Agenda and minutes

Budget, Council - Wednesday, 23rd February, 2022 7.00 pm

Venue: South Essex College Auditorium, High Street, Grays, Essex, RM17 6TF

Contact: Jenny Shade, Senior Democratic Services Officer  Email:

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 465 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Council, held on 26 January 2022.

Additional documents:


The minutes of the meeting of Council held on the 26 January 2022 were approved as a correct record.


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.


There were no urgent items of business.


Declaration of Interests

To receive any declaration of interests from Members.


There were no declarations of interest.


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


The Mayor requested a one minute silence was held in respect of the former Councillor June Brown who had sadly passed.


The Mayor stated this month instead of providing refreshments she had made donations to Cancer Research.


The Mayor also stated she had planted a tree with Councillor Jefferies in Ockendon in honour of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and urged members to let officers know what area in their ward they would like their tree planted.


Councillor Gledhill, Leader of the Council, made the following announcements:


Council Chamber - Disappointed we were not in the new chamber this evening as hoped, this had been due to a combination of Covid outbreaks and supply difficulties that had gone on longer than expected with the finishing touches inside being not up to the standard we would expect and were being rectified by Keir. The Leader assured Members this had not come at any extra expense to the project or more importantly to the taxpayer.


Covid Update - From tomorrow, the rules and restrictions around Covid were to be lifted. Instead, there would be guidance and each of us would have to make our own decisions about how best to manage the risk of Covid, much as we had done for many years with seasonal flu and other illnesses. Thurrock had seen significant reductions in the number of people testing positive for Covid in the past few weeks with Thurrock going from being amongst the Upper Tier Local Authorities with the highest rate of infections to now being among some of the lowest. The Leader stated we should all be proud of what had been achieved so far. This was thanks to everyone doing all they could to keep one another safe. However, it needed to be said that Covid had not disappeared and was still important that as many people sought the protection of the vaccines. Thanks to £485,000in Government funding, the Council were able to do more out-reach work to encourage as many people as possible to take up the offer of a vaccine. Over the past few days, the Government’s National Surge Rapid Response Team had dropped leaflets through letterboxes in West Thurrock, South Stifford, South Chafford and some parts of Grays Riverside, making residents aware of the vaccination opportunities local to them. This week, a pop-up vaccine centre had been in operation at Ikea Lakeside and next week there will be one at South Essex college campus with other pop-ups opening in the future. The Council had repeatedly asked partners in the NHS to make sure they were spread across the whole of Thurrock and shared details of where these were and when. The best advice the Leader could give to residents was to make sure they were keeping up to date with guidance and travel rules by visiting the website. This was especially important if they were planning to travel where the rules and requirements were likely to be different.


Storm Damage – Took the opportunity  ...  view the full minutes text for item 108.


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.


Mr Perrin’s question was resubmitted to June 2022 Council prior to the meeting.



Petitions from Members of the Public and Councillors

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


Mr Lamb presented a petition asking the Council to reconsider a previous rejection of applying Residents Parking to Richmond Road.


Petitions Update Report pdf icon PDF 7 KB


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


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.


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, stated he had no changes to make.


Councillor J Kent, Leader of the Labour Group, stated he had no changes to make.


Councillor Byrne, Leader of the Thurrock Independent Group stated he had no changes to make.


Councillor Massey stated he had one change to remove himself from the Essex Partnership University Trust Outside Body.


Assistant Director Appointment pdf icon PDF 226 KB


Councillor Gledhill introduced the report and sought the approval from Council to appoint the permanent Assistant Director Property and Facilities Management. Following a robust search and selection process, General Services Committee interviewed on 10 February 2022 and agreed to recommend Mark Bradbury as Assistant Director Property and Facilities Management.


Councillor Massey thanked the stakeholder panel for their part they played in the recruitment exercise, especially the Youth Cabinet.


Councillor Coxshall stated there had been a fantastic response in this recruitment exercise with over 20 candidates, but Mark had stood out unanimously to bring some professionalism to this role.


Councillor Gledhill echoed those comments made by Councillor Massey that the Youth Cabinet always did such a good job and this approach should be pushed out to other local authorities to do this.




Approved in accordance with the Council’s Constitution the appointment of Mark Bradbury as Assistant Director Property and Facilities Management.


Annual Pay Policy Statement 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 244 KB

Additional documents:


Councillor Duffin presented the report which sought the approval of the Council’s Annual Pay Policy Statement, this Statement included a pay policy for all categories of employees which reflected existing employment terms and conditions.


