Agenda and minutes
Venue: Council Chamber - Trinity Road. View directions
Contact: Democratic Services
Apologies were received from Councillors Lisa Spivey, Rachel Coxcoon, Sue Jepson, Richard Keeling, Richard Norris, Robin Hughes and Jenny Forde
Declarations of Interest
To receive any declarations of interest from Members and Officers, relating to
items to be considered at the meeting.
There were no Declarations of Interest from Members
There were no Declarations of Interest from Officers.
To confirm the minutes of the meeting of Full Council held on 25th May 2022 and the minutes of the Annual Council held on 25th May 2022.
Minutes of the meeting of Full Council held on 25th May 2022 and minutes of the Annual Council meeting held on 25th May 2022 had been published and a few amendments and typographical errors had been corrected prior to the meeting. Printed copies of both sets of minutes were provided for all Members at the meeting.
RESOLVED: Council agreed that the updated minutes from meeting of Full Council held on 25th May 2022 and the minutes from the Annual Council held on 25th May 2022 were correct records of the meetings
Voting Record – For 24, Against 0, Abstentions 2, Absent 8,
Announcements from the Chair, Leader of Chief Executive (if any)
The Chair welcomed all Members, Officers and members of the public (joining in-person and online) to the meeting.
The Chair stated that Councillor Jenny Forde was representing the Council at the Local Government Chronical Awards ceremony in London (accepting the LGC ‘Community Award’ for the Council’s ‘Crowdfund Cotswold’ programme).
The Chair paid a personal tribute and thanked the Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Finance Officer Jenny Poole for her tireless work for the Council over the previous 18 years. It was also noted that her leadership and outstanding financial knowledge was appreciated by both Members and Officers.
Councillor Joe Harris, Leader of the Council presented a more comprehensive tribute to the Deputy Chief Executive that included her career development from a Technical Accountant to her current senior role. In future she would be spending more time with her family, hiking along the great country paths around the UK including the Cotswold Way.
Councillor Harris also welcomed the new Business Manager, Democratic Services, Andrew Brown, and looked forward to working together.
Finally Councillor Harris sent his condolences to the family and friends following the tragic drowning at Cotswold Water Park.
Councillor Berry paid a personal tribute to the Deputy Chief Executive, thanking her for the manner in which the finances of the Council had been handled under her tenure, and stating she would be sorely missed.
The Chief Executive, Rob Weaver added his condolences for the person who had drowned at the Cotswold Water Park. The Chief Executive also, sent good wishes and luck to the Council teams that had been nominated at the LGC awards for their NET Zero Carbo Tool Kit and Crowdfund Cotswold Programme.
The Chief Executive also paid a personal tribute to the Deputy Chief Executive, remarking how fortunate he was to have the support of Jenny Poole since becoming Chief Executive in 2021
To deal with questions from the public within the open forum question and answer session of fifteen minutes in total. Questions from each member of the public should be no longer than two minutes each and relate to issues under the Council’s or Committee’s remit. Any member of the public wishing to ask a public question is requested to contact Democratic Services by no later than 5.00pm the working day before the meeting.
No questions had been submitted from the public and there were no members of the public attending the Council meeting that wished to ask a question.
The following questions have been submitted:
Question from Councillor Tom Stowe to Councillor Andrew Doherty, Cabinet Member for the Environment, Waste and Recycling:
Regular exposure to even small amounts of pesticides has the potential to harm human health, with children and pregnant people being particularly at risk. These chemicals can also have negative impacts on the wellbeing of our pets, and on biodiversity, affecting plants and wildlife. Can the Cabinet Member confirm the level and scope of the use of pesticides by CDC and its contractors?
Question from Councillor David Cunningham to Councillor Joe Harris, Leader of the Council:
At the last Council meeting, members were told that this administration was ‘somewhat involved’ in the delivery of 114 affordable homes in the District in 2020/21. Can the Cabinet member please clarify what that phrase means in practical terms and confirm what percentage of overall homes built or approved in the same period across the District, does that number of 114 represent?
Question from Councillor Stephen Hirst to Councillor Mike Evemy, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance
CDC have plans to borrow £75million and invest it to cover a possible shortfall in Government funding and yet this wasn’t in the budget consultation and there is little information available regarding what this is to be used for or how it is to be paid for.
Given your principle of ‘openness and transparency’, please could you give me that information and tell me when you will be publishing these details?
From Councillor Tony Berry to Councillor Joe Harris, Leader of the Council:
When and why was the decision made to reserve specific parking places for Cabinet Members and how does this fit into the egalitarian principles vaunted by this administration?
From Councillor Tony Berry to Councillor Joe Harris, Leader of the Council:
Questions and initial answers from members are currently invisible to members of the public following Council Meetings on social media. Why do we not briefly summarise these before asking the supplementary question (if required)?
