Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Virtual meeting via Zoom

Contact: Democratic Services  Tel: 01362 656870

Media

Items
No. Item

Welcome

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the Full Council meeting.

76/20

Apologies (Agenda item 1)

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Atterwill, Marion Chapman-Allen and Taylor.

77/20

Minutes (Agenda item 2)

To confirm the minutes of the meetings held on:

77/20a

24 September 2020 pdf icon PDF 532 KB

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 24 September 2020 were agreed as a correct record.

77/20b

8 October 2020 pdf icon PDF 91 KB

Minutes:

Subject to a number of abstentions from Members who had not been in attendance at this meeting, the Minutes of the Special meeting of the Council held on 8 October 2020 were agreed as a correct record.

78/20

Suspension of Standing Order No. 5 (Agenda item 3)

To consider the suspension of Standing Order No.5 (Order of Business), to enable the order of business for this meeting to be altered.

 

Minutes:

The Executive Manager for Governance advised that as this was a standing item on the agenda, Members were asked to suspend Standing Order 5 of the Council’s Constitution. Following a show of hands, it was:

 

RESOLVED that Standing Order No. 5 be suspended.

79/20

Declaration of Interests (Agenda item 4)

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:

In the interests of transparency and as a High Street retailer, Councillor James declared an interest in Agenda item 9.

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Chairman's Announcements (Agenda item 5) pdf icon PDF 27 KB

Minutes:

The Chairman was delighted to announce that Breckland Council had been awarded Gold status in the Stray Dog category in the RSPCA 2020 PawPrint Awards. This was the 5th award in as many years and it recognised the Council’s care and provision in dealing with stray dogs and the work of the Dog Warden, kennels, re-homing and veterinary care as well as the promotional work in micro chipping and the neutering of dogs.   

 

This award underlined the Council’s ongoing commitment to excellent animal welfare standards. Breckland Council was in the process of recruiting an Animal Welfare Officer, a role even more vital during this pandemic.

 

The Chairman also conveyed her thanks to the IT department for keeping all Members on-line during these difficult times and was thankful that this service had been brought back in-house.

 

Volunteer community groups had offered their services again during this second lockdown and Members who had volunteered to assist people in their Wards had been invited to do so again but this time would be backed up by a safeguarding training session being held next week. 

 

In respect of Remembrance Sunday, and following the recent Government guidelines, the Chairman and the Leader had agreed that a Breckland Council wreath should be laid by a representative at each of the market towns. The Chairman’s wreath would be laid at Shipdham’s War Memorial.  A short video from the Chairman and the Leader had been filmed for the 11 November and for White Ribbon day on 25 November 2020.

 

Councillor Kiddell, a Ward Representative for Watton, thanked the Breckland Community Team for helping numerous people in the town, including herself, through this pandemic.  The Team were ‘boots on the ground’ and a voice at the other end of the phone, and had made a great difference to many lives already for which she was very grateful.

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Leader's Announcements (Agenda item 6)

To receive a verbal update from Councillor Sam Chapman-Allen, Leader of the Council.

 

Minutes:

The Leader, Councillor Sam Chapman-Allen made the following announcements.

 

Thursday, 5 November 2020 marked a new national restriction period announced by Government during which it was hoped that the number of Covid cases would reduce to a manageable level. Breckland Council was prepared to support all local people in any way it could; this included providing advice, information on medical collections, hardship support both in the form of the £500 isolation grant and the discretionary grant payment ringfenced by this Council to help all those experiencing difficulty. 

 

Breckland Council had previously made a decision to allocate thousands of pounds to help those most in most need to access food and essential items.  It had also committed £25k to local food banks and would continue to support the community fridges throughout the District. 

 

It remained essential that anyone with Covid symptoms booked a test and consistently followed the current guidance - hands, face and space, to protect themselves and their family friends and colleagues.

 

The last few months had been a challenge for many local businesses but Breckland Council had secured over £400k to support High Street resilience and any recovery activity.  Over 500 businesses and shops had already been supported as well as providing over 5000 hours of frontline High Street support and engagement.  

