Agenda and minutes

Council - Tuesday, 16 March 2021 10.00 am

Venue: Remote - during Covid-19, watch live:

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 Mr Kemp.


    The Chairman wished Mr Kemp well.



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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.



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


    Farewell and Thank You

    Today is our final meeting of this Council Year 2020/21 as the next meeting will be our AGM in May, following the local elections, at which we will see many new faces.


    A number of you have decided against standing for re-election so I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge and heartfelt ‘thank you’ for your tremendous service over the years. What a difference to Surrey and our residents you have made – perhaps none more so than during this last, extraordinary year. 


    I hope you all look back at your time with Surrey County Council with happiness and pride at all that you have achieved.


    We would love you to keep in touch with us; please do pass your new contact details on to my office so that we can keep you informed of civic events and updates:


    Thank you for your service and dedication - you will be much missed.


    Brighter times ahead – we hope

    After a rather difficult start to the year, things are certainly looking up and, as a country, we seem to be heading in the right direction. Our vaccination programme is running at pace and the number of cases in every district and borough is dropping.


    Of course, we must not get complacent and take our foot off the pedal; it is vital that everyone continues to follow the rules. We know from the end of last year just how quickly things can turn.


    We are nearly there - please stay strong to keep everyone safe.




    Additional documents:


    The Chairman:


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

    ·         On behalf of the Council, thanked those Members who would not be standing in the forthcoming local elections, for their service and hard work.




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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:


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


    Mrs Mountain left the meeting at 10.09 am


    Rachael I Lake joined the meeting at 10.11 am


    Members raised the following topics:


    ·         Looked forward to the future and the focus on Covid-19 recovery.

    ·         Highlighted the continued focus and scrutiny needed on Children’s Services, for those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), the commissioning of the Children’s Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Contract (EWMH) ensuring the right transition arrangements from children’s to adult services, on mental health noting the Task Group and the Summit, the continued rollout of the mental health practitioners through the GPiMHS (General Practise integrated Mental Health Service) and the trial of Woking’s Safe Haven.

    ·         That the focus for Land and Property Services must be on using the Council’s assets more productively by looking towards affordable housing, delivering care homes, growing in-house expertise, working with the District and Borough Councils to ensure Surrey-wide strategic planning, and learning lessons from the joint venture with Places for People.

    ·         Noted the need to address the funding challenges in Adult Social Care.

    ·         Welcomed a Member’s suggestion of a cabinet of all the talents, noting the importance of taking advantage of all Members’ skills and experience, and paid tribute to Mr Spence.

    ·         Noted the need to address the issues of climate change including issues around Heathrow and Gatwick; and diversity both of which were easy to ignore.

    ·         Thanked the Chairman for his service, the Leader of the Council for the undoubted improvements to the Council’s overview and scrutiny function, senior officers and all staff for their immense hard work noting the assistance from Democratic Services, and all Members whether stepping down or seeking re-election. 

    ·         Paid tribute to the Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families who would be stepping down, noting her outstanding leadership and improvements made within Children’s Services.

    ·         Praised the Chief Executive who had been outstanding in her management of Covid-19 alongside the continued improvements made to the Council.

    ·         Regretted that the discourse which had been focussed on scrutiny, challenge and a carefully observed journey of improvement; was overshadowed by self-congratulation.

    ·         That whilst significant progress had been made, good governance relied upon effective challenge by the opposition and offering a choice to residents.

    ·         That there was much to improve on the funding of SEND noting the overspend in the High Needs block and recruitment of an Assistant Director - SEND Transformation.

    ·         Suggested that regarding the Safer Streets Campaign, the Council apply for Government funding to reverse the policy on part-night street lighting.

    ·         Wished retiring Members the very best for the future, paying tribute to Mrs Hammond who had demonstrated an outstanding contribution to public life over many years and thanked the Chairman for his service.

