Councillors and committees

Agenda and minutes

In light of recent events and following the latest Government advice on the Coronavirus, the Council has cancelled all its scheduled council and committee meetings until 11th May 2020. At present the law does not permit local authorities to hold 'virtual' Committee meetings but the Council is committed to maintaining full transparency in the decision making process during this period and an update on how its governance will work will be provided shortly.

The Council will keep its arrangements under continual review, having regard to guidance as it emerges.

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.

Watch key Council meetings here

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

27.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Roy Arora, Kim Bailey, Mark Beynon, Jaesung Ha, and Jason Hughes.

 

 

 

28.

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:

Councillor Malcolm Self declared a personal interest in relation to Minute Item 39 (below) -‘Appointment of Independent Persons’ on the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee’.

Reason: Councillor Self has known the Independent Person, Andrew Elmer, for a number of years.

 

[Councillor Self did not participate in the deliberations on this item.]

 

 

29.

Minutes

To confirm as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 9 July 2019.

Minutes:

Resolved that the Minutes of the Council meeting held on 9 July 2019 be confirmed as a correct record.

30.

Mayor's Announcements

Minutes:

The Mayor announced that Remembrance Services would take place across the borough on Sunday 10 November, starting with the Service at New Malden at 9.30am with other Services in central Kingston, Surbiton and Chessington taking place at 10.45am.

The Mayor advised that she and the Deputy Mayor had attended an enlightening Hate Crime Awareness event the previous week.

The Mayor warmly welcomed Councillor Fiona Boult back to the Council after a period of absence due to ill health.

Details for the following fund-raising events in aid of the Mayor's Charitable Trust for Members’ diaries were announced:

·          A Kingston Themed Quiz Night on Friday 18October at Kingston United Reformed Church on Eden Street at 7pm.

·          A Music Night on Saturday 16 November at The Cricketers in Chessington.

 

31.

Petitions pdf icon PDF 130 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). 

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

31.1    Petition on Community Motion

 

Mr James Giles submitted a petition with 2 signatures which requested ‘We, the undersigned condemn the Council’s failure to place the Community Motion regarding the constitutional changes on the agenda for 15 October 2019, and request the item be deferred, pending the outcome of a public consultation or Citizens Assembly.’

 

The petition was noted in relation to an item ‘Constitution Review’ which was to be considered later in the meeting (ref Minute 34 below).

 

[The petition referred to a request for a Community Motion which had been received the day before the Council meeting and was therefore too late to be included in the published agenda for the meeting.  A response had been sent to Mr Giles as the organiser of the Community Motion that the Community Motion could be included in the agenda for the 17 December Council meeting or be submitted as a petition at the October meeting; Mr Giles had replied that, of these options, he chose the former, ie debate at the December meeting.]

 

31.2    Petitions over 500 signatures

 

With reference to a report at Appendix A of the agenda pack, two petitions which had received over 500 eligible signatures and which had been submitted at the Council meeting on 9 July 2019, were debated at the Council meeting as follows:

 

(A)       ‘Stop Over Development Ruining Kingston’ petition

 

The Council considered the report of the Director of Growth responding to a petition entitled ‘Stop Over Development Ruining Kingston’ which had received 1,316 RBK postcode signatories. (and 2,476 signatures online at the time of the finalisation of the report - not all of which were RBK postcode signatories).  The wording of the petition, which was presented by Ms Caroline Scott, was as follows:

“Kingston Council and the GLA are trying to condemn The Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames to a future of high-density over-development that has been sneaked in behind residents' backs.

Do we want to see Kingston's neighbourhoods become dominated by many more ugly, dense, high-rise towers? Is this the kind of development that is appropriate for the Royal Borough?

We were never asked. We still have time to act before our neighbourhoods and communities are destroyed before our eyes. Please help us to tell the Mayor of London and the Examiner in Public of the London Plan what has gone on and to save The Royal Borough from a future over which we have had no say.

The GLA is using an unsound document, Kingston Council’s “Direction of Travel”, planned secretly, without appropriate authority, and away from the scrutiny of council committee and residents, as the policy hook to support the designation of vast swathes of the Borough as an "Opportunity Area" in the new London Plan.

We need to expose the undemocratic and surreptitious way in which the Council cooked up these plans so that we can stop them and exercise our democratic right to influence the shape, form and scale that development will take place in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.

32.

Deputations

Minutes:

The Council received 14 deputations of which notice had been submitted in advance in accordance with Standing Order no.17, as follows:

 

Subject

Lead speaker for the deputation

5G Network - Safety Concerns

Louise Tassell

Carbon Neutral Target and sending waste to the  Beddington incinerator 

Kerry Giles

Constitution Changes and Community Engagement

Dan Falchikov

Constitutional Changes - lack of Consideration for Business Needs

Deepa Veneik

Constitution review - Mayoral Discretion in interpretation of validity of Public Questions

Zara Pradyer

Historic Overcharging of Council tenants for Water Rates 

Nannette Herbert

Constitution Changes -call-In Thresholds, Wednesbury Reasonableness

Caroline Shah

Concern about ‘failures in decision making’ (digital engagement/residents surveys/Neville House Yard, Eden Walk)

Bob Tyler

Constitution Changes - Request to defer review pending public consultation

James Giles

Lack of electric car charging points in North Kingston

Toby Williams

Go Cycle Surbiton Road

Bob Tyler

Rose Theatre funding

Phil Bevin

Constitutional Changes - Public Participation in Decision Making

Phil Bevin

Affordable Housing Associated Sites Programme

Derek Moss

 

The submitted statements relating to each deputation were set out in the Late Material which was circulated for the meeting which is available to view online at this link.

 

33.

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 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.

 

No Motion has been submitted by the Opposition for 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.  

No Motion was submitted by the Opposition for this meeting.

 

34.

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 as follows to Council questions [The Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Kevin Davis, indicated that all Council questions submitted by the Conservative Group should receive replies in writing, given the late hour of this item] :

 

 

To:      Councillor Alison Holt, Portfolio Holder for Finance & Contracts

By:      Councillor Sam Foulder-Hughes

 

Question:

 

What is the impact of recent spending announcements from central government on the medium term financial strategy?

 

Reply:

 

The recent spending round announced by the Government did give some welcome good news for the short term financial position and that we are getting some grant funding for one year.  The final proposals have still to be confirmed but for Kingston it is estimated that there will be around £2m new grant funding for social care and around £2.4m of grant funding that was received in 2019/20 will continue into 2020/21 when it was previously thought this would be for one year only.

 

The longer term funding position remains unclear, though with the implementation of the fair funding review and 75% business rates retention being pushed back to 2021/22.  The current business rates retention pilot will also end at the end of the current year, which we have gained from in the past.  So we’ve had a bit of good news and a bit of bad news.

 

£700m of the £14.5bn announced by Government is additional funding for high needs education next year, and it is estimated that this could increase the high needs block allocation by £2.3m which is broadly equivalent to what we think will be the additional funding required to deal with new demand.  So while it is welcome that we get this £2.3m, it is still not enough for the demand that we’re receiving and the issues that we’re having with the high needs block deficit in the accounts.

 

 

To:      Councillor Malcolm Self, Portfolio Holder for Planning Policy & Economic Development

By:      Councillor Jon Tolley

 

Question:

 

Does the Portfolio Holder welcome the dismissal of the Surrey House appeal and what are the implications for future poor quality planning applications in Kingston?

 

Reply:

 

We welcome the Inspector's decision to dismiss the Surrey House planning appeal.  The decision emphatically supports the Council's position that it will resist development of a poor quality, will resist development that fails to secure well-designed and attractive places, and will resist development that fails to protect and enhance our special built and historic environment.

 

This appeal decision sends a clear message for any future application that may come forward on this site as well as for other future developments across the Borough.  It will be a consideration of considerable weight and importance in the determination of future planning applications.   So, yes, this appeal decision is welcomed as it reinforces this Lib Dem Administration’s commitment to welcome well-designed and sustainable development that delivers much needed housing and infrastructure, but resists development that does not meet the needs and aspirations that our residents deserve.

