Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Committee Services  Tel: 01362 656870

Items
No. Item

13.

Minutes (Agenda Item 1) pdf icon PDF 70 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 24 January 2013.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 24 January 2013 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

 

14.

Apologies (Agenda Item 2)

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Chapman-Allen, Mr Claussen, Mr Darby, Mr Duffield, Mr Gilbert, Mrs Irving, Mr Joel, Mr Lamb, Mrs Monument, Mr Robinson, Mr Sharpe, Mrs Spencer and Mr Williams.

 

15.

Chairman's Announcements (Agenda Item 3)

Engagements List – Chairman

24th January, 2013 to 27th February, 2013

 

Date

Event

Host

26th January, 2013

Memorial Service for Roland Hall

 

28th January, 2013

Holocaust Day Memorial Service

Lord Mayor of Norwich, Councillor Ralph Gayton

Norfolk & Norwich Branch of the Council of Christians and Jews

10th February, 2013

Civic Service to mark the visit to the borough of Great Yarmouth of HMS Dauntless

Her Worship the Mayor of Great Yarmouth, Councillor Colleen Walker

16th February, 2013

Street Naming – Safari Way, Dereham

 

 

Engagements List – Vice-Chairman

24th January, 2013 to 27th February, 2013

 

Date

Event

Host

Friday

8th February, 2013

Reception

Commander Officer of HMS Dauntless

 

Minutes:

The Chairman noted that the Street Naming event for Safari Way, Dereham had been delayed.

 

At the request of the Member Trainer he asked Members to fill in the self-assessment forms, which had been tabled, and return them by 20 March 2013.  The information gathered would be used to prepare the training programme and would support the Council’s Charter Plus status.

 

16.

Declaration of Interests (Agenda Item 4)

Members are no longer required to declare personal of prejudicial interests but are to declare any new Disclosable Pecuniary Interests that are not currently included in the Register of Interests. Members are reminded that under the Code of Conduct they are not to participate and must leave the room, for 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 they have in relation to an agenda item, that support the Nolan principles detailed within the Code of Conduct.

Minutes:

For clarity, Mrs Jolly declared a DPI in the item on Pages 45/46 of the Agenda, in the Planning Minutes.

 

17.

Council Tax 2013/14 (Agenda Item 5)

The Council is asked to pass a formal resolution on the setting of the Council Tax.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This item was taken after the Cabinet Minutes (Agenda Item 6). 

 

The Chairman drew attention to the note regarding Council Tax arrears which advised any Member more than two months in arrears not to vote on any matter concerning the setting of the Council Tax.

 

As Leader of Norfolk County Council, Mr Borrett withdrew from the room whilst the item was discussed.

 

The Executive Member for Finance and Democratic Services presented the formal resolution for the setting of the Council Tax for 2013-14.  He drew Members’ attention to the recommendation from the Cabinet meeting to set the Band D Council Tax rate at £69.03 for the year.  That represented an increase of £4.98 and was only possible because the Leader of the Council, together with many other Council Leaders, had lobbied central government to relax the referendum rules to allow Councils with low Council Tax to provide an optimal result.

 

Members’ attention was also drawn to page 139 of the report.  The Breckland Tax base for 2013-14 had been calculated at £37,565 which was a considerable reduction from the previous level of £43,635 and had happened because of the Localisation of the Council Tax Scheme.  If the proposed increase was approved it would still mean that the Council would actually collect over £201,000 less in Council Tax from residents than it had in 2012-13.  Despite that, frontline services would be maintained.

 

It was worth noting that despite the proposed 1.34% increase bringing the Band D rate to £1483 per annum, 69% of properties in the District were in Bands A to C and 45% were in Bands A and B, so the majority of Council Tax payers in the district would pay less than that.

 

He said that the Council would continue to implement policies designed to keep Council Tax as low as possible, whilst maintaining front line services.  It would also seek to increase its income by means such as the provision of new homes, in order to gain the New Homes Bonus.  The Council would continue to increase income by maximising the efforts of the very successful Economic Development Team.  Additionally, thanks to changes in legislation, they were able to retain some of the financial benefits of business growth in terms of the retention of business rates.  All of those measures would combine to ensure that the maximum income was achieved from available sources.

 

The Executive Member for Finance and Democratic Services concluded by thanking the Finance Team for their hard work and diligence in preparing the report.

 

The Leader of the Labour Group said that they reluctantly supported the increase in Council Tax, as otherwise it would mean a cut in services.  He was still concerned that poorer residents were being financially disadvantaged by the changes to benefits and quoted the case of a single mother of two who had had no choice other than to occupy a three bedroom property, because no two bedroom properties were available, and would be worse off because of that.

 

He  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.

18.

Cabinet Minutes (Agenda Item 6) pdf icon PDF 116 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 12 February 2013.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(1)       Grant Panel Report (Minute No 15/13)

 

Mr Borrett praised the approval of the funding for Beetley Scout Hut.

 

(2)       Financial Performance Quarter 3 2012/13 (Minute No 18/13)

 

RESOLVED that the Capital budgets of £2,002,003 be carried over into 2013/14.

 

(3)       Anglia Revenues & Benefits Partnership (Minute No 21/13a))

 

RESOLVED that the legal agreement between the four Anglia Revenues Partnership (ARP) partners be amended accordingly to reflect the change in ICT provision.

 

(4)       Adoption

 

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 12 February 2013 be adopted.

 

19.

Overview and Scrutiny Commission (Agenda Item 7) pdf icon PDF 84 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 10 January 2013.

Minutes:

(1)       Scrutiny Call-Ins (Minute No 9/13)

 

The Chairman of the Commission thanked all Members of the Council and public for the healthy and welcome debate on this matter.

 

(2)       Adoption

 

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 10 January 2013 be adopted.