    ·         That by working co-operatively with Members on a range of issues concerning Farnham, the political leadership developed a joint plan including the creation of the Farnham Board, the Infrastructure Programme and £139m for Farnham infrastructure projects in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17/21



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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 10 March 2021).


    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 twenty questions had been received. The questions and replies were published in the supplementary agenda on 15 March 2021.


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


    (Q3) Mr Paul Deach asked for further detail on the exact breakdown of spend of the additional £739,000 that was not finalised at the time of writing the response.


    In response, the Cabinet Member for Resources and Corporate Support explained that the Winter Support Grant totalled £2.1 million had to be spent by 31 March, however officers had engaged with the Department for Work and Pensions who confirmed that the money could be used to fund the food vouchers for free school meals for the Easter holidays and the additional £739,000 funding received in March had an extended deadline of 16 April. The Council was looking to use that additional money to provide extra vouchers equating to an additional £20 above the original £30 for children entitled to free school meals during the Easter holidays which could be used either for breakfast, a hot meal or it could be held over for a few weeks into May. The Council was also looking at a £50 voucher for Care Leavers to support them over Easter. The deadline for finalising the spend was today and would be discussed at March’s Cabinet meeting.


    The Cabinet Member for All Age Learning provided reassurance that the Council was looking further ahead than the Easter holidays, noting the Holiday Activities and Food programme in 2021 in which the Council reported back to the Department of Education enabling it to work with Active Surrey as a provider for activity packs for primary age children who were eligible for free school meals. There was also a programme website including physical activity and arts and craft resources as well as two free healthy lifestyle parenting workshops about practical advice and tips on nutrition. There were pilot cohorts mapped to the areas of deprivation for both primary and secondary ages and it was estimated that the Council would be offering in excess of five hundred places to those in receipt of free school meals throughout Easter. Applications were open for the summer programme and so the Council continued to deliver for its most vulnerable residents.


    (Q4) Ms Ayesha Azadthanked the Leader of the Council for his commitment to eradicating inequality from across the county.


    In response, the Leader of the Council provided the latest figures on the gender pay gap which in 2019 was 16.8% and had dropped to 12.75% as at March 2020, so noted good progress on that but that there was more work to be done.


    (Q8) Dr Peter Szanto had no supplementary question.


    Dr Zully Grant-Duff asked whether the Leader of the Council agreed that digital inclusion was key to access to health provision, education, and employment opportunities and whether he would confirm his commitment to developing a digital infrastructure strategy to support the Council’s  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18/21



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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 15 March 2021).


    Additional documents:


    Mrs TinaMountain made a statement on Epsom’s response to Covid-19 which had become an amazing hub for administering the vaccine and paid tribute to all the doctors, nurses, administrators and volunteers.




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    Item 8 (i)


    Dr Andrew Povey (Cranleigh & Ewhurst) to move under standing order 11 asfollows:


    This Council notes that:


    Given the number of residents volunteering during the current pandemic, Surrey County Council will build on this and the previous Government’s work on the Big Society.


    It further recognises the importance of encouraging the ongoing volunteering by residents in a range of activities of benefit to our communities.


    The Council resolves to:


    1. Work with other public sector bodies to promote volunteering and its benefits.
    2. Work with the voluntary, community and faith organisations and employers as an element of our ‘no-one left behind strategy’ to encourage volunteering.
    3. Publicise the benefits of volunteering to the individual, society and our local communities.


    Item 8 (ii)


    Mr Robert Evans (Stanwell and Stanwell Moor) to move under standing order 11 asfollows:


    This Council notes that:


    It formally places on record its sincere thanks to all those workers, directly and indirectly employed by Surrey for their extraordinary efforts during the current COVID-19 crisis.


    From the Council’s own dedicated employees to the hard-working teachers and other staff in schools, Surrey recognises that many people have worked very long hours, not just to continue their existing role but to diversify and innovate.


