Agenda and minutes

Council
Tuesday, 4 February 2020 10.00 am

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

Contact: Amelia Christopher  020 8213 2838

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

1/20

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

2/20

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 133 KB

3/20

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

    NOTES:

    ·         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:

    Minutes:

    There were none.

4/20

CHAIRMAN'S ANNOUNCEMENTS

5/20

2020/21 FINAL BUDGET REPORT AND MEDIUM-TERM FINANCIAL STRATEGY pdf icon PDF 114 KB

    Council is asked to approve the 2020/21 Final Budget Report and Medium-Term Financial Strategy.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Leader presented the Report of the Cabinet on the 2020/21 Final Budget Report and Medium-Term Financial Strategy 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:

     

    ·         There was greater stability this year due to a balanced budget without the use of reserves which was an essential improvement and he welcomed the improvements in the Children’s directorate.

    ·         Commended the capital funding for additional care and children’s homes.

    ·         Noted the need to accelerate key project areas to improve residents’ experiences whilst generating savings.

    ·         The provision of affordable key worker housing should be considered, working closely with boroughs and district councils to have a strategic approach to housing, developing Surrey’s 2050 Place Ambition for the right houses in the right places.

    ·         Welcomed the additional funding for highways and flood defences, but more detail was needed on the £100 million for the Community Investment Fund.

    ·         Praised the positive changes to scrutiny across the Council agreed last May, which must be cross-party and to be effective.

    ·         Noted that it was the role of the opposition to scrutinise the proposed budget as opposed to providing an alternative one.

    ·         Questioned the amount set aside in the budget to address the Climate Emergency.

    ·         That the move to Woking was positive due to the current economic and environmental costs - low energy rating - of County Hall and promotion of agile working.

    ·         Despite the £20 million contingency in the budget, he asked whether that would be adequate due to the significant annual cuts and rationing in Adult Social Care.

    ·         Both SEND and public health faced low central Government funding, as well as a £700,000 cut for mental health. Years of austerity had affected the Council’s provision of services and of the £40 million increase in the Council’s budget by 2020/21, £28 million was from a rise in Council Tax.

    ·         Increased funding was short-term as there was a forecasted £160 million deficit by 2024/2025, noting that ‘efficiencies’ were cuts.

    ·         That the Fair Funding Review and the green paper on Adult Social Care remained outstanding making forward planning difficult.

    ·         Proposed that there was a need for two extra Council Tax bands at the top end covering those who could afford to contribute more, savings from this would fund services and provide relief for those in lower tax bands.

    ·         Commended the budget, but expressed concern on criticisms from CIPFA and the Council’s auditors around areas lacking significant Government funding.

     

    Key points made by Mr Botten were that:

    ·         There was a challenging context concerning inadequate local government funding which created a burden on the Council to address the ongoing concerns of residents, including the difficulty in getting the right care packages for SEND and elderly relatives.

    ·         Praised the Council’s Transformation Programme, but queried whether transformation was reaching the front line where services were  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5/20

6/20

MEMBERS' QUESTION TIME pdf icon PDF 105 KB

    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 29 January 2020).

     

     

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Questions:

     

    Notice of five questions had been received. The questions and replies were published in a supplementary agenda on 3 February 2020.

     

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

     

    (Q1) Mrs Hazel Watson asked the Cabinet Member for Environment and Wasteif he was aware that many Surrey residents were pleased with the Council’s declaration of the Climate Emergency but were disappointed with the lack of urgency and she also asked how many trees were planted since the launch of the Council’s initiative to plant 1.2 million trees by 2030.

     

    Mr Essex requested that when the climate strategy is announced in April, it included plans for what would be done throughout the financial year.

     

    In response the Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste explained that he did not accept that the Council lacked urgency as it would spend the money properly as a result of comprehensive consultations with residents including schools and businesses. The Council was also consulting with the Government on low emission buses and electric vehicle charging points. The number of trees planted across the year would be announced on 1 October and noted that the Council was proactive on the issue as it would have its own Tree Week beginning the first week of March - several thousand trees would be planted.

