Agenda and minutes

Budget meeting, Council - Tuesday, 23rd February, 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: ZOOM MEETING - Virtual Meeting. View directions

Contact: Fiona Cameron  Democratic Services Manager & Deputy Monitoring Officer

Items
No. Item

CNL80/20

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

The Mayor to report apologies for absence.

Minutes:

80.1     Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs Simon Dear, Jacquie Keen and Kika Mirylees.

CNL81/20

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 338 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Council meeting held on 15 December 2020.

Minutes:

81.1     The Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 15 December 2020 were confirmed as an accurate record.

CNL82/20

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

To receive from Members, declarations of interest in relation to any items included on the agenda for this meeting in accordance with the Waverley Code of Local Government Conduct.

Minutes:

82.1     Cllrs David Else and Jenny Else declared a non-pecuniary interest in relation to Agenda Item 9.5 (Local government collaboration in Surrey) as a family member was a Waverley officer.

 

82.2     Cllr Christine Baker declared a non-pecuniary interest in relation to Agenda Item 9.3 (Annual Pay Policy Statement) as a family member was a Waverley officer.

 

82.3     Robin Taylor, Head of Policy & Governance, declared an interest in relation Agenda Item 11 (Appointment of a Deputy Electoral Registration Officer), and would leave the meeting during this matter.

CNL83/20

MAYOR'S ANNOUNCEMENTS

Minutes:

83.1     The Mayor reflected on the past year and how difficult it had been for everyone; she hoped that Members, residents, and Waverley staff had kept safe and well, and sent condolences to those who had lost family and friends, or been adversely affected. The Mayor thanked volunteers, healthcare works, Waverley officers and others, including the BIFFA refuse and recycling collectors, who had gone the extra mile to keep services running and ensure the most vulnerable in the community were supported.  As the vaccination programme progressed, it was possible to look forward more positively to the spring and summer.

 

83.2     The Mayor regretted that she had not been able to be as active in her Mayoral year, and in particluar had not been able to support her charities as much as she would have liked. She hoped that restrictions would be eased suffiiciently in a month or two, to allow some form of event before the end of the civic year.

CNL84/20

LEADER'S ANNOUNCEMENTS

Minutes:

84.1     The Leader opened his announcements by noting the Prime Minister’s recent announcement on ‘roadmap’ for easing lockdown restrictions and the impact on Waverley services. It was noted that the current understanding was that the regulations allowing the council to hold remote meetings would not be extended, and the implications of this for the council was being reviewed and would be discussed with Group Leaders.

           

            The Leader then invited Executive Portfolio Holders to give brief updates on current issues not covered elsewhere on the meeting agenda:

·         The garden waste collection service that had been suspended in January due to staffing pressures at the contractor would resume at the beginning of March, and all existing customers of the service would have their annual subscription extended to cover for the closed period.

·         Waverley had been awarded a grant from Phase 1 of the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme to retrofit the Memorial Hall in Farnham.

·         Waverley had appointed a Transport Projects Officer to support the work of the Sustainability Team in promoting sustainable and active travel.

·         The Ockford Ridge redevelopment project was continuing apace, with demolition begun on Site B, and the planning application for Site C now submitted.

·         Fewer people had presented as homeless in the latest lockdown, and there were four Waverley households in temporary accommodation. Government funding had been received for two modular housing units to provide temporary housing for rough sleepers, and housing officers were working with planning officers to progress this project.

·         The Brightwells Yard development was progressing despite the lockdown, but the opening date had been delayed to September 2020.

·         There had been over 400 responses to the Local Plan Part 2 consultation, from a wide range of respondents. The responses were being carefully analysed and follow-up meetings arranged with key stakeholders.

·         Car parking remained at a very low level, well below 50% of normal, and this would continue to be the case until the lockdown restrictions began to ease later in the spring and summer. The Environmental Health and Economic Development Teams would be working with businesses over the coming months to help them prepare for re-opening.

·         Leisure Centres remained closed, but in light of the recent announcement on easing of restrictions officers would be working with Places Leisure to make preparations for the safe re-opening of facilities in early April.

·         Service Level Agreements with voluntary organisations supported by Waverley had been extended for 12 months, to enable them to review service delivery and continue to support the most vulnerable in the community.

·         The online Planning Portal had experienced a period of poor performance but was now back to normal operations.

·         The Communications and Engagement Team would be reviewing the government on the plans for easing lockdown restrictions, and would be developing the appropriate messaging to support local residents in accessing clear and accurate information.

 

CNL85/20

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

To respond to questions from members of the public, received in accordance with Procedure Rule 10.

 

The deadline for receipt of questions is 5pm on Tuesday 16 February 2020.

Minutes:

85.1     The following questions were received from members of the public in accordance with Procedure Rule 10:

 

From Mrs Karen Lankester of Godalming:

 

“How/by whom is the new £10m property investment fund to be managed; what percentage fee will be charged for management and administration?”

