Venue: Grand Hall Congleton Hall - Congleton Town Hall, High Street, Congleton CW12 1BN
Contact: Julie North Senior Democratic Services Officer
The Mayor’s Chaplain said Prayers, at the request of the Mayor.
To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 13 December 2012
That the minutes of the meeting held on 13 December 2012 be approved as a correct record.
To receive such announcements as may be made by the Mayor.
1. Announced the recent sad death of Honorary Freeman, Mrs Margaret Duddy OBE. Margaret was a former Leader of Macclesfield Borough Council. Her funeral would be held at 12.00 noon, on Friday 8th March at St Mary’s Parish Church, Disley and the Mayor would be representing the Council at the funeral.
The Mayor also announced that former Crewe and Nantwich Borough Councillor, John Beech had recently died and that his funeral would take place on Thursday 7th March at 11.30am at St Mary’s Church, Acton.
Members stood in silent tribute, as a mark of respect.
2. Announced that, since the last Council meeting in December, he and the Deputy Mayor had attended over 40 events:-
Before Christmas he had visited the majority of the Council’s major Office locations to wish staff a very happy Christmas.He and the Mayoress had been made very welcome and through the generosity of staff had collected nearly £500 for his charity fund. He had also attended quite a number of carol services and brass band concerts.
On 20th December he had the honour of opening the Council’s new Registration Office in the Municipal Buildings in Crewe and was very impressed with the facilities that had been provided for registering births, deaths and marriages. He understand that the facility had been very well received by the public.
In late December he was one of a very few Mayors from across the North West to be invited to meet with Dr Dipu Moni, the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister when she visited Manchester. This was both a very interesting and informative meeting.
After Christmas it was the pantomime season with ‘Cinderella’ at the Lyceum, Crewe; a ‘never to be forgotten’ performance of ‘Beauty & the Beast’ at Woodford and last week, ‘Sleeping Beauty’ at Shavington.
In early January he had the pleasure of attending the North West Showmen’s Guild annual luncheon which this year had been held at Cranage Hall, Holmes Chapel. There was quite a gathering of Mayors & Mayoresses from a wide area and he had been very surprised to receive a generous donation, from the Guild, as the hosting authority, towards his charity fund.
He had also been delighted to attend Civic Church Services at Crewe and Wistaston.
Cheshire East’s rail stations had been very successful in various categories at this year’s Awards evening held in Northwich with Chelford, his Ward, had been declared as Cheshire’s Best Kept Station.
3. He and the Mayoress had attended a number of Mayor’s Balls and Civic Ceremonies both inside and outside the Cheshire East boundary, putting Cheshire East well and truly on the map.
4. Reminded Members that he would be hosting a charity Sunday lunch at the Tytherington Club in Macclesfield on 12th May. Formal invitations would be sent out very shortly and he was most grateful to those Members who had already indicated that they would be attending. Other Members who wished to attend should contact The Mayor’s Secretary.
5. Welcomed ... view the full minutes text for item 84.
Declarations of Interest
To provide an opportunity for Members and Officers to declare any disclosable pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests in any item on the agenda.
Cllr S Wilkinson declared a non-pecuniary interest in item 7 – HS2, as the planned route ran close to his house. However, it did not run through land holding held in his name, but he would keep this under review.
Michael Rowan, Interim Borough Solicitor, declared a non-pecuniary interest in item 10 – Designation of Monitoring Officer, by virtue of being the subject of the report and would leave the meeting during consideration this matter.
Public Speaking Time/Open Session
In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 35 and Appendix 7 to the rules, a total period of 15 minutes is allocated for members of the public to speak at Council meetings.
Individual members of the public may speak for up to 5 minutes, but the Chairman will decide how the period of time allocated for public speaking will be apportioned, where there are a number of speakers.
Members of the public wishing to ask a question at the meeting should provide at least three clear working days’ notice in writing and should include the question with that notice. This will enable an informed answer to be given. It is not a requirement to give notice of the intention to make use of public speaking provision. However, as a matter of courtesy, a period of 24 hours notice is encouraged.
Mr Stuart Redgard used public speaking time to ask the following question relating to land to the north of Adlington Road, Wilmslow in respect of the recently updated Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment - January 2013. (Formerly Site 3150 in the previous version of the SHLAA -March 2012):-
"Why is it now considered likely that due to size of site, and mix of uses, a sustainable development can be created?. The previous version of this document stated that this "Site is not considered sustainable". What has materially changed to this site to make it changed?
