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Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 1

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

Items
No. Item

31.

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:

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

32.

Apologies for Absence and Substitutions

To receive apologies for absence and advise of any substitutions. 

Minutes:

32.1           An apology for absence was received from Councillor D J Waters. Councillor R E Allen would be acting as a substitute for the meeting.  

33.

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:

33.1           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.

33.2           The following declarations were made:

Councillor

Application No./Item

Nature of Interest (where disclosed)

Declared Action in respect of Disclosure

R E Allen

Item 8 – Severn Vale Housing

Is a Council representative on the Board of Severn Vale Housing Society.

Would speak and vote.

Mrs J M Perez

Item 8 – Severn Vale Housing

Is a Council representative on the Board of Severn Vale Housing Society.

Would speak and vote.

Mrs C Wright

Item 8 – Severn Vale Housing

Is a Council representative on the Board of Severn Vale Housing Society.

Would speak and vote.

33.3           There were no further declarations made on this occasion.

34.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 75 KB

To approve the Minutes of the meeting held on 16 July 2014.

Minutes:

34.1           The Minutes of the meeting held on 16 July 2014, copies of which had been circulated, were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.  

35.

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 28 August 2014).

Minutes:

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

36.

Six Month Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 42 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:

36.1           Attention was drawn to the Committee’s Six Month Forward Plan, circulated at Pages No. 13-18. Members were asked to consider the Plan.

36.2           Accordingly, it was   

37.

Roses Theatre Capital Works pdf icon PDF 48 KB

To consider the Council’s responsibilities as landlord in conjunction with the successful award of Arts Council capital funding for a wider renovation project.  

Subject To Call In:: No - Recommendation to Council

Decision:

That it be RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL:

1.         That £150,000 be allocated from capital balances to cover Tewkesbury Borough Council’s repairing responsibilities as part of a capital refurbishment project.

2.         That authority be delegated to the Deputy Chief Executive, in consultation with the Lead Member for Finance and Asset Management, to negotiate the renewal of the long term lease.  

Minutes:

37.1           The report of the Deputy Chief Executive, circulated at Pages No. 19-24, asked Members to consider whether the Council should allocate £150,000 from capital balances to cover its repairing responsibilities as landlord of the building which housed the Roses Theatre; and to delegate authority to the Deputy Chief Executive to negotiate the renewal of the long term lease.

37.2           The Deputy Chief Executive advised of an amendment to recommendation 2 which would now read ‘delegate authority to the Deputy Chief Executive, in consultation with the Lead Member for Finance and Asset Management, to negotiate a memorandum of understanding for the renewal of the long term lease’. This amendment did not change the essence of the recommendation but sought to simplify it somewhat.

37.3           Members were advised that the Council was the landlord of the building which now needed major refurbishment.  A project had been developed by the Roses Theatre to address the work which was needed to the Theatre and it had been awarded a grant of £250,000 from the Arts Council towards that capital refurbishment project. The project would total £800,000 and the Theatre had requested funding from the Borough Council to help towards this. All remaining funding required would be raised through sponsorship and fundraising. The capital project was made up of a number of elements designed to catch up on the outstanding need for refurbishment within the building; to ensure the soundness of the building structure; and to provide opportunities to make the Roses Theatre more financially sustainable. The project included items such as major repairs to the roof; upgrading the heating system; the installation of a lift to allow disabled access to the first floor; refurbishment of the toilets; creation of a new kitchen area; and general improvements to the entrance lobby and external doors.

37.4           The Council had undertaken a stock condition survey in 2013 and that had highlighted a total of £150,000 of necessary work which the Council would need to undertake within its responsibilities as a landlord. This meant that the Council would have to undertake them regardless of the capital project; however, it was considered that, by carrying them out in partnership with the Roses Theatre, the Council would achieve maximum impact and a fully functional modern cultural facility for the future. It was therefore proposed that the Council allocate £150,000 from its capital balances to address this. In addition, the Deputy Chief Executive advised that the Theatre was keen to renegotiate the lease for the future freehold of the building with a view to reducing the Council’s liabilities; either by permanently transferring the freehold or agreeing a longer lease with full repairing responsibilities. It was felt that this would alleviate the problem with the current arrangements whereby the responsibility for different elements were unclear and excessive individual negotiations needed to take place between the parties on a regular basis.

37.5           A Member indicated that the maintenance of the Roses Theatre had been an ongoing issue for many years. Previously the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 37.

Action By: DCE

38.

Severn Vale Housing pdf icon PDF 53 KB

To recommend to Council proposed changes to the Board of Severn Vale Housing.  

