Venue: St George's Centre, Pembroke Road, Chatham Maritime, Chatham ME4 4UH
Contact: Wayne Hemingway, Head of Democratic Services
Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Browne, Clarke and Mahil.
Members are invited to disclose any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Other Significant Interests in accordance with the Member Code of Conduct. Guidance on this is set out in agenda item 2.
Disclosable pecuniary interests
There were none.
Other significant interests (OSIs)
Councillor Curry declared an interest in motion 17B as he is a governor of the Rivermead Inclusive Trust. Councillor Curry left the room during discussion and determination of the item.
Councillor Cook declared an interest in motion 17B as her employment involves working with the Rivermead Inclusive Trust. Councillor Cook left the room during discussion and determination of the item.
Councillor Price declared an interest in relation to the record of the Gateway 3 Contract Award: Intermediate Care and Reablement Service at the Cabinet meeting on 13 June 2023, as set out in Appendix 2 of agenda item No.8, Leader’s Report. This was in relation to the record of the agenda item, Gateway 3 Contract Award: Intermediate Care and Reablement Service as Councillor Price had been asked to assist someone affected by the contract award. Councillor Price remained in the room as there was no discussion of this matter.
Councillor Mandaracas declared an interest in motion 17C as her son was currently going through the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) process. Councillor Mandaracas remained in the room during discussion and determination of the item.
To approve the records of the meetings held on 20 April and 24 May 2023.
The records of the meetings held on 20 April 2023 and 24 May 2023 were approved and signed by the Worshipful Mayor as correct, subject to an amendment being made to the minutes of the 24 May meeting. In relation to minute no. 8 (Political Assistants, as set out page 29 of the 20 July 2023 Council agenda), it was agreed that this would be amended so that the decision read “The Council agreed to allocate Political Assistant posts to the Labour and Co-operative and Conservative Groups.”
The Worshipful The Mayor of Medway announced that Bessie Grewcock, who was former Councillor Dickie Andrews’ partner, had passed away. She had been Mayoress twice, firstly in 1986-1987 and then in 2000-2001. On behalf of the Council, the Mayor extended condolences to the family.
The Mayor announced that she would be holding a charity event on 13 September 2023, a “Call the Midwife” tour at Chatham Dockyard. More information was available from the Mayor’s office.
The Mayor also recognised Medway based and focused independent journalists, Steven Keevil and Ed Jennings, who had won the Kent News website of the year for Local Authority Newsletter and Mr Keevil for winning Kent Columnist of the Year Award at the Kent Press and Broadcast Awards 2023.
The Leader welcomed the Chief Executive, Richard Hicks and Deputy Chief Executive and Director of People, Dr Lee-Anne Farach, to their new roles with the Council.
There were none.
Councillor Animashaun submitted two petitions on behalf of members of the public. The first called on the Council to install a pelican crossing outside All Saints Primary School in Chatham while the second requested that the Council extend parking restrictions in Carpeaux Close.
This report sets out the public questions received for this meeting.
Question A – James Chespy, of Gillingham, asked the Leader of the Council, Councillor Maple, the following:
“For the last 20 years we have seen an erasure of hope in the Medway towns and one saw it etched on the faces of some of our local population. Now that the people have entrusted the Labour and Co-operative Group with the governance of the local Council, I would ask the new Leader of the Council to commit to restoring hope to our towns and to our people.”
Councillor Maple thanked Mr Chespy for the question. He said that before 4 May 2023, he had sought to be given the opportunity to serve the people of Medway. Since then, the new administration had been getting on with the job, including being clear that tough decisions would need to be taken.
The new administration brought honest hope, for residents it would be a case of what they see is what they get with hard working councillors dedicated day-in-day-out to delivering on five key pledges. These would be delivered by 2027 along with much more. This would be delivered against the backdrop of the economic situation, both locally and nationally, which had been inherited and which put the Council in a financially difficult position.
Councillor Maple said that he and all the Councillors of Medway wanted the best for the local community. The new administration had been given a mandate to lead, whether that be delivering its pledges, fighting for the resources required or standing up for Medway to central Government.
Question B – Carl Dunks, of Rainham, submitted the following to the Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Murray:
“Can there be a medical unit in Rainham (ME8) to help people with challenging behaviours such as Tourette’s, autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?”