 

Officers continued to work closely with businesses by providing grant funding, training and organising promotions and campaigns so that businesses continued to thrive and operate safely.  

 

Members’ attention was drawn to an item later on the agenda in respect of the Norfolk Strategic Fund which, if approved, would enable the Council to support businesses not just now but into the future.

 

It was noted that the Breckland Council grant scheme support for local businesses would go live on the website later in the day.

 

Animal welfare was also mentioned and as 5 November was fireworks night, it was a timely opportunity to remind residents to be considerate to all animals so as not to cause distress. The Council had made a commitment earlier in the year in respect of raising awareness of fireworks and sky lanterns on council owned land during celebratory periods. The Animal Welfare Officer, when appointed, would be a new role for the Council and would be employed to carry out important visits and inspect licensed premises ensuring animal welfare was followed correctly whilst providing advice to all concerned.

 

The Leader thanked Members for their continued support to residents and communities within their Wards and all were encouraged to attend the forthcoming safeguarding training session that had been organised by Stephen James, the Communities & Environmental Services Manager and to contact him by email for any further advice.

 

Members were then invited to ask the Leader questions based on his announcements.

 

Councillor Clarke congratulated the Council on the RSPCA award and for the new Animal Welfare Officer post.   He hoped that, once appointed, this person would work with all organisations to reduce cases of animal cruelty and neglect.  Councillor Clarke said that he would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 81/20

82/20

Questions on Notice under Standing Order No 6 (Agenda item 7)

Minutes:

None received.

83/20

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

Minutes:

Councillor Jermy, the Leader of the Labour Group asked the Leader, Councillor Sam Chapman-Allen a question relating to test, trace and isolate which he felt had been a disaster nationally despite the significant costs incurred by Serco.  Local Councils had been achieving a much better success rate in contacting people despite the lack of funding and he was aware of several local Council Leaders who had written  to the Health Secretary calling for a greater role and more funding in respect of these tests and he asked if the Leader had written to the Health Secretary about this matter and if not would he commit to do so.

 

The Leader explained that local authorities were central to the NHS Test and Trace service and each upper tier local authority had been awarded funding to develop tailored outbreak control plans.  Norfolk County Council already had a dedicated Team in place that delivered track and trace and the District Councils across Norfolk had pooled their resources to ensure that the right Officers were in place to undertake this service although Breckland Council had a bigger role to play in respect of the recent outbreaks within the District.

 

The Leader Stated that he had not written to the Health Secretary but had attended a recent meeting with the Director for Track & Trace along with other colleagues in which this question was raised and a response was still awaited.

 

Councillor Gilbert also directed his question to the Leader.  He understood from reading the local newspaper that last month a meeting had been held between Breckland Council, the Cranswick Factory, the agency that supplied most of the factory’s work force and the Police about the living conditions of many of the Cranswick workers.  He felt that it would have been a good idea if discussions could have taken place with local Members to see if they had any local knowledge or information that could have been taken to that meeting.  Councillor Gilbert asked what the outcome was from that meeting and what was being done about the large number of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in Watton many of which were within a few minutes walking distance of the factory.  He said that he had reported over 20 HMOs in Watton.

 

The Leader urged Members, where they were aware of such incidences occurring, to raise these with Officers immediately.  The meeting itself related to an isolated incident of two individuals who lived in non-permanent accommodation that had been dealt with at pace once it came to the Council’s attention.  Re-education work was taking place with Cranswick on how the Council’s systems worked on allocations of housing and with Norfolk Police, on how the Council processed and supported any reports of rough sleeping and homelessness.  The Leader was not aware of any further incidents in relation to rough sleepers or transient individuals but if there were, he asked Members to let Officers know immediately. 

 

In respect of HMOs, Breckland did have legal HMOs across the District  ...  view the full minutes text for item 83/20

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Norfolk Strategic Fund (Agenda item 9) pdf icon PDF 81 KB

Report of the Leader, Councillor Sam Chapman-Allen and the Executive Director of Place, Rob Walker.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader provided Members with a detailed overview of the report explaining how the Norfolk Strategic Fund (NSF) had been established and highlighted the various projects/programmes that would benefit from this funding.

