Agenda and draft minutes

On the completion of the extraordinary meeting beforehand, Council - Wednesday, 8th July, 2020 8.31 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, Essex RM17 6SL

Contact: Jenny Shade, Senior Democratic Services Officer  Email: Direct.Democracy@thurrock.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

123.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 471 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Council, held on 26 February 2020.

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Minutes:

Councillor Holloway stated that on page 44 of the Appendix to the minutes she had raised a Point of Order and requested that this be added.

 

Pending the change to the minutes Members approved the minutes of Council held on the 26 February 2019 as a correct record.

124.

Items of Urgent Business

To receive additional items that the Mayor is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency, in accordance with Section 100B (4) (b) of the Local Government Act 1972.

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Minutes:

No items of urgent business were received.

125.

Declaration of Interests

To receive any declaration of interests from Members.

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Minutes:

No interests were declared.

126.

Announcements on behalf of the Mayor or the Leader of the Council

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Minutes:

The Mayor welcomed everyone back to the Chamber either physically or through MST and stated it would be an honour and was delighted to be Mayor for another year and confirmed that GIFT would remain his nominated charity. The Mayor thanked all NHS staff for their hard work during this crisis and how they had put themselves at risk at this difficult time. The Mayor praised the 500 volunteers who had volunteered through the Thurrock Coronavirus Community Action which had shown an exceptional gesture and community spirit within Thurrock. Also thanking those volunteer groups, local companies and staff for all their hard work and time. The Mayor also stated that he had made a number of personal donations from his mayor’s allowance to those groups and organisations to assist with the hard work that they were undertaking.

 

The Leader of the Council stated as this was the first Full Council of the 2020/21 municipal calendar and the first since the changes had been brought in since the country applied strict social distancing measures in the middle of March. That life had not been quite the same but here in Thurrock we had seen how our community had pulled together to fight this global pandemic and thanks to the actions and responsible behaviour of our residents over the last 16 weeks and for that the Leader thanked everyone who helped as a volunteer, who helped their neighbours, who helped their friends and family who all played their part to beat the virus and out of the150 similar sized local authorities, the rate of positive tests per 100,000 residents over the course of the epidemic in Thurrock was the 33 third lowest in the country and thanked everyone who had played their part over the 16 weeks.

 

The Leader stated that when pubs and restaurants re-opened last weekend there had not been a mad rush and flouting of the rules as many predicted but instead there were orderly queues as people made sure to follow social distancing guidance and keep themselves and each other safe. The Leader thanked them all.

 

The Leader stated that the next stage in the battle to control the rate of coronavirus infection was Test and Trace and was delighted to state that Thurrock had excellent plans in place to ensure that everyone in the borough could be tested quickly at the first signs of symptoms and swift action could be taken to control possible outbreaks of coronavirus in the borough. That a Thurrock Local Operation Control Centre had been set up, with its main responsibility to identify and manage any potential COVID-19 outbreaks in what are deemed ‘high risk’ settings such as schools, care homes, primary care centres, work places and vulnerable groups within the borough. The work of this centre would include supporting local testing and contact tracing within these settings to manage outbreaks and prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Leader stated that anyone who felt any of the symptoms of coronavirus – that’s  ...  view the full minutes text for item 126.

127.

Questions from Members of the Public pdf icon PDF 5 KB

In accordance with Chapter 2, Part 2 (Rule 14) of the Council’s Constitution.

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Minutes:

No public questions had been received.

128.

Petitions from Members of the Public and Councillors

In accordance with Chapter 2, Part 2(Rule 14) of the Council’s Constitution.

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Minutes:

Mayor informed Members that in accordance with the Council’s petition scheme, one petition had been received.

 

Councillor Maney presented the petition on behalf of Councillor Redsell stating that residents had noted with concern Highways England’s plans for the relocation of the Gammon Field traveller site as part of the Lower Thames Crossing project. They object strongly to the option of siting a new traveller site near existing residential properties in Long Lane, opposite the junction with Kerry Road. This further loss of green belt was deemed unacceptable and regarded this area as ill-suited for use as a traveller site.

