Agenda and minutes

County Council - Friday, 11th December, 2020 10.30 am

Venue: Virtual meeting with restricted public access

Contact: Clare Jones on 033 022 22526  Email:  clare.jones@westsussex.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

51.

Award for Member Development

Additional documents:

Minutes:

51.1     The Chairman reported that South East Employers (SEE) had awarded the County Council the Charter for Member Development. She congratulated Cllr Kennard and the Member Development Group on an excellent achievement.

 

51.2     Cllr Burrett, Chairman of South East Employers, offered congratulations to the Council on behalf of SEE.

52.

Executive Director Adults and Health

Additional documents:

Minutes:

52.1     The Chairman welcomed Keith Hinkley, the new Executive Director Adults and Health, to his first Council meeting.

53.

Apologies for Absence

Additional documents:

Minutes:

53.1     Apologies were received from Cllr Barling, Cllr Barton and Cllr Simmons. Cllr Hall was absent.

 

53.2     Apologies for the morning session were received from Cllr Purchese who joined the meeting at 2.15 pm. Apologies for the afternoon session were received from Cllr Cloake who left the meeting at 12.50 pm and from Cllr Lea.

 

53.3     Cllr Millson joined the morning session at 11.00 am. Cllr Purnell joined the meeting at 12.50 pm, having given her apologies for late arrival. Cllr Markwell joined the afternoon session at 3.25 pm. Cllr Smith left the meeting at 2.50 pm, Cllr Goldsmith at 3.35 pm, returning at 4.00 pm, and Cllr Buckland at 4.10 pm.

54.

Members' Interests pdf icon PDF 50 KB

Members are asked to disclose any pecuniary or personal interests in matters appearing on the agenda.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

54.1     Members declared interests as set out at Appendix 1.

55.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 184 KB

The Council is asked to confirm the minutes of the ordinary meeting of the County Council held on 6 November 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

55.1     It was agreed that the minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of the County Council held on 6 November (pages 7 to 36) be approved as a correct record.

56.

Appointments pdf icon PDF 36 KB

To consider any proposed changes by the Groups to appointments.  Any proposals will be circulated and changes will take effect from the end of the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

56.1        The Council approved appointments as set out below.

 

Committee

Change

Performance and Finance Scrutiny Committee

Cllr Montyn as Vice-Chairman in place of Cllr Catchpole

Corporate Parenting Panel

Cllr Burgess in place of Cllr Baldwin

 

57.

Address on Children First Improvement Plan pdf icon PDF 84 KB

The Leader and the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People will make statements on the Council’s Children First Improvement Plan.  A report by the Cabinet Member is also attached.  Members may ask questions of the Leader and Cabinet Member in accordance with Standing Order 2.33.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

57.1     Members received an address by the Leader and the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People on the Council’s Children First Improvement Plan.

58.

Address on Fire & Rescue Service Improvement

The Cabinet Member for Fire & Rescue and Communities will make a statement on the Fire & Rescue Service improvement.  Members may ask questions of the Cabinet Member in accordance with Standing Order 2.33.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

58.1     Members received an address by the Cabinet Member for Fire & Rescue and Communities on Fire & Rescue Service improvement.

 

58.2     In response to a question from Cllr Smytherman, the Cabinet Member agreed to provide an update on the investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Officer on the joint control centre.

59.

West Sussex County Council Reset Plan pdf icon PDF 127 KB

The Council is asked to consider and note the latest draft of the West Sussex County Council Reset Plan, in the light of a report by the Leader.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

59.1     The Leader moved the report on the latest draft of the West Sussex County Council Reset Plan (pages 41 to 54).

 

59.2     Resolved –

 

That the first iteration of the Reset Plan be noted.

60.

Motion on Hidden Disability pdf icon PDF 62 KB

To consider and debate the following motion, submitted by Cllr Edwards, which was referred to the Cabinet Member for Adults and Health at the meeting of the County Council on 6 November 2020.

 

Many businesses, emergency services and local authorities have recognised the Hidden Disabilities Lanyard and West Sussex County Council should embrace this too.  Anyone with a hidden disability which does not have physical signs, including learning disabilities, lung conditions and chronic illnesses can opt to wear a Hidden Disability Sunflower to show they may require additional help, understanding or extra time to carry out an action.  This symbol allows us to give them the help and understanding they may need in their day-to-day lives. This Council calls on the Cabinet Member for Adults and Health to support the following commitments;

 

(1)         To officially recognise the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower.

 

(2)         To officially promote what it stands for and its importance in breaking stigma.

 

(3)         To help promote Hidden Disabilities Sunflower to local businesses and encourage them to formally look at recognising it.