Subject To Call In:: No - Recommendation to Council

Additional documents:

Decision:

That it be RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL:

1.      That the changes in the size and composition of Severn Vale Housing Association’s Board of Directors, as set out in the report, be APPROVED and that the Deputy Chief Executive be authorised to give consent under Clause 2.4 of the Deed of Covenant dated 27 April 1998.

2.      That two Council Board Members be appointed for each Term of Council (four years) commencing in May 2015 as follows:

·      One Council Board Member shall be appointed at the Annual Council Meeting; and

·      One Council Board Member shall be the Lead Member for Health and Wellbeing.

Minutes:

38.1           The report of the Deputy Chief Executive, circulated at Pages No. 25-31, detailed recommended changes to the composition of the Board of Severn Vale Housing Society as a result of guidance from the Social Housing Regulator, the Homes and Communities Agency, and the Executive Committee was asked to recommend those changes to Council for approval.

38.2           The Deputy Chief Executive advised that Officers and Members had recently had a very useful joint seminar with the Board of Severn Vale Housing Society and she was pleased that a good relationship was being built with the Council. In terms of the history between the two organisations she explained that, in 1998, the newly formed Severn Vale Housing Society had successfully taken on all of the Borough Council’s homes in a large scale voluntary transfer. This had generated a significant capital receipt for the Council which was reinvested on behalf of all of the residents across the Borough. As part of the transfer, the Council was required to hold a ballot of all of its tenants to determine the key features of the newly created Housing Association. Those features included a rent guarantee for tenants, significant investment to improve the conditions of the homes and representation on the Board of the new Society to ensure those promises were delivered. Given that Severn Vale’s focus had changed over the last 16 years, it was incumbent upon it to review the way it worked on a regular basis to ensure it had the appropriate structure to deliver its overall vision and objectives. In addition, the Homes and Communities Agency, which carried out regular inspections of the social housing sector to ensure Severn Vale was fit for purpose, had highlighted the need for the Society to consider changes to its governance arrangements for the future.

38.3           In line with the recommendations of the Homes and Communities Agency, Severn Vale Housing Society had undertaken an internal review of its governance arrangements and had subsequently proposed a number of minor amendments to its rules and operating model to ensure it remained fit for purpose. Given the Council’s historic relationship with the Society, it was important for it to consider and approve any changes. In the Housing Association sector good practice was developing to suggest that 100% of the Housing Board should be made up of independent members. However; Severn Vale understood the value of Councillor representatives on the Board and the skills and experience they brought and therefore wished to maintain this representation. The suggestion was that the new Board would comprise six independent members; two Councillor representatives; and two customer representatives. This would reflect the specific skills that local authority Councillors and customers brought to the Board but also recognised the need to bring in more independent members with specific skills that would enable the organisation to develop and drive its overall business plan. It should also be remembered that, in not meeting the requirements of the Homes and Community Agency, there could be implications for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.

Action By: DCE

39.

Designation of Neighbourhood Plan Area - Gotherington Parish Council pdf icon PDF 56 KB

To agree the designation of a Neighbourhood Plan area for Gotherington Parish Council.  

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

Decision:

That the designation of a Neighbourhood Plan Area covering Gotherington Parish be APPROVED.  

Minutes:

39.1           The report of the Development Services Group Manager, circulated at Pages No. 32-39, set out an application from Gotherington Parish Council for the designation of a Neighbourhood Plan area. Members were asked to consider the application and approve the designation as requested.   

39.2           The Deputy Chief Executive explained that Local Planning Authorities had a statutory duty to advise or assist communities in the preparation of Neighbourhood Development Plans. The Localism Act 2011 set out the Local Planning Authority’s responsibilities, including designating the Neighbourhood Plan areas, by inserting provisions into the Town and Country Planning Act 1990; the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004; and the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012.

39.3           The application received had been assessed against the requirements set out within the legislation and was considered to meet them such as to enable the designation of the Neighbourhood Area. Once this had been established, as required by the legislation, the Council had published the application for a period of not less than six weeks to invite representations on the proposal. There had been three letters of support for the proposal, as set out at Paragraph 3.5(5) of the report, and as such it was recommended that the designation of a Neighbourhood Plan area covering Gotherington be approved.

39.4           Accordingly, it was

Action By: DCE

40.

Local Government Pension Scheme 2014 - Statement of Policy on Discretions for Tewkesbury Borough Council pdf icon PDF 55 KB

To approve the Local Government Pension Scheme Statement of Policy on Discretions 2014.   

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

Additional documents:

Decision:

1.      That the adoption of the Local Government Pension Scheme 2014 – Statement of Policy on Discretions for Tewkesbury Borough Council be ADOPTED with effect from 1 April 2014.

