Venue: Woodhatch Place, 11 Cockshot Hill, Reigate, Surrey, RH2 8EF
Contact: Amelia Christopher
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
The Chair to report apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Colin Cross, Rebecca Jennings-Evans, Scott Lewis, Ernest Mallett MBE.
Members who attended remotely and had no voting rights were Luke Bennett, John Furey, Andy Lynch.
To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 13 December 2022.
The minutes of the meeting of the County Council held on 13 December 2022 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)
There were none.
Welcome everyone to today’s Council meeting - our first formal meeting of 2023. It is wonderful to be back here with you all. I hope you enjoyed the Christmas break and that 2023 is off to a good start for you all.
King’s New Year Honours
I would like to offer a huge ‘thank you’ and ‘very well done’ to all Surrey residents who were honoured in His Majesty The King’s New Year Honours.
Extraordinary and exceptional work has been carried out across our county in a vast range of sectors, which has really made an immeasurable difference to so many peoples’ lives.
I would like to say a particular ‘congratulations’ to Surrey County Councillor Robert Evans, Labour & Labour Co-operative Group Leader, who has received an OBE for Political and Public Service. Very well done Robert - thoroughly well deserved.
Please find the list of Surrey New Year Honours 2023 attached to the agenda (Annex 1).
Holocaust Memorial Day 2023
On 27 January we marked Holocaust Memorial Day and remembered all those who perished so horrifically at the hands of Nazi Germany.
Surrey History Centre showcased a devastating and thought-provoking exhibition based on the theme ‘Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives’.
The display features:
· Alice Goldberger and Weir Courtney Hostel, Lingfield
· Rowledge House Hostel, near Farnham
· Dr Hilde Lion and Stoatley Rough School
· Jewish refugees in Guildford
Holocaust Memorial Day 2023 – Ordinary people, extraordinary lives (exploringsurreyspast.org.uk)
Cllr Alison Todd (née Griffiths) - Tree Planting Ceremony
Following the tragic death of Cllr Alison Todd last year, we are hosting a tree-planting ceremony in Alison’s name today. Following the close of this meeting, please join me in the Memorial Garden to remember Alison, pay your respects and plant a tree in her honour.
A wonderful councillor – we are so pleased that Alison’s memory and a tribute to her will live on here at Woodhatch Place.
As always, I would like to extend my gratitude and thanks to the Members and officers for your continued hard work to support our residents, particularly in these very difficult times. Unfortunately, circumstances are likely to get even harder for some time yet. I know, however, that you will continue to do your absolute best to deliver for our residents. Thank you - and keep up the excellent work.
· Thanked and congratulated all Surrey residents who were honoured in His Majesty The King’s New Year Honours 2023; including Surrey County Councillor Robert Evans, Labour & Labour Co-operative Group Leader, who had received an OBE for Political and Public Service.
· Noted that the Council marked Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January and remembered all those who perished so horrifically at the hands of Nazi Germany. Surrey History Centre showcased a devastating and thought-provoking exhibition based on the theme ‘Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives’.
· Noted that following the tragic death of Surrey County Councillor Alison Todd last year, a tree-planting ceremony in her name would take place in the Memorial Garden after the meeting and she invited Members to attend.
· Noted that the rest of her announcements could be found in the Council agenda front sheet.
· Reminded Members of the upcoming Member Development Day on Monday 20 February at Woodhatch Place, an opportunity for networking, training and personal development.
Council is asked to approve the 2023/24 Final Budget and Medium-Term Financial Strategy to 2027/28.
There will be an opportunity for Members to ask questions and/or make comments.
The Chair noted that the agenda was republished online to include the following amendment removing four words: Page 76, para 4.102 of the Annex: 2023/24 Final Budget and Medium-Term Financial Strategy to 2027/28, second bullet point, fifth dash:
‘Reducing total spend on the libraries book fund.’
The Leader presented the 2023/24 Final Budget and Medium-Term Financial Strategy to 2027/28 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 (Nick Darby, Will Forster, Robert Evans OBE and Jonathan Essex) were invited to speak on the budget proposals.
Key points made by Nick Darby were that:
· There was a “perfect storm” of high inflation and the cost-of-living crisis, increasing demand and support needed for the disadvantaged.
· The Cabinet had little to be proud of and should bear responsibility for the series of shortcomings, rather than Council staff who continued to do their best; attention to detail and efficient service delivery was needed.
· The £11 million extra cost for the IT project which was still not operational needed to be properly implemented and managed, and that public money should have been used to support other services to better effect.
· Highlighted the Home to School Transport issues including lengthy delays, lack of communication, unnecessary panel hearings and questioned how long it would take to address; noting the fifty recommendations of the Learning Review.
· The intended Guildford highway changes caused public anger, with a failed consultation and inadequate communication; the scheme had been delayed for new consultation, an opportunity to get it right and to listen and communicate.
· Regarding the Agile Office Programme; whilst there might be good reason to move from Quadrant Court, Woking, questioned whether it was necessary to carry out extensive and costly works, having done nothing for fifteen years.
· Children's Services was broken in many areas, progress had been slow since being rated as Requires Improvement by Ofsted last year, there were repeated Inadequate ratings on children's homes assessments and continued record-keeping failures, significant Education, Health and Care Plan(EHCP) delays; Looked After Children and foster carers were being left behind.
· Regarding the Highways reorganisation and new contract, Ringway replaced Kier, repairs were delayed and of poor quality needing further work and cost, promised extra work on potholes had not materialised, there were significant delays to the implementation of annual parking reviews and white lines not being refreshed. Support from the Government and Surrey MPs was ineffective.
· The Local and Joint Committees had been abolished with no prior consultation, and the Community Link Officers in their place were costly and not a success.
· Adult Social Care was broken, the changes delayed by two years by the Government were a financial concern for local authorities, Discharge to Assess arrangements were problematic and residents were being left behind.
· Regarding the Staff Pay Award which was a difficult balance for the forthcoming negotiations, the Council needed to be clear that it valued ... view the full minutes text for item 5/23
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 1 February 2023).
Notice of eighteen questions had been received. The questions and replies were published in the second supplementary agenda (items 5i and 6) on 6 February 2023.
A number of supplementary questions were asked and a summary of the main points is set out below:
(Q3) Robert Evans OBE referring to the £57.2 million increase using the Consumer Price Index (CPI), asked what assurance the Cabinet Member could provide that it would address and adequately cope with the pressures on the service due to inflation.
In response, the Cabinet Member for Adults and Health noted that he could not guarantee that the above figure would be enough due to the uncertainty around inflation and the day-to-day pressures in Adult Social Care. He provided assurance that the money would be used effectively and it was a good step forward.
(Q5)Catherine Powell reiterated part (c) of her question which had not been fully answered, she noted that those private businesses included companies called CareCo and Healthcare Pro which were the only two private businesses selected for bath lifts. She asked how those were selected.
In response, the Cabinet Member for Adults and Health would provide a written response once he had more information.
(Q6) Fiona White asked whether the Leader would agree that whilst it was prudent to use agency or temporary staff for one-off projects, their use on a long-term basis was costly and was not in residents’ best interests. Referring to the overall spend of which 55% was spent on locum workers in the Children, Families and Lifelong Learning Directorate, she asked the Leader whether he would agree that the money would have been better spent on an enhanced offer to make working for Surrey more appealing, both for the recruitment and retention of workers.
Jonathan Essex asked the Leader to confirm how much over and above the payroll cost was the spend on agency staff.
In response to Fiona White, the Leader agreed that the Council did not want to be dependent upon agency or temporary staff, it was a consequence of there being a shortage of suitably qualified people; it was a challenge to recruit people into Surrey, partly due to the cost of housing. He hoped that as part of the pay negotiations with the Trade Unions, the Council would be able to support those key frontline staff. He noted that one of the key priorities for the new Director for People and Change, was to help progress the ongoing recruitment and retention work regarding permanent staff.
Responding to Jonathan Essex, he noted that he did have a breakdown of all the areas where the agency and temporary staff were being used but would liaise with the People and Change (HR) team to find out that uplift.
(Q7)Lance Spencer asked whether the Leader was unable or was simply unwilling to answer his question.
In response, the Leader asked for him to define what he considered a consultant to be and then he would provide ... view the full minutes text for item 6/23
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 6 February 2023).
Eber Kington (Ewell Court, Auriol & Cuddington) made a statement on a house fire in his division that occurred on 12 December 2022. Five fire appliances attended in total, the first appliance from Epsom arrived within nine minutes, followed by the second appliance from Esher one minute later; both well within Surrey Fire and Rescue Service’s (SFRS) attendance time requirements. One adult was found dead within the property and therefore Surrey Police took ownership over securing the property, whilst the fire team stayed on site to support the police. Over the subsequent days, the crews from Epsom Fire Station carried out wellbeing visits in the local area. He recorded his thanks to the SFRS teams who attended that difficult incident, who supported the police with their work and who offered support to local residents.
To receive the report of the meetings of the Cabinet held on 20 December 2022 and 31 January 2023.
(Note: To follow)
The Leader presented the report of the Cabinet meetings held on 20 December 2022 and 31 January 2023.
Recommendations on Policy Framework Documents:
31 January 2023:
A. Refresh of the Organisation Strategy 2023-2028
That County Council adopted the updated version of the Organisation Strategy.
B. The Surrey School Organisation Plan and a Lifetime of Learning Strategy 2030
That County Council endorsed and approved the School Organisation Plan 2022-2032 which will meet the Council’s statutory duties to ensure that there are sufficient high-quality places for pupils in Surrey.
C. Admission Arrangements for Surrey’s Community and Voluntary Controlled Schools for September 2024 and Surrey’s Relevant Area
County Council agreed:
1. That the catchment for Southfield Park Primary School is extended for 2024 admission to include the Parkview estate as a replacement for ‘nearest school’, as indicated in Enclosure 1 and Appendix 3 of Enclosure 1.
2. That the tiebreaker within catchment for Southfield Park Primary School is changed to straight line distance from the school for 2024 admission, as indicated in Enclosure 1.
3. That a catchment area is introduced for Stamford Green Primary School for 2024 admission to replace ‘nearest school’, as set out in Enclosure 1 and Appendix 4 of Enclosure 1.
4. That the Published Admission Number (PAN) for Reception at Beauclerc Infant School is reduced from 40 to 30 for 2024 admission, as set out in Appendix 1 of Enclosure 1.
5. That the Published Admission Number (PAN) for Reception at Farncombe Infant School is reduced from 50 to 30 for 2024 admission, as set out in Appendix 1 of Enclosure 1.
6. That the change to the Published Admission Number (PAN) and admission criteria for Year 3 at St Ann’s Heath Junior School is not progressed, so that the admission arrangements for this school remain as determined for 2023, as set out in Enclosure 1 and Appendix 1 and 2 of Enclosure 1.
7. That the Published Admission Numbers (PANs) for September 2024 for all other community and voluntary controlled schools (except Beauclerc and Farncombe infant schools which are covered by Recommendations 4 and 5) are determined as they are set out in Appendix 1 of Enclosure 1.
8. That the aspects of Surrey’s admission arrangements for community and voluntary controlled schools for September 2024 for which no change has been consulted on, are agreed as set out in Enclosure 1 and its appendices.
9. That Surrey’s Relevant Area is agreed as set out in Enclosure 4.
D. 2023/24 Final Budget and Medium-Term Financial Strategy to 2027/28
That the recommendations regarding this item had already been approved under item 5.
Reports for Information/Discussion:
20 December 2022:
E. Development and Introduction of Your Fund Surrey - Small Community Projects Fund
F. Agile Office Estate - North-West and South-West Corporate Office Workspace
G. Arrangements for Civil Parking and Moving Traffic Enforcement in Surrey from 2023/24
31 January 2023:
H. Surrey County Council People Strategy 2023-2028
I. Surrey Inclusion and Additional Needs Strategy
J. Quarterly ... view the full minutes text for item 8/23
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 6 February 2023.
(Note: To follow: Minutes, Cabinet - 31 January 2023)
Eber Kington made a statement on the matter of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), concerning item 7: Cabinet Member of the Month, Minutes - Cabinet, 31 January 2023. He noted that the extension of ULEZto the county boundary was a major concern for residents in his division, which bordered the London boroughs of Kingston and Sutton. Following his email to the Cabinet Member for Transport, Infrastructure and Growth on the matter, he was pleased that the Cabinet Member had written to the Mayor of London advising him that his failure to engage on the disruption and additional costs to Surrey residents and businesses would have consequences.He noted that a discussion was needed with the Mayor of London on reducing the ULEZ boundary from its proposed extension up to the London-Surrey boundary, on extending the scrappage scheme to residents and businesses in neighbouring authorities; and on significant improvements to cross-border transport.