Venue: Woodhatch Place, Reigate, Surrey
Contact: Amelia Christopher Email: email@example.com
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
The Chairman to report apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received fromJohn Beckett, Amanda Boote,John Furey, Frank Kelly, David Lewis (Camberley West), Scott Lewis, Andy Lynch, Lesley Steeds and Richard Tear.
To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 13 July 2021.
The minutes of the meeting of the County Council held on 13 July 2021 were submitted, confirmed and signed.
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)
· 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.
Hazel Watson declared a pecuniary interest regarding item 8: Original Motions, 8 (iv) concerning the motion standing in the name of Robert Evans as she has links with an organisation that owns the freehold of a significant number of residential blocks some of which have cladding.
Welcome to today’s first Council meeting in the Council Chamber!
I am sure you will agree it is a fantastic space and we are extremely lucky to have access to this state-of-the-art equipment, that will no doubt help in facilitating today’s meeting.
Thank you to the Democratic Services Officers for having us set up and ready to go! As always, we are all extremely grateful to you for ensuring the smooth running of Council.
Farewell to Tom Sharp & Heather Hawker
A moment of sadness now as we have recently said farewell to former Councillors Tom Sharp CBE and Heather Hawker MBE DL.
Tom was a generous, compassionate and intelligent man who cared deeply for the people of Surrey serving them tirelessly, first as a Surrey County Councillor from 1989 to 2005 and then also as a Guildford Borough Councillor from 1991 to 1999.
Heather was a committed and energetic County Councillor who was first elected to the county council in 1985, she became Chairman of the Libraries, Leisure and Countryside Committee in 1993 and finally she served as Chairman of the Council for three years before standing down in 2001.
Please let us all take a moment to remember Tom and Heather.
I am over the moon to relay that Surrey County Council obtained for three projects, one Silver and two Bronze awards at the IESE Award Ceremony last month. This is a tremendous achievement and many congratulations to all Surrey staff involved. You have certainly done Surrey proud.
Young Mayor of Surrey
The Young Mayor, Natalie Winfield is studying hard at Boarding School but we are thrilled to have Tallulah flying the flag as Deputy, and we look forward to hearing about the work they are doing with Surrey’s young people in due course.
Chair’s work in the County
I have been exceedingly busy in my role as Chair across the county since the last council meeting and as some of you may have seen, I have been using my Facebook page to promote some of the engagements, meetings and visits I have made.
Here are just a few highlights:
· Wood Street Jaz Festival – All of the money raised went directly to Challengers, helping to break down the barriers to play, for local disabled children and their families.
· Rededication of the SFRC – Memorial Dedication to the 100 Surrey firefighters who lost their lives in World Wars I and II.
· Surrey Hill’s – Sharing experiences of how we can all help to promote better access for more people of all abilities to access and enjoy our beautiful countryside in a sustainable way for their health and well-being whilst reducing conflict.
· Dorking Museum and Heritage Centre – awarded the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service and a special commendation from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for outstanding service to our community during the early Covid lockdowns. The award was presented to the Museum by Sir Michael More-Molyneux, Lord Lieutenant of Surrey.
· Surrey Civic Network Event ... view the full agenda text for item 58/21
The Chair noted:
· Farewell to former Members Tom Sharp CBE - a correction was made to his surname in the supplementary agenda front sheet (published 11 October 2021): removing the ‘e’ - and Heather Hawker MBE DL, leading a moment of silence to remember them.
· That under the Ministry of Defence Employers Recognition Awards Scheme: Guildford Borough Council, Runnymede Borough Council and Veterans & Families Listening Project based in Camberley, were all awarded Silver; Spelthorne Borough Council was awarded Gold - all four were personally mentored by Canon Peter Bruinvels.
· That Surrey County Council was one of only two local authorities in the United Kingdom to have its Gold award revalidated and she was proud to chair the Surrey Civilian-Military Partnership Board. The Council was now formally recognised as an Employer of Choice with the Military and by the Ministry of Defence.
· That the Council had been reaccredited with the Charter Plus award for Member Development, following an assessment day on 30 September.
· That to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022, the Council was proud to be taking part in the Queen’s Green Canopy tree planting initiative and she invited all Members to take away a small free tree after the meeting.
· That she promoted her engagements as highlighted in the agenda front sheet via her Facebook page and encouraged Members to contact her over any concerns or proposals for visits to their divisions.
The Leader to make a statement.
There will be an opportunity for Members to ask questions and/or make comments.
The Leader made a detailed statement. A copy of the statement is attached as Appendix A.