 

Response from Cllr Mark Merryweather, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Property:

“I’d like to unpack the question into its 3 elements which I’ll deal with separately.

Firstly - on the existence of a property investment fund, the short answer is that we don’t have one and I’m very happy to clarify that, but as part of our Capital Strategy we do have a property investment strategy, one of the pillars of our MTFP, which is specifically targeted at capital investment in assets that generate much needed revenue income and otherwise advance our Corporate Strategy.

We have to do this, reluctantly, to replace the revenue that the Government is – one way or another - denying us.  We also have to do this within public sector financial regulations that differ to those in the private sector and where for example even the terms “fund” and “funding” have important differences in meaning.  These rules also mean for example that even if we have the “cash”, we can’t use it to spend on services unless appropriate revenue “funding” is also available, but we can use capital funds, and even borrow, to invest in property to generate revenue funds that we can spend on services.

Second I’d like to clarify how we do manage our investment properties and other property assets.  Our investment property portfolio, which we own directly, is only about 5% of our total property assets:  we also own and manage around 5,000 council houses, plus our own estate which includes offices, leisure centres, car parks, sports grounds and pavilions, play parks and all sorts of other community facilities from public halls to youth club huts.  All of these we manage ourselves internally, and have dedicated housing and estates teams to do that.

Third I’d like to clarify the policies the Council has to govern its investment property activities. They are codified in the Property Investment Strategy I mentioned earlier, which covers all appropriate aspects of this including the legal framework under which our powers are regulated through to the due diligence risk and return appraisals that are required for individual asset assessments.  The Property Investment Strategy is reviewed regularly and was last updated by Council in February 2020.   It’s pubic and published on our website, and in fact prior to its final approval, it went through its own governance journey with reviews by the Executive and an Overview & Scrutiny committee.  All of these meetings – Council, Executive and O&S – were broadcast to the public on our Council YouTube stream, and the recordings of all of those meetings are still publicly available on demand.

As well as the Policy itself, individual investments are also subject to a process as they arise, although in  ...  view the full minutes text for item CNL85/20

CNL86/20

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL

To respond to any questions received from Members of the Council in accordance with Procedure Rule 11.2.

 

The deadline for receipt of questions is 5pm on Tuesday 16 February 2020.

Minutes:

86.1     There were no questions from Members.

CNL87/20

MOTIONS

To consider the following motions submitted in accordance with Procedure Rule 12.1:

 

1.    Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill

 

Waverley Borough Council expresses its support for the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill and empowers the leader of the council to write to local MPs and other stakeholders highlighting this council’s support.

 

Proposer: Cllr Steve Williams

Seconder: Cllr John Ward

 

2.    Surrey Fire Service

 

Waverley Borough Council is concerned to learn that changes to Surrey Fire and Rescue Services appear to have resulted in periods when fire cover for Waverley has been very limited, particularly in the more isolated rural areas at night, we request Surrey County Council to revisit this decision for the safety of our residents.

 

Proposer: Cllr George Wilson

Seconder: Cllr Paul Follows

 

 

In accordance with Procedure Rule 12.3 (b), the Leader has confirmed that he considers it convenient and conducive to the despatch of business to allow these motions to be dealt with at the Council meeting, rather than them being referred to a Committee of Council or the Executive for consideration.

Minutes:

87.1     The following motion was moved by Cllr Steve Williams, and seconded by Cllr Ward:

 

            “Waverley Borough Council expresses its support for the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill and empowers the Leader of the council to write to local MPs and other stakeholders highlighting this council’s support.”

 

            The Motion was debated by Members. The following Members spoke in the debate: Cllrs Follows, Seaborne, Palmer, Edmonds, Townsend, Mulliner, Cockburn, Hyman, Cosser, Robini, and Williams.

 

In accordance with Procedure Rule 17.4, a recorded vote was called.

 

The Mayor put the Motion to the vote, which was carried – votes in favour: 29, votes against 23, abstentions 1.

 

            RESOLVED that Waverley Borough Council expresses its support for the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill and empowers the Leader of the council to write to local MPs and other stakeholders highlighting this council’s support

 

            For: 29

Cllrs Christine Baker, David Beaman, Roger Blishen, Peter Clark, Richard Cole, Martin D’Arcy, Jerome Davidson, Sally Dickson, Paul Follows, Maxine Gale, Joan Heagin, George Hesse, Daniel Hunt, Andy MacLeod, Penny Marriott, Michaela Martin, Mark Merryweather, Peter Nicholson, Nick Palmer, Ruth Reed, Paul Rivers, Penny Rivers, John Robini, Anne-Marie Rosoman, Liz Townsend, John Ward, Michaela Wicks, Steve Williams, George Wilson

 

