Agenda and minutes

Venue: The Breckland Conference Centre, Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham, NR19 1EE

Contact: Democratic Services  Tel: 01362 656870

Media

Items
No. Item

Chairman's Introductions

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting including the public watching via YouTube.

 

Before the meeting commenced Councillor Birt raised a Point of Order and referred Members to Standing Order 19(a) – Postponement of Full Council Meeting which he read aloud.  He drew attention to the public message that was sent out in respect of the postponement of the December meeting due a speaker not being available to present a report, just one agenda item.  The other reason that had been given was the lack of business which was difficult to accept due the vast amount of items on the published agenda.  Not withstanding that, the Standing Order only permitted such meetings to be postponed on health & safety grounds and this was not the reason given.  Therefore, in his opinion, this meeting today was a new meeting and not a resumption of the postponed meeting and asked for clarification on the status of the December meeting and this meeting and confirm whether the Council had properly complied with meeting legislation and the Council’s own Standing Orders.   

 

In response, Sarah Wolstenholme-Smy, the Council’s Legal Services Manager advised that the reason given for the postponement of the December meeting, although it did not specify health & safety issues, was in essence for just that, and it was appropriate for that meeting to be postponed; therefore, in compliance with the said Standing Order, it was appropriate to bring forward those items from that meeting to this one.

 

The Chairman agreed with the aforementioned comments and felt that it had been the correct course of action to take due to the spread of the omicron variant at that time and in the interest of keeping Members and Officers safe so close to Christmas.  

 

 

1/21

Apologies (Agenda item 1)

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Clarke, Colman, Grey, Ian Martin, Keith Martin, Nairn, Terry and Wilkin.

2/21

Minutes (Agenda item 2) pdf icon PDF 317 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 14 October 2021.

Minutes:

·             Service Review (Minute No. 129/21)

 

        The word adverse be replaced with diverse.

 

·             Appointment of Chief Executive Officer (Minute No. 120/21)

 

Under this Minute, Councillor Birt pointed out that he had not received the agenda ahead of the Appointments & Disciplinary Committee meeting even though the Executive Director of Place & Delivery had stated that the agenda had been sent to all Members.  This he felt was a factual error and should be corrected in the Minutes.

 

It was agreed that the word all would be removed.

 

Additionally, Councillor Birt’s vote against the recommendations had not been recorded as requested.

 

·             Adoption

 

Subject to the above amendments the Minutes of the meeting held on 14 October 2021 were agreed.

 

Councillor Gilbert abstained from voting on the Minutes as he had not attended the meeting.

3/21

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 Mark Robinson, the Executive Member for Customer, Digital & Performance declared and interest in agenda item 18 (Property Acquisition – Riversdale Thetford) due to him being a trustee of the property.  Councillor Robinson refused to comment or vote on this item.

4/21

Chairman's Announcements (Agenda item 4) pdf icon PDF 89 KB

Minutes:

It is with great sadness that we have heard of the passing of Tracey Baxter at the weekend.  Many will have known Tracey well and worked with her during her time at Breckland.

 

Tracey worked at Breckland for over three decades in a variety of different roles but is perhaps best known for her work on anti-social behaviour. 

 

She helped set-up the first Operational Partnership Team in Norfolk and made it such a success; the model was replicated right across the county.  She led from the front on the White Ribbon Campaign and Breckland’s response to domestic abuse.  Tracey also helped to keep the levels of anti-social behaviour very low, but when inevitably there were cases, she was able to demonstrate such warmth, compassion, and empathy to the victims of crime.

 

Tracey dedicated thirty years to public service; to Breckland; and to supporting those most vulnerable in our community.

 

Tracey was an integral part of Breckland and one of our most well-known and well-loved people. Whenever you came across Tracey, she was bright, warm, funny, and kind, and someone who always made time for everybody she came across. Hard working and committed to her role, as well as a great colleague, she will be sorely missed by everyone she worked with.

 

Our thoughts are with her family at this difficult time.

 

A Minutes silence was then observed.

