The following motion submitted in accordance with Procedure Rule 9 of the Meeting Procedure Rules has been proposed by Councillor L-J Evans and seconded by Councillor Lesley Dedman:-
That BCP Council takes the opportunity provided by the Government’s Levelling Up paper to work to become a Marmot Community.
Notification has been received that the motion is also supported by Councillor Mark Howell.
Set out on the agenda was a motion proposed by Councillor L-J Evans and seconded by Councillor Dedman on becoming a Marmot Community.
The Chairman reported that Councillor Evans had notified that she wished to seek the Council’s consent to alter the wording of the motion in accordance with procedure 13.12 of Part 4D of the Constitution as follows:
“That BCP Council takes the opportunity provided by the
Government’s Levelling Up paper
work to explore
becomeing a Marmot
Council agreed to the above altered motion.
Councillor Evans presented the altered motion explaining that whilst BCP was a wonderful place it had marked disparities between areas from the highly affluent to some of the most deprived in England. She explained that life expectancy was no longer increasing but had actually started to fall and this was much more apparent in lower income areas. In addition, Councillor Evans highlighted that there had been a decrease in the proportion of our lives that we can expect to live in good health with poorer people disproportionately affected. Councillor Evans explained that action to reduce health inequality was not only morally correct but also benefits society as a whole. Members were informed that reducing illness results in economic gains and reduced pressures on services. Councillor Evans referred to the work of Sir Michael Marmot and the report he published in February 2020 which showed how health inequalities were driven by the so-called social determinants of health which included how children spend their early years, education, adequate housing, access to healthy environments and good jobs. She explained that after a decade of austerity the 10 year review showed that while there had been progress in some areas inequalities were actually widening and life expectancy was stalling. Members were reminded that the Government had just published its levelling up white paper which provided a real opportunity to improve health and reduce inequalities in BCP. Councillor Evans reported that one way to do this was by becoming a Marmot Community which was a region working across sectors to achieve six common goals as follows:
1. Give every child the best start in life
2. Enable everyone to maximise their capabilities and have control over their lives
3. Create fair employment and good work for all
4. Ensure a healthy standard of living
5. Create and develop healthy and sustainable places and communities
6. The prevention of ill health
Councillor Evans reported that Councils who were given the status of a Marmot Community were those that provided evidence that the above principles were upheld through local policy and decision making and that improving health and reducing inequalities were at the centre of everything that they do. She highlighted that it would take work, time and investment but that BCP Council was up to the challenge. Councillor Dedman in seconding the motion provided background information on Professor Marmot and his work which was focussed on improving the health and life chances of people all over the world.
Councillor Toby Johnson proposed the following amendment seconded by Councillor Judes Butt:
“That BCP Council takes the opportunity
provided by the Government’s Levelling Up paper
work to become a Marmot
Community uphold the
six principles of the Marmot report by continuing to grow our
commitment to the Levelling Up ‘missions’ set out in
the recent Government White Paper and the 14 Levelling Up
Councillor Johnson explained that he wholeheartedly supported the six principles set out in Professor Marmot’s report and hoped that all Members believed in them strongly. He explained the reason for the amendment was the lack of a suitable metrics by which any level of success could be recorded or measured. Members were informed that Marmot city was the latest term used which may raise potential concerns with some members. Councillor Johnson reported that three quarters of Health and Wellbeing Boards had Marmot principles at their centre and BCP was already one of them. He explained that this was why the amendment proposed to link with the Government led missions as set out in the Levelling Up White Paper. He explained that the amendment had not been changed in view of the altered motion and that there was already a draft report that gives an in-depth look at health inequality within BCP with the research team and in particular in Public Health taking into account the Marmot principles. Councillor Johnson emphasised that the original and altered motion although well intentioned was not needed as the work was already being done. He highlighted that health inequality was referenced in the report considered by Cabinet in January. Councillor Butt seconded the amendment and indicated that she would have expected a detailed report to explain and illustrate why it was prudent and necessary for the Council to support the motion, as the principles were required minimums which the Council was already doing and why the Council should join the Marmot branding when the principles were enshrined in the Council’s own policies.
Councillor Hadley commented on the amendment and highlighted the benefit of a network of other regions that the Council could compare with and monitor progress. He emphasised that it would be useful within levelling up that the Council was taking account particularly of public health and social needs as the previous paper was about economic benefits and working with the private sector. Councillor Hadley hoped that that Council exceeds the principles in its own levelling up actions.
Councillor Johnson in summing up provided assurance that health inequalities would be at the forefront in light of the number of members who had raised it as a concern at a previous Member seminar.
Councillor Evans in summing up explained that Councillor Johnson had discussed his concerns with the motion and the reasons for suggesting the amendment and that he believed that the Council was already working under the principles. She addressed the concerns at working with the Institute of Health Equity emphasising that it was essential that Council have clear policies and strategies to enable them to achieve their vision. Councillor Evans reported that working with the Institute of Health Equity would be considered a great investment and remove some of the burden of work from the Council’s overstretched officers and the Institute’s work would be complementary to the levelling up agenda not in opposition to it. Councillor Evans provided further detail on the Institute including the support that they provided. Members were informed that the financial commitment was in the region of £100,000 for an initial cost. Councillor Evans touched on the partnership working with Public Health England and the Dorset Integrated Care System who she was sure supported the original motion and other partners including the police, fire, schools, the business community and voluntary sectors. Councillor Evans emphasised that this was not just about commitment but about action including accountability, strategy, showing effective leadership and pooling resources learning and expertise.
The Council then voted on the amendment moved by Councillor Toby Johnson and seconded by Councillor Judes Butt as detailed in bold type above which was carried.
Voting – For - 37, Against – 25, Abstentions - 0
The Council then voted on the following substantive motion which was carried unanimously
“That BCP Council takes the opportunity provided by the Government’s Levelling Up paper to uphold the six principles of the Marmot report by continuing to grow our commitment to the Levelling Up ‘missions’ set out in the recent Government White Paper and the 14 Levelling Up Goals.”
Councillor Mike Greene under procedure rule 9.15 proposed that the meeting was now adjourned. The Monitoring Officer advised that if the meeting was adjourned it had not closed and would stay open until another date which would mean that the budget has not been agreed. Councillor Mike Greene then withdrew his proposal.