Agenda and minutes

Council - Tuesday, 14th September, 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: Town Hall, Bournemouth BH2 6DY

Contact: Karen Tompkins  Email: democratic.services@bcpcouncil.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

104.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence from Councillors.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors H Allen, J Bagwell, N Geary, P Hall, A Jones, M Le Poidevin and C Matthews.

105.

Declarations of Interests

Councillors are requested to declare any interests on items included in this agenda. Please refer to the workflow on the preceding page for guidance.

Declarations received will be reported at the meeting.

106.

Confirmation of Minutes pdf icon PDF 364 KB

To confirm and sign as a correct record the minutes of the Meeting held on 22 June 2021.

Minutes:

The minutes of the Ordinary Council meeting held on 22 June 2021 were confirmed.

107.

Announcements and Introductions from the Chairman

To receive any announcements or introductions from the Chairman.

Minutes:

The Chairman reported that he had the honour of attending and presiding over various Civic events in all three towns of the conurbation that comprised the BCP Council’s jurisdiction. He recorded the recognition by BCP Council of the passing of Mrs Elizabeth Bath who was made a Freeman of the Town of Christchurch in 2008. The Chairman reported that it was his understanding that the Service for her, held at Christchurch Priory, was attended by over 500 people.

 

The Chairman reported on the engagements he has attended since the last Council meeting.

 

108.

Public Issues

To receive any public questions, statements or petitions submitted in accordance with the Constitution, which is available to view at the following link:

 

https://democracy.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?CommitteeID=151&Info=1&bcr=1

 

The deadline for the submission of a public question is 4 clear working days before the meeting.

 

The deadline for the submission of a public statement is midday the working day before the meeting.

 

The deadline for the submission of a petition is 10 working days before the meeting.

 

 

Minutes:

The Chairman advised that a number of public issues had been submitted for the meeting:

 

A – Public Questions

 

Public Question from John Pendrill (read out by the Chief Executive)

Why are so many middle and high-status managers leaving the council? There are many incompatibilities between council policies and the relevance of them to the community. Personnel find it difficult or impossible to work in such an environment so choose to move elsewhere to engage with policies that are appropriate to the towns and wider locations concerned.

 

Are councillors aware of the disruption that occurs when experienced managers’ leave? Changes of personnel at higher levels cause delays in dealing with many issues that arise in the normal course of business.

 

 

Response from Councillor Drew Mellor, Leader of the Council

I would like to thank Mr Pendrill for his question.  The figures are consistent with previous local authorities and the wider economy.  It is natural that the Council would have some anecdotal movement of staff as we emerge from the pandemic.  We also need to consider the organisational change we are in, including the smarter structure programme and bringing together the three authorities so there is an added change in our environment, and we should expect that.  It is also important to say that we should recognise the service of staff who have moved on and we are hugely grateful to the efforts of those people who got us through the pandemic and to the dedication of officers across the Council.  This is entirely consistent with what we would expect, and I am completely confident, and we can evidence, that we are still able to recruit the best talent in the country as we move forward to be a world-class single Council.

 

Public Question from Gerald Rigler

Discussing the Local Plan, the last Council Meeting learnt that a future BCP housing need of about 2700 dwellings per annum was a fair and balanced representation.   What is the evidence?

 

Independently, ONS expects only 744 new households per annum will be formed in the BCP area during 2021 to 2031 (2018-based projection).  Therefore, some Councillors think developers will build 2000 surplus dwelling each year for the whole plan period. The population of BCP (0–79) is projected to decline. So, who could buy these surplus dwellings and how may it be known that they will be built?

 

Response from Councillor Philip Broadhead, Deputy Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Economy and Strategic Planning

I thank Mr Rigler for his question. The housing figure of around 2,700 dwellings per annum comes from the Government’s standard housing methodology. Government policy is clear that local authorities must use the standard methodology as the starting point for determining housing needs in each area. However, this is a starting point, and we have a piece of work underway to understand and provide evidence for what the balanced representation of the actual housing need should be.

 

I have written separately to Mr Rigler to assure him that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 108.

109.

Petition - Make Ashley Road Safe

Council is advised that a petition with 2,281 valid signatures has been received from Councillor Earl requesting that:

 

“We, the undersigned, call on the Conservative Administration at BCP Council and Dorset Police to take action and end the serious anti-social behaviour issues and illegal activity that residents witness every day on Ashley Road, Poole."

 

In accordance with the Constitution a petition with 2,000 + signatures will be referred for debate at a meeting of full Council.

 

The Council is asked to consider the petition and to determine next steps.

 

 

Minutes:

The Chairman set out the process for dealing with the petition as set out in the Constitution. 

