Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

County Council - Tuesday, 13th October, 2020 10.00 am

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Contact: Paul Williams  Democratic Services Team Leader

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Items
No. Item

1.

General

Additional documents:

1(1)

Apologies for Absence

 

To receive any apologies for absence from members of Council.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Neil Dirveiks, Dave Reilly and Dave Shilton.

 

The thoughts of Council were with Councillor Neil Dirveiks following his recent bereavement.

1(2)

Members’ Disclosures of Pecuniary and Non-pecuniary Interests

 

To receive any disclosure of interest from members of Council.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest made.

1(3)

Minutes of Previous Meetings pdf icon PDF 510 KB

 

To agree the minutes of the meetings of Council held on 23 July 2020 and 22 September 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the Council meetings held on 23 July 2020 and 22 September 2020 were agreed as an accurate record.

1(4)

Chair's Announcements

 

For the Chair of Council to make any announcements.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no announcements from the Chair.

1(5)

Petitions

 

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

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The were no petitions to be submitted to Council.

1(6)

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:

There were no public speakers.

2.

Statement of Accounts 2019/2020 pdf icon PDF 258 KB

 

This report presents the Statement of Accounts for 2019/20.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Council approves the 2019/20 Statement of Accounts.

Minutes:

Councillor Peter Butlin (Deputy Leader – Finance and Property) moved the recommendation and was seconded by Councillor Adrian Warwick who reserved the right to speak. Councillor Butlin explained the process that the Statement of Accounts had followed before reaching Council. He emphasised that the published balance sheet presented a snapshot of the position at 31 March 2020.

 

Councillor Jerry Roodhouse (Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group) commended the report stating that it was evidence of good housekeeping albeit looking backwards. He highlighted the reported increase in violence stating that this was a cause for concern. Looking forward he observed that the impact of the Pandemic on business rates will be significant as will the outcome of decisions regarding the 2020 Comprehensive Spending Review.

Councillor Roodhouse concluded by highlighting the scale of deficits in schools adding that the Pandemic has meant the expected school finance recovery plan has not been delivered as expected.

 

Referencing page 131 of the agenda pack Councillor Keith Kondakor expressed the view that a 9% variation on property values will have a material impact on the accounts. He suggested that in view of the Pandemic, Brexit and the possibility of negative interest rates it is necessary to closely examine property values.

 

Councillor Andy Crump (Portfolio Holder for Fire & Rescue and Community Safety) thanked Finance staff for their hard work and added that the reserves set aside previously by the authority were of great use during the Pandemic.

 

Councillor Bill Gifford commended the accounts as clear and accessible.

 

Councillor Helen Adkins (Leader of the Labour Group) reminded members that a motion had been agreed at the May 2019 meeting of Council calling for a report on school deficits and the efforts being made by the authority to address them. That report had not been forthcoming and she asked members and officers to deliver it as soon as possible.

 

Vote

 

A vote was held. The motion was carried with one abstention.

 

Resolved:

 

That Council approves the 2019/20 Statement of Accounts.

3.

Warwickshire Pension Fund Accounts 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 131 KB

 

A report that sets out the accounts for the Warwickshire pension Fund and seeks Council approval.

Additional documents:

Decision:

1.       That the Council approves the 2019/20 Pension Fund Statement of Accounts.

 

2.       That the Council authorises the Strategic Director for Resources to make any amendments to the final version of the accounts to take account of any observations from the external auditors.

Minutes:

Councillor Peter Butlin moved the recommendation. In introducing the report Councillor Peter Butlin emphasised the importance of the Pension Fund to present and former employees. He noted how the Fund’s net assets had fluctuated as a result of the Pandemic but spoke of a general recovery.

 

Councillor John Horner seconded the motion and reserved the right to speak.

 

Councillor Keith Kondakor noted references to “stock lending” and counselled that this is a risky approach to investment. He also expressed concerns over the future value of property holdings (used as an investment) in the light of the Pandemic and Brexit.

