Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Democratic Services  Tel: 01362 656870

Items
No. Item

Statement from the Chairman

Members were informed of the significant IT issues that the Council had been experiencing the last few days.  The Council’s immediate focus had been on recovery.  These issues had been triggered by an external power failure that coincided with some routine maintenance that had caused a Council systems outage.  There was no evidence of malicious cyber activity.  The IT Team had worked tirelessly to recover and restart the systems drawing on specialist external expertise as required. 

 

The Chairman was pleased to announce that good progress had been made by the Team with many of the systems now up and running.  Whilst this work continued, all of the Council’s services had worked together to implement their business continuity plans and IT ‘work-arounds’ had been agreed to minimise service disruption. Critical services were up and running and important service updates had been shared with staff, Members and the public using social media and the website.  In light of this on-going work, a decision had been made to cancel the cyber security presentation that was scheduled to take place at the end of the meeting. 

 

Members then joined the Chairman in thanking all staff, particularly the IT Team and the caretakers for their hard work and commitment over this period of disruption, and staff and Members for their patience.

 

Further information would be shared with all as and when received.

105/18

Apologies (Agenda item 1)

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Harry Clarke, Fabian Eagle, Keith Martin and David Wickerson.

106/18

Minutes (Agenda item 2) pdf icon PDF 112 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 19 September 2019.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 19 September 2019 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman subject to the following correction:

 

Minute No. 94/19 – Motion Received under Standing Order No. 8 (3rd para from the bottom of page 12 of the agenda pack), to read:

 

“For clarity, the Chairman asked the Leader to restate his final amendment which was to delete resolutions 2 to 6.  This being accepted by the proposer and the seconder, became the substantive Motion.  A vote was then taken on the Motion, as amended, and subject to 6 abstentions, the Motion was agreed”.

 

 

107/18

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:

Councillor Cowen, the Executive Member for Finance & Growth, declared an interest in agenda item 8 in respect of Cabinet Minute No. 78/19 due to him being a Member Director on Breckland Bridge. 

108/18

Chairman's Announcements (Agenda item 4) pdf icon PDF 40 KB

Minutes:

Members were informed that due to the forthcoming Parliamentary Election, the Full Council meeting scheduled for 12 December had been cancelled and re-arranged to take place on Thursday, 28 November 2019.  The agenda would include the adoption of the Local Plan.

 

Additionally, Agenda item 13 (Polling Districts, Polling Places & Polling Stations Review) had been withdrawn from the agenda for the same reason.

 

Both the Chairman and Vice-Chairman had been very busy since the last Full Council meeting and the list of engagements from now until Christmas continued to grow.

 

The Chairman was pleased and proud to announce that Creative Arts East, ‘Our Day Out’ programme had been awarded a prestigious Royal Society for Public Health award for its achievement in arts and health.  This began as a pilot project initiated by Breckland Council in 2015.

 

The Chairman pointed out that 94% of participants had informed the Council that their involvement in the programme had helped them to make better social connections.

 

 

109/18

Leader's Announcements (Agenda item 5)

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

 

Minutes:

The following announcements were made by Councillor Sam Chapman-Allen, the Leader of the Council:

 

New Appointment – Executive Manager for People & Innovation

 

Following the retirement of Phil Adams, Jason Cole from Aviva Group, had recently been recruited as the new Executive Manager for People & Innovation.  He thanked Councillor Jermy and Councillor Claussen who sat on the Joint Appointments Panel with him along with colleagues from South Holland District Council.  Matthew Cross, the interim Manager, would continue in this role until January 2020.

 

Town Delivery Plan

 

The Breckland Town Delivery Plans would be considered later on in the agenda.  The Leader, as well as colleagues across the Chamber, were absolutely committed to supporting Breckland’s market towns and surrounding hinter lands to ensure these communities could thrive.  The challenges faced by these communities could not be addressed just by the public sector, it had to be addressed by all.  To work in isolation was no longer achievable.  Whilst many organisations had plans and strategies, the Leader felt that it was important for Breckland as the local district council to bring all these agencies together and facilitate a focus on each one of the towns independently to support these areas.  Residents of these towns and communities were the best source of information for some of the solutions/ proposals that could be taken forward in true collaboration.  Initial discussions were taking place at the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the County Council, businesses, the police and the community sector to support this initiative.  He hoped that all would come together to drive this collaborative work forward and he urged Members to support the item when discussed.

