Venue: The Guildhall
Contact: Graham Watts, Democratic Team Leader and Elections Manager (01522 873439)
RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 25 September 2018 be confirmed.
Declarations of Interest
Please note that, in accordance with the Members' Code of Conduct, when declaring interests members must disclose the existence and nature of the interest, and whether it is a disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI) or personal and/or pecuniary.
Councillor Ronald Hills declared a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest with regard to the agenda item titled 'Councillor Neil Murray - Portfolio Holder for Economic Growth'. His address was within the proposed area of development associated with the Western Growth Corridor.
Receive Any Questions under Council Procedure Rule 11 from Members of the Public and Provide Answers thereon
No questions had been received.
Receive Any Questions under Council Procedure Rule 12 from Members and Provide Answers thereon
No questions had been received.
Receive Reports under Council Procedure Rule 2 (vi) from Members
Further to his declaration of a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest, Councillor Ronald Hills left the meeting room during the consideration of this item.
Councillor Neil Murray, Portfolio Holder for Economic Growth, provided Council with an update on the work of his portfolio.
Councillor Murray reported that economic growth remained at the heart of the Council’s 2020 vision for Lincoln, stating that the Council recognised the importance of the Council playing a full role in the economic life of the city itself and its wider area. Lincoln was a thriving city with a great future and its economy was diverse, not over reliant on one economic sector. However, Councillor Murray made the point that not everyone in the city was sharing the benefits of growth and that there was much more to do to eradicate poverty in Lincoln.
It was noted that the portfolio was broad, with updates on the following key projects or service areas included as part of the report:
· Western Growth Corridor;
· Parking and Transport;
· Planning Policy;
· Higher Education;
· Supporting Lincoln Businesses;
· Park Ward Regeneration.
Councillor Eddie Strengiel was unsure in what form or format the proposed Western Growth Corridor consultation would take and therefore sought further clarity. Referring to the 118 market properties referred to in the report in relation to the Western Growth Corridor, Councillor Strengiel made the point that this was the start of 3,200 properties that were intended to be built as part of the scheme. He was not concerned with the 118 properties referenced in the report as, in his opinion, this would not place much of a strain on the existing infrastructure. However, the inclusion of additional properties over and above that figure would cause significant problems if the necessary infrastructure was not in place. Councillor Strengiel understood that the slip road originally planned for Skellingthorpe Road was not now being included in the proposed scheme and was concerned about consequential additional traffic on that road.
Councillor Murray confirmed that an email would be sent to all members of the Council to provide clarity around the consultation process. The reason that development was proposed in this area was due to the substantial money the government was putting towards infrastructure to support the provision of decent homes for people to live. He confirmed that a quarter of these homes would be social housing.
Councillor Bob Bushell said that it was good to see the city thriving, but made the point that not everyone was sharing the benefits of this in view of the fact that Lincoln was still a low wage area. All 324 local authorities had been assessed on this basis and Lincoln was the 259th lowest average wage earner compared to all other authorities in the country. He was therefore very pleased to see that the City Council had introduced the Social Responsibility Charter. In respect of working families, statistics showed that in the years 2014 to 2017 the number of people in poverty from working families had increased ... view the full minutes text for item 34a
Councillor Gary Hewson, Chair of the Performance Scrutiny Committee, provided an update report on the work of the Committee. The following key items of business considered by the Committee over the last year were noted:
· Portfolio under scrutiny sessions – each Portfolio Holder was required to attend the Committee throughout the year, provide an update on their portfolio and answer questions regarding their portfolio’s performance;
· changes to the Strategic Plan Implementation Team reporting arrangements;
· Vision 2020 reporting arrangements;
· Christmas Market outturn report 2016;
· Human Resources corporate performance statistics;
· Lincoln Transport Hub;
· Housing Benefits overpayments;
· Christmas Market 2017;
· Central Market review.
Councillor Hewson reported that the Committee would continue to challenge issues and acknowledge successes as it always had done. The current system of monitoring performance measures was having to be replaced and officers were already working on developing a new system which should be in place by quarter one in 2019/20.
The work of the Housing Scrutiny Sub-Committee was also noted, with the introduction of Universal Credit posing a number of challenges particularly in relation to rent arrears and an expected rise in loss of monies to the Housing Revenue Account. The Sub-Committee intended to look at Tenancy Agreements and the level of day to day repairs at forthcoming meetings.
Councillor Hewson highlighted a number of regional and national awards that the Council had achieved, together with being shortlisted for three Local Government Chronicle Awards. He said that members and officers should be proud of what the Council had achieved.
In closing Councillor Hewson thanked Rob Baxter, Financial Services Manager, and James Wilkinson, Strategic Development Project Manager, who would both shortly be leaving the authority, for their valuable contributions to the Performance Scrutiny Committee over the last year.
