Agenda and draft minutes

County Council - Thursday, 10th December, 2020 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone

Contact: Denise Fitch  03000 416090

Note: In response to COVID-19, the Government has legislated to permit remote attendance by Elected Members at formal meetings. This is conditional on other Elected Members and the public being able to hear those participating in the meeting. This meeting of the County Council will be streamed live and can be watched via the Media link below 

Media

Items
No. Item

258.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

The General Counsel reported apologies from Sir Paul Carter, Mr Messenger and Mrs Stockell. Mrs Cole, Miss Dawson, Mrs Hohler and Mr Pugh gave their apologies for the afternoon session.

259.

Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Other Significant Interests in items on the agenda

Minutes:

Mr Bartlett declared an interest in item 8 on the agenda - EU Transition Update - as he lived adjoining the Sevington Inland Border Facility in Ashford.

260.

Minutes of the meeting held on 22 October 2020 pdf icon PDF 405 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 22 October 2020 be approved as a correct record, subject to the correct spelling of Mr Simkins’ name on page 8 (Minute no 253, paragraph (1)).

 

261.

Chairman's Announcements

Minutes:

a)          New Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Kent

 

The Chairman asked members to join him in welcoming Brigadier (Retd) Trevor Minter OBE DL to the post and in wishing him the very best during his tenure.

 

b)         New Deputy Lieutenants of Kent

 

The Chairman asked members to join him in welcoming the eight new Deputy Lieutenants of Kent who had been appointed to the lieutenancy on 29 October. The new deputy lieutenants appointed were Mrs Jane Ashton, Mr Tim Bull, Mr Lennox Cato, Mrs Kate Fenwick, Mr Nicholas Hely-Hutchinson, Lady Newey, Lord Northbourne, and Professor Rama Thirunamachandran.

 

c)    No Use Empty scheme

The Chairman said he was pleased to announce that Kent County Council had been a finalist in the category for “Council of the Year” at the annual awards ceremony organised by Inside Housing and held on 3 December. He said these awards celebrated the very best organisations in the UK Housing sector, and this nomination was a particularly impressive achievement as the Council was the only non-housing authority shortlisted in this category. He said the success was due, in part, to achievements of the award-winning No Use Empty scheme, which was established in 2005 and had brought back into use 6,600 long-term empty properties across the county. Close partnership working, a committed approach and a recyclable loan fund, which had provided £35 million worth of short term secured loans, was not only helping to meet housing needs but also supported the local economy and brought wider benefits to communities. The Chairman said the team responsible for the No Use Empty Scheme were always looking to expand it and had been successful in having an extra £1 million of funding from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership to launch Phase 2 of the No Use Empty Commercial Scheme.  The business case was due to receive its final sign-off from the Local Enterprise Partnership in February, after which Phase 2 of the commercial scheme would be launched across the county.  The Chairman invited members to join him in congratulating those involved on their success.

262.

Questions pdf icon PDF 297 KB

Minutes:

In accordance with Sections 14.15 to 14.22 of the Council’s constitution, 13 questions were asked, and replies given. A record of all questions put and answers given at the meeting is available online with the papers for this meeting.

263.

Report by Leader of the Council (Oral)

Minutes:

(1)          The Leader updated the Council on events since the last meeting.  He acknowledged the importance of the transition arrangements for the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union and the new strategic plan but said he would not refer to them in his address as they would be considered later in the meeting.  He said he had previously emphasised the degree to which the authority could face a triple pressure from Covid-19, the ending of EU transition arrangements and winter weather and he, his cabinet and senior officers had been pre-occupied with ensuring the authority was as prepared as it could be for each of those events and for their cumulative effects. 