2.      That the Flexible Retirement Policy state that an individual must reduce their hours of work by a minimum of 20%, or move to a lower grade, in order to qualify for flexible retirement.

3.      That the Chief Executive, as Head of Paid Service, in consultation with the Finance and Asset Management Group Manager and the Lead Member for Finance and Asset Management, be delegated to approve pension expenditure under £10,000 subject to it being found from within existing budgets.

Minutes:

40.1           The report of the Business Transformation Group Manager, circulated at Pages No. 40-74, updated the Council’s Local Government Pension Scheme Discretions Policy with a number of new discretions requiring a statement of policy and it also provided for a review of the existing discretions.

40.2           The Business Transformation Group Manager explained that, with effect from 1 April 2014, the Local Government Pension Scheme Regulations 2013 and the Local Government Pension Scheme (Transitional Provisions, Savings and Amendment) Regulations 2014 had come into force. Under those Regulations, the Council was required to prepare, maintain and keep under review a statement of policy concerning a number of discretions made available to it through those Regulations. Some statements of policy in respect of certain scheme Regulations were compulsory as in the main they carried significant cost implications. However, it was generally recognised that there was considerable value in the Authority making statements of policy in respect of other Regulations, where discretion was available to them, for ease of administration and consistency. In addition, and in accordance with Paragraphs 2(2) of Schedule 2 to the Local Government Pension Scheme (Transitional Provisions, Savings and Amendment) Regulations 2014, the Council must also prepare a written statement on whether, in respect of benefits relating to pre-1 April 2014 membership, to ‘switch on’ the 85 year rule for a member who voluntarily retired (left employment) and elected to draw their benefits on, or after, the age of 55 and before the age of 60 thereby agreeing to waive in full, or in part, any actuarial reduction applied to a members’ benefits. A copy of the written statement must be sent to Gloucestershire County Council as the administering authority and the Borough Council must also publish the statement. Some expenditure in this regard would be relatively small and it was proposed that authority be delegated to the Chief Executive to agree expenditure under £10,000.

40.3           Particular attention was drawn to Pages No. 42-46 of the report which outlined a number of proposed changes to the compulsory policies along with a specific recommendation which related to each change. These included flexible retirement regulations; award of additional pension; additional pension contributions; switching on of ‘Rule of 85’ rule; waiving actuarial reduction for individuals retiring on, or after, age 55 and before normal retirement age; choice of early retirement pension; choice of early payment of pension; and early payment of deferred benefits. In addition, there were also recommended policy changes and recommendations thereon. Those related to contribution banding; additional voluntary contributions; merging of deferred member pension account with active pension accounts; inward transfers of pension rights; and assumed pensionable pay.

40.4           During the discussion which ensued, a Member referred to the resource implications contained within the report and questioned what the significant resource implications that the Council must have regard to were. In response, he was advised that some costs could be very large indeed and as such the Council must be fully aware of those costs before agreeing to a person’s  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.

Action By: CE

41.

Living Wage pdf icon PDF 43 KB

To approve the payment of a Living Wage as a supplement with effect from 1 October 2014 and to agree that the rate be amended annually in line with the national Living Wage level.

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

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the payment of a living wage, as a supplement, be APPROVED with effect from 1 October 2014 and that the rate be amended annually in line with the national living wage level.  

Minutes:

41.1           The report of the Business Transformation Group Manager, circulated at Pages No. 75-85, set out the possibility of introducing the payment of a living wage. Members were asked to consider the information provided and agree the payment of a living wage as a supplement with that rate being amended annually in line with the national living wage level.

41.2           Members were advised that the living wage was an hourly rate set independently and updated annually and was currently £7.65 per hour. The figure was set by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University. The payment of a living wage was a voluntary undertaking and currently there were just over 350 organisations across all sectors that were fully accredited to the living wage foundation with a number of other organisations having adopted the living wage on an informal basis. 16 Local Authorities had full accreditation and a survey by South West Councils in October 2013 had shown that, out of 40 respondents, six had implemented the living wage; one was firmly committed; eight had decided not to implement; 17 were currently considering their options; and eight had responded ‘other’. In terms of the Gloucestershire Authorities, South Gloucestershire had implemented the payment of a living wage on 1 October 2013 but had not signed up to become an accredited living wage employer. Gloucestershire County Council had proposed to introduce the living wage as a supplement for employees including schools; however, it would not be linked to future increases in the living wage. Gloucester City Council had implemented the living wage on 1 November 2013 and Ubico had stated in its business plan that it would introduce the living wage.