 

(4)         To promote that the council offices are Hidden Disability friendly and promote the Sunflower on its buildings so people can identify the Council as Hidden Disability friendly.

 

(5)         To actively promote and encourage local district and borough councils, and town and parish councils to recognise the scheme.’

 

and the report of the Cabinet Member for Adults and Health.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

60.1     At the County Council meeting on 6 November 2020 the following motion was moved by Cllr Edwards, seconded by Cllr Pendleton, and referred to the Cabinet Member for Adults and Health for consideration. A report by the Cabinet Member was included with the agenda (pages 55 and 56).

 

‘Many businesses, emergency services and local authorities have recognised the Hidden Disabilities Lanyard and West Sussex County Council should embrace this too.  Anyone with a hidden disability which does not have physical signs, including learning disabilities, lung conditions and chronic illnesses can opt to wear a Hidden Disability Sunflower to show they may require additional help, understanding or extra time to carry out an action.  This symbol allows us to give them the help and understanding they may need in their day-to-day lives. This Council calls on the Cabinet Member for Adults and Health to support the following commitments;

 

(1)         To officially recognise the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower.

 

(2)         To officially promote what it stands for and its importance in breaking stigma.

 

(3)         To help promote Hidden Disabilities Sunflower to local businesses and encourage them to formally look at recognising it.

 

(4)         To promote that the council offices are Hidden Disability friendly and promote the Sunflower on its buildings so people can identify the Council as Hidden Disability friendly.

 

(5)         To actively promote and encourage local district and borough councils, and town and parish councils to recognise the scheme.’

 

60.2     An amendment was moved by Cllr A Jupp, seconded by Cllr Kennard and accepted by Cllr Edwards, as set out below:

 

Many businesses, emergency services and local authorities have recognised the Hidden Disabilities Lanyard and it would be good if West Sussex County Council should embrace this could do so too. Anyone with a hidden disability which does not have physical signs, including learning disabilities, lung conditions and chronic illnesses can opt to wear a Hidden Disability Sunflower if they so wish to show that they may require additional help, understanding or extra time to carry out an action. This symbol allows us to gives them the opportunity to show that they may need extra help and understanding they may need in their day-to-day lives. This Council calls on the Cabinet Member for Adults and Health to support the following commitments;

 

(1)         To officially recognise the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower.

 

(2)         Where possible, to officially promote what it stands for and its importance in breaking stigma.

 

(3)         To help promote Hidden Disabilities Sunflower to encourage local businesses to recognise it where possible for example by displaying posters and encourage them to formally look at recognising it.

 

(4)         To promote that the explore displaying posters and details of the sunflower in our council offices are Hidden Disability friendly and promote the Sunflower on its buildings so people can identify the Council as Hidden Disability friendly.

 

(5)         To actively promote and encourage our partners in local district and borough councils, and town and parish councils to recognise the scheme.’

 

60.3     The amended  ...  view the full minutes text for item 60.

61.

Motion on Council Investments pdf icon PDF 49 KB

To consider and debate the following motion, submitted by Cllr Millson, which was referred to the Cabinet Member for Finance at the meeting of the County Council on 6 November 2020.

 

This Council welcomes the fact that the Pensions Committee’s investment managers have signed up to the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investment which has been set up by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) to encourage asset owners and asset managers to:

 

·         incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues into investment analysis and decision making;

·         be active owners;

·         seek disclosure of ESG issues; and

·         promote the principles within the industry.

 

This Council therefore calls on the Cabinet Member for Finance to follow the lead of the Pensions Committee and to ask the Council’s investment advisers to ensure they follow the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investment for all of the Council’s investments. This will ensure that West Sussex County Council achieves a more ethical investment policy by incorporating matters like human rights and environmental issues, such as reducing reliance on fossil fuels (in line with the Council’s Climate Change Strategy), into its investment decisions.’

 

and the report of the Cabinet Member for Finance.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

61.1     At the County Council meeting on 6 November 2020 the following motion had been moved by Cllr Millson, seconded by Cllr Walsh, and referred to the Cabinet Member for Finance for consideration. A report by the Cabinet Member was included with the agenda (pages 57 and 58).

 

This Council welcomes the fact that the Pensions Committee’s investment managers have signed up to the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investment which has been set up by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) to encourage asset owners and asset managers to:

 

·         incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues into investment analysis and decision making;

·         be active owners;

·         seek disclosure of ESG issues; and

·         promote the principles within the industry.