 

Anti-Semitism

 

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government had written to all Local Authorities urging Councils to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-semitism.  The definition was highlighted as follows:

 

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities”.

 

The definition, whilst not legally binding, had already been adopted by the UK Government and was being used in guidance by the Crown Prosecution Service.  This Council in partnership with the local Police Force would continue to protect Breckland’s communities, tackling all forms of hate crime.  The Leader of the main Opposition Group had been consulted on adopting this definition on behalf of the Council.  The Leader was sure that all Members across the Council would join him in condemning all forms of racism, including antisemitism and commit to continue to fight against them.

 

All Members supported the adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism.

 

Commitment to Carers

 

As an employer, the Council was committed to support all staff and recognised that people who were caring for their loved ones and friends and family outside their work needed flexibility to support them.  Breckland Council was proud to offer that flexibility by offering a 24/7  ...  view the full minutes text for item 109/18

110/18

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

Minutes:

None.

111/18

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

Minutes:

Councillor Morton asked what the timetable was for the Council to adopt the Local Plan including all the Inspector’s recommendations.  In response, Councillor Bambridge, the Executive Member for Planning advised that he believed the adoption would take place at the newly announced Full Council meeting on 28 November 2019 but whether all recommendations would be taken into account would be the Council’s decision.

 

Following a recent meeting with the Chief Executive, Councillor Birt said that he had been reminded of a section of the Constitution that stated: ‘Members must use their IT equipment and emails provided by the Council.’ With this in mind, he wondered whether there was a different view on this considering that it appeared to be at variance with current legislations specifically statutory instrument 2015 No. 5, the Local Government Electronic Communications Order that only permitted such electronic communications with the consent of the person involved and to a particular email address.  He was certain that he had never been asked for consent, let alone given it, and had actually refused consent on a number of occasions.  His query was, however, how this variance between the Council’s Standing Orders and legislation seemed to ‘play out’ and how much consent had actually been sought from the whole of the Council.

 

In response, the Chief Executive pointed out that she was still in dialogue with Officers and Managers about a whole range of questions that had previously been asked by Councillor Birt, some being quite legal and some quite constitutional.  She believed that Councillor Birt had met recently with Jason Tillyard, the Council’s IT Manager and some questions had been answered even though he had been dealing with an IT emergency.  She was also aware that Mark Stinson, the Executive Manager for Governance, had been looking at some of the constitutional questions and as this question required further consideration, she would be happy to put this question forward for Councillor Birt at a meeting that had been arranged with the Executive Manager.  The Chief Executive advised that she would also be happy to share to all Members the answers given to Councillor Birt’s questions.

 

Councillor Jermy directed his question to Councillor Alison Webb, the Executive Member for Housing, Health & Environment.  He and Councillor Harvey had recently spent an hour touring their Ward looking for broken and faulty street lights and, in just an hour, had found 10 broken lights most of them being owned by Breckland Council. He asked Councillor Webb for assurance that there was sufficient resource to get these lights fixed quickly particularly now that the nights were getting darker.  Councillor Webb totally agreed that for public safety these lights should be in working order and would investigate and put forward this matter as high priority.<2>

 

Councillor Gilbert asked the Chairman if she would receive his kind thanks for all the good wishes on his recent wedding.

 

Councillor Taila Taylor asked when Breckland Council would be submitting a formal declaration on its 5 year  ...  view the full minutes text for item 111/18

112/18

Cabinet Minutes (Agenda item 8) pdf icon PDF 122 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 14 October 2019.

Minutes:

It was noted that the recommendations contained on page 21 and page 22 of the agenda pack (Minute Nos. 71/19 and 72/19) would be dealt with under agenda items 15 and 16.

 

a)    Norfolk FA Artificial Grass Pitch Project (Breckland Leisure Centre & Waterworld) (Minute No. 73/19)

 

Councillor Jermy was delighted to see the recommendation to Council from the Cabinet meeting and welcomed the investment in sports infrastructure in the District.  He was pleased that Thetford was set to receive much improved facilities for football; however, as the Leader and the Executive Member, Councillor Mark Robinson were aware, there was quite a significant concern in the town about these proposals for the reason that if they were to be progressed in their current form, without other plans being developed, it would remove from Thetford the only location where hockey could be played.  He therefore proposed that the recommendation that was before Members should be amended to reflect those concerns and to provide some reassurance and suggested that at the end of the sentence the following wording be inserted:  ‘Breckland Council commits to working to ensure that a facility remains in Thetford that was suitable for hockey to be played’. By accepting this amendment the Council would be acknowledging the unintended consequences of what the Council was seeking to do and provide reassurance that hockey was as important as football.