    Heath service staff are at the forefront of saving lives, but care home workers, the Surrey Fire and Rescue Service and countless other people, including many community volunteers, are displaying remarkable courage in the face of great adversity and unforeseen challenges.


    The Council resolves that:


    I.              It hereby applauds and thanks each one for their remarkable contribution in this year of crisis.







    Item 8 (iii)


    Mr Matt Furniss (Shalford) to move under standing order 11 asfollows:


    This Council notes that:


    Following the last Council meeting, I wrote to the Mayor of London on behalf of this Council to express our strong feelings against the proposed new Greater London Boundary Charge that would penalise Surrey and other counties’ residents bordering London.


    London is not an island and must take into consideration the impact on its neighbours. Surrey County Council and the Mayor of London need to work together to tackle congestion, to move toward net zero carbon and to enhance the prosperity of the region by working together.


    However, it is clear from the response that Transport for London (TfL) is initially looking at a £3.50 daily charge, with a possible higher charge (£5.50) for the most polluting vehicles.


    This charge would impact between 57,000 and 61,000 residents on a typical working day based on 2011 and 2019 data. Whilst this levy, as the Mayor’s Office says, could be earmarked to support sustainable travel in boundary borough, there is no mention that this money would be invested in cross-border improvements.


    Surrey residents and taxpayers have already bailed out London’s TfL for the second time through the Government’s generous settlements in 2020. Surrey and other bordering counties’ residents should not have to bear  ...  view the full agenda text for item 20/21

    Additional documents:


    Item 8 (i)


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


    Under Standing Order 12.1 Dr Andrew Povey moved:


    This Council notes that:


    Given the number of residents volunteering during the current pandemic, Surrey County Council will build on this and the previous Government’s work on the Big Society.


    It further recognises the importance of encouraging the ongoing volunteering by residents in a range of activities of benefit to our communities.


    The Council resolves to:


                 I.       Work with other public sector bodies to promote volunteering and its benefits.

                II.       Work with the voluntary, community and faith organisations and employers as an element of our ‘no-one left behind strategy’ to encourage volunteering.

               III.       Publicise the benefits of volunteering to the individual, society and our local communities.


    Dr Povey made the following points:


    ·         That throughout the last challenging year people had come together, noting the volunteers that helped to deliver food, visited the isolated and helped the vulnerable as well as providing assistance to the vaccination programme. 

    ·         It was a good opportunity to build upon the one million plus people who had signed up for more formal volunteering roles with the NHS and other public bodies.

    ·         The motion sought to recognise and thank Surrey’s residents for their efforts as volunteers and hard work over the last year.

    ·         That it was vital to retain the community spirit generated through the pandemic for the future. The Government could not do everything in terms of looking after its citizens so volunteers played a crucial role.

    ·         There had been previous attempts nationally to encourage volunteering such as the Big Society. In November 2010 the Surrey Strategic Partnership hosted a Big Society conference and the conclusion was that Surrey already had its own Big Society through the significant amount of volunteering and community activity that already took place.

    ·         That looking to the future it would be good for the Council to build on the momentum gained through the pandemic by continuing to encourage residents to volunteer, which brought benefits to communities as well to the individual as it was character-building and helped those less fortunate.

    The motion was formally seconded by Mrs Bernie Muir, who made the following comments:


    ·      That over the past year people had discovered the joys and fulfilment of volunteering with many first time volunteers learning a lot about their local community and themselves, whether working alone, in a team, part-time or full-time.

    ·      That in helping others, volunteers benefitted themselves, their health wellbeing and happiness. Volunteers could make new friends to combat isolation, acquire new skills, develop and advance employment opportunities, build their confidence and a sense of purpose, strengthen ties with the community which would improve neighbourhoods, broaden their support network by working with others with common interests and gain a new outlook on life and enhance causes important to them. 

    ·      In addition to supporting people as seen through the pandemic, there were an array of volunteering opportunities such as supporting theatres and museums, in heritage conservation,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20/21



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    Council is invited to consider the Independent Remuneration Panel’s report on the review of the Select Committee Task Group Role and the Panel’s resulting recommendations.