 

Breckland Council had been highly proactive and successful in its approach to this opportunity and if Members’ agreed to accept the funding, it would ensure that Breckland’s economy was both resilient now and into the future.

 

Members were asked to accept the funds from the Norfolk Strategic Fund to enable Breckland Council to realise opportunities for an economic response to Covid-19 that would enable Breckland to be more resilient and better placed to grow back stronger.

 

The recommendations were highlighted and proposed.

 

Councillor Borrett supported the proposal and wanted to congratulate everyone involved in delivering this incredibly important piece of work through these unprecedented times and felt that if Breckland could create jobs within the District, residents would have more work opportunities that would lead to greater resilience and greater prosperity.  He endorsed the recommendations.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1.     the £583,572 from the Norfolk Strategic Fund be accepted, to enable programmes in support of:

 

Ø  Digital enablement of High Street businesses in Breckland

Ø  Master Planning around Snetterton Heath

Ø  A new Busines Start-Up scheme targeting those who have been impacted by Covid-19; and

Ø  A business support programme run by the Cambridge to Norwich Tech Corridor.

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Appointment of Proper Officers, and associated amendments to the Constitution (Agenda item 10) pdf icon PDF 133 KB

Report of Councillor Sarah Suggitt, Executive Member for Governance and Mark Stinson, Executive Manager, Governance.  

Minutes:

Mark Stinson, Executive Manager for Governance, presented the report.

 

Section (a)(i) contained a list of gaps in Proper Officer appointments that had been left due to not having a Chief Executive in place. Members were therefore invited to appoint all three existing Directors, in addition to the Chief Executive, as the Proper Officers for those roles.

 

Section (a)(ii), (b) and (c) were minor changes to the wording of various sections of the Constitution to reflect the fact that currently and potentially in the future, the Head of Paid Service and Chief Executive roles may or may not be one of the same person.

 

The recommendations were proposed and seconded, and it was

 

RESOLVED that:

 

(a)(i)  Proper Officers - that all Directors be appointed, in addition to the Chief Executive, as Proper Officers for the following functions in accordance with the Local Government Act 1972:

 

Section 13(3) - (Acting, along with the Chairman of the parish meeting, as Parish Trustee for any parish where there is no parish council)

 

Section 83(1)-(4) - (Witness and receipt of declaration of acceptance of office)

 

Section 84 - (Receipt of declaration of resignation)

 

Section 88 - (Convening of meeting of the Council to fill vacancy in the office of Chairman of the Council)

 

Section 210(6) and (7) (Charity functions of holders of offices with previous authorities transferred to Proper Officer, if no equivalent officer)

 

Any reference to any enactment passed before or during the 1971-72 session of Parliament other than the Local Government Act 1972 or in any instrument made before 26 October,1972 to the Clerk of the Council which, by virtue of any provisions of the said Act, is to be construed as a reference to the Proper Officer of the Council.

 

(a)(ii) Proper Officers - that paragraph 3 of Part 3 Section F2 (Delegations to Chief Executive) of the Constitution be amended to read as follows:

 

"3.0 to be (along with any other officers duly appointed to act as Proper Officer, which appointments are detailed in the list of Proper Officers maintained by the Senior Legal Officer) the Proper Officer of the Council in relation to”:

 

(b)     Terms of reference of the Joint Appointments and Disciplinary Committee - that, arising from the resignation of the Chief Executive, the proposed amendments shown in Appendix A to the report be approved, and the Constitution be amended accordingly

 

(c)     Other amendments arising from the resignation of the Chief Executive - that the Constitution be amended as shown in Appendix B to the report to deal with any periods during which there is no Chief Executive in post.

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Nominations for Committee and other Seats (if any) (Agenda item 11)

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

Minutes:

The Deputy Leader, Councillor Claussen, advised Members of the following change to the membership of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission, and it was:

 

RESOLVED that:

 

Councillor Colman be replaced by Councillor Dale on the Overview & Scrutiny Commission.

 

 

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Amendments to the Constitution (if any) (Agenda item 12)

Minutes:

None.

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Any other items which the Chairman decides are urgent (Agenda item 13)

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.