Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Town Hall, Maidenhead. View directions

Contact: Karen Shepherd  01628 796529

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Items
No. Item

35.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Coppinger, Jones and Shelim.

36.

Council Minutes pdf icon PDF 161 KB

To receive the Part I minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 23 July 2019.

Minutes:

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the minutes of the meeting held on 23 July 2019 be approved.

37.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 219 KB

To receive any declarations of interest

Minutes:

Councillor Singh declared a personal interest in item 15h) as he owned a property in St Marks Road. He had been advised by the Monitoring Officer that as the item was a Member question rather than a formal decision, he was able to continue to take part.

 

Councillor Hill declared a personal interest in item 11 as he owned a property in the borough which would require the erection of scaffolding during 2020. He would not vote on the item.

38.

Mayor's Communications pdf icon PDF 84 KB

To receive such communications as the Mayor may desire to place before the Council

Minutes:

The Mayor had submitted in writing details of engagements that the Mayor and Deputy Mayor had undertaken since the last meeting, which were noted by Council.

39.

Public Questions

No questions were received by the deadline.

Minutes:

No questions had been received by the deadline.

40.

Petitions

To receive any petitions presented by Members on behalf of registered electors for the Borough under Rule C.10.

 

(Any Member submitting a petition has up to 2 minutes to summarise its contents)

Minutes:

Councillor Tisi submitted a petition relating to the introduction of business rate relief for maintained nurseries in the borough. She explained that as there was a motion on the subject later in the agenda, she would speak on the issue then. However, she wanted to present the petition to show the strength of feeling from residents in her ward on the issue.

41.

Election of Leader pdf icon PDF 146 KB

To consider the above report.

Minutes:

Members considered the election of Leader.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Clark, seconded by Councillor Carroll, and:

 

RESOLVED: That Full Council notes the report and elects Councillor Andrew Johnson as Leader of the Council.

 

(A named vote was taken as at least five councillors made such a request, as per Part 2 C17.3.3 of the constitution. 20 Councillors voted for the motion; 15 Councillors voted against the motion; 2 abstained)

 

Councillor Johnson stated that it was an honour and a privilege to be elected as Leader. Despite the fact that the Conservative administration had only recently been elected on a mandate, from the outset there would be some changes. He had a different style to his predecessor and changes would be seen in terms of the decision making process, a revised vision for taking the borough forward and how the council engaged with residents. He would lead an administration that was decisive and acted with clarity of purpose but would also listen, respond and employ creative ways to engage with residents. This was a united Conservative administration based on financial prudence, low taxes, tackling crime and anti-social behaviour and delivering opportunity. Full details of his administration would follow but he looked forward to delivering a Conservative manifesto in a collegiate and cohesive spirit.

 

Councillor Walters left the meeting.

Recorded Vote
TitleTypeRecorded Vote textResult
Election of Leader Motion Carried
  • View Recorded Vote for this item
  • 42.

    Community Governance Review Process pdf icon PDF 110 KB

    To receive a presentation on the process for a Community Governance Review.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Members received a presentation on the process for undertaking a Community Governance Review from Suzanne Martin, Electoral & Information Governance Services Manager.

     

    Members noted that the figures provided in the background report detailing the number of signatories required for a valid petition to start a Community Governance Review had been updated due to a change in legislation. Members noted the required numbers as below:

     

    Petition area

    Required number of signatories

    < 500 electors

    37.5% of the electors

    500 – 2,499 electors

    At least 187 of the electors

    > 2,500 electors

    At least 7.5% of the electors

     

    Members also noted that if a Community Governance Review was undertaken, either following receipt of a valid petition or following a decision by the council, a working group could be set up to undertake the review or alternatively an officer could be given delegated authority. The last review undertaken by the council relating to Bray Parish Council had been undertaken by the Returning Officer under delegated authority.

     

    The Mayor thanked Suzanne Martin for the presentation and requested Members to direct any questions to Suzanne outside of the meeting.

    43.

    Constitutional Amendments - Town Forums pdf icon PDF 312 KB

    To consider the above report

    Minutes:

    Members considered amendments to the terms of reference for the two Town Forums.