 

In reply to Councillor Kondakor, Councillor Horner informed Council that stock lending is a frequently used and standard procedure. It is well established, and the Pension Fund is well protected.

 

It was acknowledged that property values have been reduced during the Pandemic. However, the Investment Strategy will address this.

 

Councillor Butlin expressed his confidence in the Pension Fund Investment Sub Committee adding that the former Chair, Councillor Bob Stevens was missed.

 

Vote

 

A vote was held. The recommendations were agreed with two abstentions.

 

Resolved:

 

1.       That the Council approves the 2019/20 Pension Fund Statement of Accounts.

 

2.       That the Council authorises the Strategic Director for Resources to make any amendments to the final version of the accounts to take account of any observations from the external auditors.

4.

Annual Governance Statement 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 113 KB

 

With this report members are asked to consider and approve the Council’s Annual Governance Statement.

Additional documents:

Decision:

 

That Council approves the 2019/20 Annual Governance Statement.

Minutes:

Councillor Kam Kaur (Portfolio Holder for Customer and Transformation) introduced the report and moved the recommendation, being seconded by Councillor Parminder Singh Birdi who reserved the right to speak.

 

Councillor Jerry Roodhouse expressed the hope that as the Medium-Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) progresses a review of Directorate savings targets will be undertaken. In addition, he requested that the Brexit Impact Plan for Warwickshire be circulated to all members.

 

Councillor Kondakor noted that although Warwickshire County Council is well governed there is a need to be more robust around environmental issues. Whilst the accounts are thoroughly audited, environment issues need to be cross checked also.

 

Councillor Bill Gifford noted that the Chair of the Audit and Standards Committee, John Bridgeman had expressed concerns over ensuring that the County Council is prepared for a “hard Brexit”.

 

On the subject of Brexit, Councillor Kaur asked that a briefing session be arranged for all members. Concerning the MTFS she agreed that a number of aspects including savings targets will require a re-set. On the issue of the environment Councillor Kaur considered that the terminology around it requires review.

 

Vote

 

A vote. The recommendation was agreed unanimously.

 

Resolved:

 

That Council approves the 2019/20 Annual Governance Statement.

5.

Capital Investment Fund 2020/21 Quarter 2 pdf icon PDF 174 KB

 

On 10th September 2020 Cabinet supported the recommendations within this report and as these schemes exceed £2 million agreed to recommend that Full Council approve the schemes and add to the Capital Programme.

Additional documents:

Decision:

That Council:

 

1)       Approve £3.615 million from the Capital Investment Fund for relocation work at Kingsway Nursery & Children’s Centre and add to the Capital Programme at a full cost of £5.165 million.

 

2)       Approve £3.025 million from the Capital Investment Fund for improvements to the A3400 Birmingham Road Corridor (Stratford) and increase the existing scheme in the Capital Programme to a full cost of £6.525 million.

 

3)       Approve £2.002 million from the Capital Investment Fund for improvements to the A446 Stonebridge Junction (Coleshill) and add to the Capital Programme at a full cost of £2.378 million.

 

4)       Approve £4.682 million from the Capital Investment Fund for improvements to the A429 Coventry Road Corridor (Warwick) and add to the Capital Programme at a full cost of £5.921 million, on the condition that CIL funding is secured from Warwick District Council.

 

5)       Approve £1.968 million from the Capital Investment Fund for procurement of measuring equipment to support evidence led decision making in tackling the climate emergency and air quality and add to the Capital Programme at a full cost of £2.058 million.

 

6)       Authorise the Strategic Director for Communities to procure and enter into any agreements to give effect to the proposals on terms and conditions acceptable to the Strategic Director for Resources.

Minutes:

Councillor Peter Butlin moved the recommendations and was seconded by Councillor Izzi Seccombe who reserved the right to speak.

 

Councillor Butlin listed the projects for support and expressed his enthusiasm for the Capital Investment Fund which brings investment through growth.

