Agenda and minutes

County Council - Thursday, 14th July, 2022 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone. View directions

Contact: Joel Cook - Democratic Services Manager  03000 416287

Media

Items
No. Item

79.

Apologies for Absence

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Minutes:

The General Counsel reported apologies for absence from Mr Andy Booth, Mrs Becki Bruneau, Miss Susan Carey, Sir Paul Carter, Mr Nick Chard, Mr Paul Cooper, Mrs Trudy Dean, Mr Harry Rayner, Mr Steve Manion and Mr Jan Ozog.

 

Members were advised that Mr Cameron Beart, Mr Tom Cannon, Mrs Penny Cole, Mr Perry Cole, Mr Nigel Collor, Miss Karen Constantine, Mrs Sarah Hohler, Mr Rory Love, Mrs Margot McArthur, Mr Jordan Meade, Mr Alan Ridgers and Mr John Wright were joining the meeting virtually. 

80.

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

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Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

81.

Minutes of the meeting held on 26 May 2022 and, if in order, to be approved as a correct record pdf icon PDF 454 KB

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Minutes:

RESOLVED that the updated version of the minutes of the meeting held on 26 May 2022 be approved as a correct record. 

82.

Corporate Parenting Panel - Minutes for noting pdf icon PDF 311 KB

Minutes of the meeting held on 16 February and 13 April 2022 – for noting.

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Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meetings of the Corporate Parenting Panel held on 16 February 2022 and 13 April 2022 be noted.

83.

Chairman's Announcements

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Minutes:

Commonwealth Games

 

(1)       The Chairman referred to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and said she had recently attended one of The Queen’s Baton Relay events in Dover.  The Chairman explained the Queen’s Baton Relay began on 7 October 2021, with Her Majesty The Queen placing her Message to the Commonwealth into the Baton.  Since then, it had journeyed across the Commonwealth, visiting all 72 nations and territories. The Chairman said the Commonwealth Games brought nations together in a celebration of sport and was a testament to the hard work and dedication of all the athletes who had been selected to compete at the Games.  The Chairman asked Members to join her in wishing everyone competing, especially those from Kent, all the very best for a successful Games.

 

Children’s Services Outstanding Report

 

(2)       The Chairman paid tribute to the Council’s Children’s Services who had been rated Outstanding by Ofsted, following their inspection in May.  She said Members would hear more about the report later in the meeting but wanted to take the opportunity to thank all the officers and frontline staff for taking the time to support the Ofsted team who conducted the inspection.  The Chairman also thanked everyone in Children’s Services for their commitment and dedication to supporting the young people of Kent, particularly after the very challenging period of the pandemic and the rising number of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children arriving in the county.  The Chairman asked Members to join her in congratulating Children’s Services on this fantastic, and well-deserved, recognition.

 

Kent County Show

 

(3)       The Chairman said she visited the Kent County Council Stand at the County Show on Friday and met with some of the Council’s staff.  She said the stand included a lot of activities for young people, including keyring making, spelling games, a giveaway of wildflower seeds to attract pollinators into your garden and giant Jenga.  The Council’s waste and recycling partner FCC Environment was on hand to answer questions on recycling and waste management.  The Chairman asked Members to join her in thanking everyone involved in setting up the stand and everyone who worked on it over the weekend.

 

Respectful Debate

 

(4)       The Chairman referred to comments made at the last County Council meeting about a Member who was not present. The Chairman thanked Members who had a respectful and reasonable approach to debate and asked that this positive approach was maintained by all.  The Chairman said she was keen that debates focussed on the issues that affected those who lived and worked in Kent and not other Members in the Chamber.  The Chairman said it was her wish that meetings of this Council allowed for healthy debate and provided an environment where all views expressed, and those Members expressing them, were shown due consideration, courtesy, and respect. The Chairman invited the Member concerned to respond to the comments made. 

 

84.

Questions pdf icon PDF 434 KB

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Minutes:

In accordance with Sections 14.15 to 14.22 of the Constitution, 12 questions were submitted by the deadline, 8 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. Questions 8, 10, 11 and 12 were not put in the time allocated but a written answer was provided.

 

85.

Report by Leader of the Council (Oral)

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Minutes:

(1)       The Leader said there were items which he would not address in his report as they were later items on the agenda.  He highlighted the recent Kent Children’s Services Ofsted inspection as a major and positive development and said Headstart was a reminder of how the Council could make a real difference to the lives and prospects of Kent residents and young people.