 

This Council therefore calls on the Cabinet Member for Finance to follow the lead of the Pensions Committee and to ask the Council’s investment advisers to ensure they follow the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investment for all of the Council’s investments. This will ensure that West Sussex County Council achieves a more ethical investment policy by incorporating matters like human rights and environmental issues, such as reducing reliance on fossil fuels (in line with the Council’s Climate Change Strategy), into its investment decisions.’

 

61.2     The motion, as set out in minute 61.1 above, was agreed.

62.

Motion on Milk at School Break Time pdf icon PDF 55 KB

To consider and debate the following motion, submitted by Cllr M Jones, which was referred to the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills at the meeting of the County Council on 6 November 2020.

 

‘This Council notes that the number of families relying on support from food banks in some parts of the county has increased by as much as 80% in the last 12 months and that there has been a county-wide increase in applications for free school meals over the last six months compared to last year.

 

This Council also believes the provision of school milk provides a nutritional boost and keeps children hydrated between breakfast and lunch, helping them to concentrate and learn.

 

This Council therefore calls on the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills to work with the Cabinet to provide funding to enable the reversal of the decision to cease providing morning break time school milk for the over 5s for 2020/21 with effect from September 2020. It calls on him to utilise the savings achieved over the past six months as a result of members not having to travel to meetings to meet the cost.

 

and the report of the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

62.1     At the County Council meeting on 6 November 2020 the following motion had been moved by Cllr M Jones, seconded by Cllr Walsh, and referred to the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills for consideration. A report by the Cabinet Member was included with the agenda (pages 59 and 60).

 

‘This Council notes that the number of families relying on support from food banks in some parts of the county has increased by as much as 80% in the last 12 months and that there has been a county-wide increase in applications for free school meals over the last six months compared to last year.

 

This Council also believes the provision of school milk provides a nutritional boost and keeps children hydrated between breakfast and lunch, helping them to concentrate and learn.

 

This Council therefore calls on the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills to work with the Cabinet to provide funding to enable the reversal of the decision to cease providing morning break time school milk for the over 5s for 2020/21 with effect from September 2020. It calls on him to utilise the savings achieved over the past six months as a result of members not having to travel to meetings to meet the cost.

 

62.2     The motion, as set out in minute 62.1, was lost.

63.

Motion on provision of Free School Meals in School Holidays pdf icon PDF 56 KB

To consider and debate the following motion, submitted by Cllr M Jones, which was referred to the Cabinet at the meeting of the County Council on 6 November 2020.

 

‘This Council expresses disappointment that the Government has voted against providing free meals for children entitled to free school meals in the October 2020 half term and during future school holidays. This Council also expresses disappointment that none of the West Sussex Members of Parliament who took part in the Parliamentary vote supported the proposal to provide meals during future school holidays, with seven of the eight actively voting against.

 

This Council recognises that the on-going pandemic is causing hardship and poverty for many families within West Sussex and calls on the Cabinet to follow the example of other councils around the country to step in and provide free meals for children entitled to free school meals during future school holidays during the current pandemic.’

 

and the report of the Cabinet.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

63.1     At the County Council meeting on 6 November 2020 the following motion had been moved by Cllr M Jones, seconded by Cllr Walsh, and referred to the Cabinet for consideration. A report by the Cabinet was included with the agenda (pages 61 and 62).

 

‘This Council expresses disappointment that the Government has voted against providing free meals for children entitled to free school meals in the October 2020 half term and during future school holidays. This Council also expresses disappointment that none of the West Sussex Members of Parliament who took part in the Parliamentary vote supported the proposal to provide meals during future school holidays, with seven of the eight actively voting against.

 

This Council recognises that the on-going pandemic is causing hardship and poverty for many families within West Sussex and calls on the Cabinet to follow the example of other councils around the country to step in and provide free meals for children entitled to free school meals during future school holidays during the current pandemic.’

 

63.2     The Chairman informed the Council that following the receipt of further information about the grants, Cllr Jones, with the agreement of the seconder Cllr Walsh, had agreed to withdraw the motion.

64.

Governance Committee: Report of the Independent Remuneration Panel pdf icon PDF 67 KB

The Council is asked to consider the report of the Independent Remuneration Panel and recommendations for the scheme of allowances and expenses from May 2021, in the light of a report by the Governance Committee.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

64.1     The Council considered the report of the Independent Remuneration Panel and recommendations for the scheme of allowances and expenses from May 2021, in the light of a report from the Governance Committee (pages 63 to 96).

 

64.2     An amendment was moved by Cllr M Jones and seconded by Cllr Walsh.

 

The Labour Group and the Liberal Democrat Group generally welcomes the report of the Panel and thanks the Panel for its work during its review of the Member Allowance Scheme. The Labour Group and the Liberal Democrat Group support the Panel’s recommendations about sustainability as a move to reducing the County Council’s carbon footprint, to support our climate change emergency.

