Agenda and draft minutes

Council
Monday, 12th October, 2020 6.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Katharine Street, Croydon CR0 1NX. View directions

Contact: Annette Wiles 020 872 6000 x64877  Email: annette.wiles@croydon.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

120/20

Disclosure of Interests

In accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct and the statutory provisions of the Localism Act, Members and co-opted Members of the Council are reminded that it is a requirement to register disclosable pecuniary interests (DPIs) and gifts and hospitality to the value of which exceeds £50 or multiple gifts and/or instances of hospitality with a cumulative value of £50 or more when received from a single donor within a rolling twelve month period. In addition, Members and co-opted Members are reminded that unless their disclosable pecuniary interest is registered on the register of interests or is the subject of a pending notification to the Monitoring Officer, they are required to disclose those disclosable pecuniary interests at the meeting. This should be done by completing the Disclosure of Interest form and handing it to the Democratic Services representative at the start of the meeting. The Chair will then invite Members to make their disclosure orally at the commencement of Agenda item 3. Completed disclosure forms will be provided to the Monitoring Officer for inclusion on the Register of Members’ Interests.

 

Minutes:

There were no disclosures of pecuniary interests. Members confirmed their disclosure of interest forms were accurate and up-to-date.

 

 

121/20

Urgent Business (if any)

To receive notice of any business not on the agenda which in the opinion of the Chair, by reason of special circumstances, be considered as a matter of urgency.

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business.

 

122/20

Announcements

To receive Announcements, if any, from the Mayor, the Leader, Head of Paid Service and Returning Officer.

Minutes:

Madam Mayor

 

Madam Mayor gave her announcements to the Members of Council. Councillor Bernadette Khan was congratulated on the occasion of her 60th wedding anniversary.

 

Along with other Councillors, Madam Mayor had participated in an online event called, “Creating Conversations: the untold stories of loss”. This aimed to encourage familiarity with talking about death. Madam Mayor had also supported a Home Office community improvement project by undertaking a tree planting.

 

It was highlighted that the anniversary of the Battle of Market Garden had taken place, but due to Covid, 2020 was the first year in a long time that Croydon had been unable to participate in the ceremony in Arnhem. Madam Mayor had invited Burgermaster Marcouch to visit Croydon as soon as it became safe.

 

Madam Mayor detailed her forthcoming activities including a tour of the borough to be undertaken with Father Christmas and two fundraising events: an online chocolate tasting with Derek Terrell of Delta Chocolate and donations to Madam Mayor’s charities from orders placed using a special flyer at The Vujon and Coriander Takeaway.

 

The Leader

 

Madam Mayor invited the Leader, Councillor Newman, to make his announcements. The Leader welcomed Debbie Jones, the newly appointed Interim Executive Director - Children, Families and Education, to the Council on behalf of Members. Thanks were given to Councillor Hall, who had resigned from the position of Cabinet Member for Finance & Resources, for the work he had done to deliver many manifesto promises.

 

The Leader described how the rise in Covid cases was putting pressure on London with it anticipated that there would be a move from Tier 1 to Tier 2. This meant the Council’s bid to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) for a capitalisation direction was even more important, with lives depending on the support that the Council was able to offer to residents.  Thanks were given to the Interim Chief Executive for the work being done to develop a strong bid. The Leader called for Croydon to come together to support the bid and for it to receive cross-party endorsement.

 

Members of Council were informed of Councillor Newman’s intention to stand down from the position of Leader of the Council. This was to allow a new Leader to come forward who would propose the Croydon Renewal Plan and new budget to Council as the basis for the settlement with MHCLG, and to provide Croydon with a stable future.

 

123/20

Croydon Question Time pdf icon PDF 127 KB

a)    Public Questions (30 minutes)

To receive questions submitted by residents in advance of the meeting.

 

b)   Leader and Cabinet Member Questions (105 minutes)

To receive questions from Councillors.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Public Questions

 

Madam Mayor explained that Croydon Question Time would commence with 30 minutes of public questions to the Leader and Cabinet Members. In accordance with advice from the Government and Public Health England, it was not possible to hold public meetings in the Town Hall. As a result, members of the public were unable to ask questions from the public gallery in the Council Chamber. Questions had been received by email until12 noon on Friday 9 October 2020. There had been 11 public questions submitted on the subject of the Low Traffic Network (LTN) in the Upper Norwood/Crystal Palace area which Madam Mayor proceeded to put in turn to Councillor King the Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport & Regeneration.

 

Madam Mayor read a question from Sonia Marinello to the meeting: “Councillor King, you have stated that once the feasibility study into Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras is complete you will be sharing information on how you could amend the LTN and the process for consulting residents on the proposed changes. Can you confirm how you will do that and whether feedback will be sought from businesses and residents of the other boroughs affected?”.

 

In his response, Councillor King gave his thanks for the question. The informal consultation paper was to be published in early November 2020.  One of the options to be consulted on would be to replace planters with ANPR cameras and to allow residents within the boundary of the LTN access through these points.  It was intended to seek the views of residents from both boroughs as well as local businesses.