Cllr David Brown, in response stated:-
"The SHLAA is a technical document which provides evidence for use in planning applications and other planning processes. As such it does not make policy but rather reflects policy decisions elsewhere. The Site at Addlington Road has been identified as a housing site as part of the review of the development plan; the changed notation within the SHLAA reflects the status of the site in the draft Local Plan.
As part of the preparation of the Local Plan the merits of the site have been re-appraised - together with an assessment of the facilities that might be provided on the site as part of any development. Collectively this means that we are now satisfied that sustainable development can be achieved on the site. The area of land is one of only two areas of land in the north of the Borough that is not green belt but safeguarded for future development or uses. As these areas are finite and valuable we are duty bound to consider their development very carefully - but the right and proper place to do this is part and parcel of the Local Plan review and that is exactly what we are doing."
Mr Steve Ranger used public speaking time to ask the following question:-
“Given the coalition Government's pressure on all Councils to reduce expenditure, the very least that the residents of Cheshire East have a right to expect is that their Council does not waste money through mismanagement and the pursuit of poorly thought-through policies.
The card being presented to the Council Leader today identifies some of the Council’s costly blunders of the past few years. The Lyme Green debacle is only the most spectacular of these. The fact that the Council refuses to publish the Lyme Green report, and other indicators such as the comparison that has been made between Lyme Green and the Bewilderwood development, suggest that the Council leadership is not learning from the experience of previous problems caused by mismanagement and inadequate planning.
The Council is now embarking on a massive re-organisation of its management structure and proceeding with an extensive redundancy programme, consequently outsourcing most of the Council's services. In the light of the Council's recent history, what assurance can the residents of East Cheshire feel that these radical changes will not be marked by further poor planning and financial mismanagement?”
In summary, the Leader ... view the full minutes text for item 86.
To receive a presentation on the High Speed 2 project
Members of the Council viewed a presentation relating to the proposed High Speed 2 rail link. Following the presentation, the Leader of the Council thanked officers for supporting the Council’s position and thanked Group Leaders for the work they had carried out in respect of this matter. He undertook to keep them informed of developments. A number of Group Leaders and other Members also spoke in respect of this matter.
To consider the recommendations of Cabinet in relation to:
(a) Treasury Management Strategy
(b) Pay Policy Statement
(c) Health and Wellbeing Board Terms of Reference
(a) Treasury Management Strategy
Consideration was given to the recommendation from Cabinet concerning the Treasury Management Policy and Strategy. Revisions were proposed to the existing Strategy and Prudential Indicators for 2012/13. A new Treasury Management and a new Annual Investment Strategy for 2013/14 were proposed together with prudential indicators for 2013/14 to 2015/16. A revised Annual Policy Statement on Minimum Revenue Provision was also submitted for approval.
That the Treasury Management Policy Statement, the Annual Investment Strategy and the Minimum Revenue Provision Statement, as set out in the report, be approved.
(b) Pay Policy Statement
Consideration was given to the recommendation from Cabinet concerning the Pay Policy Statement. Section 38 of the Localism Act 2011 required local authorities to produce a Pay Policy Statement by 31 March on an annual basis.
A revised draft Pay Policy Statement (PPS) for 2013/2014 had been prepared and had been considered by the Council’s Staffing Committee at its meeting on 11 January 2013, where amendments were proposed. The draft PPS for 2013/2014 was appended to the agenda and this highlighted the main changes between the current PPS (2012/13) and the proposed PPS for the next financial year (2013/14), together with the additional amendments recommended by the Council’s Staffing Committee.
That the Pay Policy Statement for 2013/2014, including the recommendations from the Staffing Committee, be approved.
(c) Health and Wellbeing Board Terms of Reference
Consideration was given to the recommendation from Cabinet regarding Terms of Reference for the Health and Well Being Board.
Once established, in April 2013, the Board would be a Committee of the Local Authority but regulations under the Act would modify some of the normal requirements of the Local Government Act 1972, details of which were given in the Cabinet report, appended to the agenda. The Regulations had not been published at the time of the Cabinet meeting, but had since been made available to Local Authorities. The Cabinet report enclosed draft terms of reference and recommended that these be approved until such time as Cabinet and the Constitution Committee were asked to review the Health and Wellbeing Board’s Terms of Reference and make recommendations on any modifications if required.
In considering the draft Terms of Reference, Council agreed that they should be referred back to the Health and Wellbeing Board for further consideration and suggested an addition to the wording of the last bullet point at paragraph 2 – The Boards Vision, to refer to “Achieving improved evidence–based public outcomes within a holistic vision of health and wellbeing”.
