Venue: Council Chamber, Municipal Buildings, West Street, Boston, PE21 8QR
Contact: Lorraine Bush, Democratic Services Manager Telephone 01205 314224 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
To sign the minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Council held on 20 May 2019 and the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 15 July 2019.
The minutes of the meeting of the Annual Meeting of the Council held on 20 May 2019, and the meeting of the Council held on 15 July 2019, were taken as read and signed by the Mayor as a correct record.
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Tom Ashton, Alison Austin, Richard Austin BEM, Shaun Blackman, Michael Cooper, Deborah Evans, Paul Goodale, Brian Rush and Yvonne Stevens.
To receive communications (if any) from the Mayor and the Chief Executive.
The Mayor offered condolences on behalf of the Council to the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Deborah Evans, on the passing of her father.
The Chief Executive reported that accordance with Part 3 section 1.11 of the Constitution, he had exercised delegated authority to re-allocate committee seats for political proportionality purposes, as a result of recent changes within memberships. The revised allocation had been circulated to all Members.
The Chief Executive made a statement, between 10th and 12th September the Council hosted a Local Government Association Peer Challenge. Elected member and senior officer peers from across the country spent their time speaking to 114 people including councillors, councilstaff and external stakeholders. Gathered information and views from more than 39 meetings, visited key sites and undertook additional research andreading. Collectively peers spent more than 270 hours to determine findings.
The Leader of the Council provided a summary of the end of week feedback to all members on the 13th September. The peers have commented that Boston Borough Council should be proud of its achievements and have confidence to shout louder aboutthem. The full report will be with the Council in October and will be included as an agenda item at the December Full Council meeting.
The Mayor welcomed to the meeting, Mr. Simon Sperring, Chairman of the Independent Remuneration Panel.
DEPUTATIONS AND PETITIONS
To receive deputations or petitions (if any) pursuant to Rules 12 and 13 of the Council’s Rules of Procedure.
The Chief Executive reported there were no deputations or petitions.
QUESTIONS FROM ELECTED MEMBERS
To answer questions (if any) from elected members pursuant to Rule 11 of the Council’s Rules of Procedure.
The Chief Executive reported there were questions from Councillors Neill Hastie and Anne Dorrian.
Question asked by Councillor Neill Hastie pursuant to paragraph 11 of the Rules of Procedure as set out in the Constitution.
“After the public meeting some of us attended I was pleased to read that you had listened to local residents concerns over certain issues and arranged the public toilets to be left open 24/7.
I actually thought this was a step in the right direction and that this council was finally being proactive in tackling certain issues that are effecting the town. Since then I was disappointed to read that you are now thinking of reclosing the toilets overnight after the trial period has finished.
Can you please confirm if closing the toilets overnight again is on the cards and the reason why?”
Response by Councillor Aaron Spencer
“I have not made a decision either way on the toilets, I will not make this decision in isolation it is my intention to talk with BTAC again as I did when agreeing the trial period.
The trial was to see if leaving the toilets open would see a tangible reduction in public urination and defecation, as many members of the public and this council will agree, that has not been the case and it has resulted in the continuing and deliberate vandalism and damage of the public toilets.
Again Cllr Hastie I will stress the point that I am here to listen to you and would submit for your consideration, not as criticism, that if you cared so much as you proclaim to do so why haven’t you taken me up on my constant offer to discuss these issues face to face in the office so we can all work together to help the town. That is what the majority of your council colleagues do however you and a couple others do not and I can’t for the life of me understand why!”
Supplemental question asked by Councillor Hastie pursuant to paragraph 11.6 of the Rules of Procedure as set out in the Constitution:-
“Due to the vandalism of the toilets would it be prudent to look at closing the park gates overnight, or is it ok to vandalise the park but not the toilets?”
Response by Councillor Spencer
“This is a complex issue and comparing the vandalism of the park to issues of anti-social behaviour is not that straight forward, I don’t necessarily agree that closing the park gates will lead to a reduction with incidents of vandalism.
A considerable amount of work has been undertaken on broader anti-social behaviour issues, I have met with partner organisations to look at addressing the problems, but if you have any ideas please let me know.”
Question asked by Councillor Anne Dorrian pursuant to paragraph 11 of the Rules of Procedure as set out in the Constitution.
“How much money has this council had to save through the Transformation Programme during the last ten years?”
Response by Councillor ... view the full minutes text for item 26.
QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC
To answer questions (if any) from members of the public pursuant to Rule 10 of the Council’s Rules of Procedure
The Chief Executive reported there were no questions from members of the public.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
To receive declarations by Members of any interests in respect of items on the agenda.
The Mayor and Councillor Judith Skinner declared an interest in the Review of Members Allowances report in respect of the recommendation 1, to increase the Mayoral Special Responsibility Allowance, as they would both gain a direct financial benefit if agreed.
The Mayor and Councillor Judith Skinner left the Chamber for the consideration and vote on recommendation 1.
APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN OF THE MEETING
As the Mayor had declared an interest in the report on Review of Members Allowances and would leave the meeting during deliberation of recommendation 1, and in the absence of the Deputy Mayor, nominations were sought for a Member to Chair the meeting for the consideration of recommendation 1 in the following item of business.
It was proposed by Councillor Aaron Spencer, seconded by Councillor Jonathan Noble and
RESOVLED that Councillor Stephen Woodliffe be appointed as Chairman of the meeting for the deliberation of recommendation 1 of the next item of business.
(Councillor Woodliffe in the Chair)
(A report by the Independent Remuneration Panel)
Mr. Simon Sperring, Chairman of the Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP) introduced a report on the annual review of the Members’ Allowance Scheme.
