MEETING OF THE COUNCIL

 

13 October 2020

 

(7:30 pm - 11:18 pm)

 

The Mayor (Councillor Margaret Thompson)

The Deputy Mayor (Councillor Sushila Abraham)

 

Councillors

 

 

  Zain Abbas

  Sushila Abraham

  Steph Archer

  Roy Arora

  Kim Bailey

  Tricia Bamford

  Rowena Bass

  Mark Beynon

  Fiona Boult

  Olivia Boult

  Tim Cobbett

  David Cunningham

  Emily Davey

  Kevin Davis

  Lorraine Dunstone

  Mark Durrant

  Simon Edwards

  Sam Foulder-Hughes

  Ed Fram

  Hilary Gander

  Ian George

  Dennis Goodship

  Liz Green

  Jaesung Ha

 

  Lesley Heap

  Alison Holt

  Jason Hughes

  Caroline Kerr

  Andreas Kirsch

  Katrina Lidbetter

  Rebekah Moll

  Maria Netley

  Munir Ravalia

  Dave Ryder-Mills

  Anita Schaper

  Malcolm Self

  Nicola Sheppard

  Chris Stuart

  Sharron Falchikov-Sumner

  John Sweeney

  Thay Thayalan

* Jon Tolley

  Olly Wehring

  Diane White

  Annette Wookey

  Yogan Yoganathan

  Sharon Young

 

* Absent

 

Rabbi Rene Pfertzel opened the meeting with prayers.

 

 

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25.         Apologies

 

 

Apologies were received from Councillor Jon Tolley.

 

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26.         Declarations of Interest

 

 

There were no declarations of interest.

 

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27.         Minutes

 

 

The minutes of the Council meeting held on 7 July 2020 were approved as a correct record.

 

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<AI4>

28.         Mayor's Announcements

 

 

The Mayor announced the sad passing of Honorary Alderman and former Councillor Peter Gray, who served as Mayor of the Borough in 1986-7. Councillors and officers joined the Mayor in expressing our condolences to Alderman Gray’s family. The Mayor also acknowledged the sad passing of John Perry, who had served for many years as a Trustee of the Mayors Charity and was a Board Member for Kingston First. Councillors and officers joined the Mayor in expressing their condolences to John’s family and friends. A minutes silence was observed in honour of both Honorary Alderman Gray and Mr Perry.

 

The Mayor congratulated Jamie Frost, a Maths teacher at Tiffins School, who has been named on a shortlist of the 10 most outstanding teachers in the world in the annual Global Teachers Prize competition, which was run in partnership with UNESCO.

 

It was explained that for the Mayor's Charity, fundraising efforts had continued despite the constraints imposed by the pandemic. A sponsored cycle ride to Brighton had recently raised more than £1,500 and both the Deputy Mayor and the Mayor were amongst those who had recently taken part in a half marathon completed over a fortnight. Anybody who wished to sponsor these activities were welcome to do so through Virgin Money Giving.

 

It was also announced that the date confirmed for the Mayor’s Ball, subject to all the Covid related caveats, it could be held on Friday 23 April 2021. More details would follow nearer the time.

 

It was also confirmed that the Mobile Mop Up project which was run in the borough earlier in the year in partnership with Genuine Solutions would be returning after Christmas. Once again the Mayor would be asking for donations of unwanted mobile phones so that they could be reused or the parts recycled, with the Mayor's Charitable Trust continuing to benefit from the proceeds raised. 

 

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<AI5>

29.         Petitions

 

 

Councillor Kevin Davis proposed that the requirement to give notice of the intention to submit a petition one day before the meeting be suspended on this occasion.

 

The Council unanimously agreed on this occasion to suspend the requirement to provide notice of a petition as outlined in the Petitions Scheme Part 4G of the Council’s Constitution. 

 

Councillor Kevin Davis presented a petition, signed by 124 residents, on the opposition to the installation of three Electric Vehicle Charging Points at Albemarle Gardens and West Bury Road and the request for alternatives to be considered.

 

It was confirmed that the petition would be dealt with in accordance with the Petition’s Scheme as set out in the Council’s Constitution.

 

 

 

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<AI6>

30.         Public Questions

 

 

In accordance with Procedure Rule 17(A) replies were given to Public Questions (as set out in Annex 1 to the minutes) and supplementary questions (as set out in Annex 2 to the minutes).

 

</AI6>

<AI7>

31.         Motion: Consultation in the Royal Borough

 

 

In accordance with Procedure Rule 8(A)(5), the Council debated the following motion which was submitted on behalf of Opposition Group of the Council (Conservative Group), as amended in the late material and proposed by Councillor Jason Hughes and seconded by Councillor Ian George.

