Agenda and minutes

Council
Tuesday 11 December 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

53.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received on behalf of Councillors Kim Bailey, Fiona Boult, Mark Durrant and Margaret Thompson.

54.

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.

55.

Minutes

To confirm as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on:

(1)          16 October 2018 and

(2)          13 November 2018 – State of the Borough Debate

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Council meeting held on 16 October 2018 and of the State of the Borough Council meeting held on 13 November 2018 were agreed as a correct record.

56.

Mayor's Announcements

Minutes:

The Mayor announced forthcoming Mayor's Charity fundraising events to be held on:

 

·         Saturday 2 February 2019 - a Charity Music & Dance Extravaganza to be held at the Rose Theatre

·         Tuesday, 5 February 2019 - a Charity Dinner at the Cappadocia Turkish Restaurant, Fife Road, Kingston

 

The Mayor invited all present to join him after the Council meeting in the Mayor’s Parlour for the customary festive refreshments.

?

57.

Petitions pdf icon PDF 127 KB

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:

No petitions were submitted.

58.

Deputations

Minutes:

The Council received two deputations of which notice had been submitted in advance in accordance with Standing Order no.17:

 

-       Ms Lynne Finnerty presented a deputation on ‘Proposed Changes to the Scheme of Delegation and Thresholds for Decision’, specifically in relation to a proposal set out in paragraphs 8 and 5 of Appendix C of the agenda ‘Constitution Review’ (ref. Minute Item 63 below) that Finance and Contracts Committee would exercise the power to make Compulsory Purchase Orders, a power presently reserved to full Council.  The full text of the deputation request was set out in Annex 1 to Appendix G which had been circulated as Late Material prior to the meeting.  A response from the Assistant Director Law and Governance to the comments in the Deputation was provided in Annex 2 to Appendix G.

 

 

-       Mr Bob Tyler presented a deputation relating to ‘Kingston’s Local Plan – the Liberal Democrat Motion’, which related to the Motion set out at Item 6 in the Agenda (ref Minute Item 59 below)    The full text of the deputation request was set out in Annex 3 to Appendix G (circulated as Late Material prior to the meeting) and an Officer response to the comments in the Deputation was provided in Annex 4 to Appendix G.

 

The Council noted both Deputations.

 

 

59.

Motion: Kingston's Local Plan pdf icon PDF 270 KB

In accordance with Standing Order No 8(A)(5), the Council will debate a motion which has been submitted by Members of the Council.

 

This will alternate, 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. (At least one of the Opposition Motions per municipal year will be a motion submitted by the minority Opposition Group, should it so wish.)

 

The following Motion has been received from the Administration:

 

Proposed by: Councillor Malcolm Self

Seconded by: Councillor Jon Tolley

 

Liberal Democrat Motion

 

Kingston’s Local Plan - a plan for the next twenty years

 

This Council notes:

 

i)             The new Liberal Democrat Administration’s priority to get an up to date evidence-based Local Plan in place so that RBK has a clear framework for making local planning decisions.

ii)            The London Plan provides the strategic, London-wide policy context for borough local development plan documents; all local development plan documents have to be ‘in general conformity’ with the London Plan.

iii)           The legal requirement for local authorities when producing Local Plans to address strategic priorities for the area.  The level of detail contained in a Local Plan is for the Council to decide; however, any plan produced must be consistent with national policy.  Local Plans are examined to assess whether they have been prepared in accordance with legal and procedural requirements, and whether they are sound. 

iv)           The purpose of the Local Plan is to guide the future development of the borough and provide a long term vision and strategy to meet the future need for homes and employment in the borough. 

v)            The importance of producing a new Local Plan to: gather evidence; extensively consult with the community, our neighbouring authorities and the development industry; and ensure the council is able to deliver homes and essential infrastructure for Kingston’s growing population that meet RBK’s statutory targets.

vi)           The need to identify new housing allocations that are deliverable.  Through these allocations, the new Local Plan will help the council secure and maintain a 5 year supply of housing and meet the requirements of the Housing Delivery Test so that local policies carry full weight in the determination of planning applications.

vii)         The importance of collecting evidence to inform emerging policy: to interpret the evidence and understand RBK’s requirements, define the geography, understand the projections and balance jobs and workers and the need for affordable housing.

viii)        The extensive evidence base already carried out by the previous Conservative Administration, including:

 

·                (June 2016) Consultation document from RBK and London Mayor to identify new opportunities for growth (known as opportunity areas) Direction of Travel for RBK

·                (June 2016) Commissioned a consultant report:  Strategic Housing Market Assessment to assess the need for Housing with Elmbridge, Epsom & Ewell, Kingston and Mole Valley

·                (October 2017) Report on Sustainability Appraisal for the Local Plan

·                (Sept to end of Dec 2017)  Public engagement exercise ‘Call for Sites’ invited individuals, developers, landowners, agents and other interested  ...  view the full agenda text for item 59.

Minutes:

(1)          In accordance with Standing Order No 8(A)(5), the Council debated the following motion which had been submitted by the Administration, with reference to Background Briefing Notes which had been circulated prior to the meeting been submitted by Members of the Council.

The Motion was proposed by Councillor Malcolm Self, the Deputy Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Planning Policy, Culture and Heritage, and seconded by Councillor Jon Tolley, Portfolio Holder for Resident Engagement.

 

Kingston’s Local Plan - a plan for the next twenty years

 

This Council notes:

i) The new Liberal Democrat Administration’s priority to get an up to date evidence-based Local Plan in place so that RBK has a clear framework for making local planning decisions.

ii) The London Plan provides the strategic, London-wide policy context for borough local development plan documents; all local development plan documents have to be ‘in general conformity’ with the London Plan.

iii) The legal requirement for local authorities when producing Local Plans to address strategic priorities for the area. The level of detail contained in a Local Plan is for the Council to decide; however, any plan produced must be consistent with national policy. Local Plans are examined to assess whether they have been prepared in accordance with legal and procedural requirements, and whether they are sound.

iv) The purpose of the Local Plan is to guide the future development of the borough and provide a long term vision and strategy to meet the future need for homes and employment in the borough.

v) The importance of producing a new Local Plan to: gather evidence; extensively consult with the community, our neighbouring authorities and the development industry; and ensure the council is able to deliver homes and essential infrastructure for Kingston’s growing population that meet RBK’s statutory targets.

vi) The need to identify new housing allocations that are deliverable.  Through these allocations, the new Local Plan will help the council secure and maintain a 5 year supply of housing and meet the requirements of the Housing Delivery Test so that local policies carry full weight in the determination of planning applications.

vii) The importance of collecting evidence to inform emerging policy: to interpret the evidence and understand RBK’s requirements, define the geography, understand the projections and balance jobs and workers and the need for affordable housing.

viii) The extensive evidence base already carried out by the previous Conservative Administration, including:

? (June 2016) Consultation document from RBK and London Mayor to identify new opportunities for growth (known as opportunity areas) Direction of Travel for RBK

? (June 2016) Commissioned a consultant report: Strategic Housing Market Assessment to assess the need for Housing with Elmbridge, Epsom & Ewell, Kingston and Mole Valley

? (October 2017) Report on Sustainability Appraisal for the Local Plan

? (Sept to end of Dec 2017) Public engagement exercise ‘Call for Sites’ invited individuals, developers, landowners, agents and other interested parties (private, public and voluntary sector bodies) to submit details of sites within the borough that may be available for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 59.

Recorded Vote
TitleTypeRecorded Vote textResult
Motion: Kingston's Local Plan Motion Carried
  • View Recorded Vote for this item
  • 60.

    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 Council questions of which notice had been given, as follows:

     

     

    By       Councillor Rowena Bass

     

    To        Councillor Jon Tolley, Portfolio Holder for Resident Engagement

     

    Question:

     

    The Council has successfully migrated its IT systems to a cloud system.  However, in recent months there has been a noticeable downtime with the Councils IT system.  During these down times, staff morale and productivity dip as they are unable to access vital services. It is also concerning that vulnerable people may be unable to access council services. Can the Councillor tell us what the intention is to deal with these issues and set a deadline for when she believes the system will be fit for purpose?