Note: As Mr Dunks was not present, the Mayor stated he would receive a written response to his question in accordance with Council Rule 8.6.
Question C – Vivienne Parker, of Chatham, asked thePortfolio Holder for Climate Change and Strategic Regeneration, Councillor Curry, the following:
“I have had complaints that some roads on Davis Estate have not been cleaned and that local people are having to do their own cleaning. Can the Council confirm that street cleaning is still taking place on the estate?”
Councillor Curry thanked Ms Parker for the question. He confirmed that the roads on the Davis Estate were cleaned regularly. The Council was not aware of local people undertaking their own cleansing and, therefore, he urged residents to report any issues directly to the Council to allow them to be investigated and necessary action taken. Medway Norse, the Council’s street cleansing Contractor, cleaned roads around the Davis Estate with the Shirley Avenue area and the parade of shops, receiving high intensity cleaning and daily attention.
Councillor Curry said that tackling litter was something that Medway was particularly focused on. There were successful volunteer schemes, such as the Great British Spring Clean, that had been ... view the full minutes text for item 130.
Members received the Leader’s report. The following issues were discussed:
· The recognition of eight of Medway’s green spaces by the Green Flag Award scheme.
The Council noted the report.
Members received a report on Overview and Scrutiny Activity and raised the following issues during debate:
The Council noted the report.
This report sets out Members’ questions received for this meeting.
Question A – Councillor Paterson asked Leader of the Council, Councillor Maple, the following:
“Our region is as varied as it is distinctive, with residents proud to say that they come from very specific places. Some people from Borstal might take issue with the suggestion they hail from Rochester, while a Frindsbury resident definitely does not live in Strood.
But just at the moment where such distinctiveness has been rightly recognised in the names of the new wards we have been elected to represent on this unitary authority, it seems bean-counters at the BBC are moving in precisely the opposite direction.
Proposed cuts to BBC local radio will mean a loss of BBC Radio Kent’s distinctive identity. The station – home to journalists and presenters of the highest calibre including Anna Cookson, Julia George and Pat Marsh – will be forced to share an increased part of its schedule with other parts of the south and south east which we have little or nothing in common with, beyond a county boundary or relative proximity on a map.
I am proud of the BBC, not only for its international reputation for the finest journalism which lives up to its motto “Let Nation Speak Peace Unto Nation”, but for the way it reflects the places it serves at a very local level. I am also proud of the unique way it is funded, which puts it at arm’s length from politicians who might seek to influence its editorial policy and out of reach of the sort of rapacious, tax-dodging media moguls who covet and resent it in equal measure.
Last year the Leader joined forces with senior local government figures from around the country, signing an open letter to the Director-General pointing out that these changes are ill-considered, highly damaging to regional identity and bad news for the communities local radio gives a voice to.
Will he join with me in paying tribute to the National Union of Journalists members at BBC Radio Kent who have taken industrial action as they campaign to reverse the cuts and #KeepBBCLocalRadioLocal to Kent?””
Councillor Maple thanked Councillor Paterson for the question. He said that he was proud of the BBC and the job it did in holding elected representatives to account and asking the tough questions. The suggested proposals put forward by senior managers at the BBC were disappointing, particularly in the context of the excellent job the BBC had done, particularly during COVID.
The Make a Difference scheme was now in its fourth year, with a local organisation, the Rochester eco-hub, having been highlighted by Radio Kent for the great work they did here in Medway. This scheme was now at risk.
Councillor Maple said he supported the National Union of Journalists in their efforts to defend local radio in Kent and nationally. Without local radio, a unique voice would be lost that was so important to residents, many of whom got in touch with these stations to give their views and participate ... view the full minutes text for item 133.
This report requests an addition to the Capital Programme, to facilitate the necessary structural and refurbishment works to the Brook Theatre, to ensure the longevity of a well utilised and iconic community asset.
This report requested an addition to the Capital Programme, to facilitate the necessary structural and refurbishment works to the Brook Theatre, to ensure the longevity of a well utilised and iconic community asset.
The Brook Theatre had been awarded £300,000 from the Future High Street Fund (FHSF) and £6.5m from the Levelling Up Fund (LUF), to deliver improvements to the building, focussing on improvements/ refurbishments to performance and training areas, improving the accessibility of the building and enhancing and modernising the digital offer. This would ensure that the building was user friendly and fit for purpose for current and future residents and visitors. The LUF and FHSF programmes were being delivered together to ensure maximum efficiencies and benefits.
