Agenda and draft minutes

Council
Thursday, 13 February 2020 6.00 pm

Venue: The Fountain Conference Centre, Howbery Park, Crowmarsh Gifford

Contact: Steven Corrigan  Democratic Services Manager

Items
No. Item

52.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 159 KB

To adopt and sign as a correct record the Council minutes of the meeting held on 19 December 2019. 

Minutes:

RESOLVED: to approve the minutes of the meeting held on 19 December 2019 as a correct record and agree that the chairman sign them as such.

 

53.

Declarations of disclosable pecuniary interest

To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests in respect of items on the agenda for this meeting.  

Minutes:

None.

54.

Urgent business and chairman's announcements

To receive notification of any matters which the chairman determines should be considered as urgent business and the special circumstances which have made the matters urgent, and to receive any announcements from the chairman. 

Minutes:

The chairman provided general housekeeping information and advised there were no items of urgent business.

 

55.

Public participation

To receive any questions or statements from members of the public that have registered to speak. 

Minutes:

The chairman reported that Mrs Camps-Walsh, Chairman Beckley and Stowood Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee, had registered to address Council regarding Cabinet’s decision to withdraw grants for neighbourhood plans. He advised that Mrs Camps-Walsh would address Council at agenda item 10 – revenue budget 2020/21 and capital programme to 2024/25.

 

With the agreement of Council, the chairman allowed Mr David Dickie, representing Henley-on-Thames & Clean Air for Henley, Greener Henley, to address Council.

Mr Dickie referred to the report on air quality considered by the council’s Scrutiny committee at its meeting on 21 January 2020. He referred to the air pollution issues facing Henley-on-Thames – the high numbers of children using inhalers and 14 days in January when the town exceeded the nitrogen dioxide level. He expressed concern that a number of activities undertaken in Henley by both the town council and Clean Air for Henley were not covered in the report. He set out a number of actions that should be taken forward to address poor air quality issues including more electric vehicle charging points, fines for drivers of vehicles idling, a reduction in the number of HGVs in the town and differential car parking charges.

 

56.

Petitions

To receive any petitions from the public. 

Minutes:

No petitions were submitted to Council.

 

57.

Treasury management mid-year monitoring report 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 404 KB

Cabinet, at its meeting on 30 January 2020, considered a monitoring report on the treasury management activities for the first six months of 2019/20 and an update on the current economic conditions with a view to the remainder of the year. 

 

The Joint Audit and Governance Committee considered the report at its meeting on 27 January 2020. The committee resolved to note the treasury management mid-year monitoring report 2019/20 and was satisfied that the treasury activities are carried out in accordance with the treasury management strategy and policy. The committee also supported the changes to the counterparty limits.

 

The report of the interim head of finance, which Cabinet considered on 30 January 2020, is attached.

 

RECOMMENDATION TO COUNCIL to:

 

1.    note that the Joint Audit and Governance Committee is satisfied that the treasury activities are carried out in accordance with the treasury management strategy and policy;

2.    approve the interim head of finance’s report to Cabinet on 30 January 2020; and

3.    agree the changes to the counterparty limits identified in paragraphs 21 and 22 of the interim head of finance’s report. 

 

                                                                                                                           

Minutes:

Council considered Cabinet’s recommendations, made at its meeting on 30 January 2020, on the treasury management activities for the first six months of 2019/20 and an update on the current economic conditions with a view to the remainder of the year. 

 

The Joint Audit and Governance Committee had considered the report at its meeting on 27 January 2020 and had not recommended any adjustments to the strategy as a result of the first six months activities. That committee and Cabinet had concluded that the treasury management activities had operated within the agreed parameters set out in the approved treasury management strategy and policy and supported the changes to the counterparty limits.

RESOLVED: to

 

1. note that the Joint Audit and Governance Committee is satisfied that the treasury activities are carried out in accordance with the treasury management strategy and policy; and

 

2. approve the interim head of finance’s report to Cabinet on 30 January 2020;

 

3. agree the changes to the counterparty limits identified in paragraphs 21 and 22 of the interim head of finance’s report. 