            Against: 23

            Cllr Brian Adams, Carole Cockburn, Steve Cosser, Kevin Deanus, Brian Edmonds, Patricia Ellis, David Else, Jenny Else, Jan Floyd-Douglass, Mary Foryszewski, Michael Goodridge, John Gray, Val Henry, Peter Isherwood, Anna James, Robert Knowles, Peter Marriott, Peter Martin, Stephen Mulliner, John Neale, Julia Potts, Trevor Sadler, Richard Seaborne

 

            Abstentions: 1

            Cllr Jerry Hyman

 

87.2     The following motion was moved by Cllr George Wilson, and seconded by Cllr Paul Follows:

 

“Waverley Borough Council is concerned to learn that changes to Surrey Fire and Rescue Services appear to have resulted in periods when fire cover for Waverley has been very limited, particularly in the more isolated rural areas at night, we request Surrey County Council to revisit this decision for the safety of our residents.”

 

The Motion was debated by Members. The following Members spoke in the debate: Cllrs Hyman, Peter Martin, Townsend, Cockburn, Cosser, Mulliner, Robini, MacLeod, Follows, Knowles, Williams, Beaman, Foryszewski, Rosoman, Penny Rivers, Potts, Goodridge, and Wilson.

 

In accordance with Procedure Rule 17.4, a recorded vote was called.

 

The Mayor put the Motion to the vote, which was carried – votes in favour: 32, votes against 8, abstentions 13.

 

RESOLVED that Waverley Borough Council is concerned to learn that changes to Surrey Fire and Rescue Services appear to have resulted in periods when fire cover for Waverley has been very limited, particularly in the more isolated rural areas at night, we request Surrey County Council to revisit this decision for the safety of our residents.

 

            For: 32

Cllrs Christine Baker, Roger Blishen, Peter Clark, Martin D’Arcy, Jerome Davidson, Sally Dickson, Brian Edmonds, Patricia Ellis, Paul Follows, Mary Foryszewski, Maxine Gale, Joan Heagin, George Hesse, Daniel Hunt, Jerry Hyman, Robert Knowles, Andy MacLeod, Penny Marriott, Michaela Martin, Mark Merryweather, Peter Nicholson, Nick Palmer, Ruth Reed, Paul Rivers, Penny Rivers,  ...  view the full minutes text for item CNL87/20


At 9.26pm, the Mayor adjourned the meeting for 5 minutes for a comfort break.

 

At 9.32pm the Mayor resumed the meeting, and in accordance with Procedure Rule 9 moved the motion to continue the meeting beyond 10pm.

 

Council RESOLVED to continue the meeting beyond the normal finish time of 10pm.

 

(Cllr George Hesse left the meeting.)


 

CNL88/20

MINUTES OF THE EXECUTIVE

To receive the Minutes of the Executive meeting held on 9 February 2021, and to consider the recommendations set out within, as detailed in the Council agenda items 9.1 to 9.7.

 

 

Minutes:

88.1     It was moved by the Leader, duly seconded and RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Executive held on 9 February 2021 be received and noted.

 

            There were seven Part I matters for Council consideration.

CNL89/20

EXE 69/20 General Fund Budget 2021/22 and MTFP 2021/22 - 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 594 KB

This report sets out in detail the draft General Fund Budget for 2021/22 and the latest Medium Term Financial Plan. The Financial Plan sets out the key work streams for the Council to focus on which, collectively, aim to address the significant shortfall in annual budget projected over the medium term.

 

This report contains the following Annexes:

 

            Annexe 1 – draft Medium Term Financial Plan

            Annexe 2 -  draft General Fund Budget Summary 2021/22

            Annexe 3 – statement of key variations from 2020/21 base budget 

            Annexe 4 – draft Fees & Charges for 2021/22

            Annexe 5 – draft Capital Programme

            Annexe 6 – schedule of projected reserves and provisions

 

Recommendation

 

The Executive recommends to Council that it:

 

1.    agree a £5 increase in Waverley’s Band D Council Tax Charge for 2021/22 with resultant increases to the other council tax bands;

 

2.    agree to make no change to the Council’s existing Council Tax Support Scheme and continue to allocate additional Government support to help those council taxpayers most financially affected by the pandemic;

 

3.    agree the proposed Fees and Charges for 2021/22;

 

4.    approve the General Fund Budget for 2021/22 as summarised in Annexe 2, incorporating the baseline net service cost variations included at Annexe 3 and the staff pay award;

 

5.    approve the specific use of reserves to mitigate the Covid-19 uncertainty risk and the estimated reduction in retained business rate funding over the Medium Term Finance Plan period, and the other reserve movements as set out in the annexe 6,

 

6.    approve the General Fund Capital Programme; and,

 

7.    agree to extend the 2020/21 Capital Strategy to cover the period up to the Council meeting in February 2022 at the latest.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

89.1     The Leader of the Council introduced the General Fund Budget 2021/2022 and Medium Term Finance Plan 2021/22 – 2023/24. The budget proposed reflected the financial impact of Covid, and the failure of the government to reimburse the council fully for the extra costs incurred and the unanticipated severe loss of revenue. This was on top of the financial pressures already anticipated, arising from the removal of the Revenue Support Grant, reduction in New Homes Bonus, and iniquitous retention of local Business Rates. The ability of the council to raise investment income had also been restricted by changes to the terms of loans from the Public Works Loan Board.

