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To approve the minutes of the Council and Extraordinary Council meetings held on 2 March 2020 as an accurate record.
The Mayor explained the voting arrangements. As the meeting was being held virtually, the Mayor had consulted with both Groups and both had confirmed their support for all the recommendations being considered at the meeting. On which basis, the minutes of the Budget and Extraordinary Council meetings held on 2 March 2020 were agreed as an accurate record. The Mayor explained that these would be signed following the meeting whilst observing social distancing requirements.
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 no disclosures of pecuniary interests. Members confirmed their disclosure of interest forms were accurate and up-to-date.
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.
Vote of Thanks
To pass a vote of thanks to The Mayor in the following terms:
a) The Members of Council tender their grateful thanks to The Worshipful, The Mayor, Councillor Humayun Kabir, for the courteous and efficient manner in which he presided over the Council’s deliberations during the past year;
b) The Members of Council record their sincere appreciation of the dignified manner in which Councillor Humayun Kabir has carried out the traditional duties of the office of Mayor, of the support and encouragement which he and his Consort, Mrs Rahena Chowdhury Kabir, have given to local organisations and of the prominent part they have taken in the social life of the Borough during the Mayor’s period of office; and
c) That this resolution be sealed and presented to the Mayor at the Annual Council Meeting in a suitable form.
The Mayor passed the Chair to the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Henson, who presided over the vote of thanks to the outgoing Mayor of Croydon.
The Deputy Mayor invited the Mayor to give his farewell address.
The Mayor commenced his address by expressing his personal condolences to those families who had lost loved ones during the pandemic and spoke of his solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Additionally, the Mayor congratulated Councillor Creatura on the birth of his twins.
It was detailed how 544 formal engagements had been held during the Mayoralty year, of which the Mayor had personally attended 433. It was noted that many of those had promoted education to residents of all ages and had brought together many different communities and faiths from across the Borough.
Particular successes were noted; the hosting of a Borough-wide Domestic Violence Awareness seminar and others on Knife Crime Reduction and Mental Health Awareness. Those involved in delivering these were personally thanked including Freedom Together CIC, the Metropolitan Police, Councillor Hamida Ali, Foundation 47, the Croydon Neighbourhood Association, Croydon Mind and Yemi Hughes, who was working hard to prevent more deaths after tragically losing her son to knife crime.
The Mayor expressed his pleasure in having welcomed to the Town Hall investors from 22 different countries to talk about why Croydon was a fantastic place to live, work and invest. Abdul Basit Syed and Councillor Toni Letts, the Council’s Business Champion, were specifically thanked for their support.
The trip to Arnhem for the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Arnhem Bridge was recalled including speaking to his Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, who was informed how much Croydon had changed since the 2011 riots. Arnhem’s Burgomaster, Mayor Ahmed Marcouch, had been invited to Croydon during the opening of Fairfield Halls to jointly unveil the Arnhem Gallery plaque.
The impact of Covid-19 on the Mayoral year was acknowledged; it was explained how fundraising events had moved online.
Particular thanks were given to a number of individuals who had supported the Mayor including Penny Smith-Orr and her daughter Caroline, Anthony King, Anusha Subramaniam, Graeme Smith, Shalina Alabaksh, Deva Ponnoosami, Chandra Babu, Surinder Sahota, Lorraine, Drolet and her son Zack, Giash Uddin, Eawor Ali, Dilly Surelia, Jubayer Kabir, Amanat Hussain, Seleman Rez, Neil Athorn, Patrick Unsby, MFA Zaman, Susan Crosswaite, Sebrina Spencer, Elam Tanveer, Mohammed Islam, Christina Bades and Anna Virabyan, Aska Miah. Four Croydon restaurants were also thanked for their support of the Mayor’s fundraising efforts. These were Chat House, Bagatti, Zafran and Urban Guj.
In his closing remarks, the Mayor paid personal thanks to the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Henson, the members of his staff including Stephanie Cope, Hema Vasanthakumar, Nick Evans and Luca Bercelli as well as the Leader, Councillor Tony Newman, the Group Whips and Democratic Services. His biggest thanks were reserved for his wife, Mrs Rahena Chowdhury, for her support ... view the full minutes text for item 96/20
Election of the Mayor
To elect the Mayor for the Council Year 2020/21 and note the appointment of the Deputy Mayor.
The Mayor, Councillor Kabir, resumed the Chair and called on the Leader, Councillor Newman, to propose Councillor Henson as the new Mayor of Croydon.
The Leader proposed the motion and took the opportunity to emphasise Councillor Henson’s suitability for the role as Mayor. Particular mention was made of Councillor Henson’s extraordinary start to the Mayoral year, being the first ever virtual Mayor. Given Councillor Henson’s business and technology skills, it was noted that Members of Council could not have chosen better. It was hoped that the number of Covid-19 cases would continue to decrease allowing the new Mayor to fulfil her civic duties in and around the Borough. Councillor Henson was noted to have already demonstrated her ability to embrace traditional civic engagements during her time as Deputy Mayor.
