Agenda and minutes

Council - Thursday, 14th January, 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: Skype for Business

Contact: James Harris  Deputy Democratic Services Team Leader

Link: Watch_the_Meeting

Items
No. Item

51.

Apologies for Absence, Confirmation of Attendance and Declarations of Interest

To receive and record any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Matthews and Schillemore

 

There were no declarations of interest from the members present.

 

                                        

52.

Chairman's Announcements

To receive any reports the Chairman wishes to make.

Minutes:

The Chairman thanked Council Staff and Members for their continued efforts during the latest national lockdown and all the difficulties that the lockdown brought and once again thanked everyone for their resilience in this situation.

 

He reminded Councillors of the Finance Briefing on 19 January at 5pm and requested Councillors to attend where possible to enable an informed budget debate at the next Council meeting.

 

Finally, Cynthia Haveron, Democratic Services Officer, was retiring on 20 January 2021. The Chairman thanked Cynthia personally and wished her a long and happy retirement on behalf of the Councillors of all parties.

53.

Confirmation of Previous Minutes

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 19 November 2020.

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 19 November 2020 were agreed as a correct record.

 

                                        

54.

Public Questions (Standing Order 27.5) pdf icon PDF 209 KB

To deal with any public questions notified no later than 12 noon three working days before the meeting and in accordance with the Council’s protocol for public questions.

 

https://easthants.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s14523/ProtocolforPublicQuestionsatEHDCCouncilJanuary2020.docx.pdf

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Questions from members of the public received under Standing Order 27.5 were received and answered in turn by the respective Portfolio Holders. The list of public questions with the associated answers are attached as Appendix A to these minutes.

55.

Governance Review Report pdf icon PDF 114 KB

Report under separate cover.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman introduced the Governance Review Report, which he believed covered a regrettable period in the Councils history. He shared the view of the independent investigator and the Leader, that whilst the council must acknowledge the past, it must focus on the strong strategy that the Council had for moving forward.

 

In order to enable a full debate, the Leader proposed a motion to suspend Standing Orders for the duration of the item to enable questions rather than the usual speeches.

 

This motion was duly seconded by Cllr Thomas and following a vote was declared CARRIED.

 

Mr David Bowles introduced the item as the independent investigator commissioned by the Council to undertake the Governance Review.

 

He outlined the background to the review, which focussed on conduct, relationships and decision making.  During the course of his review he had received a high level of co-operation from officers and councillors and had noted the steps already taken to address issues, such as the adoption of a new Constitution and Code of Conduct. His report made 17 recommendations which he advised the council to adopt in order to build on what had already been achieved to date.

 

The Leader opened the debate, explaining that the review needed to be undertaken, as the correct running of the Council was ultimately his responsibility.  He believed that the implementation of the action plan to address the issues raised during the review represented a new dawn and an opportunity for the Council to unify and move forward.

 

During the debate the Leader responded to questions as to why the issues hadn’t been addressed sooner by explaining that the issues didn’t solely relate to councillor conduct and he had wanted to fully assess the situation and have the correct support in place before embarking on the review.  The review had been a significant piece of work which needed to be carried out correctly and he highlighted that positive changes had commenced upon his election as Leader. 

 

In response to further questions the Leader did not agree that there were systemic issues at the Council or that residents had been lied to or negatively affected through decisions that had been taken during this period.

 

Councillors of all parties welcomed the report, acknowledged the content and supported the recommendations.

 

Proposed by the Chairman and seconded by Cllr Hunt, following a vote it was RESOLVED that Council NOTED the content of the independent report produced by D J Bowles and Associates.

56.

Governance Improvement Report pdf icon PDF 117 KB

Report under separate cover.

 

 

                                        

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Johnson introduced the report as Chairman of the Standards Committee, which had considered the draft at its meeting held on 8 December 2020.

 

The Chief Executive and Leader to addressed Council in turn, both of whom confirmed the commitment to implement the recommendations for the independent governance review.  The report set out in detail the progress made to date, however this would be an ongoing and evolving process.

