Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Katharine Street, Croydon CR0 1NX
Contact: Michelle Gerning
020 8726 6000 x84246 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To approve the minutes of the Annual Council meeting held on 23 May 2018 as an accurate record.
It was noted that an amendment was required on minute 7/18 resolution 3 to reflect that Councillor Stuart Collins was appointed as Deputy Leader.
RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 23 May 2018 were agreed as an accurate record, subject to the aforementioned amendment.
Disclosure of Interests
In accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct and the statutory provisions of the Localism Act, Members and co-opted Members of the Council are reminded that it is a requirement to register disclosable pecuniary interests (DPIs) and gifts and hospitality to the value of which exceeds £50 or multiple gifts and/or instances of hospitality with a cumulative value of £50 or more when received from a single donor within a rolling twelve month period. In addition, Members and co-opted Members are reminded that unless their disclosable pecuniary interest is registered on the register of interests or is the subject of a pending notification to the Monitoring Officer, they are required to disclose those disclosable pecuniary interests at the meeting. This should be done by completing the Disclosure of Interest form and handing it to the Democratic Services representative at the start of the meeting. The Chair will then invite Members to make their disclosure orally at the commencement of Agenda item 3. Completed disclosure forms will be provided to the Monitoring Officer for inclusion on the Register of Members’ Interests.
There were none.
Urgent Business (if any)
To receive notice of any business not on the agenda which in the opinion of the Chair, by reason of special circumstances, be considered as a matter of urgency.
There were no items of urgent business.
The Mayor advised that in accordance with paragraph 1.2 of Part 4A of the Constitution, she would be varying the order of business for the meeting to take item 13, the report on the Members’ Allowances before item 12.
To receive Announcements, if any, from the Mayor, the Leader, Head of Paid Service and Returning Officer.
The Mayor thanked all the volunteers, officers and organisers of the events that she had attended in her first six weeks as Mayor. The Mayor had previously highlighted in her acceptance of office speech that equality and inclusion would be her priorities and as such it had given her great joy to attend events that embraced this, such as the Faiths Together bike ride and picnic, and attending an “equalities” tea party.
In June the Mayor attended the Croydon Food and Music Festival which proved to be a fantastic, vibrant, colourful event for all generations and was attended by more than twelve thousand people. It had been a pleasure to see the coming together of Croydon’s communities to enjoy such a well organised event. The Mayor had also had the privilege of attending various graduation ceremonies, including one at the Croydon Adult Learning and Training Centre (CALAT), with her attendance planned for a similar event in the near future at Beckmead College.
It had recently been Armed Forces Week, which had been made even more poignant this year in being the centenary since the end of the First World War. The Mayor had been honoured to raise the flag outside the Town Hall to mark the event and have lunch with veterans from the local area, who talked so humbly of their heroic acts.
The Mayor reminded Members that it was her Inaugural Dinner on 11 July 2018, noting that it was pleasing that so many Councillors had confirmed their attendance. Thanks was given to the various sponsors for their generous support of the event. The Mayor also thanked the new advisors to the Mayor’s Charity Board for their fundraising ideas and input so far. It was highlighted that the traditional annual golf day was in the process of being planned, with it likely to be held in September.
The Leader of the Council advised that a significant level of support had been received for his proposal to nominate Roy Hodgson to receive the Freedom of the Borough. On a separate note the underfunding of the provision for Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children, at a cost to Croydon Council of £7m, continued to be a very serious matter and the Leader would be sending a letter outlining the concerns of the Council to the Home Secretary.
To receive the report on the Peer Review of Adult Social Care.
The Council received a report on the recent Peer Review of Croydon’s Adults Service. The Review Lead, Aileen Buckton was in attendance at the meeting to present a summary of the review’s findings. During the presentation the following points were noted:-
The Cabinet Member for Families, Health and Social Care, Councillor Avis, extended her thanks to the Review Team for their report, particularly for delivering it in the short timeframe they had been given to complete the review. It was pleasing to note that the results of the Review had found a Service being delivered in the right way, with vision and passion. The Review had also helped to provide reassurance that the Service was moving in the right direction for the people of Croydon.
