Agenda and minutes

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Items
No. Item

73.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Brar.

74.

Council Minutes pdf icon PDF 290 KB

To receive the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 17 December 2019.

Minutes:

RESOLVED UNNIMOUSLY: That the minutes of the meeting held on 17 December 20219 be approved.

75.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 219 KB

To receive any declarations of interest

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made.

76.

Mayor's Communications pdf icon PDF 79 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 ordinary meeting, which were noted by Council.

 

The Mayor highlighted that councillors would have already received confirmation that the Civic Funeral for the Former Mayor of the Royal Borough, Dee Quick, would be held on Monday 9 March 2020 at 12.30pm at St Stephen and St Agnes Church, Windsor.  She commented that a healthy attendance by councillors at a Civic Funeral demonstrated the Council’s appreciation for the many years of community service rendered by the former Mayor of the Borough.  She therefore encouraged as many councillors as possible to attend the service.

 

77.

Public Questions pdf icon PDF 126 KB

a)    Jane Stone of Belmont ward will ask the following question of Councillor Carroll, Lead Member for Adult Social Care, Children’s Services, Health and Mental Health:

 

How many organisations tendered for the contract which was currently with Ways into Work and has now been awarded to Optalis?

 

b)   Janet Hayes-Brown of Clewer and Dedworth West ward will ask the following question of Councillor Carroll, Lead Member for Adult Social Care, Children’s Services, Health and Mental Health:

 

How many clients can the new Optalis supported employment service work with for the £74,000 budget, and what targets, including job outcomes, will be set with the new provider?

 

c)    Susan Edwards of Furze Platt ward will ask the following question of Councillor Carroll, Lead Member for Adult Social Care, Children’s Services, Health and Mental Health:

 

My son has benefitted greatly from funding provided by RBWM to Ways into Work and works for the Council. He has multiple and complex issues including severe learning disability, hearing impairment and, difficulties with communication. Whoever supports him needs to know him well. By changing service provider to Optalis, how can you guarantee that he will not be disadvantaged?

 

d)     Lisa Hughes of Furze Platt ward will ask the following question of Councillor Johnson, Leader of the Council:

 

Many residents with disabilities will be greatly affected by cuts of £166k to supported employment and £330k to the council tax reduction scheme plus increases to adult health and commissioning charges. Can RBWM provide evidence that due regard was given to its equality obligations in relation to residents with disabilities?

 

e)    Angela Clark of Cox Green ward will ask the following question of Councillor Carroll, Lead Member for Adult Social Care, Children’s Services, Health and Mental Health:

 

Ways into Work provides personalised employment support that enables residents with disabilities to be a part of the workforce, with commensurate benefits to their finances, health and well-being. Will the £166k of savings next year be realised by reducing the number of people supported or reducing the scope of the services provided?

 

f)     Paul Stretton of Clewer East ward will ask the following question of Councillor Coppinger, Lead Member for Planning and Maidenhead:

 

During the Council meeting (Sept 2018), concerns of asbestos hazards, during demolition (surface and airborne) in the Dedworth area were raised. Authority to proceed with demolition was given by RBWM, without ensuring all planning conditions had been met. What actions and recommendations have been implemented to protect and reassure the community from this and any such future suspected contaminations?

 

g)   Andrew Hill of Boyn Hill ward will ask the following question of Councillor Hilton, Lead Member for Finance and Ascot:

On 26th March Simon Dudley announced at the St Mary's Church Areli/Tikehau meeting, that he had “... already entered into” an agreement to sell Central House, and our 50% freehold of the Nicholson centre to Areli. On what date did he enter into that agreement, and had any officer or Cabinet approved this massive  ...  view the full agenda text for item 77.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

a)    Jane Stone of Belmont ward asked the following question of Councillor Carroll, Lead Member for Adult Social Care, Children’s Services, Health and Mental Health:

 

How many organisations tendered for the contract which was currently with Ways into Work and has now been awarded to Optalis?

 

A written response was provided:

 

Thank you for your question on this important issue.  Rather than go out to tender, the council has asked its own delivery company, Optalis, to provide the service. As you might be aware, from April 2017, the council started delivering all statutory and discretionary adult services through Optalis, which is a Local Authority Trading Company; jointly owned by Wokingham Borough Council and the Royal Borough. 

 

As Optalis is a jointly owned Local Authority Trading Company, the Council is not required to formally tender any contracts for statutory or discretionary services, if they can be fulfilled by Optalis.

