Council Minutes

Council Minutes

Date:
Wednesday 14 May 2014
Time:
7:00 p.m.
Place:
Council Chamber, Town Hall, Middlesbrough
 

Attendance Details

Present:
The Mayor (R Mallon), Councillors Arundale, Biswas, Bloundele, Brady, Brunton, Budd, Carr, Clark, Cox, Davison, Dryden, Hanif, Harvey, Hawthorne, C Hobson, J Hobson, Hubbard, Hudson, Hussain, Junier, Kerr, P Khan, Loughborough, Lowes, Mawston, McIntyre, McPartland, McTigue, Michna, Morby, G Purvis, P Purvis, Rooney, Rostron, Sanderson, Saunders, J Sharrocks, P Sharrocks, Taylor, B Thompson, M Thompson, J A Walker, N J Walker, Williams.
Officers:
J Bennington, R Broad, S Harker, L Henman, E Kunonga, K Parkes, S Reynolds, B Roberts, M Robinson, S Thomas and K Whitmore.
Apologies for absence:
Cole, S Khan, Mrs H Pearson and Rehman
Declarations of interest:

There were no declarations of interest made at this point of the meeting.

Item Number Item/Resolution
PUBLIC
14/1 ELECTION OF CHAIR OF THE COUNCIL FOR 2014/2015

The Vice-Chair (Councillor Brady) invited nominations for the election of Chair of the Council for the Municipal Year 2014/2015.

 

Moved, seconded and ORDERED that Councillor Kerr be and is hereby elected Chair of the Council for the Borough of Middlesbrough to hold office for the Municipal Year 2014/2015.

 

(Councillor Kerr joined the meeting and assumed the Chair).

14/2 ADJOURNMENT

Following refusal to a request by the Chair for members of the public to cease filming the proceedings and subsequently to leave the meeting the Chair adjourned the meeting in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 24.

 

The meeting resumed following a period of approximately 15 minutes and all persons present were requested to leave the meeting and building.

 

Following a further period of approximately 25 minutes the meeting resumed.

 

The Chair referred to the Council's Constitution with specific regard to Rule 25.2 of Council Procedure Rules which stated that 'No video, voice call, recordings or photographs to be made or taken without the agreement of the Chair.'

14/3 APPOINTMENT OF VICE-CHAIR OF THE COUNCIL FOR 2014/2015

The Chair sought nominations for the election of Vice-Chair of the Council for the Municipal Year 2014/2015.

 

Moved, seconded and ORDERED that Councillor Brady be and is hereby appointed Vice-Chair of the Council for the Borough of Middlesbrough to hold office for the Municipal Year 2014/2015.

 

14/4 MINUTES - COUNCIL 2 APRIL 2014

The minutes of the meeting of Middlesbrough Council held on 2 April 2014 were submitted and approved as a correct record.

14/5 ANNOUNCEMENTS/COMMUNICATIONS

The Chair reported with deep regret the recent death on 2 May 2014 of Ian Bruce, former Parish Council representative on the Standards Board for 10 years from 2001 and a member of the School Admissions Appeals Panel for several years.

 

ORDERED that a letter of condolence be sent on behalf of the Council to Mr Bruce's family.

14/6 REPORT OF THE INDEPENDENT PANEL ON MEMBERS' REMUNERATION

Council received a report of the Director of Legal and Democratic Services which outlined recommendations of the Independent Panel on Members' Remuneration.

 

The Panel had considered recruitment and selection and although there was no requirement for a fixed term of office for panel members, general guidance was that such members sit for a period of three to five years. Current panel members had all served longer than the five years and those present at their last meeting had expressed an interest in carrying on in the role which would preserve consistency and be cost effective.

 

The Panel had recommended that the current scheme of allowances should remain the same and allowances only increase in line with any staff salary increases should they occur.

 

Following consideration of the prevailing legislation Members' Travel and Subsistence had also been reviewed as the way in which Members engaged and communicated with residents and the Council had changed over a number of years.

 

The Panel recommended that claims could be made for attendance at activities where elected Members were appointed by the Council as per the current scheme but that other actions that fell outside of this such as ward/street surgeries, attendance at Community Councils or centre management committees, meeting constituents, general meetings with officers, attending the Town Hall for office work and neighbourhood watch meetings should be met from the Basic or Special Responsibility Allowances.

 

The Panel's recommendations for 2014-2015 were reported as follows:-

 

(i) The existing panel membership should continue for a further three year term.

 

(ii) That there are no changes to Basic Allowance or Special Responsibility Allowances and it should continue to be linked to officers' pay awards using the current rate of allowances for 2013-2014 as the starting base.

