Agenda and minutes

Council
Thursday 31 March 2016 2.30 pm

Venue: Committee Rooms, East Pallant House. View directions

Contact: Philip Coleman on 01243 534655  Email:  pcoleman@chichester.gov.uk

Note: Special 

Items
No. Item

96.

Minutes

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on Tuesday 1 March 2016.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on Tuesday, 1 March 2016, be signed as a correct record.

97.

Urgent Items

Chairman to announce any urgent items which due to special circumstances are to be dealt with under agenda item 10(b)

Minutes:

There were no urgent items for consideration at this meeting.

98.

Declarations of Interests

Members and officers are reminded to make any declarations of disclosable pecuniary, personal and/or prejudicial interests they may have in respect of matters on the agenda for this meeting.

Minutes:

No interests were declared at this meeting.

99.

Chairman's announcements

Minutes:

At the Chairman’s invitation, Mrs Keegan (Cabinet Member for Commercial Services) informed the Council that the Westgate Leisure Centre health and fitness centre had won the Observer reader’s Gym of the Year 2016 award. All three of Westgate Leisure’s gyms had been in the final shortlist of ten, out of twenty nominations. There were now 2,415 members of the gym and this was a good way to start the new contract. She congratulated the team from Westgate Leisure Centre and handed the award to Stuart Mills, Operations Manager.

 

The Chairman announced that he had attended the speech day at Midhurst Rother College. The Chairman paid tribute to the work of Dr Vitagliano, the College Principal, who had moved the academy from ‘special measures’ to OFSTED ‘outstanding’. Dr Vitagliano was now moving to another post, and the Chairman extended the Council’s congratulations and best wishes to him.

 

At the Chairman’s invitation, Mrs Hamilton (Vice-Chairman) announced that she had presented Outset Youth Action outstanding achievement awards at Fontwell Racecourse. This charity brought together young people aged 15-25 with volunteering opportunities. She quoted the statement that volunteers are unpaid, not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.

100.

Public Question Time

Questions submitted by members of the public in writing by noon on the previous working day (for a period up to 15 minutes).

 

 

Minutes:

No public questions had been submitted.

101.

Chichester Electoral Review: Creating a Pattern of Wards

(See report at Agenda Item 5  of the Cabinet papers of 31 March 2016)

 

PROPOSED  RECOMMENDATION

 

That the Council adopts the recommendations of the Boundary Review Panel andapproves the submission to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England  of the proposals in Appendix 3 of the Cabinet report as their preferred pattern of wards for a 36 member Council.

 

Minutes:

Mr Dignum, seconded by Mrs Lintill, moved the recommendations of the Cabinet.

 

The Chairman drew attention to the report that had been considered by the Cabinet earlier in the day.

 

He reported a number of updates:-

 

Since the papers had been printed a formal representation from Selsey Town Council had been received, to add to the list of responses to consultation at Appendix 2, that read as follows:-

 

Selsey Town Council resolved to support a single 3 member ward for Selsey rather than two 2 member wards, one split with Sidlesham Parish. STC feels that there are irrefutably strong community identity grounds for treating Selsey as a separate entity and that due to population spread there is no obvious or sensible line to take if splitting Selsey to form a ward with Sidlesham. Equally, Sidlesham would be automatically disadvantaged due to population numbers and that there would be an inherent conflict for any single representative as the problems and priorities of the parishes are so different.”

 

Secondly, a further representation from the Sidlesham Parish Council had been received and emailed to all members yesterday evening, 30 March.

.

Thirdly, at paragraph 6.7 on page 18 of the Cabinet papers, the last sentence reads: “The small gains in electoral equality do not seem to justify the complication of splitting Fishbourne parish”. That was a misunderstanding on the part of the report writer and, in fact, the Boundary Review Panel did support the transfer of Apuldram Lane to Donnington Ward.

 

Finally, the Cabinet had proposed two changes to the recommendations. To recommendation 2.1 add the words, “subject to the reconfiguration of Selsey and Sidlesham into two 2-member wards, respectively for Selsey South and Selsey North with Sidlesham”, and then an additional recommendation as follows:

“That the Head of Finance and Governance Services be authorised to correct typographical errors and to make editorial amendments to the draft submission.”

 

Mr Dignum introduced the Cabinet’s recommendations, explaining that the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) had agreed, at the Council’s request in the last Council term, to carry out an electoral review of Chichester District. The LGBCE had stated that it was ‘minded to’ recommend a Council size of 36 – also as requested by this Council - a 25% reduction from the present 48.

