Agenda and minutes

Council
Tuesday 16 October 2018 7:30 pm

You can view the individual reports for this meeting by selecting the headings from the numbered list of items at the bottom of this page. Alternatively you can view the entire agenda by selecting 'Agenda Reports Pack' below.

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Venue: The Guildhall, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 1EU

Contact: Jean Cousens tel. 020 8547 5023  e-mail:  jean.cousens@kingston.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

Installation of Honorary Aldermen

Installation of Honorary Aldermen

 

At its special meeting on 17 July 2018, the Council had resolved that, pursuant to the provisions of Section 249 of the Local Government Act 1972 and in recognition of their eminent service rendered as former Members of the Council, the title of Honorary Alderman of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames be conferred on the following former Councillors:

 

·                Geoffrey Austin, David Fraser MBE, Sheila Griffin, Eric Humphrey QPM, Shiraz Mirza and Ken Smith JP.

 

Before the commencement of this Council meeting, the Mayor presented these former councillors with illuminated scrolls to mark their installation as Honorary Aldermen.

 

 

 

Presentation of the Mayor's annual Award for Policing

 

The Mayor presented the Mayor’s annual ‘Howard Jones’ Policing Award to Police Constable Ben Coombes, who had been nominated by his commanding officer for ‘displaying courage, professionalism and compassion in the course of his duty attending a range of challenging emergency incidents over the last twelve months’.  The citation was read aloud by Police Response Superintendent Debbie Brown of the SW Basic Command Unit for Kingston/ Wandsworth/ Richmond/ Merton Police.  (The award is presented each year in memory of Howard Jones, a former Leader of the Council who was a distinguished senior Police officer before his death in 2014.)

 

 

39.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillor Stephanie Archer due to maternity leave and from Councillors Patricia Bamford, Jaesung Ha, Mark Durrant, and Simon Edwards.

40.

Declarations of Interest

Members are invited to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests and any other non- pecuniary interests (personal interests) relevant to items on this agenda.

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

41.

Minutes

3.1      To confirm as a correct record the minutes of the Council meeting held on 17 July 2018.

3.2      To confirm as a correct record the minutes of the Special Council meeting held on 17 July 2018.

 

Minutes:

Resolved that the Minutes of the Council meeting held on 17 July 2018 and of the Special Council meeting held on the same date be confirmed as a correct record.

42.

Mayor's Announcements

Minutes:

The Mayor reminded Members of the Remembrance Day Services and Parades on Sunday 11 November which would have particular significance this year being the centenary of the Armistice of the 1914-1918 War.  The Council is marking this in a number of ways including the Signing of the renewing of our Community Covenant on Remembrance Day and the installation of 5 life-sized figures of First World War soldiers in locations across the Borough which are part of a national campaign to raise £15 million for veteran support and mental health groups.

 

The Mayor congratulated Councillor Roy Arora on recently being awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Kingston University for his outstanding services to Kingston upon Thames. During his Mayoral year, Councillor Arora had raised over £75,000 for the Kingston Hospital Dementia Appeal and the appeal had resulted in the opening of Kingston Hospital’s first state-of-the-art dementia-friendly ward.

 

The Mayor’s Charity Feast was to be held on Friday 19 October and the Mayor welcomed any donations of prizes for the Grand Prize Draw.

 

The Mayor announced that there was publicity on the Council website webpages for members of the public to sign up to participate in the Annual State of the Borough Debate on Tuesday 13 November which would be on the topic of ‘Brexit – what will be the impact on our borough?’.  A panel of invited guests would contribute their perspectives during a question and answer session which would be chaired by the Vice Chancellor and Dean of Kingston University, Professor Jill Schofield. 

43.

Petitions

To receive any petitions  – members of the Council or a member of the public may present a petition to the Council on a matter in relation to which the Council has powers, duties or which affects the Royal Borough. 

 

To debate the petitions referred to in the report at Appendix A of the agenda   –- under the Council’s Petition Scheme, petitions with more than 500 signatures will be debated by the full Council (if possible, at the next ordinary Council meeting after submission). 

