Agenda and draft minutes

County Council - Thursday, 4th November, 2021 10.20 am

Venue: Ashburton Hall, Winchester

Contact: Email: members.services@hants.gov.uk 

Media

Items
No. Item

35.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.

 

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Roz Chadd, Mark Cooper and Seán Woodward.

 

Apologies were also received from Honorary Alderman Phrynette Dickens.

 

 

36.

Declarations of Interest

All Members who believe they have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in any matter to be considered at the meeting must declare that interest and, having regard to Part 3 Paragraph 1.5 of the County Council's Members’ Code of Conduct, leave the meeting while the matter is discussed, save for exercising any right to speak in accordance with Paragraph 1.6 of the Code.  Furthermore all Members with a Personal Interest in a matter being considered at the meeting should consider, having regard to Part 5, Paragraph 4 of the Code, whether such interest should be declared, and having regard to Part 5, Paragraph 5 of the Code, consider whether it is appropriate to leave the meeting while the matter is discussed, save for exercising any right to speak in accordance with the Code.

Minutes:

All Members who believe they have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in any matter to be considered at the meeting must declare that interest and, having regard to Part 3 Paragraph 1.5 of the County Council's Members’ Code of Conduct, leave the meeting while the matter is discussed, save for exercising any right to speak in accordance with Paragraph 1.6 of the Code. Furthermore all Members with a Personal Interest in a matter being considered at the meeting should consider, having regard to Part 5, Paragraph 4 of the Code, whether such interest should be declared, and having regard to Part 5, Paragraph 5 of the Code, consider whether it is appropriate to leave the meeting while the matter is discussed, save for exercising any right to speak in accordance with the Code.

 

In regard to Item 10 on the Agenda, Councillor Irish declared a person interest as Vice-Chairman of the community organisation Good Neighbours

 

 

37.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 267 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 30 September 2021.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Special County Council Meeting held on 30 September 2021 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.  There were no matters arising.

 

 

38.

Deputations

To receive a deputation from Teresa Skelton regarding the County Council’s deputation procedure.

 

Minutes:

The Council received a deputation from Mrs Teresa Skelton regarding the County Council’s deputation procedure.

 

 

39.

Chairman's Announcements

To receive such announcements as the Chairman may wish to make to the Council.

Minutes:

The Chairman announced a number of awards received by the County Council as follows:

 

-           All five of the County Council’s country parks has been awarded a Green Flag for 2021 recognising good management of Parks and Green Spaces.  Lepe, Staunton, River Hamble, Royal Victoria, and Queen Elizabeth Country Parks all gained Green Flag status with Staunton and Royal Victoria Parks achieving Green Heritage Accreditation for the management of these sites’ unique historic features. 
  

-           Stoneham Park Primary Academy in Eastleigh won a regional Local Authority Building Control (LABC) Excellence Award and has been shortlisted as a finalist for the national People and Place Awards 2021.  The building was designed as a sustainable pilot project with 50% less carbon used in construction compared to a standard steel and concrete structure.

-           Bill Dyet, Registered Manager, Laura Carter, Deputy Unit Manager and Natalie Oldfield, Senior Residential Care Worker at Malmesbury Lawn Care Home have successfully completed the Gold Standard Framework Care Homes Reaccreditation Assessment and have been awarded the Quality Hallmark Award at Platinum status, which recognises the sustained practice to maintain Gold Standard Framework in a care home setting.  

-           The Children’s Services Willow Team has been recognised as an ‘Outstanding Contribution Winner’ in this year’s National Anti-Slavery Day Awards in the ‘Statutory Services’ category.  The Willow Team works with children and young people who are at risk of criminal and sexual exploitation.  The team work closely with the Police and health partners to reduce risk in respect of child exploitation in all its forms.

-           Hampshire County Council’s Highways team has won the International Green Apple Environment Award for the new Highway Materials Recycling Facility at Micheldever which became operational earlier this year. Highways officers worked collaboratively with Milestone Infrastructure and OCL to develop the new facility which processes large quantities of excavated road material for re-use across the Hampshire network resulting in significant carbon savings and reduced reliance on freshly quarried aggregate products.