 

89.2     The Leader invited the Finance Portfolio Holder, Cllr Merryweather, to present the detailed budget proposals. Cllr Merryweather’s slides and speech are annexed to these minutes.

 

89.3     The Leader of the Conservative Group, Cllr Potts, addressed the meeting on behalf of the Principal Opposition Group. The Conservative Group recognised the gravity of the council’s financial position, and would not be opposing the proposed budget. Cllr Potts had worked with the Leader and Cllr Merryweather on coming to a cross-party agreement on a letter to the Secretary of State, to lobby for a much fairer distribution of business rates. Looking forward, there was considerable uncertainty for the council. Whilst £2.2m of financial compensation had been received from the government, there was still a huge budget gap to fill, and the council’s two main sources of income in the form of car parks and leisure centres had fallen off a financial cliff, due to the pandemic. The council could not run at a deficit, and had to balance its budget. Cllr Potts had some concerns that the proposed budget was overly pessimistic; it was recognised that it was not possible to just use reserves built up over years of careful and prudent financial management, and the biggest concern was the financial risk associated with the leisure centres. The council had already paid £2.7m to Places Leisure in compensation but it was vital that the council continued to work closely with Place Leisure to keep to a minimum future compensation payments in order not risk the future of the council’s leisure centres. There was an exciting opportunity to work with Places Leisure on a new leisure centre and community hub for Cranleigh, that would respond to changes in the lifestyles of residents as we emerged from the pandemic lockdown; and there would be opportunities for the council to invest in outdoor spaces and other assets to deliver both a financial benefit and benefit the health and well-being of Waverley communities. In concluding, Cllr Potts, thanked Cllr Merryweather for his informative finance briefings, and officers from across the council who had worked so hard for residents and Waverley communities throughout the year.

 

89.4     The Mayor opened up the debate, and the following Members spoke: Cllrs Follows, Hunt, Edmonds, Mulliner, MacLeod, Wilson, Townsend, Goodridge, Dickson, Baker, Peter Martin, Hyman, Gray, Rosoman, and Foryszewski.

 

(Cllr Jan  ...  view the full minutes text for item CNL89/20

The Mayor advised Members that she would next take Agenda Item 10, the Council Tax setting report for 2021/22, as this was a technical report that would enable officers to expedite the Council Tax billing process.

CNL90/20

Council Tax Setting 2021/2022 pdf icon PDF 259 KB

The purpose of this report is to enable the Council to make the necessary resolutions in relation to the setting of Council Tax for 2021/2022.

 

Waverley, as a billing authority for the purpose of Council Tax, is required to set its Council Tax before 11 March in the financial year preceding that for which the Council Tax is set. This report summarises all of the appropriate budgetary decisions that will have been taken to enable the level of Council Tax for 2121/2022 to be determined and specifies all of the individual levels of Council tax for approval by the Council.

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended that Council agrees the council tax resolutions as set out in the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

90.1     The Mayor introduced the Council Tax Setting report. This was a technical report that summarised all of the appropriate budgetary decisions that had been taken to enable the level of Council Tax for 2021/22 to be determined, and specified all of the individual levels of Council Tax for approval by the Council.

 

90.2     The Mayor moved the recommendation, which was duly seconded by the Leader, which was agreed, with all in favour except Cllrs Edmonds and Hyman who asked for their abstentions to be recorded.

 

90.3     RESOLVED that the Council Tax Setting resolutions as set out in the agenda report, are approved.


At 10.40pm, in accordance with Procedure Rule 9, Council RESOLVED to adjourn the meeting until 7pm on Thursday 25 February 2021.

 

The Mayor reconvened the meeting of Council at 7pm on Thursday 25 February 2021.

 

Apologies were recorded from Cllrs Jan Floyd-Douglass, Michaela Martin, Kika Mirylees, and Richard Seaborne.


 

CNL91/20

EXE 70/20 HRA Business Plan 2021/22 - 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 400 KB

The is report sets out the proposed Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Business Plan, Revenue Budget and Capital Programme for 2021/22.