 

Referencing paragraph 2.3 onwards (page 238) of the report Councillor Mark Cargill highlighted the challenges presented by the Birmingham Road in Stratford upon Avon.

 

On the subject of the Birmingham Road Councillor Kondakor observed that the Technical Panel had rated “sustainability, climate change and environmental impact” as 3.2 out of a possible 10. This, he felt was low. More should be done to raise the scores. He also called for traffic and air quality monitoring data to be made live.

 

A number of members expressed their concerns over the challenges facing Stratford and the Birmingham Road. It was noted that a failure over time by utilities companies to keep records of pipes, cables etc had complicated matters along the road. It was also suggested that a move away from the car would benefit the town.

 

Councillor Pam Williams thanked Councillor Butlin for supporting schemes in her area.

 

Councillor Jonathan Chilvers (Leader of the Green Group) questioned that the Birmingham Road scheme should be brought forward at all with its low scores. More should be done to improve the scores he added.

 

Regarding section 2.1 Kingsway Nursery and Children Centre Relocation Councillor Chilvers called for this to become an exemplar of high-quality sustainable building work. For example, it should not include a gas boiler.

 

Councillor Adrian Warwick reminded Council that there is much in the proposals that is commendable. Many of these have strong green credentials.

 

In summing up Councillor Butlin agreed that the Birmingham Road is a concern adding that on occasions when utilities are found to be not where they were expected to be it is of then the County Council that is impacted on financially.

 

Vote

 

A vote was held, and the recommendations agreed unanimously.

 

Resolved:

 

That Council:

 

1)       Approves £3.615 million from the Capital Investment Fund for relocation work at Kingsway Nursery & Children’s Centre and add to the Capital Programme at a full cost of

£5.165 million.

 

2)       Approves £3.025 million from the Capital Investment Fund for improvements to the A3400 Birmingham Road Corridor (Stratford) and increase the existing scheme in the Capital Programme to a full cost of £6.525 million.

 

3)       Approves £2.002 million from the Capital Investment Fund for improvements to the A446 Stonebridge Junction (Coleshill) and add to the Capital Programme at a full cost of £2.378 million.

 

4)       Approves £4.682 million from the Capital Investment Fund for improvements to the A429 Coventry Road Corridor (Warwick) and add to the Capital Programme at a full cost of £5.921 million, on the condition that CIL funding is secured from Warwick District Council.

 

5)       Approves £1.968 million from the Capital Investment Fund for procurement of measuring equipment to support evidence led decision making in tackling the climate emergency and air quality and add to the Capital  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Transforming Nuneaton (Highway Improvements) CIF Bid pdf icon PDF 2 MB

 

This report to Council follows on from the 8 October meeting of Cabinet. It seeks Council approval for funding for highway mitigation schemes on the A444 in Nuneaton.

Additional documents:

Decision:

That Council:

 

1.       Approves the investment of £21,704,000 to deliver four highway mitigation schemes along the A444 Nuneaton Ring Road, as detailed in section 1.5, as part of the overall Transforming Nuneaton (Highway Improvements) Project.

 

2.       Approves the addition of the overall Transforming Nuneaton (Highway Improvements) scheme to the capital programme at a cost of £29.6M.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Jeff Clarke (Portfolio Holder for Transport and Planning) moved the recommendations and was seconded by Councillor Clare Golby who reserved the right to speak. Councillor Clarke summarised key elements of the published report.

 

Councillor Keith Kondakor tabled an amendment that stated, 

That Council:

 

1. Approves the investment of £21,704,000 to deliver four highway mitigation schemes along £1,900,000 to deliver  A444 / Queens Road ( scheme B) and A444 / Wheat Street (scheme C) along the A444 Nuneaton ring road as detailed in section 1.5as part of the overall Transforming Nuneaton (Highway Improvements) Project  to include appropriate enhanced bus and fully segregated cycle routes that may be required as part of future transport projects.    

