Agenda and minutes

Council
Thursday, 14th December, 2017 6.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Penns Place, Petersfield, GU31 4EX. View directions

Contact: Penny Milne  Democratic Services Team Leader - 023 9244 6234

Items
No. Item

59.

Chairman's Announcements

Minutes:

At the invitation of the Chairman, Councillor Sally Pond, as Chairman of the Councillor Development Panel, announced that the Council had been awarded Charter for Elected Member accreditation following a whole day assessment undertaken by South East Employers.  Councillor Pond took the opportunity to thank all those Councillors and officers who had contributed to the work of the Panel in taking forward the bid and to those who had taken part in the assessment day.

60.

Two Saints - Presentation to Council

At the invitation of the Chairman of the Council, Simon Brickell and Georgina Shane of Two Saints will be giving a presentation to Council on the work of this charitable organisation supporting the homeless.

Minutes:

The Council received a presentation from Ms Georgina Shane and Mr Simon Brickell from Two Saints, on the work of this charitable organisation in supporting homeless people in East Hampshire.   The Chairman was supporting Two Saints as her chosen charity during her year of office.

 

Ms Shane gave an outline of the partnership approach through the PEIRS (Prevention, Early Intervention and Resettlement Service) Contract, in focusing localised and joined-up services to provide accommodation and support to homeless people and people at risk of becoming homeless.  Ms Shane also highlighted some of the health, financial and other issues and difficulties facing homeless people of all ages across East Hampshire and the help and support that Two Saints was able to offer.

 

The Chairman gave Councillors an opportunity to ask questions and, on behalf of the Council, the Chairman then thanked Ms Shane and Mr Brickell for their interesting and informative presentation.

61.

Apologies for Absence

To receive and record any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Abdey, Drew, Glass, Hill, Moon, Orme, Phillips, Saunders and Tickell.

62.

Declarations of Interest

To receive and record any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest from any of the members present.

63.

Confirmation of Previous Minutes

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 2 November (previously circulated).

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 2 November 2017 were approved as a correct record.

64.

Public Question Time (Standing Order 13.4(f)(i))

To deal with any public questions notified at least two clear working days before the meeting.

Minutes:

There were no public questions.

65.

Cabinet Recommendations

The Council to consider the following recommendations arising from the meeting of the Cabinet held on 5 December 2017.  The agenda and reports for this meeting can be viewed via the following link:

 

https://easthantsintranet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/g2124/Public%20reports%20pack%2005th-Dec-2017%2017.00%20Cabinet.pdf?T=10&$LO$=1

 

(A)         Council Tax Support Scheme 2018/19

RECOMMENDED to full Council that:

 

(1)  The Universal Credit Full Service be rolled out in East Hampshire Jobcentre Offices from July 2018.  This is when the Department for Works and Pensions start to move the working age people receiving legacy benefits (Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, Employment & Support Allowance, Tax Credits and Housing Benefit) to Universal Credit. Although the Benefit Team is working closely with their DWP Business Development partner in order to ensure a managed transition for our customers to Universal Credit.  To introduce significant changes to the current Council Tax Support Scheme in 2018/19 may cause additional financial hardship to our customers and operational problems to the Benefits Team during an already difficult period of time. 

(2)  the 2017/18 Council Tax Support Scheme be retained for 2018/19 but with the following amendments:

a.    the Allowances and Premiums used in determining entitlement  for working age claims are changed as set out in paragraph 4.8 of this report; and

b.    the Non-Dependant deductions used in determining entitlement for working age claims are changed as set out in paragraph 4.9 of this report.

(3)  The necessary amendments be made to the Council Tax Support Scheme document and that it is then published in accordance with Local Government Finance Act 1992 Section 13A(2); and

(4)  an annual Council Tax Support Hardship Fund of £5,000 be introduced, to support the most vulnerable Council Tax Support Customers as set out in paragraph 5 of this report. The £5,000 would form part of the budget process (2018/19) and would be agreed at Full Council in February. 