 

The Chairman then welcomed the Council’s newest Member, Cllr Hambidge, representing the Hermitage Ward, to his first Council meeting.  He hoped that Cllr Hambidge would enjoy his years as a Councillor and if needed, there was plenty of support available.  He then explained the format of the agenda and the process particularly in respect of agenda items 6 and 7, in the fact that Members did not have to wait to ask questions under these specific items at Full Council meetings, they could ask questions of other Members or Officers at any time.

5/21

Leader's Announcements (Agenda item 5)

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

 

Minutes:

The Leader made the following announcements:

 

A range of initiatives were already well-underway to support Breckland’s residents and businesses to thrive; this included some of the Council’s most vulnerable or at-risk.

 

Amongst these, the Council was now on the home straight in its project to develop a brand-new temporary accommodation centre in the district which would bring a dis-used building back into use. When finished around the spring, Elm House in Thetford would be providing modern facilities for up to 35 people at a time – including individuals, couples and whole families – who were at risk of becoming homeless.

 

In addition to this, he was delighted to inform Members that on the same site, the Council would also be providing five new one bedroom living units specifically to provide supported accommodation for rough sleepers or those who were at risk of rough sleeping, which was a fantastic example of this Council investing in facilities to support those most in-need.

 

The Leader was also pleased to inform Members that the Council had recently received an additional £100k of funding – from a £28m national pot – to help protect and provide vaccinations to rough sleepers in the Breckland area, including supporting those who were hesitant about getting their vital booster jabs and provide safe, emergency accommodation over the winter.

 

As for the wider population, the Anglia Revenues Partnership had issued over £400k worth of £500 Self-Isolation payments to support people in Breckland to help those most in need to follow Government Self-Isolation guidance.

 

This was in addition to the £6.6m of Government funding Norfolk received through the Household Support Fund. This fund would provide short-term financial support to meet immediate needs and help those struggling to afford food, energy and water bills, and other related essentials this winter. Nearly £200,000 of this funding had been passed through to Breckland Council and by the start of this month (January) it had distributed more than £130,000 of support across around 400 households. He asked Members that if any residents in their Wards were in need of urgent financial support, he urged them to come forward to establish what support could be offered.

 

In order to support vulnerable individuals and families within the district, he was delighted to announce that Breckland Council had partnered with Norfolk Community Foundation to create a new food bus service, which was due to be launched in the Spring.

 

The offer was still being refined but the bus would be operating across identified areas of need within Breckland to provide affordable, healthy, nutritious food - including fresh fruit and veg, and a range of chilled and store cupboard basics - all at a reduced price. This would help families in need to make savings of around 40-50% on a household’s weekly food shop (estimated to be up to £1000 per year).

 

The scheme would also work with residents to help address other challenges that they might be facing, providing early intervention support with debt management, skills and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5/21

6/21

Questions on Notice under Standing order No. 6 (Agenda item 6)

Minutes:

For the efficient running of this meeting, the Chairman reminded Members that a response would not be provided to any supplementary questions asked but a note of the question would be made, and a written response would be provided to all Members within 5 working days of this meeting.  The questions and subsequent responses would also be attached to the Minutes (see attached).

 

Councillors Birt, Atterwill and Morton asked the following supplementary questions.  Councillors Clarke and Wickerson had sent their apologies; therefore, no supplementary questions could be asked.

 

 

6/21a

9 December 2021 pdf icon PDF 324 KB

The document attached were the questions and responses that would have been included on the Council agenda for the meeting on 9 December 2021 that was postponed.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

For ease of reference, the original questions that had been asked at the 9 December 2021 meeting including the responses have been included in the attached document.  The supplementary questions including the responses have also been included in the same document.

7/21

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

Minutes:

Councillor Atterwill pointed out that when Opposition Members walked into the room it was very noticeable that Conservative Members had been allowed to sit a desk apart where others had to ‘bunch up’ where they could, and he thought that the idea of this new room layout was to be suitably spaced out for everyone’s health and safety.

 

The Chairman stated that everyone had been given fair opportunity to be seated as such, there were still other seats available that could accommodate Members accordingly.