     

    Reply:

     

    First off, I want to take the opportunity to apologise for the recent problems.  There’s been some unfortunate incidents which have us all at once, ranging from hardware failure to a nationwide phone services provider problem just last week.

    The Council has migrated some but not all of its systems into the Cloud, and is preparing a business case and analysis of the options for moving the core infrastructure there, which we believe will improve stability.  There’s been a number of issues over the past three months which, although still relatively small, have affected some services and has caused frustration for staff and more importantly our residents.

    Any service outage is not acceptable.  The impact to residents has been minimised where possible, and the Digital & IT team have worked to ensure services are restored as quickly as possible, and that updates are communicated internally and to our residents.  One of these outages was caused by a power cut in the Kingston area which is obviously beyond our control and the recent issue with mobile devices was as a result of a national problem with O2.

    After any reported IT issues, a root cause analysis is conducted and results are used to determine the cause and how systems can be made more robust in future.

    The Assistant Director of Digital & IT is working through an action plan to ensure that the current issues are dealt with and that we increase the resilience and reliability of core systems.  The team is working with the supplier on one particular issue, and is looking to replace the hardware identified as causing that issue in the New Year.  We're not complacent about the recent issues nor about preventing the next ones, and I would like to apologise again for the frustrations caused.

     


     

     

    By                   Councillor Sushila Abraham

    To                    Councillor Liz Green, Leader of the Council

    Question:

    The Conservatives are running a hypocritical campaign to opt back in to the Mayor of London’s ‘buy one get one free’ scheme on police officers in Kingston town centre, after they themselves removed funding for the scheme in the budget this year.  Could the Leader please explain why the new Administration has decided not to restart the funding for the town centre police officers?  ...  view the full minutes text for item 60.

    61.

    Gambling Policy - Reference from the Licensing Committee - 30 October 2018 [Appendix A] pdf icon PDF 383 KB

    As a Licensing Authority, the Council is required, every three years, to prepare a Statement of Policy setting out the principles for exercising the Council’s functions under the Gambling Act 2005.

     

    At its meeting of 27 June 2018, the Licensing Committee agreed a draft Licensing Policy, and a consultation period was subsequently agreed and carried out between 9 July 2018 and 30 September 2018. The Committee took into consideration a number of potential changes to the Policy which had been identified from the consultation responses and noted that this final period of consultation attracted 90 responses (as summarised in Annex 1 of the Committee report).

     

    At its October meeting, the Committee had to consider one key area of policy, namely the Casino Resolution included at paragraph 84 of the draft Policy.  The Committee noted the contents of the consultation and paid particular attention to the fact that 87% of respondents indicated that did not feel that casinos should be permitted within the borough.  It was noted that a Licensing Authority is entitled to pass a resolution on whether it is prepared to accept applications for Casino Premises Licences under the Act.  In 2007 the Authority passed a ‘no casino’ resolution and resolved to do so again in 2009, 2012, 2015 and 2016.  Any such resolution lasts for the duration of the Licensing Policy.  Licensing Committee Members recommended to Council that the ‘no casino’ resolution be renewed for the following reasons: the majority of consultation submissions were against casinos; casinos have the potential to cause harm; and casinos do not form part of Kingston’s economic strategy.

     

    The Committee noted that the consultation also sought respondents’ views on whether there were any other topics that should be included within the Local Area Profile. Members were supportive of the current arrangements and noted that the majority of respondents (92%) indicated that they did not feel that anything was missing from the profile.  Members were mindful that the Policy was a framework within which licensing decisions would be taken on the merits of each individual application.

     

    The Licensing Committee RECOMMENDS the Council to approve –

     

    1)         the Revised Statement of Licensing Policy under the Gambling Act 2005, attached at Appendix A, including:

               

    a)         a ‘no casino’ resolution (for the reasons set out above);

     

    b)         the Local Area Profile attached at Annex 1 to Appendix A.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Council is required, every three years, to prepare a Statement of Policy setting out the principles for exercising the Council’s functions under the Gambling Act 2005.

     

    The Licensing Committee at its meeting on 30 October 2018, having considered the outcome of consultation on the draft Policy (which was undertaken between 9 July 2018 and 30 September 2018 and which attracted 90 responses) recommended the ‘Gambling Act 2005 Statement of Policy and Principles 2019 – 2022’ to the Council for approval.  This would be the Policy framework within which licensing decisions would be taken on the merits of each individual application.

     

    The draft Policy includes a ‘no casino’ resolution.  87% of respondents to the consultation had indicated that they did not feel that casinos should be permitted within the borough.  A ‘no casino’ resolution has previously been adopted by the Council as part of the Gambling Policy in 2009, 2012, 2015 and 2016.  The Committee recommended that this be renewed for the following reasons: the majority of consultation submissions were against casinos; casinos have the potential to cause harm; and casinos do not form part of Kingston’s economic strategy.

     

    A ‘Local Area Profile’ is included as an Annex  to the Policy. This also had been subject to consultation and 92% of respondents to the consultation had indicated that they did not feel that anything was missing from it. 

     

    RESOLVED that the Revised Statement of Licensing Policy under the Gambling Act 2005, attached at Appendix A to the agenda, be approved, including:

    a) a ‘no casino’ resolution (for the reasons set out above);

    b) the Local Area Profile attached at Annex 1 to Appendix A.

     

    Voting - unanimous

    Recorded Vote
    TitleTypeRecorded Vote textResult
    Gambling Policy - Reference from the Licensing Committee Resolution Carried
  • View Recorded Vote for this item
  • 62.

    Members' Code of Conduct and Register of Interests Revisions - Audit, Governance & Standards Committee - 21 November 2018 [Appendix H] pdf icon PDF 89 KB

    At its meeting on 21 November 2018 the Audit, Governance and Standards (AGS) Committee considered changes to the Code of Conduct and register of interest form for Councillors and non-elected Committee members to ensure the Council’s approach is consistent with the requirements of the Localism Act 2011 and subsequent regulations.

     

    Since the Localism Act 2011 and changes to the Standards regime, local authorities have discretion on what to include in their Code of Conduct.  The Openness and Transparency on Personal Interests guidance for councillors (published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, then the DCLG, in March 2013) makes clear the requirement for the Code of Conduct to reflect the seven Nolan Principles of Public Life. Changes have been proposed by the AG&S Committee to ensure greater transparency and assist members in conforming with the seven principles – to include some more general obligations in terms of good standards of behaviour.

     

    The Committee also recommends that a process for dealing with Standards regime complaints is included as an Appendix to the Code of Conduct, in the interests of openness and transparency.  The process which is set out at Annex 1 of Appendix A sets out clearly, what complainants and subjects of a complaint can expect in terms of how a complaint will be dealt with and where the Monitoring Officer can deal with things informally to seek a resolution

     

    The policy on DBS checks, agreed by the Adults and Children’s Committee on 1 February 2018, includes provisions for actions where the DBS check results in a positive disclosure notice, or a Member refuses to comply with the requirements for a check and/or disclose the results.  These are geared to determining the most appropriate course of action to safeguard children, young people and vulnerable adults.  In considering the sanctions in the policy, the Adults and Children’s Committee asked the AGS Committee to consider whether the policy should be reflected appropriately in the Members’ Code of Conduct.   Consequently, the AGS Committee recommends the following amendment to the Code (to make clear that failure to comply with the DBS policy, or any other policy, would also be a breach of the Code of Conduct and that the sanctions in Annex 1 of the Code would also apply):

    ‘2.9 You must act in accordance with the Council’s Constitution and the policies contained within it and any other relevant Council policies;’

     

    The Committee RECOMMENDED Council that -

    1.            the updated Code of Conduct as set out at Appendix B is approved;

    2.            the process for dealing with Code of Conduct Complaints set out at Annex 1 of Appendix B is approved for inclusion as an Appendix to the Code of Conduct;

    3.            the updated register of interest form as set out at Annex 2 of Appendix B is approved; and

    4.            the Code of Conduct is amended to make it clear that breaches of Council policies are also breaches of the Code.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Arising from considerations at its meeting on 21 November 2018, the Audit, Governance and Standards (AGS) Committee recommended to Council changes to the Code of Conduct and register of interest form for Councillors and non-elected Committee members to ensure the Council’s approach is consistent with the requirements of the Localism Act 2011 and subsequent regulations.