 

The proposal was seconded.

 

Mark Stinson, the Executive Manager for Governance advised that technically, the correct way to approach this was either to move an amendment once the recommendation had been moved and seconded, or if the Cabinet supported the proposal, to incorporate the same when moving the recommendations.

 

The Cabinet Member accepted the amendment, and it was

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1.     all grant funding be accepted including the contribution from Parkwood and the necessary budgets be set up to spend the grant; and

2.     Breckland Council commits to working to ensure that a facility remained in Thetford that was suitable for hockey to be played.

 

Councillor Gilbert mentioned the need for such a pitch at the Sports Centre in Watton as the current pitch was constantly being patched up.  Rob Walker, the Executive Director for Place stated that he was aware of the problems and had been working with the Sports Centre on a number of occasions to improve the pitch.

 

Councillor Terry pointed out that he had attended a meeting with representatives from Thetford Town Football Club who had registered an interest in having a 3G football pitch being laid on their existing ground. 

 

The Leader welcomed all comments but reminded Members that these were the unconfirmed Minutes that were being discussed and all would have had the opportunity to attend the Cabinet meeting to debate such matters. He welcomed Councillor Jermy’s amendment, and had acknowledged the fact that the Cabinet Member had agreed to accept that amendment. 

 

Councillor Borrett totally concurred with the Leader’s comments.  He felt that Breckland Council should be congratulated for proposing to spend £96k on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 112/18

113/18

Overview and Scrutiny Commission (Agenda item 9) pdf icon PDF 96 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 26 September 2019.

Minutes:

It was noted that the Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting scheduled for Thursday, 7 November 2019 would not be going ahead and had been moved to Tuesday, 19 November 2019 at 10am in the Anglia Room.

 

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 26 September 2019 be adopted.

114/18

Planning Committee (Agenda item 10)

114/18a

10 September 2019 pdf icon PDF 77 KB

Confirmed minutes of the additional Planning Committee meeting held on 10 September 2019.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the confirmed Minutes of the additional Planning Committee meeting held on 10 September 2019 be adopted.

114/18b

30 September 2019 pdf icon PDF 116 KB

Unconfirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 30 September 2019.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the now confirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 30 September 2019 be adopted.

 

115/18

Governance & Audit Committee (Agenda item 11) pdf icon PDF 96 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the Governance and Audit Committee meeting held on 3 October 2019.

Minutes:

It was noted that the date of the next Governance & Audit Committee meeting would be re-arranged as it fell on the day of the Parliamentary Election.

 

It was further noted that the recommendation on page 52 of the agenda pack would be dealt with under Agenda item 12.

 

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Governance & Audit Committee meeting held on 3 October 2019 be adopted.

116/18

Process for Amending the Constitution (Agenda item 12) pdf icon PDF 64 KB

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

Minutes:

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

 

At its meeting on 3 October 2019, the Governance and Audit Committee considered the current process for constitutional changes and concluded that in future all substantive changes to the Constitution should be considered by the Committee prior to recommendation to Council.

 

Under the current process, most proposed constitutional changes were reported directly to Council. However, where the proposed changes would have a material impact on the work or role of a committee, such proposals were generally submitted to the relevant committee for debate and discussion prior to being reported to Council. A recent example was the proposed changes to Planning Committee delegations, which the Planning Committee considered and then recommended to Council.

 

If the Council was minded to appoint the Governance and Audit Committee to make recommendations to Council on prospective constitutional changes, then a number of amendments to the Constitution would have to be made as set out in section 1.7 of the report.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1.     In Part 2, Article 14, paragraph 2.1.1, the words “currently the Governance and Audit Committee” be inserted immediately after the words “The Council may if it considers necessary appoint a special committee to make recommendations for that purpose.”

 

2.     In Part 3, Delegations to Committees, Governance and Audit Committee Terms of Reference, add a new term of reference under the section headed Governance as follows “to consider all substantive amendments to the Constitution (which shall not include minor variations and amendments required to remove an inconsistency or ambiguity) and to make recommendations thereon to Council. The question of whether a proposed amendment is substantive to be determined by the Monitoring Officer in consultation with the Chairman of the Committee”.

117/18

Polling Districts, Polling Places & Polling Stations Review (Agenda item 13) pdf icon PDF 73 KB

Report of Maxine O' Mahony, Executive Director for Strategy and Governance& Returning Officer.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Due to the forthcoming Parliamentary Election, this item had been withdrawn.