 

Recommendation

 

The Executive make the following recommendations to Council, that:

 

1.    the rent level for Council dwellings be increased by 1.25% from the 20/21 level with effect from 1 April 2021 within the permitted guidelines contained within the Government’s rent setting policy;

2.    the average weekly charge for garages rented by both Council and non-Council tenants be increased by 50 pence per week excluding VAT from 1 April 2021;

3.    the service charges in senior living accommodation be increased by 30 pence per week from 1 April 2021 to £19.80;

4.    the recharge for energy costs in senior living accommodation be increased by 50 pence per week from1 April 2021;

5.    the revised HRA Business Plan for 2021/22 to 2024/25 as set out in Annexe 1 be approved;

6.    the approval change for the fees and charges as set out in Annexe 2 is noted

7.    the Housing Revenue Account Capital Programmes as shown in Annexe 3 be approved;

8.    the financing of the capital programmes be approved in line with the resources shown in Annexe 4.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

91.1     The Leader of the Council introduced the Housing Revenue Account Business Plan 2021/22 – 2023/24, including the Revenue Budget and Capital Programme for 2021/22, and invited the Housing Portfolio Holder, Cllr Rosoman, to present the detailed budget proposals.

 

91.2     The Leader of the Conservative Group, Cllr Potts, addressed the meeting on behalf of the Principal Opposition Group, who were generally supportive of the proposed business plan and budget.

 

91.3     The Mayor opened up the debate, and the following Members spoke: Cllrs Follows, Cockburn, Palmer, Goodridge, Townsend, Wilson, Hyman, Merryweather, Williams, Mulliner, and Reed.

 

91.4     In concluding the debate, the Leader formally moved the recommendations in the report, which were seconded by Cllr Rosoman.

 

91.5     In accordance with Procedure Rule 17.4, the Mayor called for a recorded vote on the recommendations.

 

The vote was carried, with votes in favour 53, and none against or abstaining.

 

91.6     RESOLVED that:

1.      the rent level for Council dwellings be increased by 1.25% from the 20/21 level with effect from 1 April 2021 within the permitted guidelines contained within the Government’s rent setting policy;

2.      the average weekly charge for garages rented by both Council and non-Council tenants be increased by 50 pence per week excluding VAT from 1 April 2021;

3.      the service charges in senior living accommodation be increased by 30 pence per week from 1 April 2021 to £19.80;

4.      the recharge for energy costs in senior living accommodation be increased by 50 pence per week from1 April 2021;

5.      the revised HRA Business Plan for 2021/22 to 2024/25 as set out in Annexe 1 be approved;

6.      the approval change for the fees and charges as set out in Annexe 2 be noted

7.      the Housing Revenue Account Capital Programmes as shown in Annexe 3 be approved;

8.      the financing of the capital programmes be approved in line with the resources shown in Annexe 4.

For: 53

Cllrs Brian Adams, Christine Baker, David Beaman. Roger Blishen, Peter Clark, Carole Cockburn, Richard Cole, Steve Cosser, Martin D’Arcy, Jerome Davidson, Kevin Deanus, Simon Dear, Sally Dickson, Brian Edmonds, Patricia Ellis, David Else, Jenny Else, Paul Follows, Mary Foryszewski, Maxine Gale, Michael Goodridge, John Gray, Joan Heagin, Val Henry, George Hesse, Chris Howard, Dan Hunt, Jerry Hyman, Peter Isherwood, Anna James, Jacquie Keen, Robert Knowles, Andy MacLeod, Penny Marriott, Peter Marriott, Peter Martin, Mark Merryweather, Stephen Mulliner, John Neale, Peter Nicholson, Nick Palmer, Julia Potts, Ruth Reed, Paul Rivers, Penny Rivers, John Robini, Anne-Marie Rosoman, Liz Townsend, John Ward, Michaela Wicks, Steve Williams, and George Wilson.

 

CNL92/20

EXE 71/20 Annual Pay Policy Statement 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 117 KB

The Localism Act 2011 (Section 39) requires all public authorities to publish an Annual Pay Policy Statement. The Council is required to adopt the Annual Pay Policy Statement each year and the Council is not legally permitted to depart from the policies set out in that statement when it considers actual decisions in relation to individuals’ remuneration, including redundancy and/or severance.

 

The Annual Pay Policy Statement for the 2021/22 financial year is attached at Annexe 1. It has been updated in line with the requirements of the Localism Act 2011, resulting in minimal adjustments from last year which are shown as tracked changes.

 

Recommendation

 

The Executive recommends to Council that the Pay Policy Statement for the 2021/22 financial year, attached at Annexe 1, be approved.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

92.1     The Leader introduced the Annual Pay Policy Statement for 2021/22, which had been circulated in the agenda papers with tracked changes from the previous year. The Leader explained that since publication of the agenda, the government had announced late on Friday 12 February that it would be revoking the Restriction to Public Sector Exit Payments Regulations 2020, and therefore the second paragraph in the section of the Pay Policy Statement referring to Redundancy arrangements was no longer required.

 

92.2     He proposed an amendment to remove this paragraph, which was duly seconded by Cllr Follows. The Mayor invited speakers on the amendment, and there were none. The Mayor therefore put the amendment to the vote, which was carried unanimously.

 

92.3     The Mayor opened the debate on the Annual Pay Policy Statement 2021/22, as amended, during which the following Members spoke: Cllrs Edmonds, Hyman and Knowles.