     

    Recommended changes included:

    ·         additions to the Code of Conduct (shown underlined in Appendix B of the agenda – pages B1-B6) to ensure greater transparency and to assist members in conforming with the seven Nolan Principles of Public Life, including general obligations in relation to standards of behaviour;

    ·         the following addition to the Code “You must act in accordance with the Council’s Constitution and the policies contained within it and any other relevant Council policies.”  (as paragraph 2.9 on page B1 of Appendix B of the agenda ).  [One of the policies to which this will refer is the policy on DBS checks to safeguard children, young people and vulnerable adults (agreed by the Adults and Children’s Committee on 1 February 2018).  This policy includes provisions for actions where the DBS check results in a positive disclosure notice, or a Member refuses to comply with the requirements for a check and/or disclose the results.  This is to make clear that failure to comply with the DBS policy, or any other policy, would be a breach of the Code of Conduct, and that the sanctions set out in Annex 1 of the Code would apply.];

    ·         the attachment to the Code of an Annex setting out the process for dealing with Standards regime complaints, in the interests of openness and transparency (Annex 1 to Appendix B in the agenda – pages B7-B13).  The process includes one addition (shown in italics in para. 3.1 on page B7) indicating that as a rule complaints must be submitted within 3 months of the incident; and

    ·         additions of ‘Other Interests’ to the Register of Interest Form (Annex 2 to Appendix B – page B14 of the agenda).

     

    RESOLVED that –

     

    1.            the updated Code of Conduct as set out at Appendix B of the agenda is approved;

    2.            the process for dealing with Code of Conduct Complaints set out at Annex 1 of Appendix B is approved for inclusion as an Appendix to the Code of Conduct;

    3.            the updated register of interest form as set out at Annex 2 of Appendix B of the agenda is approved; and

    4.            the Code of Conduct is amended to make it clear that breaches of Council policies are also breaches of the Code.

    Voting - unanimous

    Recorded Vote
    TitleTypeRecorded Vote textResult
    Members' Code of Conduct and Register of Interests Revisions - reference from Audit, Governance & Standards Committee Resolution Carried
  • View Recorded Vote for this item
  • 63.

    Constitution Review - Reference from Finance & Contracts Committee - 29 November 2018 [Appendix F] pdf icon PDF 61 KB

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Council considered a report at Appendix C of the agenda which set out recommendations from the Finance and Contracts Committee meeting on 29 November 2018 arising from a review of the Council’s Constitution which had been undertaken to ensure that its constitutional arrangements are consistent, easy to understand and user friendly.  A series of changes were proposed to enhance open and transparent decision making, to assist Members and Officers to work in a more efficient way, and to eliminate duplications and inconsistencies.  These included:

    ·           a schedule setting out the arrangements for securing amendments to the Constitution which will reduce the need to consult Members on minor constitutional changes and enable the Council to be more agile in the reflection of organisational change

    ·           a revised Scheme of Delegations which reflects the principle that operational matters should usually be delegated to Officers and strategic decisions be taken by Members in Strategic Committees or Full Council.  This is to be achieved by establishing a series of thresholds for matters reserved to Committee and establishing the principle that all matters which have not been reserved to Council or a Committee may be taken by senior officers or others who they authorise.

    ·           changes to reflect the findings of the Neighbourhoods Review, which had been reported to the Committee at the same meeting.  The role of Neighbourhood Committees is to be strengthened through the provision of an enhanced consultation and engagement role and the adoption of the principle that any decision that affects a single Neighbourhood area may be taken by the relevant Neighbourhood Committee (provided it is consistent with Council policy and approved budgets, the impact of the decision is not wider than the Neighbourhood area and it is not a matter of a highly controversial nature).

    Other proposed changes included: that each Neighbourhood Committee will have the flexibility to decide whether to establish a Sub-Committee to determine planning applications; the power for each Neighbourhood to develop a local Community Plan to frame local decisions, including the allocation of funding streams, with the first plans to be in place by Autumn 2019; and that Neighbourhood Committees will have access to certain funding streams (including Community Infrastructure Levy funding, Community Funding Grants and Ward Councillor funding) and will have discretion to decide whether the latter may be pooled or utilised by individual Councillors.

    ·           a refresh of Contract Standing Orders to provide greater clarity on Officer responsibilities when commissioning and to ensure that Members are engaged at the appropriate stage of the decision making process.  It also reinforces the Council’s commissioning strategy by reiterating a focus on quality (not just price) and embedding principles of social value and responsible procurement.

    ·           a small number of pressing procedural changes as reflected through amendments to Standing Orders.  (A full review of the Council’s procedural rules would take place over the next few months with a view to reporting further recommendations for change early in 2019.)

    In addition, the S151 Officer (in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance, the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 63.

    Recorded Vote
    TitleTypeRecorded Vote textResult
    Constitution Review - Amendment by Cllr Kevin Davis Amendment Carried
    Constitution Review - Reference from Finance & Contracts Committee Resolution Carried
  • View Recorded Vote for this item
  • 64.

    Members' Maternity, Paternity & Adoption Leave - Reference from Finance & Contracts Committee - 29 November 2018 [Appendix G] pdf icon PDF 235 KB

    At its meeting on 29 November 2018, the Finance and Contracts Committee considered a policy to formalise the position in respect of Members’ rights to maternity, paternity and adoption leave which addresses, amongst other things, the continuing entitlement to Special Responsibility Allowances and expectations regarding attendance at meetings.  (This followed consideration of the Policy by the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee at its meeting on 21 November 2018.)  The Committee recommended the Policy to full Council with the modification highlighted below.

     

    At present there is no mechanism or policy through which the maternity, paternity or adoption leave of Members is formally recognised by the Council.  The Members’ Allowances Scheme is required to take into account the recommendations of the London Councils Independent Remuneration Panel.  The most recent report of the Panel in January 2018, reiterates the comments of previous reports on the importance of removing obstacles to becoming a Councillor wherever possible and “that members’ allowances schemes should allow the continuance of Special Responsibility Allowances in the case of sickness, maternity and paternity leave in the same terms that the council’s employees enjoy such benefits”

     

    A draft policy which clarifies Members’ entitlements in this regard is therefore attached at Appendix E for the Council’s consideration.  The objective of the policy is to ensure that as far as possible the position of Members is comparable with that of Council employees. To this end the Committee approved an amendment to the draft policy which clarifies that Members continuing entitlement to Special Responsibility Allowance while on maternity or paternity leave would be on the same basis as those of staff and not the allowance in full.

     

    The new policy makes it clear, for the avoidance of doubt, that the meeting attendance provisions of the Recall Scheme do not apply to Members on maternity, paternity or adoption leave (though they will continue to be subject to the statutory requirement to attend a minimum of one meeting of the Council or its Committees in every six month period, though the Council may resolve to waive this requirement in individual circumstances).

     

    The Council is recommended to approve the draft policy for Members’ maternity, paternity and adoption leave attached at Appendix E of this agenda.

     

    Minutes:

    The Members’ Allowances Scheme is required to take into account the recommendations of the London Councils Independent Remuneration Panel.  The most recent report of the Panel in January 2018, reiterated the comments of previous reports on the importance of removing obstacles to becoming a Councillor wherever possible and “that members’ allowances schemes should allow the continuance of Special Responsibility Allowances in the case of sickness, maternity and paternity leave in the same terms that the council’s employees enjoy such benefits”. 

     

    As the Council had no mechanism or policy through which the maternity, paternity or adoption leave of Members could be formally recognised, the Finance and Contracts Committee at its meeting on 29 November 2018(following recommendations from the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee meeting on 21 November) considered a policy to formalise the position in respect of Members’ rights to maternity, paternity and adoption leave which addressed, amongst other things, the continuing entitlement to Special Responsibility Allowances and expectations regarding attendance at meetings.