Trefor Hogg arrived at 10.18 am
Michaela Martin, Catherine Powell and Joanne Sexton arrived at 10.31 am
Members raised the following topics:
· That the Spending Review 2021 must inject new funding to address the funding issues within adult social care so the burden does not fall on the public through: the Council Tax adult social care precept, long-term efficiencies and the rise in National Insurance through the Health and Social Care Levy; the Council must lobby Surrey’s Members of Parliament (MPs) and publicise the issues.
· That an open and transparent debate concerning the County Deal was needed between the Council and Surrey’s eleven Borough and District Councils, working with residents to find practical solutions.
· That an urgent review of the system, to be implemented immediately, was needed to address the issues within Children’s Services, resolving cases and putting families first.
· Highlighted that the Leader did not mention the cost of living crisis, which would worsen with the increase in National Insurance and would affect poorer and younger residents, as well as the twenty pounds cut to Universal Credit from fifty-five thousand Surrey residents and rising food and energy costs; the Council must lobby the Government.
· Noted the sixty-two public consultations on Surrey Says and that not one was on the County Deal which the Leader should implement.
· Congratulated the Leader in relation to the Council joining the UK100 Climate Network in July concerning to the transition to clean energy and net zero carbon emissions.
· Sought assurance that the Council was committed to reframing its economic priorities to align with its climate goals for 2025 and 2030, in detailing the Greener Futures Climate Change Delivery Plan for 2021 – 2025 (Delivery Plan) the one Surrey growth and greener futures plans must be aligned into a single plan for Surrey.
· That the Council’s ambition for a strong economy must not conflict with the move towards a green economy, the Council must take a stand against aviation expansion whilst decarbonising Surrey.
· Hoped that the new Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Surrey Heath, might positively affect the role of local planning in Surrey, asked the Leader to request an answer from Rt Hon Michael Gove MP as to the delivery of the promise not to build on greenbelt land and to request the mandating of climate change responsibilities to the Council matched with the funds and powers enabling the Council to deliver a new county-wide green deal for Surrey.
· That the Leader did not refer to public transport in his statement, asked whether the Leader recognised that the improvement of public transport was essential for levelling up to prevent the younger, older and vulnerable residents from being left behind.
· Asked whether the Leader was aware that the details concerning the Health and Social Care Levy Bill would not be announced until April 2022, that any interim ... view the full minutes text for item 59/21
MEMBERS' QUESTION TIME PDF 528 KB
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 6 October 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.
Notice of thirty-three questions had been received.
The questions and replies were published in the supplementary agenda on 11 October 2021. A number of supplementary questions were asked and a summary of the main points is set out below.
(Q1) Jonathan Hulley noted that Your Fund Surrey (YFS) was an exciting initiative aimed at empowering towns and communities across Surrey and was a key plank of the county’s levelling up agenda. He asked the Cabinet Member for Communities if the YFS Advisory Panel had met and if so whether any funding had been awarded.
Mark Sugden welcomed the award given to the Claygate Recreation Ground Trust andasked the Cabinet Member for Communities to convey his thanks to theYFS team in recognition of the work done on assessing the applications.
In response, the Cabinet Member for Communities was pleased to announce that the YFS Advisory Panel had met and the two applications reviewed were successful: Weybridge Men’s Shed was granted £30,000 and Claygate Recreation Ground Trust was granted £35,000. He recognised the hard work done by the YFS team over the past year and thanked applicants for their patience, YFS was a ground-breaking initiative and the approval process would gain momentum.
(Q2) Nick Darby noted that officers were working with Selecta UK to move towards zero waste and asked what the timescale was for that move.
In response, the Cabinet Member for Property noted that she did not know what the timescale was for that move and noted that there was little waste as the majority of the sandwiches stocked at Woodhatch Place would be purchased by lunchtime.
(Q3) Will Forsterasked how the Leader envisaged that the Council would make a decision on a County Deal such as whether it should be scrutinised by the relevant select committee and signed off at a Council meeting, and asked whether there should be a public consultation.
In response, the Leader noted that the Council, along with twenty other county councils, submitted an expression of interest and he did not know whether the Council would be successful as part of the first wave. The Government’s Levelling Up White Paper was expected to be published next month and the relevant select committee would review any proposals, he did not expect there to be a public consultation concerning additional powers to be granted to the Council, the public would however be consulted on any contentious areas.