 

92.4     At the conclusion, the Mayor moved the recommendation, which was carried unanimously.

 

92.5     RESOLVED that the Annual Pay Policy Statement for 2021/22, as amended, be approved.

 

 

CNL93/20

EXE 72/20 Local Boundary Commission Electoral Review 2020-2022 pdf icon PDF 229 KB

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) has notified the Council that it will conduct an electoral review of the Borough during 2020-2022.  The review process has now commenced. In December 2020, the Executive set up an informal cross-party councillor working group to develop a recommendation on the future size of the Council, to inform the first stage of the Boundary Commission’s review.

 

The Working Group has met three times, and considered carefully the key lines of enquiry set out in the Boundary Commission’s ‘Council Size’ template. A councillor survey has been carried out to capture information about how councillors engage with residents and how they spend their time in their role as councillor. The attached Council Size submission (Annexe 1) sets out the argument for the size of Waverley Borough Council to be reduced to 50 councillors, with effect from the Borough elections in May 2023. Attached at Annexe 2 is a table showing a comparison of council size and electorate numbers for neighbouring authorities.

 

Recommendation

 

The Executive recommend to Council that the attached LGBCE Council Size document be approved as the Council’s submission to the electoral review of Waverley Borough Council, including a proposed council size from May 2023 of 50 councillors.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

93.1     The Leader of the Council, Cllr John Ward, introduced the proposed submission to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) on Council Size, to inform the Commission’s review of electoral equality in Waverley Borough.

 

93.2     Council noted that the LGBCE had a statutory duty to review every English local authority ‘from time to time’. As Waverley had not had an electoral review since 1998 the Commission had advised the Council that a review would commence in 2020 and take effect at the May 2023 elections. The aim of the review was to seek to deliver electoral equality for voters in local elections and would therefore propose new electoral arrangements for:

· The total number of councillors to be elected to the council: council size.

· The names, number and boundaries of wards.

· The number of councillors to be elected from each ward.

 

93.3     The Leader had made strong representations to the LGBCE about the timing of the review, given the Council’s focus on responding to the Covid pandemic, and the ongoing uncertainty about the impacts of Brexit and possible future local government reorganisation in Surrey. However, it had not been possible to alter the timeframe for the review. A cross-party working group had considered carefully the criteria used by the LGBCE to make their decision on council size: strategic leadership, governance, and community involvement; and also noted that Waverley was out of step with neighbouring boroughs in terms of the ratio of electors to councillors. Whilst there was broad agreement on the benefit of multi-member wards, preferably each with two councillors, there had been a diverse range of views on the preferred number of councillors for Waverley, ranging from 44 to an increase to 62. The proposed council size of 50 councillors was a compromise felt to be supported by a majority of the council and had been reached following consideration of a number of scenarios, and recognising that retaining the status quo of 57 councillors would still result in changes to ward boundaries.

 

93.4     In the following debate the following Members spoke: Cllrs Follows, Williams, Cosser, Nicholson, Goodridge, Potts, Cockburn, Hyman, Foryszewski, Wilson, Davidson, Rosoman, and Beaman. Arguments were made in favour of both a more radical reduction in council size than that proposed, and also retaining the current council size, reflecting the discussions in the working group. It was noted that the council size had not changed in many years, and in a fully-parished district there was a high level of democratic representation. However, there was also concern that reducing the number of councillors would impact on local democracy at a time of increasing elector numbers, and that the rural geography of Waverley favoured a retaining a larger council size. It was noted that the majority of the Conservative Group favoured retaining 57 councillors, and they would be making a separate submission to the LGBCE.

 

93.5     Cllr David Beaman proposed, and Cllr Jerome Davidson seconded an amendment that the Council should agree a proposed council size of 44  ...  view the full minutes text for item CNL93/20

CNL94/20

Appointment of a Deputy Electoral Registration Officer

The Chief Executive is Waverley’s Returning Officer and Electoral Registration Officer. These are two separate appointments that were made by the Full Council in December 2017.

 

As Returning Officer, the Chief Executive has the power to nominate deputies, and does so in advance of every election.

 

As Electoral Registration Officer, he does not have this direct power: it must be done by the Full Council as per the Representation of the People Act 1983 s52(2).

 

As a precautionary measure, in view of the pandemic, the Chief Executive recommends that Robin Taylor, Head of Policy & Governance be appointed as Deputy Electoral Registration Officer.

 

Recommendation

 

That Council appoint Robin Taylor, Head of Policy & Governance as Deputy Electoral Registration Officer.

Minutes:

Robin Taylor, Head of Policy & Governance, left the meeting during the course of this item.

 

94.1     Council noted that the Chief Executive was Waverley’s Returning Officer and Electoral Registration Officer. As Returning Officer, the Chief Executive had the power to nominate deputies, and did so in advance of every election. As Electoral Registration Officer, he did not have this direct power: it had to be done by the Full Council as per the Representation of the People Act 1983 s52(2).