That the current Health and Wellbeing Board’s Terms of Reference be approved, until such a time as the draft Terms of Reference had been reviewed by the Health and Wellbeing Board, in light of the recently published guidance.
To consider the recommendations of Constitution Committee in relation to:
(a) Frequency of Meetings
(b) Questions to Cabinet
(c) Scheme of Delegation for Director of Public Health
Consideration was given to a number of recommendations from the Constitution Committee, as follows:-
(a) Frequency of Meetings
The Constitution Committee had received a report which indicated that Council Members attended around 220 decision-making and other meetings per year. In view of the consequent burden on Member time and expenses, the associated officer costs, the cost of arranging meetings etc, the report sought an in-principle decision that there should be fewer Council meetings.
The Constitution Committee had declined to accept the recommendations of the report and resolved to recommend that Council should approve the draft calendar of meetings for 2013/14, which was appended to the agenda.
That the Calendar of meetings for 2013/14 be approved.
(b) Questions at Cabinet
At the meeting of Council on 13th December 2012 it was proposed that a new provision be included in the Council Procedure Rules which would allow questions to be put by Members to Cabinet Members at Council meetings, without notice first having been given. Council had agreed this proposal.
The Leader subsequently called for a similar provision to be put in place which would allow for questions, without notice, to be put by Members to Cabinet Members at Cabinet meetings.
A report had, therefore, been submitted to the Constitution Committee, which proposed that the Constitution should be amended to include a provision, which would allow 20 minutes for questions to be put to Cabinet Members by Members of the Council at Cabinet meetings.
It was recommended that the Rules previously agreed by Council, which applied to questions at Council should be adapted appropriately for the purposes of questions to Cabinet Members at Cabinet meetings, details of which were contained in the report to Council.
1. That the Constitution be amended to include a provision to allow 20 minutes for questions to be put to Cabinet Members by Members of the Council at Cabinet meetings.
2. That the Rules previously agreed by Council, which applied to questions at Council, be adapted appropriately for the purposes of questions to Cabinet Members at Cabinet meetings, as contained in the report.
(c) Scheme of Delegation for Director of Public Health
The Constitution Committee had received a report which explained that health responsibilities would transfer to local authorities in April 2013. Therefore, the Council needed to amend its scheme of delegation in order to ensure that the Director of Public Health would be empowered to undertake their role. A draft scheme of delegation for the Director of Public Health was appended to the agenda for consideration. The report noted that the Officer Delegation Working Group was continuing to consider the officer delegation scheme and that this Group might wish to review the delegation scheme in due course.
The Constitution Committee resolved to recommend to Council that the scheme of delegation for the Director of Public Health be adopted pending a further review by the Scheme of Delegation Member Working Group.
That the scheme of delegation for the Director of Public Health be ... view the full minutes text for item 89.
To ratify the designation of Mr Michael Rowan as the interim Monitoring Officer
(Michael Rowan had declared a non-pecuniary interest in this item, by virtue of being the subject of the report and left the meeting during consideration this matter).
Consideration was given to the report which outlined the process used for the recruitment of the Interim Borough Solicitor and Monitoring Officer and requesting Council to agree that the appointee be designated as Monitoring Officer.
That Mr Michael Rowan be designated as Monitoring Officer of Cheshire East Council.
Appointment of Committee Chairmen
To appointment chairmen to committees
The Leader of the Council proposed the following changes to chairmanships :-
Staffing Committee – That Cllr D Topping be elected as Chairman.
Corporate Scrutiny Committee – That Cllr S Wilkinson be elected as Chairman.
The Leader also outlined the proposed membership, Chairmanship and Vice-chairmanship for the East Cheshire Engine of the North, new development company model.
That the above nominations be approved.
The Leader to report details of appointments to Cabinet
The Leader of the Council reported details of some recent changes to Cabinet and the appointment of Cllr Topping as Portfolio Holder for Environment.
He also announced the addition of Leisure and Cultural Strategy to the Health and Adult Care Service Portfolio. An updated list of Cabinet appointments, incorporating these changes is appended to these minutes.
(Cllr D Newton stated that he was Chairman of Sport Cheshire, a company which had contracts for the delivery of some services for Cheshire East Council and which may at some time in the future bid for any contract relating to the delivery of leisure services, as part of the process for outsourcing sports development. He would declare an interest at any future meetings where this matter was considered, as appropriate).
To consider the Leader’s Budget Report
(Items 13 &14 of the agenda were considered together, as one item).
