Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

County Council - Tuesday, 22nd September, 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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence

1(2)

Members’ Disclosures of Pecuniary and Non-pecuniary Interests

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In view of the nature of the issue being considered under agenda item 2 and the recent meetings of the Dispensations Sub Committee Councillor Alan Cockburn (Chair of Council) read out the following statement.

 

“The Dispensations Sub-committee has granted dispensations to all Warwickshire County Councillors who are also District/Borough councillors or whose spouses or partners are District/Borough councillors to allow them to speak and vote on matters relating to devolution and local government reform. This enables them to play a full role in the debate on devolution and local government reform.

 

The Dispensations Sub-committee has also granted a dispensation to Cllr Brain who has a disclosable pecuniary interest by virtue of his wife's employment with Stratford on Avon District Council. The dispensation allows Cllr Brain to speak and vote on matters relating to devolution and local government reform.

 

As these interests have been registered and/or dispensations granted there is no need for the councillors to declare them individually.

 

If members have any other declarations of interest which are not included in their register of interests relating to matters on the agenda, then now is the time to declare them”.

 

1(3)

Chair's announcements

Additional documents:

Minutes:

1) Councillor Alan Cockburn informed Council of the passing of Councillor Bob Stevens on 31 July 2020. Councillor Stevens had been a member of the County Council since 1997 and the County Council’s Deputy leader from 2005 to 2013. He also served as Chair of the Council in 2015/16. Latterly he had served as the Chair of the Pensions Fund Investment Sub Committee.

 

After a career in the Royal Navy Councillor Stevens had served on Stratford on Avon District Council. He was closely involved with the armed forces community and supported the work of Gallanos House in Southam, a care home for those with connections to the armed forces.

 

Members of Council joined in remembering Bob Stevens.

 

Councillor Andy Crump who knew Bob Stevens for over 40 years expressed his shock at the death of his friend. Both had regularly played cricket together. Councillor Crumps stated that Bob Stevens had been a fine servant to the residents of Warwickshire and to the armed forces community.

 

Councillor Jerry Roodhouse (Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group) stated that he had first met Bob Stevens at the old Gallanos House. He has spent many pleasant hours with Bob Stevens who was a true gentleman.

 

Councillor Dave Parsons (Deputy Leader of the Labour Group) had come to know Bob Stevens through their joint work on HS2. Bob Stevens, he stated, was a man of integrity who never accepted “spin” from anyone. He was always a delight to be with and had been remembered by another former member as the best boss he had ever had.

 

Councillor Judy Falp remembered Bob Stevens for his visits to Whitnash in connection with civic events and with the British Legion. He was always a gentleman who did what was right, she said.

 

Councillor John Horner remembered joining Stratford on Avon District Council and being welcomed by Bob Stevens. More recently he had witnessed Bob Stevens in his role as Chair of the Pension Fund Investment Sub Committee. In this he had developed a strong understanding of the technical aspects of pensions. He had also served as Vice Chair of the starting committee of Borders to Coast.

 

Councillor Yousef Dahmash quoted Oscar Wilde. “Some people cause happiness wherever they go. Others whenever they go”. Bob Stevens was very much the former. He would be sadly missed.

 

2) Councillor Cockburn informed the meeting that Council had recently been awarded the Gold Award for the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme. This was a testament to the work undertaken by Bob Stevens.

 

1(4)

Public Speaking

One hour has been allocated on the agenda for public speaking subject to the Chair exercising his discretion to extend the time available.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

1) The Chair welcomed Councillor Tricia Elliott, a member of Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, who wished to speak in support of the motion concerning SEND.

 

Councillor Elliott focused principally on the plight of children with Autism. Expressing concern over the length of waiting lists for support she suggested that a better understanding of Autism in mainstream schools would help in the identification of Autism and improve how children were treated. Council was informed that some schools adopt an overly disciplined approach to children with Autism. This can lead to school refusal by the child. The case of one child was cited. This child, who had not flourished at their school had moved to another one outside of Warwickshire. In the new environment, their level of attainment had increased and they were now of university level.  In another instance a visually impaired child with Autism was disciplined for attention seeking. Councillor Elliott concluding by stating that conveying Autistic children out of county for their education was negligent. If the needs of children could be met in the mainstream environment there would potentially be less demand for EHCPs.

