Link to homepage

Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 1

Contact: Democratic Services Tel: 01684 272021  Email:  democraticservices@tewkesbury.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

70.

Announcements

When the continuous alarm sounds you must evacuate the building by the nearest available fire exit. Members and visitors should proceed to the visitors’ car park at the front of the building and await further instructions (staff should proceed to their usual assembly point). Please do not re-enter the building unless instructed to do so.

 

In the event of a fire any person with a disability should be assisted in leaving the building.

Minutes:

70.1           The evacuation procedure, as noted on the Agenda, was taken as read.  

70.2           A Member raised particular concern about the parking issues in the car parks at the Offices that day. He explained that he, along with other Members, had found it very difficult to park as the car parks were so busy and he wondered how this was going to be addressed since more and more tenants were moving into the building. In response, the Chief Executive indicated that he had been made aware of the problem that day but he had not yet had a chance to investigate why it was particularly busy. Officers were aware of the need to enable sufficient car parking for everyone and they were looking at the different ways this could be addressed.

71.

Declarations of Interest

Pursuant to the adoption by the Council on 26 June 2012 of the Tewkesbury Borough Council Code of Conduct, effective from 1 July 2012, as set out in Minute No. CL.34, Members are invited to declare any interest they may have in the business set out on the Agenda to which the approved Code applies.

Minutes:

71.1           The Committee’s attention was drawn to the Tewkesbury Borough Council Code of Conduct which was adopted by the Council on 26 June 2012 and took effect from 1 July 2012.

71.2           The following declarations were made:

Councillor

Application No./Item

Nature of Interest (where disclosed)

Declared Action in respect of Disclosure

Ms A E Ricks

Item 13 – Separate Minutes.

Is a Council representative on the Swimming Bath Trust.

Would not speak or vote and would leave the meeting if the new leisure facility was discussed.

71.3           There were no other declarations made on this occasion.

72.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 48 KB

To approve the Minutes of the meeting held on 30 October 2013 and of the special meeting held on 13 November 2013.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

72.1           The Minutes of the meeting held on 30 October 2013, and of the special meeting held on 13 November 2013, copies of which had been circulated, were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

73.

Items from Members of the Public

To receive any questions, deputations or petitions submitted under Rule of Procedure 12.

 

(The deadline for public participation submissions for this meeting is 2 January 2014)

Minutes:

73.1           There were no items from members of the public on this occasion.  

74.

Six Month Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 38 KB

To consider the Committee’s Six Month Forward Plan.  

Subject To Call In:: No - Item to Note.

Decision:

That the Committee’s Six Month Forward Plan be NOTED. 

Minutes:

74.1           Attention was drawn to the Committee’s Six Month Forward Plan, circulated at Pages No. 9-12. Members were asked to consider the Plan.

74.2           A Member questioned whether the Strategic Economic Plan should be included within the Forward Plan. In response, the Chief Executive advised that he was in the process of agreeing a timetable for the adoption of the Strategic Economic Plan with relevant partners and once this work was complete he would know how it would feed into the Committee cycle, and therefore the Forward Plan. He also confirmed that the Strategic Economic Plan would most likely be considered by the Executive Committee and the Council. Members felt that this would be helpful and expressed a hope that all Members would be provided an opportunity to input to the Plan. The Chief Executive noted that engagement with all Members at an early stage would be helpful.

74.3           Accordingly it was

75.

Medium Term Financial Strategy pdf icon PDF 30 KB

To recommend the Medium Term Financial Strategy to Council for approval.  

Subject To Call In:: No - Recommendation to Council.

Additional documents:

Decision:

That it be RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL that the Medium Term Financial Strategy 2014/15-2018/19 be ADOPTED.  

Minutes:

75.1           The report of the Finance and Asset Management Group Manager, circulated at Pages No. 13-33, attached the Medium Term Financial Strategy 2014/15-2018/19 and asked Members to recommend the Strategy to the Council for adoption.