 

The Action Plan would be considered and agreed by the Standards Committee, included as part of the Annual Governance Statement and be used as a benchmark for the peer review by the Local Government Association to monitor progress.

 

Proposed by the Chairman and seconded by Cllr Williams, following a vote it was RESOLVED that Council NOTED:

 

(i)             the update on the current governance arrangements in place and the reporting mechanisms used to monitor compliance;  

(ii)            the improvements made over the last three years to address longstanding governance issues;

(iii)          the initial organisational response to the matters raised during the Independent Governance Review; and

(iv)          that the Chief Executive has been invited by the Standards Committee to prepare a detailed action plan, in response to the final Independent Governance Review for consideration by the Standards Committee in early 2021.

 

57.

Recommendations arising from the meeting of the Planning Policy Panel held on 21 December 2020 pdf icon PDF 260 KB

To consider the following recommendations to Council:

 

(A)          EHDC Local Plan - Implications of the Proposed Changes to the Planning System

(B)          Community Infrastructure Levy Spending Protocol

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

EHDC Local Plan – Implications of the Proposed Changes to the Planning System

 

Cllr Glass introduced the item as the Chairman of the Planning Policy Panel and proposed a motion that the recommendation contained within the report be agreed.

 

This motion was duly seconded by Cllr Louisson.

 

Councillors commended the recommendation, noting that it would be a positive step forward and take the council on the same route as proposed by the Government white paper.

 

 

Following a vote, it was RESOLVED that Council NOTED the different options for the EHDC Local Plan 2017-2036 and APPROVED:

 

(i)             A hybrid approach (option 4) to progressing the Local Plan 2017-2036; and

 

(ii)            The extension of the plan period by two years (2017-2038) to ensure there is a minimum of 15 years from date of adoption; and c. investment in upskilling, digitisation, and recruitment (as described) to enable option 4.

 

Community infrastructure Levy Spending Protocol

 

Cllr Glass introduced the item as the Chairman of the Planning Policy Panel and proposed a motion that the recommendation contained within the report be agreed.

 

This motion was duly seconded by Cllr Hill.

 

 

Following a vote, it was RESOLVED that Council APPROVED:

 

(i)      the proposed framework for determining CIL Spending (Spending Protocol) in the body of this report and appendix A and B; and

 

(ii)    to factually update the SPD to remove out of date references to CIL, remove aspects that no longer satisfy the relevant legislation and retain those parts that can still lawfully be implemented. Final factual changes are delegated to the Director for Regeneration and Place in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Planning.

58.

Recommendation arising from the meeting of the Cabinet held on 10 December 2020 pdf icon PDF 279 KB

(A)      Council Tax Support Scheme 2021/22

Minutes:

Council Tax Support Scheme 2021/22

 

Cllr Louisson introduced the item as the relevant Portfolio Holder and proposed a motion that the recommendation contained within the report be agreed.

 

Following a vote, it was RESOLVED that the 2020/21 Council Tax Support Scheme be retained for 2021/22 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 4.5 of this report;

 

(ii)     the Non-Dependant deductions used in determining entitlement for working age claims are changed as set out in paragraph 4.6 of this report; and

 

(ii)        that the necessary amendments are 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).

59.

Calendar of Meetings for 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 226 KB

RECOMMENDED that the draft Calendar of Meetings for 2021/22 be approved.  

Minutes:

Proposed by the Chairman and seconded by Cllr Glass, it was RESOLVED that the Calendar of Meetings for 2021/22 be APPROVED, subject to the addition of an additional Overview & Scrutiny Committee in late July 2021.

60.

Appointments to the Standards Committee

Council is asked to agree appointments to the Chairmanship, Vice Chairmanship and membership of the Standards Committee.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that Cllr Boxall be appointed as Vice-Chairman of the Standards Committee.

61.

