Agenda and draft minutes

Council - Thursday, 16 July 2020 7.00pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Wayne Hemingway, Principal Democratic Services Officer 

Media

Items
No. Item

82.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

During this period, it was informally agreed between the two political groups, due the Coronavirus pandemic, to run Medway Council meetings with a reduced number of participants. This was to reduce risk, comply with Government guidance and enable more efficient meetings. Therefore, the apologies given reflects that informal agreement of reduced participants.

 

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Ahmed, Barrett, Bowler, Browne, Buckwell, Carr, Mrs Diane Chambers, Clarke, Curry, Fearn, Griffin, Hackwell, Howcroft-Scott, Lloyd, McDonald, Opara, Paterson, Prenter, Price, Purdy, Chrissy Stamp, Thompson, Thorne, Tranter, Elizabeth Turpin and Williams.

83.

Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests and Other Significant Interests pdf icon PDF 371 KB

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.

 

Minutes:

Disclosable pecuniary interests

 

There were none.

 

Other significant interests (OSIs)

 

Councillor Andy Stamp declared an OSI in agenda item 14 (Housing Revenue Account: Additional Borrowing to Increase HRA Housing Stock) due to the proximity of one of the sites to his home address. He left the meeting during the consideration of this item.

 

Councillor Cooper declared an OSI in Motion 20 C) as a member of the Queen Preservation Society. She left the meeting during the consideration of this item. 

 

Other interests

 

Councillor Cooper declared an interest in Public Question 7C as a member of the Medway African and Caribbean Association.

 

Councillor Adeoye declared an interest in agenda item 14 (Housing Revenue Account: Additional Borrowing to Increase HRA Housing Stock) as a member of the Planning Committee. She left the meeting during consideration of this item.

 

Councillor Hubbard declared an interest in agenda item 14 (Housing Revenue Account: Additional Borrowing to Increase HRA Housing Stock) as a member of the Planning Committee. He left the meeting during consideration of this item.

 

At the request of a Member, the Monitoring Officer advised that, whilst he was of the view that there was no requirement for members of the Planning Committee to declare an interest in agenda item 14, this was a personal matter for members of the Committee to decide.

84.

Record of meeting pdf icon PDF 132 KB

To approve the record of the meeting held on 23 April 2020.  

Minutes:

Councillor Maple proposed that the following statement be added to minutes of all meetings held with a reduced number of Members present, starting from the meeting of Council held on 23 April:

 

During this period, it was informally agreed between the two political groups that due the Coronavirus pandemic to run Medway Council meetings with a reduced number of participants. This was to reduce risk, comply with Government guidance and enable more efficient meetings. Therefore the apologies given reflects that informal agreement of reduced participants.

 

On being put to the vote, the proposal was carried.

 

Subject to the addition of the agreed statement, the record of the meeting held on 23 April 2020 was agreed by Council and signed by The Worshipful Mayor of Medway as correct.

85.

Mayor's announcements

Minutes:

The Worshipful The Mayor of Medway, on behalf of all Members, placed on record the Council's condolences to the family of Sam Rooks, a senior teacher of English at the Victoria Academy in Chatham, who had sadly passed away earlier this month. Condolences were also extended to the school.

 

The Mayor, on behalf of all Members, placed on record the Council’s condolences to Councillor Khan as her Father had recently passed away, and to Councillor Steve Iles as his Mother had recently passed away.

 

The Mayor, on behalf of all Members, placed on record the Council’s condolences to former Councillor Geoff Juby, as his wife had also recently passed away.

 

The Mayor also mentioned the sad passing of a national icon, Dame Vera Lynn.

 

Following a proposal by the Mayor, those present observed a minute’s silence in recognition of all those who had lost their lives to COVID-19.

86.

Leader's announcements

Minutes:

There were none.

87.

Petitions

Minutes:

Public

 

There were none.   

 

Members

 

Councillor Adeoye referred to a petition on behalf of members of the public asking to change the name of the Sir John Hawkins car park.

 

Councillor Johnson referred to a petition on behalf of members of the public seeking the reinstatement of the vehicle accessway between 71 and 73 Sunnymead Avenue.

 

Councillor Osborne referred to a petition on behalf of members of the public regarding Henry Russell House.

88.

Public questions

Minutes:

The Mayor announced that Council rules stated that should a member of the public be unable to attend the meeting they would receive a written response to their question. However, given the current exceptional circumstances, the Council had not asked members of the public to attend the meeting in person. Therefore, the 10 public questions submitted would be answered at the meeting on the basis set out in paragraph 7.1 of the Remote Meetings Protocol.   

88A)

Esther-Lois Adeoye of Gillingham asked the Portfolio Holder for Education and Schools, Councillor Potter, the following:

I’m looking forward to starting Secondary School in September. One of the lessons I’m looking forward to is History.

 

Could you let me know what focus is given to Black historic figures like William Cuffay in the curriculum and what more you will do to increase the levels of Black history in the curriculum?

 

Minutes:

“I’m looking forward to starting Secondary School in September. One of the lessons I’m looking forward to is History.

 

Could you let me know what focus is given to Black historic figures like William Cuffay in the curriculum and what more you will do to increase the levels of Black history in the curriculum?”

 

Councillor Potter thanked Miss Adeoye for her question. He stated that Miss Adeoye had identified a great Medway pioneer in William Cuffay and Medway was fortunate to have a connection to this noteworthy black role model who campaigned tirelessly for better working conditions.

 

Whilst it was not within the remit of the local authority to prescribe curriculum content, a curriculum offer which includes prominent local historical figures, and that relates topics to the Medway context, was certainly part of a rounded history education. 

 

Councillor Potter added that there was a pre Covid-19 emerging workstream between the Medway African and Caribbean Association (MACA) and school leaders relating to the teaching of black history in schools. He was keen to build on this and was pleased to say the Medway Diversity Forum had indicated they would be keen to work with Headteachers in what he envisaged being a broader project focussing on diversity in relation to the whole school curriculum.

 

Councillor Potter concluded by saying that he looked forward to seeing the impact of this collaboration and what it would do for Medway’s schools, pupils and the wider Medway community.

88B)

Funmi Ayeni of Chatham asked the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder Housing and Community Services, Councillor Doe, the following:

This year sees the 150th Anniversary of the deaths of two important historical individuals - Charles Dickens and William Cuffay.

 

Could the Council confirm the individual Council budgets allocated to celebrating each of these two Medway icons?

Minutes:

“This year sees the 150th Anniversary of the deaths of two important historical individuals - Charles Dickens and William Cuffay. Could the Council confirm the individual Council budgets allocated to celebrating each of these two Medway icons?”

 

Councillor Doe thanked Ms Ayeni for her question. He said that Medway had a rich heritage and looked to recognise as many of its historic figures as possible. In the main, the Council used existing resources such as its social media channels, and existing events and activities to support this.

 

Councillor Doe stated that in 2020 it had been planned to use the annual Dickens Festival in June as a focus to mark the 150th Anniversary of Charles Dickens’ death. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic this event had been cancelled and the Council delivered online activity over the same weekend in its place, at no extra cost.

 

He added that on 20 February 2020 (the Council budget meeting) the Leader had announced a one-off budget of £150,000 to produce a special event marking this anniversary. The event was due to take place in October 2020 but had been postponed because of Covid-19. The Council was currently reviewing how this event would be progressed.

 

Councillor Doe concluded by stating that, in terms of William Cuffay, the Council was working with the Medway African and Caribbean Association to mark this anniversary. Supported through existing resources, the Council was developing a programme that would include a digital exhibition and the installation of a Blue Plaque in his name at a location of significance.

88C)

Graham Larman of Chatham asked the Portfolio Holder for Resources, Councillor Gulvin, the following:

Whilst I have no issue with the John Hawkins car park being renamed, I hope there will be an opportunity for all residents to share their views on any other proposals of a similar nature and in particular the future of statues.  

 

Would the Cabinet Member agree with me that for any other changes (other than John Hawkins Car Park which should be renamed) there should be an opportunity for all residents to share their views?

Minutes:

“Whilst I have no issue with the John Hawkins car park being renamed, I hope there will be an opportunity for all residents to share their views on any other proposals of a similar nature and in particular the future of statues.  

 

Would the cabinet member agree with me that for any other changes (other than John Hawkins Car Park which should be renamed) there should be an opportunity for all residents to share their views?”

 

Councillor Gulvin thanked Mr Larman for his question. He stated that later in the meeting, Councillor Jarrett would be presenting Motion 20a which called upon the Council to establish a cross party working group to conduct a review of memorials, historic markers and monuments in Medway. Councillor Gulvin said that he hoped the motion would receive unanimous support although he could not deem to prejudge the outcome of the later debate. He stated that if the motion was carried, it would it would be for the cross party working group to determine the means it wished to conduct its investigation including the ways it wished to garner and reflect resident opinion.