     

    (Q2) Mr Robert Evans asked the Cabinet Member for Highways if he would agree that there were too many cases where roads were dug up in close succession and instances where borough boundaries were evident against London roads due to different road surfaces, which was problematic when done piecemeal.

     

    In response, the Cabinet Member for Highways stated that he did agree some instances of reinstatement by utility companies was not adequate. The Council were pursuing lane rental which would be presented to Council later in the year for implementation, to encourage utility companies to act swiftly and competently. 

     

    (Q3) Mr Jonathan Essex asked the Cabinet Member for Adults and Public Health to promote public transport more greatly - rather than issuing taxi vouchers - to support transport for residents in care, SEND and elderly residents, which would aid the increased demand within the Voluntary, Community and Faith Sector (VCFS). He sought reassurance that there would be a review of the funding for increased distanced travelled as a result of the budget, after three to six months and if not to consider whether funding should be drawn from reserves.

     

    In response the Cabinet Member for Adults and Public Health noted the Member’s useful suggestions and will speak to the Cabinet Member for Highways on the promotion of public transport. She stated that the Adult Social Care service would review the provision of transport concerning residents in care, SEND and elderly residents with the VCFS within three to six months.

     

    (Q4) Mr Robert Evans asked the Cabinet Member for Adults and Public Health if she was aware that there were about 35,000 employed in the care  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6/20

7/20

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 3 February 2020).

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Mr Robert Evans made a statement on the recent tragic car crash in his electoral division in which three British Airways employees died, highlighting the unsafe mix of commercial and civilian traffic around Heathrow.

     

8/20

ORIGINAL MOTIONS

    Item 8 (i)

     

    Mr Tim Oliver (Weybridge) to move under standing order 11 as follows:

     

    Last year, we made a commitment to ensure that no-one in Surrey is ‘left behind’. This local authority plays a vital role in representing all groups across Surrey and specifically in tackling all forms of hate crime.

     

    The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) has developed a definition of antisemitism.

     

    ‘Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.’

     

    I call on this Council to demonstrate its commitment to engaging with the experiences of Jewish communities and supporting them against the challenges that they face. I seek the Council’s endorsement to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Chairman introduced the motion noting that although there is a presumption that there will be no motions at the budget meeting of the Council, he used his discretion allow it in accordance with Standing Order 11.6. He highlighted that the motion on the agreement of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism was timely as Holocaust Memorial Day occurred on 27 January 2020 - which also marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

     

    Item 8 (i)

     

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

    Under Standing Order 12.1 Mr Tim Oliver moved:

     

    Last year, we made a commitment to ensure that no-one in Surrey is ‘left behind’. This local authority plays a vital role in representing all groups across Surrey and specifically in tackling all forms of hate crime.

     

    The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) has developed a definition of antisemitism.

     

    ‘Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.’

     

    I call on this Council to demonstrate its commitment to engaging with the experiences of Jewish communities and supporting them against the challenges that they face. I seek the Council’s endorsement to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism.

     

    Mr Tim Oliver made the following points:

     

    ·         Thanked the Chairman for accepting the motion and commented that the Council’s Holocaust Memorial Day last week led by the Chairman was a moving tribute.

    ·         That it was important not to forget the senseless persecution of millions, particularly as prejudice, discrimination and inequality remained prevalent in society.

    ·         That a society which celebrated diversity was crucial to expel bigotry.

     

    The motion was formally seconded by Mr Botten, who made the following comments:

     

    ·         That he was brought up in a time where there was a casual use of anti-Semitic language.

    ·         Inherent prejudice remained in society, whether more overtly through fascistic emblems and Holocaust denial on social media, or presented more subtly through subtexts.

    ·         Institutions that failed to call out anti-Semitism colluded through their silence, adopting a common definition allowed society to continually recognise what anti-Semitism meant and would show explicit resistance to it.

     

    Eight Members made the following comments:

     

    ·         On behalf of the Jewish community in Surrey, he thanked the Leader and Mr Botten for the motion.

    ·         Noted that he grew up in a Jewish community in which many survived the Holocaust - notably Mayer Hersh MBE who was honoured for his services to Holocaust education.

    ·         That it was unfortunate there was a need for the motion in 2020, explaining that he experienced anti-Semitism as an adult only once becoming politically active.