 

Councillor Earl, the petition organiser, reported that she was presenting the petition on behalf of over 2,000 residents, traders and shop staff across Parkstone who wanted to see an end to crime and antisocial behaviour on Ashley Road. She explained that Ashley Road was one of the largest shopping districts in the BCP area and the largest in Poole including over 100 shops and businesses most of which were small independent traders and was a vital part of Parkstone’s local economy providing jobs, services and shops for thousands of residents.  Councillor Earl highlighted how the area had declined particularly in the last 4 years with the normalisation of anti-social behaviour and drug use in the community which was a constant source of fear, stress and anger for residents and traders.  Members were advised that the negative behaviour was from a small group of adults some of whom were housed locally but could not consume drugs or alcohol in their accommodation and therefore used public spaces.  Councillor Earl explained that on a regular basis there was drug use, drug dealing, theft, fighting, intimidation, abuse, public sex acts, shop doorways and alleyways being used as toilets and used needles left in planters and bushes.  She explained that this was low level but visible crime happening continually against the same residents.  Councillor Earl acknowledged that currently the situation was better, she welcomed the CSAS Officer being made permanent and was pleased that the new PSPO was in place.  She explained that recently the Police and Council had started communicating with the housing provider which was another really positive step but emphasised that there was a lot more to do to end the demoralisation of victims, the challenges facing the individuals causing the problems and to shift the negative reputation for Ashley Road so the area can be a vibrant safe and attractive shopping district that residents can be proud of.  Councillor Earl highlighted that the petition called for action and she was asking for a resolution in accordance with the Constitution Petition scheme under 5.3 (e) to hold a meeting with the relevant portfolio holders, officers, the ten Councillors who represent parts of Ashley Road with invitations to external stakeholders such as the police, housing and the traders association the purpose would be to create a plan of action to be approved by Cabinet which acknowledges the changing nature of the situation and the complexities surrounding addiction and seeks to improve the situation for the whole community.

 

The Chairman asked Members to raise any questions of clarification. This included the potential to learn general lessons and find solutions that could be replicated in other areas.  Councillor Moore explained that she was concerned about the area for personal family reasons and asked which of the potential solutions may work best for Ashley Road.  Councillor Earl reported on the research that she had undertaken and what could be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 109.

110.

Questions from Councillors

The deadline for questions to be submitted to the Monitoring Officer is 6 September 2021.

Minutes:

Question from Councillor Simon Bull

Following the recent IPCC report, released on 9th August, coincidently two years after BCP council declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency, what immediate action and leadership can residents expect from this council that reflects the seriousness and gravity of the situation facing all of us?

 

Response from Councillor Mike Greene, Cabinet Member for Transport and Sustainability

Let me start by agreeing with Cllr Bull about the need for the Council’s leadership on Climate Change:

 

The IPCC report– described by the UN as a ‘Code Red for humanity’ - evidences critical and unprecedented changes in global weather and climate systems as a result of human activity.

 

We acknowledge the immediacy that is required to respond to the Climate and Ecological Emergency, further emphasised by this recent report.  There is a collective responsibility to work at scale and at pace to protect the BCP area by reducing our own emissions, improving resilience to extreme weather events, and protecting local ecology to safeguard natural systems for future generations.

 

But before answering the direct question about what actions the Council are taking and should take, I have to let Members know about the huge barrier I found when I took on the Climate Change portfolio. And that is the simple one of resource. 

 

As Full Council early last year, we collectively approved a budget which allocated £240,000 for Climate Change. That summer, the previous Administration withdrew that vital funding. As a result, when I took on the role 10 months ago, despite the declaration of the Emergency and despite all the worthy words of some of the politicians opposite me, the Sustainability team I inherited for the whole of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole was actually smaller than the one I had in Bournemouth Borough Council alone two years previously:    1.8 Full Time equivalent officers who were supposed to be responsible for everything from an increasingly burdensome support for members and report writing, to finding locations for solar farms and working out how to fund them. An impossible task.  Let’s be clear: when it came to Climate Change, to coin a phrase used recently, the last Administration was all mouth and no trousers.

 

Yet despite that extreme lack of resource, we have achieved a significant amount and started a number of initiatives over those 10 months.   A few examples:

 

  • We have embarked on developing a Green Infrastructure Strategy
  • We have started Local flood modelling and resilience planning
  • We are making a £2.4 investment in low carbon improvements to council buildings through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme
  • We have introduced Carbon modelling and investment planning
  • We have introduced electric vehicle charging at our Recycling Centres and are making further low carbon improvements
  • We have developed a Sustainable Fleet Strategy and Plan (for which I will be seeking funding approval later this evening), with significant carbon savings already in place and more planned.
  • And we have acted as Angel Investor for research at BU / AUB to help develop student  ...  view the full minutes text for item 110.

111.