 

2. In the development of detailed designs for scheme A (Corporation Street/ A444) seek solutions which would allow the dandelion fountain to be retained and allow for greater improvements to air quality, bus and cycling opportunities around Midland Road/Corporation Street /Abbey Street. 

     

3. In the development of detailed designs between Nuneaton railways stations and the town centre seek solutions which allow for improvements to the flow of pedestrians, buses, cyclists and other transport   

 

4. That a bid be made to the Place Shaping & Capital Feasibility Fund to Progress the design of a new Nuneaton Transport hub connected to Nuneaton Railway station and new Northern station access in coordination with plans to change the road system to the south of the station so that a combined highway and transport hub project can be submitted to cabinet and full council within the next 6 months. Such a design should look at minimising impact on currently viable businesses. 

 

5. Subject to the approval of recommendation 1 to 4 above, add the overall Transforming Nuneaton (Highway Improvements) scheme to the capital programme at a cost of £29.6M £23.13M as set out in Appendix 2.1 Capital Spending Profile, deferring £6M for Land Acquisition and £430K for temporary trees and temporary landscaping at site of possible transport hub.

 

(Struck through sections are deletions. Underlined sections are additions)

 

In support of the Green Group amendment Councillor Kondakor stated,

 

  • Wheat Street is required as the venue of the proposed new library
  • Corporation Street and the “dandelion fountain” roundabout require a review that will focus on cycling and walking.
  • The Crown Pub should be bought and demolished to improve traffic flows by the railway station.
  • It is important to identify the location of a new public transport hub before any other planning is undertaken.

 

Councillor Kondakor observed that the proposed project had scored 8.2 out of 10 for environmental considerations. This he suggested was unlikely to be achievable. Increasing traffic levels on the A444 will only increase air pollution. He closed by welcoming the funding but asked that the scheme be reviewed.

 

Councillor Jonathan Chilvers seconded the amendment. He confirmed that, in his view, the investment in Nuneaton was welcomed but did not feel that the current proposals were fit for the future.

 

Adjournment

 

To consider the Green Group amendment the meeting  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Horton Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Proposed Revisions to Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 126 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

That Council:

 

1.       Agrees to amend the scope of the health scrutiny powers delegated to the Horton Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee to allow scrutiny of a masterplan for the Horton General Hospital and pursuit of associated capital investment.

 

2.       Agrees to nominate Councillor Wallace Redford as the Council’s representative on the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

Minutes:

Councillor Les Caborn (Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health) moved the recommendations. He was seconded by Councillor Jo Barker who reserved her right to speak.

 

Council was informed of the Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee which had originally been established to review changes to consultant-led maternity services. At the time of the creation of the joint committee Councillor Wallace Redford had been appointed as the County Council’s representative on it. The committee is to continue in operation but will review the development of a masterplan for the Horton Hospital and the pursuit of capital investment into the hospital.

 

Councillor Jo Barker stated that she had been involved in several campaigns over time to keep the Horton Hospital open. It now appeared that fresh investment was to be made in the hospital.

 

Councillor Les Caborn closed by assuring Council that local members will be kept informed of developments at the Horton Hospital.

 

Vote

 

A vote was held and the recommendations agreed unanimously.

 

Resolved:

 

That Council:

 

1.       Agrees to amend the scope of the health scrutiny powers delegated to the Horton Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee to allow scrutiny of a masterplan for the Horton General Hospital and pursuit of associated capital investment.

 

2.       Agrees to nominate Councillor Wallace Redford as the Council’s representative on the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

8.

Local Pension Board: Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 20 KB

 

Council is requested to approve revisions to the terms of reference to the Warwickshire Pension Board.

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the Council approves the revised Terms of Reference for the Local Pension Board as set out in the appendix.

Minutes:

Councillor Kam Kaur moved the recommendation and was seconded by Councillor Parminder Singh Birdi.

