Community Protection had consistently told Council that all was well in Surrey and questioned whether she had listened to the recent parliamentary debate and was surprised to learn that there were twenty-two buildings in Surrey that had been identified as dangerous with unsafe cladding, and asked whether she was aware that the Surrey Fire and Rescue Service’s (SFRS) Chief Fire Officer had told BBC Surrey that there were no such buildings.


    He asked whether the Cabinet Member would advise Council on how many and what percentage of buildings in Surrey had been properly inspected and how many were outstanding, had she or SFRS considered the dangers of wooden balconies on properties and their potential risks posed in a fire, what assurances could she give residents about their safety especially those who were living in buildings with Waking Watches.


    In response, the Cabinet Member for Community Protection explained that the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the Building Research Establishment notify Fire and Rescue Services of changes in risk as new information became available. SFRS was ahead nationally in reviewing buildings of less than eighteen metres in height, it had proactively adopted the recommendations of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety (Hackitt Review) post-Grenfell, maintaining work relating to buildings with cladding and as a result Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) noted SFRS’ continued engagement with those responsible  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7/21



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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 8 February 2021).


    Additional documents:


     There were none.



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    That Council approves the Audit and Governance Committee’s report of the Member Code of Conduct Working Group.

    Additional documents:


    The Chairman introduced the report noting that he understood that since publishing its Model Councillor Code of Conduct on 3 December 2020, the Local Government Association (LGA) had made an amendment to the section on the registration of interests in third party organisations such as charities and community organisations. The recommendation was for Council to adopt the Code, noting the possibility of a further short report on the matter once it had been fully considered by the Governance Review Task Group.


    The Chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee presented the report, highlighting that the changes made following the LGA’s published Model Councillor Code of Conduct primarily related to the Council’s appointment of two Independent Persons. He noted that the LGA was considering a further rewrite of the Model Councillor Code of Conduct in light of the amendment and as a result Council may receive a further report noting the changes.




              Council approved:


    1.   The revised Councillor Code of Conduct.

    2.   The amendments to the Arrangements for Dealing with Allegations of Breaches of the Councillor Code of Conduct. 

    3.   That in addition to compliance with the Councillor Code of Conduct, Members are expected to comply with the following codes:

    a. Member/Officer Protocol.

    b. Planning Code of Best Practice.

    4.   That the revised Councillor Code of Conduct comes into force at the next Council Annual General Meeting following a Council election.




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    That Council approves the Audit and Governance Committee’s report concerning the Council execution of contracts - changes to procurement rules.

    Additional documents:


    The Chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee presented the report, he noted that the process of sealing documents when executing contracts over £500,000 was expensive and time-consuming. He explained that one reason for sealing documents was where the Council sought to enforce a contract as a deed which doubled the limitation period. He urged Council to agree the amendment to the procurement rules as it would save legal time and resource for the Council.




    Council agreed that paragraph 2.7.a of the Council’s procurement rules be amended at column I (contracts over £500k and over £1 million) from “Over £500k: Sealed as a deed via Legal Services” to “Over £500k: executed by authorised signatory in legal services or by seal as determined by Legal Services”.




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    To receive the report of the meetings of the Cabinet held on 15 December 2020 and 26 January 2021.



    Additional documents:


    The Leader presented the report of the Cabinet meetings held on 15 December 2020 and 26 January 2021.


    Recommendations on Policy Framework Documents:


    26 January 2021:


    A.    2021/22 Final Budget and Medium-Term Financial Strategy to 2025/26 [Agenda Item 5 on the agenda]

    B.    Admission Arrangements for Surrey's Community and Voluntary Controlled Schools and the Coordinated Schemes that will Apply to all Schools for September 2022 and Surrey's Relevant Area


    Reports for Information/Discussion:


    15 December 2020:


    C.     Surrey's Economic Future: Our 2030 Strategy Statement and Invitation to Engage

    D.     Surrey Local Resilience Forum Update on the End of the EU Exit Transition Period

    E.     Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman Report Regarding Concerns About the Delivery of Home to School Transport


    26 January 2021:


    F.    Your Fund Surrey Update

    G.   Disposal of County Hall Campus, Penrhyn Road, Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames

    H.   Agile Office Estate Strategy


    I.      Quarterly Report on Decisions Taken Under Special Urgency Arrangements: 09 December 2020 - 09 February 2021




    1.    That in addition to the approved recommendations under item 5 - 2021/22 Final Budget and Medium-Term Financial Strategy to 2025/26, Council noted the Audit & Governance Committee’s approval of the:

    Treasury Management Strategy and Prudential Indicators which set a framework for the Council’s treasury function to manage risks, source borrowing and invest surplus cash.

    2.    That Council approved the admission arrangements for community and voluntary controlled schools and coordinated schemes for September 2022 (as set out in the Cabinet paper from 26 January 2021).

    3.    That Council noted that there had been one urgent decision in the last two months.

    4.    That the reports of the meetings of the Cabinet held on 15 December 2020 and 26 January 2021 be adopted.




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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 8 February 2021.


    Minutes of Cabinet, 26 January 2021 – to follow


    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.