 

“Consultation in the Royal Borough

Background

Effective consultation is the lifeblood of healthy local democracy, not only in its delivery but also its public perception to honestly engender and maintain the trust of communities. Resident participation in decision-making is critical to the responsible and expedient delivery of local government services. This imperative extends beyond the ballot box every four years. It is a continuous journey of consultation and engagement to ensure that reflecting residents’ priorities, achieving value for money and providing excellent service delivery are at the epicentre of the Royal Borough’s activities.

To this end, words must be matched by deeds. The Royal Borough has more to do to reflect this aspiration and to make it a reality.

 

This Council notes: -

1.    The fundamental difference between ‘consultation’ and ‘engagement’ as vital disciplines in local government, the former is a component of the latter, specifically it recognises that: -

a.    Consultation involves obtaining residents’ feedback on proposals as a corollary of engagement and should regularly consult communities on long, medium and short-term plans, to appropriately determine the Council’s strategic direction, set its budgets and prioritise projects;

b.    Engagement is the broader ongoing process of sharing information with residents and to seek feedback with the core objective of involving communities in the decision-making process, and that consultation is the formal process to meet the Council’s statutory and regulatory requirements;

2.    That trusted, effective and efficient consultation is needed now more than ever given the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic;

3.    According to the Council’s most recent Residents’ Survey, the majority of residents do not believe that it seeks their views before taking decisions;

4.    Only a third of residents believe that the Council acts on residents’ concerns;

5.    The majority of residents do not believe that the Council explains the decisions it takes;

6.    The Council’s Communities and Engagement Committee is a toothless body which does not look at, or provide oversight to, consultations in the Royal Borough;

7.    The Council’s approach to consultation is disparate and fragmented across council departments, lacking centralisation and a dedicated core with strategic focus;

8.    The recent absence of any meaningful consultation with residents on the imposition of Low Traffic Neighbourhood trials;

9.    The vast difference in quality of recent important consultation efforts, specifically on the Cambridge Road Estate and Cumberland House regeneration schemes, the latter of which is a primary poor example which has understandably shaken residents’ confidence in the Royal Borough’s consultation efforts.

 

This Council resolves to: -

1.    Continually seek to adopt and exemplify best practice in consultation, by joining the Consultation Institute;

2.    Conduct a comprehensive audit of the capabilities, competences and resources of all relevant committees and operations across council departments, including the training of relevant officers, committee chairmen and members;

3.    Reconfigure the Communities and Engagement Committee to ensure that it examines, approves and reviews all consultations on significant Council activities in highways, parking and planning with the following thresholds set at: -

a.    All highways, parking and traffic schemes in excess of £50,000 cost;

b.    And all proposed residential developments exceeding ten new units;

4.    Consolidate all consultation delivery by council officers into a dedicated and centralised ‘Consultation Team’, removing disparate and fragmented consultation delivery in individual departments with a view to making cost savings or cost neutrality;

5.    Set up a Consultation Team which will be a part of the Chief Executive’s Department, but with separate management arrangements from communications to reflect the different disciplines of consultation and engagement/communications; 

6.    Enhance the examination of the new consultation arrangements, as above, via a more comprehensive revamp of the Council’s Residents’ Survey and to review at the Communities and Engagement Committee, reporting back to Full Council, one year after adoption.”

Councillor Tim Cobbett proposed and Councillor Hilary Gander seconded the following amendment to the Conservative motion:

 

“Liberal Democrat Amendment

Effective Consultation

 

Effective consultation is the lifeblood of healthy local democracy, not only in its delivery but also its public perception to honestly engender and maintain the trust of communities. Resident participation in decision-making is critical to the responsible and expedient delivery of local government services. This imperative extends beyond the ballot box every four years. It is a continuous journey of consultation and engagement to ensure that reflecting residents’ priorities, achieving value for money and providing excellent service delivery are at the epicentre of the Royal Borough’s activities.

 

Delete “To this end, words must be matched by deeds. The Royal

Borough has more to do to reflect this aspiration and to make it a reality.”