 

 

Minutes:

A Member of the Council or a member of the Public may present a petition to the Council on a matter in relation to which the Council has powers, duties or which affects the Royal Borough.

 

Effective Scrutiny - Petition

A member of the public, Mr James Giles, presented a petition signed by 101 signatories which requested:

‘We the undersigned hereby call on Council to restore effective scrutiny.  We deplore the Council’s decision to refuse the deputation submitted by Mr Giles and Mrs Finnerty regarding Scrutiny…….We urge the Council to reinstate the former scrutiny procedure rules that were in place under the last Liberal Democrat Administration.' 

[The context within the petition explains:

‘1) The former scrutiny panel, within its rules, stated a majority of the councillors serving on the Scrutiny Panel should be drawn from the Party Group(s) on the Council that do not form the Administration.  As the rules on political proportionality do not permit this, by convention the Administration will undertake, wherever practicable, to limit the number of its members attending the meeting to ensure that there will be a majority of Opposition members present and voting' 

2) Councillor Sharron Sumner is now without a political group, and as such is her own section of the opposition.

3) The previous Scrutiny Panel included a requirement for any party whips to be declared.

4) The new Scrutiny Panel meets within 15 working days of a call-in being received.  The timeframe for an FOI response is 20 working days. On every Scrutiny meeting held to date since May, the authority have failed to respond to FOIs fast enough in order for adequate info at Scrutiny meetings.

‘As such,

1) We urge the new administration to reinstate this within scrutiny procedure rules

2) We urge the Council to grant Councillor Sumner a seat on Scrutiny panel, in order to ensure all parts of the opposition play a role in scrutinising the administration.

3) We urge, in the interests of transparency, that this requirement be reinstated.

4) We urge the Scrutiny process to be extended to at least 20 working days, in order for FOI requests to be responded to.’]

The petition would be referred to the relevant department to be dealt with in accordance with the Council’s Petitions Scheme.

Effective Scrutiny – notice of a Deputation

The Mayor referred to information which had been circulated prior to the meeting as late material which explained that the Council had received notice of a deputation (to which the above petition refers) which had not been received in time because it was sent to a mistyped email address and which the Monitoring Officer had therefore ruled was out of time.  The late material, however, set out the full wording of the deputation notice, for the Council’s information.

 

44.

Motion

Standing Order No 8(A)(5) provides for the Council to debate a motion which has been submitted by Members of the Council.  This alternates, from meeting to meeting, between a motion submitted on behalf of the Administration and a motion submitted on behalf of Opposition Members of the Council.  For this meeting, the Conservative Group have chosen not to submit a Motion to this meeting.

 

Minutes:

Standing Order No 8(A)(5) provides for the Council to debate a motion which has been submitted by Members of the Council, alternating, from meeting to meeting, between a motion submitted on behalf of the Administration and a motion submitted on behalf of Opposition Members of the Council.  There was no Opposition Motion submitted for this meeting.

 

 

45.

Questions

In accordance with Standing Order 6 (1&2), replies will be given to questions of which notice has been given  which may be addressed to the Mayor, the Leader of the Council, Portfolio Holders,  the Leader of the Opposition, Chairs of the Standing and Neighbourhood Committees, and Members representing the Council on Outside Bodies.

 

Minutes:

In accordance with Standing Order 6 (1&2) replies were given to questions of which notice had been given, as follows:

 

By Councillor Rowena Bass

 

To Councillor Alison Holt, Portfolio Holder for Finance

 

Question:

 

Can the Portfolio Holder for Finance give the Council an update on how the Interim manager reduction programme is progressing and how much money has been saved to date?

 

Reply:

 

Thank you for your question. I would just like to confirm that we have been looking at the whole situation with regard to interims and agency workers since we took over the Administration and I can confirm that it has reduced.  There has been a reduction in interims and I have also been looking at agency workers as well. The figure that I have been given as a daily saving is just under £3,700 – that’s a daily figure – and looking at all of it – interim and agency workers - as a comparable figure with the previous year, we would have a saving of over £1 million.  I would also just like to say that interims are required for some projects, and we will continue to have some interims and there are some in place for special projects which require specialist skills.

