Venue: Committee Rooms 2 & 3, Trafford Town Hall, Talbot Road, Stretford M32 0TH
Contact: Chris Gaffey, Democratic & Scrutiny Officer
To receive and, if so determined, to agree as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 3 October 2018.
The Chair requested that two alterations be made to the minutes.
The reference to ‘the Grenfell Tower enquiry’s decision to ban combustible cladding on buildings 18 floor or higher’ in paragraph 4 of minute 17 should be amended to reflect that this was in fact a Government decision (not the Grenfell Enquiry’s decision).
Also in minute 17, it was requested that the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) be invited to meet with Council Officers and Members to discuss the options available for retrofitting sprinklers in buildings. It was asked that this be listed in the ‘resolved’ section of the minute.
RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 3 October 2018, incorporating the changes listed above, be agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Members to give notice of any interest and the nature of that interest relating to any item on the agenda in accordance with the adopted Code of Conduct.
No declarations of interest were made by Members.
To receive a report of the Corporate Director for Governance & Community Strategy and Monitoring Officer.
The Committee received a report of the Corporate Director for Governance and Community Strategy detailing the recommendations of the cross-party Constitution Working Group (CWG) setup to review current practice in a number of areas, with the aim of improving openness, transparency and public engagement within the Council. The report was presented by the Executive Member for Constitutional Reform and Resident Engagement, and had recently been considered by the Standards Committee. The report would also be considered by the Executive before being presented to full Council on 28 November 2018. The CWG would be meeting again in January 2019 to discuss other areas which remained under review.
Members discussed the changes proposed in the report. It was felt that a process would need to be agreed on the proposals to allow members of the public to ask questions at meetings. How questions were managed at the meeting itself would be at the Chairs’ discretion, but it was suggested that any questions raised should be relevant to that Committee and its remit. It was also suggested that questions should be submitted in advance of the meeting to allow for these to be reviewed by the Legal Team to ensure they were relevant and not vexatious. The Head of Governance agreed to incorporate these comments and propose a process on how these questions were considered, which would be included in the final report to full Council. Members agreed with the proposals in principle, but were mindful of the difficulty already faced when trying to complete all business at some busy meetings, and felt that the addition of questions from members of the public could create further time pressures.
Some Members raised their concern about moving all meetings to paperless. Members agreed that an attempt should be made to have paperless meetings, but felt it would be difficult in some instances where large reports which required cross-referencing with previous reports were being considered.
The Committee were advised that proposals on motions at full Council had been presented to the Constitution Working Group, and Members of the Group had been asked to take these proposals back to their respective Political Groups for discussion and comment. Members were asked to provide their feedback to the Head of Governance. The proposals and any comments received on these could then be considered at the next CWG meeting in January 2019. Many Members remained frustrated by the time constraints at some full Council meetings where there was limited time available to speak on motions. It was agreed that something needed to change to improve debate, but whilst ensuring that limitations were not enforced which could dilute the democratic process.
Some Members asked whether the new signature threshold for debating petitions at full Council and Executive meetings were too low. Members were advised that analysis had been conducted against the petitions received by the Council in previous years, and the CWG Members had agreed these thresholds were adequate.
The Committee were generally in favour of the proposals which would improve ... view the full minutes text for item 22.
To receive a presentation of the Leader of the Council on the 2019/20 Draft Budget Proposals, including an update on the Investment Strategy.
Note: The 2019/20 Draft Budget Report is included as part of the agenda.
The Committee received a joint presentation of the Leader of the Council and the Executive Member for Investment, Regeneration and Strategic Planning, providing details of the 2019/20 Draft Budget Proposals and Investment Strategy. Following the identification of areas of additional income and receipts, the revised budget gap since the Committee received its update in October now stood at approximately £800k. Further proposals were being considered on how the remaining budget gap would be addressed.
In relation to the Investment Strategy, the Council expected to recover an exit fee following the ending of the No1 One Trafford investment, which should end up being cost neutral. The Council were currently awaiting guidance on whether they could go ahead with investing in the UK Wide Zone (Zone 3 – referred to on page 19 of the agenda).
When discussing the additional income from the green waste fee, Members were advised that the numbers had increased year on year and this was expected to continue. The green waste fee would not be increased.
Questions were also raised around the Adult Social Care Budget, and Members asked how certain the projected savings associated with these proposals were. The Leader acknowledged that these demand led budgets and savings proposals carried a level of uncertainty, but felt that the proposals were not over ambitious. The introduction of new technological equipment would help drive the Right Care For You project, and the Let’s Talk model had attracted national attention and been highly successful in some Local Authorities.
Continuing the discussion on the Social Care Budget, Members were advised that additional foster carers had now been recruited, and a significant amount of modelling had been done by Children’s Services on child in care placements, which should see the amount of out of borough placements reduced. The Committee were advised that foster carers had been identified to care for two children currently placed out of borough, which could generate a significant net saving when the cost of the fosterers had been taken into account. The Council was also looking into adopting the Mockingbird Model – a fostering model which had been successful in the United Stated of America, which aimed at creating satellite families to replicate the family unit. A network of foster carers would be created to assist each other with respite opportunities and help underpin placements in the borough. Members were reminded that these potential savings did not entail removing provision from children who had special requirements, and the Leader was confident that these children’s needs and requirements would be met by placing them back in borough.
When discussing car parking charges, Members were advised that the analysis had determined that this would not have an effect on town centre footfall. The 2017/18 proposals had not adversely effected Altrincham Town Centre, and it was noted that the evening element of the parking fees would not be introduced until the following year.
Members were reminded that the general inflation provision was passed onto the individual service areas every year ... view the full minutes text for item 23.
To receive a report of the Scrutiny Committee Chair.
The Committee received a report of the Scrutiny Committee Chair providing information on the work programme, Task & Finish group reviews, Scrutiny recommendations, and a summary of recent Executive decisions.
RESOLVED: That the report be noted.