 

2) The second speaker, Cass Leese, had given her apologies. Councillor Helen Adkins (Leader of the Labour Group) read out the essence of Ms Leese’s statement. This focused on the need for greater funding for SEND services. Having cited a number of reports the statement ended,

 

“For those children with SEND, not accessing support is life-changing and life-altering.  We are aware that Warwickshire is urging schools to be more inclusive, a wholly admirable aspiration. But regardless, many SEND children - such as those with autism, a background of trauma or neurodiversity and / or social emotional and mental health difficulties, being in a mainstream setting without an EHCP and the additional intensive support it brings, is impossible. These children are being set up to fail, not just at school, but in life. It leaves these children at risk of social isolation, academic failure, mental health problems and for some, on a collision course with exclusion from school.

 

The buck has to stop here. Cabinet (Council) has the authority and duty to lobby central government.

 

We urge Cabinet (Council) to support this motion to set up a Task & Finish Group plus petition to address the SEND funding gap - which we are aware is projected in Warwickshire to be a deficit of £150m in a decade.

 

Officers are working incredibly hard to make efficiencies and find solutions to minimise this outcome. But they are not magicians or miracle workers. And even with strict plans in place, which of themselves will have a huge impact on thousands of children, young people and their families, the plans only reduce the decade’s deficit to £91m”.

 

3) Councillor Helen Adkins read out a statement from Councillor Mini Mangat, Deputy Leader of the Labour Group, Warwick District Council.

 

“I support this motion on the pressing and urgent issues posed by racial discrimination and inequality. The world is shifting on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 1(4)

2.

Devolution and Local Government Reform pdf icon PDF 348 KB

A report to Council concerning devolution and local government reform in Warwickshire.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved;

 

  1. That, having considered the Strategic Case for Change for Local Government Reform in Warwickshire, the Council supports its submission to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) in order to seek from Government an invitation to enter into conversation and consideration of the future local government structure for Warwickshire. 
  2. That the Council considers that in the next phase of work to shape a future model for local government in Warwickshire, conversations should take place at all levels, including with residents, based on the following principles 
    1. double devolution - moving influence and power closer to communities, levelling up health and wellbeing and tackling inequalities; 
    2. ensuring that Climate Change and adaptation are built into a new model of local government; 
    3. achieving better value for our taxpayers; 
    4. simplified governance with clear, accountable leadership; 
    5. co-design of the model is undertaken; and 
    6. a balance of local focus with a strategic approach when needed. 
  3. That the Council considers that a Residents Panel should be established and that an invitation should be extended to the District and Borough Councils to do so jointly with the County Council,  to seek the views of Warwickshire residents.
  4. That the Council requests that the Leader , following this meeting, considers inviting the Warwickshire District and Borough Councils to make their submission to MHCLG along with and at the same time as any submission made by the County Council

 

 

Minutes:

Councillor Isobel Seccombe moved the following motion:

 

1.        That, having considered the Strategic Case for Change for Local Government Reform in Warwickshire, the Council supports its submission to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) in order to elicit from Government an invitation to enter into conversation and consideration of the future local government structure for Warwickshire.

2.        That the Council considers that in the next phase of work to shape a future model for local government in Warwickshire, conversations should take place at all levels, including with residents, based on the following principles

i.         double devolution - moving influence and power closer to communities, levelling up health and wellbeing and tackling inequalities;

ii.        ensuring that Climate Change and adaptation are built into a new model of local government;

iii.       achieving better value for our taxpayers;

iv.       simplified governance with clear, accountable leadership;

v.        co-design of the model is undertaken; and

vi.       a balance of local focus with a strategic approach when needed.

 

The motion was seconded by Councillor Peter Butlin.

 

Councillor Jerry Roodhouse proposed an amendment which replaced the word “elicit” in point 1 with the word “seek” and added a point to say, “That a Citizens Panel be established, with an invitation extended to the District and Borough Councils to undertake/ establish this jointly with the county council, to seek the views of Warwickshire residents about proposals for future local government reform in/for Warwickshire”.

 

Councillor Sarah Boad (Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group) seconded the amendment.

 

Acceptance of Amendment

 

Councillor Butlin proposed a further amendment to the substantive motion by adding a paragraph at point 3: “That immediately following this meeting, the Leader invites the Warwickshire District and Borough Councils to make their submission to MHCLG jointly with the County Council”.

 

Councillor Isobel Seccombe seconded the amendment and both Councillor Seccombe and Butlin accepted the amendment proposed by the Liberal Democrat Group as a friendly amendment.