 

 

To:  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.

35.

Constitution Review [Reference from Community and Engagement Committee - 24 September 2019] pdf icon PDF 62 KB

To consider the 2019/20 Annual Review of the Constitution and proposals for change.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a report submitted to the Community and Engagement Committee at its meeting on 24 September 2019 relating to the 2019/20 Annual Review of the Council Constitution and proposals for change, which was attached as Annex 1 to a cover update report by the Assistant Director of Governance and Law setting out the Committee’s recommendations to Council. 

 

A review of the Constitution in 2018/19 agreed revised officer and elected member responsibilities, strengthened the role of Neighbourhood Committees and the governance of commissioning arrangements.  The current review was concerned with improving Council decision making including the various public participation processes of Deputations; Community Motions, Call-In and Petitions.

 

The Council has been redesigning the way it engages with residents, with a view to reaching out to more people across the borough and involving them at earlier stages of decision making when they can better inform and influence final decisions.  Channels of communication and how people use them have transformed over the last 20 years and the Council is updating its engagement strategy to recognise this.

 

The purpose of the Constitution as described in Article 1 is to enable the Council to provide clear leadership to the community, in partnership with citizens, businesses and other organisations, including to:

·           support the active involvement of citizens in the process of local authority decision-making

·           help Councillors represent their constituents more effectively

·           enable decisions to be taken efficiently and effectively

·           create a powerful and effective means of holding decision-makers to public account

·           ensure that those responsible for decision making are clearly identifiable to local people and that they explain the reasons for decisions

·           ensure that proposals and decisions are effectively and fairly reviewed.

 

The LGA Peer Review 2019 concluded that the current Constitution is not achieving its purpose.  It is generating “confusion and ambiguity” and there is a need to “streamline decision making”.

 

The 2019 Constitution review was informed by the recommendations of the above LGA Peer Review, by analysis of best practice, and by consultation with key stakeholders.

 

Attached to Annex 1 to the report were the following Enclosures setting out detailed proposals:

·           Enclosure 1 – Schedule of Amendments

·           Enclosure 2 – Part 4A Meeting Procedure Rules

·           Enclosure 3 – Part 4C – Community Call in Procedure Rules

·           Enclosure 4Part 4G – The Petition Scheme

·           Enclosure 5 – Part 4D – Contract Regulations

 

Attached at Annex 2 to the report was a full Equalities Impact Assessment.  Late material was circulated prior to the meeting with an amendment to paragraph 25 of Annex 2. 

 

During the Council’s deliberations on the proposals, Councillor Kevin Davis moved an amendment, seconded by Councillor David Cunningham, the effect of which was that:

(i)            the proposed amendments to the Constitution described in the Report not be approved;

(ii)          the Community and Engagement Committee undertake a new review; and

(iii)         the recommendation in relation to authorising the Monitoring Officer to make consequential changes be deleted.

On being put to the vote, the above amendment was defeated.

 

Voting:

For:  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35.

36.

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 in April the Council designated Marie Rosenthal as the Council’s Monitoring Officer pending the appointment of a new Assistant Director of Governance and Law.  Lauren McCann has been appointed as the new Assistant Director of Governance and Law, joining Kingston Council in October. 

Lauren is a qualified solicitor and has previously served as Head of Legal Services and Deputy Monitoring Officer at Kent County Council; as a senior legal advisor for child sexual exploitation and asylum seeking children; and as Deputy Monitoring Officer for the Kent Fire and Rescue Service.

It is recommended that Lauren McCann be designated as the Council’s Monitoring Officer with immediate effect.

 

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.

Lauren McCann has been appointed as the new Assistant Director of Governance and Law, joining Kingston Council in October. 

Ms McCann is a qualified solicitor and has previously served as Head of Legal Services and Deputy Monitoring Officer at Kent County Council; as a senior legal advisor for child sexual exploitation and asylum seeking children; and as Deputy Monitoring Officer for the Kent Fire and Rescue Service.

Resolved that Lauren McCann be designated as the Council’s Monitoring Officer with immediate effect.

Voting - Unanimous

37.

Boundary Commission Review - Delegation of Powers to Community and Engagement Committee

 

The purpose of Stage 2 of the Review is to examine the ward boundaries, ward names and the number of Members per ward with a view to ensuring that they meet the following statutory criteria: (i) that each Councillor represents approximately the same number of voters. In the case of Kingston, and based on population projections for the period to 2025, this amounts to one Member per 2,572 electors, within tolerance thresholds of +/- 10% (but ideally within +/- 5% for London Boroughs) (ii) that the patterns of wards reflect the interests and identities of local communities and (iii) that the patterns of wards promote effective local government.  (No changes can be made to the Borough’s external boundaries, nor to those of the Parliamentary constituencies during this process.)

 

The closing date for the Council and other stakeholders to submit Stage 2 proposals to the Boundary Commission is 11 November ie before the next Council meeting on 17 December. 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.  Following amendments to remits of strategic committees in May, the Community and Engagement Committee now has the remit for Electoral Services. The Council is being asked therefore to formally delegate its powers to the Community and Engagement Committee in order for it to agree the form of the Council’s response for Stage 2 of the Review.

 

This will necessitate the next meeting of the Community and Engagement Committee (which is currently scheduled for 14 November) being brought forward by several days.

 

The LGBCE  will consult on its draft recommendations between February-April 2020 and publish its final recommendations to be laid before Parliament on 30 June 2020. The Council will then need to conduct a formal review of its Polling District arrangements to take account of the revised boundaries. The new warding arrangements will come into effect at the next Borough elections in May 2022.

 

Recommendation

 

To resolve that the power to approve the recommendations for Stage 2 of the Local Government Boundary Commission Review is delegated to the Community and Engagement Committee.





Minutes:

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) is currently undertaking a three year programme of electoral reviews of London Boroughs.  Stage 1 of its review of Kingston’s arrangements took place between November 2018 and March 2019 and focused on the number of elected Members the Council requires to satisfactorily fulfil its functions.  The Commission had agreed with the Council’s submission that the number of Council members should remain at the present level of 48.

The purpose of Stage 2 of the Review is to examine the ward boundaries, ward names and the number of Members per ward with a view to ensuring that they meet the following statutory criteria.

As the closing date for the Council and other stakeholders to submit Stage 2 proposals to the Boundary Commission had been set at 11 November ie before the next Council meeting on 17 December, the Council was asked to formally delegate its powers to the Community and Engagement Committee (which has a remit for Electoral Services) to agree the form of the Council’s response for Stage 2 of the Review.

Resolved that the power to approve the recommendations for Stage 2 of the Local Government Boundary Commission Review is delegated to the Community and Engagement Committee.

 

Voting -

For: 34 members of the Council (the Mayor, Councillor Margaret Thompson, the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Munir Ravalia, and Councillors Zain Abbas, Sushila Abraham, Stephanie Archer, Tricia Bamford, Olivia Boult, Tim Cobbett, David Cunningham, Emily Davey, Kevin Davis, Mark Durrant, Simon Edwards, Ed Fram, Sam Foulder-Hughes, Hilary Gander, Ian George, Liz Green, Lesley Heap, Alison Holt,  Caroline Kerr, Andreas Kirsch, Rebekah Moll, Maria Netley, Dave Ryder-Mills, Anita Schaper, Malcolm Self, John Sweeney, Thay Thayalan, Jon Tolley, Olly Wehring, Diane White, Yogan Yoganathan and Sharon Young)

 

Against: Councillor Falchikov-Sumner

 

38.

Designation of Deputy Electoral Registration Officers

The Council is responsible for the appointment of the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) and Deputy Electoral Registration Officers (DEROs).  Council confirmed the appointment of the Electoral Services Manager and the Deputy Electoral Services Manager as DEROs at its meeting in July 2018.

 

DEROs are required to ensure there are sufficient resources to hold hearings in to electoral registration applications, objections and reviews (which are quasi-judicial procedures).  Hearings can often be held at short notice, particularly in the lead up to electoral registration deadlines at an election. 