    Additional documents:


    The Leader of the Council introduced the report. He noted that he was pleased to see that the Independent Remuneration Panel recognised the considerable improvements that the Council had made to the scrutiny function. He thanked the chairmen of the select committees and Members for their input, he welcomed the earlier engagement on policy matters and the contribution of the task groups which gave a smaller group of Members the opportunity to deep dive into areas of focus.




    That the SRA for the Task Group Lead is retained at its current level and subject to annual inflationary adjustment in line with other Members’ Allowances.




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    This report provides an annual overview of the Council’s approach to Member development, so that Members can be assured that the current approach is sufficient, equitable and effective.


    Additional documents:


    The Vice-Chairmanintroduced the report and noted that:


    ·         She had been chairing the Member Development Steering Group (MDSG) on behalf of the Deputy Leader.

    ·         The MDSG was responsible for overseeing Member training and support, it was cross-party and she thanked its members for their constructive challenges and input.

    ·         Despite the challenges of Covid-19 and it being the last year of the current Council election term, she noted that attendance at Member seminars and training events had been higher than ever. That was partly due to the mixture of online and in person learning which would reduce time and travel commitments for Members, alongside a reduction of costs for the Council.

    ·         One of the key tasks of the MDSG over the last year had been to feed into the plans for democratic and Member spaces at the Council’s new civic heart, Woodhatch Place, which would facilitate the Council’s democratic requirements whilst providing a modern agile working space.

    ·         She hoped that Members would support the report and the amendment, noting the importance of the current approach to Member development as being ‘sufficient, equitable, and effective’.


    Mrs Mary Lewis moved an amendment to the recommendations which had been published in the supplementary agenda (15 March 2021), which was formally seconded by Mrs Clare Curran.


    The amendment was as follows (with additional words in bold/underlined and deletions crossed through):


    That Council endorses notes: the current approach to Member development and agrees that it is sufficient, equitable and effective.


              I.       the Annual Report on Member Development;

             II.       the Decision of the Audit and Governance Committee Member Code of Conduct Task Group not to make Corporate Parenting Training Mandatory in the Code of Conduct; it is listed as ‘Essential’ training as part of member induction;

            III.       the ‘Corporate Parenting Principles’ introduced in the Children and Social Work Act 2017 and the ‘Statutory Guidance to Local Authorities on Applying Corporate Parenting Principles to Looked After Children and Care Leavers’ 2018.


    That Council resolves: to work with Officers through the Member Development Steering Group to develop an enhanced Corporate Parenting training offer which is included in ALL Member training, including training sessions of all Scrutiny and Regulatory and Local/Joint Committees of the Council, so that they are assured that Statutory Corporate Parenting principles are being embedded in all aspects of the Council’s and Members’ work.


    That Council agrees: to reconsider the Member Training offer on Corporate Parenting after six months of the new Council, to monitor uptake of the ‘Essential’ induction training and the introduction of ‘Applying Corporate Parenting Principles’ training in every part of Members’ work as Councillors.


    Mrs Lewis spoke to her amendment, making the following points:

    ·         Thanked the officer for the report and the MDSG for its work.

    ·         That although Members would generally agree that the current approach to Member development was ‘sufficient, equitable and effective’, she noted that the Corporate Parenting Board supported mandatory training on Corporate Parenting.

    ·         That local authorities had a duty to apply the seven Corporate Parenting Principles introduced in the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22/21



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    A report to consider arrangements for Council decision making post 7May 2021 if regulations to hold remote meetings are not extended by that date or if new legislation is not in force.