 

Councillor Helen Adkins proposed an amendment to the substantive motion which replaced the word “supports” in the first point with the word “delays” and removed the words “elicit from Government an invitation to enter into conversation and consideration of the future local government structure for Warwickshire” replacing them with the words “consult its partners and residents on the future of local government in Warwickshire”.  Additional paragraphs at points 2 and 3 were proposed as follows:

 

“2. This Council notes that as we move towards the publication of the government white paper this Council intends to undertake thorough and transparent conversations with its borough and district partners as well as consultation with the public, in a bid to move forward in transparency and open co-operation.

3. This Council also requests that a further report be brought back to Cabinet on the optins for consultation with partners and residents”. 

 

Councillor Dave Parsons seconded the amendment.

 

During the course of the debate, which suggested that support for this amendment was limited as it was considered that the outcome would result in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.

3.

Notices of Motion

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

 

(1)      Black Lives Matter.

 

           Motion:

 

           The recent conversations around racism and the Black Lives Matter movement have highlighted the systemic disadvantages suffered by Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. Such disadvantages manifest in health, educational and employment outcomes and opportunities. The Covid-19 pandemic has further highlighted that the BAME community has been disproportionately affected with reported higher mortality and infection rates. In light of this, this Council considers it important to consider how well the needs of the BAME community are being met within the County. Therefore, this Council will: 

 

           Initiate a cross party Task and Finish group of the Communities OSC, to investigate and to report back on race inequalities across Warwickshire, both internally within the County Council and externally in relation to meeting the needs of BAME communities within Warwickshire.

 

           Proposer: Councillor Helen Adkins

 

           Seconder: Councillor Dave Parsons

 

(2)      Special Education Needs and Disabilities.

 

           Motion:

 

Given the immense pressure that the Council faces in meeting the cost of SEND provision, this council will:

 

Initiate a cross party delegation to lobby Government in relation to the need for more funding for this key service and request the Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee to set up a Task and Finish Group to monitor delivery of SEND provision

 

           Proposer: Councillor Caroline Phillips

 

           Seconder: Councillor Corinne Davies

 

(3)      Tuberculosis in Cattle

 

           Motion:

 

This Council recognises that farming is a very important part of the Warwickshire economy and that the county council supports farming in many ways including through its own small holdings. The Council further recognises that Tuberculosis in cattle is a very serious problem for farmers which needs long term sustainable action, including the development of accurate testing and an effective bovine vaccine.

 

Therefore, this Council agrees:

 

·             To actively promote better bio security (including the vaccination of badgers) with tenants of its smallholdings with the aim to reduce cattle-to-cattle transmission; and

 

·             To write to DEFRA stating that the Council is concerned with proposals for the culling of badgers on land in its ownership and wishes to explore with them alternatives that enable a sustainable approach to bovine TB control.

 

           Proposer: Councillor Keith Kondakor

 

           Seconder: Councillor Jonathan Chilvers

 

(4)      Promoting the Warwickshire Canal Network

 

           Motion:

 

The canal network in Warwickshire passes through all five districts and boroughs and is a massive asset for tourism, wellbeing and ecology. In developing recovery plans for Warwickshire and mindful of the need to increase UK based tourism, the County Council will:

 

1)             Actively promote our local canal network and its opportunities for leisure, wellbeing and employment throughout 2021/22 City of Culture and beyond.

 

2)             Work with the Canal and River Trust to identify, prioritise and cost key stretches of towpath for improvement in order to better attract developer funding.

 

           Proposer: Councillor Jonathan Chilvers

 

           Seconder: Councillor Keith Kondakor

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

1. Black Lives Matter

Resolved:

The recent conversations around racism and the Black Lives Matter movement have highlighted the systemic disadvantages suffered by Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. Such disadvantages manifest in health, educational and employment outcomes and opportunities. The Covid-19 pandemic has further highlighted that the BAME community has been disproportionately affected with reported higher mortality and infection rates. In light of this, this Council considers it important to consider how well the needs of the BAME community are being met within the County.