Councillor J Kent stated the Labour Group would not be voting to endorse the pay policy statement as this had come at a time of crisis when residents were already being hit hard by the increase to the cost of living, fuel prices and the pending increase on national insurance tax and low wage growth. It was not right that Thurrock’s frontline workers were only being offered a 2.5% pay increase. These were the people that looked after Thurrock’s wonderful elderly residents and youngest children, emptied bins, swept streets, cut grass and so much more. Not only was this fundamental unfair other organisation may become more attractive to these people who may be able to offer pay rises to enable workers to pay their bills. There was also the threat of cutting 100s of jobs in the Council which were hanging over many of the Council’s staff and stated there must be risks that the Council may lose very valuable members of staff. Councillor J Kent asked what assessments the portfolio holder had made to the risk of low pay and job insecurity on employee retention rates. Councillor J Kent referred to senior officer pay increases and stated he did not have any problem with any officer receiving a fair annual increase but had a problem with flat rate increases. The Council’s pay policy should be fair that offered all members of the work force the same to help with the cost of living crisis.


Councillor Byrne stated if the Council were to retain the best people we had to give them no reason to leave as if the Council failed to look after staff, they would leave and the Council would be left with a very weak work force. The Council could not afford to carry any bad performers or sickness and questioned whether casual or agency staff would be receiving an increase in salary.


Councillor Worrall echoed the comments made by Councillor J Kent and referred to previous years when members were called not to increase senior officer post salaries and agreed they also had a cost of living increase but stated those senior managers shoulders were a lot broader than someone who would swept our streets or emptied our bins. It was not unreasonable to look again at this as this would not change the budget envelope and unions had not yet agreed to these pay increase so was a bit presumptuous to be discussing. This offer should be looked at again as it was not fair that it was a flat rate and agreed lower paid workers should be paid more.


Councillor Hebb stated there was an element that needed to ensure we had an organisation that could run and operate but was as generous as possible whilst reflecting the current pressures.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 114.


Capital Strategy 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 240 KB

Additional documents:


Councillor Hebb presented the Capital Strategy report which set out the strategic framework underpinning capital expenditure and the associated financing at the Council. In accordance with the above Codes, this report set out the Capital strategy for 2022/23, confirmed the proposed Prudential Indicators and set the Capital and Treasury Management projections for 2022/23.


Members were made aware of some sub-amendments to the report.


Treasury Management Strategy, Annex 1, Table 2.3


·       Under 31/3/2023 (a) Total borrowing equated to 16,353 and not 16,343 as stated in the report.

·       Under 31/3/2024 (a) total borrowing was 1,584,084 and not 1,584,984 as stated in the report.

·       Under 31/3/2024 (b) less external borrowing was 31,947 and not 38,847 as stated in the report.


Treasury Management Strategy, Annex 1, Table 2.32


·       Under 2021/22 (a) total payment was 19,606 and not 19,706 as stated in the report and therefore the net interest credit was 25,898.


Councillor J Kent thanked Councillor Hebb for the introduction and how the report had been split to show the strategy for borrowing under capital projects and secondly to look at the money borrowed to invest. That Labour continued to support an invested approach which had started as far back as 2014 when £20m had been invested into the CCLA, this approach had been refreshed and accelerated in 2017 with a clear accountability and that any investments over £10m, for longer than a year would be presented to all group leaders and deputy leaders before any commitments were made. Councillor J Kent stated he, nor his predecessor, had ever received a presentation on any proposed investment. The borrowing limit had been increased in February 2018 for the year 2018/19 but by the end of the year that limit had exceeded and had risen to over £1b without any reference to Full Council as was required when there was a material change to the Council treasury strategy and was far from the open approach that had been promised. There was a lack of transparency and openness in continuing to answer any freedom of information requests and spoke about the judge led tribunal. That some of the risks were now known associated with some of those investments and questioned how confident the portfolio holder was in the security of the investment with Pure Well Energy. Also questioned the portfolio holder what assessments he had made on the security of the investment of £145m to Toucan Energy Holdings. Councillor J Kent also asked the portfolio holder whether the person who had arranged that investment had taken a £5m payment from the Council as a way of commission and asked for confirmation that if this was the case were the portfolio holder and the leader aware of that payment. The portfolio holder was also asked how confident he was that those initial investments would be repaid in full. Councillor J Kent believed the administration had borrowed too much and shown where those investments had been made and failed to demonstrate the openness as promised. Councillor J Kent moved  ...  view the full minutes text for item 115.


General Fund Budget Proposals pdf icon PDF 1 MB


Mayor invited the Leader of the Council. Councillor Gledhill, to introduce the budget and advised he had 20 minutes to do so.


