Agenda and draft minutes

Budget, Council
Wednesday, 28th February, 2018 7.00 pm

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

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

Items
No. Item

The Mayor invited Pastor Akin Laosun to lead those present in Prayer

118.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 127 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Council, held on 31 January 2018.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Council Meeting held on the 31 January 2018 were approved as a correct record.

 

Councillor C Baker stated that his question to the Police Fire and Crime Commissioner had not reflected what his question was. Democratic Services will update the minutes to say the following:

 

“It seems in Thurrock we have more and more drug crime and violent crime than ever before would you say it maybe something to do with more and more London people moving into the borough in which case does the met link up with Essex police to try and resolve these crimes that we have to face.”

119.

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.

Minutes:

The Mayor informed the Chamber that he had not agreed to the consideration of any items of urgent business.

120.

Declaration of Interests

To receive any declaration of interests from Members.

Minutes:

No interests were declared.

121.

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

Minutes:

The Mayor invited all those present to reflect on and remember Thurrock’s fallen of World War One.

 

The Mayor welcomed Members to the second Full Council meeting of the year and that despite being at the end of February we had woken up to a lovely snowy day.

 

February marked the occasion of the Chinese New Year, the year of the dog, which a number of Thurrock residents had celebrated and the Mayor congratulated everyone involved. 

 

The Thurrock’s 13th Civic Awards were held in February with over 100 nominations for nine awards, it had showed that Thurrock residents went out of their way to help others. The Mayor congratulated all the nominees, the winners and the joint organising team of Members and Officers.

 

The Mayor stated that Contact the Elderly were working to reduce loneliness for Thurrock elderly residents and planned to open their 8th group shortly. With Friends of Blackshots had successfully obtained a grant for funding benches on Blackshots field so that residents could watch the sports being played.

 

The Mayor also stated that Thurrock Mind, Stanford, Corringham and Tilbury First Responders and One Community Development Trust had been nominated for the Queens Award for Voluntary Services.

 

The Mayor was proud to state that this month the Mayor’s parlour had been decorated by the photography work of four students from Gateway Academy. The Mayor stated that the work was of top quality and was sure that Members would be impressed when they saw it. That the school had asked Members for comments about the quality of the work and hoped Members would not mind taking time to fill in the comments book. The Mayor also thanked Gabi Randyte, Jo Mclean, Precious Daniel and David Ojetola of Gateway Academy and Lisa Anderson of Well House Art Gallery for the display.

 

February also marked 100 years of women suffrage. It was a hard fought battle, using all means to entrench equality in the law.  In reality, it had taken 10 more years before all women above the age of 21 had the right to vote. So finally, tolerance and equity of treatment, at least at the ballot box, was won.

 

The Leader of the Council, Councillor Gledhill, updated Members on what Thurrock Council had been undertaking over the past few days to keep the borough moving in the adverse weather. That approximately 226 miles of highway had been gritted with the first priority being major routes such as the A13 and bus routes. Those secondary routes such as those at significant risk and high usage were also gritted. That in the adverse weather primary routes had also received grit runs, up to three times a day in some cases. Those crews were deployed on Tuesday throughout the day with the snow plan being activated at 6.30am today.

 

Residents that cleared their own pathways would not face prosecution as long as the snow was cleared away safely and that it had not caused a hazard.

 

The Leader stated that he would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 121.

122.

Questions from Members of the Public

There were no questions submitted from members of the public.

Minutes:

The Mayor informed Members that no questions had been accepted for the meeting.

123.

Petitions from Members of the Public and Councillors

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

Minutes:

The Mayor informed Members that in accordance with the Council’s petition scheme no notices of petition had been received.

124.

Petitions Update Report pdf icon PDF 59 KB

Minutes:

Members received a report on the status of those petitions handed in at Council Meetings and Council Offices over the past six months.

 

Councillor Duffin question why Councillors Kerin, Jones, Maney and Gerrish were listed as portfolio holders in the report. Councillor Gledhill stated that this was an administrative error and would be corrected by democratic services.

 

Councillor Gerrish stated that he had received an update today from the Police Fire and Crime Commissioner on Petition 505 and would update Members further following on from the Council meeting.

125.

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.

Minutes:

 

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

 

The Leader of the Council, Councillor Gledhill, informed the Chamber he had no further changes to make.

 

Councillor Snell, Leader of the Thurrock Independents, informed the Chamber he had no changes to make.

 

Councillor Gerrish, Leader of the Labour Group, informed the Chamber that he wished to make the following changes:

 

For Councillor Kerin to become a substitute Member on the General Services Committee.