 

58.

Treasury management and investment strategy 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 367 KB

Cabinet, at its meeting on 30 January 2020, considered a report on the council’s treasury management and investment strategy for 2020/21.

 

The Joint Audit and Governance Committee considered the report at its meeting on 27 January 2020 and had not recommended any adjustments to the strategy. 

 

The committee resolved to recommend Cabinet to approve the treasury management strategy, the prudential indicators and limits for 2020/21 to 2022/23 and the annual investment strategy 2020/21 as set out in the report.

 

The report of the interim head of finance, which Cabinet considered on 30 January 2020, is attached.

 

 

RECOMMENDATION TO COUNCIL to:

1.    approve the treasury management strategy 2020/21, set out in appendix A to the interim head of finance’s report to Cabinet on 30 January 2020; 

2.    approve the prudential indicators and limits for 2020/21 to 2022/23, as set out in appendix A to the interim head of finance’s report; and 

3.    approve the annual investment strategy 2020/21, set out in appendix A (paragraphs 41 to 82) to the interim head of finance’s report, and the lending criteria detailed in table 5 to that report. 

 

Minutes:

Council considered Cabinet’s recommendation, made at its meeting on 30 January 2020, on the council’s treasury management and investment strategy for 2020/21.

 

The Joint Audit and Governance Committee had considered the report at its meeting on 27 January 2020 and had not recommendedany adjustments to the strategy and resolved to recommend Cabinet to approve the treasury management strategy, the prudential indicators and limits for 2020/21 to 2022/23 and the annual investment strategy 2020/21 as set out in the report. Cabinet agreed to recommend Council approve the strategy. 

 

RESOLVED: to

 

1. approve the treasury management strategy 2020/21, set out in appendix A to the interim head of finance’s report to Cabinet on 30 January 2020; 

 

2. approve the prudential indicators and limits for 2020/21 to 2022/23, as set out in appendix A to the interim head of finance’s report; and 

 

3. approve the annual investment strategy 2020/21, set out in appendix A (paragraphs 41 to 82) to the interim head of finance’s report, and the lending criteria detailed in table 5 to that report.

 

 

59.

Capital strategy 2020/21 to 2029/30 pdf icon PDF 108 KB

Cabinet, at its meeting on 30 January 2020, considered a report on the capital strategy for 2020/21 to 2029/30.   

 

The report of the interim head of finance, which Cabinet considered on 30 January 2020, is attached.

 

RECOMMENDATION TO COUNCIL: to approve the capital strategy 2020/21 to 2029/30 which is contained in appendix one of the interim head of finance’s report to Cabinet on 30 January 2020. 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council considered Cabinet’s recommendation, made at its meeting on 30 January 2020, on the capital strategy for 2020/21 to 2029/30. Cabinet agreed to recommend Council approve the strategy. 

 

RESOLVED: to approve the capital strategy 2020/21 to 2029/30 which is contained in appendix one of the interim head of finance’s report to Cabinet on 30 January 2020.

 

60.

Revenue Budget 2020/21 and Capital Programme to 2024/25 pdf icon PDF 80 KB

Cabinet, at its meeting on 30 January 2020, considered a report on the draft revenue budget 2020/21, and the capital programme to 2024/25.

 

The report of the interim head of finance, which Cabinet considered, has been circulated to all councillors. Please bring this to the Council meeting. 

 

At its meeting Cabinet resolved the following:

 

(a)      that Cabinet is minded to adopt recommendation 1 and minded to recommend Council to adopt recommendation 2, as set out in the interim head of finance’s report to Cabinet on 30 January 2020, subject to a reduction from £500,000 to £410,000 in recommendation 2(e) by halving the councillor grants budget from £180,000 to £90,000;

 

(b)      that Cabinet invites Scrutiny Committee’s comments on (a) above; and

 

(c)       that Cabinet reconsiders the interim head of finance’s budget report at a Cabinet meeting on 11 February 2020 at 9.30am and makes recommendations to Council on 13 February 2020. 