     

    Councillor Rayner explained that there were a number of major projects in both towns and increasing the number of town forum meetings would provide residents with the opportunity to come to meetings, listen, and ask questions of both Members and officers. Recent agenda had been very lengthy therefore the proposals would help to address this issue.

     

    Councillor Price explained that she had attended Windsor Town Forum meetings for over five years. She had regularly requested an increase in meetings so welcomed the proposals but regretted that the opportunity had not been taken earlier. She was however unable to agree to the increase in membership which she felt was a way of making the meetings political as there were only three Conservative ward councillors in the wards covering the Windsor Town Forum. She highlighted that the terms of reference required ‘political balance wherever possible’ and Members ‘should’ represent the ward areas. Councillor Price felt ward representation should take precedence as Members from outside Windsor would be unfamiliar with the issues.

     

    Councillor Knowles commented that he echoed the sentiments of Councillor Price, although he had not attended as many town forum meetings as she had. The ward covering the area of the Boltons had been added to the Windsor Town Forum ward list in May and he therefore felt this area should be represented on the forum. He therefore welcomed the change in this respect. He felt that the meetings could end up being just as lengthy despite the increase in frequency; he hoped it would be an opportunity for more interaction and lively debate. He had planned to table an amendment in relation to political balance but had been advised it would not have legally been possible; this was the only reason he had not challenged the issue.

     

    Councillor Hill asked whether a ward councillor could propose a motion to keep the membership the same. The Monitoring Officer advised that the point of increasing the membership to 11 was to allow the Boltons to be represented. Members could vote against the proposal but this would mean the Boltons would not be represented.

     

    Councillor W. Da Costa commented that the problem was that the political balance was based on the whole of the borough; he felt it should be based on the political representation in Windsor. The Monitoring Officer explained that the law required political balance. An exemption was only possible if every Member voted to remove the requirement. Another option would be for the meetings to be designated as Area Committees. Alternative options would need to be properly assessed and were therefore best discussed outside of the Council meetings.

     

    Councillor Hilton commented that in the past there had only been 15 Conservative councillors on the council and the political balance rule had been applied. The Leader had spoken of a new approach and the collective intent to take the council forward. Beyond the legal requirements, it would be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43.

    Recorded Vote
    TitleTypeRecorded Vote textResult
    Constitutional Amendments - Town Forums Motion Carried
  • View Recorded Vote for this item
  • 44.

    Appointment of Scrutiny Officer pdf icon PDF 188 KB

    To consider the above report

    Minutes:

    Members considered appointment of the statutory Scrutiny Officer.

     

    Councillor Rayner informed Members that David Cook, the proposed nominee, had been employed by the council since 2013. He was an excellent officer, highly regarded by all.

     

    Members noted that the Scrutiny Officer performed a key role, including:

     

    ·         Promoting the role of the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committees

    ·         Providing support to the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committees and the members of those bodies

    ·         Providing support and guidance to Members and Officers of the Council and the Executive on the functions of its Overview and Scrutiny Committees

     

    The Overview and Scrutiny process was critical to openness and transparency and ensured the best decision making occurred for residents.

     

    Councillor Hilton stated he was totally supportive of the proposed appointment. Councillor McWilliams echoed this comment. He highlighted that the way to do scrutiny was to listen and consult. This was the approach taken by the Task and Finish Groups that had been established. The support of the Scrutiny Officer was critical for both the Panel Chairmen and Members.

     

    Councillor Werner commented that David Cook was an outstanding officer. He asked how long he would be covering the role and hoped that he would be able to work full time on scrutiny.

     

    Councillor Hill stated that he supported the proposal. Given the finance report to Cabinet later in the week he wished there had been more rigorous scrutiny undertaken. Councillor W. Da Costa applauded the appointment of David Cook as he was highly regarded by all. Councillor W. Da Costa believed that given the correct support he would do an excellent job. He asked what support and financial budget would be provided for training and what freedom would he be given to make decisions and recommendations free from the fear of political repercussions?