 

Councillor Jermy’s question was directed to the Leader of the Council.  He understood that more than 60% of the Conservative Group served in roles that were eligible for special responsibility allowances (SRAs).  The Council already had by far the largest annual bill of SRAs in Norfolk at £170k for the last financial year, double that of Gt Yarmouth and Broadland and significantly more than all other districts including the city of Norwich.  If the proposals for the General Purposes Committee were approved, it would add yet further costs to the taxpayers with the increase in allowances if recommended by the Remuneration Panel.   He asked the Leader why Breckland’s SRA’s were so disproportionally higher than the rest of the County.

 

In response, the Leader stated that Councillor Jermy was more than welcome to resign his own SRA as the Leader of the main Opposition Group, one of the most highly remunerated Opposition Leaders across the County.  He felt that the remarks were quite hypocritical when Breckland as a lead authority had the lowest council tax in the Country and felt that the level of Breckland’s SRA was due to the high level of commitment expected from the Chairmen and Cabinet Members in the work that they did.  All worked very hard not just during the day but in the evenings too and therefore felt that the residents of Breckland received great value for money but as the lowest district council tax in the Country, protecting all frontline services and continued to invest whilst ensuring that politicians were accountable and held to account for the direction of travel for this authority committed politicians were needed to carry out this work.  On top of that, many Cabinet Members and the Chairmen of this Council had day jobs and therefore had to miss days when working on the Council’s activities and should be remunerated for that loss of income, and therefore, no-one would be discouraged for standing in local Elections.

 

Councillor Jermy expected the Leader to point out that he did receive an allowance and was the only Member of the Opposition to receive an allowance not 60% of the ruling Group and felt that it was important to note that the allowance for the Leader of the entire Opposition was equivalent to just one of the three Cabinet Executive Support Members of this Council not including the large number of Cabinet Members.

 

The Leader emphasised that Breckland was a Member led Council and if the Opposition Leader wanted an  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7/21

8/21

Minutes (for information only) (Agenda item 8)

To note the following Minutes:

9/21

Cabinet: 15 November 2021 (Agenda item 9) pdf icon PDF 234 KB

To note the confirmed Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 15 November 2021.

Minutes:

It was noted that the recommendations under Minute No. 102/21 (Saham Toney Neighbourhood Plan) would be discussed under agenda item 15 (page 122 of the agenda pack).

 

RESOLVED that the confirmed Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 15 November 2021 be noted.

 

 

10/21

Overview & Scrutiny Commission (Agenda item 10)

10/21a

28 October 2021 pdf icon PDF 192 KB

To note the confirmed Minutes of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 28 October 2021.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Birt asked for clarification as to whether questions could be asked under the Minutes as his request to ask a question had been refused at a previous meeting.

 

In response, the Chairman explained that there had always been an opportunity to ask questions under this agenda item, and if there was anything contained in the Minutes that Members felt were incorrect, they could raise it accordingly.

 

RESOLVED that the confirmed Minutes of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 28 October 2021 be noted.

10/21b

16 December 2021 pdf icon PDF 163 KB

To note the unconfirmed Minutes of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 16 December 2021.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 16 December 2021 be noted.

11/21

Governance and Audit Committee (Agenda item 11)

11/21a

30 September 2021 pdf icon PDF 186 KB

To note the confirmed Minutes of the Governance and Audit Committee meeting held on 30 September 2021.

 

Minutes:

It was noted that the recommendation under Minute No. 55/21 (Risk Management Policy) was approved at the last Full Council meeting on 14 October 2021.

 

RESOLVED that the confirmed Minutes of the Governance & Audit Committee meeting held on 30 September 2021 be noted.

 

11/21b

2 December 2021 pdf icon PDF 226 KB

To note the unconfirmed Minutes of the Governance and Audit Committee meeting  held on 2 December 2021.

Minutes:

It was noted that the recommendation under Minute No. 71/21 (Constitution - proposed variations) would be discussed under Agenda item 22 (page 376 of the agenda pack).

 

The recommendation under Minute No. 72/21 (Appointment of External Auditors) would be discussed under Agenda item 20 (page 321 of the agenda pack).

 

The recommendation under Minute No. 78/21 (Treasury Management Policy & Strategy) would be discussed under Agenda item 21 (page 329 of the agenda pack).