 

(2)          Mr Gough referred to the update he had provided at the last meeting of the County Council when he had set out what needed to be done to maintain Kent’s relatively good position in relation to Covid-19 infections. However, since the second half of October the position had changed and, as of this morning, Kent’s seven-day figure for infections was 339.1 per 100,000 of the population. This was more than twice the national average and Kent had been placed in tier 3 under the system announced by the government.  Other indicators, such as test positivity and pressures within the NHS made it clear that the situation was grave.  He said the authority was doing all it could to turn the position around and get back to a position where more normal life could be resumed. Mr Gough said that, for the last week or so, this included carrying out the local element of contact tracing for which the authority had lobbied for a long time.  He said the authority was working closely with district and borough councils with the aim of following up over 80% of contacts of those who tested positive for Covid-19.  In addition, the authority had been working with military planners and was hoping that approval would be given to the County Council to undertake asymptomatic testing starting in Thanet and Swale, which had the highest infection rates, and then to other parts of the county. He also referred to the part the County Council was playing in relation to the roll-out of the vaccine particularly in care homes and its work with the NHS to identify sites for administering the vaccination as well as its work with districts and boroughs on enforcement and communication.  Mr Gough referred to the high-profile activity of Trading Standards over the previous weeks to ensure that regulations were followed, the work underway to understand the barriers to compliance and the development of localised forms of communication. He said there was evidence to suggest that lower compliance was more common when people believed the rules were not being enforced and that others were not complying.    

 

(3)          Mr Gough referred to the statement about unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) that he and Mrs Chandler had issued on Monday regarding the resumption of the authority’s statutory duties.  He said the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 263.

264.

'Setting the Course' - Kent County Council's Interim Strategic Plan pdf icon PDF 296 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(1)          Mr Gough proposed and Mr Oakford seconded the following motion:

 

“The County Council is asked to approve ‘Setting the Course’ – Kent County Council’s Interim Strategic Plan.”

 

(2)          Following the debate, the Chairman put the motion set out in paragraph (1) above and the voting was as follows:

 

For (56)

 

Mrs Allen, Mr Angell, Mr Balfour, Mr Barrington-King, Mr Bartlett, Mrs Bell, Mrs Beresford, Mrs Binks, Mr Bond, Mr Booth, Mr Bowles, Mr Brazier, Mr Butler, Miss Carey, Mrs Chandler, Mrs Cole, Mr Collor, Mr Cook,  Mr Cooke, Mr Cooper, Mrs Crabtree, Mr Dance, Miss Dawson, Mrs Game, Mr Gough, Mrs Hamilton, Mr Harman, Mr Hill, Mr Hills, Mrs Hohler, Mr Holden, Mr Homewood, Mr Hotson, Mrs Hurst, Mr Kite, Mr Lake, Mr Long, Mr Love, Mr Lymer, Mr Manion, Mr Marsh, Mr McInroy, Mr Murphy, Mr Northey, Mr Oakford, Mr Ozog, Mr Pascoe, Mr Payne, Mrs Prendergast, Mr Pugh, Miss Rankin, Mr Rayner, Mr Simkins, Mr Thomas, Mr Whiting, Mr Wright.

 

Against (13)

 

Mr Bird, Mr Burden, Mr Chittenden, Mr Clinch, Mrs Constantine, Mr Farrell, Mr Hook, Mr Koowaree, Mr Lewis, Ida Linfield, Dr Sullivan, Mr Sweetland, Mr Whybrow

 

Abstain (0)

 

Motion Carried.

 

(3)          Resolved that the County Council approves ‘Setting the Course’ – Kent County Council’s Interim Strategic Plan.

265.

Report Under Section 5 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 pdf icon PDF 100 KB

Minutes:

(1)          The General Counsel introduced the report, which was made under section 5 of the Local Government and Housing Act, relating to a breach of statutory duties by Kent County Council.  The General Counsel confirmed that Kent County Council was no longer in breach of its statutory duty.

 

(2)          Resolved to note the report.

266.

Proposed top tier realignment in Growth, Environment and Transport Directorate pdf icon PDF 156 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(1)          Mr Gough proposed and Miss Cary seconded the following motion:

 

1.1        The County Council is invited to approve the recommendation of the Personnel Committee to agree:

 

·           the deletion of the posts of Director Environment, Planning and Enforcement and Director Economic Development in the Growth, Environment and Transport Directorate.

