Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Democratic Services  Tel: 01362 656870

Items
No. Item

31.

Minutes (Agenda Item 1) pdf icon PDF 130 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 25 February 2016.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

An addendum to Minute No 19/16 Leader’s Announcements had been tabled.

 

The Minutes of the meeting held on 25 February 2016 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

 

32.

Apologies (Agenda Item 2)

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Crawford, Duffield, Hewett, Jolly, L Monument and Sherwood.

 

33.

Chairman's Announcements (Agenda Item 3)

Minutes:

Members were informed that Agenda Item 17 had been deferred.  Written notification of amendments to the Constitution would be provided in future.

 

The Chairman’s Appointments had been tabled and he referred in particular to the VC Reception at County Hall, the funeral of the Forest Heath District Council Chairman and the Lord Lieutenant’s Awards ceremony.

 

The Chairman reminded Members of the Public Speaking training which would take place at 5.30pm in the Anglia Room.

 

34.

Declaration of Interests (Agenda Item 6)

Members are reminded that under the Code of Conduct they are not to participate in the whole of an agenda item to which they have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest. In the interests of transparency, Members may also wish to declare any other interests that they have, in relation to an agenda item that supports the Nolan principles detailed within the Code of Conduct.

Minutes:

This item had been moved up the Agenda by the Chairman.

 

No declarations were made.

 

35.

Resignation & Election of the Leader of the Council (Agenda Item 4) pdf icon PDF 38 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Michael Wassell had resigned as Leader.  He gave the attached speech before stepping down.

 

The following Members then spoke about Councillor Wassell.

 

Councillor Gilbert thanked him for the way he had been as Leader.  It was a hard and frustrating job and he had done it in an impartial and balanced way.

 

Councillor Cowen was grateful for his work on Devolution and thanked him for the way he had supported and informed the Scrutiny Commission.

 

Councillor Wilkin said it had been a challenging job and Councillor Wassell was a true statesman.

 

Councillor Brame thanked him for his help and advice and wished him all the best for the future.

 

Councillor Jermy as Leader of the Labour Group thanked him on behalf of Labour Members present and past.  He had always been ready to hear opposing views and had kept all Members up to date.

 

Councillor Wilkinson thanked Councillor Wassell for having faith in him and making him and Executive Member.

 

Councillor Dimoglou thanked him for his support both personally and as a Member.

 

The Chairman then invited nominations for Leader of the Council.

 

Councillor Smith proposed Councillor William Nunn as Leader and Councillor Wilkinson seconded that proposal.  No other nominations were made.

 

RESOLVED that William Nunn be appointed as Leader of the Council.

 

36.

Leader's Announcements (Agenda Item 5)

To receive a verbal update from the Leader of the Council.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Nunn thanked Members for their nomination and confidence in appointing him Leader and said that he would do his best.

 

He appointed Councillor Sam Chapman-Allen as Deputy Leader but made no other immediate changes to Cabinet.

 

Devolution was the top topic and one of the reasons he had decided to come back to stand for Leader.  Members had lots of concerns and he wanted to take the opportunity to make clear that he did not support the Elected Mayor proposals.  He said that the Council would not accept a Mayor except under exceptional circumstances.  He believed a combined authority was the right way forward.  He wanted to make his position clear and hoped that the Council would support that view.


Councillor Cowen was delighted with the new Leader’s position on the Mayoral situation.  One individual taking responsibility for such a large geographical area worried him.  He hoped other Members would also support that view.

 

Councillor Jermy congratulated the new Leader and Deputy Leader on their appointments.   He noted that the previous Deputy Leader had been especially dedicated to her role.

 

He was reassured with the new Leader’s views on the Mayoral position as he was against it himself, but he asked how the Council would ensure that their voice was listened to?

 

The Leader of the Council said that he hoped that what he had said publicly would ensure the Council’s views were known.  Cambridgeshire County Council had said the same.  The Secretary of State had said he would not impose the model.  Lots of meetings were being held but they were not well publicised – he would try to make them more public.

 

Councillor Smith still felt that the outcome was inevitable and it would lead to a Unitary authority.  He felt Members should have followed the Act as it went through Parliament as there were lots of powers in it that the Secretary of State could exercise without consultation.

