Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Democratic Services  Tel: 01362 656870

Items
No. Item

21/18

Apologies (Agenda item 1)

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Borrett, Claussen, P Hewett, Hollis, Matthews, Newton and Nunn.

22/18

Minutes (Agenda item 2) pdf icon PDF 105 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 18 January 2018.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 18 January 2018 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

23/18

Declaration of Interests (Agenda item 3)

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.

 

Minutes:

None.

24/18

Chairman's Announcements (Agenda item 4) pdf icon PDF 32 KB

Minutes:

The Chairman reported that she was almost three quarters of the way through her civic year.  Since the last Council meeting she had attended 3 events in Thetford and one in Norwich.  The first event was a 150th anniversary dinner to celebrate the life of Prince Frederick, the son of Maharajah Duleep Singh, who had grown up on the Elveden Estate and was quite a well-known figure in Thetford.  The 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage was also highlighted.  The Chairman had also attended the Mayor of Thetford’s charity quiz and had been very pleased to accept an invitation to the Chinese New Year Charity Auction hosted by the Sheriff and the Lord Mayor of Norwich.

25/18

Leader's Announcements (Agenda item 5)

To receive a verbal update from Councillor Nunn, Leader of the Council.

 

Minutes:

In the absence of the Leader, the Chairman invited the Deputy Leader, Councillor Sam Chapman-Allen to make the announcements.

 

The Deputy Leader was pleased to announce that Breckland Council had been successful in its bid for funding for almost £10m from central government, the second biggest successful bid within Norfolk and one of only a few across the eastern region.  This funding would be used to support the delivery of thousands of new homes across the District.  The £9.95m investment from the Homes and Communities Agency's Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) would be used to improve infrastructure at the Thetford Sustainable Urban Extension (SUE) which had been 10 years in the making and would now hopefully soon be delivered.  The Council would be working in partnership with many of its key partners including the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Norfolk County Council, the Town Council and residents to draw down this funding for the delivery of this project. These, he felt, were exciting times ahead for Breckland and for the economic growth of Thetford.

The District Lottery was launched earlier in the month.  The Council had seen over 100 people in attendance from a wealth of community groups and organisations from across the District and had been a fantastic initial launch.  The website would go live on 1 March 2018 to allow individuals to buy tickets; and, for every pound spent, 50p would go to somebody’s designated charity. This lottery would be much more robust and 20p in every pound would go back into the Council’s community fund to support community groups in the district.

As part of the Market Town Initiative, the Council was continuing to move forward with ‘ShopAppy’.  The initial launch was announced by the Leader and Councillor Claussen, the Portfolio Holder for Place, at the last Full Council meeting. There had been a very pleasing positive uptake from all the market towns.  The Federation of Small Businesses had invited the Deputy Leader along to a conference to discuss ShopAppy and the reasons the Council had decided to invest such a large amount of money into its market town communities and its High Streets. This would be a good opportunity to show the market towns that the Council did understand the concerns and difficulties they were facing moving forward.  The first ShopAppy launch would be in Swaffham in March/April and the Deputy Leader would be working with the Members in that area to make it a really successful day.  Additionally, the Council had just commissioned another piece of work on top of ShopAppy and the Market Town Initiative.  A young man from Dereham had digitally videod every shop and High Street within Breckland’s market towns which would now allow anyone to go onto the website and visualise walking along the High Street and into a shop to see what was available.

In view of the budget setting, the Deputy Leader felt that this was one of the most important Council meetings of the year.  Members had hopefully  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25/18

26/18

Questions on Notice under Standing Order No 6 (if any) (Agenda item 6)

No questions received.

Minutes:

None.

27/18

Questions without Notice under Standing Order No 7 (Agenda item 7)

Minutes:

Councillor Gilbert directed his question to the Deputy Leader.  He mentioned a recent Town Council meeting where matters in relation to the management of the cemetery were discussed and which he felt could also have an effect on other market towns.  He asked if such responsibilities could be transferred to Breckland Council.  The Deputy Leader advised that he had no knowledge of this matter but would look into it.