Councillor Gledhill


We cannot deny the past few years have been challenging for residents, businesses and councils across the whole Country, Thurrock was, on the whole, no different. All top tier councils have seen an increase in both adults and children needing care, residents needing additional support, extra running costs for equipment/pay or fuel, children’s placement cost skyrocketing, increased pressure from covid isolation impacting on performance or project delivery, additional support mechanisms having to be created off spec by local government officers to allocate the millions and millions of pounds of support for residents on low income that this government supplied throughout the covid crisis and to be honest that list could go on and on. I cannot remember probably the first three or four months of there not being at least two to three hours of myself and the chief executive on the phone dealing with the next problem that was coming down the line. I am sure some in this chamber may think the support didn’t go far enough and I am sure there are that think it went too far. But the long and the short of it Thurrock Council stepped up to the plate and it delivered. Indeed, not only did we deliver but, because of our investment strategy as Councillor Hebb had just gone through, which everyone supported, bringing in tens of millions of pounds each year we had a much healthier set of reserves to draw down on and the flexibility to stop extra discretionary funding or projects to make sure we could put residents first during the pandemic. As we know the Conservative government had invested significant amounts of funding across Thurrock through the pandemic and before in various schemes of support which either directly or indirectly benefited Thurrock residents. This includes ongoing Covid support funding mechanisms to protect all our residents including the most vulnerable. This includes £4.8m to support core services, specific funding to provide continued support for our care homes to manage hospital discharges and maintain high standards of infection control so we don’t see anything spike. Further funding had been provided to support the ability of residents to self-isolate and to reduce the spread of the virus during the pandemic as well. The council had received £3.2m of funding under the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund. This cash boost will ensure households living in the three blocks in Chadwell St Mary have clean efficient heating and hot water through a ground loop heat pump system. I am sure if Councillor Spillman was here tonight he would have spoken a lot about that. The Council was also now a preferred partner organisation with Homes England providing access to additional funding to deliver housing schemes from 2022/23 onwards. Business cases for the schemes agreed at the Tilbury and Grays Towns Fund Boards are progressing for submission in the coming  ...  view the full minutes text for item 116.


Questions from Members pdf icon PDF 367 KB

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

Additional documents:


The Mayor informed the Chamber that no questions to the Leader had been received and ten questions to Cabinet Members. Those questions not heard would receive a written response.


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


At 9.10pm, Councillor J Kent referred to paragraph 16.1 of the Council procedures and rules to suspend standing orders. The Mayor called a vote to which the clear majority of Members voted against.



Reports from Members representing the Council on Outside Bodies


This item fell.


Minutes of Committees

Name of Committee


Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee

16 November 2021

Cleaner Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee

14 December 2021

General Services Committee

8 December 2021

Planning Transport and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee

7 December 2021

Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee

11 November 2021

Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee

1 December 2021

General Services Committee

27 January 2022

Planning Committee

2 December 2021



This item fell.



Update on motions resolved at Council during the previous year pdf icon PDF 331 KB


This item fell.



Motion submitted by Councillor Redsell pdf icon PDF 186 KB


The Motion, as printed in the agenda was proposed by Councillor Redsell. The Motion read as follows:


Irresponsible riders of motorbikes and other similar vehicles misusing public and private land are putting our resident’s lives and wellbeing at risk. I call on the relevant authority to implement a borough wide PSPO to prevent the unlawful use of these vehicles where the residents have lawful access. This will help protect residents across Thurrock and also make it easier for the Police and Council to take action.


Councillor Redsell presented the motion by stating that irresponsible riders of motorbikes and other similar vehicles misusing public and private land were putting the lives and the wellbeing of residents at risk. The motion was to implement a borough wide PSPO to prevent the unlawful use of these vehicles to protect residents and to make it easier for the Council and the Police to take action.


Members voted unanimously in favour of this motion to which the Mayor announced the motion carried.


Motion submitted by Councillor Muldowney pdf icon PDF 185 KB


The Motion, as printed in the agenda was proposed by Councillor Muldowney. The Motion read as follows:


This Council notes that (1) a recent report to Government by the Social Mobility Commission reported that nearly a third of all children now live in poverty, with 500,000 children in England being plunged into poverty since 2012; and (2) the Council’s Child Poverty Strategy lapsed in 2020 and needs to be refreshed. Council agrees with the Social Mobility Commission that (1) child poverty was a preventable problem and (2) agrees to undertake a rapid review of child poverty in the borough in order to inform a refresh of its Child Poverty Strategy.


Councillor Muldowney presented the Motion and stated her concerns on the number of children living in poverty in Thurrock, with over 5000 children affected. Child poverty had increased in Thurrock due to the impacts of Covid and had seen increases of over 33% for the use of food banks. Councillor Muldowney proposed that a review of child poverty in the borough be undertaken and for the Council’s Child Poverty Strategy to be refreshed.


The majority of Members voted against this motion to which the Mayor announced the motion lost.



Motion submitted by Councillor J Kent pdf icon PDF 91 KB


Councillor J Kent withdrew his motion and resubmitted to June Council.