 

Having made that provisional decision on council size, the next stage was to divide the district into wards. The LGBCE had launched a consultation on 26 January 2016, inviting proposals on a pattern of wards to accommodate 36 councillors. The closing date for responses was 4 April. People and organisations might have made recommendations direct to the LGBCE of which the Council was not aware.

 

However, the Council’s Boundary Review Panel had drawn up a set of proposals, drawing on the product of three area workshops involving local ward members. Those proposals were set out in Appendix One to the report and had been the subject of a consultation exercise.

 

The consultation document  ...  view the full minutes text for item 101.

102.

Timing of Council Meetings

RECOMMENDED

 

(1)  That the proposed changes to Council meetings as listed in paragraph 5.3(a) and (b) be approved.

 

(2)  That, as there was no clear majority for changing the time of Council, the Council considers either:

 

(a)  A morning start time of 11:00am (with briefing sessions starting at 9:30am); or

 

(b)  An afternoon start time. If the majority of Members vote for an afternoon meeting they will subsequently be asked to vote on either:

 

                      i.        A 2:00pm start time (with briefing sessions starting at 12:30pm); or

                    ii.        A 2:30pm start time (with briefing sessions starting at 1:00pm).

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered the report circulated with the agenda (copy attached to the official minutes).

 

Mr Dignum (Leader of the Council), seconded by Mrs Lintill, moved the recommendations of the Cabinet. He reminded the Council that, following two lengthy council meetings that had been preceded by a briefing and an open forum session, the Cabinet had been asked to review the start time, length and frequency of council meetings, and all members had been asked to express their views by way of an email from the Chief Executive.

 

The Cabinet’s recommendations on the length and frequency of meetings were set out in in paragraph 5.3(a) and (b) of the report. These included a recognition that, whilst efficiency was important, it was subservient to freedom of expression. It was also suggested that no more than two ordinary Cabinet meetings should report to any one council meeting.

 

There had not been a clear majority for any of the options for the start time of meetings, and so the Council was asked to make a choice.

 

In the ensuing debate members expressed, sometimes conflicting, views on reasons for preferring either a morning or an afternoon start time, including:

 

·         An afternoon start time gave certainty that the morning would be clear for other activities.

·         Conflicting views on whether a morning or an afternoon start time was preferred for members who were in employment or had children at school.

·         The public would probably find afternoon meetings easier to attend.

·         Candidates for election know when they agree to be nominated at what time meetings were held.

 

On a vote being taken, a majority of members supported an afternoon start time, and on a further vote, a majority supported a 2.00pm start time (with briefing sessions starting at 12.30 pm).

 

RESOLVED

 

(1)  That the proposed changes to Council meetings as listed in paragraph 5.3(a) and (b) be approved.

 

(2)  That, in future, Council meetings should start at 2:00pm (with briefing sessions starting at 12:30pm).

 

103.

Replacement Telephone System

(See report at Agenda Item 7 (pages 33-35) of the Cabinet papers of 8 March 2016. The tender evaluation appendix to that report can be found in the supplementary appendices pack on the Council’s website)

 

RECOMMENDED

 

That up to £175,000 (including contingency) be released from the Asset Replacement Programme in order to allow a contract to be awarded to the preferred contractor.

 

Minutes:

Mr Finch (Cabinet Member for Support Services), seconded by Mr Dignum, moved the recommendation of the Cabinet.

 

He explained that the Council’s current telephone system was now 25 years old and would be unsupported by the current suppliers by July 2017. At their meeting on 6 October 2015, the Cabinet had approved a Project Initiation Document (PID) for a replacement and also authorised a joint procurement with Arun District Council who also needed to replace their telephone system. The rationale for this was to reduce procurement costs, to give opportunity to procure a shared system, which would provide resilience between the two authorities to overcome a weakness in business continuity, and to provide a key piece of infrastructure for the sharing of services and resources.

 

Through a joint tendering exercise both Councils had identified the same preferred supplier. For Chichester, the capital cost of installation would be £149,849, with an annual revenue cost of £15,945. On 21 March 2016, Arun’s Cabinet had agreed to proceed on a shared service basis.

 

Some additional costs would be incurred to integrate the two systems and a report itemising these costs and savings would be made to a future meeting of the Cabinet.

 

The Cabinet had authorised the Head of Business Improvement Services, after consultation with the Cabinet Member for Support Services, to negotiate and conclude a contract with the preferred contractor.