 

Supplementary

 

There is a point later about so many questions but this seems to be the only way that we can get answers to our questions, so one of the questions I asked two weeks ago in Finance & Contracts Committee - to which I still haven’t had a response, though the Leader did say that she would get back to us – is: I know that you are reducing some interims, but at the highest level that you have a CEO or some interim support at that level.  I’ve heard on the grapevine that it’s a £1000 a day – I didn’t hear that from any member of staff, I heard it from a member of the public – it seems a lot and I don’t know whether it’s true and so I would very much like (I think it’s quite shocking actually that we recklessly got rid of a CEO and we’re going to effectively have no permanent CEO for almost a year) - I would like to know how much the interim Executive Support at the CEO level would be, please?

 

Reply:

 

As we said previously at the meeting, we are still waiting to hear from HR whether we can give that information.  What I would say is that I’m very pleased to see Roy with us this evening.  The reason that we did have an interim was because he was unwell and we just thought that it was better to have someone in his place while he was away – on a part-time basis - until he was back in a full time basis.  The other directors were stepping up but we also felt it was good to have someone else just keeping an overall oversight over what was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.

46.

Appointment of Mental Health Champions pdf icon PDF 115 KB

With reference to the report at Appendix A, to appoint Mental Health Champions for the following Strategic Committees:

  • Children’s & Adults Care & Education Committee - Anita Schaper
  • Community Engagement Committee - Olivia Boult
  • Environment and Sustainability Committee - Zain Abbas
  • Finance and Contracts Committee - Mark Beynon
  • Strategic Housing and Planning Committee - Lesley Heap

 

Minutes:

At its meeting on 13 September 2018 the Health and Wellbeing Board considered a report (attached in Appendix A of the agenda for the Council meeting) relating to the ‘Thrive Kingston strategy (‘A Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy for the people of Kingston by the people of Kingston (2017 to 2021)’ ) which includes a recommendation to: “increase the awareness and capability of policy makers, organisations, groups and providers of services to recognise risks to mental wellbeing and to respond in a way that reduces risk.”

 

Across the country, more than 100 local authorities have a recognised council member whose role is to advocate for mental health and to champion the cause in their community.  Member champions across England are now advocating for mental health in council policies and strategies, building partnerships with health services, schools and businesses, and working with their communities to help to combat stigma and improve understanding.  Public Health England offers advice, information and a nationwide network to member champions for mental health and their councils in order to support leadership in local communities for better mental health.  The role of Member Champion will include:

·         being a leader and advocate for mental health on behalf of the council and specifically for their committee

·         working collaboratively with the Mental Health Champions from other strategic committees to provide political leadership in all aspects of the council’s work that impact on mental health, particularly the promotion of mental health and the prevention of mental illness as described by the chief medical officer in her 2013 report Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer 2013 Public Mental Health Priorities: Investing in the Evidence and to ensure that our key initiatives on the Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health, Thrive Kingston, and Time to change, are progressed.

·         assuring that recommendations of the Mental Health Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) relevant to their committees are implemented

·         working with officers who have a role in promoting mental health and preventing mental illness.

·         attending any relevant training provided by Public Health England or other partners supporting member champions, including Mental Health First Aid training provided by Kingston Public Health.

 

The Board agreed to recommend that the Council appoints a Mental Health Champion for each of its five Strategic Committees.  Much can be achieved to improve the mental health and wellbeing of local residents by adopting this approach when committees consider, for example, housing,  planning, open spaces, sport and other areas.  Reports would be submitted to each Committee to provide guidance on the champion role, and the Board will receive regular updates on the work of the Champions on each of the Council’s strategic committees.

The Board agreed to sign up to the Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health Programme including updating of the Mental Health JSNA; and to encourage its members to support Kingston’s Time to Change hub and adopt the Time to Change workplace pledge.

 

Resolved that -

1.            the following councillors be appointed as Mental Health Champions for the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 46.

47.

Proportionality on Committees pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Consequent upon the resignation of Councillor Sharron Sumner from the Liberal Democrat Group, it is necessary formally to review proportionality on Committees.