Recommendations from Cabinet and Other Committees pdf icon PDF 180 KB

Please see recommendations detailed below.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

8a - Cabinet 23 June 2021 - Minute No 16 - Financial Outturn Report 2020/21

Councillor Mellor, Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Finance and Transformation presented the report on the Financial Outturn Report 2020/21 as set out on the agenda and outlined the detail of the recommendations.  The Cabinet Member reported that the report had been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Board and highlighted the £5.1m surplus. He thanked the finance team led by Adam Richens but also the full officer cohort who have delivered the outturn.  He referred to the financial position when the Conservatives became the administration on 1 October 2020 when the MTFP had a £50m gap and emphasised the £5m surplus which was hugely positive. Councillor Mellor having thanked the team and Members put on record his thanks to the Government for their unprecedented financial support to local authorities which they pledged and delivered on.  The proposal was seconded by Councillor Broadhead who reminded Members that recommendation (B) provides funding in reserve for a contingency should there be any further outbreaks of the pandemic.  He hoped that it would not be necessary to use but it was prudent to make the provision.

 

Councillor Mark Howell referred to Councillor Mike Greene’s previous reference to being deprived of resources and staff in his portfolio in relation to dealing with climate change and the biodiversity crisis.  He explained that there were good reasons why the funding scheduled by the previous administration for the climate change agenda was temporarily withdrawn namely the Covid crisis, and that the previous administration had a responsibility to put the Council’s finances in order.  Councillor Howell reported that he would like the £5.1m surplus which was proposed for the mitigation reserve to be allocated to a new climate change and biodiversity reserve which could then be used by Councillor Greene and hopefully with the involvement of Councillors across the chamber to really push forward measures within the BCP area for change.  Councillor Howell proposed the following amendment which was seconded by Councillor Bull:

 

Given the imperative of acting quickly and at scale to address the Climate and Biodiversity Crisis, which the Portfolio Holder has confirmed his acceptance of tonight, Council supports the transfer of the £5.1 million surplus referred to in paragraph (a) of the resolution to a climate and biodiversity reserve for spending on projects to address the crisis within the current financial year instead of to the MTFP mitigation reserve.

 

In seconding the above amendment Councillor Bull indicated that he was sure that Members would agree that everything that can be done to tackle the climate and ecological emergency should be done and that it was a great opportunity to increase the portfolio holder’s budget in order for him to take action.

 

The Chief Financial Officer was asked to comment on the amendment. He reported that he had not previously been informed of the proposed amendment and explained that the transfer of £5.1m in the manner outlined would have  ...  view the full minutes text for item 111.

112.

Public Report into a complaint against BCP Council by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman - outcome of complaint pdf icon PDF 269 KB

This report provides a summary on the Decision Notice made by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman whose investigation found maladministration causing injustice to a complainant and the remedy actions taken.

 

The Ombudsman under the Local Government Act 1974, section 31(2), as amended, has requested that the Council consider the report at its full Council.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Mike White, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People presented the report regarding the above, a copy of which had been circulated to each Member and a copy of which appears as Appendix ‘A’ to these Minutes in the Minute Book.

 

Councillor White reported that the report related to events that happened four years ago which BCP Council had been asked to investigate by the Ombudsman relating to foster carer payments. He explained that the Council had fully accepted and implemented all of the recommendations from the Ombudsman which included a number of payments and a full apology for the faults identified.  Councillor White reported that the Ombudsman had credited the Council for agreeing to all the recommendations.  Councillors were advised that the Ombudsman required that the report was considered by an appropriate body of the Council and the Monitoring Officer advised that this was best achieved by bringing to Council.  Councillor White reported that he had no hesitation in asking the Council to support the response to the Ombudsman.  He acknowledged that some Members may wish to scrutinise some aspects including if appropriate lessons had been learnt and welcomed such scrutiny whilst asking Council to support the action plan as the response to the Ombudsman.

 

Councillor Nicola Greene seconded the recommendations in the report.

 

Councillor Moore acknowledged that this related to a predecessor council whilst highlighting the importance of foster carers.  She felt that there could be some useful scrutiny to check out the new procedures in the Council and to be satisfied that the issues around payments for foster carers had been properly addressed.  A Councillor asked for reassurance that other similar cases of that time had been investigated.

 

Councillor White reported that a review of cases has been completed over the last five years and from the review 8 potential cases have been identified that were being investigated and 6 carers have been found to be underpaid and the Council was in the process of contacting those carers to negotiate and agree an appropriate settlement.  Councillor White reported that the Council would respond to any complaint made dating back up to five years from the LGO report publication.

 

RESOLVED that

 

(a)   having considered the report, the Council acknowledges the findings of the LGSCO, supports the action plan as detailed in Appendix 3 to the report and asks the Chief Executive to write to the LGSCO to confirm compliance and that the Council has addressed the weaknesses identified in the Ombudsman’s findings.