 

129.

Petitions Update Report pdf icon PDF 9 KB

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Minutes:

Members received a report on the status of those petitions handed in at Council meetings and Council offices.

130.

Revised Political Balance pdf icon PDF 135 KB

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Minutes:

Councillor Gledhill presented the report that requested Council to confirmthe calculations relating to the allocation of seats on committees following Councillors Spillman and Duffin becoming Conservative councillors on 11 May 2020.

 

The Mayor called a vote on this item to which Members voted unanimously in favour.

 

RESOLVED

 

1.         That the political balance and allocation of seats, as set out in Appendix 1, be approved.

 

2.         Council noted the manual adjustment requirements outlined in 2.2 and 2.4 and agree those adjustments proposed by group leaders at the meeting.

131.

Appointments to Committees and Outside Bodies, Statutory and Other Panels

The Council are asked to agree any changes to the appointments made to committees and outside bodies, statutory and other panels, as requested by Group Leaders.

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Minutes:

The Mayor enquired whether Group Leaders wished for any changes to be made to the appointments previously made by Committees and Outside Bodies, statutory and other panels.

 

The Leader of the Council, Councillor Gledhill, informed the chamber he had the following changes to make:

 

To appoint Councillor Anderson as Chair of the Children’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

To appoint Councillor Redsell as Chair of the Cleaner Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

To appoint Councillor Ralph as Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

To appoint Councillor Spillman as Chair of the Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

To appoint Councillor Rigby as Chair of the Corporate Parenting Committee.

 

To remove Councillor Halden from the Cleaner Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

To propose Councillor Allen as Chair to the Planning Transport and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

To propose Councillor J Kent as Vice Chair to the General Services Committee.

 

To remove Councillor Halden from the Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

To remove Councillor Redsell from the Corporate Parenting Committee.

 

Councillor J Kent, Leader of the Labour Party, informed the chamber he had the following change which had already been stated by Councillor Gledhill for himself to be appointed as the Vice Chair to the General Services Committee.

 

Councillor J Kent asked for advice on the how the removal of existing chairs from overview and scrutiny committees took take place without notice and no discussion beforehand. Ian Hunt, Monitoring Officer, stated that this action was permissible.

 

Councillor Byrne, Leader of the Thurrock Independent Group, informed the chamber he would be appointed onto the General Services Committee and would gift the seat on the Lower Thames Crossing Task Force to Councillor Allen.

 

Councillor Massey, Independent Member, thanked the Administration for the gifted seat on the Licensing Committee, General Services and Lower Thames Crossing Task Force and proposed that Councillor Allen be appointed on the Standards and Audit Committee.

 

Councillor Allen, Independent Member, stated he would confirm his appointment of the seat on the Standard and Audit Committee after this committee.

 

Councillor J Kent questioned as no notice had been provided could alternative nominations be made. The Mayor stated that other nominations could be put forward and these posts would be put to the vote.

 

At 9.01pm, Councillor Gerrish called a Point of Order and questioned what constitution rule deemed it possible for incumbent chairs to be removed. Ian Hunt, Monitoring Officer, stated that it was Constitution Procedure Rule 27.4, Appointment of Members to Committees. Councillor Gerrish stated that this procedure rule did not mention the removal of chairs and vice chairs.

 

At 9.04pm the meeting was temporarily adjourned.

 

At 9.13pm the meeting restarted.

 

Ian Hunt, Monitoring Officer, referred Members to Chapter 4, Paragraph 3.1 Scrutiny Procedure Rules of the constitution that it was the function of the Council to appoint chairs of committees also the Annual Council had an obligation to set the appointments of chairs. At every Annual Council membership would be set for each  ...  view the full minutes text for item 131.

132.

Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 221 KB

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Minutes:

The Mayor referred Members to the Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report for 2019/20 as published in the agenda.

 

RESOLVED

 

That the contents of the Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report 2019/20 be noted.

133.