The effect of Cllr Sharron Sumner’s resignation is to reduce, by three, the total number of places allocated to the Liberal Democrat Group across the 133 places to which the Proportionality Rules apply.  In accordance with past practice, three places would be allocated to Cllr Sumner.

The Local Government (Committees and Political Groups) Regulations 1990 (as amended), introduced under the Local Government and Housing Act 1989, require that, when proportionality is reviewed, the Council should ensure that in circumstances where there is a political group with a majority on the Council, they have a majority of the seats that are available for allocation and that, so far as is reasonably practicable in proportion to the representation of each political group on full Council, they have the majority of the seats allocated to political groups on each of the bodies to which the Proportionality Rules apply.

In order to make the necessary adjustments, and to observe, so far as is practical, the foregoing requirements, it is proposed that Councillor Sumner be allocated one of the places previously held by the Liberal Democrats on the Finance and Contracts  Committee, Home to Schools Travel Appeals Panel and also the Blue Badges Appeal  Panel. Liberal Democrat members are proposed below for appointment to committees on which Councillor Sumner currently has a place allocated to Liberal Democrats under the proportionality requirements.  [Councillor Sumner is also appointed to the Standing Advisory Council for RE (SACRE) which is not subject to the proportionality rules and for which no replacement appointment is proposed.]

The net result of these adjustments is shown in the table at Appendix B of this agenda.

 

Accordingly it is RECOMMENDED that:

1.            the revised allocation of Committee places set out in Appendix B of the agenda be approved;

2.            Councillor Sharron Sumner, as an Independent Member, be allocated a place on the following committees:

·                Finance and Contracts Committee

·                Home to Schools Travel Appeals Panel (replacing Councillor Gander) and

·                Blue Badges Appeal Panel(replacing Councillor Gander);

3.            as a consequence of (2) above, the following Councillors, nominated by the Liberal Democrat Group, be appointed as the Liberal Democrat Group member  (replacing Cllr Sharron Sumner) on the following Committees and Panel:

i)          Councillor Kim Bailey as Vice Chair on the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee

ii)         Councillor Andreas Kirsch on the Strategic Housing & Planning Committee

iii)        Councillor Margaret Thompson on the Corporate Parenting Panel (members on the Panel are subject to enhanced DBS checks)

 

Minutes:

In accordance with the provisions of the Local Government (Committees and Political Groups) Regulations 1990 (as amended), introduced under the Local Government and Housing Act 1989, consequent upon the resignation of Councillor Sharron Sumner from the Liberal Democrat Group, the Council formally reviewed the number of Members on committees and panels to ensure that it reflected the new overall proportionality of Members of the different political Groups on the Council. 

The net result of the adjustments to the Council’s proportionality calculations and to the places on committees and panels is shown in the table at Appendix B of the agenda.  The effect of Cllr Sumner’s resignation has been to reduce, by three, the total number of places allocated to the Liberal Democrat Group across the 133 places on committees and panels to which the Proportionality Rules apply. 

Therefore, in accordance with past practice, three places on committees or panels have been allocated to Cllr Sumner.  In addition, Cllr Sumner is appointed to the Standing Advisory Council for RE (SACRE) which is not subject to the proportionality rules and for which no replacement appointment was proposed.

Resolved that:

1.            the revised allocation of Committee places set out in Appendix B of the agenda be approved;

2.            Councillor Sharron Sumner, as an Independent Member, be allocated a place on the following committees:

·                Finance and Contracts Committee

·                Home to Schools Travel Appeals Panel (replacing Councillor Gander) and

·                Blue Badges Appeal Panel(replacing Councillor Gander);

3.            as a consequence of (2) above, the following Councillors, be appointed as the Liberal Democrat Group member  (replacing Cllr Sharron Sumner) on the following Committees and Panel:

i)          Councillor Kim Bailey as Vice Chair on the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee

ii)         Councillor Andreas Kirsch on the Strategic Housing & Planning Committee

iii)        Councillor Margaret Thompson on the Corporate Parenting Panel (members on the Panel are subject to enhanced DBS checks)

 

Voting:

 