Waiver of 6 Month Councillor Attendance Rule

Minutes:

 

Proposed by the Chairman and seconded by Cllr Denton, following a vote, Council RESOLVED to approve Councillor Schillemore’s non-attendance at meetings of the authority due to ill health for a six month period up to 13 August 2021, or until she is able to resume attendance, pursuant to Section 85 (1) of the Local Government Act 1972.

62.

Portfolio Holder Reports to Council pdf icon PDF 402 KB

Minutes:

The Chairman invited members of the Council to put questions to the Cabinet Portfolio Holders in connection with their published reports.

 

(1)  Councillor Hunt asked Councillor Glass whether going forward all Planning Committee meetings would, as a minimum, be recorded and made available to the public as suggested by Mr Bowles as part of his Governance Review report?

Councillor Glass replied that this was still to be discussed and finalised.

 

(2)  Councillor Hunt asked Councillor Mocatta to review how confidential information on key development was shared in respect of place making in Whitehill & Bordon and suggested that the Whitehill & Bordon Placemaking Group mirror that of the Alton Placemaking Strategy Group.

 

The Leader confirmed that this would be reviewed, discussed and a reply given

 

(3)  Councillor Dolan asked Cllr Butler to provide an explanation to the numbers given in respect of the usage of Electric Vehicle Charging Points on page.

 

Cllr Butler explained that this related to the contractor agreement and that she would provide a written response to circulate to all Councillors.

 

(4)  Councillor Woodard asked Cllr Drew to confirm whether the shared Democratic Services Team structure was in response to the one workforce initiative.

 

In reply, Cllr Drew confirmed that the new structure had been devised to provide the best use of resources and gain best productivity.

 

(5)  Councillor Evans asked Cllr Drew what an Equality and Inclusion Programme intended to achieve? Also, he would like to hear that the Council does not employ such things as “unconscious bias training”, now ended in the Civil Service?

 

In response, Cllr Drew confirmed that the relevant officers are not aware of any change to the EHDC Comprehensive Equality Policy and will engage with the champions who had this within their remit. There were no plans for unconscious bias training at the council.

(6)  Councillor Evans asked Cllr Louisson whether EU Citizens could still vote in local Council Elections.

 

In reply, Cllr Louisson confirmed that EU citizens legally resident in the UK may register for the local government franchise and were able to vote in all elections that use the local government franchise. EU citizens currently retained their rights to vote in local elections, even though the UK had left the EU.

 

(7)  Cllr Maroney was delighted to learn that no-one was placed into B&B over the festive season and asked whether this meant that no-one was homeless during this time or were other types of accommodation used?

In reply, Cllr Butler confirmed that there were no emergency placements over the Christmas Period.  However, there were a total of 208 households residing in temporary accommodation having been placed previously as a result of becoming homeless and requiring assistance from the Council.

As at 12/01/21 there were 5 households in B&B, 56 in short stay flats, 142 in temporary tenancies - total 208.  During Q3 the team has worked with 154 households who were facing homelessness, please note not all would have been referred to temporary accommodation

 

(8)  Cllr  ...  view the full minutes text for item 62.

63.

Questions under Standing Order 27.4.1 pdf icon PDF 190 KB

To deal with any questions from Councillors submitted by 12 noon three working days before the meeting.

Minutes:

Questions received under Standing Order 27.4.1 along with the replies given are attached at Appendix A.

64.

Questions under Standing Order 27.4.2

To deal with any urgent questions received no less than two hours prior to the start of the meeting and in accordance with standing order 27.4.2.

Minutes:

No urgent questions from Councillors were received under the provisions of this Standing Order.

                                        

65.

Committee Minutes

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

 

·       Licensing Sub-Committee - 3 November 2020

·       Planning Committee – 5 November 2020

·       Overview & Scrutiny Committee – 17 November 2020

·       Audit Committee – 24 November 2020

·       Planning Committee – 26 November 2020

·       Standards Committee – 8 December 2020

·       Licensing Sub-Committee – 10 December 2020

Minutes:

Proposed by Councillor Butler and seconded by Councillor Maroney it was RESOLVED that the minutes of Committees held since the last meeting of the Council were received.