Agenda and draft minutes

County Council - Tuesday 19 July 2022 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber, Shire Hall. View directions

Contact: Deb Moseley  Democratic Services Team Leader

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

General

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed Councillor Ian Shenton to his first meeting of the County Council following his election to Arden Division on 14 July 2022.

1(1)

Apologies for Absence

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillors Jenny Fradgley, Andy Jenns, Sarah Millar, Penny-Anne O’Donnell, Howard Roberts, Kate Rolfe, Mejar Singh, and Andy Wright.

1(2)

Members’ Disclosures of Pecuniary and Non-pecuniary Interests

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Richard Baxter-Payne notified an interest in item 5 on the agenda, Adoption of the Warwickshire Minerals Local Plan 2018-2032, and indicated that he would leave the room during the debate on this item and not participate in the vote.

 

Councillor Clare Golby notified that she had changed her job but had not yet had an opportunity to update her register of interests.

1(3)

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 407 KB

To consider and agree the minutes of the 17 May 2022 meeting of Council.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting of Council held on 17 May 2022 were agreed as a true record.

1(4)

Chair's announcements

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Minutes:

The Chair, Councillor Dave Humphreys, made the following announcements

 

1) Local Government Apprentice of the Year

 

“Andre Russell, one of our many fantastic apprentices, was part of a winning team at the Local Government Apprentice of the Year which took place virtually on 25 May 2022.

 

The national event, now in its second year, was designed and delivered by South West Councils and the East of England Local Government Association with support from the LGA.

 

More than 100 Level 2 and 3 local government apprentices from across the country took part in the one-day event, with workshops which encouraged them to learn, network and showcase their skills, expertise, and initiative.

 

Andre and his team members won the Team Award for their innovative idea for councils to save money by going paperless.

 

Andre joined WCC in June 2021 as an Apprentice Community Development Worker which involves attending different community groups, youth groups and community events.  He is just one example of our many fantastic apprentices working at the Council.

 

Many congratulations Andre!”

 

Andre Russell was asked to stand for a round applause.

 

2) Lawyers in Local Government Awards 2022

 

“Huge congratulations are also due to the Council’s Legal Services team who have been recognised on multiple fronts for outstanding achievements that contribute to local communities at this year's national Lawyers in Local Government Awards.

 

The Lawyers in Local Government Awards celebrate the most dedicated and engaged professionals across local government legal practice and highlight the crucial work that local government lawyers do for their local communities.

 

Warwickshire Legal Service’s Children and Families legal team were awarded ‘Legal Team of the Year’, in recognition of the work they do to safeguard the children of Warwickshire and the many other local authority areas that they support every day.

 

Jack Cantwell, a Senior Solicitor and team lead for the Corporate and Commercial legal team, was awarded ‘Legal Project Team/Individual of the Year’ in recognition of his work on a number of major initiatives, including the County Council’s Warwickshire Property and Development Group.

 

Our Assistant Director for Governance & Policy, Sarah Duxbury, was Highly Commended for her ‘Significant Contribution to Local Government Law and Practice’.

 

Stephanie Hartopp, who joined the Council as a trainee solicitor in September 2019 and is now a Solicitor for the Warwickshire Legal Services’ Courts team, was a finalist for ‘Junior Lawyer of the Year’.

 

Many congratulations to you all.”

 

Representatives of the Legal Team in attendance at the meeting were asked to stand for a round of applause.

 

3) Municipal Journal Achievement Awards

 

“At the MJ Achievement awards ceremony held on 24 June, Monica Fogarty, our Chief Executive, won the award for Chief Executive of the Year and Nigel Minns, People Directorate's Strategic Director, was given the award for Corporate Director of the Year.

 

Monica received her award in recognition of her outstanding leadership of the Council, where she moves with pace, precision, determination and commitment and on account of her passion and compassion, which consistently inspire and motivate those around  ...  view the full minutes text for item 1(4)

1(5)

Petitions

To receive any petitions submitted in accordance with the Council’s Petitions Scheme.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

None.

1(14)

Public Speaking

To note any requests to speak on any item on the agenda in accordance with the Council’s Public Speaking Scheme (see note at end of the agenda).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

None.

2.

Member Dispensation pdf icon PDF 92 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Isobel Seccombe moved the recommendation that a dispensation be granted for Councillor Howard Roberts which was seconded by Councillor Chilvers.  There was no debate but Council joined to wish Councillor Roberts well.