 

Councillor Nairn wholly endorsed the Leader’s view.  The inducements offered in terms of financial grants worked out at less than £1million per authority.

 

Councillor Claussen thought the whole Council completely supported the Leader’s view.

 

Councillor Borrett also thanked the previous Deputy Leader, Councillor Lynda Turner, for her hard work.  He too supported the Leader’s Mayoral position as he thought it would create a whole new level of authority and bureaucracy.

 

37.

Questions on Notice under Standing Order No 6 (Agenda Item 7) pdf icon PDF 49 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Gilbert read out his Question on Notice to the Executive Member for Finance.

 

Councillor Dimoglou read out his response.

 

Councillor Gilbert thanked him for his answer and suggested that it might be an item for a future Scrutiny meeting.

 

A copy of the question and answer is attached and had been tabled for information.  

 

38.

Questions without Notice under Standing Order No 7 (Agenda Item 8)

Minutes:

Councillor Jermy asked the Chairman about the stock of street lights which were old and frequently failed leading to concerns from residents.  What standards did the Council have in place for the repair of streetlights?

 

The Chairman asked the Executive Member for Place to respond and Councillor T Carter advised that there was a study underway to clarify the situation as currently some street lights were owned by the Parish Councils, some by the District Council and some by the County Council.  He acknowledged that maintenance was often slow.  The whole situation was being looked at to make it more efficient.

 

Councillor Dimoglou noted that a similar question had been raised during the Budget Setting report.  The Executive Director for Commercialisation had provided a detailed response at that time.

 

Councillor Taylor asked the new Leader if he would work on his public relations image regarding his views on Thetford as many residents did not like him.

 

Councillor Nunn responded that he had changed in the two and a half years he had been away.  He had made mistakes with the way he had dealt with some things previously and he was sure he would get things wrong again, but he would rely on Members to guide him.

 

Councillor Robinson (speaking as a resident of Thetford) had an opposing view to Councillor Taylor’s.  He recalled that Councillor Nunn had been keen to kick start the regeneration of Thetford and he was not disliked by all residents.

 

39.

Motion received under Standing Order No 8 (Agenda Item 9)

To consider the following Motion to be moved by Cllr John Newton - Membership of the European Union

 

1)    That this Council notes:

a)    The importance of the forthcoming referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union to every resident, business and organisation in Breckland;

b)    That this Council welcomes the in out referendum on our nation’s membership of the EU allowing us all an opportunity to vote on this important issue;

c)    That in the ensuing negotiations the PM identified some clear objectives covering matters such as immigration, welfare and sovereignty which could form part of a revised relationship if we were to remain in;

d)    That unfortunately, due to continental intransigence the current “deal” offers little in terms of delivering a sustainable and fair welfare and immigration policy for the UK or the ability to repatriate powers back to this country;

e)    That we also need to reduce unnecessary interference and bureaucracy from the EU in order to successfully grow the Breckland economy releasing smaller companies from the over burden of red tape;

f)     Therefore residents in the district deserve a named vote by Members of this Council.

 

2)    That this Council therefore believes the Prime Ministers deal does not offer a good opportunity for Breckland’s residents and businesses and that the United Kingdom would be better placed to grow and develop by leaving the European Union.

 

Minutes:

The Chairman read out the Motion submitted by Councillor Newton and then invited him to speak.

 

Councillor Newton moved the motion without further comment and Councillor Taylor seconded the motion.

 

Councillor Oliver proposed an amendment deleting parts 1a-f and part 2 of the motion and inserting: ‘This Council welcomes the chance for every Breckland resident to participate in the referendum on whether Britain should remain a member of, or leave, the EU, secured as part of the Government’s 2015 manifesto and supported by the UK Labour Party.  The Council notes the views on both sides of the debate and encourages as many people as possible to participate in the democratic process.’

 

Councillor Cowen seconded that proposal.

 

Councillors Hollis, Newton and Taylor voted against the amendment.  All other Members supported it.

 

The new substantive motion was then debated.


Councillor Clarke had been surprised by the original motion as the Council usually debated matters with all the facts before them, including details of risk.  He did not believe that the original motion had been appropriate for the forum and he supported the amendment.