88D)

Catherine Ridgway of Chatham asked the Portfolio Holder for Resources, Councillor Gulvin, the following:

Whilst I am fully In favour of the John Hawkins car park being renamed, I hope there will be an opportunity for all residents to share their views on any other proposals of a similar nature. 

 

Would the Cabinet Member agree with me that for any other changes (other than John Hawkins Car Park which should be renamed) there should be an opportunity for all residents to share their views?

Minutes:

“Whilst I am fully in favour of the John Hawkins car park being renamed, I hope there will be an opportunity for all residents to share their views on any other proposals of a similar nature.  Would the cabinet member agree with me that for any other changes (other than John Hawkins Car Park which should be renamed) there should be an opportunity for all residents to share their views?”

 

Councillor Gulvin thanked Ms Ridgway for her question and referred her to the answer he had given to question 7C.

88E)

Satinder Shokar of Rochester asked the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services, Councillor Doe, the following:

Is the Portfolio Holder prepared to conduct a review of information and interpretation on display at all Medway historical and heritage sites to ensure that Black history has equal and fair representation?

Minutes:

“Is the portfolio holder prepared to conduct a review of information and interpretation on display at all Medway historical and heritage sites to ensure that Black history has equal and fair representation?”

 

Councillor Doe thanked Mr Shokar for the question. He said that it was important that the Council’s heritage attractions provided a rounded understanding of the history and evolution of Medway. Displays and exhibitions were continually reviewed and updated, and he had asked officers to ensure full consideration was given to Medway’s Black history.

 

Councillor Doe said that the Council had been an active supporter of Black History Month for many years, and that later in the meeting the Council would be debating a proposal to set up a cross-party working group to conduct a review of memorials, historic markers and monuments in Medway to consider what changes, if any, would be appropriate.

 

Councillor Doe concluded by stating that the Council was working with the Medway African and Caribbean Association to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of William Cuffay. This would include a digital exhibition and the installation of a Blue Plaque in his name at a location of significance.

88F)

Mike Orvis of Chatham asked the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services, Councillor Doe, the following:

I would like to enquire as to the introduction of "drive-in" style performances in Medway.

 

I propose utilising the outdoor carpark and screen on Globe Lane (opposite the bus station) to stage performances that are safe and support local talent and businesses.

 

I am already in discussions with local businesses to implement this for very little cost - would the Council support me in running this?

Minutes:

“I would like to enquire as to the introduction of "drive-in" style performances in Medway.

 

I propose utilising the outdoor carpark and screen on Globe Lane (opposite the bus station) to stage performances that are safe and support local talent and businesses.

 

I am already in discussions with local businesses to implement this for very little cost- would the council support me in running this?”

 

Councillor Doe thanked Mr Orvis for his question. He stated that the Council was always open to and actively encouraged innovative ideas from residents and businesses, especially as it prepared its bid to be UK City of Culture in 2025. 

 

Councillor Doe said that the Council would be very happy to talk to Mr Orvis about this proposal and how it could support him and local businesses to make it happen. He said that he had asked officers to contact Mr Orvis and he hoped that it would be possible to find a way to put this kind of event on.

88G)

Vivienne Parker of Chatham asked the Portfolio Holder for Planning, Economic Growth and Regulation, Councillor Chitty, the following:

What is the Council doing to improve air quality, particularly in the Air Quality Management Areas?

Minutes:

“What is the Council doing to improve air quality, particularly in the Air Quality Management Areas?”

 

Councillor Chitty thanked Ms Parker for her question. She stated that Medway Council was very proactive in addressing air quality and currently had four Air Quality Management Areas. The Air Quality Action Plan outlined 12 key measures to reduce transport emissions and good progress had been achieved. Annual updates were provided to DEFRA in the form of the Annual Status Report, which could be found on the KentAir.org website.  Some of the key measures which had been developed were:

 

         Air Quality Planning Guidance had been developed and implemented across Medway. This ensured that air quality impacts of developments were considered and mitigated.

 

         The Council promoted walking and cycling initiatives such as ‘Walk on Wednesday’, the school crossing patrol service, Medway Big Ride and Medway Healthy Walks.

 

         Promoting the use of public transport and working with bus operators to ensure that bus fleets did not cause additional air pollution. The Council had submitted an Expression of Interest for ‘All Electric Bus Town’ Funding from the Department of Transport.

 

         In June 2018, the Council launched its Air Quality Communications Strategy.

 

         The Council sponsored two of the Kent and Medway Green Schools Awards.

 

Councillor Chitty stated that the Council was currently in the process of producing an Air Quality Action Plan for the Four Elms Hill Air Quality Management Area. A public consultation would be undertaken on this document in early 2021.

 

Councillor Chitty concluded by saying that Medway was committed to improving air quality for the community and this was strengthened by the declaration of a ‘Climate Change Emergency Motion’ by Full Council on 25 April 2019, which would have benefits for air quality.

88H)

Chris Spalding of Gillingham asked the Portfolio Holder for Business Management, Councillor Rupert Turpin, the following:

Following the sacking of fourteen Medway Norse employees apparently for their part in a protest to draw attention to a lack of Personal Protective Equipment and given the fact Medway Council has a stake in Medway Norse, can the Council's representative director confirm he is satisfied any claims for unfair dismissal by said sacked workers will not be successful.

Minutes:

“Following the sacking of fourteen Medway Norse employees apparently for their part in a protest to draw attention to a lack of Personal Protective Equipment and given the fact Medway Council has a stake in Medway Norse can the Council's representative director confirm he is satisfied any claims for unfair dismissal by said sacked workers will not be successful.”

 

Councillor Turpin thanked Mr Spalding for his question. He stated that as this was an ongoing appeal he could not comment or provide an answer to the question. 

88I)

James Chespy of Gillingham asked the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services, Councillor Doe, the following:

In reference to the recent programme on ITV featuring Ross Kemp and I put the link here:

https://www.itv.com/hub/ross-kemp-living-with/2a6319a0008

 

This programme put Medway on the map for all the wrong reasons. Would the Portfolio Holder care to comment on the revelations relating to homelessness and moving people out of the borough as highlighted in the programme?

 

The mark of any civilised Society is how it treats the most vulnerable within it and this programme reviews that we are not treating the vulnerable with any form of respect.

Minutes:

“In reference to the recent programme on ITV featuring Ross Kemp and I put the link here

 

https://www.itv.com/hub/ross-kemp-living-with/2a6319a0008

 

This program put Medway on the map for all the wrong reasons would the portfolio holder care to comment on the revelations relating to homelessness and moving people out of the borough as highlighted in the programme? The mark of any civilised Society is how it treats the most vulnerable within it and this program reviews that we are not treating the vulnerable with any form of respect.”

 

Councillor Doe thanked Mr Chespy for his question. He stated that the Council continued to do all it could to prevent people from becoming homeless and to secure appropriate housing for those it could not prevent.

 

Councillor Doe said that he could not comment on the specific circumstances of the case that was mentioned on the Ross Kemp ITV programme, but could confirm that the Housing Team explored all available housing options for those that need the Council’s help. The Council had only facilitated options to move out of the area where residents had been agreeable to that option.

 

Councillor Doe stated that in 2019/20 the majority of accommodation (93%), the Council secured in the private sector was in Medway. In some cases it might be reasonable for people to move outside of the area due to domestic abuse, risks of other violence or a specific housing need that was unable to be met in Medway at that particular time. In other cases, applicants had sourced their own accommodation outside of Medway that the Council have then assisted them in securing.

 

Councillor Doe concluded by stating that the Council was committed to keeping residents in Medway, wherever possible, and they all had their individual parts to play. However, there may be circumstances where this was not possible.

88J)

Paul O'Neill of Chatham asked the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder Housing and Community Services, Councillor Doe, the following:

Rough sleepers are significantly more likely to have underlying health conditions, including respiratory problems, than the wider population and are often in a position where they are unable to follow many aspects of public health guidance.

 

Although these citizens have been helped at the height of the lockdown, but what measures and ongoing continuing help and support is Medway putting in place for these citizens and/or other homelessness that may ensue from the probable economic downturn?

Minutes:

“Rough sleepers are significantly more likely to have underlying health conditions, including respiratory problems, than the wider population and are often in a position where they are unable to follow many aspects of public health guidance.

 

Although these citizens have been helped at the height of the lockdown, but what measures and ongoing continuing help and support is Medway putting in place for these citizens and/or other homelessness that may ensue from the probable economic downturn?”

