Agenda and minutes
Venue: Council Chamber, Wallasey Town Hall. View directions
Prior to the Mayor formally opening the meeting, she invited the Bishop of Birkenhead, Keith Sinclair, to lead the Council in prayers.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
The members of the Council are invited to consider whether they have a personal or prejudicial interest in connection with any matter to be debated or determined at this meeting and, if so, to declare it and state the nature of such interest.
The members of the Council were invited to consider whether they had a personal or prejudicial interest in connection with any matter to be debated or determined at this meeting and, if so, to declare it and state the nature of such interest.
The following Members declared their personal interest in agenda item 6 – Council Budget 2012/2013 (see minute 133 post) for the reasons stated –
Councillors G Davies, PL Davies, WJ Davies, D Dodd, S Foulkes, P Glasman, P Hackett, C Jones, BM Kenny, A McArdle, ARC McLachlan, M McLaughlin, B Mooney, D Realey, H Smith, JV Stapleton, J Walsh, S Whittingham, I Williams, and KJ Williams by virtue of their membership of trades unions.
Councillors RL Abbey and J Salter by virtue of their membership of trades unions and also by virtue of their membership of the Merseyside Integrated Transport Authority.
Councillor C Blakeley by virtue of his membership of the Merseyside Integrated Transport Authority.
Councillors A Bridson, D Elderton, GJ Ellis, T Harney, D McCubbin and Mrs P Williams by virtue of their age.
Councillors W Clement and S Taylor by virtue of their employment.
Councillor J Crabtree by virtue of his membership of a trade union and also by virtue of him being a foster carer and a provider of training.
Councillor P Doughty by virtue of his membership of a trade union and also by virtue of him being a recruiter of staff under ILM.
Councillor JE Green by virtue of his membership of a trade union and also by virtue of his wife’s employment as a teacher with the authority.
Councillor M Johnston by virtue of his wife’s employment.
Councillors A Jones and W Smith by virtue of their membership of trades unions and also by virtue of their age.
Councillors Lewis and Rennie by virtue of their membership of the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority.
Councillor C Meaden by virtue of her membership of a trade union and also by virtue of her daughter’s employment within CYPD.
Councillors S Niblock and DE Roberts by virtue of their membership of trades unions and also by virtue of their membership of the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority.
Councillor SL Rowlands by virtue of his membership of a trade union, his wife’s employment and him being a member of the Merseyside Integrated Transport Authority.
Councillor PA Smith by virtue of his membership of a trade union and also by virtue of his membership of the Merseyside Police Authority.
Councillor Mrs K Wood by virtue of her age and also by virtue of her being a member of the Merseyside Police Authority.
To receive petitions submitted in accordance with Standing Order 21.
In accordance with Standing Order 21, the Mayor received petitions submitted by –
Councillor J Keeley, on behalf of 13 signatories requesting the Council to include Maldwyn Street in the Liscard Area Residents Parking Scheme.
Councillor J Keeley, on behalf of 12 signatories requesting the Council to install alleygates at Scott Street, Liscard.
Councillor J Salter, on behalf of 124 signatories, requesting the Council to provide men’s and women’s public lavatories and baby changing facilities in Central Park Visitors Centre.
Councillor P Glasman submitted an additional 196 signatures to be added to the 2457 signatories opposing the plans to merge and move services between the Countess of Chester and Arrowe Park Hospitals, which was presented at the last meeting (minute 107 (13 February 2012) refers).and was to be debated at the next ordinary Council meeting to be held on 16 April, 2012 in accordance with Standing Order 34(1).
Resolved – That the petitions be noted and referred to the appropriate chief officer in accordance with Standing Order 34.
To receive as a correct record the minutes of the meeting(s) of the Council held on 13 February, 2012 and the reconvened meeting on 20 February.
In relation to minute 110, Leader’s Announcements, the list of Cabinet appointments is attached.
The minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 13 February and the reconvened meeting held on 20 February 2012, had been circulated to members and it was –
Resolved – That the minutes be approved and adopted as a correct record.
The Budget Council Procedure, approved by Cabinet on 21 February, 2012, is attached.
Moved by Councillor Jeff Green
Seconded by Councillor Lesley Rennie
The Budget Council Procedure approved by the Cabinet at the Budget Meeting held on 21 February 2012 (minute 323 refers).
Amendment to Budget Council Procedure
Proposed by Councillor Steve Foulkes
Seconded by Councillor Phil Davies
Council notes that:
· A budget proposal was voted on unanimously by ten Cabinet members on February 13th and constitutionally referred to Budget Council on March 1st.