    Additional documents:


    The Leader of the Council introduced the report, which followed on from item 8 original motion (iv). He hoped that the Government would put in arrangements to allow local authorities to carry on with remote formal committee meetings. In the event that the Regulations were not extended or new legislation did not come into force post 7 May, the recommendations sought to reinstate the arrangements previously in place regarding executive (Cabinet) and non-executive decision-making. If still in force by 31 July 2021 or as soon as practicable thereafter, the measures were to be reviewed. He added that unless there was a change in the Regulations, the Council’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in May would have to be held in person and quorum adhered to.


    A Member suggested that regarding the Council’s AGM a hybrid meeting would be beneficial if feasible.




    That, in the absence of the Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 being extended beyond 7 May 2021, or other regulations being in force, Council agreed:


    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 all members unable to attend a council meeting for a period greater than six months receives a dispensation further to section 85(1) of the Local Government Act 1972 to 31 October 2021.


    4.   To resolve that, in the absence of legislation to allow remote meetings to take place, that all decision making will take place in line with the Surrey County Council Remote Meetings Protocol (Annex A).


    5.   To agree that the Audit and Governance Committee will monitor the use of the delegations in line with the Remote Meetings Protocol (Annex A) and as required, make recommendations on any required amendments to the protocol to ensure that Members remain informed in relation to council decision making.


    6.   To authorise the Monitoring Officer in consultation with the Chairman of the Council and group leaders to incorporate any legislative changes issued by Government into council business processes.


    7.   To agree that all the above measures will automatically terminate on the coming into force of any regulations which permit remote attendance at Council meetings.


    8.   To review these measures (if still in force) by 31 July 2021 or as soon as practicable thereafter as determined by the Audit and Governance Committee.






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    That Council approves the Audit and Governance Committee’s report of the Member Code of Conduct Task Group following revisions made since the report was last taken to Council on 9 February 2021.

    Additional documents:


    The Chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee introduced the report. He noted that it was a further revised iteration from what the Council received at its past two meetings, as the Local Government Association (LGA) had made small amendments to the Model Councillor Code of Conduct 2020.




    That Council approved the revised Councillor Code of Conduct.




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    To receive the report of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 23 February 2021.



    Additional documents:


    The Leader of the Council presented the report of the Cabinet meeting held on 23 February 2021. 


    Recommendations on Policy Framework Documents:


    A.     School Organisation Plan

    B.     Strategic Investment Board Annual Report - Financial Year 2019/20


    A Member noted that regarding Halsey Garton Property Limited delivering income and efficiencies, the Council invested £327 million and the value of that investment was £267 million which was a book loss of £60 million - although not a realised loss, it was disappointing. The Council and other councils swept up available assets across the market and 40% of Surrey’s investments were in the retail sector which although was diversification it had not worked for Surrey. Regarding the recommendation to endorse the Strategic Investment Board’s Annual Report, he noted that Council should express its concern in relation to the returns and activities of Halsey Garton Property Limited.


    In response, the Leader reiterated that the book valuations were not crystallised losses and expected that following the pandemic those valuations would recover over time as the Council is a long-term property investor. The Council was running at 85% for rent collections which was good under the current circumstances. The Council did not sweep up all that was available on the market, it was a balanced portfolio of investments. There was a detailed matrix for deciding whether or not a property was suitable to be invested in and the portfolio would continue to be managed with advice from external providers.


    Reports for Information/Discussion:


    C.     Setting a Radical Agenda for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Surrey and Surrey County Council

    D.     Improving Mental Health Outcomes, Experiences and Services in Surrey

    E.     Surrey Infrastructure Prioritisation


    F.     Quarterly Report on Decisions Taken Under Special Urgency Arrangements: 10 February 2021 - 16 March 2021




    1.    That Council approved the School Organisation Plan 2020-2030.

    2.    That Council endorsed the Annual Report of the Strategic Investment Board.

    3.    That Council noted that there had been no urgent decision in the last month.

    4.    That the report of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 23 February 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 15 March 2021.




    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.


    Miss Heath paid tribute to the Chairman for his service and thanked Members for their service including those who would not be seeking re-election.