Agenda, decisions and minutes

Council
Wednesday, 15th April, 2020 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, The Forum. View directions

Contact: Corporate and Democratic Support  01442 228209

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 251 KB

To confirm the minutes of the previous meeting of the council

Decision:

The minutes of the meeting held on 26 February 2020 were agreed by the members present and will be signed by the Mayor at the next available opportunity.

 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 26 February 2020 were agreed by the members present and will be signed by the Mayor at the next available opportunity.

 

2.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest

Decision:

Councillor England declared he was an employee of the East of England Ambulance Service Trust.

 

Councillor G Sutton declared that he ran a small business in the town and was a recipient of a small business grant.

 

The Mayor declared the firm he was the principal shareholder in had applied for a small business grant. 

 

Councillor Suqlain Mahmood declared he was the Director of a small business based in the Old Town.

 

Councillor Beauchamp declared he was the Chairman of a Community Association and was a recipient of a small business grant.

 

Councillor Symington declared she was DBC representative of the Berkhamsted Town Hall Trust and had applied for a grant.

 

Minutes:

Councillor England declared he was an employee of the East of England Ambulance Service Trust.

 

Councillor G Sutton declared that he ran a small business in the town and was a recipient of a small business grant.

 

The Mayor declared the firm he was the principal shareholder in had applied for a small business grant. 

 

Councillor Suqlain Mahmood declared he was the Director of a small business based in the Old Town.

 

Councillor Beauchamp declared he was the Chairman of a Community Association and was a recipient of a small business grant.

 

Councillor Symington declared she was DBC representative of the Berkhamsted Town Hall Trust and had applied for a grant.

 

3.

Public Participation

To consider questions (if any) by members of the public of which the appropriate notice has been given to the Assistant Director (Corporate and Contracted Services)

Decision:

There was no public participation.

 

Minutes:

There was no public participation.

 

4.

Covid 19 - Emergency Constitution amendments pdf icon PDF 126 KB

Decision:

To approve and amend the Constitution to provide additional emergency decision making powers and agree procedures for the remote conduct of meetings.

 

A vote was held:

 

22 for,

0 against

The Mayor abstained

 

Therefore it was agreed:

 

1.         That Council agree to the changes to the Constitution and procedures as set out in paragraphs 8-44 to the report and authorise the Monitoring Officer to make the required changes to the Constitution.

 

2.         In the event that government guidance changes the Leader of the Council in consultation with the Chief Executive and the Leader of the Opposition shall have authority to agree to reintroduce face to face meetings and suspend either in full or in part these temporary arrangements pending formal agreement at the next available Council meeting.

 

3.         That authority be delegated to the Chief Executive, in consultation with the Leader of the Council and the S151 Officer, to draw down funds from reserves in order to finance expenditure that may be required in the Council’s response to Covid-19. This expenditure will be reported back to Cabinet and Council at the next available meeting.

 

4.           That the proposals for Development Management Committee as set out in paragraph 29-36 shall be for an interim period to allow officers time to test the use of remote meeting systems, to develop a meeting protocol and train committee members.  As soon as the Chief Executive in consultation with the Leader of the Council, Leader of the Opposition and Monitoring Officer is satisfied that remote meetings or meetings with appropriate social distancing can work efficiently with appropriate public participation,  the Chief Executive shall be delegated authority to agree to commence remote meetings, or meetings with appropriate social distancing, and the proposals set out in paragraph 29-36 shall cease to operate and the normal constitutional rules in relation to Development Management Committee shall re-commence subject to allowing participation by councillors and members of the public by remote access and subject to any other procedural rules agreed by the Monitoring Officer.

 

Minutes:

The recommendation to Council was to approve and amend the Constitution to provide additional emergency decision making powers and agree procedures for the remote conduct of meetings.