 

For Councillors G Rice to replace Councillor C Holloway on the Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.         That Councillor Kerin be appointed as substitute member on the General Services Committee.

2.         That Councillor C Holloway be replaced by Councillor G Rice on the Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

 

126.

Annual Pay Policy Statement 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 124 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Huelin, Portfolio Holder for Performance and Central Services, presented the report which sought the approval of the Council’s Annual Pay Policy Statement. That Thurrock’s statement included a pay policy for all categories of employees which reflected the existing employment terms and conditions.

 

Councillor Snell stated that the report had been presented through the Comprehensive Spending Review and would agree to the recommendations.

 

Councillor Duffin questioned why Members could not vote on recommendation 1.1 and questioned whether the Comprehensive Spending Review was a committee of Council. Councillor Duffin stated that therefore all Members should be invited to sit on the Comprehensive Spending Review.

 

Councillor Huelin stated that Council had voted previously to using an independent market research company to set the pay rises fairly.

 

Councillor Spillman questioned had any progress been made for senior managers to be on fixed term contracts to reduce any pay offs in local Government in Essex.

 

Councillor Huelin would seek advice on Councillor Spillman’s question and update him outside the meeting.

 

Councillor Hebb reiterated that the Comprehensive Spending Review was a briefing group that received papers presented by the Directors Board. That the Members of the Comprehensive Spending Review made no decisions and it was not a committee of the Council. Councillor Hebb would welcome any new Members.

 

Councillor Gledhill had concerns that Members could not change the report and stated that Members could seek the Chief Executive and Monitoring Officers understanding of what was required for this report.

 

Councillor Gledhill stated his agreement to all the recommendations and that Members should focus on the positives of the report. Councillor Gledhill stated how important it was to keep managerial staff and would not agree to fixed term contracts at Thurrock.

 

Councillor Coxshall supported this statement and used an example of fixed term contracts at the Thames Gateway Corporation which demonstrated the challenges of fixed term contracts for managerial staff.

 

Councillor Huelin summed up by thanking Members for comments and that the recommendations made sense and demonstrated that staff were valued within the Council.

 

At 7.23pm, Councillor James Baker left the Council Chamber.

 

The Mayor called a vote on the recommendations.

 

Upon being put to the vote, Members voted unanimously in favour of the recommendations, whereupon the Mayor declared the recommendations carried.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.         That the Annual Pay Policy Statement 2018/19 was agreed in line with the Council’s obligations under the Localism Act 2011, the Single Status Agreement and the recommendations by the independent market assessment.

 

2.         That agreement to remove pay points 1 to 4, with pay point 5 becoming the lowest council pay point, set at the UK Living Wage rate of £8.75 ph from 1st April 2018.

 

3.         That agreement to pay apprentices the National Minimum/Living Wage appropriate to their age from the start of employment, starting at £4.20 ph for those under 18 from 1st April 2018.

127.

Thurrock Regeneration Limited (TRL) pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Gledhill, Leader of the Council, presented the report that set out the ambitious and exciting vision for the development of new homes in Thurrock through the Council owned company, Thurrock Regeneration Ltd (TRL). The paper proposed a significant up-scaling of the role of TRL and sought the agreement from Council to provide the necessary finance for TRL to deliver 1,000 homes in the next five years, 35% of which would be affordable and available for residents on the Council’s housing needs register. That the approach would enable the Council to directly support the delivery of high quality new homes.

 

Councillor Snell thanked the Leader for the report and agreed that the Thurrock Regeneration Limited was a good scheme but questioned was it ambitious enough and had consideration been given to off-site construction that would allow for more affordable homes.

 

Councillor Gerrish stated that he would be voting in favour of the recommendations but had one big caveat. That providing affordable houses in Thurrock was affordable to Thurrock residents. That the ambition and approach of the Council should be to explore the best options for Thurrock residents.

 

Councillor Duffin had concerns that recommendation 1.3 could be open to legal challenge and questioned why local business were not being offered to make bids.

 

Councillor Spillman stated his support for the recommendations but questioned had the report been ambitious enough for possible future expansion and asked for reassurances that this was a reality and not just aspirations of the administration.

 

Councillor Kerin welcomed the report but had concerns over the affordability for Thurrock residents on average wages and asked what guarantee that the homes would form part of the Council Stock and would become Council houses for those residents in need.

 

Councillor Redsell stated that this was a brilliant scheme and would be voting in favour.

 

Councillor Halden stated that the report was exciting and explained to Members that Gloriana had not worked due to the scheme being delivered late and over budget. That a housing release stock of 1000 new homes would be in place with Thurrock Regeneration Limited and the expertise would grow as the projects got bigger.