     

    The Service Lead – Governance confirmed that the appointment of the statutory officer was required as a result of the departure of the Democratic Services Officer who had previously been designated in the role. The newly appointed Democratic Services Officer did not have sufficient experience to take the role on immediately, therefore would be undertaking a full training programme in the coming months. David Cook would continue in his role as Democratic Services Team Manager, whilst also co-ordinating the Scrutiny Officer role with support from the newly appointed Democratic Services Officer.

     

    It was proposed by Councillor Rayner, seconded by Councillor Hilton and:

     

    RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That Full Councilnotes the report and appoints David Cook – Democratic Services Team Manager, as the council’s Statutory Scrutiny Officer.

    45.

    Hoarding & Scaffolding Fees & Charges - Budget pdf icon PDF 222 KB

    To consider the above report

     

    Minutes:

    Members considered the amendment of approved fees and charges.

     

    Councillor Johnson explained that the report proposed a reduction in the fees and charges for the erection of scaffolding and hoardings on the public highway.  The proposals represented a clear commitment to sustainability as where a living or green wall (or similar) was created as an alternative to traditional hoarding, fees would be waived. There was significant regeneration in the borough and where the council was taking an active lead, it would look to deliver green or sustainable walls wherever possible.

     

    Councillor W. Da Costa asked what effect the proposals would have on income levels. He suggested guidelines should be provided to facilitate the creation of green walls that actually enhanced biodiversity and reduced greenhouse gasses rather than just creating a ‘weedy wall’. He also asked what were the positive social and economic outcomes that would push contractors towards complying.

     

    Councillor Davies welcomed the waving of fees but echoed the calls for the creation of standards to guide developers.

     

    Councillor Stimson explained that it appeared the borough’s charges were higher than neighbouring authorities therefore the reduction was proposed. As Lead Member she would be looking at best practice for building green walls; it was likely that this would depend entirely on the situation of the wall. Green walls could have a variety of benefits including absorbing sound and cleaning air and therefore each wall may require something different.

     

    Councillor Johnson concluded that the council was committed to the biodiversity agenda; this was just one small part.

     

    It was proposed by Councillor Johnson, seconded by Councillor Stimson, and:

     

    RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That Councilnotes the report and:

     

    i)          Recommends that the approved fees and charges are amended to

     

    Duration

    Minor road less than 50m2

    Minor road more than 50m2

    Major road less than 50m2

    Major road more than 50m2

    0 to 2 months

    £495

    £2,430

    £990

    £4,865

    3 to 4 months

    £825

    £2,655

    £1,655

    £5,310

    5 to 6 months

    £1,195

    £3,020

    £2,390

    £6,040

     

    Note: if a living / green wall (or similar) is created as an alternative to traditional hoarding fees will be waived.

     

    46.

    Transport for the South East - Draft Proposal to Government pdf icon PDF 672 KB

    To consider the above report

     

    Minutes:

    Members considered support for a draft proposal to Government agreed by the Transport for the South East (TfSE) Shadow Partnership Board in March 2019, setting out the powers that TfSE wished to secure should it be offered statutory status.

     

    Councillor Johnson explained that TfSE was a sub-national transport body that would take forward strategic, integrated and sustainable transport schemes for the south east.

     

    Councillor Werner commented that it was good to see the council embracing regional government. He asked whether there were any powers the council would lose in moving to the proposed new body. He welcomed a more integrated approach for all forms of transport. He asked if the key measures would be whether it would save people time and money and what were the environmental impacts.

     

    Councillor Johnson confirmed that the criteria were correct. The south east was one of the key economic powerhouses for the UK but also one of the most congested and with a generally unsustainable transport structure. No powers would be lost but it was an opportunity to work with LEP partners and other bodies in the region.

     

    Councillor Hill welcomed the proposals but highlighted that the borough would not have a vote in the new body. Councillor Johnson explained that the borough technically did not get a vote on its own but did so through the Berkshire Strategic Transport Forum which worked on a cross-party, collegiate basis.

     

    Councillor Knowles commented that it was common sense to get involved in the project however he was nervous of the delegation of authority to proceed at a later stage.