 

In the case of the existing contract with Ways into Work, the Royal Borough was not, therefore, required to re-tender the contract when it expires on 30th April 2020, as Optalis already has a successful and established Supported Employment service in operation, in Wokingham, which has been running for more than 18 years.  Delivering through Optalis is our long term strategy and all part of our overall plan to deliver better adult social care through enablement, prevention and independence.

 

By way of a supplementary question, Ms Stone expressed concern that Ways Into Work had provided this service for five years as a community interest company and prior to that as part of RBWM. This continuity had allowed them to build up contracts and relationships with local employers and the candidates who had complex needs. She asked how this wealth of knowledge and experience would be maintained and candidates supported?

 

Councillor Carroll responded that the council’s adult social care strategy had been to invest in Optalis Holding Company, which was part of the proposal. The government ranked each local authority on the percentage of people with learning difficulties supported into employment. The Optalis service currently in Wokingham was ranked number two in the country. Optalis already had expertise in the field. The council was working with the current provider to ensure transitional arrangements were fully optimised.

 

b)   Janet Hayes-Brown of Clewer and Dedworth West ward asked the following question of Councillor Carroll, Lead Member for Adult Social Care, Children’s Services, Health and Mental Health:

 

How many clients can the new Optalis supported employment service work with for the £74,000 budget, and what targets, including job outcomes, will be set with the new provider?

 

A written response was provided:

 

Thank you for your question on this important issue.  It is important to understand that there is a fully operational Supported Employment Service already operating within our Local Authority Trading Company, Optalis.  This has been in operation for more than 18 years and supports around 300 residents in Wokingham.  There is an existing staff team comprising a Head of Employment Services, as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 77.

78.

Petitions

To receive any petitions presented by Members on behalf of residents.

 

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

Minutes:

No petitions were presented.

79.

Referrals from other bodies

To consider referrals from other bodies (e.g. Cabinet)

Minutes:

COUNCIL BUDGET 2020/21

 

Members were addressed by Ms Beaumont-Lall, on behalf of Mr Daniel Griffiths lead petitioner for a petition requesting the council to ‘scrap plans to charge for residents parking permits.’ Ms Beaumont-Lall explained that unfortunately he had been late in opening the petition and had only gathered 91 signatures. She herself had only found out about the petition after it had closed. She had tried to put up her own petition but it had been rejected as a duplicate. However, she had highlighted the issue on an online forum and received support from 628 people in just 24 hours. The amount now proposed to be charged for a permit was double the cost when the council had previously removed the charges for parking permits in October 2013. Residents were seething at the misappropriation of borough money, for example funds used to pay for lamppost banners and on re-routing of the Queen Street junction. Ms Beaumont-Lall commented that she had looked into resident consultations and Freedom of Information requests at the council. She had identified a lack of a systematic approach, a lack of proper use of data, and no consideration of qualitative data. This was evidence that consultations were not done properly. She had also looked at the cost of parking permits in other towns and heritage cities such as Winchester and Salisbury; the proposed cost in the borough was higher. None would be needed if the town centre planning situation been looked into appropriately and there had been sufficient consideration for the number of parking spaces needed for Crossrail.

 

Members were addressed by Jacob Cotterill, lead petitioner for a petition requesting the council to ‘save Advantage Card parking discounts.’ Mr Cotterill highlighted that his petition had received over 7000 signatures. The draft proposal was inadequate and would affect people’s lives.   The proposal was to save money without a plan to make travel in the borough greener, accessible and affordable; it would simply inconvenience residents. Less than 12 months previously, in the run up to the local elections, banners were erected about low council tax, community wardens and other investments. The proposals in the budget for 2020/21 painted a very different picture including cuts to Children’s Services and Adult Social Care, increased council tax for the vulnerable, reductions in library services and reduced subsidies for local arts. The borough council decisions had been taken because the national government had hacked at the social fabric of the country for a decade. The council preferred private profit over the public good. There had been no mention of a council tax reduction scheme when candidates had been seeking election the previous year.

 

Mr Cotterill suggested that as the cuts would have consequences Members had the opportunity to put right a wrong. They should vote to keep Advantage Card discounts and bus subsidies until a long term plan to make travel environmentally friendly and accessible to all was in place. The council tax reduction scheme should be retained  ...  view the full minutes text for item 79.

Recorded Vote
TitleTypeRecorded Vote textResult
Amendment to budget - £15,000 from reserves to fund officer training on climate change Amendment Rejected
Council Tax Reduction Scheme Motion Carried
Fees and Charges Motion Carried
Capital Programme Motion Carried
Revenue Budget Motion Carried
  • View Recorded Vote for this item
  • 80.

    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 9.30pm.

     

    RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the meeting continue after 9.30pm to conclude the outstanding business on the agenda.

    81.