     

    The Committee recommended a draft policy (attached at Appendix D of the Council’s agenda) to clarify Members’ entitlements, which included an amendment that Members’ continuing entitlement to Special Responsibility Allowance while on maternity or paternity leave would be on the same basis as that of staff and not the allowance in full.

     

    The draft policy confirmed that the meeting attendance provisions of the Recall Scheme do not apply to Members on maternity, paternity or adoption leave (though such Members will continue to be subject to the statutory requirement to attend a minimum of one meeting of the Council or its Committees in every six month period, which the Council may resolve to waive in individual circumstances).

     

    RESOLVED that the draft policy for Members’ maternity, paternity and adoption leave attached at Appendix D of the agenda be adopted.

     

    Voting -

     

    For: 38 Members of the Council (the Mayor, Councillor Thay Thayalan, the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Olivia Boult, and Councillors Zain Abbas, Sushila Abraham, Stephanie Archer, Roy Arora, Tricia Bamford, Mark Beynon, Tim Cobbett, Emily Davey, Kevin Davis, Lorraine Dunstone, Simon Edwards, Sam Foulder-Hughes, Hilary Gander, , Ian George, Dennis Goodship, Liz Green, Jaesung Ha, Lesley Heap, Alison Holt, Caroline Kerr, Andreas Kirsch, Katrina Lidbetter, Rebekah Moll, Maria Netley,  Munir Ravalia, Dave Ryder-Mills, Anita Schaper, Malcolm Self, Christine Stuart, John Sweeney, Jon Tolley, Olly Wehring, Diane White, Annette Wookey, Sharon Young, and Yogan Yoganathan)

     

    Abstaining: 6 Members of the Council (Councillors Rowena Bass, David Cunningham, Ed Fram, Sharron Falchikov-Sumner, Jason Hughes, and Nicola Sheppard)

    Recorded Vote
    TitleTypeRecorded Vote textResult
    Members' Maternity, Paternity & Adoption Leave - Reference from Finance & Contracts Committee - Resolution Carried
  • View Recorded Vote for this item
  • 65.

    Appointment of Chief Executive - Reference from Senior Staff Panel - 6 December 2018

    Following a comprehensive recruitment process, the Senior Staff Panel are scheduled to meet on 6 December 2018 to conduct final interviews for the position of Chief Executive.

     

    The outcome of the Panel's meeting will be circulated as late material as the Council is required to approve the appointment.

     

     

     

    Minutes:

    Following a comprehensive recruitment process, at its meeting on 6 December, the Senior Staff Panel conducted final interviews of 4 candidates for the position of Chief Executive and unanimously decided to recommend to the Council, for appointment, Ian Thomas (formerly Chief Executive of Lewisham Council).

     

    Accordingly, it was RESOLVED that Mr Ian Thomas be appointed Chief Executive of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames with effect from the earliest possible date to be agreed between the Council and Mr Thomas, on the existing salary range of £163, 077 to £185,568 per annum.

     

    Voting - unanimous

    Recorded Vote
    TitleTypeRecorded Vote textResult
    Appointment of Chief Executive Resolution Carried
  • View Recorded Vote for this item
  • 66.

    Boundary Commission Review - Delegation of Powers to Finance & Contracts Committee

    The Council will report to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) by 25 March 2019 with recommendations for the future size of the Council (ie the number of elected Members in the Council).

     

    The LGBCE commenced the review on 8 November 2018 and Stage 1 (Council size)will be completed in April 2019 following the submission of a report by 25 March 2019. These findings will be laid before parliament as part of the final submission by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England in April 2020 and, subject to parliamentary approval, changes must be implemented by the Council for the May 2022 elections.

     

    The aim of Stage 1 of the review is to ensure the Council size is suitable for its current and future needs and takes into account the Council’s governance arrangements, scrutiny functions as well as considering the representational role of councillors in the local community.

     

    The Council’s Constitution is not specific as to whether submissions for the Boundary Review are required to be made by full Council.  The Articles in the Council’s Constitution indicate decisions on the creation of polling districts or revisions to polling district boundaries must be made by full Council but it is otherwise Finance and Contracts Committee which has responsibility for “electoral matters” and for other functions not delegated elsewhere.  For the sake of assurance, therefore, the following approach is being proposed to clarify the decision-making route.

     

    As the Council will not meet during March 2019, and there is more opportunity for public participation at a strategic committee meeting than at a Council meeting, it is RECOMMENDED that the Council formally delegates to the Finance and Contracts Committee the power to approve the recommendations for stage 1 (council size) to be made to the Boundary Commission.  A special meeting of the Finance and Contracts Committee will be convened for this purpose.



    Minutes:

    The Council received a report on the process for the Boundary Commission Review from which   changes approved by Parliament are to be implemented for the May 2022 elections.   Stage 1 of the Review is to ensure the Council size is suitable for its current and future needs and takes into account the Council’s governance arrangements and scrutiny functions, as well as considering the representational role of councillors in the local community.  The Council must report its recommendations for the number of elected Members in the Council to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England by 25 March 2019.  Full Council will not meet during March 2019, but Finance and Contracts Committee has responsibility for “electoral matters” within its remit and a special meeting of the Committee can be arranged in March which will provide more opportunity for public participation than would be provided at a meeting of full Council.

     

    RESOLVED that the Council formally delegates to the Finance and Contracts Committee the power to approve the recommendations for stage 1 (council size) to be made to the Boundary Commission.  A special meeting of the Finance and Contracts Committee will be convened for this purpose.

     

    Voting - unanimous

    Recorded Vote
    TitleTypeRecorded Vote textResult
    Boundary Commission Review - Delegation of Powers to Finance & Contracts Committee Resolution Carried
  • View Recorded Vote for this item
  • 67.

    Adoption of International Holocaust Remembrance Association Definition of Antisemitism pdf icon PDF 356 KB

    (1) With reference to the letter from London Councils at Appendix H of this agenda, the Council is recommended to:

    (a) agree the recommendations of London Councils Leaders’ Committee (to those London local authorities that have not already done so) to:

    i)            adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Association (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, including the agreed working examples, set out in Appendix A of that letter; and

    ii)           include the IHRA definition and working examples within the Council’s constitution and Codes of Conduct for Members and (subject to there being no significant objection being received from HR  or from the staff consultation process) for Officers

    (b) consider whether it also wishes to adopt the IHRA model Motion set out in Appendix B of that letter.

    (2)       The Director of Communities recommends that the Council adds within its decision the following reference to the Council’s Equality and Diversity Policy Statement:

     

     "As stated in our Equality and Diversity Policy statement, the Council will continue:

     

     -  to make sure that we work towards eliminating discrimination by advancing equality of opportunity, fostering good relations, valuing diversity between all members of our community and building a cohesive community.

     

    -  to recognise that people need protection from unfair discrimination, in particular on the grounds of  all the protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.”

     

    Minutes:

    A letter received from London Councils in October 2018 (which was attached at Appendix E to the agenda) had set out a recommendation to all London boroughs from the London Councils’ Leaders Committee that each borough adopts the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

    This non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism is as follows:

    “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred towards 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.”  

    IHRA working examples to guide organisations were attached as Appendix A to the London Councils letter (pages E5 – E6 of the agenda) and at Appendix B of the letter was a ‘Draft motion’ for councils to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism. 

    The Council’s Director of Communities recommended that the Council add reference within its decision to a relevant extract from the Council’s Equality and Diversity Policy Statement (as set out below).

     

    RESOLVED that

    (1)       (i) the International Holocaust Remembrance Association (IHRA) definition of antisemitism (as set out above) and the working examples (set out on pages E5-E6 of the report) be adopted; and

    (ii) the IHRA definition and working examples be adopted within the Council’s constitution and Codes of Conduct for Members and (subject to no significant objection being received from Human Resources or from the staff consultation process) for Officers;

     

    (2)       the IHRA model Motion set out in Appendix B of that letter (page E7 of the report) also be adopted; and

     

    (3)       it be noted that the Council’s Equality and Diversity Policy Statement indicates:

    "As stated in our Equality and Diversity Policy statement, the Council will continue:

    -        to make sure that we work towards eliminating discrimination by advancing equality of opportunity, fostering good relations, valuing diversity between all members of our community and building a cohesive community.