 

Councillor Doe thanked Mr O’Neill for his question. He stated that the Council met the challenge presented by the pandemic by offering accommodation to over 60 people who were known to be sleeping rough or who had been verified as sleeping rough since the pandemic began.

 

Councillor Doe said that this activity had been supported by huge efforts from the voluntary and statutory sectors and commissioned services working in partnership with the Council, and he thanked all those partners for their outstanding support at this time. 

 

He added that over 30 people had now moved on to settled accommodation with approximately 25 still in emergency temporary and hotel accommodation. The Council had been commended by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) on the speed and effectiveness of its responses and the Council was now engaged in a full programme of work to find appropriate housing for the remainder of this group. There was a small number of people who had refused accommodation, and the Council’s services continued to work to engage with them.  The Council had worked with the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and had in place a homelessness nurse to offer direct health support to this group; a multi-agency approach remained in place with drug and alcohol treatment services, voluntary agencies, supported housing providers and the Council’s Rough Sleeping team.

 

Councillor Doe said that the Council was in discussion with the Government about accessing funding for additional housing and support which would be key to support these ongoing efforts. In terms of the wider risks to homelessness presented by the pandemic, the Council continued to undertake a range of work to prevent homelessness.

 

Councillor Doe concluded by stating that the Housing Solutions service at Kingsley House had been operational throughout the pandemic and was ready to offer advice and assistance to all those who were homeless or who were threatened with homelessness. 

89.

Leader's report pdf icon PDF 881 KB

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

Members received the Leader’s Report and raised the following issues during debate:

 

         COVID-19

 

         Update on Capital Programme

 

         Children’s Services

 

         Decisions made by the Cabinet on 4 May 2020 (urgent decision), 12 May 2020, 22 May 2020 (urgent decision), 9 June 2020, 12 June 2020 (urgent decision), 22 June 2020 (urgent decision) and 7 July 2020.

 

·               GP provision in Medway

 

·               The Council’s financial position

90.

Overview and scrutiny activity pdf icon PDF 251 KB

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

Members received a report on overview and scrutiny activity and raised the following issues during debate:

 

·       Covid – 19 support for care homes.

·       Community Safety Plan 2020 – 2024

·       Annual Review of Waste Contracts - Contract Year: October 2018 to September 2019.

·       Housing Enforcement and Licensing Policy 2020

·       Voluntary Sector Task Group

·       Ofsted Update Report – Children’s Services in Medway

·       Medway Youth Justice Partnership Strategic Plan for 2020 – 2023

·       Corporate Parenting Board

·       Medway Norse

 

Decision:

 

The Council agreed to note the report on overview and scrutiny activity.

 

Councillors Cooper, Johnson, Khan, Mahil, Maple, Murray, Osborne, and Andy Stamp requested that their votes in favour of the decision be recorded in accordance with Council Rule 12.6.

91.

Members' questions pdf icon PDF 75 KB

91A)

Councillor Steve Iles asked the Portfolio Holder for Strategic Regeneration, Inward Investment and Partnerships, Councillor Rodney Chambers OBE, the following:

Can the Portfolio Holder tell me and the residents of Kingswear Gardens in Strood what conversations is the Council having with Moat and Orbit housing associations to protect the residents from any redevelopment?

 

I am very concerned about the area, in particular, action is required to tidy up the approach to Strood station with the derelict buildings opposite the innovation centre and the overgrown grass which has been an eyesore for many years.

Minutes:

“Can the Portfolio Holder tell me and the residents of Kingswear Gardens in Strood what conversations is the Council having with Moat and Orbit housing associations to protect the residents from any redevelopment?

 

I am very concerned about the area, in particular, action is required to tidy up the approach to Strood station with the derelict buildings opposite the innovation centre and the overgrown grass which has been an eyesore for many years.”

 

Councillor Rodney Chambers OBE thanked Councillor Steve Iles for his question. He stated that the Strood Waterfront Masterplan was adopted in 2018 and had been developed in consultation with Moat and Orbit Housing Associations and the public, including the residents of Kingswear Gardens, all of whom were consulted before its final adoption.

 

He also stated that, although there was the potential for re-development on the site, there was still work to be done by Moat and Orbit to fund any redevelopment. As far as the Council was aware, this funding was not currently in place. Should funding become available the Council would expect Moat and Orbit to consult with their tenants and submit a planning application which would go through the recognised consultation process. Whichever way Moat and Orbit decided to go, the Council was determined to proceed with speed to deliver its own regeneration and redevelopment at Strood Waterfront.

 

Councillor Rodney Chambers OBE concluded by stating that, in terms of the derelict buildings, 1-7 Canal Road, an outline application with some matters reserved, was approved on 20 June 2019.  The application included the demolition of existing buildings and the construction of a mixed development comprising nine, 1 bedroomed and three, 2 bedroomed residential apartments together with private amenity space, office and associated parking.  The reserved matters were still outstanding, and it was not confirmed when construction would begin, particularly in the current Covid and economic situation.  In the meantime, further discussions were taking place with the owner in relation to the short and longer term condition of the site.  

91B)

Councillor Hubbard asked the Portfolio Holder for Planning, Economic Growth and Regulation, Councillor Chitty, the following:

At the last Council meeting (minute 805 Members' questions A) the Portfolio Holder was asked to “bring back the well-used Saturday market”.  In reply the Portfolio Holder said that “in 2019 officers were asked to commission an independent review of -- Strood market” and commented that the Portfolio Holder “did not have delegated powers to take any action advised by the independent assessment without consulting with others”. The Portfolio Holder concluded by stating that the “report and recommendations were received in March 2020, and were due to be considered by the Regeneration, Culture and Environment Directorate Management Team later this month, before reporting to Cllr Chitty who would then update Members on the Council’s response to this report in due course.”

 

In early June, an officer e-mail informed Strood Ward Councillors that “the Leader of the Council and the lead Portfolio Holder” following recommendations had decided to “close Strood Market on Tuesday”.  So much for not having “delegated powers”. It was assumed, by the said reply that the Portfolio Holder would consult with fellow Strood Ward Councillors and the Strood Town Centre Forum.

 

Markets offer access to fresh produce and fresh retail ideas. New traders use markets as a stepping stone to grow their business before taking on premises. As we come out of the COVID-19 economic crisis encouraging and supporting new business start-ups will be key to recovery. Will the Portfolio Holder agree to immediately reverse the decision and relaunch the much-loved Strood Market to operate on both Saturdays & Tuesdays?

Minutes:

“At the last Council meeting (minute 805 Members' questions A) the Portfolio Holder was asked to “bring back the well-used Saturday market”.  In reply the Portfolio Holder said that “in 2019 officers were asked to commission an independent review of -- Strood market” and commented that the Portfolio Holder “did not have delegated powers to take any action advised by the independent assessment without consulting with others”.  The Portfolio Holder concluded by stating that the “report and recommendations were received in March 2020, and were due to be considered by the Regeneration, Culture and Environment Directorate Management Team later this month, before reporting to Cllr Chitty who would then update Members on the Council’s response to this report in due course.”

 

In early June, an officer e-mail informed Strood Ward Councillors that “the Leader of the Council and the lead Portfolio Holder” following recommendations had decided to “close Strood Market on Tuesday”.  So much for not having “delegated powers”.  It was assumed, by the said reply that the Portfolio Holder would consult with fellow Strood Ward Councillors and the Strood Town Centre Forum.

 

Markets offer access to fresh produce and fresh retail ideas.  New traders use markets as a steppingstone to grow their business before taking on premises.  As we come out of the COVID-19 economic crisis encouraging and supporting new business start-ups will be key to recovery. Will the Portfolio Holder agree to immediately reverse the decision and relaunch the much-loved Strood Market to operate on both Saturdays and Tuesdays?”

 

Councillor Chitty thanked Councillor Hubbard for his question. She stated that   the information she had given at the previous Council meeting was accurate. The reasoning behind the markets review was to review the sustainability of all markets across Medway. On both Saturdays and Tuesdays Strood market had only two stall holders. Conversations had been on-going with market traders since the move from the site now occupied by Asda to the car park site. The Council had sustained the Strood market by allowing and encouraging market traders to use the car park site. However, the Council had to respond to market forces if market traders did not favour Strood and two traders did not constitute a market. One trader had responded to an invitation to have a pitch elsewhere in Medway and the other trader was considering it.

 

Councillor Chitty concluded by stating that the delegated powers had been exercised based on good, sound information that Strood market was no longer sustainable.

91C)

Councillor Osborne asked the Leader of the Council, Councillor Jarrett, the following:

The Medway Messenger has recently published a headline indicating a £60m black hole and the heightened risk of a s.114 being triggered in light of poor Council reserves. 