 

20.

Planning Committee (Agenda item 8)

20/12a

Confirmed minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 14 January 2013 pdf icon PDF 91 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the confirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 14 January 2013 be adopted.

20/12b

Unconfirmed minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 11 February 2013 pdf icon PDF 100 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 11 February 2013 be adopted.

21.

General Purposes Committee (Agenda item 9) pdf icon PDF 60 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the General Purposes Committee meeting held on 9 January 2013.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the now confirmed Minutes of the General Purposes Committee meeting held on 9 January 2013 be adopted.

 

22.

Licensing Committee (Agenda item 10) pdf icon PDF 108 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the Licensing Committee meeting held on 23 January 2013.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Licensing Committee meeting held on 23 January 2013 be adopted.

 

23.

Audit Committee (Agenda item 11)

Unconfirmed minutes of the Audit Committee meeting held on 15 February 2013.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(1)         Standards Arrangements under the Localism Act (Minute No. 3/13)

 

RESOLVED that the following alterations to the Standards Arrangements be approved:

 

a)           the Monitoring Officer be granted the authority to seek further resolution or other action where appropriate to resolve the complaint without a Hearing, when an investigation has been conducted and a breach had been found;

 

b)           the Monitoring Officer be granted the authority not to pursue a complaint at any stage if it was deemed to no longer merit consideration under the Arrangements;

 

c)            on receipt of a complaint against all or the majority of a town or parish council members, the Monitoring Officer be granted authority to notify the members named within the complaint and seek comments as per current arrangements, but be authorised to refer the complaint back to the town/parish council to be dealt with under its own complaints procedure; and

 

d)           the appointment of the current Independent Person, Mrs Fiona Anthony, be extended until the Annual meeting of the Council in May 2015.

 

(2)         Counter Fraud, Corruption and Bribery Policy and Whistle Blowing Policy (Minute No. 13/13)

 

RESOLVED that:

 

a)           the Counter Fraud, Corruption & Bribery Policy be approved; and

 

b)           the Whistle Blowing Policy be approved.

 

(3)         Adoption

 

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Audit Committee meeting held on 15 February 2013 be adopted.

 

24.

Local Government Boundary Commission Breckland Electoral Review (Agenda Item 12) pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Report of the Assistant Director of Democratic Services.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Finance & Democratic Services presented the report.  The review had been initiated by the Local Government Boundary Commission because two Wards in the District had an electoral imbalance.

 

The first stage in the review process was for the Council to make a submission on the number of members required to represent the electorate from the elections in May 2015.

 

He thanked the members of the Working Group for their hard work and also all Members who had submitted their councillor diaries which formed an integral part of the submission and which the Commission had indicated that they were pleased to have received.

 

The Local Government Boundary Commission had been intending to visit the Council to hold a meeting with the Group Leaders, but they were sufficiently impressed with the content of the submission to consider that unnecessary.

 

Finally, the Executive Member thanked Rory Ringer and Teresa Smith for their sterling efforts in supporting the Working Group.  He then referred Members to the recommendation on page 60 of the Agenda.

 

RESOLVED to authorise the Chief Executive to submit the proposal on Council Size to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England.

 

25.

Independent Remuneration Panel (Agenda Item 13) pdf icon PDF 59 KB

Report of the Assistant Director of Democratic Services.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Assistant Director of Democratic Services presented the report of the Independent Remuneration Panel and advised Members that they were required to have regard to the Panel’s advice and if they disagreed with that advice, to explain their reasons.  The Chairman of the Panel, Mr Andrew Egerton-Smith was in attendance to answer any questions.

 

Mr Wilkin, speaking as Chairman of the Planning Committee, supported the Panel’s recommendations with the exception of the proposal to increase the Special Allowance for the Chairman of Planning Committee.  He noted their reasons but did not believe that they justified an increase.  He therefore proposed an amendment excluding that adjustment.

 

The Leader of the Labour Group asked when the Panel had last interviewed a back bench or opposition Member to give them a rounded view.  Mr Egerton-Smith thought that was a fair question but explained that they were looking at the overall role of members.  Breckland had 47 Conservative Councillors and only 7 from other parties.  They had spoken to the Leader and Deputy Leader which had given them a good idea of what was going on.

 

The Leader of the Labour Group then asked what consideration had been given to allowances at other authorities and Mr Egerton-Smith said that that had been taken very seriously into account.  However the Panel had also taken into consideration the entrepreneurial Breckland culture, the work with other authorities and the very favourable Council Tax level.  From looking at the diaries of some Councillors it had been clear that the amount of preparation required meant that the actual hours worked could be almost doubled.    The Panel had therefore concluded that the allowances were not excessive.

 

Mr Borrett thought that clearly illustrated that Breckland was a Member-run Council and he was very proud of that.

 

Mr Clark thought that it was each Member’s choice how many hours they worked.  The allowances were too high at a time when people were having to rely on food banks and Members should set an example.

 

Mr Smith noted that one reason that the allowances had been increased in previous years was to attract younger people onto the Council and that policy had worked.

 

The Leader of the Labour Group agreed that he would not be able to be a Councillor without his basic allowance, however it was the special allowances which were the issue.

 

Members supported the proposed amendment to the recommendation.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

(1)               the Basic allowance and Special Responsibility allowances remain unchanged; and

(2)               Childcare allowance is increased to £7.50 per hour.

 

26.

Pay Policy Statement (Agenda Item 14) pdf icon PDF 59 KB

Report of the Assistant Director of Commissioning.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Human Resources Manager presented the Pay Policy Statement which the Council was required to publish by 1 April each year. 

 

The only changes to the Statement were to amend the dates and to include an additional statement about the Interim Chief Executive.

 

RESOLVED to adopt the Council’s Pay Policy Statement 2013/14.