    ·         That the international community shared the responsibility to tackle all hate crime faced by ethnic minorities, who must be protected against the worrying rise of violent extremist political ideologies.

    ·         Society must challenge prejudice and lead in education to promote tolerance, by adopting the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism already endorsed by  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8/20

9/20

CORPORATE PARENTING STRATEGY pdf icon PDF 66 KB

    Council is asked to adopt the Corporate Parenting Strategy.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Cabinet Member for Children, Young People & Families introduced the report. She highlighted a key part of the Member role profile which was ‘to fulfil the responsibilities as ‘corporate parent’ of Looked After Children, accepting responsibility for children in the Council’s care’. Members and officers should have high ambitions for their corporate children and the 2018 Ofsted report rating of Requires Improvement for the care given to Looked After Children and Care Leavers Surrey was disappointing. She thanked members of the Corporate Parenting Board who sought to address the negative rating and noted the recent report from the Children’s Commissioner which identified the positive development of corporate parenting and the strong leadership from Board members.

     

    The Strategy reflected the current work of the Board and had been endorsed by the Children, Families, Lifelong Learning and Culture Select Committee. The Council would send a clear message of its commitment as a corporate parent if it agreed the Strategy and it was important to have a clear strategy document for key partners across directorates to understand their obligations under the Children and Social Work Act 2017 - to promote the ‘best interests’ for children, ‘keeping them safe’ - and the subsequent Statutory Guidance to the Act (2018).

     

    The cross-party membership of the Board incorporating foster carers, harnessed a variety of talents and she thanked the Leader of the Residents’ Association and Independent Group for his recent attendance to the Board, noting that permanent representation would be advantageous.

     

    Members made the following comments:

     

    • Praised the work of the Cabinet Member for Children, Young People & Families for her work as chair of the Board, as concurred within the recent Report of the Non-Executive Commissioner for Children’s Services which noted the ‘strong lead from members and the chair of the board’ in the Strategy’s positive development.
    • That all children should be supported equally, Looked After Children should never be far from the thoughts of all within the Council and urged Members to read the introduction and the key points of the Strategy in green text.
    • As a member of the Board, highlighted the crucial work by the chair and the importance of the Strategy which pointed out Members’ responsibilities as corporate parents. That all Members should pay close attention to the list of ten ‘must dos’ identified by the Board in respect of their actions and behaviours, ensuring that children were at the forefront of the Council.
    • Stated that being a ‘corporate parent’ was a legal and moral duty of all councillors across boroughs and districts in Surrey, with over one thousand Looked After Children and for Members to reflect on the point of ‘would this be good enough for my child?’
    • That the Board was composed of a passionate group of members and officers, chaired superbly by the Cabinet Member for Children, Young People & Families and supported by the Executive Director for Children, Families, Lifelong Learning. Urged Members to review what being a corporate parent meant personally and how they  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9/20

10/20

FINANCIAL REGULATIONS pdf icon PDF 86 KB

11/20

APPOINTMENT OF LOCAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN

12/20

REPORT OF THE CABINET pdf icon PDF 123 KB

    To receive the report of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 17 December 2019 and 28 January 2020.

     

     

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Leader presented the report of the Cabinet meetings held on 17 December 2019 and 28 January 2020.

     

    Reports for Decision:

     

    A.    Admission arrangements for community and voluntary controlled schools and co-ordinated schemes for September 2021

    B.    2020/21 Final Budget And Medium-Term Financial Strategy           

     

    Reports for Information/Discussion:

     

    C.   Quarterly Report On Decisions Taken Under Special Urgency Arrangements: 1 October – 31 December 2019

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    1.    The County Council approved the admission arrangements for community and voluntary controlled schools and co-ordinated schemes for September 2021.

     

    2.    The recommendations regarding the 2020/21 Final Budget and Medium-Term Financial Strategy had already been approved under item 5.

     

    3.    That Council noted that there had been one urgent decision in that quarter.

     

    4.    That the reports of the meetings of the Cabinet held on 17 December 2019 and 28 January 2020 be adopted.

     

13/20

MINUTES OF CABINET MEETINGS pdf icon PDF 115 KB