 

Resolved

 

That the Council approves the absence of Councillor Howard Roberts from meetings of the authority on the grounds of ill health.

3.

Education Capital Programme 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 281 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Peter Butlin (Deputy Leader) moved the recommendation as set out in the report.  Councillor Kam Kaur seconded the recommendation and reserved the right to speak. 

 

Debate

 

Councillor Tracey Drew noted media reports about potential school closures due to the heatwave taking place at the time of the meeting and expressed the opinion that schools should be built to the highest standards possible to ensure that they were future proofed against the need to close during thermal weather incidents which would be detrimental to pupils’ education.

 

Councillor Bill Gifford expressed the view that it was important to support and work with schools, like Trinity Roman Catholic School, which were undersubscribed but improving after changes to management, to ensure that they remained viable, rather than resort to building new schools.

 

Councillor Judy Falp shared her disappointment at the delay to the opening of Oakley Grove School.

 

Councillor John Holland raised concerns regarding the siting of the Oakley Grove School and the poor accessibility of the site together with the additional costs that were being incurred during the building works.  He sought a discussion on how an inquiry into the development could be instigated to establish lessons learnt and how the best education for students could be secured.

 

Councillor Jonathan Chilvers raised concern regarding the additional funding requested, and the knock-on effect this would have for other projects.  He welcomed the building of Oakley Grove and Shipston Schools to 2022 Regulations, viewing building to a higher standard as an investment that would result in lower fuel bills.  However, he lamented the lack of a mechanism to share the proceeds of investment.

 

Councillor Sarah Boad praised the usefulness of the now obsolete Area Committees as useful forums to share information.   She commented on the need to ensure school places were available to support new housing developments as they came to fruition, and she considered that this needed to be pre-empted and places available so that children could go to school close to home.  She also supported previous comments that it was crucial for schools to be built fit for purpose so that children’s education did not suffer because of thermal weather events.

 

Councillor Robert Tromans welcomed the report and expressed his hope that the report would be the first of a series that would bring forward projects in other areas of the county.

 

Councillor Jan Matecki similarly welcomed the report and commented on the setting of the Oakley Grove site in relation to improved walkways, cycleways and the location of the country park which reduced the need for motorised travel on school journeys.

 

Councillor Kam Kaur noted that existence of the capital programme to ensure that the Council could meet its statutory duty to provide school places and that work was underway to set up and build a new sufficiency strategy for the period 2023 to 2035 onwards.   This would also include new provisions and expansions discussed with the district and borough council through the local planning process.  It was important to sustain  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Audit and Standards Committee Annual Report 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 88 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Christopher Kettle introduced the published report and moved the motion stating the Audit and Standards Committee had undertaken some very valuable work over the last 12 months. He thanked members of the committee and John Bridgeman, the Chair of their committee for their hard work and noted the contribution of the late John Horner.

 

Councillor John Cooke seconded the motion.

 

Councillor Bill Gifford observed that Councillor John Horner had been a great loss to the Committee.  He noted that there had been no standards issues for the Committee to consider for a number of years and he considered this to be a compliment to the Council and the amicable approach that was taken.  He hoped that this would continue into the future.

 

Councillor Kettle welcomed these comments and commended the report to the meeting.

 

Vote

 

A vote was held. The motion was carried unanimously.

 

Resolved:

 

That Council endorses the Annual Report of the Audit & Standards Committee.

5.

Adoption of the Warwickshire Minerals Local Plan 2018-2032 pdf icon PDF 96 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In accordance with his prior declaration of interest, Councillor Richard Baxter-Payne left the meeting during the determination of this item.

 

Councillor Wallace Redford introduced the report and moved the recommendations.  In doing so, he explained that as the Local Planning Authority for Minerals, the council was required to prepare a plan for the steady and adequate supply of minerals.  The Minerals Plan had been through several consultation stages with residents and stakeholders since 2015 and, following an Examination in Public, which was overseen by a Government Planning Inspector, it was now in the final stage of the plan process: plan adoption.   Councillor Redford also noted that Cabinet had received a letter from Barford Parish Council opposing the Plan, specifically in relation to the Wasperton site and, although the consultation had closed, a response was being prepared.

 

Councillor Jo Barker seconded the motion and reserved her right to speak.