Councillor Eddie Strengiel was disappointed that the introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 appeared to come across as negative in the report, whereas it was a positive piece of legislation involving new duties to help people which should be applauded. He questioned whether the new requirements caused a bigger problem or actually helped those who were potentially homeless. Councillor Strengiel also reflected on problems in the high street associated with rough sleeping, drug taking and antisocial behaviour in view of the fact that Lincoln was a tourist city and relied upon attracting people to visit. He originally applauded the introduction of the new Intervention Team which he thought would address some of these problems although in his personal experience nothing seemed to have really changed.
Councillor Hewson reported that, due to the changes in the requirements, more people were presenting themselves as homeless to the Council and the Council had a care of duty to those individuals. The majority of the issues Councillor Strengiel had referred to were policing matters and the Council was limited as to its powers that could be enforced. Councillor Hewson thought that the introduction of the Intervention Team would improve things on the high street and be very effective.
Councillor Thomas Dyer thanked Councillor Hewson ... view the full minutes text for item 34b
Councillor Adrianna McNulty, Chair of the Ethics and Engagement Committee, presented a report on the work of the Committee. Since September 2017 the Committee had considered a variety of reports, including the following items:
· a review of the Consultation Strategy;
· guidance on casework for Members;
· provision of mobile devices to Members;
· Member development, member succession and proposed training;
· Member induction;
· timescales associated with production and publication of minutes;
· National Democracy Week;
· polling district and polling place review;
· Code of Conduct – review of local and national cases;
· Social Media Guidance and Policy.
Councillor McNulty reported that she had been keen to promote the engagement aspect of the Committee’s terms of reference since being elected as Chair. She was therefore very proud to have the opportunity to commemorate the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote and the Suffragette’s through an informal event hosted by the Committee at the Guildhall. This had provided Members with a valuable opportunity to both remember and celebrate this important anniversary but also enable the Committee to engage with a range of different community groups from across the city.
Councillor McNulty thanked officers, members of the Ethics and Engagement Committee and the Council’s Independent Person for their support since being elected as Chair of the Committee in May 2018.
Councillor Christopher Reid made reference to management of the Council’s social media accounts following a concern he had raised at the previous meeting of the Committee in respect of the Council’s engagement with its customers and responses to online ‘trolls’.
Councillor McNulty confirmed that this matter was in hand.
Councillor Lucinda Preston proposed a motion seeking the adoption of parental leave for elected members which she said would encourage more people to become councillors, increasing diversity and ensuring that the Council was more reflective of the city as a whole.
Councillor Laura McWilliams seconded the motion.
Councillor Strengiel supported the motion but questioned paragraph 3.1 of the proposed policy whereby members entitled to a Special Responsibility Allowance would continue to receive their allowance in full in the case of maternity, paternity, shared parental or adoption leave. He was of the opinion that the Special Responsibility Allowance should only be paid to the councillor undertaking the role for which the Special Responsibility Allowance was paid and that the member taking such leave should only retain their basic allowance.
Councillor Ron Hills questioned the date referred to in the policy from which a councillor ceased being a councillor should they not be re-elected following an election and thought that this depended on the date of the Council’s Annual General Meeting and Mayor Making. It was noted that the date of the Annual General Meeting and Mayor Making did not have any influence on the date in respect of this issue.
Councillor Preston, in respect of Councillor Strengiel’s comments regarding the Special Responsibility Allowance, disagreed with his suggestion and said that this aspect of the policy reflected parental leave principles of someone who was employed, undertaking a certain role at a certain rate of pay and not being disadvantaged as a result of taking parental leave.
It was proposed, seconded and RESOLVED
(1) That the Council notes:
· that analysis of the 2018 local election results by the Fawcett Society found that only 34% of Councillors in England were women, up 1% since 2017;
· of the seats that were up for election in 2018, 28% went to women, up just 3% from 2014 when these seats were last contested;
· as of summer 2017, only 4% of Councils in England and Wales had parental leave policies, according to research by the Fawcett Society;
· that the role of a Councillor should be open to all, regardless of their background, and that introducing a parental leave policy was a step towards encouraging a wider range of people to become Councillors who may want to start a family to remain as Councillors;
· that parental leave must apply to parents regardless of their gender and that it should also cover adoption leave to support these parents who chose to adopt;
· the objective of the policy was to ensure that insofar as possible Members were able to take appropriate leave at the time of birth or adoption, that both parents were able to take leave and that reasonable and adequate arrangements were in place to provide cover for Portfolio Holders and others in receipt of Special Responsibility Allowances during any period of leave taken;
· the policy set out Members’ entitlement to maternity, paternity, shared parental and adoption leave and relevant allowances.
(2) That the Council approves:
· the adoption of ... view the full minutes text for item 35.
To Consider the Following Recommendations of the Executive and Committees of the Council
It was moved, seconded and RESOLVED that the City of Lincoln Gambling Act Statement of Policy be approved.
It was moved, seconded and RESOLVED that the amended membership of outside bodies be approved.
Appointment of Strategic Director
To confirm the appointment of Daren Turner as the Council’s Strategic Director of Housing and Investment following consideration by the Appointments Panel on 2 October 2018.
It was moved, seconded and RESOLVED that the appointment of Daren Turner as the Council’s Director of Housing and Investment be noted.