    Treasury Management Strategy pdf icon PDF 484 KB

    To consider the above report

    Minutes:

    Members considered the Council’s Treasury Management Strategy for 2020/21. Councillor Hilton explained that a similar report had been considered by full Council in December 2019. The report before Members now included proposed prudential indicators. The boundary for borrowing was proposed to be £250m with a maximum level of £275m.

     

    Councillor W. Da Costa asked for details of the current level of gearing and whether there had been any consideration of interest rate risk. If the situation got worse, it could affect the council’s credit rating and therefore interest rate costs.

     

    Councillor Bond commented that most borrowing was in the short term. He questioned whether the council should switch to long term borrowing to protect against interest rate rises. Debt was set to rise to £200m therefore even 1% was a significant amount.

     

    Councillor Hilton explained that short term debt was currently under review by the council’s treasury management advisers. In relation to Councillor W. Da Cost’s question he confirmed that the interest rate assumed in the budget was 9% therefore there was some headroom.

     

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

     

    RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That Full Council approves:

     

    i) The Council’s Treasury Management Strategy for 2020/21 as set out in section 4 of this report.

    ii) The Council’s Prudential Indicators set out in Appendix B.

    iii) The Council’s associated counterparty list as set out in Appendix C

     

     

    82.

    Long Term Empty Property Premium pdf icon PDF 143 KB

    To consider the above report

    Minutes:

    Members considered an increase in the Long Term Empty Property Premium in the borough.  Councillor Johnson commented that this was a good news story; the legislation enabled councils to increase the premium to 200% from April 2020, where a property had been empty and unfurnished for at least 5 years.

     

    Councillor Hilton commented that the proposal was admirable as it would generate additional funding and also bring empty properties back into use.

     

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

     

    RESOLVED UNANINMOUSLY: That Council notes the report and:

     

    i)          Approves the increase in the Long Term Empty Property Premium to 200% where a domestic property has been empty and unfurnished for at least 5 years.

     

    ii)         Delegates the approval of any future increases to the Director of Resources.

     

    83.

    2020/21 Programme of Meetings pdf icon PDF 125 KB

    To consider the above report

    Minutes:

    Members considered the 2020/21 programme of meetings.

     

    Councillor Werner commented that three of the full Council meetings were scheduled during the school holidays. It was important to ensure different types of people were encouraged to stand as councillors, including parents and teachers. He suggested the full Council meeting dates be amended so that they did not fall during school holidays.

     

    Councillor Hill proposed that the schedule be changed to include more full Council meetings which would avoid such long agendas. The opportunity to cancel meetings would be retained if an agenda were not full enough.

     

    Councillor Johnson responded that the programme for 20/21 followed the schedule for 19/20, apart from the October meeting. In relation to start times he was proposing that the default time be 7pm. A standardised arrangement would also help ensure the business was transacted within a reasonable timeframe.

     

    Councillor Price commented that the cluster of meetings that were scheduled in the run up to the budget meant tight deadlines for the Overview and Scrutiny Panels; she felt they should be more spread out.

     

    Councillor Davies stated that she seconded Councillor Werner’s suggestion to amend the dates of council meetings that fell in the school holidays.

     

    Councillor Walters suggested consideration be given to deleting the Borough-wide Development Management Panel as this had not met so far in the municipal year.

     

    Councillor Johnson stated that he was not happy to agree the amendment proposed by Councillor Werner; there was no ideal date for anyone.

     

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

     

    RESOLVED: That Full Councilnotes the report and:

     

    i)     Approves the programme of meetings for the 2020/21 Municipal Year, attached as Appendix A.

     

    (Members voted by a show of hands)

    84.

    Appointment of Panel Chairman

    To consider the following appointment:

     

    RECOMMENDATION: That Councillor Coppinger be appointed Chairman of the Maidenhead Town Forum for the remainder of the municipal year.

    Minutes:

    Members considered appointment of the Chairman of the Maidenhead Town Forum.

     

    Councillor Johnson explained that Councillor Haseler had stepped down from the forum to become a substitute; Councillor Coppinger would become a full member and was proposed as Chairman. Councillor Johnson thanked Councillor Singh for his work on the forum since the local elections.

     

    Councillor Reynolds commented that he did not believe that Councillor Coppinger was the right person to lead the Forum. The constitution was clear that Town Forums dealt with issues in unparished areas; Councillor Coppinger was not a ward member for an unparished area. Additionally, Councillor Reynolds felt that as Councillor Coppinger was an executive member and the Lead Member with responsibility for Maidenhead, the role may stifle potential new and alternative views of a vision for the town that residents may wish to put forward.  He therefore proposed that Councillor Taylor, a relevant ward member, be appointed as Chairman. The proposal was seconded by Councillor Baldwin.