The Chairman reported on a number of events that he had represented the County Council at:

  • 25 Year Long Service Celebrations – 14th and 20th October
  • HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire SERFCA Awards – 19 October
  • BEM Presentation Ceremony – 26 October
  • Sparsholt College Group / University Centre Graduation Ceremony – 1 November
  • Opening of the renovated Petersfield Museum (attended by the Vice-Chairman on the Chairman’s behalf

 

 

40.

Leader's Report

To receive such reports as the Leader of the Council may wish to bring before the Council.

Minutes:

The Leader paid tribute to David Amies MP who had recently died in tragic circumstances.

Against the backdrop of the COP26 Conference in Glasgow the Leader reported that the County Council’s first Climate Change Annual Report had been received at Cabinet in October. The report outlined the significant progress being made across the county to reduce carbon emissions and ensure that Hampshire is prepared for the impacts of climate change. Over the last year the County Council had planted over 1,250 trees; secured Government funding for the installation of 50 on-street residential electric vehicle charge points; and provided support and advice to 40 Hampshire communities on reducing their carbon footprints and much more.

Turning to Covid 19, the Leader reported that infection rates were continuing to rise across Hampshire, in line with national rates and referred to the national vaccination programme including the offer of vaccinations to children between the ages of 12 and 15, and the offer of booster vaccinations as well as the annual flu jab to boost vital immunity against both viruses.

The Leader reported on the ‘connect4communities’ programme, led by the County Council, in collaboration with community partners, ensuring that around 40,000 children from eligible families across the county received food vouchers over the October half term.  He was also pleased to report that the County Council would again facilitate the Holiday Activity and Food programme, funded by the Department for Education, during the Christmas holidays. The programme of schemes offers healthy food and activities to children who are eligible for free school meals and had successfully run throughout the Easter and summer school holidays reaching in the region of 100,000 Hampshire children during the summer.  Eligible parents and carers were urged to ensure that their children are signed up for free school meals so they can access this scheme. 

The Leader reported on progress with the Pan-Hampshire County Deal.  In recognising the importance of full and meaningful engagement with its partners, including  District and Borough Councils and neighbouring Unitary Councils, the County Council was working with all Leaders and Chief Executives to develop plans and documentation whilst maintaining the momentum already demonstrated to the Government.  This was a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity for change and by working closely with partners, it would be possible to deliver better outcomes for residents in the Pan-Hampshire area.  The key purpose of the County Deal was about levelling up where it was needed and delegating power from the centre rather than reorganising local government

The Leader reported on the Chancellor’s Spending Review and Autumn Budget last Wednesday and particularly welcomed the return to a multi-year financial plan, following two consecutive single year events, which had made financial planning extremely challenging for the Council.  The Budget included local government funding increases such as a £4.8 billion boost to grant funding over the next three years; details of how this would be distributed was awaited.  Although this news was to be welcomed, the Leader reported of his  disappointment  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.

41.

Questions under Standing Order 16.1.1 pdf icon PDF 205 KB

To deal with questions pursuant to Standing Order 16.1.1.  Where a member has submitted more than one question, their second and subsequent questions will not be answered until all members’ first questions have been dealt with.

 

Minutes:

Executive Members responded to questions submitted in accordance with Standing Order 16.1.1 as published with the exception of questions 9-14 for which a full written answer would be circulated in accordance with Standing Order 16.1.5.

 

 

42.

Appointments

There are no appointments on this occasion.

Minutes:

There were no appointments on this occasion.

 

 

43.

Appointment of Independent Persons pdf icon PDF 179 KB

To consider a report of the Conduct Advisory Panel recommending the appointment of Independent Persons for the County Council.