For: 28 Members of the Council (the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Olivia Boult, and Councillors Zain Abbas, Sushila Abraham, Mark Beynon, Fiona Boult, Emily Davey, Lorraine Dunstone, Sam Foulder-Hughes, Hilary Gander, Dennis Goodship, Liz Green, Lesley Heap, Alison Holt, Caroline Kerr, Andreas Kirsch, Katrina Lidbetter, Rebekah Moll, Munir Ravalia, Dave Ryder-Mills, Anita Schaper, Malcolm Self, Christine Stuart, John Sweeney, Margaret Thompson, Jon Tolley, Diane White, Annette Wookey, Yogan Yoganathan and Sharon Young)

Abstaining: 14 Members of the Council (the Mayor, Councillor Thay Thayalan and Councillors Roy Arora, Kim Bailey, Rowena Bass, Tim Cobbett, David Cunningham, Kevin Davis, Ed Fram, Ian George, Jason Hughes, Maria Netley, Nicola Sheppard, Sharron Sumner, and Olly Wehring)

 

48.

Appointment of Monitoring Officer

 

A local authority is legally required to designate certain statutory officer posts, among which is the role of Monitoring Officer under the provisions of Section 5 of the Local Government and Housing Act1989.  The primary role of the Monitoring Officer is to ensure lawfulness and fairness of decision making.  The Monitoring Officer contributes to the promotion and maintenance of high standards of conduct through the provision of support to the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee.  The officer is also responsible for the maintenance of the Register of Members’ Interests and the separate Register of Gifts and Hospitality and provides advice on the scope of powers and authority to take decisions, maladministration, financial impropriety, and budget and policy framework issues to all Councillors.

At its meeting on 27 February 2018, the Council designated the former Interim Assistant Director of Law and Governance (Jeanette McGarry) as the Council’s Monitoring Officer on a temporary basis, pending an alternative appointment being made by the Council.

Before the departure of Ms McGarry on 14 September 2018, she designated Linda Walker (of the South London Legal Partnership) as Deputy Monitoring Officer (with effect from 15 September 2018).  The Council is now requested to formally designate Linda Walker as the Council’s Monitoring Officer, pending the appointment of the new Assistant Director of Governance and Law, Quentin Baker, who is anticipated to take up post on 12 November 2018.

 

RECOMMENDED that Linda Walker be designated as the Council’s Monitoring Officer with immediate effect for the period to 12 November 2018, and that Quentin Baker, Assistant Director of Governance and Law, be designated as the Council’s Monitoring Officer thereafter.

 

 

Minutes:

A local authority is legally required to designate certain statutory officer posts, among which is the role of Monitoring Officer under the provisions of Section 5 of the Local Government and Housing Act1989.  The primary role of the Monitoring Officer is to ensure lawfulness and fairness of decision making.  The Monitoring Officer contributes to the promotion and maintenance of high standards of conduct through the provision of support to the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee.  The officer is also responsible for the maintenance of the Register of Members’ Interests and the separate Register of Gifts and Hospitality and provides advice on the scope of powers and authority to take decisions, maladministration, financial impropriety, and budget and policy framework issues to all Councillors.

 

Before the departure of the former Monitoring Officer and Interim Assistant Director of Governance and Law, Jeanette McGarry, in September 2018, she had designated Linda Walker (of the South London Legal Partnership) as Deputy Monitoring Officer (with effect from 15 September 2018).

 

Resolved that Linda Walker be designated as the Council’s Monitoring Officer with immediate effect for the period to 12 November 2018, and that Quentin Baker, Assistant Director of Governance and Law, be designated as the Council’s Monitoring Officer thereafter.

 

Voting - unanimous

 

49.

