Agenda and draft minutes

Council - Wednesday, 27 March 2024 2.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Matlock. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services  Email: democratic.services@derbyshire.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

15/24

Apologies for absence

To receive apologies for absence (if any)

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Gibson, Haynes, Kemp, Muller, Musson, Nelson and Stevenson.

16/24

Declarations of interest

To receive declarations of interest (if any)

Minutes:

None received.

17/24

Chairman's announcements

Minutes:

The Chairman reported that due to an administrative error the Performance Monitoring and Budget Monitoring Forecast Outturn 2023-24 as a Quarter 3 paper due to be heard today would be presented to the May meeting.

 

The Chairman then referred to the Barkley Marathon in Tennessee that had taken place the previous week. Jasmine Paris who originates from Hadfield in Derbyshire was the first woman to complete the race and was one of only 20 to finish, a great achievement. The Chairman recorded congratulations and acknowledged the amazing feet of courage displayed by Jasmine on behalf of the Council.

 

The Chairman reminded members of the great work that our Local Community Rail Partnerships did.  He referred to the Hope Valley Line, the Derwent Valley Line and now the Robin Hood Line.  These were all active within our Derbyshire boundaries.  These lines had  great activities for adults and children and he encouraged everyone to take a look at the relevant websites during the Easter break.  Also to remind everyone to utilise alternative transport modes available without using cars such as the Wayfarer family ticket or £2.00 bus fares available.

 

Finally he referred to the sad death of ex County Councillor Joe Murphy who had recently passed away.

 

Members paid tributes and stood in silence as a mark of remembrance and respect.

18/24

Minutes pdf icon PDF 135 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 14 February 2024.

Minutes:

On the motion of Councillor B Lewis, duly seconded, it was

 

RESOLVED:

 

To confirm, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of Council held on 14 February 2024 subject to the deletion of Councillor K S Athwal from the attendance list.

19/24

Report of the Leader of the Council and Members' questions

To consider the report of the Council Leader and Members' questions on the report

Minutes:

The Leader reported that the first meeting of the East Midlands’ Mayoral County Combined Authority had taken place, an important event for the East Midlands Region.  The Combined Authority had brought together the four upper tier Authorities, the two cities and the two counties of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.  The first meeting had taken place in Derbyshire, in Chesterfield Borough Council’s main Council Chamber and Councillor Lewis had been nominated to chair this inaugural meeting on behalf of the Combined Authority.

 

He referred to the incredible journey that had evolved over a substantial period of time and the different events that had taken place including changes to legislation that had impacted along the way. This was the first County Combined Authority to be established in the country, something that made the East Midlands unique. He was looking forward to working with and closely cooperating inclusively across the Region and within the Combined Authority to maximise funding potential and opportunities for the combined area. Its work would be very much focused on inclusive growth which would benefit what we do and ensuring that everybody would benefit from that work.

 

In response to a question from Councillor E Fordham regarding the accountability of the new Combined Authority and the suggestion that an annual item and invite to the Mayor to a suitable Council meeting or other appropriate meeting could be afforded, Councillor Lewis agreed with this suggestion. 

 

In response to a question from Councillor D Allen in relation to the Combined Authority and its functions in respect of health, Councillor Lewis confirmed that it would have certain responsibilities with regard to Public Health but the actual details of how this would work were still in their infancy.

 

In response to a question from Councillor J Dixon in respect of the Budget update report that had been delayed to the next meeting, Councillor Lewis confirmed that this had been purely down to an administrative error as the Chairman had explained during his announcements but that the report had already been presented to a recent Cabinet meeting where the normal prescribed procedure for questions had been followed.

20/24

Public questions pdf icon PDF 71 KB

To consider public questions (if any)

Minutes:

Question from Ms S Davis to Councillor A Dale, Cabinet Member for Education

 

“With a large deficit budget and a big disparity between funding and real costs, how, as a Primary School with triple the national average of pupils with an EHCP/funding, do we continue to ensure they receive the support they need to make educational progress and keep safe, whilst also ensuring that other pupils are not detrimentally impacted by the large numbers of redundancies we are having to progress with?”

 

Councillor Dale responded as follows:

 

“Thank you very much for inviting me to the school yesterday.  Can I start by saying that Brampton is absolutely a school to be celebrated for being so inclusive.  Walking round yesterday I really got a sense of that.  It was absolutely a school where no one is left behind.  It was extremely welcoming and I can absolutely understand why it is so popular among parents, particularly those with children with additional needs, and that is why it is so concerning to me as well as it is to you and disappointing that the school is in such a difficult financial situation. 