(B)         Councillor Development Strategy

RECOMMENDED that the Councillor Development Strategy 2017-19 update be approved and adopted.

Minutes:

The Council considered the following recommendations arising from the meeting of the Cabinet held on 5 December 2017:

 

(A)         Council Tax Support Scheme

 

Councillor Cowper introduced this item and outlined the Council’s commitment, through its Council Tax Support Scheme, to supporting residents affected by the implementation of Universal Credit.

 

Proposed by Councillor Cowper and seconded by Councillor Williams, it was

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)       the Universal Credit Full Service be rolled out in East Hampshire Jobcentre Offices from July 2018.  This is when the Department for Works and Pensions start to move the working age people receiving legacy benefits (Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, Employment & Support Allowance, Tax Credits and Housing Benefit) to Universal Credit. Although the Benefit Team is working closely with their DWP Business Development partner in order to ensure a managed transition for our customers to Universal Credit.  To introduce significant changes to the current Council Tax Support Scheme in 2018/19 may cause additional financial hardship to our customers and operational problems to the Benefits Team during an already difficult period of time, therefore:

(2)       the 2017/18 Council Tax Support Scheme be retained for 2018/19 but with the following amendments:

 

(i)           the Allowances and Premiums used in determining entitlement  for working age claims are changed as set out in paragraph 4.8 of this report; and

 

(ii)          the Non-Dependant deductions used in determining entitlement for working age claims are changed as set out in paragraph 4.9 of this report.

 

(3)       the necessary amendments be made to the Council Tax Support Scheme document and that it is then published in accordance with Local Government Finance Act 1992 Section 13A(2); and

 

(4)       an annual Council Tax Support Hardship Fund of £5,000 be introduced, to support the most vulnerable Council Tax Support Customers as set out in paragraph 5 of this report. The £5,000 would form part of the budget process (2018/19) and would be agreed at Full Council in February. 

 

(B)         Councillor Development Strategy

 

Councillor Thomas introduced this item.  The updated Councillor Development Strategy reflected the Council’s commitment to training and developing Councillors in order to support them in their roles as elected members and community leaders.

 

Proposed by Councillor Thomas and seconded by Councillor Pond, it was

 

RESOLVED that the updated Councillor Development Strategy be approved and adopted.

66.

Committee Recommendations

The Council to consider the following recommendation arising from the meeting of the Licensing Committee held on 24 November 2017.  The agenda and reports for the meeting can be viewed via the following link:

 

https://easthantsintranet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=145&MId=2273&$LO$=1

 

(A)         Gambling Act 2005 – Review of Statement of Principles

 

RECOMMENDED to full Council that the updated Statement of Principles on the Gambling Act 2005 be approved and adopted.

Minutes:

The Councillor considered the following recommendation arising from the meeting of the Licensing Committee held on 24 November 2017:

 

Gambling Act 2005 – Review of Statement of Principles

 

Councillor Ayer presented this recommendation to Council.  Proposed by Councillor Ayer and seconded by Councillor Ashcroft, it was:

 

RESOLVED that the updated Statement of Principles on the Gambling Act 2005 be approved and adopted.

67.

Questions under Procedural Order 23.4 (a)

(Notice of questions from Councillors must be given in writing at least 48 hours before the meeting)

Minutes:

There were no questions under Standing Order 23.

68.

Questions under Procedural Order 23.4(b)

(Questions from Councillors relating to urgent business, of which notice has not been given under Procedural Order 23.4(a), to be received at least two hours prior to the start the meeting).

Minutes:

There were no urgent questions.

69.

Calendar of Meetings 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 72 KB

RECOMMENDED that the draft Calendar of Meetings for 2018/19 be approved.

Minutes:

Proposed by Councillor Thomas and seconded by Councillor Budden, it was

 

RESOLVED that the Calendar of Meetings for 2018/19 be approved.

