Agenda for Council on Thursday, 3rd February, 2022, 6.30pm
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Agenda and draft minutes
Venue: Hove Town Hall - Council Chamber. View directions
Contact: Mark Wall Head of Democratic Services
Declarations of Interest
(a) Disclosable pecuniary interests;
(b) Any other interests required to be registered under the local code;
(c) Any other general interest as a result of which a decision on the matter might reasonably be regarded as affecting you or a partner more than a majority of other people or businesses in the ward/s affected by the decision.
In each case, you need to declare
(i) the item on the agenda the interest relates to;
(ii) the nature of the interest; and
(iii) whether it is a disclosable pecuniary interest or some other interest.
If unsure, Members should seek advice from the Monitoring Officer or Democratic Services Officer preferably before the meeting.
60.1 The following councillors declared a personal interest in Item 75, a notice of motion concerning pension investments in fossil fuels as they held local government pensions and confirmed that they had been granted dispensation to speak and vote on the matter by the monitoring officer:
Councillors Allcock, Barnett, Brown, Deane, Gibson, Grimshaw, Mears, Peltzer Dunn, Powell, Simson, Shanks, Theobald, West and Williams.
60.2 No other declarations of interests in matters appearing on the agenda were made.
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the last Council meeting held on the 21st October, 2021.
61.1 The minutes of the last ordinary meeting held on the 21 October were approved as a correct record of the proceedings.
To receive communications from the Mayor.
62.1 The mayor gave the following communications:
I wanted to let Members know that I will be leading a Q & A session with the best-selling author Peter James to raise money for my charities. The event will take place on the 5 April in the Council Chamber at Brighton Town Hall. For further information contact the Mayor’s Office.
Secondly, I am very pleased to announce that following a full day’s review by South-East Employers in conjunction with the LGA on the 18 January, the Council has been awarded Charter Plus status for Member Development. The council has held the Member Development Charter since 2004, and this is reviewed every 3 years, so to achieve Charter Plus is a significant achievement and means the council joins only a few other authorities with this standard.
Congratulations should go to the officers involved in Democratic Services and the Members of the Supporting Members Development Working Group.
Finally, I will be taking regular short breaks during the meeting in order to give everyone in the chamber an opportunity to get some fresh air and remove their masks.
To Receive Nominations for the Deputy Mayor-Elect for the 2022/23 Municipal Year
The Mayor will seek nominations for the Deputy Mayor-elect for the 2022-23 Municipal Year in line with the agreed protocol.
63.1 The mayor sought nominations for the Deputy Mayor-elect for the municipal year 2022/23; and called on Councillor Mac Cafferty.
63.2 Councillor Mac Cafferty nominated Councillor Lizzie Deane to be the Deputy Mayor-elect for 2022/23.
63.3 Councillor Shanks formally seconded the nomination; which was supported by Councillors Appich and Simson.
63.4 The mayor noted that there were no other nominations and therefore put the motion that Councillor Deane be the Deputy Mayor-elect for 2022/23 to the vote which was carried unanimously.
63.5 RESOLVED: That Councillor Deane be designated Deputy Mayor-Elect for the 2022/23 municipal year.
Call Over for Reports of Committees.
(a) Call over (items 66 - 74) will be read out at the meeting and Members invited to reserve the items for consideration.
(b) To receive or approve the reports and agree with their recommendations, with the exception of those which have been reserved for discussion.
(c) Oral questions from Councillors on the Committee reports, which have not been reserved for discussion.
64.1 The following items on the agenda were reserved for discussion:
Item 69 - White Ribbon Accreditation
Item 70 - Review of the Council’s Constitution
Item 71 - Arrangements for Council and Committee meetings
(b) Receipt and/or Approval of Reports
64.2 The Head of Democratic Services confirmed that Items 69, 70 and 71 had been reserved for discussion; and that the following reports on the agenda with the recommendations therein had been approved and adopted:
Item 66 - Council Tax Reduction Review 2022-23
Item 67 - Gambling Policy 2022-24 (As revised)
Item 68 - Libraires Strategy 2022-25
Item 72 - Budget Protocol
Item 73 - Re-procurement and Appointment of External Auditors
Item 74 - Annual Review of Standards Related Matters, Including Member Complaints
(c) Oral Questions from Members
64.3 The mayor noted that there were no oral questions relating the items not called.
A list of the written questions submitted by Members has been included in the agenda papers. This will be repeated along with the written answers received and will be taken as read as part of an addendum circulated separately at the meeting.