The commitment to families and young people made by Councillor Henson was highlighted along with the campaigning zeal she had demonstrated as a ward Councillor. It was welcomed that Croydon would again enjoy a Mayor who would be standing up for residents during tough times. Such was the adverse situation being faced that leadership was needed to bring together private, public, voluntary and other bodies to support those who needed it most. Councillor Henson becoming Mayor at a young age was acknowledged along with the support that would be provided by Councillor Chowdhury as Deputy Mayor to build on the work done by Councillor Kabir.
The Mayor invited the Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Tim Pollard, to second the motion. Councillor Tim Pollard expressed his congratulations to the Mayor elect. Whilst it was a shame that Mayor-making was not happening in the traditional way, it was noted that Councillor Henson had the distinction of being Croydon’s first virtual Mayor although it was hoped that it would be possible to cease holding meetings virtually before the end of the year. It was highlighted that Councillor Henson had experience of working on a cross-party basis and that this provided a good foundation for the role as Mayor.
The Mayor put the motion to the vote which was unanimously passed to elect Councillor Maddie Henson as the Mayor of the London Borough of Croydon for 2020/21.
The meeting paused briefly (from 19:03 to 19:08) to allow Madame Mayor to dress in her chains of office and the Deputy Mayor to put on his badge.
Madame Mayor read out the declaration of office:
I, Councillor Maddie Henson, having been elected to the Office of Mayor of the Council of the London Borough of Croydon, hereby declare that I take the said office upon myself, and will duly and faithfully fulfil the duties of it according to the best of my judgement and ability. I undertake to observe the Code of Conduct which is expected of Members of the London Borough of Croydon.
Madame Mayor formally announced Councillor Chowdhury as her Deputy who also read out the declaration of office.
It was explained to the meeting that both declarations would be signed, witnessed by the Chief ... view the full minutes text for item 97/20
To approve the report of the Council Solicitor & Monitoring Officer.
Under Section 15(1) of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989, it is the duty of the Council at its Annual Meeting to review the representation of different political groups on bodies appointed by the Council.
To consider a report of the Council Solicitor & Monitoring Officer that details appointments in the associated Blue and Pink Schedules and to note the changes made to the Constitution regarding remote attendance at Council meetings.
Madame Mayor brought to the attention of Council the updated version of the Appointments to Main Council Bodies report, otherwise known as the Blue Schedule that was circulated in the week prior to the meeting. Additionally, that a further late change had been received to the schedule. This was to add Councillor Prince to the vacancy listed on the Brandon Hill Cemetery Joint Committee.
It was also noted that, in addition to including all the annual appointments to committees, panels, working groups and outside bodies, the report asked Council to suspend paragraph 2.3 of part 4F of the Constitution to enable it to agree Chairs and Vice-Charis as part of the report. The report also asked Members to note the new remote meeting procedure that had been added at part 4O of the Constitution following consultation with both Groups.
i. Agreed (or received for information as applicable) the following appointments where the number of nominations was equal to the number of available positions:
a. The appointments to Committees of the Council (Blue Schedule); and
b. The appointments to all other Panels, Working Groups and Outside Bodies (Pink Schedule).
ii. Agreed the suspension of paragraph 2.3 of the Non-Executive Procedure Rules (Part 4F of the Constitution) for the municipal year 2020/2021.
iii. Agreed, with the exception of the Licensing Sub-Committee, the appointment of the Chair and Vice Chair of all Council committees and sub-committees as set out in the (Blue Schedule) for the municipal year 2020/2021. This is without prejudice to the provisions set out in paragraph 2.4 of Part 4F of the Constitution which would continue to apply enabling in year vacancies to either the Chair or vice Chair to be filled by election at the first meeting of the relevant committee or sub-committee following notification to the Council Solicitor.
iv. Received for information executive appointments made under the Leader and Cabinet decision making framework:
a. The appointments of Cabinet Members, Cabinet Committees and Deputy Cabinet Members (Blue Schedule);
b. The appointments to Joint Committees (Blue Schedule);
c. The appointments to London Councils Committees and Panels and Local Government Association bodies (Blue Schedule); and
d. The appointment of Councillors to the Health & Wellbeing Board (Blue Schedule).
v. Noted that the Leader has confirmed his intention to continue to devolve decision making powers to Cabinet or relevant Cabinet Members
vi. Received for information:
a. The appointments of Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Cabinet (Blue Schedule); and
b. The appointments of political party group officers (Blue Schedule).
vii. Noted that the Council Solicitor has exercised her powers under Article 15 of the Constitution paragraph 15.2 (d) to make changes to the Council’s Constitution arising as a result of legislative changes brought about by the Coronavirus Act 2020 and in particular the The Local Authorities and Police ... view the full minutes text for item 99/20
To consider the report of the Council Solicitor & Monitoring Officer proposing a resolution to extend the 6 month rule.
Madame Mayor explained that the Coronavirus Act and regulations did not include a provision to reflect that Councillors may be absent from Council meetings if they, or members of the family, were to become seriously ill as a result of Covid-19. Like most Councils across the country, the report made provision for such an eventuality. It was stressed that Councillors were still required to attend Council and Committee meetings and that significant absences would continue to be reported to the Monitoring Officer.
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 motion was not required.