 

I am absolutely very clear that the school is in a rock and a hard place situation.  Those support staff who are affected by the restructure proposals absolutely have my sympathy and I appreciate it is a very difficult and uncertain time for them, but as governors yourself and as the school leadership team I also have sympathy for you in having to make these decisions.  It is clearly not a position you want to be in and nor do you feel, quite rightly, that it is a situation of your own making, so during our meeting yesterday you clearly articulated the two key challenges affecting the school.  The first being the number of SEN children in school and the impact that has on having to draw on what is called the notional SEN budget, so every school has to contribute the first £6,000 to support the needs of any child with SEN and when those numbers are so much higher than the national average that has a much bigger impact on the school budget.  I absolutely understand that and to that extent I have said it before and I will say it again, I think the school is almost a victim of its own success in being so inclusive, that that really is having a detrimental impact on the school’s finances. 

 

Then there is a section around insufficient funding from the High Needs Block for those children who are on the EHCPs in terms of that banding of funding as well as the impacts on our timescales and our processes for EHCPs which is sort of exacerbating and making the problem even more acute. 

 

I already articulated yesterday some of the progress we are trying to make on those issues and we are actually also working on the banding models at the moment as we speak to try and ensure  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20/24

21/24

Petitions

To receive petitions (if any)

Minutes:

None received.

22/24

Derbyshire Electoral Boundary Review – Response to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) Draft Proposals for Derbyshire pdf icon PDF 901 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Managing Director introduced a report, which had been circulated in advance of the meeting that provided an update on the Derbyshire Electoral Division Boundary Review and sought approval to submit the Derbyshire County Council response to the draft Electoral Divisional Arrangements proposed by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England.

 

On the motion of Councillor B Lewis, duly seconded it was,

 

RESOLVED to:

 

1)    Approve the submission of the Council’s response to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England’s draft proposals for divisional arrangements, attached at Appendix 5 to the report, which sets out revised Electoral Division proposals, for consideration by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England;

 

2)    Note the revised indicative timescales for undertaking the key stages of the Electoral Boundary Review 2024 process, as outlined in the report; and

 

3)    Note the possibility of further Local Government Boundary Commission for England consultation in Electoral Divisions of interest.

 

(Councillor A Foster left the meeting at 2.50 pm)

23/24

Service Plans 2024-25 pdf icon PDF 114 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Managing Director introduced a report, which had been circulated in advance of the meeting, that sought approval of the authority’s Service Plans for 2024-25.

 

On the motion of Councillor B Lewis, duly seconded it was,

 

RESOLVED:

 

To approve the authority’s Service Plans for 2024-25 as recommended by Cabinet at its 14 March 2024 meeting.

24/24

Pay Policy Statement 2024 pdf icon PDF 777 KB

Minutes:

The Managing Director introduced a report, which had been circulated in advance of the meeting, that sought approval of the Pay Policy Statement, (attached to the report at Appendix 2) for publication on the Council’s website on 1 April 2024.

 

On the motion of Councillor S Spencer, duly seconded it was,

 

RESOLVED:

 

To approve the Pay Policy Statement for the financial year commencing 1 April 2024, attached at Appendix 2 to the report and agree that it be published on the Council’s website.

25/24

Review of the Code of Conduct and arrangements for dealing with complaints against Elected Members pdf icon PDF 147 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Legal and Democratic Services introduced a report, which had been circulated in advance of the meeting, that informed Council of a review of the current Code of Conduct and arrangements for dealing with complaints against Elected Members.

 

On the motion of Councillor S Swann, duly seconded it was,

 

RESOLVED to:

 

1)   Note the revisions to the Procedure for Considering Complaints that Members have breached the Code of Conduct at Appendix 2 of the report;

 

2)   Agree the proposed amendment to the Code of Conduct regarding presentation outlined at paragraph 2.9 in the report and included in the revised Code of Conduct at appendix 3 and agree that the revised Code should be included within the Council’s Constitution;

 

3)   Note and support that there be a review of the Procedure for Considering complaints against Members and the Code of Conduct for Members once every two years with the next review being scheduled for October 2025; and

 

4)   Note the proposals for further training in respect of the requirements for declaring interests.

26/24

Revisions to Constitution: Budget & Policy Framework policies pdf icon PDF 116 KB

Minutes:

The Director of Legal and Democratic Services introduced a report, which had been circulated in advance of the meeting, that sought approval to the list of Budget and Policy Framework policies and strategies in the Constitution.