Minutes:

The Council considered the report of the Conduct Advisory Panel recommending the appointment of two Independent Persons, in accordance with the requirements of Section 28 (7) of the Localism Act 2011 following candidate interviews by the Conduct Advisory Panel on 13 October 2021.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the County Council approve the appointment of Julie Byrom, Fasil Bhatti and Becky Attwood as Independent Persons for a four-year period of office expiring on 31 July 2025.

 

 

44.

Medium Term Financial Strategy Update and Savings Programme to 2023 Savings Proposals pdf icon PDF 110 KB

To consider a report of Cabinet seeking approval of the mid-year report on Treasury Management activity, for savings proposals and a number of other financial decisions.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered the report of Cabinet seeking approval of the mid-year report on Treasury Management activity, savings proposals and a number of other decisions.

 

In presenting the report, the Leader highlighted that operating a two-year financial strategy had served the County Council well in the past and that approach would be continued, a feature of which was the use of reserves to provide flexibility whilst working towards making required savings.  Support from central Government did not always meet the cost of providing the County Council’s statutory services.  A deficit of circa £80m was anticipated and the reduced threshold for the increase of the adult social care council tax precept (from 2% to 1% next year) presented additional pressure.  It was necessary therefore to target resources where most needed; maximising income generation, and continuing the lobbying of MPs.  The County Deal, as referred to in the Leader’s earlier report and the opportunities it offered were being explored.  The savings proposals had been informed by a public consultation exercise and future consultation on detailed proposals would follow.  The Leader handed over to Councillor Steve Forster, Executive Member for Commercial Strategy, Estates and Property to expand on the Savings Programme.

 

The Executive Member drew Members attention to the increased overall budget which was focussed on delivering statutory services, adult social care and children’s services, and investing in new technology. Other savings measures were related to the ‘new normal’ post Covid and changes to residents’ habits such as a reduction in patronage of community transport services.  As referred to by the Leader, the proposals had been influenced by public consultation together with the work of the County Council’s Select Committees.  Some of the County Council’s reserves had been used to help support partners for Covid-related purposes and to keep services running.  Members attention was also drawn to additional funding for Economy, Transport and Environment to provide more flexibility on planned and reactive road maintenance. 

 

The Group Leaders responded to the proposals and recognised the challenges that the County Council faced.  Whilst some of the proposals were to be welcomed, they expressed reservations about the County Council’s commercial strategy, the effect the lobbying of MPs was having and the impact on public health, social care and community services.  Some disappointment was expressed about the public consultation exercise; with the statement regarding climate change, and with the allocation of resources for two Assistant to the Executive posts, Platinum Jubilee celebrations and building refurbishment

 

Councillor House proposed the following Amendment, which was seconded by Councillor Adrian Collett:

 

1.         Amend recommendation (b) to add at the end “, with the deletion of budget reduction HQ-23-1 as set out in Appendix 3 to the Cabinet Report (page 125 of the papers) to protect support to the voluntary sector, the financial consequences of which will need to be addressed as part of the development of the next Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS)”; and

2.         Delete recommendation (f).

 

During the course of the ensuing debate, Members expressed both support  ...  view the full minutes text for item 44.

45.

Amendment to Constitution, Contract Standing Orders and Financial Regulations pdf icon PDF 186 KB

To consider a report of Cabinet seeking approval of changes to the Constitution, Contract Standing Orders and Financial Regulations.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered the report of Cabinet seeking approval of changes to the Constitution, Contract Standing Orders and Financial Regulations.

 

In presenting the report the Leader referred to the recommendation to increase the key decision threshold from £1m to £2m.  He drew Members attention to paragraph 1.1 (b) of the report detailing the second criteria determining a key decision: “to be significant in terms of its effects on communities living or working in an area comprising two or more electoral divisions in the County Council’s administrative area.”  This meant that decision matters, including significant policy decisions falling into the second criteria could in financial terms, be considerably less than the £2m financial threshold and would still be determined as a ‘key’ decision.