 

We are maybe weeks away from this Conservative-led council going effectively bankrupt.

 

Will he in retrospect confirm that the Council Reserve position, which he has allowed to deteriorate since 2010, is now a clear and present danger to Council sustainability coming out of the COVID crisis; and to that end will he publish all letters sent to the MHCLG so that Council staff and the public can have confidence that Conservatives are actually challenging this government robustly on increasing financial support?

Minutes:

“The Medway Messenger has recently published a headline indicating a £60m black hole and the heightened risk of a s.114 being triggered in light of poor council reserves.

 

We are maybe weeks away from this Conservative-led council going effectively Bankrupt.

 

Will he in retrospect confirm that the Council Reserve position, which he has allowed to deteriorate since 2010, is now a clear and present danger to Council sustainability coming out of the COVID crisis; and to that end will he publish all letters sent to the MHCLG so that Council staff and the public can have confidence that Conservatives are actually challenging this government robustly on increasing financial support?”

 

Councillor Jarrett thanked Councillor Osborne for his question. He stated that at the beginning of the national response to the emerging Covid-19 pandemic in the UK, on 16 March the Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick assured Local Government Leaders that: “This Government stands with local councils at this difficult time. Everyone needs to play their part to help the most vulnerable in society and support their local economy. The Government will do whatever is necessary to support these efforts.” 

 

Councillor Jarrett stated that the Council began a monumental effort to support Medway’s residents and businesses through the pandemic while maintaining the delivery of Council services as far as possible. Since 2010 local authorities had seen significant and consistent falls in central government funding for core services while changes in legislation and challenging economic conditions had seen increased demand for Council services. To balance its budgets the Council had consistently delivered savings through transformational programmes, protecting vital front line services and leisure and cultural offers, and was extremely proud to have done so with very little call on its reserves. The Council had recognised the need to build up its reserves, with a reserves strategy forming part of each year’s Medium Term Financial Strategy, and since 2018 the Council had contributed more than £2million each year to its general reserves, which currently stood at more than £22.4million, to ensure the Council was as financially resilient as possible under the circumstances.

 

Councillor Jarrett stated that the Council had provided its estimates of the financial impact on the Council of Covid-19 to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in response to their monthly data collection requests. On the results of this information gathering exercise, the Government had determined each tranche of the emergency funding it had provided to local authorities, including the most recent announcements made on 2 July. The Communities Secretary had reaffirmed his original commitment to support Councils in their efforts to respond to, and recover from the impacts of Covid-19, stating: “This Government will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with councils and communities as we recover from this pandemic as we renew our commitment to unite and level up the country”. 

 

Councillor Jarrett concluded by stating that the Council would continue to provide its latest estimates to MHCLG to ensure the full extent of the financial impact of Covid-19  ...  view the full minutes text for item 91C)

91D)

Councillor Johnson asked Portfolio Holder for Children's Services - Lead Member (statutory responsibility), Councillor Mrs Josie Iles, the following:

Given the absolute necessity of ensuring a rapid and sustainable improvement in Children's Services following last year's 'Inadequate' judgement, what guarantees can the Portfolio Holder give about sustaining the extra investment in Children's Services given the financial pressures on the council budget which are the result of the Covid 19 emergency?

Minutes:

“Given the absolute necessity of ensuring a rapid and sustainable improvement in Children's Services following last year's 'Inadequate' judgement, what guarantees can the Portfolio Holder give about sustaining the extra investment in Children's Services given the financial pressures on the council budget which are the result of the Covid 19 emergency?”

 

Councillor Mrs Josie Iles thanked Councillor Johnson for his question and said that the Council was fully committed to supporting the necessary improvements in Children’s Services. The Council had already committed extra investment in increasing the staffing establishment to reduce caseloads across the service, particularly in the assessment service where they were at a high level during the Ofsted inspection last year.

 

Councillor Mrs Iles said that she was very pleased to report that caseloads in assessment had reduced from 38.8 in June last year to 16.8 in May and 11.3 in June. The recent reduction was a direct result of lower referrals due to Covid and it was anticipated that referral rates may increase again when schools return in September. The additional staff in the assessment service would be responsive to this.

 

In line with assuring sustainability beyond the life of the Improvement Plan the Council had supported the creation of an Edge of Care team and an adolescent service, as well as specialist teams for child in need and child protection, and for children in care. Staff were being supported to improve their practice through additional training in the implementation of a new nationally recognised practice model ‘Signs of Safety’. This investment was in the base budget and the Council was committed to sustaining this. The concerns raised by Ofsted about the ability of the Council to sustain improvement led to the appointment by the Secretary of State of the Commissioner, Eleanor Brazil, who had worked with the Council over the last eight months and was reporting to the Secretary of State in July. She had encouraged the Council to support all improvement activity in order to sustain a service for children in Medway which is fit for purpose now and in the future.

 

Councillor Mrs Iles concluded by stating that the financial pressures as a direct result of Covid were significant but Children’s Services had continued to work with the most vulnerable families throughout this time and would continue to do so, with the Council’s full support.

91E)

Councillor Cooper asked Portfolio Holder for Education and Schools, Councillor Potter, the following:

In view of the early announcement of financial support for technology for those school students unable to access online resources, why has it taken so long for the equipment to be made available?

Minutes:

“In view of the early announcement of financial support for technology for those school students unable to access online resources, why has it taken so long for the equipment to be made available?”

 

Councillor Potter thanked Councillor Cooper for her question. He stated that this was a Government scheme and the Council was reliant on the Department for Education. He commended Council officers for working proactively and at pace with schools to ensure that equipment was distributed to the pupils identified as most in need.

 

He added that the distribution of equipment was ongoing and close working with social care had meant there had not been any duplication of resources.  

 

Councillor Potter concluded by saying that the scheme was unprecedented and, although there were aspects that could be improved by the Department of Education, it had still been effective and far reaching.

91F)

Councillor Khan asked the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services, Councillor Doe, the following:

The recent Ross Kemp documentary ‘Forced our Families,’ highlighted a worrying problem of Medway families being forced out of the Borough. Alongside other members of the Medway Labour Leadership, I wrote to the Chief Executive on 4th July 2020, in a letter which set out ten questions looking at Medway’s relocation processes.

 

Can the Portfolio Holder provide his response to the questions detailed in the letter, which he was copied in to? 

 

For clarity these are as follows:

 

1. In the documentary it makes clear that some local authorities have converted office blocks etc outside of the borough using permitted development for use as temporary accommodation – Has Medway Council taken this approach at any point over the last five years?

 

2. Nick from Chatham was clear on the documentary that he was informed by Medway Council staff that if he didn’t accept temporary accommodation in Bradford his children would be put into care. It is unclear from the documentary whether this was said by social services or housing officers. Could the council confirm whether this sort of language and phrase would be used by any council staff during discussions with residents?

 

3. How many children have been taken into care by Medway as a result of parents not relocating to any areas more than 25 miles away from Medway?

 

4. In the last five years what is the number of Medway residents placed out of area?

 

5. In the last five years what is the number of Medway households with children placed out of area?

 

6. In the last five years what boroughs have Medway moved residents to?

 

7. In the last five years which boroughs have Medway Council informed that they have moved residents to because it is clear in the documentary that Bradford was not informed?

 

8. In the last five years which boroughs have informed Medway Council that they have moved residents to our area?

 

9. What professional estimate does the housing department at Medway Council give for number of residents in the last five years moved to Medway where the council haven’t been informed?

 

10. The anonymous resident spoke of having to be moved to Bradford due to his support dog meaning no accommodation was available for him in Medway. The Medway Council response in the documentary stated where residents are moved out of area it “supports them during this time” – could you share what support Medway Council gives to residents when they are 235 miles away?

Minutes:

“The recent Ross Kemp documentary ‘Forced our Families,’ highlighted a worrying problem of Medway families being forced out of the Borough. Alongside other members of the Medway Labour Leadership I wrote to the Chief Executive on 4th July 2020, in a letter which set out ten questions looking at Medway’s relocation processes.

 

Can the portfolio holder provide his response to the questions detailed in the letter, which he was copied in to? 

 

For clarity these are as follows:

 

1.       In the documentary it makes clear that some local authorities have converted office blocks etc outside of the borough using permitted development for use as temporary accommodation – Has Medway Council taken this approach at any point over the last five years?

 

 

2.       Nick from Chatham was clear on the documentary that he was informed by Medway Council staff that if he didn’t accept temporary accommodation in Bradford his children would be put into care. It is unclear from the documentary whether this was said by social services or housing officers. Could the council confirm whether this sort of language and phrase would be used by any council staff during discussions with residents?

 

3.       How many children have been taken into care by Medway as a result of parents not relocating to any areas more than 25 miles away from Medway?