· Following a change of administration the same proposal was revoked by Cabinet on February 21st and an alternative proposal put forward with just four votes in favour.
· In order for the original proposal to be heard, even though it was constitutionally referred direct to Budget Council, the Monitoring Officer has ruled that it has to be re-submitted as an amendment to the second budget proposal.
· This relegation to the status of an amendment then allows the budget procedure agreed by Cabinet on February 21st to treat the Conservative proposal put forward at Cabinet on February 21st as the standing minute which will not require a vote if the amendments fall.
· This is despite the fact that the Conservatives are not the largest party, and could be outvoted by the largest party if the Liberal Democrats continued their policy of abstention.
Council does not believe this budget procedure was designed to deal with a situation where there are two formal and legal budgets, both constitutionally referred to Budget Council by a properly constituted Cabinet.
It therefore withdraws this procedure in favour of a vote to be taken on each budget with the budget remaining after others have fallen also subject to the confirmation of a majority vote.
Following a debate and Councillor Green having replied, the amendment proposed by Councillor Foulkes was put and lost (29:36) (One abstention).
Resolved (36:29) (one abstention) – That the Budget Council Procedure agreed by the Cabinet on 21 February 2012 (minute 323 refers) be confirmed.
On a motion by the Leader of the Council, to approve recommendations from the Cabinet meeting held on 21 February 2012 (attached), subject to consideration of any amendments received in accordance with Standing Order 7(2) or Standing Order 13 (Budget Council Procedure) - see item 5 above and 8 below.
If the proposed budget is amended, wholly or partly, that will be regarded as an in-principle decision, which will automatically come into effect five working days from the date of that decision, unless the Leader of the Council informs the Director of Law, H.R. and Asset Management in writing within that time that he objects to the decision becoming effective and provides reasons why.
In such circumstances, the Budget and Policy Framework provides for the Director to call another meeting of the Council within a further five days The Council will then be required to reconsider its decision, and the Leader’s written submission, within a further five working days. The actual position is that a reserve date (Wednesday 7 March) has been set aside for considering any objection by the Leader. At that second meeting the Council can:
(i) accept the Cabinet’s recommendation, without amendment or objection; or
(ii) approve a different decision which does not accord with the recommendation of the Cabinet
by a simple majority of votes cast at the meeting.
The minutes of the Cabinet meeting on 21 February will be circulated separately. The following reports to Cabinet are attached, unless stated otherwise:
(Copies of the Estimates 2012/13 (Blue Book) have been circulated separately to all Members)
In accordance with Standing Order 13 (Budget Council Procedure), Councillor Jeff Green, Leader of the Council, moved the Cabinet’s budget recommendations duly seconded by Councillor Lesley Rennie, Deputy Leader, with any additional paragraphs (those relating to precepts) and any other minutes from the Cabinet meeting on 21 February, 2012 that required approval by the Council. The following minutes were deemed to be approved, subject to consideration of Budget amendments.
1. Minute 317 (Cabinet – 21 February 2012) Council Budget 2012/2013
Resolved – That:
the budget presented to cabinet this evening is designed to enable the new Council Administration to take the urgent action required to address the crisis of confidence local people have in this Authority.
It will enable us to tackle the urgent concerns regarding the Council’s ability to protect our most vulnerable residents and put us on the path to providing high quality services that are designed and delivered according to the wishes and needs of our communities.
Given the time we have had available we have accepted the budgetary assumptions made by the previous Administration (after all they have had nine months to examine the books). However we absolutely reject the Labour administrations decision to axe in excess of £1 million From the Day Services budget for 2013/14.
We will act to put right the injustices identified in the Anna Klonowski report. We will pay back in full all those who were overcharged back to 1997. We will reinstate Martin Morton if that is what he wishes, and we will ensure all who need to be held accountable for those dreadful failings are dealt with.
We believe the Council exists to serve local people not to tell them what we think is best for them and we have placed this principle at the heart of this budget.
Residents across Wirral are making careful decisions about their household budgets and monthly outgoings. To support them the Government has announced funding that has enabled us to freeze their Council Tax. In addition, when consulted, local people said that a cut in Council Tax was a clear priority for them. Therefore today we are announcing:
A rebate equivalent to a 3% cut in the Council Tax. With a commitment to work in future years to make this permanent
An extension of the current council tax relief scheme for the over 75s scheme to over 70s households
And for all households who pay via direct debit, provide the opportunity to spread their payments across twelve rather than ten months.