 

94.2     RESOLVED that Robin Taylor, Head of Policy & Governance, be appointed as Deputy Electoral Registration Officer.

CNL95/20

EXE 73/20 Local Government collaboration in Surrey pdf icon PDF 277 KB

The purpose of this report is to update the Council on progress on local government collaboration since the Council and Executive discussions of 22 July and 8 September 2020 respectively, and to allow Council to debate opportunities for future collaboration among local authorities in the light of the KPMG report, and this report.

 

Recommendation

 

The Executive recommend to the Council that it debate opportunities for future collaboration among local authorities in the light of the KPMG report and this report.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

95.1     The Leader of the Council briefed Members on the findings of the KPMG report commissioned by the eleven Surrey Districts and Boroughs on opportunities for collaborative working, and preliminary discussions held with the leadership at Guildford Borough Council on closer co-operation between the two councils.

 

95.2     The Mayor invited Members to discuss these matters and the following Members spoke: Cllrs Potts, Jenny Else, Michael Goodridge, Follows, Robini, Seaborne, and Cosser.

 


At 10.35pm, in accordance with the earlier resolution, the Mayor adjourned the meeting until a date to be advised.

 

The Mayor reconvened the meeting of Council at 6pm on Monday 22 March 2021.

 

Apologies were recorded from Cllrs Sally Dickson, Chris Howard, Peter Isherwood, Julia Potts, and Steve Williams.


 

95.3     The discussion on local government collaboration resumed, with comments from Cllrs Nicholson, Knowles, Mulliner, and Cosser. In concluding the discussion, the Leader emphasised his intention to be open and transparent in the progress of talks with Guildford, and to keeping Towns and Parishes involved as well. He agreed on the importance of a partnership with Guildford being a true equal partnership, and in this potentially being the foundation for a unitary proposal when that matter came forward again. He noted that there continued to be interest in working outside the county boundary, although this had not been welcomed by civil servants; and the response to proposals from Cumbrian councils would be carefully scrutinised for any change in position.

 

95.4     RESOLVED to note the final KPMG report and the current status of discussions with Guildford Borough Council.

CNL96/20

EXE 74/20 Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) pdf icon PDF 319 KB

The purpose of this report is to seek Council approval of the Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). The proposed SPD  sets out the Council’s approach for securing affordable housing in accordance with the application of relevant planning  policies contained in Local Plan Part 1. It follows consultation on the draft SPD,  which took place in two phases, 9th November – 14th December 2018 and 1st July – 16th August 2019.

 

Recommendation

 

The Executive recommends to the Council that the Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) be approved.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

96.1     Cllr MacLeod introduced the Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), which had been in prepared jointly by the Planning and Housing Delivery Teams to provide guidance for developers on the council’s expectations in relation to the provision of affordable housing as part of housing developments. The SPD had been subject to public consultation, and scrutiny at Housing Overview & Scrutiny Committee, and had a broad level of support.

 

96.2     The Mayor opened up the debate to Members, and Cllr Mulliner proposed an amendment to strengthen the wording of paragraphs 93 and 94 of the SPD, in order for the council to protects its position with developers who sought to reduce their affordable housing contribution for viability reasons after planning permission had been granted.

 

96.3     Members debated the amendments and whilst sympathetic with the aim, noted that the wording of the SPD would need to be carefully considered to ensure that it would withstand challenge. Therefore, the Leader proposed, it was duly seconded by Cllr Mulliner, and unanimously

 

96.4     RESOLVED that further consideration of the Affordable Housing SPD would be deferred to the next meeting of Council, to allow officers to consider the wording proposed by Cllr Mulliner and report back to Council.

 

 

 

CNL97/20

EXE 75/20 ICT Strategy 2021-2024 pdf icon PDF 208 KB

To seek approval of the draft ICT Strategy

 

Recommendation

 

The Executive recommend to Council that the ICT Strategy 2021-2024 be approved.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

97.1     Cllr Clark, Portfolio Holder for IT and Business Transformation introduced the ICT Strategy 2021-2024.

 

97.2     The Mayor opened up the debate, and the following Members spoke: Cllrs Goodridge, Adams, Cole, Gray, Neale, Peter Martin, D’Arcy and Cockburn. Cllr Clark agreed to respond to a number of technical questions off-line.

 

97.3     The Mayor moved the recommendation to approve the ICT Strategy, which was carried unanimously.

 

97.4     RESOLVED that the ICT Strategy 2021-2024 be approved.

CNL98/20

MINUTES OF THE LICENSING AND REGULATORY COMMITTEE pdf icon PDF 200 KB

To receive the Minutes of the Licensing & Regulatory Committee meeting held on 10 December 2020.

 

There are no Part I matters for Council consideration.

 

Members of the Council wishing to speak on any Part II Matters of Report must give notice to the Democratic Services Team by midday on Tuesday 23 February 2021.