    -        to recognise that people need protection from unfair discrimination, in particular on the grounds of all the protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.”

     

    Voting - unanimous

    Recorded Vote
    TitleTypeRecorded Vote textResult
    Adoption of International Holocaust Remembrance Association Definition of Antisemitism Resolution Carried
  • View Recorded Vote for this item
  • 68.

    London Business Rates Pilot Pool 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 177 KB

    To consider the report at Appendix G of the agenda

    Minutes:

    The Council considered a report at Appendix F of the agenda which recommended that the Council entered into the London Business Rates Retention Pilot Pool.

    National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDR), commonly known as ‘business rates’ are a significant part of the resource base available to councils.  Currently, NNDR is a tax which is set nationally, but which is collected locally.  Since 2013, arrangements have been in place to allow authorities to retain a limited amount of the increased revenue arising from rates growth in their area.

    Before the General Election in June 2017, the Government / DCLG announced as a precursor to full retention of business rates, that a London pooling pilot would be implemented in 2018/19 and the Council agreed in December 2017 for Kingston to be part of this pilot.

    The current pilot arrangements were limited to one year only and revised terms for the pilot to continue into 2019/20 were currently being negotiated between London Councils and the Government. 

    The report recommended that the Council formally enters into the Pool and delegates to the Director, Corporate and Commercial / Section 151 Officer (in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance) to agree the final operational arrangements.  The proposed new local arrangements between the London Boroughs for the pilot ensures no London Borough will be worse off than if they remained outside the pilot and there is an opportunity of additional business rate income through continued membership of the pilot.

     

    RESOLVED that:

     

    1.            the Council participates in the London Business Rates Pilot Pool (the Pool) with effect from 1 April 2019;

    2.            the Director of Corporate and Commercial / Section 151 Officer in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance is authorised to agree the operational details of the pooling arrangements with the participating authorities;

    3.            the Council enters into such Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the participating authorities as may be necessary to implement and/or regulate the pool and the Director of Corporate and Commercial / Section 151 Officer in consultation with the Monitoring Officer is authorised to negotiate, finalise and execute the same on behalf of the Council;

    4.            the Leader of the Council is authorised to represent the Council in relation to consultations regarding the Pool consultative as may be undertaken by the Lead Authority pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding.

     

    Voting - unanimous

    Recorded Vote
    TitleTypeRecorded Vote textResult
    London Business Rates Pilot Pool 2019/20 Resolution Carried
  • View Recorded Vote for this item
  • 69.

    Community Call-in Waiver - SEND Transformation Plan consultation

    Under the urgency provisions in the Council’s Community Call in Procedure, community call-in shall not apply to a decision if any delay likely to be caused by the call in process to the implementation of that decision would seriously prejudice the Council’s or the public’s interests.  Any decision considered urgent under these provisions must be reported to the next available meeting of the Council, together with the reasons for urgency.

    The Children’s and Adults’ Care and Education (CACE) Committee at its meeting on 22 November 2018 agreed recommendations relating to the SEND Transformation Plan and SEND Local Area Inspection, including the following resolution (2):

    Resolved that –

    (2) A consultation process on the draft SEND Transformation Plan be undertaken, the results of which will inform the final budget decision making process;

     

    The Chief Executive, in consultation with the Chair of the Children’s and Adults Care and Education Committee and the Chair of Scrutiny Panel, has determined that call-in does not apply to the above decision for reasons of exceptional urgency. Any call-in would reduce the duration of the public consultation on the proposals and potentially delay implementation of the cost reduction proposals and the setting of the Schools Budget.   It is urgent to avoid delay to commencing this public consultation to ensure the maximum length of time for the consultation - the outcome of which is to be reported to the CACE Committee meeting on 7 February 2019.  The proposed SEND Transformation Plan is to be submitted to the Department of Education by the end of November 2018.  Submission of the Plan to the DfE at the end of November is a condition of the £3m Dedicated Schools Grant advance which the Council received from the DfE for the 2018/9 financial year.   .  

     

    The proposed SEND Transformation Plan is relevant for the 2019/20 Schools Budget setting process, because it includes a plan of action to bring Kingston’s spending on high needs to a sustainable level that matches spending on high needs to the income that it expects to receive in future years.  Any delays in the implementation of the Plan would negatively impact the intended reductions in expenditure.

    Minutes:

    In accordance with the urgency provisions in the Council’s Community Call in Procedure, a decision which had been considered urgent under these provisions, [from the Children’s and Adults’ Care and Education (CACE) Committee meeting on 22 November 2018 relating to the SEND Transformation Plan and SEND Local Area Inspection] was reported to Council for information, together with the reasons for urgency.  Under these provisions, a community call-in shall not apply to a decision if any delay likely to be caused by the call in process to the implementation of that decision would seriously prejudice the Council’s or the public’s interests.

    The CACE Committee decision had been considered urgent to avoid delay to commencing public consultation on the draft SEND Transformation Plan to ensure the maximum length of time for the consultation - the outcome of which had to be considered by the CACE Committee meeting on 7 February 2019 as it was relevant to the 2019/20 Schools Budget setting process.

    In addition the proposed SEND Transformation Plan had to be submitted to the Department of Education by the end of November 2018 as a condition of the £3m Dedicated Schools Grant advance which the Council received from the DfE for the 2018/19 financial year.

    The Council noted the report.

     

    70.

    Appointments of Member - Disability Champion

    The Council is RECOMMENDED to appoint Councillor Christine Stuart as the Council’s Disability Champion.

     

    One of the key aspects of the role will be to work with the borough’s disabled communities and relevant local groups to further understand their needs and ensure that their voices are represented in wider service delivery and policy making.

     

    Minutes:

    RESOLVED that Councillor Christine Stuart be appointed as the Council’s Disability Champion - to work with the borough’s disabled communities and relevant local groups to further understand their needs and ensure that their voices are represented in wider service delivery and policy making.

     

    Voting - unanimous

    71.

    Urgent Items authorised by the Mayor

     

     

    To consider any items which, in the view of the Mayor, should be dealt with as a matter of urgency because of special circumstances in accordance with S100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972.

     

     

     

     

    Background Papers  held by Democratic Support 020 8547 5023

     

    • Relevant Committee Agendas.

    Minutes:

    There was no urgent business.

    Annex 1 - Written Replies to Council Questions

    Annex 1

     

    Written Replies to Council Questions

     

     

    By                   Councillor Rowena Bass

     

    To                   Councillor Alison Holt, Portfolio holder for Finance

     

    Question:

    Kingston has had a precarious budget position with falling Revenue Support Grant for many years.  We need to do more to lobby for Kingston but also to show our valued staff the contribution they have made. So, to give clarity for our staff on the achievements they have made in reducing the expenditure of the Council over many years, can the Councillor prepare a “Value for Money” report, which will be considered as part of the budget process, showing savings that have been made, by department, and also shows the declining establishment figure for the number of Council employees.

     

    Written reply:

    The Council has had significant reductions in funding over recent years, with Revenue Support Grant reducing to nil. To protect services through this period, the Council has identified new and innovative ways to achieve better outcomes for less, reducing the cost of service provision and generating new income streams to support vital front line services, and will continue to do this.

    The Budget Council in February will receive a budget report that sets out the strategic financial position of the Council and a detailed budget for the year ahead. This will include details of the measures being taken to manage with less resource.

    The Council’s external auditors are required to produce an annual report on Value for Money as part of their review of the accounts. They have completed their report based on the 2017/18 accounts and concluded that the Council has in place sufficient arrangements to secure good value for money.

    The number of FTE posts for Kingston Council has reduced from 1125 since 1st April 2016 to 930 FTE on 1st December 2018.  This is a total reduction of 195 FTE posts.  These figures will include Shared Services which are hosted by Kingston including HR, ICT and Environment.  The FTE numbers exclude casual and Schools staff.