 

Mrs Purnell supported the proposal, but asked whether the “caller display” function on home telephone numbers would display the telephone number of callers on the Council’s new system, which were blocked on the present system. Mrs Ryan (ICT Manager) replied that this would be investigated and a written response provided.

 

Mr Oakley asked what length of service support and spares would be provided by the contractor for the new system. Mrs Ryan replied that the contract would be for five years, with the ability to extend. The maintenance agreement was for seven years.

 

Mr Shaxson asked whether the new system would enable direct access to more officers, without going through the switchboard. Mr Finch reminded members that a list of officers’ direct dial numbers had recently been sent to them, and confirmed that the new system enabled single number contact.

 

Mrs Graves asked whether the new system would enable calls to be routed to officers working from home. Mr Finch confirmed that calls would be routed to staff wherever they were working, whether in the office or at home.

 

Mr Hobbs asked what penalty would be incurred for early termination of the contract. Mr Finch undertook to supply a written answer.

 

Mr McAra asked about the cost implications of joint procurement with Arun District Council, and whether the costs would be shared if they were incurred only in relation to one council’s system. It was explained that each council would have a standalone system and any costs relating to that would be incurred by the Council concerned. However, there would be shared costs to integrate the systems and a separate  ...  view the full minutes text for item 103.

104.

Making the Fishbourne Neighbourhood Development Plan

(See report at  Agenda item 9 (pages 39-40) of the Cabinet papers of 8 March 2016)

 

RECOMMENDED

 

That the Fishbourne Neighbourhood Development Plan be made part of the Development Plan for Chichester District (excluding the area within the South Downs National Park).

 

Minutes:

Mrs Taylor (Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning), seconded by Mrs Keegan, moved the recommendation of the Cabinet.

 

She informed the Council that, as approved by the Cabinet, the Fishbourne Neighbourhood Development Plan had been submitted to a referendum on 11 February 2016. 93.8% of those who had voted in the referendum were in favour of the Plan, on a turn-out of 30.2%. She congratulated the residents of Fishbourne on this success.

 

Mrs Westacott added her thanks to the parish councillors and residents of Fishbourne.

 

RESOLVED

 

That the Fishbourne Neighbourhood Development Plan be made part of the Development Plan for Chichester District (excluding the area within the South Downs National Park).

105.

Exclusion of the press and public

The Council is asked to consider in respect of the following item(s) whether the public, including the press, should be excluded from the meeting on the grounds of exemption under Parts I to 7 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as indicated against the item and because, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption of that information outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information. The report dealt with under this part of the agenda is attached for members of the Council and senior officers only (salmon paper).

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED

 

That the public, including the press, be excluded from the meeting for the following items on the grounds that it is likely that there would be a disclosure to the public of ‘exempt information’ of the description specified in Paragraph 3 (information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)) of Part I of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 and because, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption of that information outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

 

106.

Investment Opportunity

RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL

 

That £1,010,000 be allocated from reserves for this purchase.

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered the report circulated with the agenda.

 

Mrs Keegan (Cabinet Member for Commercial Services), seconded by Mrs Taylor, moved the recommendation of the Cabinet. She explained that the Council was seeking opportunities to invest in commercial property in the district to achieve a higher return than was currently available from bank deposits or the local authority property bond. Such opportunities had proved to be scarce, but the report described an opportunity that had recently arisen. The Cabinet had authorised the purchase, subject to the Head of Commercial Services, after consultation with herself, being satisfied with the final terms of acquisition following completion of survey and other due diligence investigations, which were currently in hand. The Cabinet recommended the Council to allocate £1,010,000 from reserves for the purchase plus usual acquisition costs.

 

In the ensuing debate, a number of members expressed reservations about the purchase.

 

Mrs Keegan explained that the Council was not being asked to approve the purchase. The condition of the building, the terms and conditions of the leases, the balance of risk and return on investment, and other matters about which concern had been expressed, would all be considerations to be taken into account once the survey and due diligence investigations had been completed.

 

The Chief Executive suggested that the Cabinet should be asked to make the decision whether to proceed with the acquisition itself, rather than delegate it. Such decision would be subject to call-in, under the rules in the Constitution. Mr Dignum proposed an amendment to the recommendation accordingly, duly seconded, and this was carried.

 

RESOLVED

 

That £1,010,000 be allocated from reserves for this purchase, subject to the Cabinet being satisfied as to the outcome of due diligence investigations.