The mission for the Service was to deliver a sustainable future, in terms of money, the workforce and partnerships. This vision was presented under the heading of ‘a life not a care plan’. It was intended that residents would be provided with support to allow them to live a life they both deserved and wanted, through the introduction of a system focused on prevention and early intervention. A key driver for this would be the One Croydon Alliance, which aimed to integrate health and social care partners to deliver service improvements despite cuts of 74% ... view the full minutes text for item 15/17
a) Public Questions (30 minutes)
To receive questions from the public gallery and questions submitted by residents in advance of the meeting.
b) Leader and Cabinet Questions (105 minutes)
To receive questions from Councillors.
The Mayor began the item with questions from the public.
Brian Longman asked why the new waste and recycling system would provide households with a larger bin for paper and cardboard recycling, when a greater level of plastic and glass was recycled and whether a more bespoke system could be used to meet residents’ needs. Councillor Collins advised that it would not be practical for a bespoke system to be used as the collections needed to be designed to all households rather than individual circumstances. There was also evidence to indicate that a greater capacity for paper and cardboard recycling was required across the Borough.
Brian Longman asked a supplementary question about the assisted collection scheme for people unable to move their own bins. Councillor Collins confirmed that residents could register for this service by either phoning or emailing the Council and that it would take the bins to and from a resident’s door. It was highlighted that the new bins provided were only 22.5 inches larger than the current system, but should issues arise it could be reviewed once it was operating.
Mark Samuels asked a question about the procedure for recouping any overpayment of housing benefit. Councillor Hall advised that in the first instance overpayment was something the Council tried to avoid, but when it occurred it would be pursued.
Oscar Dahling asked whether, following the demolition of Taberner House, local community groups who had been allowed to use the site were informed about the potential risk from asbestos found during the demolition of the building. The Leader agreed to provide a detailed written response to this question following the meeting.
Oscar Dahling asked a supplementary question about whether the Council had commissioned a report into the possibility of asbestos on the site and the possible impact from this. The Leader also agreed to provide a detailed written response to this question following the meeting.
The Mayor then moved to Councillor questions to the Leader.
Councillor Tim Pollard asked whether given that the GMB Trade Union had come out in favour of Council leaders being elected by the Labour Group, would the Leader support this approach. The Leader advised that in November 2018 he would be writing to all colleagues across the Council to participate in a governance review and all suggestions would be welcome.
Councillor Henson asked for an update on the improvement work being carried out in Ashburton Park. The Leader thanked Councillor Henson for her work in helping to deliver improvements in the Park. It was confirmed that at present the finishing touches were being made to the café. Looking further forward, it was envisaged that the Council would work with the local community to drive through continuing improvement in the park.
Councillor Henson asked a supplementary question about the decision to bring the grass cutting contract back in-house and whether this would present opportunities for local councillors to deliver further improvements. In response it was advised that through bringing the contract back in-house it ... view the full minutes text for item 16/17
To receive notice of petitions presented by Members on behalf of local residents.
The Mayor invited Councillor Clancy to read out the title of the submitted Member petition which read:
“We being residents of GROVE WOOD HILL petition Croydon Council to REMOVE IMMEDIATELY its Woodcote Schools Parent Access Ban scheme. Banning motor vehicles from the Dunsfold rise loop at school times has forced school parents to park in our road instead. This has meant more vehicles driving and parking in our road, more blocking of private drives, and more traffic congestion, causing us inconvenience and annoyance. Overall the scheme had led to an increase in disruption and a decrease in road safety.”