     

    Councillor Hunt commented that she sat on the Town Forum but was a ward councillor for a rural area. She had been heavily involved in numerous issues considered by the Forum including relating to business rates. She felt Councillor Coppinger was very well-placed to take on the role.

     

    Councillor Hill commented that he felt Councillor Coppinger would be heavily conflicted. Councillor Taylor would make an excellent Chairman.

     

    Councillor Baldwin commented that the Conservatives were not well represented in the non-parished areas of Maidenhead. He kept hearing about the administration’s desire to embrace a broader section of the membership and requests for people to cooperate. Appointing Councillor Taylor would be a minor thing but a symbolic gesture.

     

    Councillor Reynolds highlighted that Councillor Taylor had experience in the

    forum and she was an experienced councillor in the town and in her ward. The administration talked of a collegiate approach until the Opposition put forward an alternative suggestion.

     

    Members voted on the motion by a show of hands. The motion fell and Members returned to debating the substantive motion.

     

    Councillor Johnson stated that he had full confidence in Councillor Coppinger and did not believe he would be conflicted in the role.  His appointment would give a different dynamic to a non-political and non-decision making forum. Tying to bounce him into changing a proposal on the night was not in his opinion a collegiate thing to do.

     

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

     

    RESOLVED: That Councillor Coppinger be appointed as Chairman of the Maidenhead Town Forum for the remainder of the municipal year.

     

    (Members voted by a show of hands).

    85.

    Approval of 2020/21 Pay Policy Statement pdf icon PDF 372 KB

    To consider the above report

    Minutes:

    Members considered the council’s Pay Policy Statement for 2020/21.

     

    Councillor Rayner explained that the statement provided transparency in relation to the ratio of the pay of senior staff compared to those who were lower paid. The statement had already been approved by the Employment and Member Standards Panel.

     

    Councillor Price welcomed the transparency. She asked if details of redundancy payments would be equally transparent.

     

    Councillor Rayner responded that the Pay Policy statement related to ratios, whereas redundancy payments were calculations.

     

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

     

    RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That Council notes the report and:

     

    i)          Approves the updated Pay Policy Statement for 2020/21.

    ii)         Notes that further revisions will be required to the statement when the Government’s reforms to public sector exit pay arrangements are implemented.

    86.

    Polling District and Polling Places Review 2019/2020 pdf icon PDF 335 KB

    To consider the above report

    Minutes:

     

    Members considered recommendations of the cross-party Polling District and Polling Places Working Group and the Returning Officer for reviewing the boundaries of the borough’s parliamentary polling districts and designation of polling places for all types of elections.

     

    Councillor Rayner explained that the working group had identified three proposed changes, as detailed in the report.

     

    Councillor Del Campo commented that she was broadly in favour of the proposals.  However, she raised concern that the lighting at the St Mary’s polling station was inadequate and requested that this issue be looked into.

     

    Councillor W. Da Costa commented that the existing Clewer and Dedworth West stations were illogical, particularly for those in the south and east of the ward who had to cross roads. He requested that the situation be looked into in future.

     

    Councillor Hilton commented that the working group was cross-party and had looked at all opportunities and solutions Members had suggested. The proposals were the best compromise possible given input from all parties.

     

    Councillor Baldwin echoed the comments of Councillor Hilton that the working group had looked at all options in detail and considered the alternatives. There was a lack of suitable available accommodation in Clewer and Dedworth West.

     

    Councillor Rayner commented that the Returning Officer would be asked to look into the issue at St Marys.

     

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

     

    RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That Council notes the report and:

     

    i)          The revised polling district boundaries and designation of the polling places affecting the following wards be approved, (as detailed in Appendix 1):

    ·         Clewer & Dedworth West, Furze Platt, and Oldfield.

     

    87.

    Members' Questions

    a)   Councillor Larcombewill ask the following question of Councillor Cannon, Lead Member for Public Protection and Parking:

     

    The progress towards prompt completion of the £640m River Thames Scheme project is important to the residents and businesses of Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury.  There appears to be a significant delay due to lack of partnership funding.  Is there a report detailing the RBWM portion of the partnership funding, the sources of those funds, funding timings and the associated risks?

     

    b)   Councillor Brar will ask the following question of Councillor Clark, Lead Member for Transport and Infrastructure:

     

    In December 2019 a 13 year old was hit by a car on Switch Back Road, losing their life; the third fatality on this road since I lived in Cookham. The young man’s mother and other residents have been lobbying for a speed camera. Will you assure residents that measures will be put in place for a speed camera?