65.1 The mayor noted that the written questions and responses from councillors as detailed in the addendum papers were taken as read and noted without discussion.
Extract from the proceedings of the Policy & Resources Committee meeting held on the 2 December 2022, together with a report of the Chief Finance Officer.
(1) That the introduction of a revised Council Tax Reduction Scheme based on earnings brackets for working age Universal Credit claimants be agreed;
(2) That Council Tax Reduction claimants who are not recipients of Universal Credit should remain on the existing Council Tax Reduction scheme; and
(3) That the fund for Discretionary Council Tax Reduction be set to £200,000 in 2022/23.
Extract from the proceedings of the Licensing Committee meeting held on the 14 October 2021, together with a report of the Executive Director for Housing, Neighbourhoods & Communities.
67.1 RESOLVED: That the final version of the Statement of Gambling Policy 2022-24 as detailed in appendix 1 to the report be agreed for adoption.
Extract from the proceedings of the Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture Committee meeting held on the 25 November 201, together with a report of the Executive Director for Housing, Neighbourhoods & Communities.
(1) That the Libraries Strategy 2022-25 as set out at Appendix 1 be approved;
(2) That the importance of public libraries to our city and the contribution they make to education, tackling loneliness and isolation and community cohesion be noted; and
(3) That a commitment to lifting barriers to access wherever possible, especially to those of low or no income be agreed.
Extract from the proceedings of the Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture Committee meeting held on the 25 November 2021, together with a report of the Executive Director for Housing, Neighbourhoods & Communities.
69.1 Councillor Powell introduced the report which provided an update on White Ribbon UK and the actions required for the council to achieve White Ribbon Accreditation. She noted that there had been cross-party support at the Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture Committee meeting and hoped that full council support would be given to this justifiable campaign.
69.2 Councillors Grimshaw and Simson spoke in support of the report and the recommendations.
69.3 RESOLVED: That an application by officers for White Ribbon Accreditation be agreed.
Extract from the proceedings of the Policy & Resources Committee meeting held on the 2 December 2022, together with a report of the Executive Lead Officer for Strategy, Governance & Law.
70.1 Councillor Clare introduced the report and wished to thank the Members of the Constitution Review Working Group and officers that supported it for their continued work in developing the constitution so that it was fit for purpose.
70.2 Councillors Meadows, O’Quinn, Fishleigh, Allcock, Appich, Atkinson and Bagaeen spoke on the matter.
70.3 The mayor then put the recommendations to the vote which were carried by 23 votes to 12.
(1) That the proposal to make changes to the Council’s Procedure Rules in Part 3.2 of the Council’s Constitution indicated in paragraphs 4.1, 4.2, 4.4, 4.5 and Appendix 1 to the report, but not the changes indicated in paragraph 4.3 which Policy & Resources Committee recommends are not adopted be approved;
(2) That the proposal outlined in para 4.8 to transfer responsibility to manage authorised and unauthorised encampments (including all activities incidental to the Council’s functions of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers and Van dwellers) to the Housing Committee from the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee be agreed;
(3) That it be noted that the disability representative agreed by the Policy & Resources Committee at its meeting on 2 May 2021, would attend Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee and has the status of a standing invitee, the appointment of which is a matter for Policy & Resources Committee;
(4) That both the proposal to make changes to Part 8.5 and the amendments to the rules on future changes to that Part outlined in para 4.21 of the report be approved;
(5) That the proposed changes referred to in paras 2.1 (Appendix 1) of the report be approved;
(6) That the Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer be authorised to take all steps necessary or incidental for the implementation of the changes agreed by the Policy & Resources Committee and by Full Council and authorises the Monitoring Officer to amend and re-publish the Council’s constitutional documents to incorporate the changes.