 

Councillor Kybird pointed out that Mr David Fowler, the new Independent Lay Advisor had been omitted from the attendance details.  It was noted that this would be corrected at the next meeting of the Governance & Audit Committee meeting in February.  

 

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Governance & Audit Committee meeting held on 2 December 2021 be noted.

12/21

Committee of the Licensing Authority: 20 October 2021 (Agenda item 12) pdf icon PDF 126 KB

To note the unconfirmed Minutes of the Committee of the Licensing Authority meeting held on 20 October 2021.

Minutes:

It was noted that the recommendation under Minute No. 46/21 (Revised Gambling Policy) (Statement of Principles)) would be discussed under agenda item 17 (page 248 of the agenda pack)

 

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Committee of the Licensing Authority meeting held on 20 October 2021 be noted.

 

13/21

Licensing Committee: 20 October 2021 (Agenda item 13) pdf icon PDF 115 KB

To note the unconfirmed Minutes of the Licensing Committee meeting held on 20 October 2021.

 

Minutes:

It was noted that the recommendation under Minute No. 38/21 (Revised Taxi Policy & Procedures) would be discussed under Agenda item 16 (page 127 of the agenda pack)

 

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Licensing Committee meeting held on 20 October 2021 be noted.

 

14/21

Planning Committee (Agenda item 14)

14/21a

4 October 2021 pdf icon PDF 227 KB

To note the confirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 4 October 2021.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the confirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 4 October 2021 be noted.

 

14/21b

1 November 2021 pdf icon PDF 245 KB

To note the confirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 1 November 2021.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the confirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 1 November 2021 be noted.

 

14/21c

29 November 2021 pdf icon PDF 122 KB

To note the confirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 29 November 2021.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the confirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 29 November 2021 be noted.

 

14/21d

20 December 2021 pdf icon PDF 226 KB

To note the unconfirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 20 December 2021.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 20 December 2021 be noted.

 

15/21

Saham Toney Neighbourhood Plan - Making (Adoption) of the Neighbourhood Plan (Agenda item 15) pdf icon PDF 234 KB

Report of Councillor Paul Claussen, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economic Development & Growth and the Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhood Planning.

 

Members are asked to note that this report was discussed at the Cabinet meeting on 15 November 2021 where the first three recommendations were approved.  The 4th recommendation is a recommendation to Full Council.

 

 

Minutes:

Councillor Claussen, the Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economic Development & Growth presented the report and hoped that all Members would welcome the ‘making’ of the Saham Toney Neighbourhood Plan.

 

At the Cabinet meeting in November 2021, all Members had acknowledged the hard work that had gone into the making of this Plan.  The community involvement had been higher than the national average and the number of people who had voted in favour was also much higher than the national average too.

 

It was noted that the first 3 recommendations had already been approved at the Cabinet meeting held on 15 November 2021.

 

The fourth recommendation was proposed and seconded.

 

Councillor Crane, a Ward Representative for Saham Toney took the opportunity to highlight the enormous amount of work that had gone into the making of this Plan by the Saham Toney Neighbourhood Plan Working Group and named all the dedicated members of this Group who, over the past 5 years, along with the Parish Council, had made the Neighbourhood Plan possible.  The church bells had been rung in recognition of the overwhelming support of the successful ‘yes’ vote in support of the Plan. Councillor Crane also extended her thanks and congratulations on behalf of the residents of Saham Toney.

 

Councillor Birt, also a Ward Representative for Saham Toney extended his congratulations to all concerned for the extraordinary amount of work that had been carried out but pointed out that there had been a number of problems in getting the Council’s website updated and asked for confirmation that this had now been done.

 

Councillor Claussen said that he was unsure but would check.

 

Following a unanimous vote in favour of the recommendation, it was

 

RESOLVED that the Breckland District policies map be amended to meet the requirements of paragraph 9 Town & Country (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012.

16/21

Adoption of the revised Taxi Policy and Procedures (Agenda item 16) pdf icon PDF 221 KB

Report of Gordon Bambridge, Executive Member for Waste & Environment and the Portfolio Holder for Licensing.