 

Council was reminded of the nature and purpose of the Local Pension Board and was informed that its work and frequency of meetings had increased over time.

 

Vote

 

A vote was held and the recommendation agreed unanimously.

 

Resolved:

 

That the Council approves the revised Terms of Reference for the Local Pension Board as set out in the appendix.

9.

Appointment of Scheme Member Representative to LGPS Local Pension Board pdf icon PDF 189 KB

 

A report that seeks Council approval of the appointment of a new member of the Local Pension Board.

Additional documents:

Decision:

That Council approves the appointment of Mr Sean McGovern, Coroner for Warwickshire, as a Scheme member representative on the Local Pension Board.

Minutes:

Councillor Kam Kaur moved the recommendation and was seconded by Councillor John Horner who reserved the right to speak. 

 

The structure of the Local Pension Board was explained as was the process followed in making the latest appointment. Councillor Bill Gifford expressed his support for the proposed appointment whilst Councillor Horner explained that the Local Pension Board was required, in part, as a response to the large number of employers who are members of the Warwickshire Pension Fund.

 

Vote

 

A vote was held and the recommendation agreed unanimously.

 

Resolved:

 

That Council approves the appointment of Mr Sean McGovern, Coroner for Warwickshire, as a Scheme member representative on the Local Pension Board.

10.

Notices of Motion

 

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

 

          Affordable Housing

 

Recent research has clearly established that the increasing costs of private rental is a very significant factor in causing in work poverty and an affordable decent home is a fundamental requirement of good physical and mental health. The LGA has recognised this and recommended that local authorities should be allowed to retain 100% of right to buy receipts and to set any discounts locally so that more homes to rent can be built or purchased. 

 

In its role as a Public Health Authority  and in support of its stated agenda to “level up” health inequalities and social inclusion across Warwickshire this Council urges the government to  increase the supply of affordable housing and to  urgently implement the LGA’s recommendations in the light of the developing recession associated with the covid pandemic and the expected  health crises which will develop as a result  of increasing levels of poverty and deprivation.

         

          Proposer: Councillor Dave Parsons

 

          Seconder: Councillor Caroline Phillips

 

 

         

Additional documents:

Decision:

Agreed Motion on Housing

 

Recent research has clearly established that the increasing costs of private rental is a very significant factor in causing work poverty and an affordable decent home is a fundamental requirement of good physical and mental health. The LGA has recognised this and recommended that local authorities should be allowed to retain 100% of right to buy receipts and to set any discounts locally so that more affordable homes to rent or purchase can be built. This council supports that recommendation.

 

Warwickshire County Council, in its role as a Public Health Authority, and in support of its stated agenda to ‘level up’ health inequalities and social inclusion, urges the government to follow through on the recommendations in its White Paper “Planning for the Future” to look at development site viability and how those calculations are determined so that developers cannot choose to diminish or relinquish their affordable housing responsibilities, based upon individual site constraints.

 

Further this council asks that this support is included in its response to the White paper consultation.

Minutes:

Councillor Dave Parsons moved the following motion.

 

Affordable Housing

 

Recent research has clearly established that the increasing costs of private rental is a very significant factor in causing in work poverty and an affordable decent home is a fundamental requirement of good physical and mental health.

 

The LGA has recognised this and recommended that local authorities should be allowed to retain 100% of right to buy receipts and to set any discounts locally so that more homes to rent can be built or purchased.

 

In its role as a Public Health Authority and in support of its stated agenda to “level up” health inequalities and social inclusion across Warwickshire this Council urges the government to increase the supply of affordable housing and to urgently implement the LGA’s recommendations in the light

of the developing recession associated with the covid pandemic and the expected health crises which will develop as a result of increasing levels of poverty and deprivation.

 

Councillor Caroline Phillips seconded the motion and reserved the right to speak.