 

Councillor B Rice welcomed and commended the scheme but stated that investments were needed for the benefit of Thurrock residents. That the St Chad site was not affordable housing for the average paid resident and looked forward to seeing the third truly affordable homes in Thurrock.

 

Councillor Coxshall stated that regeneration on brown fill sites was awkward to build on and that the Council should take advantage of Thurrock Regeneration Limited to build on these sites compared to those private companies who do not want to. That Thurrock Regeneration Limited has a long term commitment and that land could be released immediately. That the report demonstrated a very strong message that the administration would build high quality Council homes.

 

Councillor Hebb stated that this was the second report presented this evening that was good news for the residents of Thurrock. Those residents  ...  view the full minutes text for item 127.

128.

Treasury Management Strategy 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 194 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Hebb, Portfolio Holder for Finance, stated the Treasury Management Strategy was a critical component of the way Thurrock Council managed cash-flow.  This was linked to the Council’s ambitions of becoming a more commercially focused borough; one where sensible transactions are completed which created revenue returns that could be allocated to spending on the services for Thurrock residents.

 

Councillor Snell stated that the final report had been presented at the Comprehensive Spending Review and agreed with the recommendations although stated the report could have been more ambitious on the investment strategy.

 

Councillor Gledhill stated that investment strategy would go forward as a budget item.

 

Councillor Gledhill referred to an error on Page 85 of the report. That the figure for Prudential Indicators for External Debt 2018/19 Estimate total should have read 937,121 instead of 936,121.

 

Councillor Hebb recommended that the report go to the vote.

 

The Mayor called a vote on the recommendations.

 

Upon being put to the vote, Members voted unanimously in favour of the recommendations, whereupon the Mayor declared the recommendations carried.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Council:

 

1.         Approved the Treasury Management Strategy for 2018/19 including approval of the Annual Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) Statement for 2018/19.

2.         Approved the adoption of the Prudential Indicators as set out in Appendix 1.

3.         Noted the revised 2017/18 and 2018/19 Treasury Management projections as set out in paragraph 2.35.

129.

General Fund Budget Proposals pdf icon PDF 158 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

 

Thank you Mr Mayor

 

This is the second Conservative budget I have delivered and how much has changed in those two years. As you know in 2016 we inherited a budget with a £4m pressure, a budget with no street cleaners, no environmental enforcement officers, little or no equipment to cut the grass, no coherent assets list, no plans to make our assets work for our residents and worse than a letter saying there was absolutely no money left we had a so called graph of doom which was rolled out on every single occasion to show how bad things were going to become. In 2016 we started to reverse this poor administration of these public services, putting council tax payer’s money back to where they wanted to see it, back into the services what they expected the council to provide. That was cleaning the streets, cutting the grass and filling the potholes. And of course all the other services that we provide. Looking after the elderly, young and most vulnerable, supply educational support, regeneration of the borough, collecting council tax the list goes on and on. At the end of last year we closed the year with a small surplus which increased the reserves, we made headway onto the 6 years of neglect this borough had suffered with our clean it cut it fill campaign, we set a budget that we were told would not be deliverable. During the year we set investment principles which were agreed by every councillor here this evening to ensure openness when we made large investments and in doing so we achieved something that every single member outside of the conservative group said we would not, we balanced the budget at year end. Not only did we balance the budget we put £5.5million extra into reserves but because of our investment strategy we also had a surplus, a one off surplus, of £2.3million. Not money taken from the hard pressed tax payer but money we had got from our ability to invest wisely and get income from those investments. A surplus this year being used to improve the ability of our grounds maintenance team to do their job throughout the year, extra money for road surfacing and more importantly more money, and new money going into tackling anti-social behaviour across our borough. So in 22 months what we have done we have turned that ridiculous graph of doom upside down into the graph of BOOM. As I would hope every member in this room would know we are a unitary authority so we have responsibility for services both County Councils and District Councils supply combined. However, we still manage to do this with the lowest Council Tax in Essex, the third lowest of all unitary authorities like Thurrock and indeed one of the lowest in the Country. Now this had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 129.

130.

Questions from Members pdf icon PDF 48 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

 

A copy of the transcript of part of question 1 and answer can be found at Appendix A to these minutes.

 

At 9.30pm the Mayor called the close of the Full Council meeting having not received any motions to suspend Standing Orders beyond the 2.5 hour time limit.

 

Councillor Spillman withdrew his question and would resubmit.

 

Councillor Pothecary requested a written response.

 

Councillor Redsell requested a written response.

 

Councillor Duffin withdrew his question and would resubmit.

 

Councillor B Rice requested a written response.

 

Councillor Maney requested a written response.

 

Councillor G Rice requested a written response.