 

Members are asked to note that this report was considered at the Licensing Committee meetings held on 21 July and 20 October 2021 and was recommended to Full Council for adoption.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Bambridge, the Executive Member for Waste & Environment and the Portfolio Holder for Licensing presented the report.

 

The revision of the taxi policies was a matter that the Licensing Committee had been working on for some time along with the Officers and had been unanimously approved and recommended to Council for adoption.

 

Josie Hoven, the Licensing Team Leader was in attendance to answer any specific questions.

 

The recommendation was proposed and seconded, and following a unanimous vote in support, it was

 

RESOLVED that the revised Taxi Policy and Procedures be approved and adopted.

17/21

Gambling Policy Statement of Principles (Agenda item 17) pdf icon PDF 204 KB

Report of Gordon Bambridge, Executive Member for Waste & Environment and the Portfolio Holder for Licensing.

 

Members are asked to note that this report was considered at the Committee of the Licensing Authority meetings held on 21 July and 20 October 2021 and was recommended to Full Council for adoption.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Bambridge, the Executive Member for Waste & Environment and the Portfolio Holder for Licensing presented the report.  The Licensing Team and the Committee of the Licensing Authority had been working very hard on this to ensure that the Council’s Gambling Policy was up to date and accordingly had been recommended to Full Council for adoption.

 

Josie Hoven, the Licensing Team Leader was in attendance to answer any specific questions.

 

The recommendation was proposed and seconded, and following a unanimous vote in support, it was

 

RESOLVED that in order for Breckland Council, as the Licensing Authority, to discharge its statutory duties under the Gambling Act 2005, the revised Gambling Policy (Statement of Principles) be approved and adopted.

 

 

18/21

Property Acquisition - Riversdale, Thetford (Agenda item 18) pdf icon PDF 235 KB

Report of Councillor Paul Hewett, Executive Member for Property & Projects.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Mark Robinson, the Executive Member for Customer, Digital & Performance declared and interest in this item due to him being a trustee of the property.  Councillor Robinson refused to comment or vote on this item.

 

Councillor Paul Hewett, the Executive Member for Property & Projects presented the report.

 

Ralph Burton, the Assistant Director for Property & Projects was in attendance to answer any specific questions about this property transaction.

 

This report had been brought to Full Council for approval as under the financial procedure rules, in order for it to be a delegated decision, the relevant budget needed to be approved. However, in this instance there was not a budget in place for this project until February/March 2022.

 

This was an opportunity that the Team had been exploring in great detail and would transform this particular part of Thetford. This was not a decision that had to be made in statute, but this project had significant potential and under the Council’s ‘thriving places’ objective, Councillor Hewett believed that it would enhance the local area, increase visits and public engagement and would ultimately have a positive impact for Thetford as a whole.

 

The report highlighted the opportunity for the Council to acquire a strategic significant building on the river frontage in Thetford.  Keystone Development Trust were seeking to dispose of the property and the Council owned land either side and therefore, with the property coming up for purchase, this felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity to resemble all of the land to support any future opportunity to regenerate this part of Thetford. The river frontage was a prominent feature in the town centre and was a strategic important property that would enable the Council to make a step change in the transformation of Thetford town centre.

 

This was not a purchase with a commercial ambition.  This was a purchase with a regenerative ambition which might involve the removal of the current building at some point in the future but for the short-term the Council would be leasing the building back to Keystone Development Trust to continue keystones purposes within it.

 

The question Councillor Hewett was asking Members to support was to agree and authorise Option 1 of the report.

 

The recommendation was proposed and seconded.

 

Councillor James thanked both the Executive Member and the Assistant Director for Property & Infrastructure for being incredibly supportive towards her as a Ward Member on this particular issue.  This was a really exciting opportunity for Thetford, and this was a fantastic opportunity and prospect for the regeneration of Thetford.  Currently, the town had considerable investment happening and people wanted to be in the river area and this purchase would support that continued development and enhancement of what she called the jewel in Thetford’s crown and urged the Council to continue its bold and innovative approach to deliver for its residents and support the purchase of this property. 