Combined with this year’s freeze and rebate over 70s households in Band B with a Direct Debit will pay £36.94 less each month.
As a result of sticking to our fundamental principal that people rather than Council’s know how to spend their own money best it has allowed us to inject an additional £4 million into local businesses and Wirral’s economy as residents have more money to spend locally. We will continue to strive to rebalance our local economy for the benefit ... view the full minutes text for item 131.
The following matter will also be referred to the Council by the Employment and Appointments Committee at its meeting on 28 February, 2012:
The Localism Act 2011, requires the Council to approve a Pay Policy by 31 March, 2012.
The Council gave consideration to minute 67 of the Employment and Appointments Committee held on 28 February 2012 and to the report of the Director of Law, HR and Asset Management in relation to the Pay Policy Statement 2012/2013. His report was submitted, in accordance with Section 38 of the Localism Act 2011, which required Council’s to determine and publish annual pay policy statements.
The Employment and Appointments Committee –
(1) Noted the Council’s Pay Policy Statement 2012/13.
(2) Recommended to Council, for approval, the Council’s Pay Policy Statement 2012/13.
(3) Noted that the proposed introduction of the Living Wage was included within the Council’s Pay Policy Statement 2012/13.
(4) Noted the responsibility of the Employment and Appointments Committee to ensure the provisions set out in the Pay Policy were applied consistently throughout the Council, and to recommend any amendments to the Full Council.
(5) Approved that Wirral Council become an advocate of a living wage.
On a motion by Councillor Jeff Green and seconded by Councillor Lesley Rennie, it was –
Resolved (65:0) (one abstention) – That the Pay Policy Statement 2012/2013 be approved.
To receive nominations, in accordance with Standing Order 25(6), in respect of any proposed changes in the membership of the Cabinet and committees, and to approve nominations for appointments to outside organisations.
The Leader of the Council stated that he would notify the Director of Law, HR and Asset Management of changes to Committee places and to nominations to Outside Bodies, which were required as a consequence of changes to Cabinet membership.
The Council will consider a report from the Director of Law, HR and Asset Management, on a proposal to return to a Committee system of governance (attached).
The Director of Law, HR and Asset Management presented his report upon changing governance arrangements and, in particular upon a proposed reintroduction of a committee system, which would involve all Member decisions being made by committees made up of councillors from all parties to reflect the political balance of the authority.
The Leader of the Council commented that, in view of the lateness of the hour and the need for the matter to be fully debated, its consideration should be deferred. He moved that –
“In accordance with Standing Order 9(k) this meeting stands adjourned until 6.15pm on Wednesday 7 March 2012”
The motion was seconded by Councillor Steve Foulkes and supported by Councillor Tom Harney.
The motion was then put and it was –
Resolved (66:0) – That in accordance with Standing Order 9(k) this meeting stands adjourned until 6.15pm on Wednesday 7 March 2012.
Further to minute 134, the Council reconvened to consider the Director of Law, HR and Asset Management’s report on ‘Changing Governance Arrangements’. Apologies were received from Councillors Blakeley and Rowlands.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
The members of the Council were invited to consider whether they had a personal or prejudicial interest in connection with the particular matter to be debated or determined at this reconvened meeting and, if so, to declare it and state the nature of such interest. No such declarations were made.
CHANGING GOVERNANCE ARRANGEMENTS - PROPOSAL TO RETURN TO A COMMITTEE SYSTEM
Further to minute 134, the Council considered the following motion, moved by Councillor Harney and jointly seconded by Councillors Green and Foulkes, and it was then –
Resolved (64:0) –
Council notes the Report of the Director of Law, HR and Asset Management and welcomes the progress made following the Council decision of 14 February, 2011.
Council thanks all those who have contributed to the work to date including members of the Democracy Working Party.
Council recognises that it does not at this time have sufficient information to make any substantive decisions concerning a possible change to its governance arrangements.
(1) To refer the report to the Democracy Working Party (DWP) to progress this matter.
(2) To ask the DWP to continue their work and report to Council in April.
(3) The report of the DWP will contain a risk assessment of any proposals or options outlined in the report, an analysis of the benefits of piloting a new system prior to its introduction, and an assessment of the financial and staffing implications.
(4) To authorise the Director of Law, HR and Asset Management to discharge the costs of any external advice from balances.
(5) The Director of Law, HR and Asset Management is also requested to explore whether organisations such as the Local Government Association could provide advice and assistance.
(6) The DWP be asked to include consultation with the public as part of further work on the new governance arrangements.