The Cheshire East Council Budget Report for 2013/2016 had been produced following engagement on the Business Planning Process during January and February 2013. The Budget Report provides financial background to the Medium Term Financial Strategy Report as well as setting out further details of the approach to funding the Three Year Council Plan. The Budget Report set out, in detail, the spending plans and income targets for the financial year starting 1st April 2013, as well as financial estimates for the 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 financial years.
The 2013/2016 Budget Report had been reported to Cabinet on 4th February 2013 and Cabinet had recommended the report to Council for approval. The Budget Report to Council had been updated to reflect the final Local Government Finance Report for 2013/2014. This had been approved by Members of Parliament following a debate in the House of Commons on 13th February 2013. It was noted, that the impact of the final Settlement was minor and did not impact on any service proposals.
The Leader of the Council also presented his budget report under this item and proposed the recommendations set out in report under items 13 &14 of the agenda.
To set the Council Tax for the financial year 2013/2014 in accordance with the formal resolutions as shown in section 18 of the report
Consideration was given to a report relating to the setting of the Council tax for 2013/14. The Council, as a billing authority, was responsible for the billing and collection of Council Tax due from local taxpayers and must set the overall Council Tax level. This meant that the Authority also collected Council Tax income to cover not only its own services but also precepts set by other authorities. The Council Tax levied was, therefore, made up of four elements -Cheshire East Borough Council element, Parish Councils & Charter Trustees precepts, Police & Crime Commissioner for Cheshire precept and Cheshire Fire Authority precept.
That the Council Tax for Cheshire East Council for the financial year 2013/2014, be set at £1,216.34, in accordance with the formal resolutions as shown in section 18 of the report and the precept levy for Crewe Parish Council be set at £362,255 :-
1. That it be noted that on 13th December 2012 the Council calculated the Council Tax base 2013/2014
(a) for the whole Council area as 137,122.19.
(b) for dwellings in those parts of its area to which a Parish precept relates as attached to the report.
2. Calculated that the Council Tax requirement for the Council’s own purposes for 2013/2014 (excluding Parish precepts) is £166,787,205.
3. That the following amounts be calculated for the year 2013/2014 in accordance with Sections 31 to 36 of the Act:
a. £727,587,024 being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the items set out in Section 31A(2) of the Act taking into account all precepts issued to it by Parish Councils.
b. £556,275,641 being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the items set out in Section 31A(3) of the Act.
c. £171,311,383 being the amount by which the aggregate at (a) above exceeds the aggregate at (b) above, calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 31A(4) of the Act as its Council Tax requirement for the year.
d. £1,249.33 being the amount at (c) above divided by the amount at 18.1(a) above, calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 31B of the Act, as the basic amount of its Council Tax for the year (including Parish precepts).
e. £4,524,178 being the aggregate amount of all special items (Parish precepts) referred to in Section 34(1) of the Act
f. £1,216.34, being the amount at (d) above less the result given by dividing the amount at 18.3(e) above by the amount at (a) above, calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 34(2) of the Act, as the basic amount of its Council Tax for the year for dwellings in those parts of its area to which no Parish precept relates.
g. Appendix A, being the amounts calculated by the Council, in accordance with regulations 3 and 6 of the Local Authorities (Calculation of Council Tax Base) Regulations 1992, as its total council tax base for the year and council tax base for dwellings in those parts of ... view the full minutes text for item 94.
To consider the recommendations of Cabinet
Consideration was given to the recommendation from Cabinet setting out proposals for significant changes in the current roles and responsibilities of managers at all levels within the organisation, as a key element of establishing a new operating model for the Council.
The Cabinet report provided details of how the Council would need to change the way in which it operated, and was structured, in order to become a strategic commissioning body; identifying and prioritising local needs, and meeting those needs in a cost-effective way by stimulating and managing a diverse local market of high quality local providers. Costs would be brought down by doing things differently and using innovative and new approaches to the way in which services were delivered that achieved the desired outcomes for local people.
The new “Strategic Council” would be one that was able to capture, leverage and disperse all available local funds and resources in line with its strategic ambitions and goals for its local communities, as part of its “place shaping” role.
There would be a strengthening of the role of elected Members, beginning and ending with councillors’ democratic relationship with local residents, who should have a stronger voice and input into commissioning decisions in the future.
Changes to existing management roles and responsibilities would need to be undertaken in three phases, entailing a process of top-down displacement of current postholders.
The Cabinet report detailed the proposed arrangements around selection to new roles, training and development, and support.