 

Councillor Brindle, also a Ward Member for Thetford, agreed with most of what Councillor James had said, the river  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18/21

19/21

Performance Framework (Agenda item 19) pdf icon PDF 203 KB

Report of Councillor Mark Robinson, Executive Member for Customer, Digital & Performance.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was noted that this report was originally on the agenda for the 9 December 2021 meeting.

 

Councillor Mark Robinson, the Executive Member for Customer, Digital & Performance was pleased to present to Members the Council’s new Performance Framework.  Officers had been working on this new Framework for several months both in conjunction with the best practice set out by the Council’s Audit Team as well as being in line with Local Government Associations best practice to ensure that this was the right way forward.

 

It had been designed to provide the Council’s current performance setting greater strength and did not seek to change any of the current reporting functions and the report would still be viewed by the Overview & Scrutiny Commission and Cabinet on a quarterly basis.

 

The recommendation was proposed and seconded.

 

Ryan Pack, the Innovation & Change Business Partner was in attendance to answer any questions.  No questions were asked.

 

Following a unanimous vote in favour of the recommendation, it was:

 

RESOLVED that the draft Performance Framework be adopted.

20/21

Appointment of External Auditors from 2023-24 (Agenda item 20) pdf icon PDF 284 KB

Report of Phil Cowen, Executive Member for Finance, Revenue & Benefits and Maxine O’Mahony, Chief Executive.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This report had already been considered and discussed at the Governance & Audit Committee meeting held on 2 December 2021.

 

Councillor Cowen, the Executive Member for Finance, Revenues & Benefits and the Portfolio Holder for internal and external audit presented the report.  He thanked the Governance & Audit Committee Members for the work they had done in looking at the external auditor provision for this Council.

 

It was with great pride that when he looked at some of the audit comments received year after year that he was very happy to propose the recommendation which was duly seconded.

 

The external auditor for the 2023-24 financial year must be appointed before the end of December 2022, and if a Local Authority wishes to opt into the Public Sector Audit Appointments Ltd (PSAA) national scheme, this must be completed by 11 March 2022. The new PSAA appointing period was for five years from 2023-24 to 2027-28

 

Alison Chubbock, the Assistant Director of Finance & S151 Officer was in attendance to answer any questions.  No questions were asked.

 

Following a unanimous vote in favour of the recommendation, it was:

 

RESOLVED that the Public Sector Audit Appointments’ invitation to opt into the sector led option for the appointment of external auditors for five years from 1 April 2023 be accepted.

21/21

Treasury Management Policy & Strategy 2022-23 (Agenda item 21) pdf icon PDF 318 KB

Report of Phil Cowen, Executive Member for Finance, Revenue & Benefits and Maxine O’Mahony, Chief Executive.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was noted that this report had already been considered and discussed at the Governance & Audit Committee meeting held on 2 December 2021.

 

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

 

The recommendations were proposed and seconded.

 

Alison Chubbock, the Assistant Director of Finance & S151 Officer was in attendance to answer any questions. 

 

Following a unanimous vote in favour of the recommendations, it was:

 

RESOLVED that:

 

  1. the Treasury Management Strategy 2022-23 to 2024-25 at Appendix A be approved

 

  1. the Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) statement contained within Appendix A which sets out the Council’s policy on MRP be approved

 

  1. the Prudential & Local Indicators and limits contained within Appendix A (Tables 1- 11) be approved

 

  1. the Investment Strategy 2022-23 (Appendix B) and the detailed criteria included in Appendix B1 be approved

 

  1. the Treasury Management Policy at Appendix B2 be approved.

 

22/21

Constitution - Proposed Variations (Agenda item 22) pdf icon PDF 427 KB

Report of Councillor Ian Sherwood, Executive Member for People, Communications & Governance.

Minutes:

The Chairman introduced the report which had already been discussed at the Governance & Audit Committee meeting on 2 December 2021.

 

Councillor Ian Sherwood, the Executive Member for People, Communications & Governance presented the report and referred Members to the recommendations on page 376 of the agenda pack.