(7) That the proposed changes come into force immediately following their approval by Policy & Resources Committee or adoption by Full Council, as appropriate.
Extract from the proceedings of the Policy & Resources Committee meeting held on the 27 January 2022 (to follow), together with a report of the Executive Director for Governance, People & Resources.
71.1 Prior to speaking to the report, Councillor Shanks noted that there was an amendment from the Conservative Group and asked for clarification as to whether it could be accepted, as she felt it was a negating amendment.
71.2 The mayor called on the Monitoring Officer to respond to the query.
71.3 The Monitoring Officer stated that the original amendment proposed had been ruled out as a negating amendment but that at the Whips meeting it had been agreed a revised amendment could be submitted. He believed the revised amendment as detailed in the addendum papers was sufficiently in accordance with council procedural rules for it to be accepted as it proposed an alternative outcome.
71.4 Councillor Shanks introduced the report and noted that the proposals had been discussed with the Leaders and Whips and would only be in operation for a short time before having to be reviewed. However, it was felt that they would enable the next cycle of meetings to be held effectively and provide a way forward to enable meetings to take place safely.
71.5 Councillor Barnett moved an amendment on behalf of the Conservative Group which was formally seconded by Councillor Simson. Councillor Barnett stated that given the current guidelines it was felt that a return to full meetings with everyone present in the chamber should be undertaken as soon as possible.
71.6 Councillor Allcock stated that there was a need to recognise that everyone faced challenging times and that some people were more vulnerable than others. He believed the proposals were appropriate for the current time and should be supported.
71.7 Councillor Shanks noted the comments and stated that councillors had to attend a number of meetings outside of the council meetings and therefore the proposals were appropriate for the current situation. She also noted that the previous virtual meetings had worked well and enabled all councillors to participate but the necessary legislation had not been implemented for these to continue. She also confirmed that she could not support the amendment.
71.8 The mayor noted that an amendment to the recommendations had been moved and put it to the vote which was lost by 11 votes to 24.
71.9 The mayor then put the recommendations as listed in the extract from the proceedings of the Policy & Resources Committee meeting held on the 27 January, as detailed in the addendum papers to the vote which was carried by 24 votes to 11.
(1) That the proposals set out in the report regarding arrangements for Council and committee meetings (except paragraph 3.11 dealing with attendance numbers) be approved; and
(2) That option A (14) regarding number of attendees at full Council meetings as set out in paragraph 3.12 of the report be approved.
Note: For reference the revised paragraph 3 is detailed below:
3. Context and background information
3.12 Attendance- numbers
3.12.1 For the budget Council meeting on 24 February, we are anticipating a full attendance of all 54 Councillors. For other full Council meetings, Members are recommended to consider reduced attendance. Reduced attendance can only be implemented by voluntary agreement. If there is no agreement, each Member and each group will have to decide for themselves. Given the restriction on available seating and lack of suitable alternative venues, Members are recommended to adopt options A or B from the following options:
A. Minimum attendance to meet the requirement for a quorum
The quorum for full Council meetings is 14. If the 14 seats were allocated proportionately to the Groups and the Independents, the party split would be:
B. Reduction to accommodate 40 Members in the main Chamber- This would mean about 40 Members attending in the main chamber with no members in the public gallery. If this were agreed, the party split would be:
C. Reduction to 46 with 6 Members sitting in the public gallery-We have had an update from security that, if Members are to be seated in the public gallery alongside members of the public, they would have concern. There are also complications on the selection of members and suitability of the seating area. Relocating the seating for the press may release 2 seats on the ground floor, but it would still be not very convenient. If this option were adopted, the proportional party split would be:
D. Full Attendance
It would be possible to provide seating for all members with the minimum social distancing and screening provided. But this is an option that is not recommended.
3.14 POLICY COMMITTEE MEETINGS
3.14.1 There are a number of committee meetings taking place over the following months and it is proposed that Committee Chairs, following consultation with opposition spokespersons and Officers are encouraged and authorized to adopt the following proposals.
3.14.2 Reduce items coming the Policy Committee: reports coming to committee should be essential business and, unless there is good reason, reports for information or noting should generally be avoided or dealt with in public engagement meetings, if this can be agreed with opposition spokespersons at pre-meets.