(Q4) Paul Followsnoted that the National Insurance (NI) liability in Surrey went beyond the £2.4 million to the Council, there was an additional £2 million NI liability to the police and a £1.6 million NI liability for the Boroughs and Districts combined. He sought assurance from the Leader, and the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources that the Council would lobby the Government in keeping their promise that local authorities would not be out of pocket, and asked that they communicate the outcome of the issue to Members and the leaders of ... view the full minutes text for item 60/21
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 11 October 2021).
Eber Kingtonmade a statement on flooding in Ewell Court, Auriol and Cuddington in July, highlighting Avon Close where forty homes were flooded. He thanked the emergency services and officers in the Council’s Emergency Management and Resilience Team for their compassionate and efficient response, notably the Head of Emergency Management and the Deputy Head of Emergency Management.
Catherine Powell made a statement on a local school issue in Farnham North, she noted that every child should receive thirty-nine weeks of education annually and highlighted two cases where children were missing out on full time education as a result of transport issues. She proposed a lessons learned exercise in the October half term to make systemic changes to prevent similar incidents going forward.
The meeting was adjourned for a comfort break at 12.13 pm.
The meeting was resumed at 12.18 pm.
Item 8 (i)
Bernie Muir (Epsom West) to move under standing order 11 asfollows:
· Surrey County Council would like to thank all public transport staff, including the frontline staff, who have all worked extremely hard on a daily basis over the last eighteen months to maintain the vital rail network across Surrey during the pandemic, and in the face of such adversity.
· It is crucial to review our public transport networks – both bus and rail – to ensure as far as we practicably can that these networks continue to support our economy and growth ambitions, meet the needs of our communities, and ensure we reach net zero in Surrey.
This Council further notes that:
· Any reduction in services across the network is contrary to national, regional and local strategies. Specifically, the County Council’s emerging Surrey Transport Plan, the Rail Strategy approved earlier this year and the Climate Change Strategy; all of which promote public transport ahead of car use, whilst providing a framework to promote the wider decarbonisation of transport.
· This Government’s Bus back better Strategy, which in tandem with Surrey County Council’s Active Travel, will transform the way in services are planned and delivered and the way in which residents use public transport.
This Council resolves to:
I. Continue to engage a constructive dialogue with railway service providers and other partners in the rail industry to help inform and shape the detail of future timetables, and to include a restoration of service frequencies through our stations across Surrey.
II. Support the Cabinet Member for Transport and Infrastructure in writing a letter to the Secretary of State outlining this Council’s concerns regarding the impact that new timetable proposals may have on Surrey residents and to ensure adequate funding is provided to support sustainable transport provision in Surrey.
Item 8 (ii)
Marisa Heath (Englefield Green) to move under standing order 11 as follows:
This Council notes that:
This Council further notes that the Council’s role in delivering the county’s net zero target requires us to:
Under Standing Order 11.5 using her discretion, the Chair reordered the original motions to the following:
Item 8 (iv) - Robert Evans
Item 8 (i) - Bernie Muir
Item 8 (ii) - Marisa Heath
Item 8 (iii) - Catherine Baart
Item 8 (v) - Lance Spencer
Item 8 (iv)
Having declared a pecuniary interest Hazel Watson left the room for the item
Under Standing Order 12.3 the Cabinet Member for Communities, Mark Nuti, moved a proposal. The proposal was as follows:
That the motion below by Robert Evans be referred to the Cabinet for more detailed consideration.
This Council notes:
With great concern the on-going national and local issue regarding incidences of faulty cladding on buildings and other related defects, which have come to light since the tragic Grenfell Tower fire of 2017, which claimed seventy-two lives.
That in November 2018, the government banned the use of all combustible materials on the walls of new high rises meaning the problem has now extended beyond aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding to include fire breaks between floors and other building features, including wooden balconies and panels. However, it did not legislate for building owners to take action nor provide sufficient compensation funds to cover all situations.
This Council further notes:
That the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the UK Council of Mortgage Lenders agreed the industry External Wall System (EWS) fire review and certification process resulting in what is known as an EWS1 form, without which many lenders are now refusing to provide mortgages, leaving many Surrey leaseholders in severe financial crisis and with homes that are dangerous and often unsaleable.
Council therefore welcomes the appointment of Surrey Heath MP, Rt Hon Michael Gove as secretary of state for Levelling up, housing and communities, charged with steering the Building Safety Bill through Parliament and urges him to recognise and address the unfairness of developers or management companies placing the cost of repair works on the shoulders of the leaseholders.
Additionally, Council is deeply concerned that this is all having a detrimental impact on the mental and physical health of many residents in Surrey, who have put considerable, personal and financial investment into becoming part of the home owning democracy, only to find that the large development companies are demanding huge repair costs and/or the cost of waking fire watches.