 

It is therefore recommended that the Monitoring Officer and Corporate Head of Democratic & Electoral Services are appointed as additional DEROs to provide maximum flexibility.

 

Recommendations:

 

To resolve that

(a)       the Monitoring Officer [or Assistant Director, Law & Governance] and the Corporate Head of Democratic and Electoral Services are appointed as Deputy Electoral Registration Officers and

(b)       the Electoral Services Manager and Deputy Electoral Services Manager are re-confirmed as Deputy Electoral Registration Officers.

 

Minutes:

The Council is responsible for the appointment of the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) and Deputy Electoral Registration Officers (DEROs).  Council confirmed the appointment of the Electoral Services Manager and the Deputy Electoral Services Manager as DEROs at its meeting in July 2018.

DEROs are required to ensure there are sufficient resources to hold hearings in to electoral registration applications, objections and reviews (which are quasi-judicial procedures).  Hearings can often be held at short notice, particularly in the lead up to electoral registration deadlines at an election. 

It is therefore recommended that the Monitoring Officer and Corporate Head of Democratic & Electoral Services are appointed as additional DEROs to provide maximum flexibility.

 

Resolved that

(a)       the Monitoring Officer and the Corporate Head of Democratic and Electoral Services are appointed as Deputy Electoral Registration Officers and

(b)       the Electoral Services Manager and Deputy Electoral Services Manager are re-confirmed as Deputy Electoral Registration Officers.

Voting - unanimous

 

 

39.

Appointment of Independent Persons

At its meeting on 24 July 2019 the Audit, Governance & Standards Committee recommended that Council agrees to continue the appointment of the Independent Persons for a further period of 5 years.

 

Independent Persons are appointed under Section 28(7) of the Localism Act 2011 which provides that ‘Arrangements put in place under subsection (6)(b) by a relevant authority must include provision for the appointment by the authority of at least one independent person:

(a) whose views are to be sought, and taken into account, by the authority before it makes its decision on an allegation that it has decided to investigate, and 

(b) whose views may be sought:  (i) by the authority in relation to an allegation in circumstances not within paragraph (a);   (ii) by a member, or co-opted member, of the authority if that person’s behaviour is the subject of an allegation; and (iii) by a member, or co-opted member, of a parish council if that person’s behaviour is the subject of an allegation and the authority is the parish council’s principal authority.

 

The Council has appointed two Independent Persons since 2012, Andy Elmer and Damian Quinn. The Independent Persons have been appointed for terms of 5 years and their appointment has been renewed on one occasion some years ago.

 

The Audit, Governance and Standards Committee recommends that their appointment be continued for a further period of 5 years to 1 March 2024.

 

The appointment of Independent Persons is an unpaid role.

 

Recommendation

 

To resolve that the existing appointment of the Independent Persons (Andy Elmer and Damian Quinn) be extended to continue to 1 March 2024.

 

Minutes:

At its meeting on 24 July 2019 the Audit, Governance & Standards Committee recommended that Council agrees to continue the appointment of the Independent Persons for a further period of 5 years.

 

Independent Persons are appointed under Section 28(7) of the Localism Act 2011 which provides that ‘Arrangements put in place under subsection (6)(b) by a relevant authority must include provision for the appointment by the authority of at least one independent person:

(a) whose views are to be sought, and taken into account, by the authority before it makes its decision on an allegation that it has decided to investigate, and

(b) whose views may be sought: (i) by the authority in relation to an allegation in circumstances not within paragraph (a); (ii) by a member, or co-opted member, of the authority if that person’s behaviour is the subject of an allegation; and (iii) by a member, or co-opted member, of a parish council if that person’s behaviour is the subject of an allegation and the authority is the parish council’s principal authority.

The Council has appointed two Independent Persons since 2012, Andy Elmer and Damian Quinn.  The Independent Persons have been appointed for terms of 5 years and their appointment has been renewed on one occasion some years ago.

The Audit, Governance and Standards Committee recommended that their appointment be continued for a further period of 5 years to 1 March 2024.

The Independent Person is an unpaid role.

A query was raised as to whether an Independent Person could be appointed under the legislation if that person is a long-standing friend of an elected member of the Council.  (Councillor Malcolm Self has known Mr Andy Elmer for a number of years.)

Resolved that the existing appointment of the Independent Persons (Andy Elmer and Damian Quinn) be extended to continue to 1 March 2024, subject to confirmation by the Monitoring Officer that the appointment of Mr Elmer would be a lawful appointment, in view of his long-standing acquaintance with Councillor Self).

Voting –

For: 34 members of the Council (the Mayor, Councillor Margaret Thompson, the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Munir Ravalia, and Councillors Zain Abbas, Sushila Abraham, Stephanie Archer, Tricia Bamford, Olivia Boult, Tim Cobbett, David Cunningham, Emily Davey, Kevin Davis, Mark Durrant, Simon Edwards, Ed Fram, Sam Foulder-Hughes, Hilary Gander, Ian George, Liz Green, Lesley Heap, Alison Holt,  Caroline Kerr, Andreas Kirsch, Rebekah Moll, Maria Netley, Dave Ryder-Mills, Anita Schaper, Malcolm Self, John Sweeney, Thay Thayalan, Jon Tolley, Olly Wehring, Diane White, Yogan Yoganathan and Sharon Young)

 

Against: Councillor Falchikov-Sumner

 

[Earlier in the meeting, Councillor Malcolm Self had declared a personal interest in relation to this item.  Reason: Councillor Self has known the Independent Person, Andrew Elmer, for a number of years. Councillor Self did not participate in the deliberations on this item.]

 

 

40.

Appointments to Committees, Panels and other bodies

The Council is RECOMMENDED to make the following appointments:

 

Children’s and Adults’ Care and Education Committee

 

Following the recent resignation of Jane Marwood as Church of England Diocesan representative on the Committee, the Southwark Diocese has nominated Mr John Dewhurst to be appointed as their co-opted member on the Committee (with voting rights on education matters).

 

·                    Mr John Dewhurst be appointed to the Children’s and Adults’ Care and Education Committee meeting as a co-opted member representing the Southwark Church of England Diocese.

 

Environment and Sustainable Transport Committee

 

A report on the role of Mental Health Champions was considered at the Council meeting in October 2018 when Mental Health Champions were appointed to each strategic committee. 

 

·                    Councillor Olly Wehring to be appointed as Mental Health Champion on the Environment and Sustainable Transport Committee (Councillor Zain Abbas formerly had this role)

Minutes:

Resolved that the following appointments be approved:

 

Children’s and Adults’ Care and Education Committee

 

Following the recent resignation of Jane Marwood as Church of England Diocesan representative on the Committee, the Southwark Diocese has nominated Mr John Dewhurst to be appointed as their co-opted member on the Committee (with voting rights on education matters).

 

·                    Mr John Dewhurst be appointed to the Children’s and Adults’ Care and Education Committee meeting as a co-opted member representing the Southwark Church of England Diocese.

 

Environment and Sustainable Transport Committee

 

·                    Councillor Olly Wehring be appointed as Mental Health Champion on the Environment and Sustainable Transport Committee (a role formerly held by Councillor Zain Abbas)

 

Voting - Unanimous

41.

State of the Borough Debate - 21 November 2019

Under Standing Order no 1, relating to Meetings of the Council, each Municipal Year a State of the Borough debate is held on a particular topic of local interest. During the course of the debate, there is the opportunity for participation by invited guest speakers, residents and other interested parties. 

