Agenda item - The following Notices of Motion have been submitted by Members for consideration:

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Agenda item

The following Notices of Motion have been submitted by Members for consideration:

(1)      Moulsecoomb Primary School Sponsor.  Proposed by Councillor Knight on behalf of the Labour Group.

 

(2)      NHS Health and Social Care Decision Making: Democratic Deficit.  Proposed by Councillor Shanks on behalf of the Green Group.

 

(3)      ‘Party Houses’ – Short-Term Lets.  Proposed by Councillor Evans on behalf of the Labour Group.

 

(4)      Proportional Representation and Voter Trials.  Proposed by Councillor Mac Cafferty on behalf of the Green Group.

Minutes:

(1)  Moulsecoomb Primary School Sponsor

 

60.1         1The Mayor noted that an updated notice of motion had been circulated with the addendum papers and that Councillor Knight would like the revised version to be considered.  She therefore sought confirmation that the Council was happy to accept the amended version of the motion for debate.

 

60.2         The Mayor noted that the Council had agreed to accept the amended motion for debate and noted that there was an amendment from the Green Group which had been circulated as part of the addendum papers.  She then invited Councillor Knight to move the motion.

 

60.3         Councillor Knight formally moved the motion and noted that the sponsor for the proposed academy had withdrawn from the process and stated that it clearly showed the need for the school to remain as part of the City Council’s structure.  She hoped that the motion would be supported, and that voices of the staff, parents and children would be heard, and the uncertainty brought to an end.

 

60.4         Councillor Childs formally seconded the motion and noted that three sponsors had now withdrawn from the process and the school now needed to be fully supported.  It had already made significant progress, and this needed to be recognised and the support given be the council maintained to enable it to continue to improve.

 

60.5         Councillor Clare moved an amendment on behalf of the Green Group and noted that there was cross-party opposition to academisation.  She also noted that the Green Party did not support the existence of Ofsted and therefore the amendment sought to achieve the same goal as the motion but in a different way.  The proposed academisation of Moulsecoomb Primary was not right for the school and it should remain with the City Council.

 

60.6         Councillor Hills formally seconded the amendment and stated that the Green Group opposed the concept of academies and questioned the idea of having a further Ofsted inspection given the pressure it brought on the school.  The power to revoke the Order lay with the Secretary of State and they should visit the school to see how well it was doing under the local authority’s remit.

 

60.7         Councillor Yates stated that it was government policy that was the issue which was failing and not the school.  The process had failed to find a suitable sponsor, and this should be recognised.  The school was at the heart of the community and was working hard to deliver results. It should be left with the council to continue with its overall improvement.

 

60.8         Councillor Brown sated that the levels of achievement had been low and the need to enable the school to improve had been identified with the process of academisation.  She was concerned that the anti-academy views expressed would damage relations with the existing academies in the city.  There was a need to support the parents and for a further response from the School Commissioner to be made so that matters could be taken forward.

 

60.9         Councillor Janio stated that there was a need to move forward and suggested that the Groups should recognise this and work together for the benefit of the school.

 

60.10      Councillor Grimshaw stated that the parents were united as a community and should be supported to ensure that the pupils received the education they deserved.

 

60.11      Councillor Knight stated that she understood the Green Group’s position but could not accept the amendment and felt that the parents needed to be supported and therefore the motion should be agreed.

 

60.12      The Mayor noted that the amendment had not been accepted and put it to the vote which was lost.

 

60.13      The Mayor then put the following motion as listed in the agenda to the vote:

 

This council asks the Chief Executive to write to the Secretary of State for Education to outline the following points regarding the proposed academisation of Moulsecoomb Primary School:

 

1)     This Council notes that the proposed sponsor, New Horizons Academy Trust, having been selected without any consultation with the governing body or parents, has now decided to withdraw.

2)     Given the Trust’s prior record and in light of uncovered documents showing that NHAT has already acknowledged that Brighton & Hove Council and current Headteacher at Moulsecoomb are rapidly improving the school¹, this is a welcome development.

3)     This Council reaffirms its commitment to the school and condemns the negative comments and scaremongering in the press release of NHAT.