3.14.3 Engagement sessions: If none of the repots coming before the committee require an actual decision, Members should consider, instead, holding a virtual engagement session. Where this is agreed, it is important to note that the meeting will not have the status of a committee meeting and it should not be described as such. It will be an engagement session with members of the committee attending virtually.
3.14.4 A mixed arrangement: Members could agree to take the public engagement items that do not require a decision (public and member questions) and items for information only in an engagement session before the main meeting limiting the in-person attendance to matters that require decisions or are required by law to be considered by the Committee.
3.14.5 Limiting speakers: it is proposed that on matters debated at the main meeting, groups are encouraged to limit their number of speakers.
3.14.6 Decision-making process for the above: It is proposed that the above arrangements, if applied, are agreed by the Chair following consultation with opposition spokespersons and advice from officers. Where the Chair so decides, it may involve moving the whole meeting to an engagement session or transferring some items of business to the engagement session to be dealt with virtually.
3.14.7 It should be noted that any matter that requires a decision or is required by law to be considered by full Council or a Committee cannot be dealt with at the engagement session and has to be discussed at the in person meeting of Council or Committee.
3.15 Enhanced Officer Delegations
3.15.1 Given the increased risk and the need to minimise the length of meetings, it is proposed to introduce an enhanced officer delegations scheme. The delegated powers will be in addition to existing normal and urgency powers and are exercisable after consulting the Chair and Opposition spokespersons in each committee. This requires P&R approval and a separate report on the matter is on the agenda. In summary, the proposals are as follows:
(1) Subject to first consulting with relevant Group Spokespersons, Executive Directors or Members of ELT with delegated powers shall have enhanced delegated authority to make decisions on all matters related to their area of responsibility. This is in line with government advice and reflects the need to reduce the duration of meetings.
(2) To facilitate consultation with members of all groups, such consultation may take place during committee pre-meetings, or separately if necessary.
3.16: Duration and status of protocol
3.16 1 The above proposals, once agreed, will form the binding protocol for Council and Committee meetings. The Council’s Standing Orders shall be applied subject to the above modifications to the extent that is necessary. Without prejudice to the powers of the Mayor or relevant Chair to make a ruling at the meeting, the Chief Executive, after consulting the Monitoring Officer, shall be authorised to rule on the interpretation and application of the rules where there is ambiguity or disagreement. The ruling of the Chief Executive shall be final.
3.16.2 The Council Procedure Rules shall be applied subject to the modification to reflect the above arrangements.
3.16.3 These arrangements shall remain in force until annual Council but may be modified at any time before then, especially if there is change in the levels of risk posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
71.11 The mayor then called a short adjournment from 7.26pm to 7.40pm.
Report of the Executive Director for Governance, People & Resources.
72.1 RESOLVED: That the protocol outlined in appendix 1 to the report be approved for setting the council’s budget and council tax including proceedings at the February Policy & Resources Committee and Budget Council meetings.
Extract from the proceedings of the Audit & Standards Committee meeting held on the 25 January 2022, together with a report of the Chief Finance Officer.
(1) That the council’s opt-in to the national scheme and its adoption of PSAA as the appointing person for the council for the appointment of auditors for the period 2023/24 to 2027/28 be approved; and
(2) That the Chief Finance Officer be granted delegated authority to take all steps necessary or incidental to give effect to the decision in (1) above.
Extract from the proceedings of the Audit & Standards Committee meeting held on the 25 January 2022, together with a report of the Executive Director of Governance, People & Resources.
74.1 RESOLVED: That the report be noted.
Proposed by Councillor Clare on behalf of the Green Group.
75.1 The Notice of Motion as listed in the agenda was proposed by Councillor Clare on behalf of the Green Group and formally seconded by Councillor Hugh-Jones.
75.2 Councillor Miller spoke against the motion and Councillor Appich spoke in favour of the motion.
75.3 Councillor Hugh-Jones noted the comments and sought the council’s support for the motion.
75.4 The mayor then put the following motion to the vote:
This Council notes:
· Cities across the world have shown their commitment to tackling the climate crisis by endorsing the call for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty
· BHCC’s pensions are held by the East Sussex Pension Fund, which still invests in fossil fuels
· Preventing climate chaos requires the bulk of fossil fuels be left in the ground, leaving fossil fuel companies with stranded assets, meaning current shares are likely to be overvalued.