 

Councillor Brindle highlighted a concern raised by a Mobility Group in Thetford.  He asked the Deputy Leader, in the absence of the Portfolio Holder for Place, if anything could be done to the bollards installed on Breckland owned footpaths.  The bollards had been installed to prevent the misuse of motorcycles but this had now had a detrimental effect on people who had to use mobility scooters as they could not get through.  The Deputy Leader said that this was the first time that such a matter had been raised.  Further details would be required, but he would ask the appropriate officer to look into it.

 

Councillor Clarke directed his question to the Deputy Leader.  He was aware that Norfolk County Council was going to introduce charges at recycling centres for DIY waste which he felt could increase the amount of fly-tipping which again could have unintentional consequences on Breckland Council and he asked how this would be monitored and whether any precautions should be put in place.  The Deputy Leader advised that any issues would be reported back to Norfolk County Council via the Norfolk Waste Partnership.

 

Councillor Jermy asked the Portfolio Holder for Growth about a housing issue in his Ward.  He was contacted recently by a resident whose father had applied for sheltered housing and had experienced delays in getting a response.  Councillor Jermy was aware of other similar experiences and asked the Portfolio Holder if he was aware of the issue and if he could provide reassurance that the service would improve. Councillor Bambridge was not aware of this situation but he had spoken to the Housing Team recently about its service standards.  He asked Councillor Jermy to provide him with further details so he could investigate the concern.

 

Councillor Sherwood asked the Deputy Leader if he had seen the recent coverage in the Eastern Daily Press and heard the coverage on Radio Norfolk about ‘Norfolk Day’ being held on 27 July 2018.  He asked whether Breckland Council would be backing this initiative to mark this occasion.  The Deputy Leader knew that Councillor Sherwood was a champion of all things Norfolk and agreed that Breckland Council, being in the very heart of Norfolk, would have a very important role to play.  He asked Councillor Sherwood if he would consider being the Member Champion for Norfolk Day and Councillor Sherwood accepted the role.

 

Councillor Taylor asked a question in relation to the forthcoming Council Tax increase and whether there was any opportunity for the Council to seek additional funding from Central Government.  The Deputy Leader pointed out that all  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27/18

28/18

Cabinet Minutes (Agenda item 8) pdf icon PDF 71 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 6 February 2018.

Minutes:

1.     Budget Setting Medium term Financial Plan & Capital Strategy (Minute No. 24/18)

 

These recommendations would be considered under Agenda item 12.

 

2.     Adoption

 

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 6 February be adopted.

29/18

Overview and Scrutiny Commission (Agenda item 9) pdf icon PDF 105 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 25 January 2018.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 25 January 2018 be adopted.

30/18

Planning Committee (Agenda item 10) pdf icon PDF 80 KB

Confirmed minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 15 January 2018.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the confirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 15 January 2018 be adopted subject to additional wording being inserted in the resolution under Minute No. 9/18(b) for Necton to read: “…and subject to the completion of a S106 Agreement for the reasons as set out in the report”.

31/18

Governance & Audit Committee (Agenda item 11) pdf icon PDF 90 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the Governance & Audit Committee meeting held on 1 December 2018.

Minutes:

1.     Treasury Management Policy & Strategy 2018-19 (Minute No. 75/17)

 

RESOLVED that the following be approved:

 

a)    the Treasury Management Strategy 2018-19 to 2021-22 at Appendix A to the report of the Governance & Audit Committee;

 

b)    the Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) statement contained within Appendix A to the report which sets out the Council’s policy on MRP;

 

c)     the Prudential Indicators and limits contained within Appendix A to the report  (tables 1-10);

 

d)    the Investment Strategy 2018-19 (Appendix B to the report) and the detailed criteria included in Appendix B1 to the report; and

 

e)    the Treasury Management Policy at Appendix B2 to the report.

 

2.     Adoption

 

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Governance & Audit Committee meeting held on 1 December 2018 be adopted; subject to        an amendment being made to the date of the meeting under Minute    No. 71/17 to read 15 February 2019.

32/18

Budget Setting, Medium Term Financial Plan & Capital Strategy (Agenda item 12) pdf icon PDF 82 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Finance.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Gould asked the Chairman if she would allow Opposition Groups the opportunity to present their views on the budget first. 