Appointments to Committees, Panels and other bodies pdf icon PDF 56 KB

 

The Council is RECOMMENDED to make the following appointments:

 

i)       Pension Fund Board – James Geach (from RBK Democratic Services) to replace Izzy Saunders (who has left the Council’s employment

 

ii)     Pension Fund Panel – Marc Cooper as a substitute member for Majid Mafi

 

iii)    Audit, Governance and Standards Committee – Paul Eardley (who is a senior manager at PriceWaterhouseCooper) on the recommendation of a Member Officer recruitment panel to be appointed as the new Independent member for the Committee

 

iv)    Corporate Parenting Panel –

 

(a)         the chairing of this Panel to be a Member by appointment, rather than (as currently) a role for the Chief Executive ex officio

(b)         subject to the approval of recommendation iv (a) above and (3)(iii) in agenda item 9 above, Councillor Margaret Thompson be appointed as the Chair of this Panel (replacing the Chief Executive) for 2018/19 municipal year

 

Minutes:

Late Material had been circulated prior to the meeting with an additional recommendation for appointment (shown at (v) below).

 

Resolved that the following appointments be made:

i) Pension Fund Board – James Geach (from RBK Democratic Services) to replace Izzy Saunders (who has left the Council’s employment

ii) Pension Fund Panel – Marc Cooper as a substitute member for Majid Mafi

iii) Audit, Governance and Standards Committee – Paul Eardley (who is a senior manager at PriceWaterhouseCooper) (on the recommendation of a Member Officer recruitment panel) to be appointed as the new Independent member for the Committee

iv) Corporate Parenting Panel –

(a) the chairing of this Panel to be a Member by appointment, rather than (as currently) a role for the Chief Executive ex officio; and

(b) Councillor Margaret Thompson be appointed as the Chair of this Panel (replacing the Chief Executive) for 2018/19 municipal Year.

(v) Councillor Sam Foulder-Hughes  be appointed to replace Councillor Jon Tolley on the Associated Joint Committee (London Councils Grants Committee).

 

Voting - unanimous

50.

Annex to the Minutes - Written replies to Council Questions

Minutes:

Annex 1

 

Written Replies to Council Questions

 

 

By       Councillor Rowena Bass

 

To       Councillor Alison Holt, Portfolio Holder for Finance

 

Question:

 

It is being reported that the Council has an in-year nearly £4m overspend in the Growth Directorate and this is due to budget decisions taken at Budget Council in February 2018 not being implemented; namely the receipt of income from the investment in property.  Can the portfolio holder tell us what in year steps are now being implemented to find additional savings for both this year and next to offset this serious mishandling of the budget?

 

Written Reply:

 

In September 2017 a report recommending a new corporate and commercial approach to property be adopted, was approved.  This included: Investment Property – The Council to act as an investor in order to generate sustainable long term income that can be used to support the delivery of services to our residents. This approach to be aligned with, and an integral part of, the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy.

 

Also, in September 2017 approval was granted to set up an RBK wholly owned property company with a range of objectives which included: Property developments, investments and trading activities to enable the Council to enhance the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the Borough and produce a commercial return to the Council.

 

Sums of £25m, £36m and £32m were included in the Capital Budget for spend in 2018/19 and 2019/20, and a full year’s income from commercial investment and housing delivery were included in revenue budgets for these years.  However, the essential framework of strategies, risk assessment, governance arrangements, financial model, and structures (company incorporation), with supporting detailed business plans were not immediately put in place to support delivery of the objectives by the previous administration.  Changes in the economic climate e.g. retail sector volatility, increase in longer term interest rates since approvals in principle in Autumn 2017 also needs to be taken into account. 

 

The new administration are working with officers to ensure the necessary framework is in place before progressing and this will be presented to Members once completed.

 

 

By       Councillor Rowena Bass

 

To       Councillor Alison Holt, Portfolio Holder for Finance

 

Question:

 

The financial standing of the Council was discussed at length at the last Council meeting but given that the auditors have now reported there are no “going concerns” issues for the Council and the Leader of the Council assurances at the July 2018 Council meeting that the Council is not going bankrupt, would the portfolio holder like to apologise for misleading the people of Kingston about the Council being “bankrupt”.

 

Written Reply:

 

The Council face a challenging budget position with £7.9m of red savings within the budget and forecast outturn of £3.9m.  The increasing impact of austerity and the 40% reduction in local government funding is pushing many councils to consider reducing services to a core offer which can only negatively impact the most vulnerable in our communities. 

 

At Kingston we are trying to deliver the biggest savings the Council  ...  view the full minutes text for item 50.