In response to the petition, Councillor King advised that the pilot scheme had been initiated in response to residents’ concerns about an unsafe environment outside the school. A report would be consider by the Traffic Management Advisory Committee on 12 July 2018 and the concerns outlaid in the petition would be included in the report and taken into account by the Committee Members.
The Mayor invited Councillor Fitzsimons to read out the title of the submitted Member petition which read:
“The new owners of the Glamorgan Pub, Croydon, want to demolish it and replace it with flats. We, the undersigned want to save it, and make it a community pub for all to enjoy. We urge Croydon Council & Croydon Planning Department, to recognise this historic building as an Asset of Community Value (ACV), so that it can be preserved and kept as a pub.”
Councillor King advised that the Glamorgan Pub had been listed as an ACV in February 2018 and this designation would remain for five years. Although the owner was looking to develop the site, any planning decision would need to take account of the new Local Plan that included provision to preserve public houses. Councillor King extended his thanks to Councillor Fitzsimons for his work on this issue.
The Mayor invited Councillor Shahul-Hameed to read out the title of the submitted Member petition which read:
“We, the residents of Mitcham Road are facing intolerable problems of traffic flows and parking our own cars in our street. We ask that the Council carries out a consultation exercise, which asks if residents want parking bays with residents permits for the Residents of Mitcham Road B/W Rochford Way & Therapia Lane which are situated in B/W House No: 531 to House No: 657, Mitcham Road, Croydon.”
Councillor King advised that Mitcham Road would be added to the list of sites that will have an informal consultation on the possible introduction of residents’ parking.
To hear maiden speeches from Councillors newly elected at the local elections held on 23 May 2018.
Following the Elections in May, the Mayor invited five new Members of the Council to give their maiden speeches to the Council.
Councillor Felicity Flynn, in delivering her maiden speech, paid tribute to her predecessor former Councillor Carole Bonner. Councillor Flynn also highlighted the range of training courses she had already attended in familiarising herself to her new role. Councillor Flynn had been getting involved in community events including the New Addington Carnival and the local Police Panel, where local security matters had been discussed leading to a number of actions being implemented. Councillor Flynn had also attended a meeting of the Central Parade Business Partnership and meetings regarding the new Special Needs School which will be built on the site of the current Timebridge Youth and Community Centre to discuss the arrangement for a new community facility.
Councillor Robert Ward, in delivering his maiden speech, thanked the residents of Selsdon and Addington Village for electing him as their Councillor and highlighted the positive aspects of his Ward. Tribute was also paid to the former Councillors in the Ward, Phil Thomas, Sarah Bashford and Dudley Mead. Councillor Ward highlighted that in light of the continuing challenges to the viability of high streets, it was essential to find ways to support sustainable businesses in the local area. Other threats to the wellbeing of the area highlighted included overdevelopment, too much signage and fly tipping.
Councillor Muhammad Ali, in delivering his maiden speech, thanked his predecessor, Mike Selva. Councillor Ali also paid tribute to the local community who, since the riots in 2011, had shown their resilience through working together to rebuild and recover. Since the riots a lot had changed within the Ward to rebuild community trust including investment in local infrastructure, but challenges still remained. Over the next four years Councillor Ali would be working with colleagues to develop a Broad Green Business Improvement District and Business Forum to ensure local businesses had the support and resources they needed to provide jobs for local people. It was also proposed that Broad Green would be rebranded as Broad Green Village to help ensure people were able to take pride in their local area, provide residents with facilities that they needed and allow local businesses to grow.
Councillor Ali advised that he would be working to enhance local green spaces in Broad Green through the use of Section 106 investment and his Ward budget. This would include supporting community led initiatives such as the Broad Green Mile to ensure that there were more green spaces in the Ward. Councillor Ali would also work with his Cabinet colleagues to ensure that Transport for London (TFL) addressed air quality issues in the local area, particularly around schools. Attention was also drawn to the ongoing financial challenges facing local authorities which required the Council to take an innovative approach to providing essential services for residents including affordable housing and sustainable transport.