41.3           The Business Transformation Group Manager advised that the estimated cost for the Council was £7,500pa for 2014/15 and this could be met from existing budgets. Going forward it would be included in the base budget. The Joint Staff Consultative Group had been supportive of the introduction of the living wage and had agreed with the recommendation set out on Page No. 75 of the report.

41.4           A Member advised that, as the Council’s representative on the South West Councils Employer’s Panel, he was aware that there were many Authorities that were not signing up to the living wage simply because it made employee costs very difficult to control. In response, the Chief Executive indicated that this was a matter for each Council to consider individually. One of the reasons it was being deliberated by the Executive Committee was that Trade Unions had been asking Local Authorities to look at the issue and, due to the good relationship the Council had with the local Trade Unions, it was felt that it was right that Members should consider it. Another Member indicated that he understood the reservations felt by some but he was encouraged by the use of the words ‘supplement’ and ‘discretionary’ as it allowed the existing grading structure to remain intact. He felt that £7,500 was a relatively  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41.

Action By: CE

42.

Revised Wellbeing and Stress Management Policy pdf icon PDF 31 KB

To approve the revised Wellbeing and Stress Management Policy with effect from 1 October 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 Wellbeing and Stress Management Policy be APPROVED with effect from 1 October 2014.  

Minutes:

42.1           The report of the Business Transformation Group Manager, circulated at Pages No. 86-104, asked the Committee to approve the revised Wellbeing and Stress Management Policy with effect from 1 October 2014.

42.2           The Business Transformation Group Manager explained that, primarily, the Wellbeing and Stress Management Policy was concerned with stress arising from the working environment, however, it also recognised that an employee’s personal life may also lead to stress. Sometimes a holistic approach had to be taken to help an employee whatever the cause of stress, particularly where it had an impact on their ability to work effectively. It was intended that the Council would deliver the Policy by promoting the health, safety and wellbeing of all employees, including the use of risk assessments to identify and manage hazards impacting on health in the workplace; monitoring absence levels to identify particular sources of stress as a means of taking action to prevent or reduce such sources in the future; and implementing approaches and support to prevent and manage work-related stress. Trade Unions, the ‘Keep Safe, Stay Healthy’ Group and the Joint Staff Consultative Group had been consulted on the revised Policy and had been supportive. The proposed changes were highlighted throughout the Policy which was attached to the report at Appendix 1.

42.3           Referring to Pages No. 92 and 93, a Member queried how the Council could recognise good mental health in staff. In response, she was advised that the Policy tried to support good mental health in the workplace and tried to identify stress before it became an issue. The last resort would be Occupational Health intervention. Another Member questioned whether a similar Policy could be applied to Councillors as they were also involved in frontline work and as such also suffered from stress on occasion. The Chief Executive accepted that this was a valid concern. He indicated that the Council had an absolute contractual responsibility to staff in this regard which was not the same for Members. However, he felt that it would be helpful for something to be introduced for Members and he undertook to ensure the options available were investigated.

42.4           Generally Members felt that the proposed Policy was extremely worthwhile as the organisation would be much more effective with good, happy and stress-free staff. In addition, staff that were absent from work with stress cost the Council a lot of money and therefore it was always better to avoid it if possible. Accordingly, it was 

Action By: CE

43.

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:

43.1           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.

44.

Separate Minutes

To approve the separate Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 16 July 2014.

Minutes:

44.1           The separate Minutes of the meeting held on 16 July 2014, copies of which had been circulated, were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.  

45.

Future Management of the Council's Operational Services

(Exempt –Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 –Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information))

 

To consider the business case for the Authority to join the Local Authority-owned Company, Ubico Ltd and recommend to Council the way forward.

Minutes:

(Exempt –Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 –Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information))

45.1           The Committee considered a report which detailed the business case for Tewkesbury Borough Council to join the Local Authority-owned Company, Ubico. Members felt that the business case was sound and agreed to recommend to Council its approval. A number of other recommendations were made aimed at facilitating membership after April next year and for Ubico Ltd to deliver the operational services of the Council.

46.

Assignment of Old Baptist Chapel Lease

(Exempt –Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 –Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information))

 

To consider authorising the Borough Solicitor to conclude the relevant documentation to secure the assignment of the lease on the Old Baptist Chapel.

Minutes:

(Exempt –Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 –Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information))

46.1           The report sought Members agreement to the assignment of the lease of the Old Baptist Chapel in Tewkesbury to the Abbey Lawns Trust. Members were advised that the Abbey Lawns Trust had applied for a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and, subject to the success of its application, it would be interested in gaining the long term assignment of the lease. Members felt that this would be a good way to secure the future of the Old Baptist Chapel and that, subject to the success of the funding bid, the Borough Solicitor be authorised to conclude the relevant documentation to secure the assignment of the lease to the Abbey Lawns Trust.