4)     This Council continues to stand with and respect the views of the parents, carers, teachers, unions and children of Moulsecoomb Primary. We respect their voice and their opposition to the academisation plan, as evidenced by the 96% parental ballot rejecting it and the subsequent industrial action.

5)     This Council notes the local cross-party opposition to these academisation plans.

6)     This Council urges Ofsted, as a matter of urgency now, to reinspect the school, to provide an opportunity to evidence the improvements it has made since the previous inspection and to end the uncertainty for the staff, families and pupils of Moulsecoomb Primary.

7)     This Council urges the Secretary of State to revoke the academisation order.

60.14      The Mayor confirmed that the motion had been carried.

 

(2)  NHS Health and Social Care Decision Making: Democratic Deficit

 

60.15      The Mayor noted that an updated notice of motion had been circulated with the addendum papers and that Councillor Shanks would like the revised version to be considered.  She therefore sought confirmation that the Council was happy to accept the amended version of the motion for debate.

 

60.16      The Mayor noted that the Council had agreed to accept the amended motion for debate and invited Councillor Shanks to move the motion.

 

60.17      Councillor Shanks formally moved the motion and stated that there was a need to review the role of the Health & Wellbeing Board which had not worked and to have accountable local decision-making.  She therefore hoped that the motion could be supported.

 

60.18      Councillor Nield formally seconded the motion and reserved her right to speak.

 

60.19      Councillor Moonan welcomed the motion and noted that a review of the role of the Health & Wellbeing Board was underway with the intention that a broader representation could be achieved.  A report would be brought to the Board in the new year and it may be that a Health & Social Care Sub-Committee would be established to enable the Board to have a strategic oversight and the sub-committee to address matters affecting the council.

 

60.20      Councillor Bell stated that the Conservative Group were happy to support the motion and wanted to find ways to improve the lives of residents across the city.  He hoped that the all Groups could work together to achieve this aim.

 

60.21      Councillor Evans stated that there was a need for local democratic oversight and hoped that matters could be taken forward and improvements to the lives of all residents made.

 

60.22      Councillor Deane noted that the NHS Long-Term Plan would come to the Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee in January and that it was an NHS plan.  She also noted that the plan made repeated references to the need to work with partner organisations and she hoped that this would be the case for the council.  She was concerned that the level of funding to the council from the CCG was less than in other areas and felt that this needed to be addressed and that partner organisations had a greater say in the development of the plan.

 

60.23      Councillor Nield noted that the issues she would have raised had been and therefore did not need to add to the debate.

 

60.24      Councillor Shanks stated that there was a need for cross-party support and noted that the previous vote at the Health & Wellbeing Board had been carried by non-elected members and this needed to be reviewed.

 

60.25      The Mayor then put the following motion to the vote:

 

This council:

·                Notes that the majority of the NHS England budget is allocated to Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), not local authorities;

·                Notes the outcome of the NHS Five Year Forward View, which seeks to give CCGs more influence over the NHS budget;

·                Notes that currently, half of the voting members of this council’s Health and Wellbeing Board are non-councillors; and

·                Notes the opportunity to address this through the comprehensive Health & Wellbeing Board review.

This council requests that as part of the planned review into the Health & Wellbeing Board function, that:

(1)      The terms of reference of this Board are amended, to reflect options for providing greater democratic oversight of Health and Adult Social Care decisions;

That this council requests that the Chief Executive write to the Prime Minister’s Office:

(1)      To ask that the newly elected government commits to adequately fund adult social care in line with need, and further; and

 

(2)      To ask that the pledge to work with all parties be upheld to develop a plan for Adult Social Care funding and provision, including through liaison and consultation with the Local Government Association.

 

(3)      Party Houses – Short-Term Lets

 

60.26      Councillor Janio raised a point of order and sought clarification on whether any Members should declare an interest in the matter, having regard to the fact that they may have properties that they let.

 

60.27      The Monitoring Officer confirmed that declarations of interest were made by individual Members and whilst they could seek advice from him or other officers, the decision to make a declaration ay with them.

 

60.28      The Mayor noted the information and that there was an amendment to the motion from the Green Group as detailed in the addendum papers.  She then invited Councillor Evans to move the motion.