Since the State of the Borough Debates were reintroduced in 2015, topics of the debate have included:

·           ‘Growth’ (keynote speaker: Stewart Murray, Assistant Director of Planning at the GLA) – 2015

·           ‘The Role of the Future Council’ (keynote speaker: Prof Catherine Staite, Director of INLOGOV) – 2016

·           ‘Harnessing the Borough's culture and creativity to shape the future of the Borough through community engagement’ (keynote speakers: Shonagh Manson, GLA Asst Director for Culture and Creative industries and Robin Hutchinson MBE, Chair of Creative Kingston) - 2017

·           ‘Brexit: what will the impact be on our borough?’ (with a panel of local representatives of different sectors of the community, chaired by Professor Jill Schofield, Dean and Pro Vice Chancellor, Kingston University) - 2018

This year, following a resident vote on the topic, the debate will be on the theme of ‘Growing Kingston Together’  (covering areas such as  regeneration, the changing nature of the high street, the role of culture and tourism, economic development, skills and culture, housing and development, affordable housing).

The event will be held on Thursday 21 November 2019 – starting at 7pm (with refreshments from 6.30pm) and for the first time be held outside the Guildhall – in the South of our Borough at Chessington School, Garrison Lane, Chessington KT9 2JS. 

Each year since 2015, different methods and formats have been used for the event to involve the community more in the debate.  This year, in order to allow maximum flexibility for community participation in the event, Council is recommended to confirm that the event is held as a community engagement event, rather than as a formal meeting of the Council, and that Standing Orders will therefore not apply.  (It is hoped that all Members of the Council will attend and participate in this event.)

 

Recommendation

 

To resolve that Council Standing Orders, in particular Standing Order no 1, are waived to allow the State of the Borough debate to be held as an informal community engagement event, rather than as a formal meeting of the Council.

Minutes:

Following a resident vote on the topic, the State of the Borough debate this year will be on the theme of ‘Growing Kingston Together’  (covering areas such as  regeneration, the changing nature of the high street, the role of culture and tourism, economic development, skills and culture, housing and development, affordable housing).

Each year since 2015, different methods and formats have been used for the State of the Borough debate to involve the community more in the event.  This year, in order to allow maximum flexibility for community participation, Council was recommended to confirm that the event is held as a community engagement event, rather than as a formal meeting of the Council, and that Standing Orders would therefore not apply. 

 

Resolved that Council Standing Orders, in particular Standing Order no 1, are waived to allow the State of the Borough debate to be held as an informal community engagement event, rather than as a formal meeting of the Council.

 

Voting:

 

For: 29 members of the Council (the Mayor, Councillor Margaret Thompson, the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Munir Ravalia, and Councillors Zain Abbas, Sushila Abraham, Stephanie Archer, Tricia Bamford, Olivia Boult, Tim Cobbett, Emily Davey, Mark Durrant, Simon Edwards, Sam Foulder-Hughes, Hilary Gander, Liz Green, Lesley Heap, Alison Holt,  Caroline Kerr, Andreas Kirsch, Rebekah Moll, Dave Ryder-Mills, Anita Schaper, Malcolm Self, John Sweeney, Thay Thayalan, Jon Tolley, Olly Wehring, Diane White, Yogan Yoganathan and Sharon Young)

Abstaining: 6 members of the Council (Councillors David Cunningham, Kevin Davis, Sharron Falchikov-Sumner, Ed Fram, Ian George, and Maria Netley)

42.

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 were no urgent items authorised by the Mayor.

Annex 1 Written Replies to Council Questions

Annex 1

Written Replies to Council Questions

 

To:       Councillor Malcolm Self, Portfolio Holder for Planning Policy and Economic Development

By:      Councillor Roy Arora

 

Question:

 

Can the Councillor tell us what discussions have taken place within the administration and with outside bodies regarding the redevelopment of Ashdown Road Car Park and the Cattle Market?

 

Written reply:

 

The potential redevelopment of Ashdown Road car park and the Cattle Market car park sites is at early technical feasibility phase and will form part of a wider strategic piece of work through the soon to be commissioned Kingston Town Centre Vision that will seek to plan for sustainable growth over the next 15 years to act as key evidence in the emerging Local Plan.  The council will begin to engage with a variety of stakeholders in the forthcoming months relating the future of these sites.  These two sites also fall with the current Parking Review.

 

 

To:       Councillor Malcolm Self, Portfolio Holder for Planning Policy and Economic Development

By:      Councillor Roy Arora

 

Question:

 

Can the Councillor update us the current performance of the planning department, specifically in relation to the time taken for the issuance of decision notices in relation to the date of application?  Can the Councillor give us a cost for the recovery programme and the external consultants who have been supporting the department?  Given the appalling performance residents have had to endure under his leadership, will the Councillor apologise?

 

Written reply:

 

The recovery plan is underway and we are over 75% of the way through it.  We hope to be completed by the end of the year.  The backlog of cases have been batched into weekly sets and the applicants’ agents have been informed of when we expect to clear their application.  More than 85% of these have been processed within target.  The additional staff have been employed against existing posts so at this stage the service is not expected to exceed its budget.

 


 

To:       Councillor Malcolm Self, Portfolio Holder for Planning Policy and Economic Development

By:      Councillor Roy Arora

Question:

 

Given the failing state of the Ancient Market and the declining number of stallholders, coupled with the terrible state of the market stalls, can the Councillor update us on discussions the Administration is having with Kingston First in order to deliver a market that Kingston can be proud of?

 

Written reply:

 

The award winning Kingston Ancient Market Place and stalls remain extremely popular with Kingston residents, local businesses and visitors contributing to the town centre being London’s third most popular shopping destination.

For these reasons the market place is intensively used and requires ongoing management and investment working with the Kingston First BID who manage the market stalls and work closely with the Council to keep public spaces clean, tidy and safe for all to use.  The square, for example, benefits from supplementary cleansing Services.

More recently, the Council has commissioned an extensive investment programme that is underway and includes new doors and waterproofing measures for the existing market stalls to maximise business trading opportunities.  Work has also been done to maintain a supply of granite to make sure repair jobs aren’t left unsightly after the agreed permitted period and works are due to complete on these reinstatements in coming weeks.  Some has now been completed.

The Council is also proud to install the first-in-the-borough new design public water fountain in the market place earlier in the Spring this year and is successfully being used by local residents and visitors.

The use of the area as a public space is fundamental.  Over the spring and summer period, the popular artificial grass was renewed and the deckchairs provide more public seating and relaxation.  Additional benches will be provided, the flower troughs are being replanted.

The Council continues to work closely with the Kingston First BID as a key partner in the town centre and through new working arrangements in the forthcoming four year BID period it anticipated it will improve its attractiveness, sustainability and ongoing operational success.

 

 

To:       Councillor Malcolm Self, Portfolio Holder for Planning Policy and Economic Development

By:      Councillor Roy Arora

Question:

 

Can the Councillor update us on the current position in Kingston on the cladding of buildings and, in light of the Grenfell fire, if there are remaining buildings using inappropriate cladding can the Member outline what steps the Council are taking to remove or support the replacement of this cladding?


 

Written reply:

 

Following the fire at Grenfell, an initial assessment of the relevant buildings in RBK was undertaken and it suggested that none were clad in such material.  This position remains under review.

 

 

By:      Councillor Caroline Kerr

To:       Councillor Alison Holt, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Contracts

 

Question:

 

As of June this year, only 4,570 of Kingston’s EU nationals have applied for settled status, out of a population of around 11,000. What is the council doing to encourage more people to apply?

 

Written Reply:

 

The Council value all of Kingston’s EU nationals that live and work in the borough and is committed to supporting them to receive settled status.  Residents need to apply, even if they have a current permanent residency, by 30 June 2021, or 31 December 2020 if the U.K leaves the EU without a deal.

Since the scheme opened in March 2019, over a third of Kingston’s EU national residents applied for settled status in the first three months.  It is anticipated that this figure will have increased from June 2019 - in the lead up to the 31 October - and we await to see the updated figures from Government, which are due in November.  In the meantime, we want to ensure all EU nationals in Kingston are aware of their rights and take the necessary steps to protect them.

Firstly, we are encouraging Council staff to apply for EU settled status by promoting the scheme via the Council’s internal communication channels, such as the intranet and also providing support from the Human Resources department.  The Council is also extending this communication to its contracted suppliers so that their EU national workforce can be informed and encouraged to apply as well.