 

Madam Mayor read a question from Roxanne Escobales to the meeting: “In what way are the LTNs in Upper Norwood Ward intended to reduce vehicle emissions?”

 

In his response, Councillor King gave his thanks for the question. It was highlighted that Croydon was the London Borough with the greatest potential for both walking and cycling.  Transport for London (TfL) estimated that there were just over 400,000 motorised trips (mostly using cars) made each weekday by Croydon residents which could readily be cycled and 125,000 which could be walked.  Many of the journeys that were undertaken were less than two miles in length, a distance that many people could walk or cycle. 

 

In 2018, 129,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide were emitted by vehicles on Croydon’s minor roads. If it was possible to convert just one in five of those journeys from car to active travel modes then emissions caused by vehicles would reduce noticeably. 

 

Madam Mayor read a question from Jane Chandler to the meeting: “Did Councillor King take into account the impact on bus timetables before implementing the LTN scheme on Auckland Rd/Church Rd?”

 

In his response, Councillor King gave his thanks for the question. It was described how the Council had tried to take bus services into account when deciding on the LTN scheme. The introduction of the bus gate in Auckland Road was in response to concerns about bus service accessibility  ...  view the full minutes text for item 123/20

124/20

Annual Report pdf icon PDF 391 KB

For Members to receive the Scrutiny and Overview Annual Report for 2019 – 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The meeting received the Scrutiny & Overview Annual Report for 2019 - 2020. Madame Mayor invited Councillor Fitzsimons in his capacity as the Chair of the Scrutiny and Overview Committee to provide an introduction to the report.

 

Councillor Fitzsimons thanked Council for having the opportunity to speak on the Scrutiny & Overview Annual Report for 2019 – 2020. It was highlighted that the world had gone through a challenge that had fundamentally reshaped Croydon and it was therefore right to rethink how scrutiny would operate. The Government’s new guidance on the operation of the scrutiny function had informed the Governance Review and a dedicated review of scrutiny had been commissioned. Croydon was described as an authority that welcomed challenge and would reap the benefits of a governance review of its finances. It was highlighted that chairing scrutiny was shared with the Opposition and that for the most part scrutiny avoided party politics. Councillor Fitzsimons thanked those Councillors who were the scrutiny Vice Chairs as well as the Democratic Services Officers who supported scrutiny: Simon Trevaskis and Stephanie Davis. The variety of subjects covered by scrutiny during 2019 – 2020 was rehearsed; there had been call-ins on the decision to close St Andrew High School and emissions based parking charges. From March 2020, scrutiny had turned its focus to Covid. Unlike the Government, scrutiny at Croydon had identified the risk to care homes. The pandemic had an impact on the Council’s finances as well as the scrutiny work programme. The Medium Term Financial Strategy and the Croydon Renewal Plan would both be a focus for scrutiny going forward. It was emphasised that with both needing to be comprehensive and deliverable at pace, Scrutiny had a role in ensuring that the voice of the local community was heard in delivering services that were needed and valued.

 

Madam Mayor invited Councillor Ward, in his capacity as Chair of the Children & Young People Sub-Committee to provide his introduction to the report.

 

Councillor Ward described how he felt encouraged to read the report and gave his thanks to all the Members and officers involved in the scrutiny process with special mention going to the support provided by Democratic Services. The ground covered by scrutiny during 2019/20 was described as pleasing with effectiveness having improved and the non-partisan approach welcomed. The other scrutiny chairs were thanked for their contribution. The Children’s Improvement Plan had been a feature of the work of the Children & Young People Sub-Committee with thanks being given to Rob Henderson, the previous Executive Director for Children, Families and Education, and his team. In the face of the Council’s financial challenges it needed to be ensured that the gains made by the service were not lost.  The Task and Finish group on exclusions being led by Councillor Fitzpatrick was focusing on getting its conclusions right and would be delivered before the end of Council year. More needed to be done to involve front line service users in the scrutiny process. This was even more important because  ...  view the full minutes text for item 124/20

125/20

Governance Review implementation progress update pdf icon PDF 493 KB

For Members to receive an update on the implementation of the Governance Review.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The meeting received a report on the implementation of the Government Review. Madam Mayor invited the Leader to move the recommendations in the report. The Leader highlighted that how, in light the discussions already had at the meeting, these recommendations were even more important including the role of scrutiny in providing opportunity for greater challenge. Whilst the committee structure was put on a pedestal it was not without its own issues including how it gave the power to those Councillors who were responsible for setting the committee agenda. What was being proposed through the review and the recommendations in the report was a hybrid model including a reinforced scrutiny function which was the way forward.