 

4.       In the last five years what is the number of Medway residents placed out of area?

 

5.       In the last five years what is the number of Medway households with children placed out of area?

 

6.       In the last five years what boroughs have Medway moved residents to?

 

 

7.       In the last five years which boroughs have Medway Council informed that they have moved residents to because it is clear in the documentary that Bradford was not informed?

 

8.       In the last five years which boroughs have informed Medway Council that they have moved residents to our area?

 

9.       What professional estimate does the housing department at Medway Council give for number of residents in the last five years moved to Medway where the council haven’t been informed?

 

10.      The anonymous resident spoke of having to be moved to Bradford due to his support dog meaning no accommodation was available for him in Medway. The Medway Council response in the documentary stated where residents are moved out of area it “supports them during this time” – could you share what support Medway Council gives to residents when they are 235 miles away?”

 

Councillor Doe thanked Councillor Khan for her question. He stated that the Chief Executive had received the letter from Councillors Khan, Maple and  Johnson containing these questions, and the reply, which was being worked on, would provide detailed responses to the issues that had been raised.

 

He stated that, as referred to in his previous response to the question from Mr Chespy on the same issue, only a small percentage of households, some 7%, were re-housed outside of Medway and this was undertaken in agreement with the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 91F)

91G)

Councillor Murray asked the Portfolio Holder for Planning, Economic Growth and Regulation, Councillor Chitty, the following:

As we continue to cope with the effects of Covid 19 on our local economy it’s clear that job losses are a major impact with nearly 1000 additional claims for universal credit being made.

 

At Chatham docks there are 800 well paid jobs and a further 600 in their supply chain, is the Portfolio Holder prepared to reconsider the opportunity to redesignate the Docks as employment land in the new local plan and by doing so help to prevent more job losses in Medway?

Minutes:

“As we continue to cope with the effects of Covid 19 on our local economy it’s clear that job losses are a major impact with nearly 1000 additional claims for universal credit being made. At Chatham docks there are 800 well paid jobs and a further 600 in their supply chain, is the portfolio holder prepared to reconsider the opportunity to redesignate the Docks as employment land in the new local plan and by doing so help to prevent more job losses in Medway?”

 

Councillor Chitty thanked Councillor Murray for her question.  She stated that work was continuing on the evidence base to support and inform the Local Plan and future allocations, which would build on the ambitions of the Council’s regeneration strategy for Medway to be known as a thriving waterfront university city, noted for its revitalised urban centres and its stunning natural and historic assets and countryside.

 

She added that the Council was not yet at the draft Local Plan stage when sites would be allocated based on the evidence to support them.  In this respect, the aim of the Local Plan was to ensure that Medway grew sustainably, providing land for the homes, jobs and services that the people of Medway needed, whilst protecting and enhancing the qualities of the area’s environment and heritage. The cross party Development Plans Advisory Group, which included members of Councillor Murray’s group, would have and had had every opportunity to discuss details and any relevant assessments as to the local plan so the opportunity had been there and that was the place where they could bring up any of these issues.

91H)

Councillor Maple asked the Leader of the Council, Councillor Jarrett, the following:

The BBC regional radio and television teams which cover Medway are under threat of severe staffing cuts which will undoubtedly impact on their ability to report effectively on everything from a public health pandemic to highlighting a bid for City of Culture.

 

Will the Leader of the Council join me in a joint letter calling on senior BBC executives to reverse this decision to ensure Medway residents continue to receive outstanding public service broadcasting which informs, educates and entertains?

Minutes:

“The BBC regional radio and television teams which cover Medway are under threat of severe staffing cuts which will undoubtedly impact on their ability to report effectively on everything from a public health pandemic to highlighting a bid for City of Culture.

 

Will the Leader of the Council join me in a joint letter calling on senior BBC executives to reverse this decision to ensure Medway residents continue to receive outstanding public service broadcasting which informs, educates and entertains?”

91I)

Councillor Adeoye asked the Portfolio Holder for Education and Schools, Councillor Potter, the following:

In 2010 the incoming coalition government halted the 'Building Schools for the Future' programme which would have seen a massive improvement in the condition of the school stock throughout the country. 

 

In view of the government's recent announcement, what is the financial implication of the condition of Medway's school stock?

Minutes:

“In 2010 the incoming coalition government halted the 'Building Schools for the Future' programme which would have seen a massive improvement in the condition of the school stock throughout the country.  In view of the government's recent announcement, what is the financial implication of the condition of Medway's school stock?”

91J)

Councillor Howcroft-Scott asked the Portfolio Holder for Education and Schools, Councillor Potter, the following:

In view of the suspension of the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile this year due to the Covid-19 emergency, does the Portfolio Holder agree that children should have a test free start to their statutory education which should be based on approaches that enhance learning and support the curriculum?

Minutes:

“In view of the suspension of the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile this year due to the Covid 19 emergency, does the Portfolio Holder agree that children should have a test free start to their statutory education which should be based on approaches that enhance learning and support the curriculum?”

91K)

Councillor Chrissy Stamp asked the Portfolio Holder for Children's Services - Lead Member (statutory responsibility), Councillor Mrs Josie Iles, the following:

Can the Portfolio Holder confirm that, in view of the potential spike in referrals following the return to schools in September, adequate staffing, funding and other resources are in place to cope with any rise in demand, in order not to put at risk improvement following last year's 'Inadequate' judgement?

Minutes:

“Can the Portfolio Holder confirm that, in view of the potential spike in referrals following the return to schools in September, adequate staffing, funding and other resources are in place to cope with any rise in demand, in order not to put at risk improvement following last year's 'Inadequate' judgement?”

91L)

Councillor Andy Stamp asked the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services, Councillor Doe, the following:

Shelter estimates that more than 225,000 renters have fallen into arrears since March meaning the total of renters in arrears is now over 440,000.

 

Lord Greenhalgh has stated there would be no extension to the current ban on evictions which is due to finish on 23 August.

 

Will the Portfolio Holder write to the MHCLG to urge a more compassionate approach than simply removing protections in Mid-August which will leave thousands vulnerable particularly as a result of a loss of income due to Covid-19?

Minutes:

“Shelter estimates that more than 225,000 renters have fallen into arrears since March meaning the total of renters in arrears is now over 440,000.

 

Lord Greenhalgh has stated there would be no extension to the current ban on evictions which is due to finish on 23rd August.

 

Will the Portfolio Holder write to the MHCLG to urge a more compassionate approach than simply removing protections in Mid-August which will leave thousands vulnerable particularly as a result of a loss of income due to CoVid19?”

 

Note: The Mayor stated that since the time allocation for Members’ questions had been exhausted, Members would receive written responses to questions H-L.

92.

Medway Youth Council - Annual Conference Report pdf icon PDF 303 KB

This is a report from Medway Youth Council Annual Conference held in November 2019 on the subject of Climate Change and protecting the environment. 

 

At its meeting on 2 June 2020, the Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee recommended that the report be reported to Full Council.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

This report provided details from the Medway Youth Council Annual Conference held in November 2019 on the subject of Climate Change and protecting the environment. 

 

At its meeting on 2 June 2020, the Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee recommended that the report be reported to Full Council.

 

Councillor Kemp, supported by Councillor Johnson, proposed the recommendation set out in the report.

 

Decision:

 

The Council agreed to note the Medway Youth Council Annual Conference Report, attached as Appendix 1 to this report.

 

Councillors Cooper, Hubbard, Johnson, Khan, Mahil, Maple, Murray, Osborne, and Andy Stamp requested that their votes in favour of the decision be recorded in accordance with Council Rule 12.6.

93.

Community Safety Partnership Plan 2020 - 2024 pdf icon PDF 376 KB

Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs) are under a duty to produce a Community Safety Plan to formulate and implement a strategy to reduce crime and disorder, combat substance misuse, and reduce re-offending. This report provides information on the proposed Plan, which forms part of the Council’s Policy Framework, to cover the period from 2020 to 2024.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

This report provided details of the proposed Community Safety Plan, which formed part of the Council’s Policy Framework, to cover the period from 2020 to 2024.

 

Community Safety Partnerships were under a duty to produce a Plan to formulate and implement a strategy to reduce crime and disorder, combat substance misuse, and reduce re-offending.

 

The report had been considered by the Health and Wellbeing Board, the Regeneration, Culture and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Cabinet as detailed in the report. A Diversity Impact Assessment had also been undertaken on the Plan, as set out in Appendix 3 to the report.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Resources, Councillor Gulvin, supported by the Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services (Lead Member), Councillor Mrs Josie Iles, proposed the recommendations set out in the report.