     

    Councillor Cannon commented that strategic joined up thinking was the way forward. The proposals were modelled on structures in London and the north to benefit residents.

     

    Councillor W. Da Costa highlighted that residents and businesses wanted simple, affordable transport that would get them to anywhere they wanted to in the region, when they wanted to quickly and efficiently, boosting mobility and footfall, whilst also improving the environment, health and wellbeing. He could not see the inclusion of those objectives in the report. There was a need for the creation of a wide and extensive network of integrated, ecofriendly transport solutions including road, rail, cycle, walking and emerging solutions. It would be important to consider the role of a transport authority versus private ownership and the need to invest in technology to achieve the objectives. If Councillor Johnson agreed, he asked how could the council lead the way and push the authority to create the holistic solutions that businesses and residents needed.

     

    Councillor Johnson explained that the principle role of the organisation was to support a regional framework for ‘big ticket’ transport infrastructure items.  The role of transport authorities remained the same, to devise a localised transport solution. It would be important to be ambitious at the Berkshire level to secure funding for projects. He welcomed Member suggestions to be fed in via the Lead Member for Transport.

     

    It was proposed by Councillor Johnson, seconded by Councillor Cannon,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 46.

    47.

    Modern Workplace Project pdf icon PDF 156 KB

    To consider the above report

     

    Minutes:

     

    Members considered approval of capital funding for the Modern Workplace project.

     

    Councillor Hilton commented that he was aware of the frustrations of officers when they had difficulties logging into the council network. The report proposed a replacement of the desktop environment to reduce those frustrations and improve efficiency. The original total estimated project cost to fully replace the current hardware and software had been £530,000 (pilot 2018/19 - £69,000, year 1 2019/20 - £321,000, year 2 2020/21 - £140,000).

     

    Councillor Hilton explained that the pilot, approved by CLT earlier in the year, had led to a revised specification. The estimated cost of the project had increased by £405,000. This was due to a higher specification of device being required, a smaller number of suitable devices than estimated being re-useable, Optalis now being in scope, and an increase in device cost over recent months. In addition there was a requirement to bring forward £140,000 of the 2020/21 capital funding approved at Council in February to 2019/20.  This would allow for the roll-out of all devices before 1 April 2020, when the Microsoft enterprise licence agreement was renewed; the mobile devices required a more cost effective license than the current thin clients. As well as improving system availability, replacing the current desktop infrastructure would realise significant benefits by enabling the council’s workforce to carry out duties flexibly, use new functionality such as conference/video calling and instant messaging, and provide efficiencies in terms of minimising pressure on support resources by implementing more robust and fully supported IT solutions.

     

    Members noted that the costs included training, project management, application packages and conversion of packages. The change to the revenue budget in 2019/20 was one third of the £9000 figure in the report because by the time the project was underway there would only be four months of the financial year remaining. The depreciation period for hardware was 10 years; for software 7 years. Councillor Hilton would ask for a review period of hardware; if necessary this would require full Council approval. A rolling device replacement programme would be built into future capital budgets to ensure that the technology used by the council remained fit for purpose.

     

    Councillor Bowden seconded the motion.

     

    Councillor Reynolds commented that it was fair to say that the Council had fairly frequently overspent on projects, and the £405,000 was no exception to that. He had three issues with the Modern Workplace Project as it stood:

     

    The council was proposing to borrow over ten years, which meant the equipment was expected to last for ten years. Anyone who owned a computer knew a computer did not last for ten years. The report also mentioned that current equipment had lasted for seven years and was already out of date.

     

    The maximum warranty the council could take out on the computers was five years, which meant five years when the council would not be able to service its computers for the future so they would probably just be binned. He asked how would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 47.

    48.

    Treasury Management Strategy Outturn 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 248 KB

    To consider the above report

     

    Minutes:

    Members considered the Annual Treasury Management Outturn for 2018/19, in accordance with the council’s treasury management practices.