 

Councillor Jermy reported that the Labour Group had discussed the budget papers prior to the meeting.  There were items in the budget that the Labour Group welcomed but there were some areas that he felt could be better addressed. He pointed out that on a number of occasions Councillors had remarked that they looked forward to and indeed expected budget proposals to be forthcoming from opposition Councillors. He felt it to be even more incumbent upon the official opposition to do so and to scrutinise proposals. Whilst the Labour Group was not the official opposition, it did want to offer suggestions on how it felt the budget could be improved so that the best outcomes could be secured for the District.

 

Councillor Jermy felt that securing well-paid jobs for Breckland residents needed to be one of the Council’s priorities. The District’s low wage economy locally and poor social mobility figures should be of particular concern.  In contrast, for many, Breckland was a great place to live, work and visit. Breckland’s environmental and heritage assets had much to offer and he felt the authority undersold itself.  The  economic benefits of tourism could be greater realised.

 

The proposed amendment from the Labour Group would see £5,000 allocated to support the provision of tourist information services in each market town in Breckland; a small and affordable sum but one that could reap significant benefits. Encouraging people to come here, or perhaps encouraging people already coming to spend more, stay longer and visit other parts of the District was of course being undertaken but often by volunteers, often with limited budgets – if visitors searched the tourist information for Dereham they were directed to a telephone number that was currently disconnected.

 

The second part of the Labour Group’s amendment concerned housing:

 

Councillor Jermy pointed out that housing was by far the most common type of casework that he dealt with as a Councillor – the lack of affordable housing, issues with repairs and maintenance, issues with private landlords, the impact of the bedroom tax and more. The Labour Group wanted to propose a link between right to buy receipts and investment in new affordable housing and if targeted correctly, this investment could help save the Council money

 

Finally, poor street lighting was a major concern in many areas. Poor quality, older street lights in Breckland were costly – failing repeatedly, inefficient use of electricity – the budget of proposed £90k was a welcome start but the Council should be moving much quicker to achieve the savings over a shorter period of time and providing a better quality service

 

He proposed the following amendments to the Council which were seconded by Councillor Clarke.

 

1.     Jobs

 

Allocate £5,000 for each market town in the District to support core-running costs associated with the provision of Tourist Information services to maximise the benefit to the local  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32/18

33/18

Council Tax Setting 2018-19 (Agenda item 13) pdf icon PDF 92 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Finance.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder for Finance presented the report.

 

Breckland Council proposed to increase its Council Tax by 9p per week for a Band D property.  The Council provided high quality services and value for money as a consequence of its prudent budgeting.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Finance proposed the two recommendations to the Council which was seconded by Councillor Wassell.

 

Again in accordance with the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 a recorded vote was taken on the recommendations below. The vote was as follows:

 

FOR

AGAINST

ABSTAIN

Mr Ashby

 

 

Mr Askew

 

 

Mr Bambridge

 

 

Mr Brame

 

 

Councillor Bowes

 

 

 

Mr Brindle

 

Mr Carter

 

 

Councillor Chapman-Allen

 

 

Mr Sam Chapman-Allen

 

 

 

Mr Clarke

 

Mr Cowen

 

 

Mr Crawford

 

 

Mr Darby

 

 

Mr Dimoglou

 

 

Mr Duffield

 

 

Mr Duigan

 

 

 

Mr Gilbert

 

Councillor Gould

 

 

Mrs Hewett

 

 

 

Mr Jermy

 

Mr Joel

 

 

Mr Kybird

 

 

Mr Martin

 

 

Mrs Millbank

 

 

Mrs Monument

 

 

Mr Monument

 

 

Mr Nairn

 

 

Mr Oliver

 

 

Mr Robert Richmond

 

 

Mr William Richmond

 

 

Mr Robinson

 

 

Mr Rogers

 

 

Mr Sharpe

 

 

Mr Sherwood

 

 

Mr Smith

 

 

Mr Stasiak

 

 

Mr Taylor

 

 

Mrs Turner

 

 

Mr Wassell

 

 

Mrs Webb

 

 

Mr Wilkin

 

 

Mr Wilkinson

 

 

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1.     the Special Expenses for 2018-19 (at paragraph 1.3 of the report) be approved; and

 

2.     the formal Council Tax resolutions for 2018-19 (at paragraph 1.4.1 to 1.4.5 of the report) be approved.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Finance thanked Members for their decision but was disappointed that some Members had not supported the principles in this budget as it all helped to support the Council’s communities.

