Agenda and draft minutes
- Attendance details
- Agenda frontsheet PDF 332 KB
- Agenda reports pack
- Appendix 2 Annex A Fees and Charges - Updated Parking Charges PDF 317 KB
- Public Questions PDF 384 KB
- Public Questions_written responses PDF 309 KB
- Council Tax Reduction Scheme - updated report PDF 345 KB
- Printed draft minutes PDF 1013 KB
Venue: Virtual Meeting - Online access
Contact: Karen Shepherd 01628 796529
Video Stream: Click here to watch the video of this meeting on YouTube
Apologies for Absence
To receive any apologies for absence
To receive the Part I minutes of the Annual meeting held on 15 December 2020 and the ordinary meeting held on 15 December 2020.
RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That:
i) The minutes of the Annual meeting held on 15 December 2020 be approved
ii) The minutes of the ordinary meeting held on 15 December 2020 be approved.
To receive any declarations of interest
Councillor Price declared a personal interest in relation to item 8i as she was a member of Maidenhead Golf Club. She was advised by the Monitoring Officer that although there was a financial element, the decision on item 8 did not directly relate to the potential payment to members of the golf club. She should however request a dispensation as appropriate for future related decisions.
Councillor C. Da Costa declared a personal interest in item 8i as her son was a Community Warden.
Councillor W. Da Costa declared a personal interest in item 8i as his step-son was a Community Warden.
Councillor Baldwin declared a personal interest in relation to item 8i as he part-owned a property located close to the golf course.
To receive such communications as the Mayor may desire to place before the Council
The Mayor had submitted in writing details of engagements that the Mayor and Deputy Mayor had undertaken since the last meeting, which had been limited due to COVID-19. These were noted by Council.
The deadline for public questions (which must be directly related to the budget) is midday on Tuesday 16 February 2021. A supplement listing valid questions received will be added to the agenda after the deadline.
(The Council will set aside a period of 30 minutes to deal with public questions, which may be extended at the discretion of the Mayor in exceptional circumstances. The Member who provides the initial response will do so in writing. The written response will be published as a supplement to the agenda by 5pm one working day before the meeting. The questioner shall be allowed up to one minute to put a supplementary question at the meeting. The supplementary question must arise directly out of the reply provided and shall not have the effect of introducing any new subject matter. A Member responding to a supplementary question will have two minutes to respond).
a) Ed Wilson of Clewer and Dedworth West ward asked the following question of Councillor Hilton, Lead Member for Finance and Ascot:
If RBWM want to increase their reserves beyond those required to deal with its residual risks could this not be achieved through deferring loan repayments to HM Treasury et al rather than reducing services to residents?
Written response: Any deferral of loan payments would have to be by agreement with HM Treasury which we do not believe is possible according to their terms and conditions of loans. Even if we were to secure agreement, according to the lending terms of the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) any late payments are potentially liable for interest payments from the date they are due and therefore this would add to our revenue costs overall. This would therefore not be prudent and in fact achieves the converse impact to the one that is trying to be achieved.
By way of a supplementary question, Mr Wilson asked if the Lead Member could advise which schemes he had considered that would increase the reserves of the borough without reducing discretionary services?
Councillor Hilton responded that every issue, discretionary or otherwise, had been considered in detail and there was nothing in the budget that he would choose to change. The approach to arrive at sustainable finances would continue to tackle the issues head on.
b) Sharon Bunce of St Mary’s ward asked the following question of Councillor Carroll, Lead Member for Adult Social Care, Children’s Services, Health and Mental Health:
Budget Saving #49 will cut £200k from supported living packages. How many adult residents with Learning Disabilities are in supported living within the Borough vs outside the Borough and how many are waiting for a supported living place?
Written response: The savings proposed in adult social care are aligned with the already published adult social care transformation strategy, which was unanimously agreed through the cross-functional Health and Well-being Board and with NHS colleagues, and which is being implemented within the context of the Care Act and the core purpose of adult care and support is to help people to achieve the outcomes that matter to them in their life. The saving proposed is based on a full analysis of those packages to determine the appropriate level of need and funding required. They are not cuts but savings as part of transformation. The council will continue to meet its statutory responsibilities to meet people’s assessed and eligible care needs, whilst embracing best practice and emerging evidence on how best to deliver services. Overall, the council is spending more on adult social care in future so whilst there are some savings from existing packages, there is also funding to pay for increased packages if that is what the assessed need is. There are 85 residents with learning disabilities in supported living accommodation, 68 in the Royal Borough and 17 outside of the borough. At the current time, there is no one in immediate need of a placement. ... view the full minutes text for item 80.
To receive any petitions presented by Members on behalf of residents.
(Notice of the petition must be given to the Head of Governance not later than noon on the last working day prior to the meeting. A Member submitting a Petition may speak for no more than 2 minutes to summarise the contents of the Petition).