     

    Councillor Hilton explained that this was the first time the report had been presented in September, which is when it should be presented. Members noted that treasury management comprised managing the council’s borrowing to ensure funding of the council’s future capital programme was at optimal cost and investing surplus cash balances arising from the day-to-day operations of the council to obtain an optimal return while ensuring security of capital and liquidity. Councillor Hilton referred Members to the table in paragraph 2.1.2 of the report. He highlighted that the council had loaned £1.76m to the Property Company; so far £100,000 had been paid back. The council had also loaned Achieving for Children £4.81m on a rolling arrangement.

     

    Councillor Werner commented that the report highlighted an increase in borrowing in 2018/19. This would continue in the current and following year, which felt a bit out of control. The CIPFA code required councils to have a plan to manage debt and pay it off over time. He asked if CIPFA was happy with the plans for dealing with the council debt going forward and when the CIPFA review of council finances would be published.

     

    Councillor Hilton explained that some commitments may need borrowing. Any future projects would be robustly scrutinised. No project would go forward which could not be justified. He was putting controls back into the process. The CIPFA report had been requested by the Managing Director, who had received representations for it to be published. He was taking advice on what could be published and when. There was a Member question later in the agenda on the issue which he would answer as fully as he could.

     

    Councillor W. Da Costa commented that as a Corporate Treasurer, he had concerns about the report and the lack of detail, back up and explanation.  Treasury management of a large organization was a rolling programme which needed to show the medium term cash flow to be able to effectively decide where to place deposits and on what durations to place deposits and borrow money. The council needed to understand its treasury management policy with regard to counter-party risk, refinancing risks and exposure to interest rate changes. Councillor W. Da Costa felt there were many issues that are not covered including;

    • What was the expected medium cash flow?
    • How would cash balances evolve?
    • What was the strategy for placing deposits?
    • What terms was borrowing made on?
    • What were the refinancing risks?
    • What margins could be received with other funders?

    Councillor W. Da Costa also felt there was a lack of information with regard to the table. He presumed that the cash balances were renewed on a daily basis otherwise, how could the council have placed on deposit and then had repaid to it a third of a billion pounds. In future Members needed enough information to make a decision cognizant of the key factors.

    Councillor Hill stated  ...  view the full minutes text for item 48.

    49.

    Members' Questions

    a)    Councillor Price will ask the following question of Councillor Carroll, Lead Member for Adults, Children and Health:

     

    At the June Council meeting Cllr Carroll responded to the Motion re parking the Brett Bus on Council land.  Will he clarify that his response was a list of issues needed to be considered SHOULD the bus be parked on Council Land, and in no way implied that the current operation of the bus was deficient in any regard. 

     

    b)   Councillor Davey will ask the following question of Councillor Shelim, Lead Member for HR, Legal and IT:

     

    What strategies and policies are in place to improve transparency across council departments by increasing the use of the very excellent Neighbourhood Maps that can be used by residents to see what RBWM is planning next and what work has been done?

     

    c)    Councillor Davey will ask the following question of Councillor Johnson, Lead Member for Infrastructure, Transport Policy, Housing and Property:

     

    Every week another concerned resident is asking questions about Maidenhead Road, in person and on social media. The LEP have made funding available for the A308 Corridor Review. When will the review take place and when will the results be ready for public consultation?

     

    d)   Councillor Haseler will ask the following question of Councillor Coppinger, Lead Member for Planning:

     

    Given the unanimous refusal by the Maidenhead Area Development Management Panel of the 5 Claires Court & Berkeley Homes Planning applications for Cannon Lane, College Avenue and Ray Mill Road. Will the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead undertake to robustly defend this decision at any appeal by the applicants to the Planning Inspectorate or Secretary of State?

     

    e)    Councillor Haseler will ask the following question of Councillor Rayner, Lead Member for Culture, Communities and Windsor:

     

    Many residents work extremely hard in their gardens each year and look forward to us judging their efforts in the Garden In Bloom Awards. This year has seen cutbacks by not issuing medals and certificates to the winners, this has caused disappointment. Will you please reconsider at least the awarding of certificates to the winners of Garden In Bloom Awards?

     

    f)     Councillor Larcombe will ask the following question of Councillor Cannon, Lead Member for Public Protection:

     

    The answer to my question about lack of water in Wraysbury Drain at our Council Meeting on 25th June revealed that £125,000 had been invested in maintenance and that further works were required. The weir near Wraysbury Station was repaired in July. What is the present situation please?