    This represents a reduction in staffing budgets from £63,805,840 to £50,175,442 (a

    reduction of £13,630,398)

     


    By                   Councillor Rowena Bass

     

    To                   Councillor Alison Holt, Portfolio holder for Finance

     

    Question:

    In May this year the Administration pledged to: “Open up Council finances in a fully accessible manner, for residents to see what is spent, in different areas, with contractors and consultants”.  Can the Council be updated on how this new level of transparency has been achieved and tell us what further programmes she is looking to bring forward?

    Written reply:

    This Administration did make this pledge and we have been working with officers to consider how this can be improved.  The Administration is for a 4 year period, not eight months and as our Administration period progresses, we will further develop the opportunities for resident scrutiny and review of Council spend.

    The Council regularly publishes online details of all spend over £500, and reports financial performance in detail on a quarterly basis to the Finance and Contracts Committee.

    We are also about to commence a series of engagement events to discuss Council finances with residents and offer an opportunity to share information and gather resident views.

     

     

    By                   Councillor Rowena Bass

     

    To                   Councillor Alison Holt, Portfolio holder for Finance

     

    Question:

    Despite numerous requests at meetings, including to the Leader of the Council, I am still awaiting a response to a question I asked about the terms of contract of the Interim CEO who was appointed in the absence of the interim CEO (Ms Steward).  Can I please be told the number of days she was contracted and the total cost including any expenses and other relevant costs?

    Written reply:

    Gill Steward was contracted to work for a total of 18 days at a rate of £900 per day.  This is a total of £16, 200.  No expenses or other costs were paid to Gill Steward.  No agency was involved in the recruitment so there were no additional fees.

     

     


    By       Councillor Roy Arora

     

    To          Councillor Malcolm Self, Portfolio Holder for Planning Policy, Culture and Heritage

     

    Question:

     

    Can the Councillor tell us how many confidential sites have been held back from the Local Plan Issues and Options papers and how much of the land held back is on brownfield sites and how much on greenfield sites?

     

    Written reply:

     

    As part of the Council’s preparations for a new Local Plan, the previous Conservative Administration ran a Call for Sites exercise.  This was an invitation to all individuals, developers, landowners, agents and other interested parties to submit details of sites within the borough that may be available for redevelopment over the lifetime of the plan. When running this process, the Council recognised that some information may be commercially sensitive and therefore the opportunity was provided within the online submission form to allow submissions to be marked as confidential.

     

    In total 97 submissions relating to 76 sites were received in response to the Call for Sites. Of these, 23 responses relating to 23 sites were marked as confidential.  It is considered inappropriate to release any details of these confidential submissions which could be used to identify the sites they relate to, such as whether they are brownfield or greenfield.

     

     

    By          Councillor Roy Arora

     

    To          Councillor Malcolm Self, Portfolio Holder for Planning Policy, Culture and Heritage

     

    Question:

     

    Can the portfolio holder set out for the Council a timetable for a Lib Dem Green Belt review?

     

    Written reply:

     

    The Liberal Democrats are not undertaking a Green Belt review.

     


    By                   Councillor Roy Arora

     

    To                   Councillor Dave Ryder-Mills, Portfolio holder for Contract Monitoring and Corporate Services

     

    Question:

     

    Kingston cemetery is an important place for Kingstonians and contains many heritage assets.  Given the recent issue surrounding the safety of historic parts of the site, can the Portfolio Holder update us on how the Administration intends to restore and regenerate the entire cemetery site?

     

    Written reply:

     

    We have 2 capital projects starting in 2019 which represent a service investment of £3.2m over the course of the next three years in the cemetery: 

     

               Mortuary Chapels Grade II were inspected by Heritage England (HE) and subsequently awarded entry to the Heritage At Risk (HAR) register June 2017.  A £2M capital bid was subsequently approved for a phased three- year programme commencing 2019/20 (comprising £750K in the first year, £750k in 2020/21 and  £500k in 2021/22).

     

               Replacement of the cremators along with associated building works, including refrigerated storage to meet the growing market of direct (no service) cremations.  (These works are required to comply with stringent mercury abatement legislation which will come into effect 01/01/20). 

     

    The architectural cemetery landscape is maintained as a mix of hard and soft landscaping to create a nature reserve amongst the Victorian and Edwardian memorials.  All memorials are inspected for stability on a cyclic basis and are re-erected if found to be unstable.  The Kingston Cemetery Nature Group was formed during 2016 and volunteers assist the Bereavement Team with the cemetery conservation management plan.

     

    There is also ongoing work to try to balance the desire for members of the public to have as much access to the cemetery as possible with the need to prevent anti-social behaviour within the cemetery overnight.

     

     

    By                   Councillor Ed Fram

     

    To                   Councillor Margaret Thompson, Portfolio Holder for Adults Social Care

     

    Question:

     

    The Administration pledged to “Carry out regular reviews and monitoring for all social care service users and their carers, to ensure the right individualised tailored service, in accordance with the Care Act”.  Can the Portfolio holder tell the Council what changes she has made to achieve this?

     

    Written reply:

     

    A number of steps have been undertaken to ensure that people receive regular reviews and monitoring.  Firstly, all Adult Social Care staff have been trained in undertaking strength-based conversations with people, which is a new approach focusing on the assets of individuals and their desired outcomes.

     

    Each person will have a named social worker and this will be fully implemented by the end of March 2019.  This will mean that reviews will no longer be allocated to a worker but remain on a social worker’s caseload, ensuring continuity.

     

    In the Learning Disability service they have devised a review process involving service users and carers which informs people what they can expect from a review. A similar guide is about to be introduced across Adult Social Care.

     

     

    By                   Councillor Maria Netley

     

    To                   Councillor Diane White, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services (including Education)

     

    Question:

    What does the Portfolio Holder believe will be the response of the DfE to the Education Recovery Plan submitted at the end of November, in the light of the fact that the Schools Forum has said they will not countenance any move in funding away from schools to fund SEND?

    Written reply:

    The national crisis in SEND provision is impacting on many Local Authorities.  The Children and Families Act created additional statutory duties for which Kingston received no additional funding.  We have, like most local authorities, seen a sustained rise in Education and Health Plans.

    The three year recovery plan is a draft plan that sets the way forward in trying to deal with an issue which is about the whole system - where the Council needs to work with all stakeholders, including parents, schools and health colleagues to find solutions to maximise outcomes for our young people with SEND within the resources we have available.  This will include sustained lobbying of central government to provide sufficient funding.

    The Education Commission provides an independent review of the system and also an opportunity to develop system-wide solutions.

    I would hope that the DfE recognises the challenges that we face and will see the draft plan as the way forward in beginning to meet those challenges

     


    By                   Councillor Maria Netley

     

    To                   Councillor Diane White, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services (including Education)

     

    Question:

    At the last Full Council meeting, the Leader of the Council gave an absolute guarantee that the Administration will not use a disapplication to the Secretary of State to move funds away from schools.  Given the School Forum’s decision to absolutely refuse any funding changes, do you believe the Leader’s answer was sensible?

    Written reply:  

    As set out in answer to question 11, the Administration is looking to create a whole-systems response to the significant challenges with the funding and demand for SEND services.  Creating a partnership with Schools is fundamental to this, and the Administration’s policy helps foster that relationship.

     

    By                   Councillor Maria Netley

     

    To                   Councillor Diane White, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services (including Education)

     

    Question:

    Can the Portfolio Holder update us on meetings held by her and the Leader of the Council with Government Ministers in relation to the Dedicated Schools Grant and the outcome of the meetings?

    Written reply: 

    The Council has submitted the draft three year recovery plan and Lead Members will be meeting the appropriate ministers and DfE officials in January 2019.

     

    By                   Councillor Maria Netley

     

    To                   Councillor Diane White, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services (including Education)


    Question:

    The Administration has pledged to “Ensure that school funding is used for its intended purpose and is not used to pay for shortfalls in other areas.”  What progress has been made on this and what has been identified?

    Written reply:

    The Dedicated Schools Grant is a ring-fenced grant and must be used in support of the schools budget as defined in the School and Early Years Finance (England) Regulations [2018].  The S151 officer signs a statement confirming compliance with this grant condition each year, after gaining assurance from the Council’s internal auditors.  The Council has consistently complied with this requirement by applying the funding for the educational benefit of Kingston pupils.