Councillor Oviri, in delivering her maiden speech, highlighted the history to be found ... view the full minutes text for item 18/17
To receive the annual report of the Scrutiny and Overview Committee.
During his introduction to the Annual Report of the Scrutiny and Overview Committee 2017/2018, the Chair, Councillor Fitzsimons highlighted that the report provided a useful opportunity to reflect upon lessons learned over the past year and would help to identify possible improvements going forward. Councillor Fitzsimons also extended his thanks to the Scrutiny staff and the outgoing Chairs of the other Scrutiny Sub-Committees namely Councillors Jan Buttinger and Carole Bonner.
Over the past year there had been over 30 Scrutiny meetings, with over 40 subjects scrutinised, including the call-in of two Cabinet key decisions which had resulted in 60 recommendations being made. The inadequate rating of Children’s Services following an Ofsted inspection in September 2017 had led to a change in the overall approach to Scrutiny, with additional emphasis placed on Members knowing what good looks like in order to be able to judge the performance of a Service. To achieve this Members needed to have a good knowledge of a Service area, which was acknowledged maybe harder to achieve in some areas than others and would require more work from Members outside of meetings to prepare.
Another consideration for Scrutiny going forward included how best to ensure that the voice of service users, local residents and businesses was heard as part of the process. Another challenge was ensuring the parity of esteem between Scrutiny and the Cabinet, which would be essential to promoting the value of Scrutiny.
The Chair of the Children and Young People Sub Committee, Councillor Ward advised that it was still early days for his chairmanship of the Sub-Committee but endorsed the direction of travel for Scrutiny outlined by Councillor Fitzsimons. The Sub-Committee would continue to scrutinise the implementation of the Children’s Improvement Programme, an area of work that will need to be carefully balanced so as not to increase pressure upon the Service.
Priorities for the Sub-Committee would include ensuring that the voice of the child was heard within the service and ensuring that the different agencies were working together to deliver improvements. An early priority for the Sub-Committee was to get up to speed on the subject, which would enable them to ensure they were asking the right questions.
The Chair of the Health and Social Care Sub-Committee Councillor Chowdhury highlighted that the health of the people of Croydon was central to the Labour Party election manifesto and as such the Sub-Committee had a key role to play in holding service providers to account.
It was noted that of the 60 recommendations made by Scrutiny, 49 had been accepted and as such it was questioned which were the most significant. It was acknowledged that each recommendation was made for a reason, but ultimately the ones relating to the Ofsted report were the most pertinent, especially as these garnered extra strength through being agreed on a cross party basis.
In response to a question about the resources available to conduct the Scrutiny role it was advised that as well as two Scrutiny officers, the main ... view the full minutes text for item 19/17
To receive the annual report of the General Purposes and Audit Committee.
The new Chair of the General Purposes and Audit Committee, Councillor Mann introduced the report,thanking the previous Committee for its hard work. Councillor Mann advised that he had met with the auditors in preparation for the Committee meeting on 18 July 2018. It was intended that the work of the Committee would continue to be guided by the risk register, with an intelligence led approach taken.
Council resolved to note the Annual Report of the General Purposes and Audit Committee.
Council Debate Motions
To debate any motions submitted in accordance with Council Procedure Rules.
The item began with the Administration motion which read:
“Croydon's Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) are underfunded by national government by £7m annually. This council calls on the Home Secretary to urgently address this crisis”.
Councillor Flemming proposed the motion highlighting that the Council had worked hard to ensure UASC received the support they deserved and that it was important to remember that they were children. It was also advised that the commitment of Council staff in supporting these young people should also be recognised as a reflection that Croydon was a borough that cared and was a home to equality and diversity. The intention of the motion was not an indication that the Council did not want to support UASC, but to make a request for the right level of funding as it currently cost significantly more to support UASC than the Council was awarded.
Councillor Patsy Cummings seconded the motion and reserved her right to speak.