 

At its meeting on 4 February the Scrutiny Committee resolved to recommend Cabinet to allocate £500,000 to fund the Communities Capital and Revenue Grant Scheme and not to half the councillor grants budget from £180,000 to

£ £90,000.

 

The committee did not support Cabinet’s minded decision to maintain car park fees and charges at current levels pending a review of fees and charges later in the year.

 

Cabinet’s recommendations will be circulated to all councillors following the meeting on 11 February 2020.

Minutes:

Prior to the conclusion of the debate on this item, and prior to the expiry of two and a half hours, Council agreed, in accordance with council procedure rule 12, to extend the meeting for a further period not exceeding 30 minutes, and to defer the consideration of motions on notice (agenda item 15) until the Council meeting on 20 February 2020.

 

Mrs Camps-Walsh addressed Council against the Cabinet decision, made at its meeting on 30 January, to withdraw grant support for groups progressing neighbourhood plans. She stated that, contrary to information contained in the Cabinet report, the end of the grant support will have a significant detrimental effect on communities and could reduce the number of plans progressed. No consultation had been undertaken with neighbourhood plan groups. The other grants referred to in the report involved a complicated application process. To date the government had not confirmed whether government funding to local authorities would cease and therefore such a decision was premature. No analysis of the savings was set out in the report.  

 

The chairman referred to regulations that require councils to record the names of those councillors voting in favour, against or abstaining from any vote on the budget, including amendments, and the council tax. In accordance with the regulations he would call for a named vote on each of these matters at this meeting.

 

The chairman reminded councillors that they were not entitled to vote on any issue affecting the level or administration of the council tax or other decisions which might affect the making of any such calculation such as the budget, if they were over two months in arrears with their council tax payments. Where such circumstances applied, councillors were under a statutory obligation to disclose the restriction placed on them and refrain from voting at the relevant meeting. No councillor made any such declaration.

 

Council considered Cabinet’s recommendations, made at its meetings on 11 February 2020, on the revenue budget 2020/21, and the capital programme to 2024/25.

 

The Scrutiny Committee considered the report at its meeting on 4 February 2020.  The committee recommended Cabinet allocate £500,000 to fund the Communities Capital and Revenue Grant Scheme and not to half the councillor grants budget from £180,000 to £90,000. The committee did not support Cabinet’s minded decision, made at its meeting on 30 January, to maintain car park fees and charges at current levels pending a review later in the year.

 

Council noted the report of the chief finance officeron the robustness of the budget estimates and the adequacy of the reserves.

 

Councillor Turner, Cabinet member for finance, presented the Cabinet’s proposals for the revenue budget 2020/21 and capital programme to 2024/25. On behalf of the council he thanked officers for their part in continuing to control costs and in preparing the draft budget.  

 

Councillor Turner moved and Councillor Cooper seconded a motion to approve Cabinet’s recommendations as follows: to

1.    set the revenue budget for 2020/21 as set out in appendix A.1 to the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 60.

61.

Oxfordshire Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Steering Group

Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) is proposing to develop an Oxfordshire Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Strategy to establish the principles and an action plan to deliver the charging infrastructure needed to support the transition to low emission vehicles in the county. To assist with the development of the strategy, OCC has invited the council to appoint a councillor to the Oxfordshire Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Steering Group.

 

At its meeting on 28 January 2020 the Climate Emergency Advisory Committee considered an officer proposal that South Oxfordshire District Council’s representative should be a member of the committee. The committee agreed to recommend Council to appoint Councillor Caroline Newton as the council’s representative.

 

RECOMMENDATION TO COUNCIL: to

 

  1. appoint Councillor Caroline Newton as the council’s representative on the Oxfordshire Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Steering Group;
  2. appoint all members of the Climate Emergency Advisory Committee as substitute members. 

 

Minutes:

Council noted that Oxfordshire County Council is proposing to develop an Oxfordshire Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy to establish the principles and an action plan to deliver the charging infrastructure needed to support the transition to low emission vehicles in the county.

 

To assist with the development of the strategy, the county council had invited South Oxfordshire District Council to appoint a councillor to the Oxfordshire Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Steering Group. At its meeting on 28 January 2020 the Climate Emergency Advisory Committee considered an officer proposal that South Oxfordshire District Council’s representative should be a member of the committee. The committee agreed to recommend Council to appoint Councillor Caroline Newton as the council’s representative.