 

At the Governance & Audit Committee meeting, the proposals had been discussed, and all Members had been given the opportunity to raise any concerns or questions and subsequently had recommended the five recommendations to Full Council for approval. 

 

The recommendations were proposed and seconded and would be taken enbloc.

 

Councillor Jermy, the Leader of the Opposition did not support all the recommendations and was disappointed that these would not be taken individually and therefore he would be forced to vote against them all.  He asked for his opinion on this matter to be recorded.

 

He did not support recommendation no. 3, the variation to Standing Order No. 6, questions on notice and Standing Order no. 7, questions without notice as he felt that this was an attack on scrutiny and accountability and was being put forward as a vain drive on efficiencies. He reminded Members of how long previous Full Council meetings had lasted, not very long, and if this was too taxing for Members, this Council was in a sorry state of affairs.  Earlier in this meeting, all had heard that Members were so very hard working and were paid accordingly but now it was amending the Constitution to erode accountability in the name of efficiency and did not have the time every so often to subject itself to questioning.  He felt that the review that had been pencilled in for May 2023 was worth noting, as it was in the year when Breckland would be approaching the next set of Elections - Members would be voting to limit the opportunity for questioning, and then it would be reviewed. Even now, combining two Full Council meetings into one, this meeting had almost finished, and it had not even reached midday. The EDP had recently highlighted how elected Politicians were quick to seek out the press when sharing good news but went to ground when it was something that they did not want to talk about, like ‘beating horses’ for example.  These proposals were akin to these concerns, weakening accountability and scrutiny that led to bad decision making and ultimately a disservice to the Council’s residents; 40% of which did not vote Conservative at the last Election.

 

Councillor Jermy could not see how these meetings could be considered as lasting too long and he could not see that these proposals would lead to greater efficiency.  He felt that these meetings would be in comparison to Norfolk County Council’s – questions from the Opposition Group Leaders and in an attempt that they did not get a second round, those in the ruling Group would have some questions to fill the remainder of the time; therefore, every set of questions would be guaranteed to last for 30  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22/21

23/21

General Purposes Committee (Agenda item 23) pdf icon PDF 357 KB

Report of Councillor Ian Sherwood, Executive Member for People, Communications and Governance and Rob Walker, Executive Director & Monitoring Officer.

Minutes:

Rob Walker, the Monitoring Officer presented the report.

 

The report sought Members’ agreement to re-establish the General Purposes Committee.  For those Members who formed part of the Council pre-2016, this Committee would have been a familiar part of the democratic structure at Breckland.

 

There was a whole range of functions and constitutional changed detailed in the body of the report and the intention of the General Purposes Committee was to look at Member related training, staffing training and staffing issues as the organisation developed and evolved over the forthcoming years.

 

As part of the proposals, the Member Development Panel would be decommissioned, and the work subsumed by the General Purposes Committee.  It would deal with all staffing issues except for those functions under the Appointment & Disciplinary Committee.

 

Details of the size and composition of the Committee could be found at sections 2.11 and 2.12 of the report.

 

Councillor Ian Sherwood, the Executive Member for People, Communications & Governance and the Portfolio Holder for Democratic Services and Legal Services proposed and read aloud the 7 recommendations which were duly seconded.

 

Councillor Gilbert supported the recommendations as he felt that it was an upgrade of the Member Development Panel, which in his opinion, had lower status than a committee and this General Purposes Committee now formed part of the committee structure which would be reporting to Full Council.  He hoped that this would encourage more Members to get involved in the Member training programme.

 

Following a unanimous vote in favour of the recommendations, it was:

 

RESOLVED that:

 

  1. the General Purposes Committee be re-established with immediate effect as follows:

 

(a) the Committee be given full powers to (i) determine all issues relating to member and staff training (i.e. the former duties of the Member Development Panel), and (ii) undertake the following functions as described in Schedule 1 of the Local Authorities (Functions and Responsibilities) (England) Regulations 2000 (provided they are within budget and except where any function must specifically be undertaken by Full Council):

 

·                      functions relating to health and safety at work

·                      functions relating to elections;

·                      functions relating to community governance;

·                      amending, revoking, re-enacting, or enforcing byelaws; functions relating to smoke free premises;

·                     functions relating to pensions;

·                     appointment of staff and determination of terms and conditions on which they hold office (including procedures for dismissal) – (this will include service reviews, appointment of staff, provision of staff for HOPS, MO and any person nominated by MO, and staffing policies that relate in any way to terms and conditions of employment including redundancy, early retirement, and discretionary compensation, but excluding those staffing issues delegated to the Appointments and Disciplinary Committee);

·                     power to make payments or provide other benefits in cases of maladministration, etc.;

·                     Alcohol Designated Public Places;

·                     Alcohol Disorder Zones.