 

Councillor Osborne, supported by Councillor Murray, proposed the following amendment:

 

Retain existing recommendations 13.1-13.3

Existing recommendation 13.4 becomes recommendation 13.5

Add new recommendation 13.4:

 

“Council Notes

1)      The good work of the CSP in partnering together to deliver positive outcomes for the people of Medway which has the support of all political groups on the Council

2)       The positive engagement with authorities across the UK

3)       That since December 2019 a number of community safety issues have arisen which need to be included in the Community Safety Plan; and the request was placed by the Regeneration Overview & Scrutiny Committee have not been included in the final draft.

4)       That the same CSP agencies partnering with Kent County Council are working with a Community Safety Agreement, published in April 2020, which includes as a priority area “Supporting Mental and Community Health & Wellbeing” and references recent developments.

5)       Transformation of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) will have a profound effect on the delivery of community safety priorities: The eight CCG’s within the Kent and Medway footprint will amalgamate to form a single CCG with effect from 1st April 2020, they will become the NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group. The emergent Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group will remain an active member of the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership, working with partners to deliver the Kent & Medway five year strategic plan (2019/20 – 2023/24) to meet all the commitments identified within the Long Term Plan.

6)       The Coronavirus Act 2020 received royal assent on 25th March 2020 to make provision in connection with Coronavirus and the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). At the time this Community Safety Agreement (CSA) document was reviewed and refreshed (Jan-Feb 2020) Coronavirus (COVID-19) was in the early stages in the UK, however from March 2020 onwards there has been an increasing impact on residents and businesses across the country. As of midnight on 23rd March 2020 the UK went into lockdown, significantly changing the way we live. The measures that have been put in place (including staying at home, social distancing, self-isolation etc.) have impacted on all walks of life in an effort to slow the spread of the virus and to protect the NHS from being overwhelmed.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 93.

94.

Medway Youth Justice Strategic Partnership Plan for 2020-2023 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

The Crime and Disorder Act 1998, requires Local Authorities to have a Youth Justice Plan, which is updated annually to set out how youth justice will be delivered locally within available resources.

 

This plan will cover a 3 year period form 2020 - 2023 and has been co-produced with Youth Justice Partnership Board (YJPB) members and influenced by national research and evidence of effective practice and has taken examples across National Partnerships.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

This report provided details of the Medway Youth Justice Partnership Strategic Plan, which formed part of the Council’s policy framework.

 

The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 required Local Authorities to have a Youth Justice Plan, which was updated annually, to set out how youth justice would be delivered locally within available resources.

 

The plan (attached at Appendix 1) would cover a 3 year period form 2020 - 2023 and had been co-produced with Youth Justice Partnership Board (YJPB) members and influenced by national research and evidence of effective practice and has taken examples across National Partnerships.

 

This report had been considered by the Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee as detailed in the report. A Diversity Impact Assessment had been undertaken on the Policy, as set out in Appendix 2 to the report.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services (Lead Member), Councillor Mrs Josie Iles, supported by the Portfolio Holder for Resources, Councillor Gulvin,  proposed the recommendations set out in the report.

 

Decision:

 

a)             The Council noted the comments from the Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Cabinet, as set out in sections 8 and 9 of the report.

b)             The Council approved the Medway Youth Justice Partnership Strategic Plan 2020 – 2023, including its accompanying delivery plan (Appendix A to the Strategic Plan) all underpinned by the use of a public health approach.

c)       The Council agreed that reducing reoffending and custody rates should be a major priority for all Members as well as the Youth Justice Partnership Board.

Councillors Cooper, Hubbard, Johnson, Khan, Mahil, Maple, Murray, Osborne, and Andy Stamp requested that their votes in favour of the decision be recorded in accordance with Council Rule 12.6.

95.

Housing Revenue Account: Additional Borrowing to Increase HRA Housing Stock pdf icon PDF 224 KB

This report recommends Council to agree to borrow additional funds to explore the purchasing of housing sites, at varying stages of development, as and when a financially viable development opportunity presents itself, following Cabinet’s consideration of the report on 7 July 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

This report provided details of a proposal to borrow additional funds to explore the purchasing of housing sites, at varying stages of development, as and when a financially viable development opportunity presented itself, following Cabinet’s consideration of the report on 7 July 2020. An exempt appendix provided a summary of development opportunities.

 

A Diversity Impact Assessment had been undertaken on the proposals as set out in Appendix 2 to the report.

 

The Leader of the Council, Councillor Jarrett, supported by the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services, Councillor Doe, proposed the recommendations set out in the report.

 

Decision:

 

The Council approved the addition of £10m to the HRA Capital Programme, in order to increase the stock of HRA affordable housing.  This funding to be met from borrowing against HRA rents, HRA reserves and Right to Buy 1-4-1 receipts or grant funding, where available.

 

Councillors Cooper, Johnson, Khan, Mahil, Maple, Murray and Osborne requested that their votes in favour of the decision be recorded in accordance with Council Rule 12.6.

 

Note: Councillors Adeoye, Hubbard and Andy Stamp were not present for the vote having declared an interest and left the meeting for the consideration and determination of this item.

96.

Splashes Sports Centre Development pdf icon PDF 352 KB

This report seeks approval for the redevelopment programme for Splashes, up to a maximum value of £5m, to be added to the Council’s capital programme to enable the project to be undertaken, following consideration by the Cabinet on 7 July 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

This report provided details of a proposal for the redevelopment programme for Splashes Sports Centre, up to a maximum value of £5m, to be added to the Council’s capital programme to enable the project to be undertaken, following consideration by the Cabinet on 7 July 2020.

 

A Diversity Impact Assessment had been undertaken on the proposals, as set out in Appendix 1 to the report.

 

The Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services, Councillor Doe, supported by the Portfolio Holder for Education and Schools, Councillor Potter, proposed the recommendation set out in the report.

 

Decision:

 

The Council approved the addition to the Capital programme of £5 million to fund the refurbishment of the Splashes Sports Centre, as outlined in section 4 of the report.

 

Councillors Adeoye, Cooper, Hubbard, Johnson, Khan, Mahil, Maple, Murray, Osborne, Potter and Andy Stamp requested that their votes in favour of the decision be recorded in accordance with Council Rule 12.6.

 

Councillors Pendergast and Sands requested that their abstentions be recorded in accordance with Council Rule 12.6.

97.

Addition to the Capital Programme - Play Areas pdf icon PDF 250 KB

This report seeks approval to add £135,000 Play Area investment to the Council’s Capital Programme, supporting Medway’s ambitions to be recognised as a Child-Friendly City. This programme of investment is for the financial year 2020/21; proposals for future years will be considered as part of the Council’s Budget Setting process.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

This report provided details of a proposal to add £135,000 Play Area investment to the Council’s Capital Programme, supporting Medway’s ambitions to be recognised as a Child-Friendly City.  This programme of investment was for the financial year 2020/21; proposals for future years would be considered as part of the Council’s Budget Setting process.

 

The Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services, Councillor Doe, supported by the Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services (Lead Member), Councillor Mrs Josie Iles, proposed the recommendation set out in the report. 

 

Decision:

 

The Council approved the capital addition of £135,000 to the Capital Programme, to refurbish Play Areas as set out in the report, to be funded from prudential borrowing. 

 

Councillors Adeoye, Hubbard, Johnson, Khan, Mahil, Maple, Murray, Osborne and Andy Stamp requested that their votes in favour of the decision be recorded in accordance with Council Rule 12.6.

98.

Proposed Amendments to Medway's Health and Wellbeing Board Membership pdf icon PDF 253 KB

This report proposes amendments to Medway’s Health and Wellbeing Board membership in response to changes previously agreed by the Council to the Council’s Corporate Management Team structure and to recent changes in the health landscape across Kent and Medway.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

This report provided details of proposed amendments to Medway’s Health and Wellbeing Board membership in response to changes previously agreed by the Council to the Council’s Corporate Management Team structure and to recent changes in the health landscape across Kent and Medway.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Adults’ Services, Councillor Brake, supported by the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services, Councillor Doe, proposed the recommendation set out in the report. 

 

Decision:

 

a)    The Council agreed the membership changes to Medway’s Health and Wellbeing Board set out in section 3 and Appendix 1 to the report, in particular the inclusion of one representative of the Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (statutory member), and subject to the consultation and agreement of the Health and Wellbeing Board the inclusion of following positions:

 

       Assistant Director Children’s Social Services (under the provision allowing the appointment of such other persons (or representatives of such other persons),

 

    Medway and Swale Integrated Care Partnership, Senior Responsible Officer – one representative (under the provision allowing the appointment of such other persons (or representatives of such other persons) as the local authority thinks appropriate) plus one named substitute, and

 

    Primary Care Network, Medway and Swale – one representative (under the provision allowing the appointment of such other persons (or representatives of such other persons) as the local authority thinks appropriate) plus one named substitute

 

b)  The Council authorised the Chief Executive to appoint the named individuals nominated under each of the designations listed above ( plus up to one substitute for each of the health representatives) to the Health and Wellbeing Board

 

c)  The Council authorised the Monitoring Officer to make the necessary changes to Chapter 3 to the Constitution to incorporate the changes to membership.