     

    g)     Councillor Singh will ask the following question of Councillor Coppinger, Acting Leader of the Council:

     

    The Landing site is progressing well with the demolition and hoarding constructed along King Street. I am disappointed to see at least two large freshly planted planters now blocked in behind the hoarding along with several hanging baskets, could you let me know if there is a plan to rescue these and reposition elsewhere? 

     

    h)     Councillor Singh will ask the following question of Councillor Johnson, LeaderMember for Infrastructure,  ...  view the full agenda text for item 49.

    Minutes:

    a)    Councillor Price asked the following question of Councillor Carroll, Lead Member for Adults, Children and Health:

     

    At the June Council meeting Cllr Carroll responded to the Motion re parking the Brett Bus on Council land.  Will he clarify that his response was a list of issues needed to be considered SHOULD the bus be parked on Council Land, and in no way implied that the current operation of the bus was deficient in any regard. 

     

    Councillor Carroll responded that he was pleased to provide clarification that the list of issues he had itemised in his response at the June Council meeting were those that would need to be considered should the bus be parked on council land.  Councillor Johnson had also given information on the health and safety aspects. The Brett Fund was highly valued and he was pleased that cross party working was taking place.

     

    By way of a supplementary question, Councillor Price asked if the Lead Member would confirm if the borough had been in discussion with the Brett Fund about the bus and its operation and how the borough could help find a permanent site for the bus, as the previous Leader has promised to do.

     

    Councillor Carroll responded that Councillor Johnson had written to the Brett Fund. Officers in Adult Social Care had also made contact and had discussed how the council could assist on issues such as parking and safeguarding. He was very keen to meet with representatives along with the new Head of Housing who was due to start shortly. There was a need to challenge aspirations and ambitions.

     

    b)   Councillor Davey asked the following question of Councillor Shelim, Lead Member for HR, Legal and IT:

     

    What strategies and policies are in place to improve transparency across council departments by increasing the use of the very excellent Neighbourhood Maps that can be used by residents to see what RBWM is planning next and what work has been done?

     

    Councillor Rayner, on behalf of Councillor Shelim, responded that over time the council had invested in developing a number of excellent on-line maps that were widely used by council departments, residents, businesses and visitors. Although there was no documented strategy or policy in place regarding the ongoing development of the maps, she assured Councillor Davey that the council were planning to continue to develop them to provide both additional functionality, and different layers of information.

     

    By way of a supplementary question, Councillor Davey explained that local residents had shared concerns on social media about trees being removed for 5G signals. He asked for applications for new telephone masts to be shown on maps. He also asked for a list of proposed maps and a schedule for production.

     

    Councillor Rayner responded that she would raise these issues with officers.

     

    c)    Councillor Davey asked the following question of Councillor Johnson, Lead Member for Infrastructure, Transport Policy, Housing and Property:

     

    Every week another concerned resident is asking questions about Maidenhead Road, in person and on social media. The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 49.

    50.

    Continuation of Meeting

    Minutes:

    At this point in the meeting, and in accordance with Rule of Procedure Part 4A C25.1 of the council’s constitution, the Chairman called for a vote in relation to whether or not the meeting should continue, as the time had exceeded 10.00pm.

     

    Upon being put to the vote, those present voted in favour of the meeting continuing.

     

    RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: that the meeting continue after 10.00pm to conclude the outstanding business on the agenda.

    51.

    Motions on Notice

    a)    By Councillor Davey

     

    Since June ward councillors and a number of officers put a great deal of energy into making plans for a trial removal of Sutherland Grange Recycling Centre. This plan was pulled at the very last minute by Conservative Lead members. We will get back on track. However my issue is with the energy wasted before Lead Members voiced their thoughts.

     

    This Council:

     

    i) Should enhance its project management steps, ensuring a more efficient use of council time, officers and councillors alike.

    ii) Agrees that Lead Members should make their thoughts known within the first few weeks of a project’s planning so that answers can be found to address their concerns before energy is wasted on bringing a plan together.

