Venue: Breckland Conference Centre, Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham, NR19 1EE
To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 4 May 2021.
The minutes of the meeting held on 4 May 2021 were confirmed as a correct record.
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies had been received from Councillors Claussen and Robinson.
To note whether the Chairman proposes to accept any item as urgent business, pursuant to Section 100(B)(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972.
Declaration of Interests
The duties to register, disclose and not to participate for the entire consideration of the matter, in respect of any matter in which a Member has a disclosable pecuniary interest are set out in Chapter 7 of the Localism Act 2011. Members are also required to withdraw from the meeting room as stated in the Standing Orders of this Council.
Non-Members Wishing to Address the Meeting
To note the names of any non-members who wish to address the meeting.
The Chairman welcomed all non-Members present to the meeting.
Councillor Birt raised a question and asked the Chairman that he believed the air-conditioning that had been replaced was a re-circulatory air system and was therefore re-circulating the air within the building, and asked if Staff, Public and Members should be aware of how safe the building was especially with the re-circulatory air system in place.
The Chairman responded to inform that he was aware Councillor Birt had raised these questions before and assumed that he had received the relevant information. He went on to say he believed the building to be safe, and that no-one had been forced to be within the building. He went on to ask that if Councillor Birt had evidence to show that the air-conditioning being used was not safe, it should be shared with the Head of Paid Service and the Monitoring Officer. The Health and Safety Officer had not advised anything to the contrary and therefore were permitted to be in the building within a COVID-safe way.
Chairman's Announcements (If Any)
The Chairman was pleased to support the Armed Forces week that had commenced by flying the flag for the Armed Forces. Breckland Council were fully committed to supporting the Armed forces and their families as well as veterans through numerous ways, through housing policies, inspiring communities programme and the Armed Forces Covenant.
Breckland Community Funding Applications (Standing Item)
To consider the grants put forward (if any).
The Executive Member for Housing, Health and Communities provided Members with an overview of the Inspiring Communities funding applications of which twelve applications had been received for approval during May and June. The applications were:
· Croxton Parish Council £1,440 to replace fencing around the children’s play area.
· Gressenhall Community Enterprise Ltd £5,000 to refurbish the cart shed to provide additional space for the community pub, The Black Swan.
· Thetford Town Cricket Club £5,000 to purchase a replacement roller.
· Bullock Park £1,239 to purchase two sets of football goals on the recreation ground.
· Carbrooke Parish Council £4999 to provide a loop hearing and projection equipment within the Blenheim Grange Community Hall that will open in the Autumn.
· Prison Start Communities £4974 to help ex-offenders experience complex needs engage to provide accessible training and work experience.
· Norfolk Deaf Association 4500 Mobile car project = partnership based led and support various groups and beneficiaries in the area.
· Yaxham Parish Council £5000 contribute to the village play area to remove the old equipment and installation of new equipment.
· North Tuddenham Community Organisation £500 community event to celebrate the end of lockdown and help with isolation.
· Tittleshall Village Hall has been granted £4500 towards the cost of updating the lighting and heating system to improve the running efficiency.
· Norwich City Community Sports Foundation £4899 to run a kicks programme for 11 – 16 years old from September 2021 for Thetford.
Report of Executive Member for Finance, Revenue and Benefits, Councillor Philip Cowen.
The Executive Member for Finance, Revenue and Benefits presented the report that provided information on the actual full year financial position of the Council on 31 March 2021.
He explained that the anticipated out turn costs for the Council had been reported against a moving feast of funding provisions from central government and the Council’s spending requirements as the Covid pandemic had influenced how the affairs of the Council had been conducted.
The Executive Member for Property and Projects commended the report adding that the performance of the Council had been excellent and that the figures showed a strong performance during unprecedented times.
Councillor Birt asked for clarification why there would be £2m carried forward for the waste vehicle contract when it had been an urgent decision. He also asked for further information on what was meant by lost income for the Leisure PFI.
The Executive Member for Finance, Revenue and Benefits confirmed that due to the pandemic there had been a considerable period whereby the Leisure facilities had been closed and therefore resulted in a loss of income. The S151 Officer confirmed that the orders for the waste vehicle had been placed and once the assets had been received it would be paid.
1) That the report and appendices be noted and recommend to Full Council
· That capital budgets (& associated funding sources) of £7,247,467be carried forward into 2021-22 to support projects in progress.
· That the final capital out-turn and funding for 2020-21 as detailed in appendix B be approved.
· That the revised capital budget and associated funding for the 2021-22 capital programme as detailed in appendix C be approved.
· That the additional COMF funding totalling £464k be added to the budget to be spent in areas which comply with the funding guidelines (as detailed in paragraph 1.6)
2) That the report and appendices be noted and changes are made to the recommendations to Full Council.
Reasons for Recommendation
To provide timely information to Members on the overall financial position of the Council, enabling resource re-allocation to priorities where necessary and protecting the General fund balance.
To enable approved capital projects to continue to deliver in the new financial year.
RESOLVED that the report and appendix be noted, and
Recommend to FULL COUNCIL:
1) That capital budgets (& associated funding sources) of £7,247,467 be carried forward into 2021-22 to support projects in progress.
2) That the final capital out-turn and funding for 2020-21 as detailed in appendix B be approved.
3) That the revised capital budget and associated funding for the 2021-22 capital programme as detailed in appendix C be approved.
4) That the additional Control Outbreak Management Funding (COMF) totalling £464k be added to the budget to be spent in areas which comply with the funding guidelines (as detailed in paragraph 1.6 of the report).
Report of Executive Member for People, Communications and Governance, Councillor Ian Sherwood.
The Executive Member for People & Governance, Councillor Ian Sherwood presented the report that asked Members to consider making the Council smoke-free and sought agreement for implementing a supporting policy to enable it to happen.
In the wake of the COVID19 pandemic, it was important to ensure that Members and staff were returning to a healthy and safe working environment, and in addition, new policies and ways of working were also being established as part of the Worksmart 2020 programme. Breckland Council prided itself on supporting the health and wellbeing of the staff and provided a range of assistance that would be enhanced by providing a smoke-free site at Elizabeth House.
The Executive Member was aware that NICE were due to consult on the 25 June on smoking cessation and would consider that if changes were made to the Policy in regard to vaping or e-cigarettes he would do this in consultation with the Head of Paid Service.
Councillor Birt noted that there had been a cost with the temporary removal of the smoking shelter and asked why it had been temporary. The Executive Member for People & Governance responded that if the policy was approved then the smoking shelter would be removed permanently.
Councillor Morton asked what provision would be in place for those that were addicted to smoking. Members were informed that those who wished to give up would receive the support they needed.
1) Do nothing.
2) Implement the Smoke-free policy, from June 2021.
Reasons for recommendation
To improve the wellbeing of our staff, bring consistency to our approach to staff breaks and have a more attractive council site.
RESOLVED that the Smoke-free Policy (as set out in Appendix A of the report) be implemented and the following recommendations approved:
1) To encourage and proactively support our staff to quit smoking with the support of Smokefree Norfolk, the NHS and other local support organisations.
2) To designate Elizabeth House - including its car park and outdoor areas - as a completely smoke-free site.
3) To ensure staff only take smoking breaks in their own time and away from Elizabeth House.
4) To permanently remove the smoking shelter at Elizabeth House and make the area an outdoor space for staff to use.
5) To include e-cigarettes and vaping in the list of prohibited activity in the Council's Smoke-free Policy.
6) To positively encourage adherence to the policy, but where necessary, enforce compliance through existing staff disciplinary procedures, or the code of conduct.
Report of the Executive Member for Customer, Digital and Performance, Councillor Mark Robinson.
The Assistant Director for Customer and Performance presented the report on behalf of the Executive Member for Customer, Digital and Performance.
The report gave an overview of the Council’s Quarter 4 performance for the period of 1st January 2021 to 31st March 2021. Following feedback from the Overview and Scrutiny Commission an additional column had been added to reflect the performance data of the previous year to enable the data to be compared.
A comment had been raised at the Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting that the report had not included information regarding the vexatious customers. This would be rectified in the next report to comply with policy.
Councillor Morton had noted that the garden waste subscribers had increased but the rate of recycled waste had reduced and asked if the figures could be separated. The Innovation and Change Business Partner would confirm that these figures could be separated with the Head of Service.
Members noted the contents of the report.
To note that the date of the next meeting of Cabinet will be held on Monday 26July at 9.30am in the Conference Suite of Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham.
The arrangements for the next meeting on 26 July at 9.30am in the Conference Centre of Elizabeth House, Dereham were noted.