 

Councillors Adeoye, Cooper, Hubbard, Johnson, Khan, Mahil, Maple, Murray, Osborne and Andy Stamp requested that their votes in favour of the decision be recorded in accordance with Council Rule 12.6.

99.

Use of Urgency Provisions pdf icon PDF 325 KB

This report provides details of recent usage of urgency provisions contained within the Constitution.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

This report provided details of recent usage of urgency provisions contained within the Constitution.

 

The Leader of the Council, Councillor Jarrett, supported by the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services, Councillor Doe, proposed the recommendation set out in the report. 

 

Decision:

 

The Council noted the report.

 

Councillors Adeoye, Cooper, Hubbard, Johnson, Khan, Mahil, Maple, Murray, Osborne and Andy Stamp requested that their votes in favour of the decision be recorded in accordance with Council Rule 12.6.

100.

Approval of Reasons for Absence of a Councillor from Meetings pdf icon PDF 352 KB

Council, on 23 April 2020 approved the following reasons for failure by any Councillor to attend meetings because of the COVID-19 pandemic from 23 April 2020 – 8 October 2020:

 

i)     the protection of the health of the residents of the area or;

ii)    the health of the individual Member.

 

This report updates Members on this matter and seeks approval to updated reasons for failure by any Councillor to attend meetings for a consecutive period of 6 months from 16 July 2020 to the Annual Council meeting (currently scheduled to take place on 19 May 2021).

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

This report updated the Council on this matter and sought approval of additional reasons for failure by any Councillor to attend meetings for a consecutive period of 6 months from 16 July 2020 to the Annual Council meeting (currently scheduled to take place on 19 May 2021), following initial consideration by the Council on 23 April 2020.

 

Councillor Kemp, supported by the Portfolio Holder for Adults’ Services, Councillor Brake, proposed the recommendation set out in the report. 

 

Decision:

 

The Council agreed that, from 16 July 2020 to the Annual Meeting of the Council (currently scheduled to take place on 19 May 2021) inclusive, under the provisions of Sections 85 (1) and Section 85 (2A) of the Local Government Act 1972 the following reasons shall be approved for the non-attendance of a Member at any meeting throughout a period of 6 consecutive months (including in the case of executive members attendance at meetings of the Cabinet):

 

         the protection of the health of the residents of the area or;

         the health of the individual Member.

 

Or

 

         Illness, with apologies sent if at all possible;

         Maternity, paternity, adoption or other parental leave;

         Caring responsibilities;

         Cancellation of meetings which the Member would otherwise have been expected to attend;

         Agreement between the Council’s political groups to reduced numbers at some meetings;

         Problems accessing a remote meeting which the Member would otherwise be expected to attend, subject to the Democratic Services Officer or Chairman receiving notification of this before the end of the meeting.

 

Councillors Adeoye, Cooper, Hubbard, Johnson, Khan, Mahil, Maple, Murray, Osborne and Andy Stamp requested that their votes in favour of the decision be recorded in accordance with Council Rule 12.6.

101.

Motions

101A)

The Leader of the Council, Councillor Jarrett, supported by the Portfolio Holder for Adults' Services, Councillor Brake, has submitted the following:

Medway Monuments and Place Names

 

Council notes that individual experiences and personal heritage will always shape the way in which individuals interpret and relate to the world around them. This includes symbolic items present in public spaces, as well as the names given to public areas.

 

Council further notes that, whilst we cannot change the past, it is our civic duty to honour Medway’s heritage by telling our story in a way which aims to be as meaningful and respectful to every one of Medway’s residents today as possible, regardless of heritage or ethnic origin.

 

Council agrees to convene a cross party working group with the purpose of conducting a review of memorials, historic markers, and monuments in Medway to consider what changes, if any, would be appropriate. This group should adhere to normal protocols for the establishment of a cross party working group. The findings of this review should be presented in the form of a report to Cabinet at the earliest practical opportunity, in order to consider practical and financial implications. 

 

Minutes:

“Council notes that individual experiences and personal heritage will always shape the way in which individuals interpret and relate to the world around them. This includes symbolic items present in public spaces, as well as the names given to public areas.

 

Council further notes that, whilst we cannot change the past, it is our civic duty to honour Medway’s heritage by telling our story in a way which aims to be as meaningful and respectful to every one of Medway’s residents today as possible, regardless of heritage or ethnic origin.

 

Council agrees to convene a cross party working group with the purpose of conducting a review of memorials, historic markers, and monuments in Medway to consider what changes, if any, would be appropriate. This group should adhere to normal protocols for the establishment of a cross party working group. The findings of this review should be presented in the form of a report to Cabinet at the earliest practical opportunity, in order to consider practical and financial implications.”

 

Councillor Maple, supported by Councillor Mahil, proposed the following amendments:

 

To the third paragraph as follows:

 

Council agrees to convene a (Delete: “cross party”) (Add: “working group with membership including a cross party group of members and wider community participation”) with the purpose of conducting a review of memorials, historic markers, (Add: “public realm”) and monuments in Medway to consider what changes, if any, would be appropriate. (Delete: “This group should adhere to normal protocols for the establishment of a cross party working group”.)The findings of this review should be presented in the form of a report to Cabinet at the earliest practical opportunity, in order to consider practical and financial implications.

 

To add two paragraphs after the third paragraph as follows:

 

“Council agrees to request the Cabinet to agree to remove the naming of the John Hawkins Car Park, recognising his role as a leading slave trader with the proposed community task group to consider a more appropriate name that reflects Medway as a diverse community.

 

Council agrees to request the Cabinet to agree to commit to working to encourage the development of a school curriculum that includes appropriate focus on and exploration of Black History and the history of ethnic minority people.”

 

On being put to the vote, the amendment was lost.

 

In accordance with Rule 12.4 of the Council Rules, a recorded vote on the amendment was taken.

 

For – Councillors Adeoye, Cooper, Hubbard, Johnson, Khan, Mahil, Maple, Murray, Osborne, Sands and Andy Stamp (11)

 

Against – Councillors Aldous, Bhutia, Brake, Rodney Chambers OBE, Chitty, Doe, Etheridge, Filmer, Gulvin, Mrs Josie Iles, Steve Iles, Jarrett, Kemp, Pendergast, Potter, Tejan, Turpin, and Wildey (18)

 

On being put to the vote, the proposed amendment was lost.

 

Decision:

 

On being put to the vote, the substantive motion was agreed.

 

Council notes that individual experiences and personal heritage will always shape the way in which individuals interpret and relate to the world around them. This includes symbolic items present in public spaces, as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 101A)

101B)

Councillor Etheridge, supported by the Portfolio Holder for Resources, has submitted the following:

This Council notes that:

 

·         Although Slavery was abolished in the UK over 180 years ago, globally there are more slaves today than ever before in Human History, with a suggestion of more than 40 million people in modern slavery across the world.

 

·         There were over 10,000 people identified within the UK in 2019, but the real number trapped in slavery is estimated to be much higher.

 

·         Modern slavery in the UK can take many forms, including forced sexual exploitation, domestic and forced labour slavery, driven for cheap services and product with no regard for the people behind them.

 

·         Over 30 cases of child trafficking and slavery were identified in Kent last year.

 

This Council agrees that action needs to be taken to raise awareness of modern slavery. Council, therefore, resolves to: 

 

1.    Write to Medway MPs requesting that they collectively raise this important matter with relevant colleagues and within the House of Commons.

 

2.    Request the Cabinet to agree to ensure the Council’s procurement team is trained to understand modern day slavery through the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply online course on Ethical Procurement and Supply, and that all Council contractors fully comply with the Modern Day Slavery Act 2015.

 

3.    Request the Cabinet to agree to take strong and immediate action to refer any concerns identified in relation to modern slavery to the appropriate agencies for investigation.

Minutes:

“This Council notes that:

 

·         Although Slavery was abolished in the UK over 180 years ago, globally there are more slaves today than ever before in Human History, with a suggestion of more than 40 million people in modern slavery across the world.

 

·         There were over 10,000 people identified within the UK in 2019, but the real number trapped in slavery is estimated to be much higher.

 

 ·         Modern slavery in the UK can take many forms, including forced sexual exploitation, domestic and forced labour slavery, driven for cheap services and product with no regard for the people behind them.