 

(iii) That amendments be made to schedule 2 (h) i, ii and v of the current Scheme of Allowances in respect of Travel and Subsistence Allowances.

 

(iv) The Panel shall reconvene should any major changes or new posts be recommended that require their consideration following the Council's Annual General Meeting.

 

Several Members suggested that given the current difficult economic circumstances and staff cuts a five per cent reduction should be introduced across the Basic Allowance and Special Responsibility Allowances.

 

Members confirmed that the level of allowances had remained static for the last four years and were considered to be at a lower rate compared to many other authorities.

 

Following a vote it was moved, seconded and ORDERED that the report of the Independent Panel on Members' Remuneration be noted and recommendations (i) and (iv) above be approved.

14/7 SCHEME OF ALLOWANCES 2014/2015

Council received and considered a report of the Director of Legal and Democratic Services regarding the proposed Scheme of Allowances for the year 2014/2015 which reflected the recommendations of the Independent Panel on Members' Remuneration.

 

Following recent changes to the Council's political structures the Council now had one group, namely, Association of Independent Middlesbrough Councillors, that comprised of at least 10% of Council membership and became the next largest minority group.  In accordance with prevailing legislation the leader of that group now qualified for the second political Group Special Responsibility Allowance.

 

It was also pointed out that the Mayor had recently announced changes to the Executive structure and had appointed the two Assistant Executive Members to full Executive Member positions and that there were no immediate plans to fill the Assistant Executive Member positions.

 

Moved, seconded and ORDERED as follows:-

 

1. That the Scheme of Allowances for 2014/2015 as outlined in the report submitted be approved.

 

2. That a Special Responsibility Allowance relating to the duties of political Group leader shall be payable to the leader of the majority group and the largest minority group.

14/8 UPDATE ON THE CONSTITUTION 2014/2015

Council received and considered a report which outlined proposals to update the Constitution on changes effected by the Monitoring Officer under delegated powers outlined in the report submitted in respect of the following:-

 

(a) changes to incorporate Council/Executive decisions

(b) changes required as a result of legislative changes

(c) changes to improve the working of the Council or remove ambiguities and correct typographical or drafting errors.

 

Moved, seconded and ORDERED as follows:-

 

1. That the proposed changes to the Constitution as detailed in the report submitted be approved and that it be noted that the Monitoring Officer will, under delegated powers, amend the Constitution accordingly.

 

2. That the Monitoring Officer, under delegated powers be authorised to amend the Constitution and make any necessary minor textual changes or further adjustments to comply with any subsequent legislative changes, changes to reflect decisions taken by Council and/or Executive and changes which are of typographical/drafting error nature in respect of the 2014/2015 Municipal Year.

14/9 POLITICAL BALANCE - ALLOCATION OF PLACES ON COMMITTEES 2014/2015

Council received and considered a report of the Director of Legal and Democratic Services recommending the allocation of places on committees and sub-committees in line with the political balance of the Council and, in accordance with the requirements of Section 15 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989.

 

Moved, seconded and ORDERED as follows:-

 

1. That political balance is waived in respect of the following committees:-

 

(a) Corporate Health and Safety Committee

      Works Council

 

(b) Chief Officer Appointments Committee

      Constitution and Members' Development Committee.

 

2. That the allocation of seats on committees that are subject to the rules relating to political balance is approved as follows:-

 

Labour - 69 seats

Association of Independent Middlesbrough Councillors (AIM) - 14 seats

Conservative - 11 seats

Middlesbrough Independent Councillors Association (MICA) - 8 seats

Marton Independent Group - 6 seats

Independents/Liberal Democrat/The Green Party - 28 seats.

 

3. That the Monitoring Officer be authorised to fill the unallocated seats as indicated in paragraph 12 and make any necessary further adjustments to remove or replace members where directed by the relevant group or member.

 

4. That any committees established prior to the next review be appointed on the basis of the places shown in Table 3 of the appendix to the report submitted.

14/10 EXECUTIVE SCHEME OF DELEGATION

As required by the Council’s Constitution, a report was submitted setting out membership of the Executive appointed by the Mayor as at Appendix B together with details of the Executive Scheme of Delegation as at Appendix A delegating responsibility for certain functions to the Executive, Individual Executive Members, Executive Sub-Committees, joint arrangements and, where appropriate, Officers of the Council.


Moved, seconded and ORDERED that the report be noted and, where applicable, approved.
 