This council resolves:
(1) That the Chief Executive write to the East Sussex Pensions Committee expressing our request for a two-year timeline to divest from fossil fuels; highlighting that continuing to invest in stranded assets risks a failure of their fiduciary duty to pension scheme members,
(2) That Policy &Resources Committee be requested to commission a report:
· outlining options for removing BHCC pensions from the East Sussex scheme, and reinvesting them elsewhere; should ESPF fail to act swiftly to protect pensioners’ investments
· detailing how council can continue to support in principle the development of renewable technologies to phase out fossil fuels,
(3) To endorse the call for Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty to:
· End new expansion of fossil fuel production
· Phase out existing fossil fuel production
· Invest in a transformational plan to ensure 100% access to renewable energy globally.
75.5 The mayor confirmed that the motion had been carried by 23 votes with none against, and 12 abstentions.
Proposed by Councillor Wilkinson on behalf of the Labour Group.
76.1 The Notice of Motion as listed in the agenda was proposed by Councillor Wilkinson on behalf of the Labour Group and formally seconded by Councillor Appich.
76.2 Councillor Brown moved an amendment on behalf of the Conservative Group which was formally seconded by Councillor Simson.
76.3 Councillor Clare moved an amendment on behalf of the Green Group which was formally seconded by Councillor Druitt.
76.4 Councillor Wilkinson confirmed that he was willing to accept the Green amendment but not the Conservative amendment.
76.5 The mayor noted that the Green amendment had been accepted and put the Conservative amendment to the vote which was lost by 11 votes to 23.
76.6 The mayor then put the following motion as amended to the vote:
1. Notes the high volume of complaints that Councillors receive from residents concerned about performance of somecouncil services from missed refuse, recycling and garden waste collections; to overgrown weeds; to graffiti and litter on our streets, beaches and in our parks; to mismanagement of parking permits; and the general maintenance, upkeep and cleanliness of our city;
2. Notes that the Council’s own 2020-21 year-end Corporate KPI results reflect the pandemic, as well as demonstratingcomplaints from residents, and show the Council is performing below-target on the delivery of some essential services, and that some of these issuesare systemic and long-running; and also reflect the impact of cuts to public services made by government;
3. Recognises the challenges the pandemic has presented, and thanks and acknowledges the hard work council staff have undertaken over the past year, particularly as less than 10% were furloughed;
4. Recognises also, however, that despite ongoing pandemic-related challenges, residents are right to expect improvements to the delivery of council services.
This Council resolves to ask the Policy & Resources Recovery Sub-Committee to request:
1. A new report to every meeting of the sub-committee outlining the council’s steps to recovery in the following service areas:
· waste and refuse collection,
· parking permits
· street cleanliness
with the opportunity to ask questions of responsible senior officers and receive feedback on any recommendations and progress;
2. A report to an upcoming meeting of the Policy & Resources Recovery Sub-Committee outlining the council’s roadmap to developing digital service delivery with inclusion at its heart.
76.7 The mayor confirmed that the motion had been carried unanimously.
Proposed by Councillor Williams on behalf of the Labour Group.
77.1 The Notice of Motion as listed in the agenda was proposed by Councillor Williams on behalf of the Labour Group and formally seconded by Councillor Childs.
77.2 Councillor Gibson spoke in favour of the motion and Councillor Mears spoke against the motion.
77.3 Councillor Williams noted the comments and sought the council’s support for the motion.
77.4 The mayor then put the following motion to the vote:
In order to stem the rise of second home ownership which is having a severely detrimental effect on housing supply and affordability, this Council:
Supports the implementation of a principal residency
policy whereby new open-market housing planning permission will
only be granted where there is a condition restricting occupancy as
a Principal Residence – the purpose being to reduce the
levels of second homes and enable increased primary residence and
year-round community benefits;
Requests the Housing and Tourism, Equalities,
Communities & Culture committees to call for a report to be
submitted to meetings of each of the committees within the next six
months to outline all possible policy steps that could be
considered in order to implement this
policy and model the impact of such an approach on both
affordability and availability in the next five years;
3. Requests that this report will highlight:
· The planning policy changes required;
· Examples of Planning Authorities where such outcomes have been successfully achieved;
· Any evidence gaps or reports required to meet standards of evidence;
· A timetable for implementation for this Authority and potential mitigations required – such as a balancing policy for the development of holiday lettings.