 

This Council notes:

1.    The fundamental difference between ‘consultation’ and ‘engagement’ as vital disciplines in local government, the former is a component of the latter, specifically it recognises that: -

a.    Consultation involves obtaining residents’ feedback on proposals as a corollary of engagement and should regularly consult communities on long, medium and short-term plans, to appropriately determine the Council’s strategic direction, set its budgets and prioritise projects;

b.    Engagement is the broader ongoing process of sharing information with residents and to seek feedback with the core objective of involving communities in the decision-making process, and that consultation is the formal process to meet the Council’s statutory and regulatory requirements;

2.    That trusted, effective and efficient consultation is needed now more than ever giving the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic Insert “which required an emergency response for several months and is still ongoing. Recent consultation with residents and our communities included:

a.    a business survey on the impact of Covid-19 (took place over early summer, 956 residents looked at and 120 completed survey - insight used to shape and signpost to relevant support; )

b.    a residents e-newsletter which has 6216 subscribers since in the last 9 months; and

c.    the Kingston Residents’ Covid Impact Survey (2.4k visits to the portal site and 898 completed surveys. The insight is being used to prioritise and plan to support residents. Follow up focus groups are planned.”)

Delete points 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. and Insert new points 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

3.    The Corporate Plan 2019 - 2023, ‘Making Kingston Better, Together’ outlines our ambition for community engagement/resident involvement and our intention which makes it clear that we want to improve community engagement;

4.    The Community Engagement Framework 2019 - 2022 setting our goals to strengthen the relationship between the council and the community and actively encourages residents, businesses, students, voluntary and community groups to get involved;

5.    The Let’s Talk website which helps residents find and participate in discussions; a snapshot of recent consultations include:

·         Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (6 month trial, new temporary measures, part of the Government’s Emergency Active Travel scheme and TfL London Streetspace Plan;)

·         Have your say on the future of housing in the borough;

·         Reimagining Kingston’s Libraries (opened with an ideas capture feature on portal 1 Sept. 799 people have followed the link to the portal page and 49 ideas have been added by 39 people. Postcards being handed out at key locations to promote;)

·         Winter tree planting (241 applications this year;)

·         School streets (Following successful trial at Lovelace Primary School, 3 more schools added;)

·         Early engagement for housing strategy ( giving residents an opportunity to have their say on what housing should be offered to residents, what types of housing are needed, and what we can do to improve the housing market in Kingston. Portal visits 933, 198 have responded. Drop-in sessions on 14 Oct. All feeding into drafting of the strategy which will be consulted on Nov-Jan;)

·         Business e-newsletter received by 4101 since April 2020; and

6.    The first Citizens’ Assembly held on Air Quality which saw 38 randomly selected residents consider evidence on improving air quality in Kingston. The recommendations from the Citizens’ Assembly will also be used to develop our response to the climate emergency, and other relevant strategies and policies such as the Air Quality Action Plan.”

7.    The engagement with residents of Cambridge Road Estate using a range of techniques to get views from all the community at community-wide events and exhibitions to more targeted activity including young people’s ideas gather feedback from their peers, photo exhibitions, use of digital channels and individual conversations. ( CRE - 1,500 responses. Over 4,000 visits to the consultation on Let’s Talk portal, 518 reached through street surveys. Ongoing engagement activity.)

This Council resolves to:

1.    Continually seek to adopt and exemplify best practice in consultation Delete “by joining the Consultation Institute” and insert : “as we carry on seeking to improve. The Council is a member of the New Local Government Network (NLGN) and makes use of its free resources and networks which includes research, best practice, advice and leading edge thinking. Over the last year, council officers have attended workshops and events hosted by Nesta, RSA, NLGN, Involve and Bang the Table.”

Delete original points 2. to 6. and insert new points 2. to 7.

2.     “Pursue our new Community Engagement framework launched last autumn. Guidance and tools are available for staff to plan early and ensure engagement at the heart of the way the council operates by:

a.    rolling out a programme to further embed engagement across all teams/roles that are involved with or responsible for any form of engagement from informing, consulting through to collaboration and decision making;

b.    this is supported by a toolkit and training. We are also in the process of setting up a staff network on engagement. Each service will have an engagement champion and all champions will meet to share ongoing engagement work and share ideas on best practice;

3.    Continue to send consultations on significant Council activities in highways, parking and planning to the relevant neighbourhood/strategic committee or delegated to a committee chair for approval;

4.    Operate a networked model for consultation delivery that provides advice and guidance from a core central team to embed good practice across the council to the many teams that deliver some element of community engagement. This is supported by the network and the toolkit - this means that learning is shared in wider teams;

5.    Support the common practice, across councils, to have Consultation and Communications working closely together. The corporate strategy and engagement function has expertise to support the organisation more effectively with its commitment of hard wiring community engagement into the decision making process;

6.    Monitor resident feedback from complaints and consultation evaluation to monitor performance and take learnings to improve (alongside the annual residents survey which is one way of measuring satisfaction;) and

7.    Commit to making it easier for residents to suggest their own ideas and not just respond to the council’s ideas.”

 

A vote was taken on the amendment and this was carried to form the substantive motion.