 

In supporting the motion Councillor Dave Parsons stated that the government takes a lot of money from right to buy receipts. Up to 2018 £920m had been taken out of the housing market. This was money denied to local authorities to build new housing. Council was informed that in 2012 the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, had stated that every house sold under the right to buy scheme would be replaced within five years. This had not happened. Many houses that had been sold under right to buy had now been sold on and were being used as private rentals. Councillor Parsons requested that the Council ask the government to follow the advice of the LGA and allow local authorities to retain the revenue from the sale of houses to build new ones.

 

Amendment 1

 

Councillor Jill Simpson-Vince, seconded by Councillor John Cooke tabled the following amendment.

 

Recent research has clearly established that the increasing costs of private rental is a very significant factor in causing work poverty and an affordable decent home is a fundamental requirement of good physical and mental health. The LGA has recognised this and recommended that local authorities should be allowed to retain 100% of right to buy receipts and to set any discounts locally so that more affordable homes to rent or purchase can be built. This council supports that recommendation.

 

Warwickshire County Council, in its role as a Public Health Authority, and in support of its stated agenda to ‘level up’ health inequalities and social inclusion across Warwickshire this Council, urges the government to follow through on the recommendations in its White Paper “Planning for the Future” to look at development site viability and how those calculations are determined so that developers cannot choose to diminish or relinquish their affordable housing responsibilities, based upon individual site constraints increase the supply of affordable housing and to urgently implement the LGA’s recommendations in the light of the developing recession associated with the covid pandemic  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

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:

Question 1 Councillor Jerry Roodhouse to Councillor Les Caborn

 

Q “This Council adopted the “Dignity in Care 10 points” following a motion in 2007. Could the Portfolio Holder confirm what actions have been taken to ensure that these 10 points have been followed through?”

 

A. This has been ongoing for some time and has become fully embedded in our quality frameworks. All our commissioned providers work to ensure quality and dignity of care. Their work forces are fully trained, and whistle blowing is promoted. The service specification that a care provider must adhere to is person-centric and ensures ongoing engagement with the families of those in care. Care plans are highly inclusive, and we work constantly with the CQC and Healthwatch to adapt care guidance for providers.

 

In response to a supplementary question from Councillor Roodhouse Councillor Caborn agreed to write to care providers regarding the Dignity in Care network.

 

Question 2 Councillor Jerry Roodhouse to Councillor Kam Kaur

 

Q. “Covid and working from home has shown how crucial a good broadband provider is along with a good connection. Customer experiences are very varied from these providers and in some cases no responses are received to complaints. Will the Portfolio Holder undertake to write to the Secretary of State Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE, at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport with a copy to the LGA highlighting these concerns and asking that stronger standards of customer care need to be introduced?”

 

A. I completely agree with you that secure and reliable access to fast Internet services has become critical to everyone, especially as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the increasing need to work from home. I can inform you that we already have plans in place to improve digital connectivity across Warwickshire, including fibre and 4G/5G mobile connectivity.

 

Internet Service Providers are an additional link in the connectivity system and it is also essential that they maintain a good level of performance. Overall, we are not aware of problems with any particular service providers but will certainly raise your concerns with DCMS.

 

I would suggest, at this stage, we speak with our contact in DCMS, one of the Senior Policy Advisers working within the Barrier Busting Task Force in DCMS and get these concerns shared with both OFCOM and the Secretary of State. Hopefully, by taking this course of action we can escalate and work towards a resolution of the problem.’

 

As a supplementary question Councillor Roodhouse asked that any letter go to the Secretary of State and the LGA. This was agreed.

 

Question 3 Councillor Jerry Roodhouse to Councillor Heather Timms

 

Q. “Increasing pollinators, and tree planting all help towards increasing our natural environment. WCC is a major landowner and along with school playing fields make up a substantial amount of land. Would the Portfolio Holder agree to write to all Academy's and Schools under LA control asking them to identify areas that do not need grass cutting and could be used to support pollinators  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

Any Other items of Urgent Business

 

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

None