 

(b)     the Committee comprise 6 members, allocated in accordance with political group regulations

 

(c)     the quorum be 3

 

(d)     substitute members be permitted, with 1 substitute member nominated by each group

 

  1. in accordance with Standing Order no. 34 the Chairman and Vice-Chairman  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23/21

24/21

Nominations for Committee and other Seats (Agenda item 24)

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

Minutes:

Committee Appointments:

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1.               Councillor Mark Kiddle-Morris be appointed to the Licensing           Committee and the Committee of the Licensing Authority.

 

2.               Councillor Robert Hambidge to replace Councillor Mark Kiddle-          Morris on the Overview & Scrutiny Commission.

 

3.               Councillor Lynda Turner to be replaced by Councillor Eagle as           Vice-Chairman of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission –           Councillor Turner to remain as a member.

 

The following Members be appointed to the General Purposes Committee:

 

Councillor Lynda Turner (Chairman)

Councillor Ed Colman (Vice-Chairman)

Councillor Tristan Ashby

Councillor Susan Dowling

Councillor Robert Hambidge

Councillor Linda Monument

Councillor Phillip Duigan (substitute)

Councillor Terry Jermy (substitute)

 

Outside Body Appointments:

 

1.     Councillor Gordon Bambridge be appointed as the Council’s representative on the Restorative Approaches Board.

 

2.     Councillor Robert Hambidge be appointed as the Council’s substitute on the Norfolk Countrywide Community Safety Partnership Scrutiny Sub Panel

 

3.     Councillor Marion Chapman-Allen be appointed as the Council’s representative on the Supporting People Commissioning Body – Members Champion Group

 

4.     Councillor Paul Claussen be appointed as the Council’s representative on the Norfolk Investment Framework Steering Committee and Councillor Sarah Suggitt be appointed as his substitute.

 

For clarity, Councillor Jermy asked the Legal Services Manager to confirm the constitutionality of appointing Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Committees under this agenda item, which he believed was specifically for committee seats and not to appoint to Chairs and Vice-Chairs.

 

In response, the Legal Services Manager confirmed that Standing Order 34.2 did confirm that the Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen for each standing committee shall be appointed by Council and therefore was content that it could fall under this agenda item.

 

Rob Walker, the Executive Director & the Council’s Monitoring Officer explained that if the Chairman of the Council was happy to do so proposals and seconders for such appointments could be received.

 

It was agreed that these matters would be discussed under agenda item 26.

 

25/21

Amendments to the Constitution (if any) (Agenda item 25)

Minutes:

None.

26/21

Any other items which the Chairman decides are urgent (Agenda item 26)

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:

Further to agenda item 24, the nominations for Chairman and Vice-Chairman were discussed under this agenda item.

 

General Purposes Committee:

 

It was proposed and seconded that Councillor Lynda Turner be appointed as Chairman of the General Purposes Committee and Councillor Ed Colman be appointed as Vice-Chairman.

 

Following a vote, including 2 votes against the proposal and 6 abstentions, it was:

 

RESOLVED that:

 

Councillor Lynda Turner be appointed as Chairman and Councillor Ed Colman be appointed as Vice-Chairman of the General Purposes Committee.

 

Overview & Scrutiny Commission:

 

It was proposed and seconded that Councillor Fabian Eagle be appointed as Vice-Chairman of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission.

 

Following a vote, including 4 votes against the proposal, it was:

 

RESOLVED that:

 

Councillor Fabian Eagle be appointed as Vice-Chairman of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission.

 

.