14/11 COUNCIL COMMITTEES - ESTABLISHMENT, TERMS OF REFERENCE, ALLOCATION OF PLACES AND MEMBERSHIP 2014/2015

Council received a report of the Director of Legal and Democratic Services regarding the establishment of committees, sub-committees, boards, panels and working groups for 2014/2015.


Schedule A of the report submitted set out the Executive and Executive Sub-Committees and Advisory Bodies as agreed by the Mayor.


Schedules B and C identified the nominations received from the various groups and individual councillors for places on the committees to be established by the Council in accordance with Sections 15 and 16 of the Local Government Act 1989 and Local Government (Political Groups and Committees) Regulations 1990.


The report referred to a meeting of the Audit and Governance Committee held on 25 March 2014 with regard to a report of the Council’s External Auditor, Deloitte LLP and subsequent consultation with a proposal to merge the functions of the Audit and Governance Committee within the remit of the Corporate Affairs Committee and for the Committee to be renamed the Corporate Affairs and Audit Committee.


Following consultation it was proposed that the remit of the Civics Working Group and the Member Development Working Group be incorporated within the terms of reference of the Constitution Committee and for this to be known as the Constitution and Members’ Development Committee.


The report included a list of current vacancies on various committees and where nominations received exceeded the number of places in respect of the Constitution and Members’ Development Committee and the Community Safety and Leisure Scrutiny Panel.


Subsequent to the circulation of the report and indicated at the meeting the following changes had been put forward by the individual Members’ concerned:-


(a) withdrawal of Councillor J Hobson from the nominations in respect of the Community Safety and Leisure Scrutiny Panel
(b) withdrawal of Councillor C Hobson from the nominations in respect of the Environment Scrutiny Panel
(c) withdrawal of Councillor C Hobson from the nominations in respect of the Constitution and Members’ Development Committee.


ORDERED as follows:-


1. That the consideration of the report be deferred to the next meeting of the Council, subject to the provisions of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989, whereby the membership of committees as set out in the report and appendix are determined in accordance with group wishes, and consequently all places allocated by groups are filled.

 

2. That the membership, size and terms of reference of the Executive, its sub-committees and advisory bodies approved by the Mayor for the Municipal Year 2014/2015 as set out in Schedule A in the Appendix to the report submitted, be noted.


3. That the appointment of chairs and vice-chairs of Executive sub-committees and advisory bodies for the Municipal Year 2014/2015 as indicated in Schedule A in the Appendix to the report submitted, be noted.
 

14/12 APPOINTMENTS BY THE COUNCIL AND EXECUTIVE TO JOINT COMMITTEES AND OUTSIDE BODIES 2014/2015

A report of the Director of Legal and Democratic Services regarding the appointment of representatives to joint committees and outside bodies for 2014/2015 had been circulated.


ORDERED as follows:-


1. That appointments to the organisations shown in Appendices A (Council nominations) and B (Council/Executive nominations) of the report submitted for the Municipal Year 2014/2015 be deferred to the next meeting of the Council.


2. That the nomination of representatives for appointments made by the Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Finance and Governance relating to appointments set out in Appendix C (Executive) of the report submitted be noted subject to the deferment of the following vacancies:-


Langridge Crescent Initiative Centre Management Committee - one vacancy
Older Persons’ Partnership - three vacancies.
 

14/13 DATES AND TIMES OF COUNCIL - MUNICIPAL YEAR 2014/2015

Council received a report of the Director of Legal and Democratic Services which detailed proposed dates and the time of meetings of the Council during the 2014/2015 Municipal Year.

Moved, seconded and ORDERED that all ordinary meetings of the full Council be held on the dates detailed below and commence at 7.00 p.m. or 6.30 p.m. when policy conferences, award presentations, presentations to outside bodies form part of the agenda and business to be transacted:-

Wednesday 2 July 2014
Wednesday 3 September 2014
Wednesday 15 October 2014
Wednesday 26 November 2014
Wednesday 3 December 2014
Wednesday 7 January 2015
Wednesday 18 February 2015
Monday 4 March 2015 (Budget/Council Tax)
Wednesday 1 April 2015
Wednesday 13 May 2015 (Annual).
 

14/14 STANDARDS (HEARINGS) SUB-COMMITTEE 8 APRIL 2014- OUTCOME AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO COUNCIL

In a report of the Director of Legal and Democratic Services the Council was informed of the outcome of a hearing under the Councillors’ Code of Conduct, and for the Council to note the third recommendation of the Standards (Hearings) Sub-Committee as follows:-


'In light of the fact that this was the second time Councillor McTigue had disclosed confidential information without authority, the Sub-Committee recommended to Council that Councillor McTigue not be appointed to any committee of the Council which deals with confidential information, for a period of one year, beginning with the Annual General Meeting of the Council’.