 

The Labour Group and the Liberal Democrat Group welcomes the IRP’s recommendation to freeze allowances in 2021/22 in view of the ‘present economic environment in which Council services are being increasingly severely restricted, and constituents are suffering with furlough, loss of business income and possible looming unemployment’ (paragraph 31).  This is further re-enforced by the decision by the Government to impose a public sector pay freeze for public sector workers which includes all of the workers in services that the county council employs.

 

In light of this, the Labour Group and the Liberal Democrat Group recognises that recommendations (m) and (p) in the Panel’s report may lead to reductions in the special responsibility allowance paid to some future postholders in the roles of senior advisers to cabinet members and minority group leaders.

 

However, the Labour Group and the Liberal Democrat Group have become concerned that there is an overall lack of consistency in the report relating to the treatment of special responsibility allowances.  If it is appropriate to reduce the aforementioned allowances, then it believes it is also appropriate to apply a similar reduction by the same effective amount.

 

The Labour Group and the Liberal Democrat Group therefore puts forward the following amendment to the Governance Committee’s recommendation, in the light of the severe financial pressures and in order to ensure consistency with all special responsibility allowances for councillors, which could save £88,290 compared to the current cost of special responsibility allowances. Combined with the potential reductions in minority group leader of £4,285 and senior adviser to cabinet members’ allowances of £7,324, this could total £99,809.

 

‘That the Independent Remuneration Panel’s report and recommendations be approved, but the Council agrees to go further than the IRP’s recommended approach to freeze allowances and thereby agrees to reduce the special responsibility allowances paid to the Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Leader, Cabinet Members, Committee Chairmen and Foster Panel members by 25% in May 2021. This would have consequential amendments to the IRP’s recommendations (g)-(k).

 

An extract from Schedule 1 of the Member Allowance Scheme is shown below, illustrating the effect of the proposed amendment.

 

Schedule 1

 

Special Responsibility Allowances

 

Appointment

Allowance per member

£ per annum

Chairman of the County Council

16,24721,663

Leader of the Council

25,38733,849

Vice-Chairman of the County Council

6,4628,616

Cabinet Member (and Deputy  ...  view the full minutes text for item 64.

65.

Governance Committee: Minor Change to Scrutiny Arrangements pdf icon PDF 43 KB

The Council is asked to consider a minor change to the arrangements for scrutiny, in the light of a report by the Governance Committee.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

65.1     The Council considered a minor change to the arrangements for scrutiny, in the light of a report from the Governance Committee (pages 97 and 98).

 

65.2     Resolved –

 

That the Constitution be amended to provide that scrutiny of the Drug and Alcohol Action Team is by the Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee rather than the Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee.

66.

Standards Committee: Member Officer Relations Protocol pdf icon PDF 49 KB

The Council is asked to consider and approve proposed revisions to the Code of Conduct Section 2, Member Officer Relations Protocol, in the light of a report by the Standards Committee.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

66.1     The Council considered proposed revisions to the Code of Conduct Section 2, Member Officer Relations Protocol, in the light of a report from the Standards Committee (pages 99 to 110).

 

66.2     Resolved -

 

That the revised protocol, as set out at Appendix 1, be approved for inclusion in the Code of Conduct section of the Constitution.

67.

Standards Committee Annual Report pdf icon PDF 67 KB

The Council is asked to note a report from the Standards Committee on its activities for the period from May 2019 to April 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

67.1     The Council noted a report from the Standards Committee on its activities for the period from May 2019 to April 2020 (pages 111 and 112).

 

67.2     Resolved -

 

That the report be noted.

68.

Report of Urgent Action pdf icon PDF 68 KB

To note urgent action taken under regulation 11 of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

68.1     The report of urgent action taken under regulation 11 of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012 (pages 113 and 114) was noted.

69.

Question Time pdf icon PDF 132 KB

Questions to members of the Cabinet Member on anything relevant to their portfolios and to the Leader on anything that is currently relevant to the County Council.  The attached report covers relevant council business or developments in respect of portfolios arising since the meeting of the Council on 6 November 2020.  A supplementary report may be published.

 

(2 hours is allocated for Question Time)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

69.1     Members asked questions of members of the Cabinet on matters relevant to their portfolios and asked questions of chairmen, as set out at Appendix 3. This included questions on those matters contained within the Cabinet report (page 115 to 118) and a supplementary report (supplement pages 1 and 2) and written questions and answers pursuant to Standing Order 2.38 (set out at Appendix 2).