For residents and workers in the borough, the Council is using a range of communication channels to ensure the EU Settlement Scheme is widely signposted, for example, through social media, a dedicated website page and also through the display of posters and the distribution of brochures.  To support the application process, the Council is also offering an ID verification service (free of charge for Kingston residents) via the Guildhall customer contact centre.

Over the next couple of weeks, the Council will ensure the brochures are distributed to other public service bodies/agencies such as Job Centre Plus, schools, libraries, as well as general public spaces such as cafes and shops.

In mid-September, the Council held a Roundtable with key partners in the borough, such as the police Kingston Hospital, schools, businesses etc to discuss EU Exit preparations including the work to be done to support residents and workers in applying for EU Settled Status.

Finally, there will be some residents that are harder to reach, so the Council are working with key workers, neighbourhood groups and Committees to help communicate and signpost these residents to the Settlement Scheme and also places where they can get support in completing the form.

 

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

By:      Councillor David Cunningham

 

Question:

 

The Council has recently taken the decision to implement charges for motorcycle parking. Can the Member update the Council on why there is such a shortfall in income in the month 4 monitoring?

 

Written Reply:

 

The Council will not be implementing charges for motorcycle parking at this time.  This proposal considered charges both for residents’ permits and in our on- and off-street parking areas.  Following consultation, the Council chose to pause changes to residents’ permits until a vision for parking in Kingston is agreed through the upcoming parking strategy review.  This review will seek to align future parking policy with the ambitions in the Corporate Plan around improved air quality and sustainable transport and outcomes from the Draft Local Plan and projects such as Reimagining Kingston Town Centre, as well as national policy changes, for example, around the provision of blue badges.  The decision not to proceed with emissions based residents’ permits, following approval of this year’s budget, is the main reason that income is showing a shortfall.  Other factors include reduced income from bus lane contraventions as a result of works on the Go Cycle programme, as an example.

 

 

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

By:      Councillor David Cunningham

 

Question:

 

Once again raw sewage has been spilt on the Green Lane Recreation Ground.  Can the Councillor explain what steps the Council is undertaking to help clean up this mess and what solutions the Council will be proposing to make this the last time a spillage takes place?

 

Written Reply:

 

On 24 September a Thames Water manhole located in the recreation ground burst during heavy rainfall causing foul sewage to be discharged into the park.  It is the responsibility of Thames Water to clean up the discharge and they attended the site that afternoon to fence off the affected area from public access and begin clean up.  Whilst the major clean-up has now been completed, the affected area will remain closed off for 30 days from the date of the incident to ensure that any harmful bacteria is broken down and there is no risk to the public entering the space.  The cordoned-off area is located adjacent to the woodland corner of the park and all access points into the site and the playground remain open for public use.

The Council is awaiting a report from Thames Water as to the cause of the incident and the proposed steps that will be taken to prevent further incidents.

 


 

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

By:      Councillor David Cunningham

 

Question:

 

London's Directors of Public Health have recently called for 2.5% of GDP to be spent on improving air quality.  In order to show the Council’s commitment to the environment would the Councillor be prepared to consider a pioneering role where the Council committed to a percentage of all Council spending to be spent on improving air quality and climate change?

 

Written Reply:

 

The recent joint report from the Association of Directors of Public Health and the London Councils’ Environment Directors Network on behalf of London Councils is a London-wide initiative which is primarily a lobbying document.  It highlights the impacts of poor air quality on the health of Londoners and requests that Government take more urgent action to fund the UK’s response and show global leadership on tackling poor air quality and climate change.

Kingston Council is demonstrating its commitment to improving air quality by piloting ‘School Streets’, planning the roll-out of electric vehicle charging points, planting many more trees than in recent years, investing in the Go Cycle network of protected cycle lanes and improved pedestrian facilities, running resident engagement events including a Citizens’ Assembly and investing in Healthy Streets road infrastructure changes.  Kingston Council has declared a Climate Emergency.  Work is underway across all service areas to review initiatives that are already in place, consider future actions and set benchmarks so that we can monitor our progress to carbon neutrality.  A report is coming back to the Environment and Sustainable Transport Committee in November.

The problem is that Kingston, like all other councils, isn’t funded adequately to deliver the services it needs to provide - from social care services to vulnerable children and adults through to universal services such as refuse collection and street cleaning.  The Government should conduct a multi-year Comprehensive Spending Review as a matter of urgency to fund councils properly for the services they provide and not continue with annual budget settlements seen in recent years.

The Government needs to show leadership in tackling poor air quality and climate change, with an increase in funding to allow the UK to take the lead globally on this issue.  Kingston and councils across the country are doing much already, and we would gladly invest more for our residents’ future if we were appropriately funded to do so.

 

 

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

By:      Councillor David Cunningham

 

Question:

 

Both the LGA and the Transport Select Committee have called for a ban on pavement parking due to the damage it does to pavements.  Can the Councillor indicate what current Council policy is in this regard and whether the Environment and Sustainable Transport committee will be considering options around pavement parking this Municipal Year?

 


 

Written Reply:

 

Unlike the rest of the country, footway (“pavement”) parking is already banned in the whole of Greater London, unless the Highway Authority expressly permits it.  The Council has powers to enforce this and does.  The Council has a number of areas where footway parking is permitted, and will continue to consider permitting it in limited areas, but only for exceptional reasons e.g. relating to access issues, and only providing that the footway continues to be accessible to all and is structurally capable of taking the weight of vehicles. Any new areas will only be considered if there is adequate footway width to ensure that appropriate accessibility for pedestrian and disabled users can be maintained as well.

 

 

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

By:      Councillor David Cunningham

 

Question:

 

The recent heavy weather has led to some significant incidents of surface water flooding in residential roads.  Can the Councillor outline the current council methodology for cleaning and clearing street gullies and undertake a review of current processes for presentation at a future strategic committee?

 

Written Reply:

 

All gullies in the borough are scheduled to be cleaned annually.  Where access is prevented due to parked cars, the Council’s contractor will return three times to attempt to complete the operation. If this is still not possible, a report is provided to the Council. Where necessary, a parking suspension will then be put in place to allow the works to be carried out.  An emergency call out service is also in operation.

 

 

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

By:      Councillor David Cunningham

 

Question:

 

What additional arrangements have been put in place to ensure that new cycling lanes, in particular, those on a different level to the road, will receive suitable levels of gritting to keep them safe during freezing temperatures?

 

Written reply:

 

The Council is proposing that all segregated cycle-ways are treated at the same frequency as our major carriageways in cold weather.   Methods of hand gritting and application of a brine solution by a small vehicle will be trialled over this winter season.  Request for additional resource for the chosen method will be brought to Budget Council for endorsement.  Further research and evidence from approaches being trialled in other boroughs that have recently expanded their cycle networks will also be factored in to any recommendation.


 

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

By:      Councillor David Cunningham

 

Question:

 

Will a cyclist need to die before the dangerous state of Gloucester Road (between Coombe Lane West and Kenley Road) gets resurfaced?

 

Written Reply:

 

A temporary repair was recently undertaken near the bridge.  The carriageway condition had deteriorated significantly since the last inspection for planned maintenance.  It is on the programme for resurfacing in the next financial year.  In the meantime, officers will continue to make any reactive interventions should they be required.

 

 

To:       Councillor Liz Green, Leader of the Council

By:      Councillor Kevin Davis

 

Question:

 

The Government has announced a £20m fund to help tackle the scourge of County Lines and drug gangs. Is this a problem in Kingston? and if so can the Leader confirm how she will be working with the Police to examine whether Kingston might access this funding?

 

Written reply:

 

I am delighted to reply that our bid (developed in partnership with Richmond Council) to the MOL Violence Reduction Unit for funding to increase youth interventions and outreach work to address the potential for this problem in the borough has been successful.  The Council worked with the Police, AfC, and adult and youth Integrated Offender Management (IOM) panels to develop and submit this bid and the project (which will be overseen by the Safer Kingston Partnership and Richmond Community Safety Partnership) will deliver:

·           outreach support to schools and coordination/mapping of existing work in schools and dissemination of best practice

·           outreach work in youth settings

·           detached youth work on the streets, targeting identified hot spots in partnership with local neighbourhood policing. Positively engaging vulnerable young people at risk of exploitation or engaging in risky behaviour including offending and also focusing on those identified at risk by Youth Integrated Offender Management and Multi Agency Risk, Vulnerability, Exploitation

·           delivery of positive diversional activities and harm reduction interventions to targeted groups of young people.