 

Voting:

 

 

For:                 Councillors Abbas, Abraham, Archer, Bailey, Bamford, Beynon, Fiona Boult, Olivia Boult, Cobbett, Davey, Dunstone, Durrant, Edwards, Foulder-Hughes, Gander, Goodship, Green, Ha, Heap, Holt, Kerr, Kirsch, Lidbetter, Moll, Ravalia, Ryder-Mills, Schaper, Self, Stuart, Sweeney, Thayalan, Thompson, Wehring, White, Wookey, Yoganathan and Young. (37)

 

Against:         Councillors Arora, Bass, Cunningham, Davis, Falchikov-Sumner, Fram, George, Hughes, Netley and Sheppard. (10).

 

Abstain:         None. (0)

 

A vote was taken on the substantive motion as amended.

 

For:                 Councillors Abbas, Bailey, Bamford, Beynon, Fiona Boult, Olivia Boult, Cobbett, Davey, Dunstone, Durrant, Edwards, Foulder-Hughes, Gander, Goodship, Green, Ha, Heap, Holt, Kerr, Kirsch, Lidbetter, Moll, Ravalia, Ryder-Mills, Schaper, Self, Stuart, Sweeney, Thayalan, Thompson, Wehring, White, Wookey, Yoganathan and Young. (35)

 

Against:         Councillors Abraham, Archer, and Falchikov-Sumner. (3).

 

Abstain:         Councillors Arora, Bass, Cunningham, Davis, Fram, George, Hughes, Netley and Sheppard. (9)

 

 

</AI7>

<AI8>

32.         Member Questions

 

 

In accordance with Procedural Rule 6 (1&2) replies were given to Member Questions (as set out in Annex 1 to the minutes) and supplementary questions (as set out in Annex 2 to the minutes).

 

 

</AI8>

<AI9>

33.         Terms of Reference of Strategic Committees

 

 

Resolved that the amendments to the names and Terms of Reference of the Strategic Committees as set out below be approved:

 

Function

Committee From

Committee To

Covid Recovery (Economic Recovery Task Force)

New function

Finance & Regeneration

Covid Recovery (Community Task Force)

New function

Communities & Engagement

Equalities

Childrens & Adults Care & Education

Communities & Engagement

Human Resources

Finance & Regeneration

Communities & Engagement

Economic Development

Strategic Housing & Planning

Finance & Regeneration

Business and Skills

Strategic Housing & Planning

Finance & Regeneration

Culture, including the Museum, History Centre, Music Service and The Rose Theatre

Communities & Engagement

Place & Culture

Libraries

Communities & Engagement

Place & Culture

Public Health

Childrens and Adults Care & Education

Place & Culture

 

Voting: Unanimous

 

 

 

 

</AI9>

<AI10>

34.         Review of Emergency Decision Making Arrangements

 

Appendix A

The Council considered a report which set out proposals on the adoption of revised arrangements for the operation of meetings of the Council and its Committees during the remainder of the 2020/21 Municipal Year in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

 

It was explained that the current public health situation did not allow for a return to meetings in person at the Guildhall. The latest Government guidance on the safe use of Council buildings continued to recommend that where meetings can take place digitally, without the need for face-to-face contact, they should do so. It was in any event not feasible to operate anything other than the smallest of Committee meetings within the Council Chamber while observing social distancing guidelines.

 

It was proposed that meetings of the Council and its Committees continue to take place virtually for the remainder of the Municipal Year. The Response and Recovery Committee would continue to meet on a monthly basis with responsibility for matters relating to the Council’s Covid response and the functions of the Finance & Regeneration and Community Engagement Committees, both of which would remain in abeyance. The Childrens and Adults Care & Education Committee would be reinstated and a new temporary Culture, Housing, Environment and Planning Committee (CHEP) established to undertake the functions of the Environment & Sustainable Transport Committee and the Place & Culture Committee. All other Committees would resume a normal schedule of meetings where they have not already done so.

 

Councillor Falchikov-Sumner proposed an amendment to the recommendation and this was seconded by Councillor Kevin Davis to have a review mechanism of the decision making arrangements at every Full Council meeting. A vote was taken on the amendment and this motion fell.

 

Voting:

 

 

For:                 Councillors Arora, Bass, Bailey, Cunningham, Davis, Falchikov-Sumner, Fram, George, Hughes, Netley and Sheppard. (11).