The report had previously been considered by the Cabinet on 11 July 2023, the decisions of which were set out at section 5 of the report.
The Portfolio Holder for Housing and Property, Councillor Khan, supported by the Portfolio Holder for Economic and Social Regeneration and Inward Investment, Councillor Edwards, proposed the recommendations set out in the report.
The Council approved the addition of £14.7million to the Capital Programme, to be funded from borrowing if no grant funding from alternative sources could be found, as set out in Option 1 at paragraph 3.1.1 of the report.
This report requests that Full Council agrees to add £17million to the Capital Programme to fund the replacement bespoke waste vehicle fleet.
This report requested the addition of £17million to the Capital Programme to fund the replacement bespoke waste vehicle fleet.
It was proposed that prudential borrowing was undertaken to fund the procurement using the Council’s procurement framework. This would give the Council flexibility regarding future procurement of the waste collection and cleansing contract.
The report had previously been considered by the Cabinet on 11 July 2023, the decisions of which were set out at section 5 of the report.
The Portfolio Holder for Climate Change and Strategic Regeneration, Councillor Curry, supported by the Leader of the Council, Councillor Maple, proposed the recommendations set out in the report.
The Council agreed the addition of £17million to the Council’s capital programme, funded from borrowing to procure a Council-controlled waste fleet, and noted that the revenue impact of this procurement would need to be addressed in the 2024/25 budget build.
This plan is a completely new plan in line with guidance distributed to local authorities in March 2023. The format of the plan follows guidance and headings provided by the National Youth Justice Board.
This report provided details of the annual update of the Youth Justice Plan, which set out how youth justice would be delivered locally within available resources.
The report stated that the Plan was a completely new plan in line with guidance distributed to local authorities in March 2023. The format of the plan followed guidance and headings provided by the National Youth Justice Board.
The report had been considered by the Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 14 June 2023 and its comments were set out at section 6 of the report. The report had also been considered by the Cabinet on 11 July 2023, the decisions of which were set out at section 7 of the report.
A Diversity Impact Assessment had been undertaken in relation to the Plan and was attached at Appendix 3 to the report.
The Portfolio Holder for
Children’s Services (including statutory responsibility),
Councillor Price, supported by the Portfolio Holder for Education,
Councillor Coombs, proposed the recommendations set out in the
a) The Council noted the comments from the Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee, as set out at section 6 of the report and the decisions made by the Cabinet, as set out at section 7 of the report.
b) The Council approved the Medway Youth Justice Plan 2023 – 2024 attached at Appendix 1 to the report.
This report recommends improvements to the MedPay salary pay range to ensure the Council attracts, recruits and retains an effective workforce.
This report requested approval for improvements to the MedPay salary pay range to ensure the Council attracted, recruited and retained an effective workforce.
The report set out that following Medway Council having moved away from the National Joint Council Terms and Conditions for pay and introduced its own pay structure, called MedPay, in 2014, there was no incremental progression through pay grades and upon appointment, employees could be appointed anywhere within the band’s range.
The report explained that this approach could create inconsistencies across departments and within teams whereby newly appointed employees could be offered a higher salary than some long serving employees, purely to match the salary they were currently earning elsewhere. Changes proposed included the introduction of a Range 8 pay band, the introduction of 3 spot points for each pay band range 3-8, and 2 spot points in range 2.
This matter had initially been reported to Employment Matters Committee on 6 June 2023, the comments of which were set out at section 6 of the report.
Councillor Hamilton, supported by the Portfolio Holder for Business Management, Councillor Van Dyke, proposed the recommendations set out in the report.
The Council approved the following changes, with effect from 1 August 2023:
a) The introduction of a Range 8 pay band.
b) The introduction of 3 spot points for each pay band range 3-8, and 2 spot points in range 2, with a £500 pay gap at the bottom of pay bands 5-8.
c) An uplift to the bottom of the service manager salary scale to £55,455 to facilitate the introduction of a range 8 pay band.
This report sets out a review of some sections of the Council’s Constitution at the request of the Leader of the Council.
The report also sets out a proposal to hold a special Council meeting on 19 October 2023 for the purpose of conferring freedom of the borough on Medway NHS Foundation Trust on behalf of the staff at the Medway Maritime Hospital.
