Agenda and draft minutes

SWT Full Council
Tuesday, 30th March, 2021 6.15 pm

Venue: Webcasting - Virtual. View directions

Contact: Marcus Prouse Email: m.prouse@somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk and Clare Rendell Email: c.rendell@somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk 

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

140.

Apologies

141.

Minutes of the previous meeting of Full Council pdf icon PDF 344 KB

142.

Declarations of Interest

    To receive and note any declarations of disclosable pecuniary or prejudicial or personal interests in respect of any matters included on the agenda for consideration at this meeting.

     

    (The personal interests of Councillors and Clerks of Somerset County Council, Town or Parish Councils and other Local Authorities will automatically be recorded in the minutes.)

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Members present at the meeting declared the following personal interests in their capacity as a Councillor or Clerk of a County, Town or Parish Council or any other Local Authority:-

     

    Name

    Minute No.

    Description of Interest

    Reason

    Action Taken

    Cllr L Baker

    All Items

    Cheddon Fitzpaine & Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr M Barr

    All Items

    Wellington

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr M Blaker

    All Items

    Wiveliscombe

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr P Bolton

    All Items

    Minehead

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr C Booth

    All Items

    Wellington and Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr N Cavill

    All Items

    West Monkton

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr S Coles

    All Items

    SCC & Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr H Davies

    All Items

    SCC

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr C Ellis

    All Items

    Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr A Govier

    All Items

    SCC & Wellington

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr Mrs Hill

    All Items

    Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr J Hunt

    All Items

    SCC & Bishop’s Hull

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr R Lees

    All Items

    Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr S Lees

    All Items

    Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr L Lisgo

    All Items

    Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr M Lithgow

    All Items

    Wellington

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr J Lloyd

    All Items

    Wellington & Sampford Arundel

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr A Milne

    All Items

    Porlock

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr C Morgan

    All Items

    Stogursey

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr C Palmer

    All Items

    Minehead

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr D Perry

    All Items

    Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr P Pilkington

    All Items

    Timberscombe

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr H Prior-Sankey

    All Items

    SCC & Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr M Rigby

    All Items

    SCC & Bishops Lydeard

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr F Smith

    All Items

    Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr F Smith-Roberts

    All Items

    Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr V Stock-Williams

    All Items

    Wellington

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr N Thwaites

    All Items

    Dulverton

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr R Tully

    All Items

    West Monkton

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr A Wedderkopp

    All Items

    SCC & Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr D Wedderkopp

    All Items

    Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr B Weston

    All Items

    Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr L Whetlor

    All Items

    Watchet

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr G Wren

    All Items

    Clerk to Milverton PC

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

     

    Councillor M Kravis declared a personal interest on agenda item 11.

     

    The following councillors declared a personal interest as members of the local government pension scheme:-

    Councillors I Aldridge, M Blaker, M Hill, R Lees, S Lees, J Lloyd, D Mansell, H Prior-Sankey, F Smith, A Trollope-Bellew and G Wren.

143.

Public Participation

    The Chair to advise the Committee of any items on which members of the public have requested to speak and advise those members of the public present of the details of the Council’s public participation scheme.

     

    For those members of the public who have submitted any questions or statements, please note, a three minute time limit applies to each speaker and you will be asked to speak before Councillors debate the issue.

     

    Temporary measures during the Coronavirus Pandemic

    Due to the Government guidance on measures to reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19), we will holding meetings in a virtual manner which will be live webcast on our website. Members of the public will still be able to register to speak and ask questions, which will then be read out by the Governance and Democracy Case Manager during Public Question Time and will either be answered by the Chair of the Committee, or the relevant Portfolio Holder, or be followed up with a written response.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Mr Taylor submitted the following:-

    I would like to raise a question at a council meeting. My question was why were council contracts awarded to companies to renovate properties, who, when awarded the contract, sub-contract the work out to another company and get the work done at a cheaper rate and make a profit from not doing the work.? If the contractor could find someone to do the work cheaper then why couldn't the council shop around for cheaper quotations? Many thanks, Trevor Taylor.

     

    The Portfolio Holder for Corporate Resources responded:-

    Procurement processes for the provision of any contractor for the renovation of the councils assets were highly regulated and subject to a number of government procurement rules that had to be observed. All council procurement exercises had to demonstrate they were fair and transparent which precluded us from openly negotiating with individual suppliers prior to placing an order.

    The council always sought to engage with the most competitive suppliers to express an interest when advertising tendering opportunities to the market but could only evaluate the price and quality of the responses returned.