 

Councillor Williams said members have had the opportunity to read through the proposed amendments as part of the contingency arrangements whilst we work our way through the current situation in line with the advice given by Central Government. He recognised that some of the restrictions on our current operations are less than satisfactory and using technology overcomes some of that but doesn’t enable us to overcome all of the issues that members might have concerns about in the report. He gave a couple of updates following conversations between himself, Councillor Tindall and the responsible officers earlier today, firstly relating to the role of overview and scrutiny in the current arrangements. In order to facilitate the scrutiny process and in light of the possibility of reduced officer availability, the suggestion was that we reduce the workload of scrutiny by taking it down to the core minimum to effectively operate. He said he recognised that caused some concern but we will endeavour to maximise and run scrutiny as normal as possible, however we will ask members to bear in mind that items such as performance reports may be effected by officer availability.

 

He said the other concern from members was how we take forward Development Management Committee in these current circumstances and recognise that recommendations in the report do in some way restrict the role of ward members and also the involvement of Town and Parish Councillors. With all that in mind Councillor Williams proposed the following additional recommendation:

 

“That the proposals for Development Management Committee as set out in paragraph 29-36 shall be for an interim period to allow officers time to test the use of remote meeting systems, to develop a meeting protocol and train committee members.  As soon as the Chief Executive in consultation with the Leader of the Council, Leader of the Opposition and Monitoring Officer is satisfied that remote meetings or meetings with appropriate social distancing can work efficiently with appropriate public participation,  the Chief Executive shall be delegated authority to agree to commence remote meetings, or meetings with appropriate social distancing, and the proposals set out in paragraph 29-36 shall cease to operate and the normal constitutional rules in relation to Development Management Committee shall re-commence subject to allowing participation by councillors and members of the public by remote access and subject to any other procedural rules agreed by the Monitoring Officer.”

 

Councillor Tindall thanked The Leader of the Council for the discussions today and for resolving the concerns of his group by coming to an arrangement that he felt satisfied with. He believed it achieves the purpose of maintaining the administration of the council whilst giving as much democracy as we can in these difficult circumstances.

 

Councillor Guest felt the arrangements for Development Management Committee appear to enable the planning process to take place smoothly and efficiently whilst  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Dacorum Borough Council's Planning and Response to Covid-19 pdf icon PDF 152 KB

Decision:

That Council noted the Council’s initial and planned response to Covid-19 as set out in the report.

 

Minutes:

That Council noted the Council’s initial and planned response to Covid-19 as set out in the report.

 

6.

Announcements

To receive announcements and business brought forward by the Mayor, Leader, and Members of the Cabinet or the Chief Executive.

 

4.1       By the Mayor:

 

4.2       By the Chief Executive:

 

4.3       By the Group Leaders:  Any apologies for absence

 

4.4       Council Leader and Members of the Cabinet:

 

Cllr Williams

Leader of the Council

Cllr Williams

Cllr Elliot

Cllr Mrs Griffiths

Cllr Anderson    

Cllr Banks  

Cllr G Sutton

            

Corporate and Contracted Services

Finance & Resources

Housing

Environmental Services

Community and Regulatory Services

Planning & Infrastructure

 

Decision:

6.1       By the Mayor:

The Mayor thanked everyone for participating and working their way through this very different and remote meeting.


6.2       By the Chief Executive:

 

None.

 

6.3       By the Group Leaders:

None.

 

6.4       Council Leader and Members of the Cabinet:

 

(Full details are in the minutes under Announcements of the Leader and Cabinet).

 

Minutes:

6.1       By the Mayor:

 

The Mayor thanked everyone for participating and working their way through this very different and remote meeting.

6.2       By the Chief Executive:

None.

 

6.3       By the Group Leaders:

None.

6.4       Council Leader and Members of the Cabinet:

Councillor Williams, Leader of the Council

 

Questions:

 

Councillor Tindall thanked all DBC staff on behalf of the Liberal Democrat Councillors for their continuous service under these extreme conditions, in particular those at Cupid Green depot for maintaining essential services. He then referred to the sad resignation of the Chief Executive and asked Councillor Williams if any decision had been made as to when she will leave. Councillor Williams advised that the Chief Executive’s resignation was due to take effect at the end of July, however she had agreed to be flexible about that date. He explained that recruitment would be very difficult in the current circumstances but they had appointed recruitment consultants to assist them with the process.