70.

Borrowing for Investment Purposes pdf icon PDF 36 KB

Minutes:

In February 2017 full Council had approved the Council’s Treasury Management Policy and Prudential indicators, which provided the framework for an investment strategy, financed through borrowing, of £40m per year up to £200m over the life of the medium term financial strategy.

 

In order to meet the Council’s investment property aspirations it was recommended to accelerate borrowing by removing the £40m per year limit, thereby permitting borrowing of up to £200m over the life of the Council’s medium term financial strategy.

 

Councillor Cowper gave an outline of the Council’s approach to property investment as a key element of the Council’s income generation strategy.   Property acquisitions to date had generated a yield significantly greater than alternative investment options and the Council needed flexibility to be able to act quickly in an increasingly competitive market with many local authorities now seeking lucrative property investment opportunities. 

 

An assurance was given that all proposed investment opportunities were subject to a robust approval process, including sign-off by the Finance Portfolio Holder, the Executive Director (Operations) and the Chief Finance Officer.

 

The Chairman had agreed to the addition of this late item as, in order to meet its property investment aspirations and commence work on this important project, the Council needed to make a decision before its next scheduled meeting in February 2018.

 

Proposed by Councillor Cowper and seconded by Councillor Costigan, it was

 

RESOLVED that authority be given to the Executive Director (Operations), in consultation with the Section 151 Officer, to borrow up to £200 million in order to meet the Council’s investment property aspirations for identified and specified property acquisitions.

 

At his request, Councillor Joy was recorded as having abstained from the vote on this item.

71.

Committee Minutes

To receive the minutes of the following Committees held since the last scheduled meeting of the Council:

 

Development Policy and Affordable Housing Panel – 15 November 2017

Governance Audit and Scrutiny Committee – 23 November 2017

Licensing Committee – 24 November 2017

Joint Environmental Service Committee – 29 November 2017

Minutes:

Proposed by Councillor Thomas and seconded by Councillor Carew, it was

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of Committees held since the last meeting of the Council be received.

72.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

RECOMMENDED that the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following item as:

 

(a)  It is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted, or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the public were present during that item there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as specified in Part 1 of Schedule 12A (as amended) to the Local Government Act 1972; and

(b)  in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

 

Item 16 – Appointment of External Auditor (Appendix A)

Paragraph 3 - Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).

Minutes:

Proposed by Councillor Williams and seconded by Councillor Parker Smith, it was

 

RESOLVED that the press and the public be excluded from the meeting during the consideration of the following items as:-

 

(i)         it was likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted, or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the public were present during that item there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as specified in paragraph 3 of Part I of Schedule 12A (as amended) to the Local Government Act 1972; and

 

(ii)        in all circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

 

The report to be considered was exempt under Paragraph 3 – Information

relating to the financial affairs or business affairs of any particular person

(including the Authority holding that information).

73.

Appointment of External Auditor pdf icon PDF 80 KB

To consider the recommendations in the attached report. 

 

Appendix A to the report is not for publication by virtue of paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information). 

 

The reason this paper is exempt is that the procurement process does not allow for the preferred bidder to be known before the appointment.  There is also a two-week cooling off period following the decision of the Council.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Cowper presented the Independent Audit Panel’s recommendation to Council on the appointment of an External Auditor with effect from 1 April 2018.

 

Proposed by Councillor Cowper and seconded by Councillor Shepherd, it was

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)          the Independent Audit Panel’s recommendation to appoint an External Auditor from April 2018 as set out in the Restricted Minute and detailed in the exempt Appendix to the report be accepted;

(2)          a policy on obtaining non-audit advice from the auditor be developed;

(3)          the contract with the preferred bidder be considered further if any liability limitation agreement is proposed; and

(4)          an Independent Audit Panel continue to operate in an oversight role to advise on matters such as auditor independence, resignation or termination.