77.5 The mayor confirmed that the motion had been carried by 23 votes for and 11 against.
Proposed by Councillor Mears on behalf of the Conservative Group.
78.1 The Notice of Motion as listed in the agenda was proposed by Councillor Mears on behalf of the Conservative Group and formally seconded by Councillor Theobald.
78.2 Councillor Evans moved an amendment on behalf of the Labour Group which was formally seconded by Councillor Grimshaw.
78.3 Councillor Mac Cafferty spoke in favour of the amendment.
78.4 Councillor Mears noted the comments and confirmed that she did not accept the amendment.
78.5 The mayor then put the amendment to the vote which was carried by 23 votes to 11.
78.6 The mayor then put the following motion as amended to the vote:
This Council requests the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee:
To commission an urgent investigation into the
appearance of a sink hole after the removal of the Christmas market
and funfair, and whether existing known damage to the Victoria
Fountain has been worsened by the funfair, or may be worsened by
heavy equipment due to be placed there during planned work on
Valley Gardens 3; and
2. To agree to the public release of all findings so that residents can be assured that the city’s historic sites and important heritage assets will be treated with the respect they deserve.
78.7 The mayor confirmed that the motion had been carried unanimously.
Proposed by Councillor Nemeth on behalf of the Conservative Group.
79.1 The Notice of Motion as listed in the agenda was proposed by Councillor Nemeth on behalf of the Conservative Group and formally seconded by Councillor Bagaeen.
79.2 Councillor Wilkinson moved an amendment on behalf of the Labour Group which was formally seconded by Councillor Appich.
79.3 Councillor Davis spoke in favour of the amendment.
79.4 Councillor Nemeth confirmed that he would not accept the Labour amendment.
79.5 The mayor then put the amendment to the vote which was carried by 21 votes to 11 with 1 abstention.
79.6 The mayor then put the following motion as amended to the vote:
Notes that Environment, Transport &
Sustainability Committee voted on 21st
July 2021 for an urgent report for the next meeting of that
committee on Administration
proposals for a park and ride scheme on Mill Road in
Further notes that no report was forthcoming at
meetings of Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee
on 21st September 2021, 16th November 2021 or
18th January 2022;
Notes that the Labour Group identified funds in last
year’s underspend to invest in a park and ride
Urgently calls on the Administration to deliver a
report to the next meeting of the Environment, Transport &
Sustainability Committee with an update on current
79.7 The mayor confirmed that the motion had been carried unanimously.
Close of Meeting
The Mayor will move a closure motion under Procedure Rule 17 to terminate the meeting 4 hours after the beginning of the meeting (excluding any breaks/adjournments).
1. The Mayor will put the motion to the vote and if it is carried will then:-
(a) Call on the Member who had moved the item under discussion to give their right of reply, before then putting the matter to the vote, taking into account the need to put any amendments that have been moved to the vote first;
(b) Each remaining item on the agenda that has not been dealt with will then be taken in the order they appear on the agenda and put to the vote without debate.
The Member responsible for moving each item will be given the opportunity by the Mayor to withdraw the item or to have it voted on. If there are any amendments that have been submitted, these will be taken and voted on first in the order that they were received.
(c) Following completion of the outstanding items, the Mayor will then close the meeting.
2. If the motion moved by the Mayor is not carried the meeting will continue in the normal way, with each item being moved and debated and voted on.
3. Any Member will still have the opportunity to move a closure motion should they so wish. If such a motion is moved and seconded, then the same procedure as outlined above will be followed.
Once all the remaining items have been dealt with the Mayor will close the meeting.
80.1 The mayor thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting.