Agenda and minutes

Venue: Anglia Room, The Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham

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No. Item


Minutes (Agenda Item 2) pdf icon PDF 130 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 25 February 2010.


The Minutes of the meeting held on 25 February 2010 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.



Presentation on the proposed new Council Website (Agenda Item 1)

To receive a presentation by Dominic Chessum, Marketing and Communications Officer.



Mr S. Askew introduced this item, explaining that the proposed new Council website project had already been approved by Cabinet.  However, as this was a key and forward-facing initiative, it was felt important to keep the Council fully updated. 


The  Marketing and Communications Officer (MCO) then gave a presentation covering the proposed new website and social media links.   Key points included:


  • An increased general expectation that comprehensive information, as well as bill payment, document submission etc, could be accessed, and dealt with, via websites. 


  • A growing audience in terms of web access, with the government aiming to have at least 90% of the population on line by 2015.


  • Potentially very large savings by comparison with face-to-face consultations (which in rural Councils cost about £13.00 on each occasion, against a rate of £0.27 for most web contacts).


  • Once up and running, if 3,000 people could be diverted from face-to-face dealings to using the full potential of the website, then about £40,000 could be saved – and the project would have paid for itself.


  • It was important, therefore, for the Council to have an up-to-date, reliable and user-friendly website. 


  • An acknowledgement that the Council’s current website was deemed confusing – not least as it had evolved to meet various, often out-dated, government guidelines. 


The Cabinet had therefore recommended that the website be redeveloped from scratch.  The project team were in the last stages of appointing a web developer and were working to a tight timetable.  They had also undertaken some research via surveys issued with Council Tax bills and in Breckland Voice, with over 370 responses having been received over 3 weeks. 


The new website would involve a ‘data cleanse’ to ensure that all information was current and reflected the new governance structure.   Some new software would also be purchased to increase accessibility – e.g. for those needing specialist versions of text.


The proposed basic design was shown to Members.  The MCO drew attention to various features, including:


·        A new box system to highlight key information on each page.


·        A primary ‘picture’ box on the front landing page, where an image could be changed from a topical or general Breckland view, to a space which could be utilised for urgent information (e.g. in consultation with the Emergency Planning Team).


·        The site would enable comprehensive searches using key internal links, but it would also have links to key social networking sites (see below).


·        In terms of governance, every department would have two team members responsible for maintaining their team’s page(s) and, alongside running maintenance, there would be an annual update procedure.  


·        The Marketing & Communications team would be responsible for checking each page before it went ‘live’.


The MCO then spoke about various forms of social media, which were also growing in importance as powerful tools.   They were an alternative means of communication,   enabling speedy two-way dialogue.   The Council could therefore engage directly with members of the community, by answering queries/responding to requests, but also by gathering information from specialists, local communities etc., as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.


Apologies (Agenda Item 3)

To receive apologies for absence. 


Apologies for absence were received from Mr G. Bambridge, Councillor C. Bowes, Mr A. Byrne, Mrs M. Chapman-Allen, Mr S. Chapman-Allen, Mr R. Childerhouse, Mr R. Duffield, Mr J. Gretton,  Mr J. Labouchere, Mr T. Lamb, Mrs L Monument,  Mr B. Rose, Mr M. Spencer, Mrs P. Spencer, Mrs A. Steward, Mrs L. Turner and Mr D. Williams.


Mr M. Stokes and Ms. M. O’Mahony also sent their apologies.  



Declaration of Interest (Agenda Item 4)

Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests pertinent to items on this agenda.


The Members’ Code of Conduct requires that declarations include the nature of the interest and whether it is personal or prejudicial.




Lady K. Fisher           Personal & Prejudicial interest in Minute No. 29/10 of the Development Control Committee meeting held on 15 February 2010.  Also in any discussion of the Thetford Growth Point under Minute No. 24/10 of the Audit Committee meeting held on 12 March 2010 in relation to funding for the REV programme.




Chairman's Announcements (Agenda Item 5)

(Including the engagements of the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman.)


Engagements List – Chairman

25th February, 2010 to 31st March, 2010






2nd March, 2010

The launch of The Benjamin Foundation’s new visual identity

The Benjamin Foundation

2nd March, 2010

The Army for Today presentation

The Army Presentation Team

4th March, 2010

Launch of Cadet 150 and presentation of Lord Lieutenant’s Certificates

Reserve Forces and & Cadets Association

Lord Lieutenant of Norwich, Richard Jewson Esq. JP

4th March, 2010

Civic Reception to official launch Big C’s 30th Anniversary Campaign: 30 for 30

The Lord Mayor of Norwich, Councillor Evelyn Collishaw

5th March, 2010

Civic Reception

Mayor of Attleborough – Councillor Vera Dale

7th March, 2010

Justice Service

High Sheriff of Norfolk, Robert Carter DL

19th March, 2010

St. Winnold’s Breakfast and Parade

Mayor of Downham Market, Councillor John Doyle

20th March, 2010

Thetford Library’s 40th Birthday Celebrations

Norfolk County Council – Thetford Library


The Chairman highlighted the Justice Service, and the Thetford Library celebrations as events he had particularly enjoyed.



Cabinet Minutes - 2 March 2010 (Agenda Item 6) pdf icon PDF 147 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 2 March 2010.