 

60.29      Councillor Evans formally moved the motion and stated that in the run-up to the local elections in May she had found the issue of ‘party houses’ to be a topic of concern.  She hoped that the motion would enable a way forward to be found to tackle the issue and that this would have cross-party support.

 

60.30      Councillor O’Quinn formally seconded the motion and stated that the letting of properties was becoming a business for many people and there was a need to make them responsible. The increase in such property lets was also affecting the property market and adding to the pressure on available homes for families.

 

60.31      Councillor Osborne formally moved the amendment on behalf of the Green Group and stated that it was seeking to add to the motion that the Group fully supported.  He noted that the CE of AirBnB was willing to work with the council and stakeholders to take matters forward and he hoped that a constructive dialogue could be achieved and that contact with the LGA could be made with a view to developing a White Paper on the issue.

 

60.32      Councillor Mac Cafferty formally seconded the amendment and hoped that further action could be taken to help tackle the issue.  He noted that in Cambridge planning regulations had been used to prevent the use of houses for such purposes as it was regarded as a business and an unauthorised change of use.  There was an opportunity to look at such examples and hopefully develop a policy for the city.

 

60.33      Councillor Robins stated that he had met with the Head of Policy at AirBnB along with Councillors Osborne and Wares and they had indicated a desire to work with the council in a positive way.

 

60.34      Councillor Wares noted that the matter had been raised at the previous Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture meeting and that a report was due to come back to the committee.  He was therefore unsure of the need for the motion and that it was more important to ensure that residents were able to contact the council to report matters.  As it stood it was difficult to navigate your way around the council and know who should be contacted e.g. Field Officers were supposed to be the point of contact, but he was unclear whether residents were aware of this.

 

60.35      Councillor Rainey stated that she had received numerous complaints in relation to noise, drunken behaviour etc. due to houses being let out to groups of people.  She noted that it was difficult to take any action for example the preparation of a warning notice took time and the people concerned would have left by the time it could be issued.  There was a need to relook at the matter and find ways to tackle the problem.

 

60.36      Councillor Evans noted the comments and thanked councillors for their contributions.  She welcomed the approach from AirBnB and confirmed that she was happy to accept the amendment.

 

60.37      The Mayor noted that the amendment had been accepted and put the following motion to the vote:

 

(1)      This council notes with concern the ongoing issues raised by residents in neighbouring properties to ‘party houses’, many relating to alcohol abuse, noise disturbance, littering and vandalism. Whilst the vast majority of visitors to our city enjoy themselves without these issues and are very welcome here, we hear residents’ concerns and wish to build on previous work conducted by the council in order to take action against the exceptions.

(2)      This council recognises that it currently does not possess the powers to intervene and regulate these properties, and that this is a problem faced by many local authorities across the country.

(3)      This council deems it reasonable to request sufficient delegated powers to regulate the commercial lets market in the interests of residents, particularly in tourist destination authorities like Brighton & Hove.

Therefore, this council

(1)   Asks the Chief Executive:

(a)      to write to AirBnB welcoming the consultation on registration, stipulating that council will participate; and to request AirBnB and short-term holiday let companies to consider creating a shareable register of reliable hosts,

(b)      to write to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to request:

(i)        government revisit the planning Use Classes Order with potential introduction of a ‘Holiday Lettings Class’;

(ii)       charging business rates to landlords of HMOs, party houses and AirBnB properties

(iii)      the delegation of additional powers to local authorities, in order to allow the regulation of commercial short-term holiday lets, often known locally as ‘party houses.’

 

(2)      Requests that Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture Committee commission a report exploring the principle in planning caselaw from Richmond, Kensington & Chelsea and Cambridge, which stipulates a material change of use had occurred in party houses; and outlining the potential significance for BHCC.

 

60.38      The Mayor confirmed that the motion had been carried.

 

60.39      The Mayor noted that an updated notice of motion had been circulated with the addendum papers and that Councillor Mac Cafferty would like the revised version to be considered. She therefore sought confirmation that the Council was happy to accept the amended version of the motion for debate.

 

60.40      Councillor Wares requested that the matter be put to the vote as it was felt that the amended version simply added to the original one rather than actually updating it.

 

60.41      The Mayor noted the request and put the proposal to take the revised version of the motion to the vote which was lost by 19 votes to 25.