This report set out a review of some sections of the Council’s Constitution at the request of the Leader of the Council. The changes proposed included amendments to Overview and Scrutiny Committee Terms of Reference, public questions and to the rules for the nomination of Mayor and Deputy Mayor.
The report also set out a proposal to hold a special Council meeting on 19 October 2023 for the purpose of conferring freedom of the borough on Medway NHS Foundation Trust on behalf of the staff at the Medway Maritime Hospital.
The Leader of the Council,
Councillor Maple, supported by the Deputy Leader of the Council,
Councillor Murray, proposed the recommendations set out in the
a) The Council approved the changes to the Overview and Scrutiny Committees’ terms of reference, as set out in Appendix A to the report.
b) The Council agreed to convene a Special meeting of the Council at 6.30pm on Thursday 19 October 2023 (to be followed by the ordinary Council meeting at 7.30pm) to consider a proposal to grant the freedom of Medway to the Medway NHS Foundation Trust on behalf of the staff of Medway Maritime Hospital, as set out in paragraph 2.12 of the report.
c) The Council agreed to take forward without discussion, for debate at the next ordinary meeting of the Council (as set out in paragraph 3.1 of the report), approval of changes to the Council Rules, as set out in Appendix B to the report in respect of changes to arrangements for the nomination of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor and supplementary questions.
This report provides details of recent usage of urgency provisions contained within the Constitution.
This report provided details of recent usage of urgency provisions contained within the Constitution.
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Maple, supported by the Portfolio Holder for Housing and Property, Councillor Khan, proposed the recommendations set out in the report.
The Council noted the use of urgency provisions as set out in sections 3 and 4 of the report.
This report sets out motions received for this meeting.
Motion A – proposed by Councillor Edwards and supported by Councillor Paterson
“Standing up for Responsible Tax Conduct
Full Council notes that:
1. The pressure on organisations to pay their fair share of tax has never been stronger.
2. Polling from the Institute for Business Ethics finds that “corporate tax avoidance” has, since 2013, been the clear number one concern of the British public when it comes to business conduct.
3. Two thirds of people (66%) believe the Government and local councils should at least consider a company’s ethics and how they pay their tax, as well as value for money and quality of service provided, when awarding contracts to companies.
4. Around 17.5% of public contracts in the UK have been won by companies with links to tax havens.
5. It has been conservatively estimated that losses from multinational profit-shifting (just one form of tax avoidance) could be costing the UK some £17bn per annum in lost corporation tax revenues.
6. The Fair Tax Mark offers a means for business to demonstrate good tax conduct, and has been secured by a wide range of businesses across the UK, including FTSE-listed PLCs, co-operatives, social enterprises and large private businesses.
Full Council believes that:
1. Paying tax is often presented as a burden, but it shouldn’t be.
2. Tax enables us to provide services from education, health and social care, to flood defence, roads, policing and defence. It also helps to counter financial inequalities and rebalance distorted economies.
3. As recipients of significant public funding, local authorities should take the lead in the promotion of exemplary tax conduct; be that by ensuring contractors are paying their proper share of tax, or by refusing to go along with offshore tax dodging when buying land and property.
4. Where councils hold substantive stakes in private enterprises, influence should be wielded to ensure that such businesses are exemplars of tax transparency and tax avoidance is shunned.
5. More action is needed, however, as current and proposed new UK procurement law significantly restricts councils’ ability to either penalise poor tax conduct (as exclusion grounds are rarely triggered) or reward good tax conduct, when buying goods or services.
6. UK cities, counties and towns can and should stand up for responsible tax conduct - doing what they can within existing frameworks and pledging to do more given the opportunity, as active supporters of international tax justice.
Full Council resolves to:
1. Approve the Councils for Fair Tax Declaration (attached at Appendix 2.)
2. Lead by example and demonstrate good practice in our tax conduct, right across our activities.
3. Ensure IR35 is implemented robustly and contract workers pay a fair share of employment taxes.
4. Not use offshore vehicles for the purchase of land and property, especially where this leads to reduced payments of stamp duty.
5. Undertake due diligence to ensure that not-for-profit structures are not being used inappropriately by suppliers as an artificial device to reduce the payment of tax and business rates.