From Councillor Julia Judd to Councillor Joe Harris, Leader of the Council:
The Council's Recovery Investment Strategy is to borrow over £75m for projects to include £1.8m on housing, £49.7m on Green Energy Investments and £25m on Economic Development and Asset Utilisation. These projects align with and arguably mirror the ambitions of the Government’s Levelling-Up Fund. We are only a small District Council, surely officer’s time would be better spent preparing quality bids for the Levelling-up fund and using that money, rather than borrowing huge amounts which will place extra burdens on the residents of the Cotswolds and place this council at financial risk?
From Councillor Julia Judd to Councillor Lisa Spivey, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services:
At the December 2021 meeting, Council voted unanimously to install an e-Petition link to be activated on the Council’s website front page. Five months have now passed, why has this not yet happened?
Recovery Investment Strategy PDF 169 KB
To refresh the Recovery Investment Strategy framework within which the Council can invest in the infrastructure of the Cotswold District that delivers on the Council’s Priorities.
That Council approves the Strategy attached at Annex B.
The purpose of the report was to refresh the Recovery Investment Strategy framework within which the Council can invest in the infrastructure of the Cotswold District that delivers on the Council’s Priorities.
Councillor Tony Dale introduced the report and summarised the requirement for the refresh and the importance of establishing investments that can fill the Council’s future ‘funding gap’.
The Council noted that over the past 2 years, changes had been made to the investment opportunities open to Councils, and the pandemic had effected financial outlooks for all local authorities.
The Council noted that within four years the Council would be facing a ‘funding gap’ of nearly £9m as a result of reducing Government funding and the increasing expectations and costs of serving Cotswold residents.
Following the debate, the following points were noted:
· the s151 Officer had considered it prudent to have a strategy in place to provide for the funding shortfall within both the MTFNS and the Recovery Investment Strategy.
· there were risks inherent in any investment strategy, but these would be professionally assessed and business cases would be made before any investments were made.
· the strategy would ‘leverage the intrinsic strength of the Council’s balance sheet’ and this strong balance sheet had been inherited by the current Administration from the previous Administration.
· the increase in Council Tax charges and the removal of parking charge reductions and other savings had increased the Council’s income and this would partly offset the potential funding gap, but would not fill it.
· programme plans showing the detailed business cases and roll out of individual projects was not included within the strategy, and without the comfort of seeing this detail, Members may not feel comfortable voting for the refreshed strategy.
· the strategy stated that any single investment of more than £3m would need to be brought before the Council for deliberation and approval.
RESOLVED: That Council approved the Cotswold District Council Recovery Investment Strategy 2022-2026 (Annex B).
Voting Record – For 16, Against 9, Abstentions 1, Absent 8,
Additions to the Constitution: a) Budget Council Protocol and b) Social Media Guidance for Members PDF 80 KB
To update Council on the work and recommendations of the Constitution Working Group who have been modernising the Constitution.
1. Adopts the Budget Council Protocol for inclusion in the Council’s Constitution.
2. Adopts the Members’ Social Media Policy, as an annex to the existing Elected Members’ Code of Conduct, for inclusion in the Council’s Constitution.
The purpose of the report was to update the Council on the work and recommendations of the Constitution Working Group who have been undertaking work to modernise the Constitution.
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Joe Harris introduced the report and summarised the work that had been completed on proposed amendments to the Constitution, specifically
· the proposed inclusion of a new protocol that defined the process to be employed when the Council receives, debates, amends, questions and votes on the annual Budget.
· The production of a new Members’ Social Media Policy ( an annex to the existing Elected Members’ Code of Conduct) that provides guidance for Members to consider when engaging with social media in their capacity as a Cotswold District Councillor.
RESOLVED: That Council agreed to adopt the Budget Council Protocol for inclusion in the Council’s Constitution, and agreed to adopt the Members’ Social Media Policy, as an annex to the existing Elected Members’ Code of Conduct, for inclusion in the Council’s Constitution.
Voting Record – For 26, Against 0, Abstentions 0, Absent 8,
Appointment of Deputy Chief Executive and Section 151 Officer PDF 104 KB
To recommend to Council, the appointment of David Stanley as the permanent Deputy Chief Executive Officer (s151) for Cotswold District Council
To recommend to Council, the appointment of Jo Moore as the Interim Deputy Chief Executive Officer (s151) for Cotswold District Council pending David Stanley commencing employment.
The Appointment Panel RECOMMEND that Council:
1. Approves the appointment of David Stanley as Deputy Chief Executive Officer (s151) for Cotswold District Council.
2. Notes that the provisional offer of employment has been made, subject to two references, medical clearance and eligibility check in accordance with the Council’s policies.