118/18

WorkSmart 20:20 - Workplace Design for an Agile Future (Agenda item 14) pdf icon PDF 157 KB

Report of Cllr Paul Hewett, Executive Member forAssets and Contracts and Rob Walker Executive, Director of Place

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Paul Hewett, the Executive Member for Contracts & Assets presented the report that sought authority to invest in Elizabeth House so as to enable agile and flexible working practices with more efficient and better use of space.

 

The ambition behind worksmart 20:20 was explained in great detail and Members were provided with an overview of the work involved.

 

The proposed changes to Elizabeth House could be the catalyst for change and help the Council to develop a workforce and working environment that was flexible and fit for the future.

 

Councillor Birt felt that there was much to like about this report and thought it was a step in the right direction; however, in light of the IT issues that the Council had experienced in the last 48 hours, he wondered whether it might be worth stepping back temporarily while Officers established exactly what had happened in case of any further implications before the Council actually approved spending £800k.  One point he particularly wanted to raise was in relation to ‘open document formats’ which was a Government recommended way in which ICT processes should work one of which was that it allowed for stricter security checks to help prevent common cyber attacks.  He knew that this had not been the case recently but felt that the Council should perhaps be making sure that it was not subject to such attacks and doing the maximum that it could to eliminate that.  It also allowed Government, citizens and other organisations to share documents; that would again provide a redundancy and robustness that should be considered before the Council embarked on this route and possibly ending up with Microsoft Office 365 by default.

 

In response, Councillor Borrett reminded Members that if they were minded to approve the recommendations there was a Steering Group proposed and wondered whether Councillor Birt’s comments would be better directed towards this Steering Group.

 

Councillor Sherwood, the Executive Member for Customer Engagement requested that a recorded vote be taken.

 

The 3 recommendations were proposed and seconded and following a recorded vote it was:

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1.     a project to introduce agile and flexible working for the workforce and make the necessary changes and investment to the Council’s ICT infrastructure and HQ (Elizabeth House) building to enable this change be implemented;

 

2.     a Member Steering Group be formed and delegated authority be granted to the Executive Member for Assets and Contracts – in consultation with the Executive Director of Place – to spend the allocated funding on an agreed work programme for this project; and

 

3.     the allocation and release of £800,000 from the Growth and Investment reserve to this project be approved.

 

RECORDED VOTES:

MEMBER

FOR

AGAINST

MEMBER

FOR

AGAINST

Mr Ashby

X

 

Mr Harvey

X

 

Mr Askew

X

 

Mr Hewett

X

 

Mr Atterwill

X

 

Mrs James

X

 

Mr Bambridge

x

 

Mr Jermy

X

 

Mr Birt

 

x

Cllr Kiddell

X

 

Mr Brame

X

 

Mr Kiddle-Morris

X

 

Mr Borrett

X

 

Mr I Martin

x

 

Councillor Bowes

X

 

Mr K Martin

APOLOGIES  ...  view the full minutes text for item 118/18

119/18

Breckland Town Delivery Plans (Agenda item 15) pdf icon PDF 88 KB

Report of Cllr Sam Chapman-Allen, Leader of the Council.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader presented the report. 

 

The report asked Members to consider the allocation and spend of up to £392,000 to commission delivery plans for each of Breckland’s five market towns.

 

Councillor Borrett supported the recommendations.  These monies would be spent in the communities that were key to Breckland.  He urged Members to support it.

 

Councillor Kiddell welcomed this report on behalf of the town of Watton.

 

Councillor Jermy was very pleased with the report as this would be a huge opportunity to embrace other organisations and he felt that it was to Breckland’s credit that it was taking the lead on this when budgets were tight.

 

Councillor Cowen, the Executive Member for Finance & Growth requested that a recorded vote be taken.

 

The 2 recommendations were proposed and seconded and following a recorded vote it was:

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1.     the allocation and spend of up to £392,000 to allow commissioning of delivery plans for Breckland’s five Market Towns be approved; and

 

2.     subject to a successful funding application, Council approves acceptance of up to £196,000 from the Norfolk Business Rates Pool (BRP) to support the project and authorises the Chief Executive in consultation with the Leader to approve the terms of the grant and enter into the grant agreement.

 

RECORDED VOTES:

MEMBER

FOR

AGAINST

MEMBER

FOR

AGAINST

Mr Ashby

X

 

Mr Harvey

X

 

Mr Askew

X

 

Mr Hewett

X

 

Mr Atterwill

X

 

Mrs James

X

 

Mr Bambridge

x

 

Mr Jermy

X

 

Mr Birt

x

 

Cllr Kiddell

X

 

Mr Brame

X

 

Mr Kiddle-Morris

X

 

Mr Borrett

X

 

Mr I Martin

x

 

Councillor Bowes

X

 

Mr K Martin

APOLOGIES

Mr Brindle

X

 

Mrs Monument

x

 

Miss Bushell

X

 

Mr Moreton

x

 

Mr Carter

X

 

Mr Nairn

x

 

Councillor Marion Chapman-Allen

X

 

Mr Nunn

x

 

Mr Sam Chapman-Allen

X

 

Mr Oliver

x

 

Mr Clarke

APOLOGIES

Mr Robinson

x

 

Mr Claussen

X

 

Mr Sherwood

x

 

Mr Colman

X

 

Mrs Suggitt

x

 

Mr Cowen

X

 

Miss Taylor

x

 

Mrs Crane

X

 

Mr Terry

x

 

Mrs Dale

X

 

Mrs Turner

x

 

Mrs Dowling

x

 

Mrs Webb

x

 

Mr Duffield

X

 

Mr Wickerson

APOLOGIES

Mr Duigan

X

 

Mr Wilkin

X

 

Mr Eagle

APOLOGIES

Mr Wilkinson

x

 

Mr Gilbert

X

 

 

 

 

 

Councillor Cowen, the Executive Member for Finance & Growth thanked all Members for their votes particularly as the Council was coming up to its budget preparation and he felt that it was very encouraging that the Council had a unanimous approach for how it was dealing with its budget going forward.

 

120/18

Snetterton Electricity Power Upgrade Project (Agenda item 16) pdf icon PDF 69 KB

Report of Cllr Phil Cowen, Executive Member for Finance & Growth.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Cowen, the Executive Member for Finance & Growth presented the report.

 

Members were aware that on previous occasions the Council had approved funding to enable the provision of power in the Snetterton employment area.  Since that previous vote was taken and the monies were accepted, UK Power Networks had been preparing detailed costs and as a number of Members were aware who attended the Cabinet meeting in Attleborough, these were out of the Council’s control and as a consequence, additional funding had been secured from the Business Rates Pool of £156,541 as noted in the recommendation.  This would enable the Council to deliver the power not just at the substation but also to begin to deliver it to the central areas of Snetterton Heath Employment Area in the form of a ring or a partial ring to service development sites.

 

There were two options for Members to consider, either to proceed as per the report’s recommendation or not to accept the additional BRP funding.  He urged Members to accept option 1. 

 

Councillor Borrett was of the opinion that this was not something that most District Councils would have been capable of delivering.  This was very unusual for Breckland to lever in this much money to deliver strategic power into the heart of the District and he endorsed the recommendation and congratulated everyone who had been involved in it.

 

RESOLVED that the acceptance and spend of a Norfolk Business Rates Pool (BRP) grant value uplift of £156,541, from £782,706 to £939,247, in order to support with the delivery of a power distribution solution for the Snetterton Heath employment area be approved.

121/18

Nominations for Committee and other Seats (Agenda item 17)

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

 

·        Planning Committee

 

To appoint 2 additional Conservative substitutes to the Planning Committee as follows:

 

Councillor Vera Dale

Councillor Linda Monument

 

·        Water Resources East – Strategic Advisory Board (new outside body organisation)

 

To appoint Councillor Gordon Bambridge as the Council’s representative on Water Resources East, Strategic Advisory Board.

 

·        Norfolk Parking Partnership (outside body appointment)

 

To appoint a substitute.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the following appointments be approved:

 

Planning Committee

 

Councillor Vera Dale and Councillor Linda Monument be appointed as two additional substitutes to the Planning Committee

 

Water Resources East – Strategic Advisory Board (new outside body organisation)

 

Councillor Gordon Bambridge be appointed as the Council’s representative on the Water Resources East, Strategic Advisory Board.

 

Norfolk Parking Partnership (outside body appointment)

 

Councillor Cowen be appointed as the substitute on the Norfolk Parking Partnership

 

122/18

Amendments to the Constitution (Agenda item 18)

Minutes:

There were no further amendments made.

123/18

Any other items which the Chairman decides are urgent (Agenda item 19)

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.