·           the development of a Young Advisors/Youth Independent Advisory Group

This will be part of a programme in which the Council is working with the police, AfC, the Voluntary Sector and Pan London Rescue & Response (R&R) Programme (MOPAC funded) to better understand, target and respond to County Lines in Kingston.


 

This includes:

·                network analysis by R & R of county lines cohorts to identify influencers, controllers, trends and further young people at risk in Kingston

·                further liaison between R & R, RBK and AfC analysts to develop the joint knowledge around county lines cohorts in Kingston

·                ongoing weekly scanning of MPS systems to identify further intelligence and young people at risk

It is a shame that you missed the recent Safer Kingston Board presentation on County Lines, that all Councillors were invited to, where Response and Rescue showed the analysis of Kingston and how our partners can help to ensure more robust data is collected and action to protect our most vulnerable children and young people at risk of being exploited by criminals.  I am sure the presentation will be available if you would like a copy?

 

 

To:       Councillor Liz Green, Leader of the Council

By:      Councillor Kevin Davis

 

Question:

 

Given the recent concerns raised about the falling rates of child vaccination can the Leader update us on the position in Kingston and what the Council can do to support parents in making the right choice for their children?

 

Written reply:

 

The picture of vaccine coverage for Kingston shows that improvements are needed for all childhood vaccines to meet national targets. In terms of trends, the situation in Kingston is mixed with improving trends for uptake for some vaccines (eg Men C and flu for 2-3 yr olds), while for others (such as Dtap/IPV/Hib and MMR), the situation worsened in 2017/18 (the latest published data available).

The detailed statistics on the rates of child vaccination are too lengthy to include in this written reply but are available as background information on request and the following is a summary:

·           Dtap/ IPV/Hib (1 year old): Kingston is not meeting the national target of 95% for this vaccine. Coverage shows a decrease between 2016/17 and 2017/18. The combined DTaP/IPV/Hib is the first in a course of vaccines offered to babies to protect them against diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, Haemophilus influenzae type b (an important cause of childhood meningitis and pneumonia) and polio (IPV is inactivated polio vaccine)

·           Dtap/IPV/Hib (2 years old): Up to 2015/16, Kingston was meeting national targets for this vaccine. However, the data shows that there was a drop in uptake in 2017/18 and the borough did not meet the national target for that year. 

·           MenC: The meningococcal C conjugate (MenC) vaccine protects against infection by meningococcal group C bacteria, which can cause meningitis and septicaemia. The trend for this vaccine is improving but not yet meeting the national target.- 

·           PCV: The PCV vaccine protects against pneumococcal infections that can cause pneumonia, septicaemia or meningitis. Kingston is not meeting the national target and had a drop in uptake in the year 17/18.

·           Hib/ MenC booster (2 years, 5 years): The Hib / MenC booster increases the protection a child gets from the first course of Hib vaccine when they are 8, 12 and 16 weeks old, and the MenC vaccine when they are 12 and 16 weeks. This boosted immunity lasts into adulthood. Kingston coverage for this vaccine has been consistently well below the national target. Coverage decreased at 2 years in 17/18. Coverage by the time a child is 5 years is increasing in Kingston but still remains below the national target. 

·           PCV Booster: The PCV vaccine protects against pneumococcal infections that can cause pneumonia, septicaemia or meningitis. After a trend of improvement up to 2015/16 in Kingston, there was a drop in uptake in 17/18 for this vaccine.

·           MMR (2 years, 5 years): MMR is the combined vaccine that protects against measles, mumps and rubella. Measles, mumps and rubella are highly infectious, common conditions that can have serious complications, including meningitis, swelling of the brain (encephalitis) and deafness. They can also lead to complications in pregnancy that affect the unborn baby and can lead to miscarriage. Coverage for this vaccine in Kingston has not met national targets over the last eight years although showed an improving trend up to 2015/16. Uptake has been decreasing year on year since then.

·           HPV (females 13-14 years): The national human papillomavirus (HPV) immunisation programme was introduced in 2008 for secondary school year 8 females (12 to 13 years of age) to protect them against the main causes of cervical cancer. The programme met national targets in 2015/16 but coverage has dropped since then and no longer meets targets.

·           Flu (2-3 years old): Coverage of the 2-3 year old age group is increasing with flu vaccine but not yet meeting national targets.

It is NHS England (NHSE) which is responsible for commissioning vaccination programmes across England, including Kingston.

The local council Public Health team does not have any role in commissioning or providing local vaccination services.

However, increasing the uptake of preventative services, including vaccination, is an agreed joint priority for the council and other local partners, as set out in the recently agreed ‘Kingston Health and Care Plan 2019-2021’. The plan is also referenced in the Kingston Corporate Plan 2019-2023. The council gives support to the NHSE commissioned vaccination programmes through a number of routes.

The Council support aims to help local parents take up the vaccination offer in Kingston through augmenting the national messaging and signposting. Where appropriate and possible, Public Health will work with the council Communications team to augment national messaging through the RBK Communications channels.  The Council's commissioned services for children aged 0-19 years give advice and signposting on immunisation to parents at key contact points, including the following:

·           Health Visiting: The Kingston Health Visiting Service, delivered by Your Healthcare, sees parents from the antenatal period up until a child is 5 years old. The services delivers 5 mandated visits/ checks with parents. The mandated checks take place: antenatally, a ‘new birth visit’, a ‘6-8 week contact’, ‘one year review’ and ‘two to two and a half year review’. The immunisation schedule, child vaccination status and signposting should be discussed at all visits.

·           School Nursing: The Kingston School Nursing service, delivered by YourHealthCare, does not provide school vaccinations in Kingston. NHSE has commissioned HRCH (Hounslow and Richmond Community Health NHS Trust) to deliver the Kingston school vaccination programme. However, the Kingston School Nursing service does promote vaccination uptake during children's health assessments undertaken and signposts queries to the HRCH information line. The team also promote immunisations through the ‘School Entry Health Survey’, which goes out to all schools’ reception cohorts.

·           The Kingston team also responds to queries from students requiring health information for University and actively promote uptake of immunisations outstanding. Most recently, the team have also sent parent emails out through schools and delivered printed materials (leaflets and posters) to 6th form cohorts following a recent outbreak of Mumps.

·           Communications: The RBK Public Health team is currently working in partnership with the SWL Sustainability Transformation Partnership (STP) for our winter wellness communications and engagement campaign. The key messages will focus on flu vaccinations for 2 and 3 year olds, over 65s and those living with or caring for someone with a long-term health condition; and going to a pharmacy for clinical advice and self-care i.e. to access over the counter medicines. In recent years, Public Health has also supported PHE with vaccine promotion outreach to some particular at risk/ low coverage population groups.  In the coming year, RBK Public Health will also work with RBK Communications on how the council can support the national and regional vaccination messaging, together with other partners, for not only flu vaccination but other types of vaccines, where appropriate and under guidance from Public Health England/ NHSE.

 

I find it worrying that parents are not taking up vaccines for their children, especially as this can lead to an increased risk to those children, young people and adults who have been unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons. We need cross party, cross partner working to help improve this situation, with NHSE taking responsibility. I personally feel that if Kingston’s Public Health team had responsibility for commissioning and delivering vaccinations (rather than a national body), we would be better placed to reach our targets.

 

 

To:       Councillor Liz Green, Leader of the Council

By:      Councillor Kevin Davis

 

Question:

 

What performance management metrics is the Leader using to judge whether members of her group in senior positions are adequately performing and when they let down residents, what sanctions does the Leader impose?