Councillor Smith strongly supported the amendment.  In a normal election people voted for an individual but the EU referendum was different.  The public would make the decision and would be directly accountable for that decision.  The Council could not exercise that power on their behalf and he did not think it was right for Elected Members to usurp that power.

 

Councillor Jermy agreed, he was happy to support the amendment.  He did not think it was the Council’s position to influence the vote of residents.  He encouraged everyone to research the facts and make up their own minds as he would do.

 

Councillor Taylor spoke against the amendment.  People were fed up with the biased information provided by the media and wanted to know what their Councillors thought.  It was something that should be debated by the Council.

 

Councillor Newton agreed.  One of the reasons he had proposed the motion was because Breckland was Councillor led and the people of the District deserved to know what their Councillors were thinking.

 

RESOLVED that this Council welcomes the chance for every Breckland resident to participate in the referendum on whether Britain should remain a member of, or leave, the EU, secured as part of the Government’s 2015 manifesto and supported by the UK Labour Party.  The Council notes the views on both sides of the debate and encourages as many people as possible to participate in the democratic process.

 

40.

Cabinet Minutes (Agenda Item 10) pdf icon PDF 69 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 15 March 2016.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 15 March 2016 be adopted.

 

41.

Overview and Scrutiny Commission (Agenda Item 11) pdf icon PDF 74 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 3 March 2016.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 3 March 2016 be adopted.

 

42.

Planning Committee (Agenda Item 12)

42/16a

Confirmed minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 8 February 2016. pdf icon PDF 111 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the confirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 8 February 2016 be adopted.

 

42/16b

Unconfirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 7 March 2016. pdf icon PDF 110 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 7 March 2016 be adopted.

43.

Appeals Committee (Agenda Item 13) pdf icon PDF 65 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the Appeals Committee meeting held on 9 March 2016.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Appeals Committee meeting held on 9 March 2016 be adopted.

 

44.

Audit Committee (Agenda Item 14) pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the Audit Committee meeting held on 19 February 2016.

Minutes:

a)       Treasury Management Policy & Strategy 2015-16 (Minute No 14/16)

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1)    The Treasury Management Strategy 2016-17 to 2018-19 at Appendix A to the report be approved;

2)    The Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) statement contained within Appendix A to the report which sets out the Council’s Policy on MRP be approved;

3)    The Prudential Indicators and limits contained with Appendix A (Tables 1-10) of the report be approved;

4)    The Investment Strategy 2016-17 (Appendix B to the report) and the detailed criteria included in Appendix B1 to the report be approved; and

5)    The Treasury Management Policy at Appendix B2 to the report be approved.

 

b)       Counter Fraud Corruption & Bribery Policy, Whistleblowing Policy and Money Laudering Policy (Minute No 15/16)

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1)    The Counter Fraud Corruption & Bribery Policy be approved;

2)    The Whistleblowing Policy be approved; and

3)    The Money Laundering Policy be approved.

 

c)       Adoption

 

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Audit Committee meeting held on 19 February 2016 be adopted.

 

45.

Pay Policy Statement 2016/17 (Agenda Item 15) pdf icon PDF 60 KB

Report of the Executive Director of Strategy & Governance.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Director Strategy & Governance presented the report which the Council was required to produce annually and had to be approved by Council.

 

The statement was for the financial year and set out the Authority’s policies relating to:

 

·        The remuneration of Chief Officers

·        The remuneration of the lowest paid employees

·        The relationship between Chief Officers remuneration and that of other Officers.

 

The Statement was factual and correct at the time of writing.

 

In response to a question from Councillor Jermy it was confirmed that no directly employed staff were paid below the Living Wage.

 

RESOLVED that the Pay Policy Statement be approved.

 

46.

Nominations for Committee and other Seats (Agenda Item 16)

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

Minutes:

None.

 

47.

Amendments to the Constitution (Agenda Item 17)

Minutes:

This item had been deferred and would include written confirmation of any changes to the Constitution in future Agendas.

 

48.

Any other items which the Chairman decides are urgent (Agenda Item 18)

NOTE: No other business is permitted unless by reason of special circumstances, which shall be specified in the minutes, the Chairman is of the opinion that the items(s) should be considered as a matter of urgency.

Minutes:

None.