 

Debate

 

Councillor John Holland noted that concerns from residents of Barford and Wasperton were not new and had been brought up at the outset of the process.  Local residents were now receiving help from their MP who was promoting a Bill to restrict quarrying close to homes, which this plan would allow, and Councillor Holland did not believe any residents of Warwickshire should be subjected to.  He also had concerns about the environmental impact and sustainability.

 

Councillor Sarah Boad referred to the original consultation from 2018, noting that the plans had moved on since then as it had taken some time to move the through the required process.  Residents from her division and the Parish Council had been in contact with her and she was somewhat reassured by the comments of Councillor Redford but she considered that the suggestion that objections could be submitted during the planning permission process was missing the point somewhat.  Councillor Boad considered that the Plan was unsatisfactory. 

 

Councillor Jan Matecki noted that a lot of consultation had taken place but it had been based on the prevailing facts at the time, and the position at the time of the meeting was different and the Plan was now out of date.  It had been asserted that objections to developments could be raised through the planning process but he considered it would be difficult to argue against the Plan.  Reflecting on a recent report to Regulatory Committee, Councillor Matecki noted that the current production of sand and gravel at Dunton Quarry (200,000 – 250,000 tonnes per year) would outstrip that anticipated at Wasperton and he was questioned whether the Wasperton site was, therefore, required.  Councillor Matecki went on to highlight the risks to health and the environment and suggested that a cautious approach should be adopted while further information was sought. 

 

Councillor Jonathan Chilvers noted the need to produce a significant amount of sand and gravel to produce cement for houses and infrastructure.  However, he considered that a realistic approach to how much needed to be extracted was required since most sand and gravel came from the sea. He  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

In Year Council Appointments pdf icon PDF 73 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Isobel Seccombe, Leader of the Council, moved that Council agree the proposals set out in the report. Councillor Tim Sinclair seconded the proposals, which were put to the vote and agreed as set out below.

 

Resolved

 

That Council approves

 

1.     The appointment of Councillor Brian Hammersley to the Fire and Rescue Local Pension Board of the Firefighter’s Pension Scheme for a term of three years from the date of this decision.

2.     The appointment of the Strategic Director for People and the Director of Public Health to the Integrated Care Partnership

3.     The appointment of Councillor Kate Rolfe to the pool of members from which the membership of Appointments, Disciplinary And Disciplinary Appeals Subcommittees can be drawn when required

 

 

7.

Notices of Motion

To consider the following motions submitted by members in accordance with Standing Order 5:

 

(1)      Conservative Motion

 

           In line with Government’s White Paper on Levelling Up, this Council is committed to levelling-up and ensuring that everyone in Warwickshire gets the best start in life, no matter what their background or where they live. The Council’s approach to Levelling Up approved by Cabinet this month includes a priority around educational attainment reflecting the recent State of Warwickshire report, approved by this Council in February of this year, which highlighted the inequality within attainment in education in the county.

 

In order to further explore the reasons for this, and to establish how we as a Council can help effect positive change and reduce the present inequalities in relation to educational attainment, this Council will establish a time limited cross party Member Group.  The Group should comprise members from all five areas of the county and should report back to Cabinet on its progress by end February 2023.

 

           Proposer: Councillor Brett Beetham

 

           Seconder: Councillor Yousef Dahmash

 

(2)      Labour Motion

 

           Council notes that Joint Strategic Needs Area Assessments were carried out in 2019.  The information within those assessments was provided to the Place Based Partnerships, which provide activity updates to the Warwickshire Health and Wellbeing Board, including on prioritised activities to improve health and wellbeing and reduce inequalities.

 

The Council requests an update from the Warwickshire Health and Wellbeing Board on Place Based Partnership priorities and progress on reducing inequalities.

 

           Proposer: Councillor John Holland

 

           Seconder: Councillor Sarah Feeney

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(1)      Educational Attainment

 

The following motion as set out on the agenda was proposed by Councillor Brett Beetham:

 

In line with Government’s White Paper on Levelling Up, this Council is committed to levelling-up and ensuring that everyone in Warwickshire gets the best start in life, no matter what their background or where they live. The Council’s approach to Levelling Up approved by Cabinet this month includes a priority around educational attainment reflecting the recent State of Warwickshire report, approved by this Council in February of this year, which highlighted the inequality within attainment in education in the county.