Councillor Tim Pollard echoed the thanks given to Council staff for their work with UASC. It was highlighted that the underfunding of support for UASC was a long standing issue for the borough and although the Government recognised Croydon’s special status as a gateway council, the funding provided was still too low. As such it was important that Councillors from across the Council worked together to ensure that the right message was given to Government Ministers on the issue.
Councillor Gatland also highlighted the positive contribution the Council had made to UASC, but acknowledged that there was still a considerable financial cost for gateway councils such as Croydon, with underfunding being a long term issue. It was highlighted that the Audit Commission had recommended for a number of years that a robust system of monitoring the funding for the service and a focus on the outcomes was needed. Concern was also raised about the impact the halt of the national transfer scheme would have upon children awaiting placement.
Councillor Patsy Cummings noted that it was pleasing to have cross party support in lobbying central Government on this issue, as it was acknowledged that having the Home Office in Croydon meant that there were a higher level of UASC than in other areas.
The motion was put to the vote and carried unanimously.
The Mayor then moved to the opposition motion which read:
“This Council is completely committed to increasing recycling but believes the latest proposal to move most households to having between three and five wheelie bins per property will not significantly increase recycling and will massively inconvenience residents who will have to store them. Instead of imposing unnecessary extra bins on residents who already recycle responsibly, the council should instead target those residents who don’t use the current system correctly and don’t separate their waste”.
Councillor Bains moving the motion, stated that there was no argument about the need to recycle more, but a major factor against this was many people not separating their waste properly and littering. Rather than ... view the full minutes text for item 21/17
To review the Council’s Scheme of Allowances. [To Follow]
Councillor Hall introduced the item and proposed the recommendations be accepted as set out in the report. During the introduction it was highlighted that in order to have an inclusive and diverse Council, it was essential to reflect and reward the commitment involved in being a Councillor. Since 2013 all Council staff had received a salary increase of 7%, with a closer to 10% rise for low paid staff. The increase proposed for the Members’ Scheme of Allowances was significantly lower than the increase received by staff.
The proposals included a freeze on those Special Responsibility Allowances (SRA) already above the level recommended by the London Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP), a 2% increase for those SRAs under the level recommended by the IRP and a 4% rise for the Leader and the Cabinet, which still fell below the amount recommended by the IRP.
The recommendation was seconded by the Leader.
The Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Tim Pollard acknowledged that Members’ allowances had not risen since 2005 and highlighted that they had actually been reduced by the Conservative administration in 2010. In light of staff being awarded a 2% pay rise, it was questioned why some SRAs were being increased by up to 20 times this amount. In response, Councillor Hall confirmed that SRAs had not been increased by this amount except in the instances where new roles had been created.
As a supplementary question, Councillor Pollard questioned how the level of increase could be justified in light of continuing pressure on local government finances. Councillor Hall advised that it was proposed that allowances would be increased within the recommended levels set out by the IRP, and if Croydon wanted to be an inclusive Council then it needed to pay an appropriate allowance to its Members.
The recommendations as set out in the report were put to the vote and carried.
1. To approve and make a Members’ Allowance Scheme as set out in Appendix A of the report.
2. To authorise the Director of Law to comply with the necessary statutory publicity requirements in respect of the Independent Review Panel report 2018, the on-going annual publicity of the Members’ scheme of allowances which was required, and subject to Members’ approval of recommendation 1.1 of this report, the approval of the revised Members’ Allowance Scheme as detailed in this report.
3. To delegate to the General Purposes and Audit Committee authority to agree an annual adjustment of allowances by reference to the annual local government staff pay settlement where the only change made to the Scheme in any year is that effected by such annual adjustment.
Exclusion of the Press and Public
The following motion is to be moved and seconded where it is proposed to exclude the press and public from the remainder of a meeting:
“That, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act, 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information falling within those paragraphs indicated in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended.”
This was not required.