    It was normal commercial practice for larger contractors to use subcontract labour and may employ many different subcontractors to complete the works which involved a great deal of management resource the council did not have directly available.  

144.

To receive any communications or announcements from the Chair of the Council

145.

To receive any communications or announcements from the Leader of the Council

146.

To receive any questions from Councillors in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 13

147.

Pay Policy 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 229 KB

148.

Changes to the Constitution pdf icon PDF 223 KB

    This matter is the responsibility of the Leader of the Council, Councillor Federica Smith-Roberts.

     

    To present Members with the drafted Member Champion Protocol and Member Working Group Protocol, which, once approved will form appendices to the Council’s Constitution.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    During the discussion, the following points were raised:-

    ·       Councillors queried whether the list of Member Champions would be flexible and could be added to and amended if necessary.

    The Leader advised that special titles could be added for certain projects and that the list could be reviewed throughout the year.

    ·       Councillors queried whether they could attend a Member Working Group to observe the debate.

    The Leader advised that they could attend and observe if they wished to.

    ·       Councillor D Mansell proposed an amendment which was duly seconded by Councillor G Wren, as follows:-

    -      2a. with the addition of Climate Change and Environmental Protection to the list of roles in Annex 1.

    ·       Some Councillors did not agree with the amendment as the Member Champions were supposed to be for particular areas and not to replicate the Portfolio Holders roles.

    ·       Some Councillors thought the amendment was a positive move to help towards work on the Climate Emergency.

    ·       Councillors stated that they thought the list of roles were interesting but that there were still a lot of gaps for roles that were required.

    ·       Councillors had sympathy for both sides of the debate but were not sure that this additional role would deliver on the work needed.

    ·       Some Councillors were confused by the opposition to the amendment as SWT had declared a Climate Emergency and the new Member Champion role would be a positive addition to the work being carried out on Climate Change.

    ·       A VOTE was taken on the MOTION and was LOST.

    ·       Councillor M Blaker proposed an amendment which was duly seconded by Councillor G Wren, as follows:-

    -      2a. with the addition of Unpaid Carers to the list of roles in Annex 1.

    ·       The Leader ACCEPTED the amendment, which became part of the substantive MOTION.

    ·       Councillor A Trollope-Bellew proposed an amendment which was duly seconded by Councillor N Cavill, as follows:-

    -      2a. with the addition of Nuclear to the list of roles in Annex 1.

    ·       The Leader ACCEPTED the amendment, which became part of the substantive MOTION.

    ·       Councillors welcomed the work on Member Champion roles and were pleased to see that they were not political roles, but agreed there were still some gaps.

    The Leader suggested that she would arrange a meeting with the Group Leaders to discuss the roles and titles prior to the Annual Council meeting to ensure all the gaps were identified and added to the report.

    The Monitoring Officer suggested that a delegated decision could be added to allow for the roles to be amended mid-year if necessary and she would amend the report to reflect that.

    ·       Councillors welcomed the report as it supported the work carried out by the Member Champions.

    ·       Concern was raised that the review on the Constitution had been stopped and that it should still go ahead.

    The Leader highlighted that due to the possible creation of a Unitary Authority, was a review necessary as it would be a waste of resource during a busy time creating a Shadow Authority which  ...  view the full minutes text for item 148.

149.

Community Governance Review for the Unparished Area of Taunton pdf icon PDF 230 KB

    This matter is the responsibility of the Leader of the Council, Councillor Federica Smith-Roberts.

     

    The purpose of this report is to recommend to Members that mechanisms are put into place to set up a cross party Member Working Group to commence the Community Governance Review for the Unparished Area of Taunton.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    During the discussion, the following points were raised:-

    ·       The Mayor of Taunton advised that she had written to Central Government to request that the review be treated as high priority and that a full Governance Review was carried out.

    ·       Councillors supported the review and that it should be carried out as a priority and completed before the creation of a Unitary Council.

    ·       Councillors were delighted that the Governance Review was due to be carried out, as it had been in the pipeline for many years.

    The Leader thanked all Councillors for their supportive comments.

