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.
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 the 2021/22 Budget.
· Thanked colleagues on the Farnham Board including its Programme Director for the Farnham Infrastructure Programme as well as the Leader of the Council and hoped that the work would continue.
· Thanked the Chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee, the Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families, his Residents Association and Independent colleagues including its Group Leader, the Council’s Chief Executive, officers, the trade unions and the Chairman.
· Regarding the local elections, hoped that there would be a wider cross-party spectrum of Members with a continued commitment to work cooperatively for all residents.