Full Council Meetings

Members are asked to agree the following schedule for Full Council meetings for the 2020/21 municipal year:

 

30 September 2020, 28 October 2020, 25 November 2020, 27 January 2021 and 24 February 2021.

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Minutes:

Members agreed to the future dates for Council.

134.

Report of the Cabinet Member for Finance pdf icon PDF 725 KB

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Minutes:

Councillor Hebb, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Transformation, presented his portfolio holder report and stated that COVID-19 had put unimaginable impacts on the United Kingdom and thus residents of the borough. Councillor Hebb expressed his sympathy to all those families who had been impacted by the virus.

 

Councillor Hebb stated that now work needed to start on the structured plan to ensure the safe return to livelihoods and education of residents and thanked all key workers for their efforts and sacrifices made during this crisis.

 

The portfolio holder report had been structured to summarise the pre-COVID-19 performance of the department and economic resilience position; COVID-19 – the actions the Council had taken and helped delivery during the crisis and the emerging out of the COVID-19 crisis on building the Council’s economic resilience.

 

Councillor Gerrish stated that Thurrock had appeared on the Top 10 local authorities that would be severely impacted by the COVID-19 fallout. That this would be challenging for residents and businesses in the borough and questioned what the Council’s plans were to action this and when this would be actioned for the future. Councillor Hebb referred to the one-off £150 discount being allocated to each recipient of local council tax scheme. With long terms plans being discussed with the Councillor Coxshall, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, in regards to the Local Plan.

Councillor J Kent thanked all Council staff for helping to keep residents of the borough safe and particularly thanked Sean Clark and his staff in acting quickly and efficiently in supporting local businesses with the £20 million Government support. Councillor J Kent stated that one fifth of Thurrock local businesses missed out on that grant and questioned what was being done to support them. Councillor Hebb stated that £20 million Government money had been given to support those businesses in the borough. Councillor J Kent raised concerns that this would have an impact on Impulse Leisure who had already made redundancies and was potentially opening in the next two weeks. Councillor Hebb stated that discussions were taking place.

 

Councillor Byrne thanked Councillor Hebb for his help in supporting local residents.

 

Councillor Allen thanked the portfolio holder for the financial support provided to Thurrock residents and thanked senior officers in highways who had fix potholes that had been reported.

 

Councillor Duffin thanked the portfolio holder for the report and questioned the local council tax scheme for existing tax payers and for those going forward. Councillor Hebb stated the maximum of a one-off £150 discount being allocated to each recipient of local council tax support was a fit for purpose benefit.

Councillor Worrall raised her concern that there would be no new or further initiatives going to be put through TRL whilst Cabinet made a decision on the best models. That as chair of the Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee she had not been told of any of those plans, those 12 sites had been relied upon and there had been no business model. Councillor Worrall asked for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 134.

135.

Report of the Cabinet Member for Social Care pdf icon PDF 288 KB

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Minutes:

Councillor Halden, Portfolio Holder for Children and Adult Social Care, stated it was an honour to present his portfolio holder report being full aware the borough had started to recover from a public health pandemic and was entering into an economic downturn following the COVID-19 crisis. As part of the portfolio holder report, Councillor Halden noted:

 

·         90.5% of Looked After Children were visited being completed within timescale.

·         95% of hospital discharges had taken place on time.

·         To resolve to keep the extra care beds in place even when the surplus capacity was clearly more than sufficient.

·         The main message would be to keep investing to support the care market.

·         Serious Case Review – the Children Services and Adult Services teams had been rated “good” by Ofsted but the Council could not become complacent.

·         An economic vulnerability taskforce in Thurrock had been formed between the child safeguarding board, adult safeguarding board, supported by TLS and Inspire.

·         To support care leavers and vulnerable young adults and protected from those who would seek to exploit them.

·         Work to improve the system to support the unaccompanied asylum seeking children population.

·         On Finance, the Council entered the economic downturn in a robust position which was vital on the approach of social care going forward.

·         COVID-19 had put pressures on and it would be a difficult time ahead.

·         Address the gap between domiciliary charges and cost of care workers.