 

Madam Mayor invited Councillor Perry to second the recommendations in the report. Councillor Perry highlighted that he was in support and happy to second the recommendations in the report. These were described as many months in the making with thanks being given to all the colleagues involved and for the cross-party approach taken. The Governance Review had laudable aims in seeking to ensure the decision-making process worked better for residents. It was in the gift of the Administration to ensure it recommendations were implemented and worked successful which would be judged on its action. Thanks was given to Agnieszka Kutek for her support of the panel and its work including for all the extensive research undertaken and papers written. 

 

Prior to the vote, Madam Mayor noted that there were 41 Labour Members and 26 Conservative Members in attendance at the meeting. Madam Mayor put the motion to the vote which was unanimously agreed.

 

RESOLVED: Council AGREED the following recommendations:

 

1.      Agreed to establish Cabinet Member Advisory Committees within the Constitution as detailed in appendix 1 and to note the approach to the implementation of CMAC meetings as detailed in paragraphs 5.1 - 5.17;

2.      Approved the amended definition of Key Decisions as detailed in appendix 1 and paragraphs 5.18 - 5.25;

3.      Approved the Forward Plan protocol attached in appendix 5 and introduce a new forward planning process for managing and publicising forthcoming decisions as detailed in paragraphs 5.26 - 5.33;

4.      Approved the changes to the procedure rules for Council meetings as detailed in appendix 1 and paragraphs 5.34-5.40; and

5.      Noted the updated overarching approach to the delivery of the governance review recommendations, including changes to, and impact of, the budgetary context, as detailed in the report.

 

126/20

Council Debate Motions

To debate any motions submitted in accordance with Council Procedure Rules.

Minutes:

The Mayor read out the first Council Debate Motion on behalf of the Administration:

 

“This council is seriously concerned that the Government’s Planning White Paper will silence the voices of local people in the Planning process and reduce the ability of democratically elected councillors to require developers to improve local infrastructure and provide much needed affordable homes.”

 

Madam Mayor invited Councillor Clark to propose the motion. Councillor Clark stated that the UK had a housing crisis. There was a lack of affordable homes and that a Government was needed that was fit to address this by providing decent homes to live in that were net carbon neutral. The Government’s Planning White Paper was not the plan to achieve this objective. It fundamentally misdiagnosed the issues because it contained no measures to force developers to use unimplemented permissions. Councillor Clark, the Chair of the Planning Committee, wanted to give residents the opportunity to have more say and not less on planning applications. To this end, changes were planned to the Council’s constitution to allow objectors to answer questions. The Government’s White Paper showed its lack of commitment to local infrastructure by increasing from 40 to 50 homes the threshold for developer contributions to the Community Infrastructure Levy with no clear plan for replacing the local funds lost.  The Government was accused of side-lining local community in exchange for the £11m of donations received from developers to the Conservative Party. The Planning for the Future White Paper had been dictated by property developers with the Council Debate Motion providing all Members with the opportunity to rejects its proposals.

 

Councillor Ben-Hassel seconded the motion and reserved the right to speak.

 

Madam Mayor invited Councillor Streeter to speak. Councillor Streeter stated how it had been known for many years that Croydon Labour was Blairite and friends with big business.  It was described how the White Paper was the basis for a consultation with the Government looking for input and MPs debating its content. There was every indication that Ministers were listening and had acknowledged the sensitivities involved in applying the proposals suggested. It was being suggested that there was a need to treat London differently. This was compared to the operation of the planning system in Croydon where consultations were conducted with a foregone conclusion and a suburban character assassination was ongoing. The Administration was described as reluctant to listen to its own Mayor of London when it had been judged that its development targets were too high. Croydon Labour was described as having undermined trust in the planning system and that things could only get better.

 

Madam Mayor invited Councillor Perry to speak. Councillor Perry highlighted that whilst the Administration claimed to value local views it rode rough shod over the views of residents expressed about Local Transport Neighbourhoods and at the Planning Committee. The Administration’s Council Debate Motion was described as grand standing. The approach to the planning system in Croydon was described as a developers’ charter and that the Administration had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 126/20

127/20

Recommendation of the Appointments Committees to Council for decision pdf icon PDF 322 KB

To consider the recommendation expected to be made by the Appointments Committee at its meeting on 6 October 2020 relating to the appointment to Interim Executive Director, Children, Families & Education.  

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Madam Mayor invited the Leader, to move the recommendation referred by the Appointments Committee on 6 October 2020 related to the Pay Policy for 2020/21. The Leader moved the motion. Councillor Butler seconded the motion.

 

Madam Mayor moved the vote and Council unanimously agreed the recommendation in the report.

 

RESOLVED: Council AGREED the following recommendations:

 

1.     That the Pay Policy for the year 2020/21 be updated to include the revised spot salary for the permanent position of Executive Director Children Families & Education of £147,000 p.a.

 

128/20

Exclusion of the Press and Public

The following motion is to be moved and seconded where it is proposed to exclude the press and public from the remainder of a meeting:

 

“That, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act, 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information falling within those paragraphs indicated in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended.”

 

Minutes:

This item was not required.