 

Against:         Councillors Abbas, Abraham, Archer, Bailey, Bamford, Beynon, Fiona Boult, Olivia Boult, Cobbett, Davey, Dunstone, Durrant, Edwards, Foulder-Hughes, Gander, Goodship, Green, Ha, Heap, Holt, Kerr, Kirsch, Lidbetter, Moll, Ravalia, Ryder-Mills, Schaper, Self, Stuart, Sweeney, Thayalan, Thompson, Wehring, White, Wookey, Yoganathan and Young. (36)

 

Abstain:         None. (0)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resolved that -

 

1.    all meetings of the Council, its Committees and Sub-Committees take place virtually for the remainder of the 2020/21 Municipal Year;

2.    the Culture, Housing, Environment and Planning Committee (CHEP) be established to discharge the functions of the Environment and Sustainable Transport and Place and Culture Committees for the remainder of the 2020/21 Municipal Year:

3.    the membership of the CHEP Committee and any other consequential changes in Committee membership shall be as set out in the late material;

4.    the Response and Recovery Committee shall continue to operate for the remainder of the 2020/21 Municipal Year in order to discharge the functions of the Finance and Regeneration and Community and Engagement Committees, to determine matters related to the Council’s Covid 19 response, and to determine any urgent matter which falls within the remit of another Strategic Committee if it cannot wait until the next meeting of the Committee in question;

5.    the Response and Recovery Committee and the CHEP Committee be classified as Strategic Committees and all relevant constitutional provisions, including call-in, applied thereto;

6.    the Childrens and Adults Care and Education Committee recommence its schedule of meetings;

7.    the calendar of meetings attached at Annex 1 be adopted for the remainder of the 2020/21 Municipal Year;

8.    Procedure Rules 17(B)(2) (public questions at meetings of Committees) and 17(C)(1&2) (Public speaking on agenda items at meetings of Committees) be modified as set out in paragraph 28 of the agenda report for the remainder of the 2020/21 Municipal Year; and

9.    the foregoing arrangements be subject to the provisions for review set out in paragraphs 31 and 32 of the agenda report.

 

Voting:

 

 

For:                 Councillors Abbas, Abraham, Archer, Arora, Bailey, Bamford, Bass, Beynon, Fiona Boult, Olivia Boult, Cobbett, Cunningham, Davey, Davis, Dunstone, Durrant, Edwards, Foulder-Hughes, Fram, Gander, George, Goodship, Green, Ha, Heap, Holt, Hughes, Kerr, Kirsch, Lidbetter, Moll, Netley, Ryder-Mills, Schaper, Self, Sheppard, Stuart, Sweeney, Thayalan, Thompson, Wehring, White, Wookey, Yoganathan and Young. (45)

 

Against:          None (0).

 

Abstain:         Councillors Falchikov-Sumner (1)

 

Councillor Munir Ravalia did not vote due to technical difficulties.

 

 

</AI10>

<AI11>

35.         Repatriation of Powers from Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee for South West London and Surrey County Council

 

 

The Council reviewed a previous decision to delegate to the South West London and Surrey Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (JHOSC) the power of referral to the Secretary of State.

 

It was noted that the JHOSC had responsibility for responding to consultations on substantial service change affecting multiple boroughs across the area. It was concerned with consideration of the Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust’s programme “Improving Healthcare together 2020-2030” through a Sub-Committee of the constituent Authorities.

 

In May 2018 the Council delegated to the JHOSC the statutory power to refer to the Secretary of State proposals for substantial development or variations to health services in respect of cross borough matters being considered by the Committee. However, it had subsequently become clear that most of the other participants in the JHOSC had not similarly delegated this function. Croydon, Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth had retained their individual power of referral. Surrey County Council initially delegated powers to the JHOSC but had now considered repatriating them.

 

Members considered that as there was no practical benefit in leaving this power vested in the JHOSC because it cannot be exercised on this basis, and that it was highly unlikely that the proposals being put forward in respect of the IHT programme would have a significant impact on the residents of this Borough, it was proposed that the Council rescind the earlier decision to delegate to the JHOSC its powers of referral to the Secretary of State.

 

Resolved that the Council’s delegation to the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee of the power of referral to the Secretary of State in respect of matters being considered by that Committee, be rescinded and the powers repatriated to the Royal Borough of Kingston and to be exercised by the Health Overview Panel.

 

Voting: Unanimous

 

</AI11>

<AI12>

36.         Appointments of Members to Committees, Panels and other bodies

 

 

Members considered the appointments to Committees panels and other bodies as set out in the late material.

 

Resolved that all members of the Conservative Group to be appointed as Substitute Members for all Committees of the Council except for the Health & Wellbeing Board where it will be all members of the Conservative Group not on the Health Overview Panel.

 

Voting: Unanimous

 

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37.         Urgent Items authorised by the Mayor

 

 

There were no urgent items.

 

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Signed:………………………………………………………………Date:

                                      The Mayor