(a)       Wayland Community Radio: Allocation of Breckland Council’s Area Based Grant (Minute No. 16/10)


Mr K. Gilbert (Ward representative) expressed his gratitude that this grant had been awarded, saying that he felt it to be a very worthwhile cause.   The station could be heard much further afield than just Watton and its immediately surrounding areas, including Swaffham, East Harling and even Bury St. Edmunds.    He added that the station was very keen to attract speakers to publicise and talk about various local issues. 


Another Member concurred, saying that much of the equipment had been purchased very cheaply and because anyone could use the facilities, there was a positive, educational aspect to this project.


(b)       Constitution Update (Minute No. 17/10)


RESOLVED that the recommendation for the amendments to the Constitution contained in Appendix A of the Cabinet report be adopted, subject to paragraph E1 being amended to replace the terms “his” and “him” with “his/her”, with the consequent changes to Standing Orders standing adjourned to the next ordinary meeting of Council (in accordance with Standing Order 54).


(c)               Governance and Performance Monitoring Report – Quarter 3 (Minute No. 21/10)


A Member drew attention to the paragraph commencing “Capita performance rated high…”.  He felt that several people were very concerned about Capita’s performance and wondered therefore if this was a matter which would soon be brought before the Overview & Scrutiny Commission for review.


The Chief Executive explained that there were some issues with one part of the Performance Indicators, which Capita were addressing.  The expectation was, therefore, that there would be significant improvements in this area. 




(a)     the variations to the Capital programme as shown on page 7 of the Governnance and Performance report, be approved;


(b)     the new 2009/10 budget of £6,899,569 be agreed; and


(c)      the virements and supplementary virements as listed on page 8 of the Governance and Performance report be approved.


(d)       Adoption


RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on  2 March 2010 be adopted.


Overview and Scrutiny Commission - 18 March 2010 (Agenda Item 7) pdf icon PDF 103 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on 18 March 2010.



A Member made a general comment that the meeting had been particularly good, adding that he felt the Overview & Scrutiny Commission was dealing with issues in greater depth and undertaking the ‘critical friend’ role, as  it was designed to.


(a)       Review of Contaminated Land Strategy (Minute No. 24/10)


A Member expressed his agreement with the Chairman’s view, expressed in the Minutes, as to why contamination could not be dealt with as a standard item on all planning applications, and be part of any conditions imposed. 


The Development Services Manager explained that unless there was previous knowledge of a contamination issue at a specific location, it was considered inappropriate for every applicant to be required to undertake expensive investigations in advance of any application.  The Planning team held records of known or potential contaminated sites, and also consulted closely with the Environmental Health Agency on all applications.   Conditions were therefore imposed wherever relevant and appropriate.   


(b)               Work Programme (Minute No. 29/10)


With regard to the Watton Airfield, which had the potential to be an extremely large development, a Ward Member reiterated the importance of taking a broad perspective, including consultations with key representatives at various levels, such as the Town Council, Carbrooke Parish Council, the County Council, the developers themselves, as well as local estate agents, etc.   He also wondered if it would be appropriate to consult representatives from central government with reference to the impact which conforming to government guidelines had on rural developments and communities.  


(b)               Adoption


RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the meeting of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission held on 18 March 2010 be adopted.





Development Control Committee - 15 February 2010 (Agenda Item 8) pdf icon PDF 104 KB

Confirmed minutes of the meeting of the Development Control Committee held on 15 February 2010.



RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Development Control meeting held on  15 February 2010 be adopted.





Development Control Committee - 8 March 2010 (Agenda Item 9) pdf icon PDF 108 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the meeting of the Development Control Committee held on 8 March 2010.



RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Development Control meeting held on  8 March 2010 be adopted.





General Purposes Committee - 3 March 2010 (Agenda Item 10) pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the meeting of the General Purposes Committee held on 3 March 2010.



(a)               Breckland Council Pay Award (Minute No. 18/10)


A member mentioned the proposed Shared Services arrangement which was designed to create some savings, not least as there were likely to be reductions in the number of staff employed overall.   In the event that this went ahead, he hoped that some of the money saved could be put towards a slightly enhanced pay deal to reflect the level of turmoil, as well as the hard work and commitment shown by staff at Breckland and South Norfolk.  The Chairman pointed out that discussions with South Norfolk were at an early stage and it was therefore premature to talk about salaries at this point.


(b)               Adoption


RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the General Purposes Committee meeting held on 3 March 2010 be adopted.




Audit Committee - 12 March 2010 (Agenda Item 11) pdf icon PDF 105 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the meeting of the Audit Committee held on 12 March 2010.



(a)               REV Programme Budget Review (Minute No. 24/10)


A Member pointed out that the reference to the “REV programme” in the second paragraph on p. 62, should read “REV Active programme”.


(b)               Adoption


RESOLVED that, subject to the above amendment, the unconfirmed Minutes of the Audit Committee meeting held on 12 March 2010 be adopted.




Standards Committee - 15 March 2010 (Agenda Item 12) pdf icon PDF 55 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the meeting of the Standards Committee held on 15 March 2010.



Mrs J. Jenkins, Chair of the Standards Committee, was in attendance to present the Minutes.


RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Standards Committee meeting held on  15 March 2010 be adopted.





Youth Council Minutes - 16 February 2010 (For Information) (Agenda Item 13) pdf icon PDF 118 KB

To note the Youth Council minutes for the meeting held on 16 February 2010.



The Minutes of the Youth Council meeting held on 16 February 2010 were noted.



Nominations for Committee and other Seats (Agenda Item 14)

To receive nominations for any changes to Committee and other seats from political groups.


There were none.