Furthermore, Council believes Surrey councils have a responsibility and arguably a ‘duty of care’ to its residents and therefore should not stand by and leave action to the government alone and now needs to step in and take unilateral action where legally allowed to.
This Council therefore calls on its leadership to support all those in Surrey affected by this scandal and to resolve to:
I. Formally raise the issue with H M government through Mr Gove and the County’s other MPs.
II. Support other local authorities and the LGA’s initiatives with the government in exploring ways in which local councils can be empowered to support their residents and ensure building ... view the full minutes text for item 62/21
CHANGES TO CABINET PORTFOLIOS PDF 368 KB
Council is asked to note the Leader's changes to Cabinet Portfolios.
Report to follow
The Leader introduced the report, highlighting that a significant change was re-combining the Health and Adult Social Care portfolios represented by the Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, which was consistent with his earlier comments and the Health and Care Bill. He noted that other tweaks sought to balance the workload of the Cabinet and that he intended to appoint a Deputy Cabinet Member for Levelling Up.
Jonathan Hulley, Nick Darby and Tony Samuels left the meeting at 13.59 pm
A Member queried why the responsibility over Learning Disabilities was not with the Cabinet Member for Education and Learning as opposed to the Cabinet Member for Adults and Health.
The Member also asked whether the Deputy Cabinet Member for Levelling Up’s special responsibility allowance would be funded by the Leader rather than placing a burden on the taxpayer.
In response, the Leader noted that it was his responsibility to appoint the Cabinet how he saw fit.
That Council noted the Leader's changes to Cabinet Portfolios.
ARRANGEMENTS FOR MEMBER MEETINGS PDF 291 KB
County Council is asked to review and approve the proposed arrangements for member meetings for the remainder of the Council Year 2021/22, following the relaxation of the public health restrictions and the expiry of the Remote Meeting Regulations 2020.
The Leader introduced the report and noted:
· That it sought to confirm arrangements following the expiry of the Remote Meeting Regulations 2020 with concessions in place as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
· That the Local Government Association (LGA) carried out a survey whereby 97% of councils supported the continuation of remote meetings where appropriate and that discussion with the Government was ongoing through the LGA and County Councils Network.
· Council meetings would take place in accordance with the Local Government Act 1972 and Local Government Act 2000.
· That in response to a previous comment made earlier by a Member concerning in person attendance at select committee meetings, noted that whilst select committee meetings were not formal decision-making bodies they had a role to formally scrutinise the proposed budget before consideration by the Council, select committee Chairmen could choose to reduce the number of public select committee meetings where appropriate and task and finish groups could meet remotely.
· That legislation was different for the Cabinet which had resumed in person meetings.
· That the Council sought to continue with the special dispensation on medical grounds for Alison Griffiths until the AGM in May 2022 whilst she received medical treatment; he was delighted to see her at the meeting.
Members made the following comments:
· Thanked the Leader for his response concerning in person attendance for select committee meetings and sought assurance that he would use his influence as Leader of the Council and chair of the County Council’s Network to lobby the Government to affect change in the legislation.
· Sought clarification on the Surrey Local Pension Board and the Surrey Local Firefighters' Pension Board which operate under different legislation.
In response, the Chair confirmed that those two Boards were regulatory committees and were considered under the section on non-executive decision-making committees.
The Chair welcomed Alison Griffiths to the meeting and congratulated her on her recent marriage.
In response, Alison Griffiths noted that she continued to receive treatment for terminal cancer, would try to attend council meetings where possible and thanked all Members for their continued support.
1. Agreed the arrangements for committee meetings including remote participation as set out in the report for the remainder of the council year 2021/22.
2. In relation to the six-month rule for meeting attendance;
a. Agreed that the blanket dispensation for attendance at formal committee meetings for all members is not extended beyond 31 October and that councillor attendance records are reset from this date.
b. Agreed that Councillor Alison Griffiths may continue to be absent from meetings until May 2022 by reason of ill health and that the Council looks forward to welcoming her back in due course.
3. Authorised 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.
REPORT OF THE AUDIT AND GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE: RISK MANAGEMENT STRATEGY PDF 249 KB
Council is asked to agree to the enclosed Risk Management Strategy and for the Constitution to be updated.
The Chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee introduced the report and noted:
· That the Council’s existing Risk Management Strategy expiredin 2021 and the refreshed Strategy as agreed by the Audit and Governance Committee on 20 September 2021, combined best practice, the risk framework and risk strategy.