     

    Resolved that Full Council approved:-

    a)    As per the resolution made by Taunton Deane Borough Council on 19th March 2018, that a Community Governance Review (CGR) of the Unparished Area of Taunton was commenced with a view to creating a new Town or Parish Council(s) from 1st April 2023.

    b)    A cross party Members Working Group was established to commence the Community Governance Review for the Unparished Area of Taunton (as per the Member Working Group Protocol being approved by Council on 30th March).

    c)    The Member Working Group would make reports and recommendations to Full Council (via the Taunton Charter Trustees) with regard to proposals for Terms of Reference for the review, proposals for consultation, any amendments to proposals after the public consultation, and the implementation of the final review recommendations.

150.

Capital, Investment and Treasury Strategies 2021/22 to 2025/26 pdf icon PDF 228 KB

    This matter is the responsibility of Executive Councillor for Corporate Resources, Councillor Ross Henley.

     

    The purpose of this report is to inform members of the recommended strategy in relation to capital expenditure and financing, investments and treasury management activities (CIT Strategies).

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    During the discussion, the following points were raised:-

    ·       Concern was raised on the democratic pathway that the report had been taken though and that it had not gone to the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee or the Scrutiny Committee for comment.

    The Monitoring Officer gave clarification on which committees the report was required to be taken through.

    ·       Concern was raised on the commercial investment section of the report.

    ·       Concern was raised that SWT had lost out on access to the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) funds.

    The Section 151 Officer advised that the PWLB could be accessed for re-financing and treasury management but that he was waiting for further clarification.

    ·       Concern was raised on the lack of information on asset disposal.

    The Section 151 Officer advised that through the work on the capital receipts projection, a target had been agreed and that they would work towards that to identify assets for disposal.

    ·       Councillors were pleased to see flexibility to borrow within the report.

    ·       Councillors suggested that a communication strategy was needed for this information.

    ·       Concern was raised on the Commercial Investment Board and that the voting system was not democratic.

    The Leader advised that the Commercial Investment Strategy had been signed off and approved by Full Council and that the process had been explained several times to Councillors.

    ·       The Chair proposed that the meeting be extended by 30 minutes which was duly seconded and carried.

    ·       Councillors highlighted that it was a massive document that had been worked through carefully and that Councillors needed to trust the professional guidance and decisions made by officers.

     

    Resolved that Full Council:-

    2.1Approved the Capital, Investment and Treasury Management Strategies, and Minimum Revenue Provision policy.

    2.2Noted and supports the requirement for a limited review of the Constitution for completeness and consistency on responsibilities for all aspects of the CIT Strategies.

151.

Time Extension

152.

Access to Information - Exclusion of the Press and Public

    During discussion of the following item it may be necessary to pass the following resolution to exclude the press and public having reflected on Article 13 13.02(e) (a presumption in favour of openness) of the Constitution.  This decision may be required because consideration of this matter in public may disclose information falling within one of the descriptions of exempt information in Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.  Full Council will need to decide whether, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption, outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information. 

    Recommend that under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the next item of business on the ground that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 respectively of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, namely information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Resolved that under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the next item of business on the grounds that it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 respectively of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, namely information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).

153.

Capital Loan to Third Party

154.

Re-Admittance of the Press and Public

155.

Motion to ban sky lanterns and ceremonial balloons on Council land and raise awareness of their environmental impact pdf icon PDF 108 KB

156.

To consider the Annual Report from the Chair of Scrutiny pdf icon PDF 548 KB

157.

To consider the Annual Report from the Chair of Audit, Governance and Standards pdf icon PDF 278 KB

158.

To consider the annual reports from Executive Councillors pdf icon PDF 205 KB

    Part I – To deal with written questions to the Executive.

    Part II – To receive reports from the following Members of the Executive:-

    a) Councillor Federica Smith-Roberts – Leader of the Council

    b) Councillor Benet Allen – Deputy Leader & Communications and Culture

    c) Councillor Christopher Booth – Community

    d) Councillor Ross Henley – Corporate Resources

    e) Councillor Marcus Kravis – Asset Management and Economic Development

    f) Councillor Richard Lees – Sports, Parks and Leisure

    g) Councillor Peter Pilkington – Climate Change

    h) Councillor Mike Rigby – Planning and Transportation

    i) Councillor Francesca Smith - Housing

    j) Councillor Sarah Wakefield – Environmental Services

     

    An Executive Councillor shall submit a report to an Ordinary Meeting of the Council as to current and future business of their portfolio for the information of and comment from the Council. Such reports are for discussion and comment only and no motion shall be put to the meeting as to any such item other than those closure motions described in Standing Order 5.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Chair of the Council advised Councillors that if they had any questions for the Portfolio Holders, they could forward them on for an answer outside of the meeting.