75.2           The Finance and Asset Management Group Manager advised that the Medium Term Financial Strategy provided the financial plan for the Council for the 5 year period. It set out the Council’s estimates of its commitment expenditure; and identified the spending pressures it faced and the budget savings needed to achieve the recommended Council Tax levels for each of the 5 years of the Plan. Particular attention was drawn to Paragraph 3.0 of the report which set out the proposed changes to the timetable for the production of the Medium Term Financial Strategy and the budget. Members were advised that the changes should allow more time for consideration of the individual reports and to provide a basis for consultation. The indicative timetable for 2014/15 would see approval of the Medium Term Financial Strategy in September 2014 / October 2014; approval of the 2015/16 budget in January 2015; and the setting of the Council Tax for 2015/16 in February 2015.

75.3           Referring to the Strategy as appended to the report, the Finance and Asset Management Group Manager explained that Section 3 highlighted the national context i.e. the recession and low interest rates etc; Section 4 highlighted the Government settlement which showed a 13.6% cut in direct funding for next year and anticipated a cut of 15.5% for 2015/16; Section 5 detailed the New Homes Bonus funding and showed the predicted monies that would be available along with a proposed Prioritisation Policy for the use of New Homes Bonus funding; Section 6 provided details of the new scheme of business rates retention and indicated that there was a backlog of valuation appeals which could pose a risk to the Council and would therefore need careful management; Section 7 detailed the Council Tax Support Scheme and reiterated that the Council would remain with the default Scheme for 2014/15; Section 8 set out the other growth pressures faced by the Council i.e. utilities, fuel, computer licences, investment income etc; Section 9 set out the capital programme and explained that there was currently no revenue available to support it and with the level of reserves falling it would be important to replenish where possible, to this end a programme of review of assets would take place during 2015/15; Section 10 detailed the Medium Term Financial Projection which showed where the costs were and how they would be financed; Sections 11 and 12 discussed the strategies which would deal with the deficit; Section 12 looked at business transformation which would include a package of measures agreed by Members to attempt to address the shortfall in the Council’s budget; Section 14 provided a risk and sensitivity analysis which indicated that it would be prudent to set aside monies to meet the inherent risks identified within the budget; Section 15 dealt with revenue  ...  view the full minutes text for item 75.

Action By: DCE

76.

Review of Discretionary Rate Relief Policy pdf icon PDF 31 KB

To approve the Discretionary Rate Relief Policy.  

Subject To Call In:: Yes - No action to be taken prior to the expiry of the call-in period.

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the revised Discretionary Rate Relief Policy be APPROVED.  

Minutes:

76.1           The report of the Revenues and Benefits Group Manager, circulated at Pages No. 34-80, attached a revised Discretionary Rate Relief Policy which Members were asked to approve.

76.2           The Deputy Chief Executive explained that the Council was required to have a Discretionary Rate Relief Policy in place to ensure that discretionary relief awards were reasonably made. The Council’s current Policy was due for review and an Overview and Scrutiny Review of the Policy had been undertaken. A thorough review had been carried out by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which had met in a workshop format, and a small change had been recommended. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee had since considered the amended document and had recommended two further amendments: that, at Paragraph 10.8 of the Policy, annual reviews are carried out as follows: the Borough Council will carry out annual reviews of discretionary relief on a three yearly cycle from 1 April 2014 – starting with a small scale or a mini review in-year to ensure that the recipients of the discretionary relief awards are still occupying the premises and their status as charities and non-profit making organisations remain the same. There will be a full review in the third year; and that, at Paragraph 2.1.1, the word ‘new’ be removed from the first sentence as follows: ‘This guidance is intended to help sports clubs and their supporters understand the new rules and take advantage of the new scheme announced in the 2002 budget’.. The revised Policy had subsequently been recommended to the Executive Committee for approval.

76.3           Members were advised that the Council was restricted by legislation as to whom it could make awards and those were rate payers who were registered charities; organisations who were not registered charities but were charitable in nature; certain categories of business with a population below 3,000; certain businesses (not in receipt of mandatory relief) within a rural settlement; and community amateur sports clubs. The awards of discretionary relief provided assistance to ratepayers to either top up their award of mandatory relief or to award relief to certain ratepayers who did not qualify for mandatory relief under any of the statutory schemes. 