New programmes of training and development would be provided to assist those involved to take on new or expanded roles and responsibilities with confidence. Where individuals were displaced by the process, support would be provided to redeploy them into suitable alternative employment.
A dedicated HR team would be set up to oversee and coordinate the process, assisted by a limited, cost effective input from external experts to ensure objectivity and fairness in the assessment and selection process, to support the managers involved in the review, and to avoid the risk of challenge or appeals from the staff involved.
The Cabinet report set out the process and timetable for implementing the required management changes over the following six months and sought Council’s approval for the authority to proceed immediately with the Management Review, on the basis set out in the Cabinet report, so that its benefits could start to be realised as quickly as possible.
1. That the Interim Chief Executive, in consultation with the Leader of the Council and his Cabinet Portfolio Holders, be authorised to start, with immediate effect, the proposed Management Review and the phased process of selection for appointment to new management posts in the Council’s revised organisational structure, on the basis and timetable set out in the report.
2. That the need for planned complementary action on the wider implications of the introduction of the new operating model for the Council, in terms of collaborative working with other local commissioners and providers of public services, as well as the development of ... view the full minutes text for item 95.
To consider any Notices of Motion that have been received in accordance with Procedure Rule 12
Consideration was given to the following Notices of Motion :-
THANK YOU TO COUNCIL STAFF
Submitted by Councillor David Topping and Seconded By Councillor Michael Jones
This Council thanks all those staff who worked long, unsocial hours during the recent spell of adverse weather to ensure that traffic kept flowing on the Council’s road network. Their hard work and commitment clearing and gritting roads kept Cheshire East moving. Particular praise should be paid to the work undertaken to clear and grit pavements around a wide range of key locations across the Borough; these included hospitals, doctor’s surgeries, old people’s homes and shops. The same staff have also been responding to the very wet conditions that we have been experiencing; which have resulted in frequent flooding events across the Borough.
The Council’s thanks also go to our local supply chain and to farming contractors who provided an invaluable service in working to keep our more rural communities open for business.
Tribute should also be paid to our refuse crews, who braved the adverse weather to provide as normal a service as they could, to all of the Council’s travelling staff who ensured that, as far as possible, business continued as normal during the adverse weather and to our Customer Services team who over this difficult period have continued to advise and help our residents.
(In considering the Notice of Motion, Council agreed to make special reference to Care For staff and refuse staff in addition to those staff in the areas set out in the Notice of Motion).
That, subject to the above additional references, the motion be approved.
LOAN SHARKS AND CREDIT UNIONS
Submitted by Councillor Sam Corcoran and Seconded by Councillor Michelle Sherratt
Cheshire East Council:
Notes and welcomes the UK-wide campaign to end ‘legal loan sharking’.
Believes that the lack of access to affordable credit is socially and economically damaging. Unaffordable credit is causing a myriad of unwanted effects such as poorer diets, colder homes, rent, council tax and utility arrears, depression (which impacts on job seeking behaviour) and poor health.
Further notes that unaffordable credit is extracting wealth from the most deprived communities.
Believes it is the responsibility of all levels of government to try to ensure affordable credit for all, and therefore pledges to use best practice to promote financial literacy and affordable lending. This will help to ensure that wealth stays in the local economy.
Pledges to promote credit unions in Cheshire East, community-based co-operative organisations offering access to affordable credit and promoting saving, to all members of the community.
Will work to make credit union payroll deduction facilities available to council staff to facilitate easy access to local credit unions and support saving for people in the area.
Calls on the government to introduce caps on the total lending rates that can be charged for providing credit.
Calls on the government to give local authorities the power to veto licences for high street credit agencies where they could have negative economic or social impacts ... view the full minutes text for item 96.
In accordance with Procedure Rule 11, opportunity is provided for Members of the Council to ask the Mayor, the appropriate Cabinet Member or the Chairman of a Committee any question about a matter which the Council, the Cabinet or the Committee has powers, duties or responsibilities.
Questions to the Mayor or Chairman of a Commitee must be sent in writing to the Monitoring Officer at least 3 clear working days before the meeting.
At Council meetings, there will be a maximum question time period of 30 minutes. Questions will be selected by the Mayor, using the criteria agreed by Council. Any questions which are accepted, but which cannot be dealt with during the allotted period will be answered in writing. Questions must be brief, clear and focussed.
Due to the lateness in the day, at the suggestion of the Mayor, Council agreed that written responses should be provided for all the Member questions submitted in writing. These would be circulated by e-mail to all Members of the Council. The questions and responses are also attached to these minutes.