·         Those plans to improve the care market would be presented to overview and scrutiny committees.

·         To improve access to Youth Offending Services.

·         The recovery would be hard and difficult but would be ambitious and rigorous.

 

Councillor Halden thanked all officers, key workers for their tremendous efforts during the crisis and was extremely proud.

 

Councillor Okunade thanked the portfolio holder and raised a concern on Home School Transport proposal. Councillor Halden stated this proposal would fall under Councillor Jefferies portfolio but was able to state that those routes deemed unsafe had been properly reassessed and confirmed that any individual plan for a disabled child in the borough would not change.

 

Councillor Holloway thanked the portfolio holder for his report and echoed those thanks given to social care staff, domiciliary carers, volunteers and officers. That every COVID death had been a tragedy for the borough but stated the protocols that Thurrock had in place had worked well. Councillor Holloway questioned the key pressures of domiciliary carers to ensure their pay wage was consistent to those in neighbouring boroughs. Councillor Halden stated the Council had a firm footing in domiciliary care, had made increases in pay but had to look at closing the gap in the changes of care. 

 

Councillor Halden summed by noting the support of this portfolio holder report.

 

 

136.

Questions from Members pdf icon PDF 194 KB

In accordance with Chapter 2, Part 2 (Rule 14) of the Council’s Constitution.

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Minutes:

The Mayor informed the Chamber that there was 1 question to the Leader had been received and 6 questions to Cabinet Members. Those questions not heard would either receive a written response or have the option to withdraw and resubmit.

 

At 10.31pm the Leader of the Council was taken unwell and left the chamber and would provide Councillor Kent with a written response to his question if Cllr Kent so wished.

 

At 10.40pm Councillor Duffin left the Chamber.

 

At 10.58pm, Councillor J Kent, called Point of Order to suspend Standing Orders by 30 minutes. The Mayor used his discretion to finish this item and offered Councillor Fish to option to resubmit his question or receive a written response.

 

As the item fell due to time limit of meeting Councillor Fish requested that his question be resubmitted to September Council.

 

A copy of the transcript of questions and answers can be found at Appendix A to these minutes.

137.

Reports from Members representing the Council on Outside Bodies

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Minutes:

This item fell due to time limit of meeting being met.

 

138.

Minutes of Committees

 

 

Name of Committee

Date

Corporate Parenting Committee

7 January 2020

General Services Committee

3 February 2020

General Services Committee

10 February 2020

General Services Committee

24 February 2020

Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee

23 January 2020

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee

14 January 2020

Extraordinary Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee

23 January 2020

Standards and Audit Committee

19 December 2019

Lower Thames Crossing Task Force

10 February 2020

Planning Committee

13 February 2020

Corporate Parenting Committee

3 March 2020

SACRE

4 March 2020

Planning Committee

19 March 2020

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee

23 January 2020

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee

10 March 2020

Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee

11 February 2020

Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee

5 March 2020

Planning Committee

8 June 2020

 

 

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Minutes:

This item fell due to time limit of meeting being met.

139.

Update on motions resolved at Council during the previous year pdf icon PDF 133 KB

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Minutes:

This item fell due to time limit of meeting being met.

140.

Motion submitted by Councillor Kerin pdf icon PDF 179 KB

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Minutes:

The Motion, as printed in the Agenda was proposed by Councillor Kerin and seconded by Councillor Rice. The Motion read as follows:

 

This Chamber calls on Thurrock Council to celebrate and thank our National Health Service by marking the 5th July, every year, with the raising of the National Health Service flag outside the Civic Offices.

Councillor Kerin stated it was an honour and a privilege to present this motion in recognition of all the hard work and commitment made by NHS staff. With the NHS recently celebrating their 72nd birthday this motion would be an opportunity to recognise, reflect and remember. Councillor Kerin stated that on the 5 July 1948, the NHS and social care services were established with 2020 being the most challenging year in history. 

 

The Mayor called a vote on the Motion. Members voted unanimously in favour of this Motion to which the Mayor announced the Motion carried.