76.4           A Member questioned whether discretionary rate relief could help with the increasing number of empty shops in Tewkesbury Town. He suggested that 6 to 12 months relief would give businesses a little extra help at a time when many were struggling. In response, the Deputy Chief Executive indicated that the Policy only had the ability to help charitable organisations and rural settings so it was not possible to offer it to businesses on the whole. However, there were other ways to support growth and economic development and these were being investigated. Officers were aware of the difficult and sensitive situation regarding the economic wellbeing of Tewkesbury Town and this was being considered as a priority.

76.5           Having considered the information provided, and the Policy as attached to the report, it was

Action By: DCE

77.

Allocations Procedure and Selection to Posts Process pdf icon PDF 31 KB

To approve the Allocations Procedure and Selection to Posts Process to be effective from 1February 2014.

Subject To Call In:: Yes - No action to be taken prior to the expiry of the call-in period.

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the Allocations Procedure and Selection to Posts Process be APPROVED effective from 1 February 2014.  

Minutes:

77.1           The report of the Business Transformation Group Manager, circulated at Pages No. 81-102, attached a revised Allocations Procedure and Selection to Posts Process which Members were asked to approve effective from 1 February 2014. 

77.2           The Human Resources Adviser explained that the current Allocations Procedure and Selection to Posts Process had been written specifically for the organisational review. This meant that it required amendment before it could be used on a general basis outside of the organisational review. The proposed changes to the document included more general changes such as references to the organisational review being removed; references to external HR consultant being changed to HR Adviser; authority being given to appoint an external HR Adviser where appropriate; and the addition of One Legal to the Selection to Posts Process. The specific changes were in respect of the Allocations Procedure and referred to the categories of posts i.e. it was proposed that, where there was a 60-79% match in the primary job purpose and day to day accountabilities in the new structure, those posts would be defined as ‘changed’ posts and where there was a 59% or less match those would be defined as being ‘major changed’. If there was more than one applicant for a ‘changed’ post they would need to go through a competitive selection process whereas staff that met the definition of a ‘major changed’ post would be ringfenced and shortlisted for interview if they met the essential criteria in the person specification.  Where posts had an 80% match they were classed as ‘unchanged’ and, where appropriate, staff would slot into the post. If there was more than one person for one post there would be a competitive slotting in process.

77.3           The documents had been considered at the last meeting of the Joint Staff Consultative Group and the amendments had been agreed and recommended to the Executive Committee for approval.

77.4           A Member suggested that it was extremely important to have a process in place which would be appropriate for any reviews that the Council may need to undertake and as such she felt the suggested amendments were eminently sensible.

77.5           Having considered the information provided, it was  

Action By: CE

78.

Disciplinary Procedure pdf icon PDF 31 KB

To approve the revised Disciplinary Procedure to be effective from 1 February 2014.  

Subject To Call In:: Yes - No action to be taken prior to the expiry of the call-in period.

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the revised Disciplinary Procedure be APPROVED effective from 1 February 2014.  

Minutes:

78.1           The report of the Business Transformation Group Manager, circulated at Pages No. 103-126, attached a revised Disciplinary Procedure which Members were asked to approve effective from 1 February 2014.   

78.2           The Human Resources Adviser explained that the Disciplinary Procedure was designed to help and encourage all employees to achieve and maintain acceptable standards of conduct and job performance whilst carrying out the duties of the Council. The aim was to ensure consistent and fair treatment for the individual and guarantee that allegations of misconduct would be dealt with properly and confidentially. The Disciplinary Procedure was an essential component of the Council’s standard employment procedures. The Procedure had been reviewed, following the implementation of the organisational review, to confirm who had disciplinary powers within the new management structure. The revised Procedure had been considered by the Joint Staff Consultative Group and it had been recommended to the Executive Committee as attached to the report. The changes to the Procedure were highlighted throughout.