 

During the course of debate concern was expressed about the raising of the financial threshold determining a key decision and the possible effect on the public’s perception of democratic accountability and transparency, the ease for which Members, and particularly Opposition Spokespersons, would be aware of forthcoming decisions and whether those decisions were improving  the County Council’s carbon footprint.

 

The Leader responded and confirmed that the proposed changes were not intended to lessen transparency or Member engagement and were designed to support business efficiency.  However, processes to support Opposition Spokespersons awareness of forthcoming decisions would be looked at.  He also highlighted that any matter submitted to an Executive Member for decision was published in advance to facilitate Member engagement and supported by a full risk assessment.  The Leader would be asking officers to look into the specific questions raised by Members which would be responded to outside of the meeting.

 

In accordance with Standing Order 22.3 Councillor House called for a recorded vote which was supported by the required 10 Members, the outcome of which was:

 

For - 49:

Councillors: Adams-King, Bains, Bowerman, Branson, Briggs, Broomfield, Burgess, Carpenter, R Cooper, Curnow-Ford, Davies, Drew, Dunning, Fairhurst, Ford, Forster, Glen, Harvey, Hayre, Henderson, Heron, Huggins, Humby, Jackman, Joy, Kemp-Gee, Latham, Lumby, Mans, McEvoy, Meenaghan, Mocatta, Mummalaneni, K North, P North, Oppenheimer, Pankhurst, Parker, Parker-Jones, Penman, Philpott, Quantrill, Reid, Stallard, Thacker, Thierry, Vaughan, Warwick and Withers.

 

Against: 16

Councillors: Chegwyn, Collett, Craig, Crawford, Groves, Harrison, Hiscock, House, Irish, Park, Porter, Price, Taylor, Tod, Tustain and Wade.

 

Abstain: 1

Councillor Kendal

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the County Council:

 

a)     Agree an increase of the current financial threshold for a Key Decision (£1 million) to £2 million. 

 

b)     Agree the revised approvals required in the case of STAs, authority levels and purchasing / tendering procedures and thresholds as proposed at Paragraphs 15 - 21 of the Cabinet report, and consequential revisions to Contract Standing Orders as indicated at Appendix 1 of the Cabinet report

 

c)     Agree the increases in the approval limits relating to Capital Expenditure contained in Financial Regulations as proposed at Paragraph 22 of the Cabinet report. 

 

d)     Delegates authority to the Monitoring Officer to amend the Constitution, Contract Standing Orders and Financial Regulations, to give effect to the recommendations at  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.

46.

Serving Hampshire's Residents - Strategic Plan 2021-2025 pdf icon PDF 253 KB

To consider a report of Cabinet seeking approval of amendments to the Serving Hampshire Strategic Plan 2021-2025.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered the report of Cabinet recommending an amendment to Outcome One of the “Serving Hampshire’s Residents – Strategic Plan 2021 – 2025”. 

 

In presenting the report, the Leader confirmed that the Plan had been considered at the September Council Meeting at which it was agreed that a number of points raised by Councillor Tod would be considered by Cabinet at its meeting on 12 October.  An amendment to the Plan was recommended to Outcome One to reflect Hampshire maintaining strong resilient and ‘sustainable’ economic growth and prosperity, and an additional priority: “promoting the circular economy to minimise waste and use of natural resources.”

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the County Council Amend Outcome One of the “Serving Hampshire’s Residents – Strategic Plan 2021 – 2025” as detailed in the extract from the Strategic Plan attached to the Cabinet Decision Record (annexed to these minutes).

 

 

47.

Constitutional Arrangements - Appointments to the Health and Wellbeing Board for Hampshire pdf icon PDF 192 KB

To receive a report from the Chairman of the Health and Wellbeing Board for Hampshire notifying the Council of appointments made to the Board under delegated authority.

 

Minutes:

The Council received and noted the report of the Health and Wellbeing Board for Hampshire reporting several changes to the membership of the Board taken under delegated authority by the Head of Law and Governance and Monitoring Officer, in consultation with the Chairman of the Health and Wellbeing Board.

 

 

The Meeting closed at 2.35pm.