·           the introduction of three new Divisions, each headed by a new Director role – Transportation; Environment and Waste; and Growth and Communities. 

·           consequential amendments to the current role of Director Highways and Waste

·           that the new structure will operate from 1 April 2021 and that the selection to the new posts will begin immediately if the County Council endorses the recommendation.  The current proposal would result in the Director Highways and Waste being “slotted” under existing HR policies to the new post of Director - Transportation.  Appointments to the other two posts will be made by the Personnel Committee through a Member Appointment Panel.”

 

(2)          Following the debate, the Chairman put the motion set out in paragraph (1) above.

 

(3)          Resolved that the County Council approves the recommendation of the Personnel Committee to agree:

 

(a)  the deletion of the posts of Director Environment, Planning and Enforcement and Director Economic Development in the Growth, Environment and Transport Directorate.

(b)  the introduction of three new Divisions, each headed by a new Director role – Transportation; Environment and Waste; and Growth and Communities. 

(c)  consequential amendments to the current role of Director Highways and Waste

(d)  that the new structure will operate from 1 April 2021 and that the selection to the new posts will begin immediately if the County Council endorses the recommendation.  The current proposal would result in the Director Highways and Waste being “slotted” under existing HR policies to the new post of Director - Transportation.  Appointments to the other two posts will be made by the Personnel Committee through a Member Appointment Panel.

267.

Corporate Parenting Panel - Annual Report - 2019- 20 pdf icon PDF 201 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(1)          Mrs Chandler proposed and Mrs Allen seconded the following motion:

 

“The Members of the County Council are asked to note the annual report and our responsibilities as corporate parents.”

 

(2)          Following the debate, the Chairman put the motion set out in paragraph (1) above.

 

(3)          Resolved that the County Council notes the annual report and their responsibilities as corporate parents.

268.

EU Transition Preparedness - Kent County Council Update pdf icon PDF 463 KB

Minutes:

(1)          Mr Gough proposed, and Mr Payne seconded the following motion:

 

“The County Council is asked to:

 

(1)       note the updated national and local preparations for the end of the EU Transition phase.

(2)       endorse Kent County Council’s continuing focus on Government action needed to resolve final remaining risks and dependencies.”

 

(2)          Following the debate, the Chairman put the motion set out in paragraph (1) above and the voting was as follows:

 

 

For (55)

 

Mrs Allen, Mr Angell, Mr Chittenden, Mr Clinch, Mr Balfour, Mr Barrington-King, Mr Bartlett, Mrs Bell, Mrs Beresford, Mrs Binks, Mr Bond, Mr Booth, Mr Bowles, Mr Brazier, Mr Butler, Miss Carey, Mrs Chandler, Mr Collor, Mr Cook,  Mr Cooke, Mrs Crabtree, Mr Dance, Mrs Game, Mr Gough, Mrs Hamilton, Mr Harman, Mr Hill, Mr Hills, Mr Holden, Mr Homewood, Mr Horwood, Mr Hotson, Mrs Hurst, Mr Koowaree, Mr Lake, Mr Long, Mr Love, Mr Manion, Mr Marsh, Mr McInroy, Miss Morton, Mr Murphy, Mr Northey, Mr Oakford, Mr Pascoe, Mr Payne, Mrs Prendergast, Miss Rankin, Mr Rayner, Mr Ridgers, Mr Simkins, Mr Sweetland, Mr Thomas, Mr Whiting , Mr Wright

 

Against (9)

 

Mr Bird, Mrs Constantine, Mrs Dean, Mr Farrell, Mr Hook, Mr Lewis, Ida Linfield, Dr Sullivan, Mr Whybrow

 

Abstain (1)

 

Mr Lymer

 

Motion Carried.

 

(3)          Resolved that the County Council:

 

(a)       Notes the updated national and local preparations for the end of the EU Transition phase.

(b)       Endorses Kent County Council’s continuing focus on Government action needed to resolve final remaining risks and dependencies.