 

On the motion of Councillor S Swann, duly seconded it was

 

RESOLVED:

 

To approve the amended Policy Framework list as set out in the body of this report for inclusion in Section D of Appendix 1 to the report – Responsibility for Functions of the Constitution.

27/24

Revisions to the Constitution: Petition Scheme pdf icon PDF 116 KB

Minutes:

The Director of Legal and Democratic Services introduced a report, which had been circulated in advance of the meeting, that sought agreement to an amendment to the Petition Scheme in the Constitution to include a procedure for debate.

 

On the motion of Councillor S Swann, duly seconded it was

 

RESOLVED:

 

To approve changes to the Petitions Scheme at Appendix 2 to the constitution, as set out in paragraph 2.5 of the report.

28/24

Revisions to the Constitution: Terms of Reference of the Audit Committee pdf icon PDF 117 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Legal and Democratic Services introduced a report, which had been circulated in advance of the meeting, that sought agreement of an amendment to the terms of reference of the Audit Committee in the Constitution to include two co-opted independent members.

 

On the motion of Councillor S Swann, duly seconded it was

 

RESOLVED:

 

To approve the amendment to the terms of reference for the Audit Committee at Article 10 of the Constitution to include two co-opted independent members.

29/24

Decisions taken as a matter of Urgency and Key Decisions and Special Urgency pdf icon PDF 101 KB

Minutes:

The Director of Legal and Democratic Services introduced a report, which had been circulated in advance of the meeting, that gave details of decisions taken as a matter of urgency and key decisions with special urgency where call-in had been waived.

 

The Director clarified that the headings on the appendices stated 16 May 2023 to 1 September 2023 and this should read 2 September to 15 March 2024.

 

On the motion of Councillor B Lewis, duly seconded that

 

RESOLVED to note:

 

1)   The key decisions taken where special urgency provisions were agreed as detailed in Appendix 2 to the report; and

 

2)   The urgent decisions taken where the call-in procedure was waived under the Improvement and scrutiny Procedure Rules as detailed in Appendix 3 to the report.

30/24

Elected Member questions pdf icon PDF 99 KB

To consider questions submitted by Elected Members

Minutes:

Question from Councillor K Gillott to Councillor S Spencer, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services and Budget

 

“Since 2019 the Cabinet has spent approximately £173,000 on improvements to this council chamber including approximately £165,000 on the audio-visual system.  Does the Cabinet Member think that sum has been good value for money?”

 

Councillor Spencer responded as follows:

 

“The decision to invest in this Council Chamber was taken on the 17 May 2018 to be precise.  If you remember, and you were in the Council Chamber in those days, we had 37 units which were fixed units located and fixed to the desks that we sit before; extremely inconvenient if we had a change of representation in the Chamber itself because not only did we have members sharing microphones we had more than two people sharing microphones on occasions which was hardly ideal.  It was also incredibly difficult for those with hearing difficulties to use those facilities because they were not wired appropriately into the wiring system within this Chamber and, of course, that system had been in this Chamber for some considerable time, I don’t know how long, but looking at the equipment for some considerable time.  We will leave it at that.

 

Since then we have invested into those 85 moveable units, some of which you see before you today, £169,663.50 to be precise and those 85 units and associated equipment, cameras, speakers, display screens plus associated IT infrastructure (including seven years’ maintenance) has made the facilities in this Chamber and every room of this Council building far more accessible for those with hearing challenges and far more bookable for organisations who choose to use them for the purposes that they choose to do so.

 

On average this Chamber alone is used approximately two times a week by various organisations to hold their meetings in and they tend to use the IT equipment as well and that is only in this room so, it is not for me to judge whether that is good value for money but I can say from the usage figures of the Council, which has been provided to me, I would say we are making better use of this building by providing decent IT and communication equipment than we were before.”

 

Councillor Gillott asked the following supplementary question:

 

“We need to modernise the system and it works but the system we have today, we have all experienced today, it is a lot of money on an audio visual system.  The audio side of it we have had problems with today and I have actually never seen the visual side of it used other than for what we are seeing it for today. 

 

There is certainly no live streaming but my real concern, Councillor Spencer, is when it comes to the voting side of it because the system, how we use it anyway, doesn’t display how individual members vote.  I think that is wrong because that is our democracy almost taking place in secret.  Unless we have  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30/24