No petitions were submitted.
To consider the above report
Members considered consultation feedback on a proposal to change council tax reduction levels to bring them into line with other neighbouring authorities and the administration arrangements adopted for Housing Benefit and Universal Credit.
The Monitoring Officer explained that following issues being raised over the lawfulness of the proposed decision, she had sought counsel’s advice on the report. Counsel’s advice was that the consultation scheme and the decisions proposed were lawful. On the basis of that advice a number of amendments and one correction were made to the published report to clarify the position for Members in reaching their decision at the meeting.
Councillor Baldwin stated that he was very reassured that the intention was to give Members some grounding that what they were being asked to act in a lawful manner. The CTRS Amendment England Regulations 2017 set in law 11 March of the financial year preceding the one in which the proposed revisions would take effect as the deadline for making such a decision. Notwithstanding the Consent Order, Councillor Baldwin questioned why Members were being asked to make the decision for 2020/21 348 days after the statutory deadline.
The Monitoring Officer confirmed that the terms of the Consent Order required the council to remake the decision.
Councillor Hilton introduced the report. He explained that following a challenge in the courts the council accepted that the consultation relating to the 2020/21 CTRS did not meet the required standard and was considered by the judge in the Consent Order to be unlawful. The judge required the council to undertake a fresh consultation, draft a fresh Equalities Impact Assessment (EqIA) and remake the decision in relation to the 2020/21 scheme. As directed, councillors had been provided with the outcome of the refreshed consultation and EqIA, so the council had met all of the conditions of the Consent Order. This was detailed in paragraph 1.8 of the updated report.
The proposal made last year to change the CTRS to a 20% contribution was proposed to continue in 2021/22. As was shown in the table in paragraph 1.11 this level of payment was aligned with the most generous of the six Berkshire unitary authorities where contributions ranged from 35% to 20%. It was not the percentage discount that was important but the actual sum that claimants would pay. The Royal Borough had the lowest council tax outside of London and by far the lowest in Berkshire and the payments that would be made by claimants were therefore lower than the other Berkshire Authorities. The table in paragraph 1.12 showed the level of council tax levied by the Berkshire authorities at band D in 2020/21 and what a claimant on maximum assistance would pay per year. In the Royal Borough it was £278.52, or £62.15 less than the next lowest, and £161.73 less than the average, and he suspected amongst the lowest in the country.
Paragraph 6.2 explained that unlike some, the council retained existing protection for vulnerable customers within the scheme. However, where ... view the full minutes text for item 82.
Referrals from other bodies
To consider referrals from other bodies (e.g. Cabinet)
i) Budget 2021/22
Members considered the recommendations on the 2021/22 budget from Cabinet.
Mr Ed Wilson, lead petitioner, addressed the meeting. Mr Wilson stated that he was presenting the petition on behalf of 3352 residents who would be holding councillors to account on the matter. The petition requested the council to invest in waste collection services, look after the people who delivered the services and keep the weekly black bin collection. Mr Wilson explained that in 2020 nearly 5000 people signed a petition to return the weekly bin collection post-COVID-19. The council stopped this petition when it had confirmed the return to weekly bin collections. Following that promise in July, there were issues with the collections in August and September. The council had apologised for the shambles in October and told residents in December that they did not need weekly black bin collections after all. He asked if it was any wonder that residents were now calling out the actions of their councillors. Moving to fortnightly black bin collections was a major change to a core service. The majority of councillors had been elected on a clear and unambiguous promise to keep weekly bin collections. Residents had not asked for the change. Councillors therefore had no mandate for the change.
Mr Wilson argued that if the local authority wanted to make the change, it should formally reassess the situation, review the policy and consult on a new one. None of this had happened. The Lead Member has said the council should have changed its policy in the previous year but he had had no mandate to make the change then and he had no mandate to make the change now. There was no policy document, it had just come out drip by drip. Apparently the council was still going to send a bin lorry down each street every week. If there were blue bins half full they would be collected and if there were black bins overflowing they would be left. If you lived in a flat above shops you would see no change to your service but if you live in houses next door your service would be reduced. If you lived in a block of flats with a communal bin, no change to your service; if you lived in a block with wheelie bins your service would be reduced. If you were unhappy with all that you would get a lecture on recycling, but some of the most ardent recyclers in the borough had signed the petition. Many had said that fortnightly collections would make no difference to their recycling habits whatsoever. RBWM had produced no evidence to prove it would. The council had said that there was no evidence that fortnightly collections would reduce landfill waste so Mr Wilson questioned why councillors were trying to make the proposal out to be a great recycling initiative. Residents would have to put up with three months of turbulence to make this unwanted change according to council staff. After everything ... view the full minutes text for item 83.