     

     

    b)   By Councillor McWilliams:

     

    The ambition of this council is to be as accessible as possible to residents.

     

    This Council asks the Lead Member for Communications:

     

    i)     To look at innovative ways to involve residents in council forums, such as Maidenhead/Windsor Town Forums, via social media.

    ii)      To invest in new cameras and more effective microphone equipment to better live stream important council meetings across social media and for subsequent use.

     

     

    c)    By Councillor Tisi

     

    The three Maintained Nursery Schools in RBWM make an outstanding contribution to Early Years Education; particularly their impact on social mobility and support for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and the role that they play in raising the standard of other Early Years providers locally. All three nurseries are Ofsted Outstanding.

     

    This Council:

     

    i)     Recognises the higher costs faced by maintained nursery schools compared to other early years providers due to:

     

    ·         Higher staff qualification levels than private nurseries and childminder settings - Maintained nursery schools are required to employ qualified early years teachers and NNEB trained assistants.

    ·         Statutory requirements to employ a qualified Headteacher and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Coordinator (SENDco)

    ·         Being subject to business rates (unlike charity registered preschools) and higher utilities than home-based childminders;

    ·         and that securing guaranteed funding beyond 2020 is necessary to avoid their closure.

     

    ii)       Supports the ‘Save Our Nursery Schools’ campaign and will write to the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, urging him to guarantee funding beyond 2020 for state funded nursery schools.

     

    iii)   Recognises that Maintained Nursery Schools have at least the same statutory roles and staffing qualification requirements as maintained Primary and Secondary schools and should be treated in parity with those schools and therefore, resolves to introduce ongoing/permanent business rate relief for Maintained Nursery Schools within RBWM.

     

     

     

     

    Minutes:

     

    Motion a

     

    Councillor Davey introduced his motion. He explained that he wished to amend the motion he had proposed as detailed in the agenda. Members noted the amended motion:

     

    This Council:

     

    i) Should enhance its project management steps, ensuring a more efficient use of council time, officers and councillors alike.

    ii) Ensure appropriate training for all parties.

    ii) Agrees that the key decision makers should make their thoughts known within the first few weeks of a project’s planning so that answers can be found to address their concerns before energy is wasted on bringing a plan together.

     

    Councillor Davey explained that his experiences with the CC52 funding question and trial removal of the Sutherland Grange Re-cycling had made him question how projects were managed. As a new Independent Councillor he was allowed to express how he felt without the risk of being ostracised which he accepted was far more difficult for those representing national parties.

     

    He wished to make it very clear he did not wish to offend anyone by bringing the motion to council. He was not interested in blaming other Members or officers. He came into the new environment with a passion for helping his fellow man, as a Rotarian with the mantra of “Service above Self”. He asked if he would be doing the best for his residents and his ward by not asking difficult, sometimes slightly embarrassing questions at council meetings.

     

    His first question at council related to the CC52 Clewer & Dedworth Neighbourhood Improvements for £350,000 was treated with amusement. The minutes record that ‘Councillor Hilton responded that this was the first time in his long experience that a Councillor has raised, as an issue, the spending of more money in their ward rather than less.’

     

    A letter dated 16 August 2019, almost two months after his question stated that ‘There were irregularities in the approval of these projects, in that, the virement should not have taken place and the works on Spencer Denney and Parks, however valuable to the community, should not have been funded from CC52. I thank you again for your question which will lead to tighter control of the capital programme and in a few months, improved reporting.’

     

    Councillor Davey commented that he had therefore been right in his observations and therefore right to flag them to council. A supplementary to that letter would be how long had this type of thing gone unnoticed or unreported? 

    He was interested in better governance all round. Recent experience had shown that key decision makers needed to be involved sooner rather than later.

     

    Officers needed the correct training both in project management but also in assertiveness and standing their own ground. Councillors needed to know the boundaries and respect that once a strategy had been formed, they should leave the ‘how’ to officers who then were given the power to push back when necessary. This would take time to get used to for those who had been used to dictating but it  ...  view the full minutes text for item 51.