Minutes:

98.1     It was moved by Cllr Knowles, the Chairman of the Committee, duly seconded and RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee held on 10 December 2020 be received and noted.

 

There were no matters for Council consideration in Part I, and no requests to speak on Part II matters.

CNL99/20

MINUTES OF THE STANDARDS COMMITTEE pdf icon PDF 136 KB

To receive the Minutes of the Standards Committee meeting held on 1 FEBRUARY 2021, and to consider the recommendations set out within, as detailed in the following agenda items.

 

Minutes:

99.1     It was moved by Cllr Robini the Chairman of the Committee, duly seconded and RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Standards Committee held on 1 February 2021 be received and noted.

 

There were two matters for Council consideration in Part I.

 

 

CNL100/20

STD 40/20 LGA NEW MODEL CODE OF CONDUCT pdf icon PDF 131 KB

This report presents the new Model Code of Conduct, published in December 2020 by the Local Government Association (LGA).  The LGA consulted widely on the new code before publishing the final version.  Council is asked to adopt the new Model Code of Conduct.

 

Authorities remain responsible for their own local code and so there is no ‘requirement’ to adopt the code, either in part or in full.  Authorities may choose to amend the model code prior to adopting it and/or can choose to amend it at any point in the future. 

 

Recommendation

 

The Standards Committee:

 

(i)            recommend to Full Council that the new LGA model code be adopted without any local amendments; and

(ii)          ask the Monitoring Officer to arrange councillor briefings on the new model code (once adopted).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

100.1   Cllr Robini advised that the Standards Committee had considered the new Model Members Code of Conduct that had been developed by the Local Government Association in response to recommendations of the 2019 report by the Committee on Standards in Public Life on Local government ethical standards. The new Model Code was developed in consultation with the sector, and the LGA have committed to undertaking an annual review to ensure it continued to be fit-for-purpose.

 

100.2   The new Model Code did not place new obligations on Waverley Members, but reinforced obligations in relation to civility and respect, bullying and harassment, and application of the Code in relation to all forms of communication and interaction.

 

100.3   The Standards Committee recommended that Waverley adopt the new Model Code in full, and that the Monitoring Officer arrange councillor briefings on the Code.

 

100.4   There were no speakers on the matter and the Mayor moved the recommendation that the LGA New Model Code of Conduct be adopted.

 

100.5   RESOLVED that:

1.      the new LGA model code be adopted without any local amendments; and

2.    the Monitoring Officer arrange councillor briefings on the new model code.

CNL101/20

STD 41/20 AMENDMENTS TO THE VIRTUAL MEETING PROCEDURE RULES pdf icon PDF 230 KB

The Standards Committee discussed the use of the ‘chat’ function in Zoom in meetings by committee members and those attending the meetings as observers, and agreed that it was preferable for this to be used only to alert the chairman or committee officers of any technical issues.

 

The recommended wording of Virtual Meeting Procedure Rule 9, is set out in the attached Annexe.

 

Recommendation

 

The Standards Committee recommends to Council that the Virtual Meeting

Procedure Rules be amended to include VMPR 9, to require that participants and observers at council and committee meeting refrain from using the Zoom chat facility other than to draw attention of the chairman or committee officers to any technical issues.

Minutes:

101.1   Cllr Robini introduced the recommendation from the Standards Committee to amend the Virtual Meeting Procedure Rules to restrict the use of the Zoom ‘chat’ function by Members during committee meetings

 

101.2   The Standards Committee recommended that Council adopt Virtual Meeting Procedure Rule 9, relating to the use of chat functions during Council meetings.

 

101.3   With the agreement of the Mayor, Cllr Cosser commented on the matter discussed by the Standards Committee in relation to the Scheme of Delegation, which had arisen over the Broadwater Park Golf Club lease. Cllr Cosser reiterated concerns expressed in previous meetings, that officers using delegated powers had departed from a decision taken by the Executive. He was concerned about the lack of transparency, and the precedent it set. Cllrs Follows and Merryweather challenged the accuracy of Cllr Cosser’s assertion, explaining that the decision by the Executive had been ‘to proceed with due legal process’ with a view to granting a lease. The council had not been able to complete the necessary legal steps with the counterparty to enable the lease to be granted. The matter had been thoroughly scrutinised at the Value for Money Overview & Scrutiny Committee call-in meeting. The Mayor ended the discussion on this matter; however, Cllr Peter Martin spoke to add the support of the Conservative Group to Cllr Cosser’s comments.

 

101.4   In relation to the recommendation from the Standards Committee, relating to the use of online chat functions during meetings, Members supported the proposal.

 

101.5   The Mayor moved the recommendation, which was agreed unanimously.

 

101.6   RESOLVED that the Virtual Meeting Procedure Rules be amended to include VMPR 9, to require that participants and observers at council and committee meetings refrain from using the Zoom chat facility other than to draw attention of the chairman or committee officers to any technical issues.