78.3           Members were advised that within the current Procedure, formal verbal warnings were made by Service Managers as were written warnings, any decisions on redeployment during an investigation were made by the Chief Officer as was suspension and dismissal. This management structure was no longer in place and as such it was proposed that the process be amended so that formal verbal warnings were given by Group Managers and the Direct Services Manager, written warnings were also provided by the Group Managers, with redeployment during an investigation, suspension and dismissal all being dealt with by a Chief Officer. 

78.4           A Member indicated that the changes to the procedure seemed to flow from the organisational review and obviously needed amendment. She hoped that those who were now included within it would have the appropriate training so that they could follow the process effectively and ensure fairness and transparency.

78.5           Accordingly, it was

Action By: CE

79.

Designation of Neighbourhood Plan Areas for Alderton Parish, Ashchurch Rural Parish, Highnam Parish and Twyning Parish pdf icon PDF 59 KB

To approve the designation of neighbourhood plan areas for Alderton, Ashchurch Rural, Highnam and Twyning Parishes.

Subject To Call In:: Yes - No action to be taken prior to the expiry of the call-in period.

Decision:

That the designation of neighbourhood plan areas covering Alderton Parish; Ashchurch Rural Parish; Highnam Parish; and Twyning Parish be APPROVED.  

Minutes:

79.1           The report of the Development Services Group Manager, circulated at Pages No. 127-135, provided details of applications for neighbourhood plan area designations and sought approval of the designation of neighbourhood plan areas covering Alderton Parish; Ashchurch Rural Parish; Highnam Parish; and Twyning Parish.

79.2           The Deputy Chief Executive advised that local planning authorities had a statutory duty to advise or assist communities in the preparation of neighbourhood development plans. To date, four other areas had received designation having been through the formal process which involved meeting an identified criteria and going through a consultation process. The current applications had now been through the formal process and only one response had been received in respect of the application from Alderton Parish. The representation supported the proposals to produce a neighbourhood development plan as they considered that it would give the residents of Alderton greater power to shape development by having a direct role in the development of planning policies in the village. With this in mind all 4 applications for the designation of neighbourhood plan areas were recommended for approval.

79.3           Referring to Paragraph 1.5 of the report, which stated that ‘if the local planning authority says that an area needs to grow then communities cannot use neighbourhood planning to block the building of new homes and businesses; they can, however, use neighbourhood planning to influence the type, design, location and mix of new development’, a Member questioned whether this also applied to the Joint Core Strategy and, if so, whether neighbourhood planning could influence the type, design, location and mix of development within that. In response, the Deputy Chief Executive explained that it did not apply in that case. She advised that there was a need to designate strategic sites and there was still some ability for communities to say where they would like to see development and how. However, the Joint Core Strategy had a higher position in the development plan hierarchy than the neighbourhood plan and as such a neighbourhood plan could not stop the Joint Core Strategy. This was a largely technical point and the Deputy Chief Executive indicated that she would ask that a briefing note on the issue be provided to Members following the meeting. A Member referred to an incident which he had heard of recently where a Parish Council had got a planning decision overturned using the Localism Act and the National Planning Policy Framework. He was unsure of the specific details of the case but felt that it would be worth investigating.

79.4           A Member questioned how Officers would ensure Parishes did not use their neighbourhood development plans as a blanket ban on rural development. In response, the Deputy Chief Executive indicated that the guidance on neighbourhood plans was quite prescribed and, for the plan to carry weight, the prescribed criteria had to be followed. This meant there would not be an opportunity for Parishes to use the plans in that way. In terms of resource implications, a certain amount of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 79.

Action By: DCE

80.

Separate Business

The Chairman will move the adoption of the following resolution:

 

That under Section 100(A)(4) Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded for the following items on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.

Minutes:

80.1           The Chairman proposed, and it was

RESOLVED:         That, under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items on the grounds that they involve the likely discussion of exempt information as defined in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act. 

81.

Separate Minutes

To approve the separate Minutes of the special meeting of the Committee held on 13 November 2013.

Minutes:

81.1           The separate Minutes of the special meeting held on 13 November 2013, copies of which had been circulated, were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.