    Within the Dedicated Schools Grant, there are allocations for general school budgets, early years budgets, central budgets and high needs education budgets.  The Council has not requested to move money from general school budgets to support pupils requiring assistance from the high needs budget for 2019/20, other than where this has been agreed by Schools Forum.

     

    By                   Councillor Nicola Sheppard

     

    To                   Councillor Emily Davey, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Regeneration

     

    Question:

     

    I hope the Portfolio Holder will agree that not being transparent in a senior role in this Council breaks one of the Seven Nolan Principles of public service.  At the July 2018 Council meeting, you claimed that "The Council are paying agency staff £5,500 per day on housing alone".  You then went on to clarify that you were going to "Stop and reuse that money on housing, not agencies."  Given that the £5,500 per day is a very large sum, the equivalent of at least £1.5m per annum, the Leader of the Opposition asked officers to let us see how that figure was arrived at.  The officers have not been able to arrive at a figure from within the Housing Revenue Account that would have allowed you to claim this money could be spent on repairs.  Five times you have been asked to provide the breakdown of that figure but you have failed to respond.  Your previous response, 3 months after this question was first asked, did not attempt to justify the figure.  Given Council officers cannot identify this figure, can the Portfolio Holder please tell the Council how this figure was arrived at and apologise for the lack of transparency in refusing yet again to answer this simple question?

     

    Written reply:

     

    The figure of £5,500 per day was based on the cost of consultants and agency staff working on a range of housing matters in June 2018.  This information has been provided in a detailed breakdown to the Leader of the Opposition.  I am sure Cllr Sheppard will agree that it’s important to reduce the cost of agency and temporary staff working on day to day housing and council business and that is exactly what is being done. 

     

     

     

     

     

     


    By          Councillor David Cunningham

     

    To          Councillor Hilary Gander, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Sustainable Transport

     

    Question:

    The Lib Dem Manifesto in May 2019 said they would “Re-provide on-street recycling bins, which were removed by the Conservatives, so everyone can recycle when out and about.”  Will the Councillor apologise for breaking a manifesto pledge?

     

    Written reply:

    A recommendation has been endorsed at EAST Committee which supports the exploration of alternative treatment methods to extract recycling from all litter collected across the borough. This approach will avoid capital investment in new vehicles and bins, while the Council waits for more information on the Government's proposal to introduce a nationwide deposit-return scheme for plastic, metal and glass packaging.  As such, this is the best financial and sustainable option at this time and will ensure that everyone can recycle widely whilst out and about and we expect this to lead to significantly more material being recycled than the option of introducing separate bins.

     

     

    By          Councillor David Cunningham

     

    To          Councillor Hilary Gander, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Sustainable Transport

     

    Question:

    Given the Administration has announced it wishes to consult on emissions-based parking charges for resident parking, can the Portfolio Holder identify whether her policy is for this to be revenue-neutral or to create an income stream for the Council?

     

    Written reply:

    The Council is considering a range of options in relation to parking, linked to our ambitions around improving air quality.  A number of other Councils have introduced emissions-based pricing for resident and business parking.  No decisions have been made and there are a number of potential scenarios that could be introduced which would be cost neutral or create an income stream for the Council.

     

     


    By          Councillor David Cunningham

     

    To          Councillor Hilary Gander, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Sustainable Transport

     

    Question:

    The Portfolio Holder will have seen the literature that the Mayor is publishing announcing the introduction of the London ULEZ early in the New Year and its extension to the North and South Circulars by 2021.  Can the Councillor update us on what action she has taken to stop the extension in 2021 and lobby the Mayor for the extension to the Greater London boundary, if there must be an extension?

     

    Written reply:

    In February 2018, RBK responded to the consultation on changes to the ULEZ and expressed a degree of support for the measures, recognising the potential for both positive and negative impacts for the Borough.

    The net benefits for the borough are likely to be limited, however some positive impacts may result from residents who regularly enter the ULEZ upgrading to cleaner vehicles to avoid the charges in the Zone.

    However, there may also be some negative effects if there is an increased availability in the borough of cheaper, dirtier vehicles that are not permitted to enter the ULEZ.

    In our response, we stated that we would be supportive of a review of the boundaries of the ULEZ with consideration being given to it covering the whole of the Borough.

     

    By          Councillor David Cunningham

     

    To          Councillor Hilary Gander, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Sustainable Transport

     

    Question:

    Why has the Portfolio Holder allowed the resurfacing of a major Kingston car park during the run-up to Christmas when a moratorium on roadworks has been implemented to help support Kingston's retailers?

     

    Written reply:

    Resurfacing works were required at this car park as a result of potholes and surfacing problems that could have caused a hazard to the users of the car park.  This work could not wait until after the Christmas period.  Officers worked to minimise the impact of these works on users of this particular car park by resurfacing only a key area of the car park, and not closing the car park whilst the work was being completed.

     


    By          Councillor David Cunningham

     

    To          Councillor Hilary Gander, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Sustainable Transport

    Question:

    The Kingston Station concourse is now not due to have the Go Cycle programme public art previously planned.  What other ideas has the Portfolio Holder had for an arts-based solution in that area?

    Written reply:

    Kingston Station concourse is a public space that can be used flexibly to display public art and also provide wayfinding into the town centre and riverside.  This is being considered as part of the wider work around Re-imagining Kingston Town Centre Public Realm Strategy.

     

    By          Councillor David Cunningham

     

    To          Councillor Hilary Gander, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Sustainable Transport

    Question:

    Does the Portfolio Holder support the contractual decisions of Veolia to take away sickness days from our valued bin men?  What planning is she requiring of officers in the event of a strike over Christmas?

    Written reply:

    The Council is satisfied that Veolia followed due process in consultation with trade unions and with oversight from ACAS over a national change in policy, including levels of sickness triggers.  Officers worked closely with Veolia to understand any developments on this issue and ensure that any necessary arrangements were made to mitigate the impact of any action on Kingston.  In the event, strike action was not called.

     


    By                   Councillor Jason Hughes

     

    To                   Councillor David Ryder-Mills, Portfolio Holder for Contract Monitoring and Corporate Services

     

    Question:

     

    The Administration pledged it would be “Putting a pause on any new outsourcing contracts whilst we carry out a review of all existing deals and looking at lessons that Kingston Council can learn and determine the best model for the future rather than trusting old-style outsourcing contracts.”  Can the Portfolio Holder indicate when that review will be coming to committee and what he believes he has currently learnt from the exercise of review?

     

    Written reply:

     

    No new services have been outsourced since this Administration came into power and we remain committed to ensuring the best service models are in place to deliver quality services to our communities.  Since coming into power we have been working with officers to understand our current arrangements.  So far it is clear that, despite the hard work of our officers, an inconsistent approach to commissioning has developed and there hasn’t been a clear policy focus on challenging the status quo or developing a new relationship with providers.   This is why we have initiated a contract review to test the value of all our existing contractual arrangements. 

     

    This review will take place as part of a reshaped Smarter Commissioning -Better Contracting programme that aims to ensure that we improve the impacts and outcomes of our third party spend.   We will also be developing the Council’s commissioning approach to ensure that ethical commissioning and social value are placed at the heart of all our contracts.  Our updated Contract Standing Orders support a greater focus on value, rather than price, and will be supported by a strengthened contract management framework that will ensure the Council holds providers to account and that our contracts deliver demonstrable impact.

     

    Additionally, we are putting in place quarterly meetings between our major contractor partners, relevant officers and portfolio holders, so that there is better understanding between us and reporting back to us.  This will more closely mirror the partnership boards set up under the older contract arrangement, enable a better two-way understanding of the performance of our contracts, and thereby enable better performance through closer portfolio holder scrutiny.

     

     


    By                   Councillor Kevin Davis

     

    To                   Councillor Liz Green, Leader of the Council

     

    Question:

     

    Since May 2018 the Leader has implemented a further Senior Leadership restructuring of the Council.  Can the Leader inform us what the total cost will be for the pay-off of one Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the redundancy of the interim CEO, the recruitment costs of a new CEO and the interim costs of a second interim CEO to cover the absence of the first interim CEO and the support of the SLT?