 

Councillor Uttley referred to the forward plan in the Cabinet agenda for next week’s meeting and asked if the Climate Change Strategy was still due to be published on 19 May. Councillor Williams said the report was still on course to go to Cabinet in May. He advised that some of the underlying work had fallen behind slightly due to officers being seconded to other roles. The work to engage a Climate Change officer was also continuing and they hope to interview in early May.

 

Councillor Symington advised she was a representative for the Berkhamsted Town Hall Trust and the trustees would like to know what the Council could do to protect this asset. Councillor Williams said we would seek to give any support we could but he couldn’t commit to a firm answer at this stage as it depends on the financial support we receive from Central Government. He explained we would have to prioritise charities that are providing immediate support to residents to supply food, mental health support, etc. and we would have to look at the wider sector on a case-by-case basis. Councillor Symington thanked The Leader and said the trustees understood that there was a hierarchy of need.

 

Councillor Birnie asked if it would still be possible to observe Cabinet meetings if they’re carried out remotely. Councillor Williams advised that all members can join the Cabinet meeting via Microsoft Teams if they wished to. 

 

There were no further questions.

 

Councillor Williams, Portfolio Holder for Corporate and Contracted Services

 

Questions:

 

Councillor England asked if the Portfolio Holder could share the package details that have been agreed with Everyone Active during the lockdown situation. Councillor Williams said he didn’t have any agreement details to hand but he would happily share the information subject to any commercial confidentiality. Councillor England asked if the information could also be made available to the public as it was in the public’s interest. Councillor Williams said he could, but again it would be subject to commercial confidentiality.

 

There were no further questions.

 

Councillor Elliot,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Questions

To consider questions (if any) by members of the Council of which the appropriate notice has been given to the Assistant Director (Corporate and Contracted Services).

Decision:

None.

Minutes:

None.

8.

Business from the last council meeting

To consider any business referred from the previous meeting

Decision:

None.

 

Minutes:

None.

 

9.

Cabinet referrals

None.

Decision:

None.

 

Minutes:

None.

 

10.

Overview and Scrutiny referrals

None.

Decision:

None.

 

Minutes:

None.

 

11.

Changes to committee membership

None.

 

Decision:

None.

 

Minutes:

None.

 

12.

Change to committee dates

To consider the following changes to committee dates:

 

Ø  Move Housing & Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee from 2nd March 2021 to 3rd March 2021.

Ø  Move Standards Committee from 4th March 2021 to 25th March 2021.

 

 

Decision:

The following changes to committee dates were agreed:

 

Ø  Move Housing & Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee from 2 March 2021 to 3 March 2021.

Ø  Move Standards Committee from 4 March 2021 to 25 March 2021.

Ø  Cancel the additional Council meeting that was scheduled for 17 June as it was no longer required.

 

Minutes:

The following changes to committee dates were agreed:

 

Ø  Move Housing & Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee from 2 March 2021 to 3 March 2021.

Ø  Move Standards Committee from 4 March 2021 to 25 March 2021.

Ø  Cancel the additional Council meeting that was scheduled for 17 June as it was no longer required.

 

13.

Call-in and Urgency Procedure pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Decision:

The Council noted the following two urgent Portfolio Holder Decisions:

 

Ø  PH/002/20 - Business Rates Retail and Pubs Discount 2020-21

Ø  PH/004/20 - Covid-19 Support for Businesses

 

Minutes:

The Council noted the following two urgent Portfolio Holder Decisions:

 

Ø  PH/002/20 - Business Rates Retail and Pubs Discount 2020-21

Ø  PH/004/20 - Covid-19 Support for Businesses