The report stated that in accordance with the Local Authorities (Members Allowances) (England) Regulations 2003, the Council had a duty establish and maintain an IRP to consider councillors allowances and to have regard to the Panel’s recommendations before making or amending an allowances scheme.
In early 2018 the IRP undertook a comprehensive review of the Members Allowance Scheme and made recommendations to full Council which were accepted at the meeting on 30 April 2018. The Panel agreed to review the allowances after one year to ensure they were appropriate in recognising the time commitment and responsibilities attached to the roles.
The Panel met in July 2019 to consider the scheme and whether any further amendments for change would be required, specifically the Special Responsibility Allowances. The Panel were concerned regarding the appropriateness of the SRA for the position of Mayor, as at the time of the 2018 review, the Council had undertaken a review of the civic and Mayoral function which had impacted on the support provided to the Mayor.
To understand the effect the changes in support service, the Panel met with Councillor Judith Skinner in her capacity as Mayor for 2018/19 and the first to take office under the revised arrangements. Having discussed the issues with Councillor Skinner, including additional time commitments, expenses for providing her own personal transport, responsibilities associated with collection and return of the Mayoral chains, and the importance of the role as First Citizen of the Borough, the Panel recommended that the SRA for the position of Mayor should be increased in line with that of a Cabinet Member to £5610.
Mr. Sperring stated that the Panel, having further considered the matter after the report had been published, wished to amend the recommendation so that the increased SRA for the Mayor was back dated to July 2018, when the support arrangements for the Mayoral office changed.
Members recognised and accepted that the recommendations had been put forward by an independent panel and as such should not be questioned. It was noted that it was difficult for Councillors having to consider their own levels of remuneration. ideally this should be set and dealt with externally.
However, concern was expressed that increasing allowances at a time when the Council was facing further budget cuts was not appropriate. This was rebutted as savings of £30k had been achieved from the Mayoral and Civic Review, therefore there was still a net benefit to the Council.
The Panel had evaluated the effect of the changes introduced by the review and came to the conclusion that the negative impact should be compensated for by increasing the Mayoral SRA as the new arrangements made high demands on the occupier of the office.
It was moved by Councillor Neill Hastie, seconded by Councillor Aaron Spencer and
RESOLVED that the vote on recommendation 1 be taken as a recorded vote. ... view the full minutes text for item 30.
(To receive the confirmed minutes of the meeting of the Audit and Governance Committee held on 22 July 2019)
Councillor Jonathan Noble introduced the confirmed minutes of the Audit and Governance Committee held on 22 July 2019 highlighting the key matters considered by the Committee.
It was moved by Councillor Jonathan Noble, seconded by Councillor George Cornah and
(Report by the Corporate Management Team)
Portfolio Holder: Councillor Aaron Spencer
The Leader of the Council introduced a report setting out proposals for a refresh of the Council’s Transformation Programme (TP) to meet the challenges of the projected budget position for the period 2020/21 to 2023/24 and the requirement to make net budget savings of almost £1m.
The report stated that the Council’s Transformation Programme had been in place for a number of years which had helped to identify and deliver projects designed to improve performance and make financial savings to meet the challenges of reducing resources across the local government sector.
The current programme had helped the Council reduce its annual budget by over £2.5m, with initiatives including the relocation of DWP and other partners, Parish Councils / BTAC support and sharing services.
The current Transformation Programme was scheduled until the end of the current financial year in line with the government’s four year settlement deal. Therefore it was the appropriate time to consider a refresh of the programme.
A draft of the proposed programme had been prepared arranged within four main themes:-
It was highlighted that whilst the way services were organised was likely to change, the TP did not propose the absolute removal of any range of services currently being delivered.
The themes would aim to build on the success of the current TP and retain the breadth of current services, whilst making the necessary budget decisions to balance annual spending plans.
The projected budget gap for 2020/21 was over £0.5m rising to almost £0.9m by 2023/24. The indicative savings figures set out in the proposed TP refresh across the next four years was £1m, although it was accepted this would be refined and changed as more detailed work was undertaken on specific projects, and figures then incorporated into future budgets.
The proposed programme had been subject to public consultation from 17 July until 23 August and the responses received were set out in Appendix 2 of the report.
The report had been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Corporate and Community Committee on 5 September 2019 and the Chairman of the committee, Councillor Stephen Woodliffe, addressed Cabinet at its meeting on 11 September to present the scrutiny committee’s recommendations on the report.
Councillor Woodliffe explained that the committee had discussed the range of transformation items at length and assured Cabinet that all Members fully understood the financial position that the Council was facing, appreciating that balanced budgets could only be achieved in 2020/21 and subsequent years by making additional savings and generating additional income.
One area that had generated significant debate was TP-15 which included a provision to increase charges for garden waste collection. The outcome was that, in addition to recommending that Cabinet refer the refreshed transformation programme, as presented in the report, to full Council for adoption, a specific additional recommendation be included that garden waste fees for 2020/21 be increased to £45 for the first bin and £20 for all additional bins at the earliest opportunity as ... view the full minutes text for item 32.
(Report by the Monitoring Officer)
The Monitoring Officer introduced a report seeking consideration of the appointment of Parish Council representatives to the Standards Sub Committee in accordance with the Terms of Reference for the Sub Committee agreed by Council on 21 January 2019.
The report stated that co-opted parish representatives would participate in the consideration of business presented to the sub committee, but would not have a vote. They would also have a role to play in respect of misconduct complaints against parish councillors, as it was a specific requirement for at least one parish member to be present when code of conduct allegations relating to parish councillors were being considered.
It was moved by Councillor Jonathan Noble, seconded by Councillor George Cornah and