34/18

Gender Pay Gap Statement (Agenda item 14) pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Report of the Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Strategy, Governance & Transformation.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Deputy Leader presented the Gender Pay Gap Statement.  Its publication was a statutory requirement.

 

The gender composition of the Council’s workforce was made up of 74.07% female and 25.93% male and the majority of the lower paid quartile were in female roles within the Contact Centre and ARP service areas.  The Council would continue to work with its Union representatives to make these service areas a more attractive place to work for both genders.

 

Councillor Jermy queried whether section 5.3.1 of the report was correct.  He also asked if there was a date where the Council might be able to bench mark itself against other authorities in the District. 

 

The Deputy Leader responded that the information in the report was standard and based upon six questions that the Council had to respond to which were listed on page 110 of the agenda pack.  It would be difficult to compare with other Councils as there was so much variation in things like the level of outsourcing.

 

RESOLVED that the Gender Pay Gap Statement be approved.

35/18

Pay Policy Statement (Agenda item 15) pdf icon PDF 60 KB

Report of the Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Strategy, Governance & Transformation.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Deputy Leader presented the Pay Policy Statement for 2018/19.

 

Under Section 38 of the Localism Act 2011, a Pay Policy Statement was required to be produced annually; this had been a requirement since 2012/13.

 

RESOLVED that the Pay Policy Statement for 2018/19 be approved.

36/18

Notification of Breach of Standards by Cllr M Taylor (Agenda item 16) pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Report of Executive Director of Strategy and Governance and Monitoring Officer, Maxine O’Mahony

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report was for information and for Members to note.

37/18

Corporate Plan Refresh 2018-19 (Agenda item 17) pdf icon PDF 82 KB

Report of the Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Strategy, Governance & Transformation.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Deputy Leader presented the report.

 

The Corporate Plan set out the direction for a 4 year period but was refreshed annually to ensure that the Council was adapting to the needs of all concerned.

 

The Deputy Leader presented the report.

 

Councillor Kybird pointed out that figure 2 needed to be corrected as the numbers did not add up.

 

Councillor Theresa Hewett had noticed a number of errors in the document but would be happy to go through them with the Officers another time accompanied by Councillor Linda Monument.

 

Subject to the aforementioned comments, it was

 

RESOLVED that the annual Corporate Plan refresh 2018-19 be adopted.

38/18

Nominations for Committee and other Seats (Agenda item 18)

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

 

1.     Joint Appointments & Disciplinary Committee

 

In light of the change to the size of the Committee agreed at the previous Council meeting on 18 January 2018, Councillor Paul Claussen be identified as a substitute rather than a full Member.

 

2.     Licensing Committee/Committee of the Licensing Authority

 

To appoint a Conservative Member in place of Councillor Thomas Monument.

 

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED that Cllr Thomas Monument be replaced by Councillor Roy Brame on the Licensing Committee/Committee of the Licensing Authority

39/18

Amendments to the Constitution (if any) (Agenda item 19)

Minutes:

None.

40/18

Any other items which the Chairman decides are urgent -

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.

41/18

Exclusion Press and Public (Agenda item 20)

To consider passing the following resolution:

 

That under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1, 2 and 4 of Schedule 12A to the Act.

 

 

ITEMS FROM WHICH THE PRESS AND THE PUBLIC ARE EXCLUDED

 

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED that under Section 100(A) (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1, 2 and 4 of Schedule 12A to the Act.

42/18

Communications Service Review (Agenda item 21)

Report of the Deputy Leader, Executive Member Strategy, Governance and Transformation.

Minutes:

The Deputy Leader presented the report.

 

A concern was raised in relation to the new structure chart to which an explanation was provided.

 

RESOLVED that the recommendations as listed in the report be approved.