 

RESOLVED: to

 

1.    appoint Councillor Caroline Newton as the council’s representative on the Oxfordshire Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Steering Group;

 

2.    appoint all members of the Climate Emergency Advisory Committee as substitute members. 

 

62.

Pay policy statement 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 125 KB

To consider the report of the acting deputy chief executive – transformation and operations on the adoption of a pay policy statement to meet the requirements of the Localism Act - report attached.

 

 

Minutes:

Council considered the report of the acting deputy chief executive – transformation and operations on the adoption of a pay policy statement to meet the requirements of the Localism Act.

 

RESOLVED: to approve the pay policy statement for 2020/21 attached to the report of the acting deputy chief executive – transformation and operations to Council on 13 February 2020.

 

63.

Report of the leader of the council

To receive any updates from the leader of the council.

Minutes:

Councillor Cooper, Leader of the council, provided an update on a number of matters. The text of her address is available on the council’s website.

 

 

64.

Questions on notice

To receive questions from councillors in accordance with Council procedure rule 33. 

 

1.    Question from Councillor Anna Badcock to Councillor Pieter-Paul Barker, Cabinet member for partnership and insight

 

“Can you detail the timescales for delivering against the climate emergency motion that was carried by the Conservative led Council in April 2019”?

 

2.    Question from Councillor Ken Arlett to Councillor David Rouane, Cabinet member for housing and environment

 

“Over the past six months we have had on going complaints from members of the public, with the cleaning of the three toilet blocks in Henley. These complaints have all been serialised in the local Henley Standard.

 

Can the Cabinet Member please explain why this contract has been let for another nine months to the same contractor, when they are unable to clean the toilets to an acceptable standard”?

 

3.    Question from Councillor Celia Wilson to Councillor Maggie Filipova-Rivers, Cabinet member for community services

 

Can you give assurances that any review of the Didcot Cornerstone Arts Centre will be:

a) open and transparent;

b) involve all concerned people including the population and elected representatives of Didcot; and

c) allow enough time for remedies to the difficulties to be put in place?

 

Minutes:

1.         Question from Councillor Anna Badcock to Councillor Pieter-Paul Barker, Cabinet member for partnership and insight

 

“Can you detail the timescales for delivering against the climate emergency motion that was carried by the Conservative led Council in April 2019”?

 

Written answer

 

The climate emergency declaration in April 2019 stated the intention of adopting an early carbon neutral target. Following the establishment of the Climate Emergency Advisory Committee 18 July 2019, the Committee have recommended targets for carbon neutrality to Cabinet and Council, which were approved at the beginning of October 2019. These targets aim for South Oxfordshire District Council to become a carbon neutral council by 2025 and for South Oxfordshire to become a carbon neutral district by 2030.

 

Committee members have worked with officers to develop a detailed one-year work programme proposal, to provide a strong foundation for working towards the adopted carbon neutral targets and a longer-term strategy to address the climate emergency. The programme includes a range of projects, for example seeking to embed sustainability in Council policies and initiate some feasibility studies around energy savings in council buildings and leisure centres, including identifying opportunities to introduce solar energy and heat pumps. As well as, measures to support biodiversity, such as exploring the most appropriate tree planting projects.  

 

The one-year programme was recommended by the Committee at their meeting on 28 January 2020 and that recommendation accepted at Cabinet on 30 January 2020.  The proposed budget for implementation of the one-year programme will now go to Council for final approval in amongst their other budget priorities on 13 February 2020.

 

The projects within the one-year programme will be reviewed again by the Committee and officers pending Council’s decision, in order to prioritise each action/project and implement timescales for their delivery.

 

Supplementary question

 

In response to a supplementary question seeking further detail of the one year work programme the Cabinet member responded that he was content with the detail provided in the written response but was happy to discuss further outside the meeting.