(b)  the report be referred to the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

Voting – Unanimous

 

 

113.

Notice of Motions in accordance with Procedure Rule 12

The following motion submitted in accordance with Procedure Rule 12 of the Meeting Procedure Rules has been proposed by Councillor Drew Mellor and seconded by Councillor Jane Kelly:-

 

This motion is to agree that in principle this Council is supportive of the setting up and delivery of a Poverty Truth Commission initiative for the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area by a well-established organisation outside of the Council.

 

Poverty Truth Commissions have been successfully completed in many towns and cities throughout the UK.  People from all walks of life have come together to discuss their experiences, they are initially invited from local communities – Community Commissioners, and from the Public Sector and Business world – Civic Commissioners.

 

A Poverty Truth Commission is about developing relationships of trust and empathy between commissioners, and seeing what happens when their combined wisdom, resources and experience are brought together.  The tried and tested model will be adapted to best fit the local context, seeking to enable a deeper dive into the challenges and the opportunity to unearth and commit to new future possibilities for wiser action and culture change.    

 

I feel that the PTC movement fits well with our ABCD aspirations and therefore move that we support them in their endeavours in our area.  I look forward to taking part in the conversations and trust that others will do the same.

 

 

Minutes:

The following motion submitted in accordance with Procedure Rule 12 of the Meeting Procedure Rules was moved by Councillor Drew Mellor and seconded by Councillor Jane Kelly

 

This motion is to agree that in principle this Council is supportive of the setting up and delivery of a Poverty Truth Commission initiative for the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area by a well-established organisation outside of the Council.

 

Poverty Truth Commissions have been successfully completed in many towns and cities throughout the UK.  People from all walks of life have come together to discuss their experiences, they are initially invited from local communities – Community Commissioners, and from the Public Sector and Business world – Civic Commissioners.

 

A Poverty Truth Commission is about developing relationships of trust and empathy between commissioners, and seeing what happens when their combined wisdom, resources and experience are brought together.  The tried and tested model will be adapted to best fit the local context, seeking to enable a deeper dive into the challenges and the opportunity to unearth and commit to new future possibilities for wiser action and culture change.   

 

I feel that the PTC movement fits well with our ABCD aspirations and therefore move that we support them in their endeavours in our area.  I look forward to taking part in the conversations and trust that others will do the same.

 

Councillor Mellor in presenting the motion reported on his wish for the Council to deliver for all people and this motion moved the Council forward on that ambition.  He thanked Councill Kelly for her leadership on this motion and Councillor Rice for her help who was a strong advocate of the Poverty Truth Commission.  Councillor Mellor reported that this was about change for an under-represented part of the Community.  Councillor Kelly seconded the motion and reserved her right to speak later in the debate.

 

Councillor Brooke moved the following amendment (Key:words to beremoved; wordsadded; original wordsretained; wordsmoved to

footnotes). The amendment had previously been circulated to all Councillors. Councillor Brooke outlined the detail of the amendment and in presenting the amendment withdrew 4) below.  Councillor Slade seconded the amendment and reserved her right to speak later in the debate.

 

ThisCouncil agreesin principle to,and issupportiveof, thesetting upand deliveryof a PovertyTruth Commissioninitiative forthe Bournemouth,Christchurch, andPoole area bya well-establishedorganisation outsideof theCouncil.

Insupporting thisinitiative, theCouncil undertakesto

1)    Work withboth theCommunity Commissioners, andfrom thePublic Sector andBusiness world– Civic Commissionersdeveloping relationshipsof trust andempathy betweencommissioners, andseeing whathappens whentheir combined wisdom,resources andexperience arebrought together.

2)    Coordinate the discussionoutcomes withthe alreadyestablished ABCD aspirations

3)    Ensure thatappropriate actionsare undertakenthat will beginto address povertyand otherinequalities withinthose areasidentified throughthe Poverty TruthCommission’s researchand discussionsand witha view to bringing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 113.

114.

Urgent Decisions taken by the Chief Executive in accordance with the Constitution

The Chief Executive to report on any decisions taken under urgency provisions in accordance with the Constitution. See detailed below.

 

·       Bournemouth Learning Centre Capital Budget

·       Covid – Local Support Grant extension to end of September 2021

·       Urgent Sustainable Fleet Replacement Procurement

·       Additional Restrictions Grants (ARG 4)

 

 

 

Minutes:

The Chief Executive reported that he had taken the following decisions under urgency provisions in accordance with the Constitution.

 

·       Bournemouth Learning Centre Capital Budget

·       Covid – Local Support Grant extension to end of September 2021

·       Urgent Sustainable Fleet Replacement Procurement

·       Additional Restrictions Grants (ARG 4)