3. Agrees that the appointment commences on a date to be mutually agreed.
4. Agrees that the salary to be offered is £86,275 per annum.
5. Confirms that the appointment will be subject to a 6 month probation period.
6. Agrees to appoint Jo Moore as Interim DCE & Section 151 Officer until David Stanley commences employment.
7. Agrees that £35,000 is earmarked from the Council Priorities Fund to meet the costs associated with the Interim Deputy Chief Executive post.
The purpose of the report was to recommend to the Council, the appointment of David Stanley as the permanent Deputy Chief Executive Officer (S151) for Cotswold District Council. The recommendation to Council also included Jo Moore to be appointed as the Interim Deputy Chief Executive Officer (S151) for Cotswold District Council pending David Stanley commencing employment.
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Joe Harris introduced the report and stated the importance of the dual role of the Deputy Chief Executive, Chief Finance Officer (s151) officer in any Council. The Council had been very fortunate to have had a Jenny Poole as Chief Finance Officer (S151) for over a decade and more recently as Deputy Chief Executive, and it had taken time to find and appoint David Stanley to the role.
Council noted that as the new Officer was required to work a notice period of three months, it would be necessary to appoint an interim Deputy Chief Executive Chief Finance Officer (s151) and Jo Moore had been appointed to this role.
Council noted that the there was an additional cost generated by appointing the Interim Officer that had not been included in the recruitment budget and this would be provided from the Council Priorities Fund.
Council noted that the new Deputy Chief Executive, Chief Finance Officer (S151) was a Cotswold District Council employee and as such would be entitled to join the Local Government Pension Scheme.
RESOLVED: The Council agreed with the Appointment Panel’s recommendation to appoint David Stanley as Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Finance Officer (s151) for Cotswold District Council and noted that the provisional offer of employment had been made, subject to two references, medical clearance and eligibility check in accordance with the Council’s policies.
· Agreed that the appointment would commence on a date to be mutually agreed.
· Agreed that the salary to be offered was £86,275 per annum.
· Confirmed that the appointment would be subject to a 6 month probation period.
The Council also agreed to appoint Jo Moore as Interim DCE & Section 151 Officer until David Stanley commences employment and agreed that £35,000 is earmarked from the Council Priorities Fund to meet the costs associated with the Interim Deputy Chief Executive post.
Voting Record – For 24, Against 0, Abstentions 0, Absent 10,
Notice of Motions
Motion proposed by Councillor Gina Blomefield, Seconded by Councillor Tony Berry
Debate not Hate
An LGA survey revealed that seven out of ten councillors at all levels have experienced abuse over the last year. These attitudes, having started on social media, have now become normalised and morphed into the real world - it needs calling out.
Most Councillors, at any level of operation do it in order to make a positive contribution to their local society and ‘make a difference’ – regardless of any political affiliation they believe what they might be suggesting will be of benefit to the residents. It is therefore totally wrong to be either rude or abusive in response to such proposals.
By setting an example to ensure all councillors get better recognition and appreciation as well as protecting them from personal attacks will encourage more people to play their part in local government including at Town and Parish Council level. It is important to have polite yet robust debate, ideally with a free vote at the conclusion.
I would like to introduce a Motion of Debate not Hate at CDC and throughout the Town and Parish Councils in the Cotswold District to remind everyone that whilst democracy thrives on good, frank discussions these should never turn into personal abuse.
Motion proposed by Councillor Joe Harris Seconded by Councillor Nikki Ind
Cost of Living
This Council notes that:
Inflation is predicted to top 10% this year, the highest in 40 years.
The tax burden is the highest today since World War Two and that the Government has consistently increased the direct and indirect tax burden on families.
The increased energy price cap will see the average standard tariff energy bill increase by £693 per year and the average prepay meter energy bill increase by £708 per year.
The Government’s suspension of the pensions triple lock for 22/23 will cost the pensioners in the Cotswolds on the full new state pension an average of £487 and those on the full basic state pension an average of £373.
This Government ended the uplift in Universal Credit and that changes to the taper will not compensate for the reduction in income of the poorest and most vulnerable people in society.
This Council also notes that:
An estimated 11 million people in the UK live in food poverty, with the cost of living crisis predicted to greatly exacerbate this problem. Those on the lowest incomes will be hardest hit by inflation, the lifting of the energy price cap and increased taxation.
This Council believes that:
No one should go hungry in the Cotswolds.
The cost of living crisis will increase the levels of food poverty and malnutrition in the Cotswolds.
This Council therefore declares a ‘Cost of Living Emergency’ and calls on the Government to:
Immediately reduce the standard rate of VAT from 20% to 17.5% for one year, saving the average household a further £600 this year.
Immediately use revenue from the windfall tax on energy companies to ... view the full agenda text for item 21.
The next meeting of Full Council will be Wednesday 21st September 2022 at 6pm.
The next meeting of Full Council will be Wednesday 21st September 2022 at 6pm.