 

Written reply:

 

Given that your Administration removed performance management monitoring from the Council altogether, I am rather surprised by your question.  I think you were ill advised at the time, as it’s now clear that no one was watching results or even planning how to improve those results and this Administration and Portfolio Holders have been left with the resulting problems to sort out.

We are currently committed and focussed on improving overall effectiveness of the Council.  To this end, we have a compelling direction that everyone works towards as set out in our manifesto and the Council’s corporate plan.  What is important is that we perform well together as a team and I’m very grateful for the talent and skills that individuals bring to the plate and the team support we get from the organisation.

The Portfolio Holders have well-defined responsibilities and we have good communication, trust and flexibility.  When things go wrong, we work together with the whole Group to solve problems - there’s certainly no avoidance of accountability.   I am also a big supporter of mentoring as it’s always good to access someone else to help you through issues.

 

 

 

 

To:       Councillor Alison Holt, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Contracts

By:      Councillor Rowena Bass

 

Question:

 

Can the portfolio holder give the Council an update on how the Interim manager reduction programme is progressing and tell us how many interim staff there are currently in post and the total costs to the public purse?

 

Written reply:

 

The Council continues to focus on ensuring that interims are used effectively where necessary and that their use is minimised.  However to deliver major programmes, savings and ensure service continuity, there will always be a need for interim staffing and agency.  The key is to ensure that we achieve value for money.  The number of interims has decreased since October 2018 and the cost has significantly decreased since then, as shown below, and we will continue to monitor this.  (While we are unable to give an exact comparison over two years (because the way we record interim data, classify interims and record spend has changed over the last 2 years), there has also been a considerable reduction in the number of interims when comparing October 2019 with October 2017.)

 

Assignments

Total

October 2018

28

£341,976

October 2019

25

£236,458

12 month comparison

-3

Reduction in interim spend - £105,518 p/m

 

 

To:       Councillor Alison Holt, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Contracts

By:      Councillor Rowena Bass

Question:

 

Given the need for the Council to explore all methods for increasing income rather than cutting services can the portfolio holder update us on what is being discussed and her own suggestions on how to maximise the income from the Market House?

 

Written reply:

 

The Council has undertaken an appraisal of its investment property portfolio in order to demonstrate an understanding of these assets and the return generated.  The Market House has been included in this appraisal.  A strategic programme of which assets should be retained and how income is maximised, as well as identifying assets which should be disposed or redeveloped to generate resources for investment, is being developed.  This work will form part of 2020/21 Budget Planning.

 


 

To:       Councillor Alison Holt, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Contracts

By:      Councillor Rowena Bass

Question:

 

Would the Councillor support investigating whether the Council could give Council Tax discounts to those in our Borough who do the valuable job of carers?  If she supports the initiative, will she ask officers to bring a report to the next available meeting of the Finance and Partnership Committee for consideration?

 

Written reply:

 

Thank you for the question and I agree we should be recognising the valuable job that our carers do in our communities and would welcome the Government to come forward with some additional funding for this.

Kingston Council have maintained a fair council tax reduction scheme in comparison to other boroughs, keeping, by and large, with what the Government introduced prior to transferring it over to local government.

We will continue to review this and bring forward our plans in the budget papers which will come to Finance and Partnership Committee in the new year.

 

 

To:       Cllr Emily Davey, Portfolio Holder for Housing

By:      Councillor Nicola Sheppard

 

Question:

Can the Councillor update us on the issue of water charges on the Cambridge Road Estate and when she hopes she will be able to examine the issue through a residents working group the Councillor promised in 2018 to examine the issue?

 

Written reply:

 

Following the judgement in Southwark v Jones LBC [2016] EWHC 457 (Ch) (Jones), further High Court proceedings (which the previous administration commenced following on from this case) are progressing, and are set down for trial this month.

Therefore the Council is unable to comment at this time.

 

 

To:       Cllr Emily Davey, Portfolio Holder for Housing

By:      Councillor Nicola Sheppard

 

Question:

 

Can you explain why, having undertaken significant work to get the decant strategy right and having decided to hold a voluntary ballot on the Cambridge Road Estate Regeneration, you now deem it necessary to put off the ballot again to next year and in doing so create damaging further uncertainty and concern to all the residents on the estate but especially those who are vulnerable. 


 

Written reply:

 

The recent decision by the GLA to enable the Council to include qualifying Registered Provider (RP) residents in the Cambridge Road Ballot is welcomed.  We will now engage with, and consult both the RP residents and landlords over the next weeks on their decant policy offer.

This period of engagement and consultation has inevitably led to a need to delay the Ballot.  However, this will ensure that RP residents have an opportunity to vote in the Ballot and therefore make a choice about the future of the estate alongside their neighbours.

The officer team have advised residents about the delay and the reasons for this.   The Residents Steering Group were advised of the change, prior to release of communications and expressed their support for the inclusion of RP residents in the Ballot.

The team will continue to work proactively with all residents and to provide advice, information and support.

 

 

To:       Cllr Emily Davey, Portfolio Holder for Housing

By:      Councillor Nicola Sheppard

 

Question:

Given the background of rising rents leading to rising homelessness and young people feeling left behind in the housing market, what policies has the Councillor introduced since May 2018 that will increase the supply of affordable housing by the time of the next local elections?

 

Written reply:

In the Autumn 2018, the Council successfully secured £9.5m grant funding from the Mayor's - Building Council Homes for Londoners Fund.  The funding is being used to support the delivery of Phase 1 of the Affordable Housing Programme which aims to build approximately 100 homes, the homes will be built and owned by the Council (held within the HRA).  Further phases of the Affordable Homes Programme will be developed over the next 12 months, it is anticipated that a further 100 affordable homes could be built.  The tenure of these homes will reflect housing need in the Borough and may include shared ownership homes.

In addition, the proposed regeneration of Cambridge Road Estate will aim to provide an additional 114 new council homes which will be available for households on the Housing Register.

The Council’s current Housing Strategy is due for review.  Work will commence to develop a new Housing Strategy which reflects the current environment in the Spring 2019.

 

 

To:       Councillor Diane White, Portfolio Holder for Children's Services

By:      Councillor Maria Netley

 

Question:

 

Given the slow progress being made in restoring the finances of Achieving for Children (AfC) and their apparent reluctance to provide financial information on which Councillors can take decisions, can the Member outline why the savings plans are not being adequately implemented and why it is that, as well as their significant contractual overspend, AfC made a trading loss of £15.4m in the past financial year?

 

Written reply:

 

AfC, who deliver the Council’s Children’s Services, are making good progress against the delivery of general fund savings this year and are on target to deliver £1.3m or 81% of Children’s Services savings plans agreed by Members in March 2019.  Those that are not being delivered this year are either due to external circumstances beyond the direct control of AfC/the Council or have been agreed to be delayed to latter years to minimise the impact on children and young people and ensure a smooth implementation.  In addition, AfC as the Council’s Children’s Services, are fully engaged with the current budget ‘star chamber’ process and have provided all the detailed information required by officers and Members to ensure effective scrutiny, challenge and decision making on proposals.

 

In addition to the general fund savings, AfC and the Council are tasked with implementing an ambitious DSG transformation plan to bring high needs education spend more in line with the level of funding provided by Government over five years.  The plan was established last financial year and a significant amount of work has been undertaken by the Council, AfC and relevant partners to implement changes which aim to both improve SEND services and monetary efficiency.   It is important that, in implementing proposals, the needs of children and young people continue to be met.  To date, the plan has yielded nearly £5m in cost avoidance and efficiency savings, as well as improving the local offer to children with SEND and their families.   Despite this significant achievement, the need for SEN Support continues to rise at an additional cost of over £2m per year and in line with the national average.

 

Kingston was one of 32 Councils that were required to submit a Deficit Recovery Plan to the Department of Education in June this year.  The DfE have not yet given formal feedback on the plan, but meetings with DfE officers have indicated that Kingston are covering all bases when it comes to improving the cost efficiency of services and the escalating level of need is not out of sync with other areas across the country.  The additional funding announced by Government for the next financial year is evidence that it is recognised that these services have been underfunded, but it will not resolve the funding gap.  The Kingston Transformation Plan is in the process of being reviewed by officers to identify which elements are yielding the required level of cost avoidance and having a positive impact on outcomes for Kingston’s young people.  This will inform the next iteration of the plan.

