Venue: Anglia Room, The Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham
Contact: Committee Services Tel: 01362 656870
Apologies (Agenda item 1)
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Bowes, Mr Childerhouse, Mr Darby, Mr Duigan, Mrs Irving, Mrs Jolly, Mr Lamb, Mr Monument, Mr Simon Rogers and Mr Skull.
Chairman's Announcements (Agenda item 2)
Mr Jack Ramm
A moments silence was held for Mr Jack Ramm a former Breckland Councillor, Norfolk County Council Chairman and Mayor of Thetford who had recently passed away. He had served on various committees during his time at Breckland and had been a very popular, well liked gentleman and for those that knew him, he would be sadly missed. Commiserations were conveyed to his wife and family.
On a lighter note, the Chairman was pleased to announce that the tandem tour, the very onerous cycle ride that he and the Leader of the Council were attempting, had been organised for 5 May and all proceeds raised would be donated to the Chairman’s charity, Quidenham Hospice. The cycle ride would start at 8.00am in Thetford to be in Attleborough by 10.00am, Watton at midday, Swaffham at 2.00pm and Dereham at 4.00pm. Members’ support was welcomed and he hoped that many of them would turn out to encourage them on their way.
Declaration of Interest (Agenda item 3)
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.
Exclusion of Press and Public (Agenda item 4)
The press and the public would be excluded from the meeting only if Members wished to discuss matters in relation to Appendix D of the report, the Consultation Document.
The report was otherwise discussed in open session.
Report of the Leader of the Council.
If Members are minded to discuss Appendix D to the report they may wish 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, 3 and 4 of the Act”.
The Leader of the Council introduced the shared management report and explained that Breckland Council had tried many innovative ways to make financial savings before the Government withdrew its funding from local authorities. He said sharing top officers from the three councils would increase the team’s resilience and allow money to be used on front-line services and protect those services that affected the public.
The Chief Executive said that it was Members who had to decide on the direction they wanted to take. All three Councils had considered the report in a short space of time, South Holland had agreed the recommendation at its meeting on 7 March, Great Yarmouth had approved the report at a Special Council meeting on 8 March and now it was the turn of Breckland. Although the report was still in draft form, it had been through a number of preliminary mechanisms/meetings for consideration; therefore, Members should be quite familiar with what was being asked.
If approved, financial savings and improved resilience would be gained by this joint venture with the introduction of a new director and the fact that it responded to a new political management arrangement. It also made effective use of what was a very expensive resource. It would also open up further shared arrangement opportunities such as procurement issues.
All costs of implementing the shared management team would be shared equally by the three authorities and the structure itself would be based on key functions of local government. More importantly, each of the three councils would stay very much separate and in control of its own destiny. Great Yarmouth was a willing partner and had signed up to these principles.
There was a section within the report that dealt with the important relationship with the three Councils and Members were informed that if this particular matter was discussed the Chief Executive would have to declare an interest and leave the room.
The Opposition Leader said that it seemed like only yesterday when Breckland Council began sharing services with South Holland and as far as he was concerned had been like a leap into the dark. In his opinion, there had not been a sufficient amount of analysis as to whether or not this venture had been a success and he believed that Breckland Council should not be making a decision at this moment in time until it was clear that there had not been any effect on the quality and level of services provided. Given the information available, the Labour Group did not support this rush to share services with another authority as the Group felt that the risks associated with this move to be of concern, particularly given the limited financial savings available.
The Opposition Leader assumed that there had been considerable debate amongst the Conservative Group Members regarding this proposal and that they had been privy to more discussion and debate than the Labour Group. He therefore felt that there was not enough information at hand to make an ... view the full minutes text for item 33.