Following a Members’ question it was confirmed that to date no apology had been received from Councillor McTigue in respect of recommendations 8 (i) and (ii) of the Standards (Hearings) Sub-Committee. A copy of the minutes had been attached as an appendix to the report submitted. A Member suggested that in the absence of such an apology the Council should consider what further action, if any, could be pursued.


ORDERED that the report and information provided be noted.
 

14/15 THE CHANGE PROGRAMME 2014/2017 -SENIOR MANAGEMENT RESTRUCTURE

Council received and considered a detailed report regarding the next phase of the Change Programme 2014-2017 and sought approval to a new senior management structure to drive the delivery of the Vision outlined in the report to Executive at its meeting held on 18 March 2014.


Subsequent to the meeting the Senior Management Review had been pursued and the document attached to the Executive report at Appendix A of the report submitted reflected that progression. Major additions to the document were briefly summarised as:-


(i) The nine outcomes that would be managed and delivered to ensure achievement of the Mayor’s Vision.
(ii) A new senior management structure, aligned to the outcomes described.
(iii) A structure for delivery of Phase 2 of the Change Programme that assigned ownership of workstreams to identified accountable officers.
(iv) Outcome statements for each outcome that provide plans on a page for the period 2014-2017 covering key resources, service portfolio, budget profile, investment profile and key Change Programme Projects.


Middlesbrough Conservative Group put forward an alternative proposal for the new management structure copies of which they circulated at the meeting. It was stated that such a proposal would save the Council approximately £363,000 and that it was not the right time to increase senior management when over 300 staff would be made redundant in the future.


The Mayor addressed Council and in his initial comments referred to circumstances which prevailed in 2001/2002 and outlined subsequent changes which included reductions in Members’ allowances and senior management. Following the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review in October 2010, £61 million savings had to be achieved and a further £57 million by 2020.


In order to comply with legal requirements for the Council to balance the budget each year and to ensure that the Council was fit for purpose there was a need to change the way the Council operated and delivered services.


The Mayor stressed that the proposed management structure was comparable with the senior management structures in other unitary authorities. The emphasis was on continued monitoring and review and change if necessary to be fit for purpose to drive the transformational change required to deliver the Vision and Change Programme simultaneously.


Members spoke in support of the proposals highlighting the importance of attending the respective Member briefings in order to be kept up to date with progress and acknowledging the rationale of adopting a different approach and the need for The Change Programme, the Mayor’s Vision and the senior management arrangements to be aligned to ensure success.


Moved, seconded and ORDERED as follows:


1. That the progress made in respect of the Change Programme and the next phase of delivery be noted.


2. That the new senior management structure outlined, which includes deletion of the post of Director of Transformation and a new Executive Director post (Commercial and Corporate Services) in the same salary range as the existing Executive Director posts (£102,681 - £1133,484) be approved.
 

14/16 MEMBER SUPPORT AND ACCOMMODATION

In a report of the Director of Legal and Democratic Services the Council was advised of the current situation with regard to political assistants and office accommodation provided to political groups.


The report referred to prevailing legislation in relation to political assistants. It was confirmed that the recent formulation of a new group had meant that a political group now had the required one tenth or more membership of the Authority and therefore that group now qualified for the appointment of the second Political Assistant.


As current legislation made no provision for the facility of political assistants to non-qualifying groups in such circumstances, there was no longer an entitlement for the Conservative Group to a Political Assistant.


It was recommended that the current provision be formalised in the Council’s Constitution to provide maximum of up to 37 hour support to be allowed for the majority group and a maximum of 18.5 hours support for each minority group which qualified for a political assistant in accordance with current legislation.


Reference was made to the current review of the Council’s building assets as part of the Change Programme and that the majority of staff were being relocated to the town centre, resulting in space being at a premium. It was therefore proposed that the availability of political/group room facilities should be linked to the same criteria as the entitlement to a political assistant.


Moved, seconded and ORDERED as follows:-


1. That it be noted that, in accordance with the Local Government and Housing Act 1989, the largest minority group (Association of Independent Middlesbrough Councillors), whose membership consists of the required one tenth of the Authority's elected members, shall be entitled to appoint a Political Assistant, to serve for up to 18.5 hours per week.


2. That it be agreed that the availability of political/group room facilities should follow the same criteria as the entitlement to a Political Assistant, and that terms of group support and availability of accommodation be formalised in the Council’s Constitution.


3. That a review of the Executive Corridor accommodation is undertaken by the Members’ Office.

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