 

60.42      The Mayor then invited Councillor Mac Cafferty to move the notice of motion as listed in the agenda papers.

 

60.43      Councillor Mac Cafferty formally moved the motion and stated that there was a need to consider reviewing the electoral process and drew attention to the results in the recent General Election which had seen MPs being elected with varying degrees of the overall percentage of the vote.  He noted that overall in 2001 the Labour Party had secured 40.7% of the vote and gained 413 seats and yet in 2017 with 40% of the vote they gained 262 seats.  He believed the first past the post system needed to be replaced and an alternative form of proportional representation such as the single transferable vote (stv) brought in and if that was not going to be at a national level it should be at a local level.

 

60.44      Councillor Clare formally seconded the motion and stated that the current system created unwinnable seats which tended to be held by men.  This actively prevented a greater diversity of elected Members and needed to be addressed to enable a better reflection of the community.  She also noted the Government’s intention for Vote ID to be brought in and questioned its effectiveness given that during the recent trials significant numbers of people had been turned away and then not returned to vote.

 

60.45      Councillor Platts sated that the Labour Group were supportive of the original motion but had not been comfortable with the amended version.  She acknowledged that a review of the electoral system was required and that it would be for the national parties to take forward.  In regard to the introduction of Voter ID, she believed that further consideration was required before it was rolled out and more information provided to ensure it would be effective.

 

60.46      Councillor McNair noted that a number of European countries used a form a proportional representation (PR) but questioned whether that meant it was a good system.  He noted it tended to result in minority or coalition governments which generated more uncertainty and suggested that without PR it was very unlikely that the Green Party would gain more MPs or form a government.  With the First Past the Post system a candidate had to secure the support of their electorate and tended to give a result with a party in power and he felt that was a better option to have.

 

60.47      The Mayor congratulated Councillor McNair on his maiden speech on behalf of the Council.

 

60.48      Councillor Janio stated that he believed the First Past the Post system was the most robust and appropriate system to have.  He questioned the ability for a system of PR to provide an Administration with overall control and noted that voter fraud was already an issue and as such Voter ID was important and needed to be introduced.  He could not support the motion.

 

60.49      Councillor Hill stated that she favoured a move to PR as it would reflect the percentage of vote that each party was able to achieve and was therefore more democratic.  She believed that people would be more receptive to coalition government and that it did work elsewhere.

 

60.50      Councillor Bell stated that it was an interesting debate, and would no doubt continue but he believed in the First Past the Post system and therefore could not support the motion.  He also supported the introduction of Vote ID and questioned the opposition to it given the intention to safeguard the electoral process.

 

60.51      Councillor Littman stated that there was a clear need to review the electoral system and referred to the Danish model where there was a Parliament where people across political boundaries actually talked to each other.  He hoped that more democratic system would be brought in both at a national and local level and urged councillors to support the motion.

 

60.52      Councillor Mac Cafferty noted the comments and stated that in respect of Voter ID further thought needed to be given to how those who did not have formal ID would not be disenfranchised.  There were some 11 million people in the UK without a passport for example.  He hoped that if people became aware of the possibilities of PR then there would be more support for it.

 

60.53      The Mayor noted that motion had been moved and put the following motion to the vote:

 

 

 

 

The council notes:

(1)      Recent legislation published by the Welsh Government, paving the way for Votes at 16 and Single Transferable Vote (STV) in local elections and notes further that Wales follows the voting method for elections in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the London Assembly all now use proportional systems;

(2)      England remains the only country in the UK where local elections are undertaken using the First Past the Post (FPTP) voting system, and, that England is the only country in Europe to use such a system.

(3)      The damaging Voter ID trials undertaken earlier this year in the local elections, and plans announced in the Queen’s speech to introduce a Photographic ID requirement. Of 44.6M votes in 2017, electoral fraud resulted in 1 conviction or 0.000063%

This council therefore, requests that the Policy & Resources Committee, considers calling for a report detailing the implications of Voter ID on residents in the city and that the report explores the impact of the FPTP electoral system on local elections in Brighton and Hove and how this compares to the popular vote.

 

60.54      The Mayor confirmed that the motion had been carried.

Supporting documents:

 


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