 

 ·         Over 30 cases of child trafficking and slavery were identified in Kent last year.

 

This Council agrees that action needs to be taken to raise awareness of modern slavery. Council, therefore, resolves to: 

 

1.          Write to Medway MPs requesting that they collectively raise this important matter with relevant colleagues and within the House of Commons.

 

2.          Request the Cabinet to agree to ensure the Council’s procurement team is trained to understand modern day slavery through the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply online course on Ethical Procurement and Supply, and that all Council contractors fully comply with the Modern Day Slavery Act 2015.

 

3.       Request the Cabinet to agree to take strong and immediate action to refer any concerns identified in relation to modern slavery to the appropriate agencies for investigation.”

 

Councillor Andy Stamp, supported by Councillor Hubbard, proposed the following amendment:

 

Delete everything up to and including “This Council agrees that action needs to be taken to raise awareness of modern slavery. Council, therefore, resolves to:”

 

Add: “In January 2019 the following motion was agreed by council:

 

Modern slavery is a hidden issue; the Home Office estimated that in 2013 there were between 10,000 and 13,000 potential victims of modern slavery in the UK. This means that there is a chance that modern slavery is taking place here in Medway without our knowledge.

 

This Council welcomes the recognition of this issue by the Archbishop of Canterbury on his recent visit to Medway.

 

This Council notes the hard work of multiple organisations to develop a new charter to ensure there is no place for modern day slavery in the supply chains used by local authorities.

 

This Charter proposes that each council shall:

 

1.   Train its corporate procurement team to understand modern slavery through the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply’s (CIPS) online course on Ethical Procurement and Supply

2.   Require its contractors to comply fully with the Modern Slavery Act 2015, wherever it applies, with contract termination as a potential sanction for non-compliance

3.   Challenge any abnormally low-cost tenders to ensure they do not rely upon the potential contractor practising modern slavery

4.   Highlight to its suppliers that contracted workers are free to join a trade union and are not to be treated unfairly for belonging to one

5.   Publicise its whistle-blowing system for staff to blow the whistle on any suspected examples of modern slavery

6.   Require its tendered contractors  ...  view the full minutes text for item 101B)

101C)

Councillor Pendergast, supported by Councillor Sands, has submitted the following:

That the Cabinet be requested to agree to change the name of the car park currently known as the Sir John Hawkins Car Park to the Dame Vera Lynn Car Park.

Minutes:

“That the Cabinet be requested to agree to change the name of the car park currently known as the Sir John Hawkins Car Park to the Dame Vera Lynn Car Park.”

 

Councillor Osbourne, supported by Councillor Maple, proposed the following amendment:

 

Delete: everything up to and including “the Sir John Hawkins Car Park”

Retain: “Dame Vera Lynn”

Delete: “Car Park”

Add: “who sadly has passed away since our last full council meeting was a much-loved patron of the Medway Queen Preservation Society. Council agrees to work with the Medway Queen Preservation Society to recognise her contribution in an appropriate way.”

 

On being put to the vote, the amendment was carried.

 

Decision:

 

The substantive motion was agreed.

 

Dame Vera Lynn who sadly has passed away since our last full council meeting was a much-loved patron of the Medway Queen Preservation Society.  Council agrees to work with the Medway Queen Preservation Society to recognise her contribution in an appropriate way.

 

Councillors Johnson, Khan, Mahil, Maple, Murray, Osborne and Andy Stamp requested that their votes in favour of the substantive motion be recorded in accordance with Council Rule 12.6.

 

Note: Councillor Cooper was not present for the vote having declared an Other Significant Interest and left the meeting for the consideration and determination of this item.

101D)

Councillor Adeoye, supported by Councillor Murray, has submitted the following:

Medway Council recognised the evil of modern slavery in passing a motion with cross-party agreement at its meeting in January 2019 that adopted a ten-point plan to eliminate it from the council supply chain. 

 

This Council further recognises and celebrates the vitally important role played by black and ethnic minority people in building modern Britain, including their role in two world wars, as well as the Windrush generation who helped rebuild the country following the Second World War. This Council further recognises that the history of black people is marred by the experience of the social and economic institution of slavery. 

 

Slavery is a genocidal abhorrence, a trade in human life for private gain and corporate profit. While we cannot escape our shared history of the oppression of black people and the continuing pain of racism, we recognise that we should ensure that Medway will not, in any way, glorify those who have benefited from slavery. 

 

Recognising that democratic parties on this Council do not believe in the removal of statues or other parts of our nation’s history without going through appropriate democratic structures and community consultation this Council therefore resolves to:

 

·         To request the Cabinet to agree to remove the naming of the John Hawkins Car Park, recognising his role as a leading slave trader with the proposed community task group to consider a more appropriate name that reflects Medway as a diverse community.

 

·         Establish a community task group to consider the names in our public realm, including street names, car park names and the names of buildings and, where possible, and where appropriate, consider renaming to reflect Medway as a modern, culturally diverse and dynamic community.

 

·         To request the Cabinet to agree to commit to working to encourage the development of a school curriculum that includes appropriate focus on and exploration of Black History and the history of ethnic minority people.

Minutes:

“Medway Council recognised the evil of modern slavery in passing a motion with cross-party agreement at its meeting in January 2019 that adopted a ten-point plan to eliminate it from the council supply chain. 

 

This Council further recognises and celebrates the vitally important role played by black and ethnic minority people in building modern Britain, including their role in two world wars, as well as the Windrush generation who helped rebuild the country following the Second World War. This Council further recognises that the history of black people is marred by the experience of the social and economic institution of slavery. 

 

Slavery is a genocidal abhorrence, a trade in human life for private gain and corporate profit. While we cannot escape our shared history of the oppression of black people and the continuing pain of racism, we recognise that we should ensure that Medway will not, in any way, glorify those who have benefited from slavery. 

 

Recognising that democratic parties on this Council do not believe in the removal of statues or other parts of our nation’s history without going through appropriate democratic structures and community consultation this Council therefore resolves to:

 

·       To request the Cabinet to agree to remove the naming of the John Hawkins Car Park, recognising his role as a leading slave trader with the proposed community task group to consider a more appropriate name that reflects Medway as a diverse community.

 

·       Establish a community task group to consider the names in our public realm, including street names, car park names and the names of buildings and, where possible, and where appropriate, consider renaming to reflect Medway as a modern, culturally diverse and dynamic community.

 

·       To request the Cabinet to agree to commit to working to encourage the development of a school curriculum that includes appropriate focus on and exploration of Black History and the history of ethnic minority people.”

 

On being put to the vote, the motion was lost.

 

Councillors Johnson, Khan, Mahil, Maple, Murray, Osborne and Andy Stamp requested that their votes in favour of the motion be recorded in accordance with Council Rule 12.6.

101E)

Councillor Khan, supported by Councillor Johnson, has submitted the following:

A recent documentary brought to light the serious issue of Medway residents relocated outside of the borough, some over 200 miles away.

 

The documentary highlighted that some Councils, including Medway, have not fulfilled their legal duty by failing to inform the receiving local authority of their relocation.

 

This Council recognises that out of borough placements and failures in the relocation process, can have a significant impact on the well-being and needs of some of the most vulnerable residents, with the potential to entirely remove their support network.

 

Furthermore, this Council is aware that out of borough placement is a national issue which requires a detailed coordinated response between local and national government. 

 

This Council therefore resolves to:

 

·         Ensure compliance with the law, by following necessary protocol and informing the relevant local authority of any residents relocated within their jurisdiction.

 

·         Write to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government requesting an urgent review of the temporary accommodation process, with specific focus on out of borough placements.

Minutes:

“A recent documentary brought to light the serious issue of Medway residents relocated outside of the borough, some over 200 miles away.

 

The documentary highlighted that some Councils, including Medway, have not fulfilled their legal duty by failing to inform the receiving local authority of their relocation.

 

This Council recognises that out of borough placements and failures in the relocation process, can have a significant impact on the well-being and needs of some of the most vulnerable residents, with the potential to entirely remove their support network.

 

Furthermore, this Council is aware that out of borough placement is a national issue which requires a detailed coordinated response between local and national government. 

 

This Council therefore resolves to:

 

·       Ensure compliance with the law, by following necessary protocol and informing the relevant local authority of any residents relocated within their jurisdiction.

 

·       Write to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government requesting an urgent review of the temporary accommodation process, with specific focus on out of borough placements.”

 

On being put to the vote, the motion was lost.

 

Councillors Cooper, Johnson, Khan, Mahil, Maple, Murray, Osborne and Andy Stamp requested that their votes in favour of the motion be recorded in accordance with Council Rule 12.6.