 

In order to further explore the reasons for this, and to establish how we as a Council can help effect positive change and reduce the present inequalities in relation to educational attainment, this Council will establish a time limited cross party Member Group.  The Group should comprise members from all five areas of the county and should report back to Cabinet on its progress by end February 2023.

 

In proposing the motion, Councillor Beetham illustrated the notion that children and young people in Nuneaton and Bedworth, and in North Warwickshire, were academically disadvantaged with statistics that established that over 40% of children in these areas were not meeting the required basic standards for reading, writing and maths and that these were the only areas in Warwickshire which were consistently below the national average for English.  He noted that whilst not everyone was academically minded, and whilst there were high levels of trade apprenticeships in Nuneaton and Bedworth, there were also high levels of people without qualifications despite vocational qualifications being increasingly important within trades.  He pointed to the differences in disposable income between people living in Nuneaton and Bedworth and those living in Warwick to demonstrate the result of educational inequality.  He noted that residents were not lacking in drive or ambition and urged Council to support the motion and agree to set up a working group to investigate the reasons for the disparity and what could be done to level up education in the county.

 

Councillor Yousef Dahmash seconded the motion expressing the view that education was a driver of opportunity and as the Council held influence over the bodies involved in education, it had a responsibility to set the right tone.  Whilst the Council was working to improve educational opportunities, the proposed Member Group could explore what more could be done.  As Chair of the Children & Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee, he considered that challenging school performance had been problematic as only limited success had been achieved in bringing together key stakeholders for discussions.  He considered that there was more that could be done to address longstanding disparities and welcomed the proposals to involve all areas of the County in this work.

 

Debate

 

Councillor Isobel Seccombe expressed her support for the motion, which was timely as it dovetailed with the levelling up paper which had recently been considered by Cabinet.  Education was a key aspect of the levelling up  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Member Question Time (Standing Order 7)

A period of up to 40 minutes is allocated for questions to the Leader, Cabinet    Portfolio Holders and Chairs of Overview and Scrutiny Committees.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(1) Question to Councillor Margaret Bell from Councillor John Holland

 

“In December 2021 Council agreed a Motion about the West Midlands Ambulance Service.  Can we have a progress report?”

 

Councillor Bell recognised that there was a national issue with the Ambulance Service which was also felt in Warwickshire and whilst the county was not the worst affected area, it was still feeling the impact.  At the last meeting of the Health and Wellbeing Board, Nigel Minns had been asked to set up a meeting with key players to see whether there was anything that could be done in Warwickshire to mitigate ambulance delays outside hospitals and general ambulance delays getting to calls. There had been a number of operational meetings to look at specific issues and the new Integrated Care Board had agreed to put together a strategic meeting of the key players to see how the organisations could work together. This was a system issue; it was not just about ambulances and there were lots of pieces in the puzzle to fit together to make it work and this required the strategic overview meeting to be arranged.  A report would be made to the next meeting of the Health and Wellbeing Board and Councillor Bell indicated that a briefing note could be circulated to members at that stage. 

 

(2) Question to Councillor Kan Kaur from Councillor Jerry Roodhouse

 

“In light of the recent media coverage and the increased cost of living pressures could the Portfolio Holder state what actions WCC are taking to support school meals in Warwickshire and give assurances that the nutritional value of these meals is not being reduced.”

 

Councillor Kaur advised that this was a difficult question to answer as the Local Authority did not provide meals to schools.  Schools chose their own suppliers.  However, Educatators was one of the largest suppliers of school meals in Warwickshire and had sent a letter to schools on 5 July 2022 which stated

 

“Dear Client.  In the last couple of days there has been a lot of coverage in the press following a report published by LACA the School Food People stating that due to rising food prices some school caterers have or will switch to cheaper imported meat and change other menu items to reduce costs. I am writing to reassure you that Educators will not be going down this route.  We are as committed as ever to supporting British farmers by serving British meat and do not plan to make any changes to our menus, ingredient quality, recipes or portion sizes.  Things will remain as they always have: delicious, nutritious food for all.  We have had to make a small number of short term changes due to supply chain issues but in most cases, these are on a like for like basis. For example a switch from British Red Tractor chicken fillets to British Red Tractor turkey fillets not due to prices increases but a lack of British chicken due to avian flu.  I’m pleased to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Any Other items of Urgent Business

To consider any other items that the Chair considers are urgent.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

None.