 

2.    Question from Councillor Ken Arlett to Councillor David Rouane, Cabinet member for housing and environment

 

“Over the past six months we have had on going complaints from members of the public, with the cleaning of the three toilet blocks in Henley. These complaints have all been serialised in the local Henley Standard.

 

Can the Cabinet Member please explain why this contract has been let for another nine months to the same contractor, when they are unable to clean the toilets to an acceptable standard”?

 

Written answer

 

“We agree that the level of service provided in Henley is currently not acceptable and the service manager is working with the contractor to agree remedial action.  It helps if the complaints are directed to the contractor (details on the website and signs on the toilets themselves) as the arrangement is for them to react to cleaning issues and phoning them directly helps to make them aware of the issue and react more quickly. 

The councils have entered  ...  view the full minutes text for item 64.

65.

Motions on notice

To consider motions from councillors in accordance with Council procedure rule 38. 

 

(1)      Motion to be proposed by Councillor Alexandrine Kantor, seconded by Councillor Sam Casey-Rerhaye:

 

Council notes the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of Antisemitism is the most widely accepted and recognized definition of anti-Jewish racism. It states that: Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of Antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

 

Council notes the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims (APPG) definition of Islamophobia: Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.

 

Council notes that, by using these definitions, it helps to understand, identify, and tackle Antisemitism and Islamophobia.

 

Council holds the right to freedom of speech and freedom of religion as fundamentals but freedom of speech is not an unlimited right, and should not be used to advocate racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.

 

Council resolves to:

?       condemn all hate crimes and deplore the rise in hate crimes against members of the Jewish and Muslim communities in Britain.

 

?       condemn all inflammatory rhetoric in political discourse: including antisemitic and islamophobic tropes used by politicians and public servants.

 

?       adopt the IHRA definition of Antisemitism in full and without amendment.

 

?       adopt the APPG definition of Islamophobia in full and without amendment.

 

?       ask officers to update this council’s equality policies to this effect.

 

(2)      Motion to be proposed by Councillor Anne-Marie Simpson, seconded by Councillor Victoria Haval:

Council notes the risks associated with modern life are significantly different from those of 1847 when the Town Police Clauses Act was passed, and even from those of the 1970s when the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 came into force. Clearly, the legislation has not kept pace with developments, in particular with the way we use technology, apps, and mobile phones. It is difficult to facilitate a regulatory system when the legislation is based on the use of horse-drawn carriages and landline phones. 

There is also a lack of consistency across the legislation. For example, the law requires a person who takes bookings for private hire vehicles to be licensed but there is no similar requirement for someone who does the same for hackney carriages. This lack, apart from the potential for sensitive personal information to fall into the wrong hands, can make it very difficult to investigate allegations of improper conduct by drivers of hackney carriages. This could undermine public confidence in the licensing regime. In addition, it provides a mechanism for private hire operators who have lost their licence to continue in business. They simply move to only “operating” hackney carriages, and no controls can be placed on them at all.

Examples of recent local issues include hackney carriage ‘operators’ who have pressured drivers to work excessively long hours with no proper breaks, and those who do  ...  view the full agenda text for item 65.

Minutes:

 

Council agreed to defer consideration of the motions to the Council meeting on 20 February 2020.

 

66.

Exclusion of the public

To consider whether to exclude members of the press and public from the meeting for the following item of business under Part 1 of Schedule 12A Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 and as amended by the Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006 on the grounds that:

(i)        it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1-7 Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, and

(ii)       the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information. 

Minutes:

RESOLVED: To exclude members of the press and public from the meeting for the following item of business under Part 1 of Schedule 12A Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 and as amended by the Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006 on the grounds that: (i) it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, and (ii) the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

 

67.

Corporate services contract

Cabinet, at its meeting on 11 February 2020, will consider a confidential report on the corporate services contract. 

 

The report of the acting deputy chief executive – partnership and planning, which Cabinet will consider on 11 February 2020, has been circulated to all councillors.

 

Cabinet’s recommendations will be circulated to all councillors prior to the Council meeting.

 

Minutes:

Council considered and agreed Cabinet’s confidential recommendation, made at its meeting on 11 February 2020, on the corporate services contract (see confidential minute).