 

The trading loss of £15.4m relates to the technical accounting valuation of the pension fund benefits accrued by Children’s Services staff as at the 31st March 2019.  These staff are members of the Kingston pension fund and the value of the annual pension surplus or deficit is informed by the performance of the pension fund investments that year, as well as by the assumptions made by the actuary about factors such as life expectancy and pay inflation.   If Children’s Services staff were directly employed by the Council, the deficit / surplus accrued each year would be materially the same for these staff.  The pension fund liability does not present an immediate cash-flow issue.  It is the value that would need to be paid out if all the staff employed to deliver Kingston’s children services retired on the 31st March 2019.   This would not happen, as they are not all at statutory retirement age.  Employers who offer the Local Government Pension Scheme, including AfC, provide for these future liabilities calculated on a different basis by revaluing the pension fund obligations every three years and adjusting employer cash contributions to the fund to ensure that there is enough cash available as employees retire and pensions are paid out.

 

The Council’s own group accounts, published as part of the main statement of accounts document, incorporate Kingston’s share of the assets and liabilities shown in AfC’s accounts.

 

 

To:       Councillor Diane White, Portfolio Holder for Children's Services

By:      Councillor Maria Netley

 

Question:

 

A recent London Councils report showed that whilst many schools are highly inclusive when it comes to integrating SEND students into mainstream schools, there are still too many schools that do not do such a good job.  Can the Councillor tell us what powers and tools the Council and Achieving for Children will be using 5 to ensure Kingston schools use their SEND money appropriately and adequately integrate SEND pupils?

 

Written reply:

 

We do recognise that, as in all authorities, some schools in Kingston are more inclusive than others and some teachers are more able to work effectively with children with special educational needs than others. Every school has a notional amount in their budget allocated for SEND and this amount is known to schools and SENCOs.

We cannot oblige schools to use their SEND resource appropriately to integrate SEND pupils, or even to use it all for SEND pupils. However there are a number of opportunities our children’s services use to influence and challenge schools on this.

AfC School Improvement Partners, who work with over 80% of Kingston schools, challenge the schools’ self-evaluation of their own performance, including SEND, at least termly.

Inclusion and SEND are standing items at all Headteacher meetings (half termly for primaries and termly for secondary schools), governor network meetings and the sole focus of SENCO network meetings.  These include robust discussions on use of resources.

Another example is the “peer review” of inclusion practice in Kingston secondary schools organised and supported by AfC.  The review has been well received and is now being extended on a pilot basis to primary schools.

It was pleasing to see Christ Church CE Primary School Surbiton mentioned in the London Councils report.  The school was used as a case study of how innovative staffing structures can be used to improve inclusion practice, in this case regarding the use of teaching assistants, trained and supported by educational psychologists, to support the development of reading and writing.

 

 

To:       Councillor Diane White, Portfolio Holder for Children's Services

By:      Councillor Maria Netley

 

Question:

 

Many Kingston primary schools have either taken bulge classes or have expanded to take account of the growth in pupil numbers.  We welcomed the opening of the Kingston Academy (TKA) as it provided desperately needed secondary school places for those North Kingston young people in the bulge classes.  However, London Councils has recently declared that next year will be the crunch year for secondary pupil numbers and the catchment area of TKA continues to shrink such that the parents and children of North Kingston are now concerned that once again there is insufficient capacity for secondary school places.  Notwithstanding the potential new secondary school for Norbiton still being some years away from opening can the lead member please give assurances to these parents that there will be sufficient places for their children next and subsequent years?

 

Written reply:

 

The authority has a statutory duty to offer a place for every child who is resident in the borough.  The school place planning process takes account of all pupils coming through from primary schools and, where additional secondary places are required to meet our statutory duty, discussions are held with individual schools to take bulge years over their planned admission number.  Work is in hand and plans being developed to do this for 2020 entry.

 

This does not mean that parents will be successful, of course, in gaining their first preference school or the nearest one to their home but we can give assurance that there will be sufficient places for all our residents who seek secondary school places for their children in Kingston schools.

 

 

To:       Councillor Kim Bailey, Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care

By:      Councillor Ed Fram

 

Question:

Can the Portfolio holder further update Council on the progress that has been made, since the last report to Council, on the repurposing of Murray House?

 

Written reply:

A lease was granted to the DFE from 1/2/19 to enable the use of the ground floor of Murray House for the purposes of a primary school, whilst issues relating to the site for the new Kingston Community School are resolved.  The lease term was initially agreed for 18 months to August 2020.  A request has recently been received from the DFE asking for an extension until August 2021.

Feasibility appraisal work including an options appraisal was undertaken prior to the lease to the DFE.  Future options for Murray House will be reviewed at an appropriate point in time and in advance of the lease to the DFE ending.

In the meantime, the use of Murray House is avoiding the requirement for the Council to provide bulge classes elsewhere, generating income from the lease arrangements and providing school places.

 


 

 

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

By:      Councillor (Zain Abbas)

 

Question:

 

Could the portfolio holder update the council on recycling rates in the borough?

 

Written Reply:

 

Kingston recycling rates have increased year on year by 1% for the last 2 years, with the recycling rate for 2018-19 being 49.4%.

Rubbish (black bin) waste produced from Kingston homes reduced by 3% in 2018-19, by around 900 tonnes. As well as this, Kingston residents recycled and composted 1,200 tonnes more waste, which led to our recycling rate increasing by 1% for the year and saving the Council around £200,000.  This was composed of an increase of 9% in dry mixed recycling (green box materials) and food waste, garden waste increased by 3% although paper and card recycling reduced by 6%.

We know that over half of what is put in to the black bins by weight - mostly food - could have been recycled instead.  Activities for this year focus on encouraging better use of the food waste and garden waste schemes.

Additionally, the contents of our litter bins and fly tips will be sent to a new facility in Merton so that recycling can be extracted; a new recycling service is being introduced for flats above commercial premises and there is a schedule of communications and engagement with households that are still producing a lot of rubbish and not making full use of the recycling services provided.

The above trend is continuing this financial year, with residual waste having decreased by around 6% so far this year, although this has been coupled with less of an increase in recycling. We are yet to see the full year’s outturn; however, overall Kingston is set to hit or exceed a 50% recycling rate during 2019-20, should the above trends continue.

 

 

To:       Councillor Hilary Gander, Portfolio Holder for Environment & Sustainable Transport

By:      Councillor Rebekah Moll

 

Question:

 

Could the portfolio holder update the Council on the progress in forming a citizens’ assembly on air quality?

 

Written reply:

 

The Involve Foundation were commissioned, through a competitive tendering process, to deliver the Citizens' Assembly for Kingston and they are meeting with the Council project team on a weekly basis to discuss progress.

The assembly will take place on the weekends 9 and 10 November, and the 30 November and 1 December at Kingston University.

Inviting residents to participate in the assembly

Residents are being invited to participate through random selection - 8,000 Invitations have now been sent to postcodes in Kingston

277 residents have so far responded agreeing to participate

40 will be selected to match the Kingston demographic

The advisory group

An independent Advisory Group has been formed to quality assure the evidence to be shared at the assembly.

Advisory group information showing who the members are will be on the Citizens’ assembly webpage

Call for evidence

We have been inviting residents to submit suggestions for evidence that the assembly should consider through the ‘Let’s Talk’ portal. This call for evidence closed on 09/10/19 and all submissions will be shared with the advisory group

Residents and businesses have also submitted a total of 285 ideas for solutions either online or on ‘Ideas Trees’ in libraries. These will all be shared with the assembly members to consider.

Observers for the assembly

There will be a limited number of spaces for observers at the assembly. These silent participants will be able to watch a half day of the assembly.

Further details on observer spaces will be available soon.