 

Councillor Gerrish withdrew his question and would resubmit.

 

Councillor Redsell requested a written response.

 

Councillor Duffin questioned the Mayor why he had not suspended Standing Orders to continue beyond the 2.5 hour time limit as he had previously done at Full Council meetings he had chaired. Councillor Ojetola stated that this was a Budget Council and that no Member had requested to suspend standing orders.

131.

Reports from Members representing the Council on Outside Bodies

Minutes:

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

132.

Minutes of Committees

Name of Committee

Date

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee

21 November 2017

Licensing Sub-Committee

9 January 2018

Constitution Working Group

31 October 2017

Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education

22 November 2017

Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee

19 December 2017

Planning Committee

11 January 2018

Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee

12 December 2017

Licensing Committee

4 October 2017

Lower Thames Crossing Task Force

22 January 2018

 

Minutes:

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

133.

Update on motions resolved at Council during the previous year pdf icon PDF 71 KB

Minutes:

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

134.

Motion submitted by Councillor Spillman pdf icon PDF 38 KB

Minutes:

The Motion, as printed in the Agenda was proposed by Councillor Spillman. The Motion read as follows:

 

That Thurrock Council seeks as part of the nationally prescribed process of bringing forward our Local Plan as positively and quickly as possible and using all available legislation, to ensure that sufficient homes of the right type and tenure are delivered to meet the local needs of our communities.  And that such an approach should also inform all new developments, especially Thurrock Regeneration Limited projects.

 

Councillor Spillman introduced the Motion by stating that the legislation process should take priority and push the legal boundaries when Thurrock Council brought forward the Local Plan and Regeneration Projects within the Council.

 

The Mayor called a vote on the Motion.

 

Upon being put to the vote, Members voted unanimously in favour of the Motion whereupon the Mayor declared the Motion carried.

135.

Motion submitted by Councillor Duffin pdf icon PDF 39 KB

Minutes:

The Motion, as printed in the Agenda was proposed by Councillor Duffin. The Motion read as follows:

 

Thurrock Council resolves to increase its investment portfolio with the ambition to reduce General Fund Council Tax.

 

Councillor Duffin stated that Thurrock Council should work to increase the investment portfolio to reduce the general fund council tax if the financial position was viable. That the Council had the power to reduce the cost of living for residents in Thurrock by working together to make these reductions to council tax an ambitious goal.

 

The Mayor called a vote on the Motion.

 

Upon being put to the vote, Members voted unanimously in favour of the Motion whereupon the Mayor declared the Motion carried.

136.

Motion submitted by Councillor Aker pdf icon PDF 45 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Aker withdrew his Motion prior to the start of the meeting.

137.

Motion submitted by Councillor Snell pdf icon PDF 39 KB

Minutes:

The Motion, as printed in the Agenda was proposed by Councillor Snell. The Motion read as follows:

 

Thurrock Council resolves to write to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care as well as NHS England setting out a detailed case supporting the need for a new hospital in Thurrock to help address the future needs of the borough.  

 

Councillor Snell stating the Motion was not a judgement on whether Orsett Hospital should close or not but to start conversations now on the proposal of a new hospital in Thurrock in the next 10 to 15 years by writing to the Secretary of State and NHS England to identify a site for such a new hospital.

 

The Mayor called a vote on the Motion.

 

Upon being put to the vote, Members voted in minority in favour of the Motion whereupon the Mayor declared the Motion carried.

138.

Motion submitted by Councillor Jones pdf icon PDF 39 KB

Minutes:

The Motion, as printed in the Agenda was proposed by Councillor Jones. The Motion read as follows:

 

Thurrock faces an environmental crisis if it does not balance the economic growth of the Borough with the increasing risks to our resident’s health and our environment. Therefore Thurrock Council requests the appropriate Overview and Scrutiny Committee to convene a fact finding meeting, the results of which can be reported to the relevant decision making bodies of the council. The meeting will:

 

(1)        Analyse current and future risk to Thurrock’s environment.

(2)        Develop concrete policy proposals.

 

 

Councillor Jones introduced the Motion by stating that air pollution was a worry to residents with Thurrock being in the top 6 worse areas in the country. With future planned infrastructures such as the expansion of DP World, Tilbury Docks, Tilbury Power Plant, Purfleet Regeneration, Integrated Medical Centres and the future development of 32,000 new homes into Thurrock. Residents deserved a better place to live and not have to endure worrying environmental issues.

 

The Mayor called a vote on the Motion.

 

Upon being put to the vote, Members voted unanimously in favour of the Motion whereupon the Mayor declared the Motion carried.

 

 

 

The Mayor wished the Leader a happy 50th birthday.