· That it was proposed that the Audit and Governance Committee would review the Strategy annually.
· That the Strategy was embedded into the Council’s Constitution, so the report sought the Council’s approval to update the Constitution.
A Member noted that there were a couple of items missing from the report, was unclear as to what the changes were in the refreshed Strategy compared to the existing version and asked whether the existing strategy in the Constitution would be updated or replaced. As a result of his queries, he suggested that the item be deferred to the next Council meeting to be presented in a complete manner.
In response, the Chair asked the Chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee to clarify whether the report needed to be deferred.
The Chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee reiterated his introductory comments, noting that there was no reason to defer the report as it simply replaced the existing Strategy which had expired.
The Chair asked the Member and Chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee to discuss the queries raised outside of the meeting.
That Council noted that the Audit and Governance Committee have agreed the enclosed Risk Management Strategy (Annex 1) and agreed for the Constitution to be updated.
APPOINTMENT OF INDEPENDENT MEMBER TO THE AUDIT AND GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE PDF 205 KB
For Council to agree in principle the appointment of an Independent Member to the Audit and Governance Committee, for recruitment and final approval by Council at its meeting on 14 December 2021.
The Chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee introduced the report and noted:
· Surprise upon taking up chairmanship of the Audit and Governance Committee in May that independent members did not form part of the Committee’s membership, unlike at his borough council’s audit and standards committee and as was recommended best practice by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).
· That having an independent member would be beneficial as they would provide a degree of objectivity, they would be apolitical and add to the experience of existing Committee members.
· That the independent member would not be a voting member and would not receive any special responsibility allowance, only expenses.
· A change in the wording concerning recommendation two:
recruitment of the Independent Member be led by a panel
Four Members made the following comments:
· Disagreed with CIPFA’s recommendation of best practice to include independent members to the membership of audit committees as such members would devalue the role of the elected Members and create a democratic deficit.
· That Members were elected on their common sense capable of making reasonable decisions, officers were employed to present reports and provide advice, and the Section 151 officer had oversight over financial matters. An externally imposed independent member was not needed and one professional could not reflect the views of the whole of the Surrey community.
· Suggested that whilst the person specification listed that the independent member must not be a councillor, an addition be made stating that the role was non-political.
· Commended the initiative by the Chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee in bringing the Committee in line with best practice, noting the importance of independent members at his borough council’s corporate governance and standards committee where independent members did not devalue the work of elected Members.
1. Council agreed to the principle of appointing an Independent Member to the Audit and Governance Committee for a period of four years.
2. The recruitment of the Independent Member be led by a panel whose members be chosen following consultation between the Chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee and the Group Leaders, supported by the Director of Law and Governance.
3. Following the recruitment process, a report to formally appoint the Independent Member be presented to a future Council meeting.
4. Council agreed to delegate to the Director of Law and Governance, in consultation with the Chair of the Audit and Governance Committee, authority to finalise the role description, skills, competencies and person specification (attached as Appendix A).
REPORT OF THE CABINET PDF 367 KB
To receive the report of the meetings of the Cabinet held on 20 July 2021 and 28 September 2021.
The Leader presented the report of the Cabinet meetings held on 20 July 2021 and 28 September 2021.
Recommendations on Policy Framework Documents:
28 September 2021:
A. Amendments to the Spelthorne Joint Committee Constitution following Implementation of the Committee System by Spelthorne Borough Council
Reports for Information/Discussion:
20 July 2021:
B. Covid-19: Surrey County Council - Update, Review and Lessons Learned
C. River Thames Scheme Collaboration Agreement Principles
D. Joint Working Arrangements for Finance Services with Tandridge District Council
28 September 2021:
E. Award of Term Maintenance Contract for Highway Services
F. Policy on the Use of Safety Cameras in Surrey
G. Surrey Outdoor Learning and Development – Phase 1, Thames Young Mariners
H. Quarterly Report on Decisions Taken Under Special Urgency Arrangements: 14 July 2021 - 4 October 2021
1. That Council approved the changes to Spelthorne Joint Committee constitution, in relation to non-executive decision making, to reflect the change from a Cabinet to a Committee system within Spelthorne Borough Council (as set out in the Cabinet report from 28 September 2021).
2. That Council noted that there had been no urgent decision in the last three months.
3. That the report of the meetings of the Cabinet held on 20 July 2021 and 28 September 2021 be adopted.
MINUTES OF CABINET MEETINGS PDF 515 KB
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 11 October 2021.
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.