     

    c)    Councillor Jones will ask the following question of Councillor Coppinger, Lead Member for Planning and Maidenhead:

     

    Could the Lead Member for Planning give us an update on the status of the BLP and the estimated timescales for inspection?

     

     

    (A Member responding to a question shall be allowed up to two minutes to reply to the initial question, and up to two minutes to reply to a supplementary question. The questioner shall be allowed up to one minute to put the supplementary question)

     

     

    Minutes:

    It was agreed that all Member questions would be responded to by way of a written answer.

     

    a)    Councillor Larcombe asked the following question of Councillor Cannon, Lead Member for Public Protection and Parking:

     

    The progress towards prompt completion of the £640m River Thames Scheme project is important to the residents and businesses of Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury.  There appears to be a significant delay due to lack of partnership funding.  Is there a report detailing the RBWM portion of the partnership funding, the sources of those funds, funding timings and the associated risks?

     

    Written response provided after the meeting: The River Thames Scheme will reduce flood risk to people living and working near the Thames. It will enhance the resilience of nationally important infrastructure, contribute to a vibrant local economy and create many recreational opportunities.

     

    The project creates a new flood channel alongside the River Thames to reduce flood risk to properties in communities in Datchet, Wraysbury, Egham, Staines, Chertsey, Shepperton, Weybridge, Sunbury, Moseley, Thames Ditton, Kingston and Teddington providing protection to 15,000 homes and 2,400 businesses.

     

    Road, rail, power and water networks will be more resilient. 106 hectares of new public open space and 23km of new pathways will be created, as well as improving biodiversity for wildlife through the creation of 250 hectares of new habitat.

     

    The Royal Borough remains committed to this project which is essential to protect our residents from flooding. As part of the budget being considered this evening, it is recommended that £10m is approved as part of this commitment.

     

    In addition, Council previously resolved in September 2017 to an agreement in principle of paying a flood levy to the Environment Agency as a contribution to the scheme, subject to new legislation being enacted to make provision for this.

     

    The project has robust governance in place with representatives from partner organisations attending regular meetings of the Programme Board (officer level) and the Sponsoring Group (Member level). The Royal Borough is represented at each of tis meetings where funding is a regular agenda item which consider costs; partnership funding and risk.

     

    b)   Councillor Brar asked the following question of Councillor Clark, Lead Member for Transport and Infrastructure:

     

    In December 2019 a 13 year old was hit by a speeding car on Switch Back Road, losing their life; the third fatality on this road since I lived in Cookham. The young man’s mother and other residents have been lobbying for a speed camera. Will you assure residents that measures will be put in place for a speed camera?

    Written response provided after the meeting: Firstly, I would wish to extend our sympathies to the family and friends of Max Simmons, who was tragically killed whilst crossing Switchback Road North.

     

    Whilst colleagues have met with traffic officers from Thames Valley Police to discuss the circumstances surrounding the recent unfortunate crash, we don’t have full details of this crash as yet, as investigations are ongoing.  This case is going to court and we are unlikely to have  ...  view the full minutes text for item 87.

    88.

    Motions on Notice

    a)    By Councillor Hill

     

    This Council agrees to reduce the number of signatures required for a petition to be debated at Full Council from 1500 to 1000 in the interests of democracy by allowing residents to more easily get direct access to their elected representatives on issues of importance to them.

     

     

    b)   By Councillor W. Da Costa

    Council is reliant on officers to create the strategy to deliver our ambitions on net zero carbon, strategic enhancement of biodiversity, and climate change resilience. The constitution allows Members to give notice that they will forgo any part of their allowances under the Members’ Allowance Scheme. This motion aims to create a £12,000+ officer training fund missing from the budget.

    This Council agrees to request all Members to give notice in writing to the Head of Governance that they elect to forgo 3% or more of their Basic Allowance and/or Special Responsibility Allowance (where applicable) as a special measure in 2020/21 to fund urgent Climate Change and Biodiversity training and awareness for relevant officers. 

     

     

    Minutes:

    It was agreed that remaining motions would be deferred to the next meeting:

     

    a)    By Councillor Hill

     

    This Council agrees to reduce the number of signatures required for a petition to be debated at Full Council from 1500 to 1000 in the interests of democracy by allowing residents to more easily get direct access to their elected representatives on issues of importance to them.

     

    b)   By Councillor W. Da Costa

     

    Councillor W. Da Costa confirmed he had withdrawn his motion.

     

     

    MEETING

     

    The meeting, which began at 7.00pm, finished at 11.57pm.

     

     

    Signed………….…………………………..

     

    Date………………………………………..