Therefore, this council:

Notes the work that has been initiated to progress the findings of the Public Health England Review of the impact of Covid 19 on BAME communities following the report to Cabinet in July, endorsed by the Health and Wellbeing Board, and the inclusion of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion programme in the Council’s Recovery Plan and asks that an interim report be brought to a joint meeting of the Communities and Adult Social Care and Health OSC’s by December 2020, so that members can consider the continuing work and the establishment of a task and finish group to investigate and to report back on race inequalities across Warwickshire, both internally within the County Council and externally in relation to meeting the needs of BAME communities within Warwickshire.

2. SEND

Resolved:

Given the immense pressure that the Council faces in meeting the cost of SEND provision, this Council will:

Initiate a cross party delegation to lobby Government in relation to the need for more funding for this key service and request the Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee to set up a Task and Finish Group to monitor delivery of SEND provision.

3.  Tuberculosis in Cattle

Resolved:

This Council recognises that farming is a very important part of the Warwickshire economy and that the county council supports farming in many ways including through its own small holdings. The Council further recognises that Bovine Tuberculosis in cattle is a very serious problem for farmers which needs long term sustainable action, including the development of accurate testing and an effective bovine vaccine.

Therefore, this Council agrees:

To write to DEFRA stating that the Council is concerned with proposals for the culling of badgers on land in its ownership and wishes them to explore with them alternatives that enable a sustainable approach to bovine TB control.

4. Promoting the Warwickshire Canal Network

 Resolved:

The canal network in Warwickshire passes through all five districts and boroughs and is a massive asset for tourism, wellbeing and ecology. In developing recovery plans for Warwickshire and mindful of the need to increase UK based tourism, the County Council:   

  1. Acknowledges the work being undertaken to develop a Waterways strategy for Warwickshire as part of the Heritage and Culture Strategy action plan; 
  2. Will actively promote our local canal network and its opportunities for leisure, wellbeing and employment (including 2021/22 City of Culture, Birmingham 2022 and beyond);  
  3. Will work with the Canal and River Trust and other partners to  ...  view the full decision text for item 3.

Minutes:

Four motions were debated by the Council.

 

1) Black Lives Matter

 

Councillor Helen Adkins moved the following motion being seconded by Councillor Dave Parsons who reserved his right to speak.

 

“The recent conversations around racism and the Black Lives

Matter movement have highlighted the systemic disadvantages

suffered by Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME)

communities. Such disadvantages manifest in health,

educational and employment outcomes and opportunities. The

Covid-19 pandemic has further highlighted that the BAME

community has been disproportionately affected with reported

higher mortality and infection rates. In light of this, this Council

considers it important to consider how well the needs of the

BAME community are being met within the County. Therefore,

this Council will:

 

Initiate a cross party Task and Finish group of the

Communities OSC, to investigate and to report back on race

inequalities across Warwickshire, both internally within the

County Council and externally in relation to meeting the needs

of BAME communities within Warwickshire”.

 

In introducing the motion Councillor Adkins acknowledged that no body or individual has all the answers. She considered that more could be done to support the BAME community and that the County Council should lead by example. Positive acknowledgement of inequality was not enough. The Council should ask what more was needed to be done to eradicate discrimination.

 

Councillor Les Caborn (Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health) submitted an amendment which he hoped would be accepted as friendly. It would not, he considered, in any way diminish the basis of the original motion. The reason behind it was to ensure that members were provided with the latest data on the issue before commencing any further work.

 

The amendment (made to the second section of the motion) stated,

 

“Therefore, this council:

 

Notes the work that has been initiated to progress the findings of the Public Health England Review of the impact of Covid 19 on BAME communities following the report to Cabinet in July, endorsed by the Health and Wellbeing Board, and the inclusion of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion programme in the Council’s Recovery Plan and asks that an interim report be brought to a joint meeting of the Communities and Adult Social Care and Health OSC’s by December 2020, so that members can consider the continuing work and the establishment of a task and finish group to investigate and to report back on race inequalities across Warwickshire, both internally within the County Council and externally in relation to meeting the needs of BAME communities within Warwickshire”.

 

Councillor Kam Kaur (Portfolio Holder for Customer and Transformation) seconded the amendment and reserved her right to speak.

 

Councillor Adkins accepted the amendment as friendly.

 

Councillor Caroline Phillips referenced the Macpherson report produced after the inquiry into the death of Stephen Lawrence. She stated that much of what was contained in the report continued to be relevant. Councillor Phillips also noted a recent OFSTED report which explored the relationship between ethnicity and educational attainment. It was noted that there were significant variations in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Any Other Business

Additional documents:

Minutes:

none