     

    Written reply:

     

    The total package for the former CEO was £312,000.

    The Finance and Contracts Committee has agreed that the Deputy Chief Executive post will be deleted and the Council is in the process of consulting with the postholder following appropriate employment legislation.  When the process is complete, any costs of deleting the post will be available.

    The cost of covering the absence of the interim CEO and providing support to SLT (not a second interim CEO) was £16, 200 in total.

    The total cost of recruiting the new permanent CEO role was £28,400 for the services of an executive search agency.

     

     

    By                   Councillor Ian George

     

    To                   Councillor Liz Green, Leader of the Council

     

    Question:

     

    This Lib Dem Administration has recently spent valuable Council resources on issues that they were not elected to deal with and over which they have no influence or control: the voting age and Brexit.  Please provide a breakdown of financial cost and officer hours spent working on anything to do with these two non-council related issues.

     

    Written reply:

     

    The State of the Borough debate is an annual event designed to enhance community engagement.  As it is a regular feature of the civic calendar, the organisation of it is factored into Officers’ core duties.  The planning of the meeting was supported by a Working Group of 5 officers meeting weekly for 1 hour for 7 weeks.  This is very similar to the process and arrangements for last year’s State of the Borough event.  Officer time devoted to the preparation of the report for the agenda and the logistical arrangements for the meeting is estimated at 40 hours.  The only direct costs incurred in respect of the event amount to £124 for the printing of the agenda papers and a small number of advertising posters.

     

    There was no expenditure on the submission of the motion to Council on votes for 16 and 17 year olds or its subsequent referral to the Community Engagement Committee.  Officer time devoted to the handling of the motion on the Council papers and the preparation of the associated report to Committee is estimated at five hours.

     

     

    By                   Councillor Ian George

     

    To                   Councillor Jon Tolley, Portfolio holder for Resident Engagement

     

    Question:

     

    Can the Portfolio Holder set out for the Council what types of changes to the Council’s consultation methodology he intends to make as part of his new approach to consultation and is he confident that the next round of consultations will be following his principles for a new approach?

     

    Written reply:

     

    The Council is committed to improving the way we communicate, engage and consult with residents and businesses and other stakeholders.  Where change is needed, our ambition is to ensure that engagement happens as early as possible with key stakeholders, so that voices and views are heard, to help shape policy and decisions that will impact residents and, more widely, the borough. 

     

    For formal consultation, the Council will follow the Government Consultation Principles, and will be using more digital methods to consult with a wider group of people at the appropriate stage in the decision making process.  Recognising that not all our residents are able to access digital channels, we will continue to consult and engage via more traditional methods.  Our ambition is to make it easier for all to contribute their views, through simple and straightforward use of clear language and methods of communication.

     

    We are also enhancing our forward planning and coordination of consultation and engagement activity, to improve our approach and help to avoid consultation fatigue.

     

    Consultation isn’t something that happens as a tick-box exercise.  Information from consultations should help us make better decisions, but we recognise, as the previous Administration also did, that consultations are not referenda.   Another key difference is to constantly review.  Sometimes, decisions are made in good faith and are then seen to be flawed further down the line.  We must be ready to adapt and react.  If a democracy can change its mind, its representatives are right to alter policy, based on feedback, if that is for the good of the scheme.

     

     


    By                   Councillor Kevin Davis

     

    To                   Councillor Lorraine Dunstone, Chair of South of the Borough Neighbourhood Committee

     

    Question:

     

    Given the recent increase in anti-social behaviour involving motorbikes (including a burnt out motorbike on Churchfields), what actions does the Neighbourhood Chair intend to take help tackle this blight on Chessington and Tolworth?

     

    Written reply:

     

    Moped-enabled crime and anti-social behaviour associated with motorcycle and moped use has increased significantly across the whole Met Police area.  Fortunately, Kingston Borough has not experienced the same rises as other parts of London but we are not complacent.

     

    I am committed to doing everything I can to keep the South of the Borough Neighbourhood as safe and as attractive an area as possible for our residents and visitors.  The South of the Borough Neighbourhood Committee have a strong link to the local policing team and will continue to explore all opportunities to identify those engaged in anti-social behaviour either with or without vehicles. Nevertheless it is also important that we are not too parochial and simply shift the problem to another Neighbourhood.

    I would like to draw specific attention to an initiative by the Police across our four BCU boroughs designed to deter this particular type of antisocial behaviour. The Fuel Provider Agreement is an agreement between the Police and garages that they will not provide fuel to anyone riding a powered two wheel vehicle, or filling up a portable container, without removal of helmets, other headgear or face coverings. 

    Our Borough was the first in the BCU to have all garages signed up to the Agreement.

    As a further precaution we have also asked the Police to try to secure agreement with Surrey Police and Surrey garages to adopt a similar approach, given the number of garages on arterial routes into our Borough and close to the Borough boundary.

    Finally, it is important that any Councillor or Member of the public witnessing motorcycle or moped related crime or anti-social behaviour, reports this to the Police, with as much detail as possible, including their contact details.  The Police will then explore the issue further, pool intelligence from a range of sources and potentially be able to link the incident to other crimes or intelligence.  On the South West BCU every crime report is checked daily for any motorcycle or moped related component so the intelligence can be updated.

     

     


    By                   Councillor Mark Beynon

     

    To                   Councillor Liz Green, Leader of the Council

     

    Question:

     

    Given the cuts that are going to have to be implemented at next year’s budget, is it right that, through their excessive number of questions, a Group containing less than 20% of Councillors is able to waste nearly £6,000 in officer time each month?

     

    Written reply:

     

    I believe it is excessive that the Conservative Group should choose to put in 20+ questions to each full council meeting, especially since they have regular briefings with directors and senior officers and therefore have access to this same information.


    Whilst the cost of officer time is a concern, the bigger problem is that officers have to stop what they are working on and to urgently provide answers.  As they well know, but as a new councillor you may not, each question asked is forwarded to the appropriate officer to provide any detailed information so the portfolio holder can be prepared to respond.  This had to be done urgently as, until our recent changes at last full council, any of the 20+ questions may be asked verbally on the evening, so answers must be prepared within a few days to all questions to cover all possibilities.  Now the Conservative group will need to indicate which questions they want to ask when they submit the questions a week before.


    Whilst there have been suggestions that we limit the number of questions that can be put forward by a group, I hope that this new measure we have taken will remove some pressure from officers caused by the excessive number of questions the Conservatives are asking.

     


    By          Councillor Christine Stuart

     

    To          Councillor Margaret Thompson, Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care

     

    Question:

     

    In January 2017, contributions from disabled people towards their care charges were increased from 75% to 100% of assessed income.  Since then, annual increases in benefits - to account for inflation - have been taken by the Council as part of the 100% of assessed income, so individuals feel no benefit from the national increases.  However, the basic allowance people are allowed to keep by the Council does not appear to have increased in line with inflation.  This has caused hardship to individuals, many of whom cannot afford simple necessities in life.  The danger of personal debt is real and significant.  How does this Council intend to stop such individuals falling into personal debt?

     

    Written reply:

     

    We are currently proposing to appoint an Adult Social Care Financial Inclusion Officer on a Fixed Term 12 month contract from 1 January 2019 to complete benefit maximisation work.

     

    This arrangement can then be reviewed at a time when the timescale of Universal Credit roll-out for existing claimants will be clearer.  The post holder will work under the direction of the Adult Social Care Finance Team Manager, and across Adult Social Care, in order to:

    • significantly increase charging revenue
    • help reduce the impact of the roll out of Universal Credit
    • minimise the loss of revenue arising from the transition to Personal Independence Payment 
    • ensure  that existing service user entitlement to non means-tested benefit is maximised
    • improve quality in terms of advice and customer services and
    • save the cost of loss of benefits arising from sanctions penalties.

     

    It is anticipated that the increase in charging income arising from the Attendance Allowance take-up will mean that the cost of this post can be funded on an invest-to-save basis.  

     

    An existing officer who specialises in Welfare Benefit/Reform is immediately available to commence in this role.