 

(2)       Mr Gough referred to the disruption to residents, caused by a series of water leaks and failings in the Southern Water network, on the Isle of Sheppey. He said the Council’s role, as a key partner in the Kent Resilience Forum (KRF), was to provide emergency planning support and protection to vulnerable residents. He said recent reports had suggested progress in restoring supply, but the major incident status remained. Mr Gough expressed his support to the people of the island, and said the Council’s two local Members, Mr Booth, and Mr Beart, had worked hard to support residents.

 

(3)       Mr Gough referred to the recent leadership events in central government and said he would focus on areas which he felt had relevance to the Council. He said the events had seen the end of a strong and cohesive ministerial team which had, through the Levelling Up white paper and subsequent bills, pursued a range of major policies including the devolution in county deals. Mr Gough said he was delighted that Kent MP, Mr Greg Clark, had been appointed caretaker Secretary of State for Levelling up, Housing and Communities, albeit only until September 2022.  Mr Gough said there was uncertainty that related to other issues including the proposed Office for Local Government raised by Mr Michael Gove at the Local Government Association (LGA) Annual Conference.

 

(4)       Mr Gough said more local government funding was not a priority being set out by the leadership contenders. He said, as he had identified in previous reports to the Council, modest financial settlements would unlikely keep pace with the demographic and inflation, and other pressures would weigh on the Council’s budgets.  He said although 2021/22 saw the 22nd consecutive year of delivering within the Council’s budget, the outlook and pressures remained relentless. The Council’s approach was to manage those pressures as much as possible, to take difficult decisions where they were needed and to bring down the Council’s cost base, particularly in terms of the Council’s estate. Mr Gough said that since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, increases in actual and forecasted inflation had added an extra estimated £40million to the Council’s revenue costs, and there were still greater impacts on the Council’s capital budget. He hoped the Council would be updated further in the autumn and the Council would also be able to report on the development of its work on Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) where conversations continued with the Department for Education.

 

(5)       Mr Gough referred to the KCC Supported Bus Funding Review and highlighted the pressures that commercial operators across the county, and the country,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 85.

86.

Ofsted Inspection of Children's Services pdf icon PDF 294 KB

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Minutes:

(1)       Mrs Chandler proposed, and Mr Ross seconded the motion that

 

“County Council notes the content of the report and the significant work of all the staff who contributed to this very positive outcome.”

 

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

 

(3)       RESOLVED that the County Council notes the content of the report and the significant work of all the staff who contributed to this very positive outcome.

87.

Review of the Headstart Programme pdf icon PDF 549 KB

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Minutes:

(1)       Mrs Chandler proposed, and Mrs McArthur seconded the motion that

 

“The County Council notes the success of the Headstart programme and the legacy of continued support for the mental wellbeing of children and young people in Kent.”

 

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

 

(3)       RESOLVED that the County Council notes the success of the Headstart programme and the legacy of continued support for the mental wellbeing of children and young people in Kent.

88.

Local Transport Plan 5 (LPT5) Update pdf icon PDF 375 KB

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Minutes:

(1)       Mr Brazier proposed, and Mr Watkins seconded the motion that

 

“That the County Council notes progress on development of Local Transport Plan 5, the draft ambition and outcomes developed and the remaining steps to developing a full draft plan for consultation.”

 

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

 

(3)       RESOLVED that the County Council notes progress on development of Local Transport Plan 5, the draft ambition and outcomes developed and the remaining steps to developing a full draft plan for consultation.”

89.

End of Year Performance Report - 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 127 KB

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Minutes:

(1)       Mr Gough proposed, and Mr Oakford seconded the motion that

 

“The County Council notes the Performance Report”.

 

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

 

(3)       RESOLVED that the County Council notes the Performance Report.

90.

Annual Report on Urgent Decisions pdf icon PDF 375 KB

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Minutes:

(1)       Mr Gough proposed, and Mr Oakford seconded the motion that

 

“The County Council notes the report.”

 

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

 

(3)       RESOLVED that the County Council notes the report.

91.

Pension Board - review of Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 108 KB

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Minutes:

(1)       Mr Thomas proposed, and Mr Oakford seconded the motion that

 

“The County Council notes the report.”

 

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

 

(3)       RESOLVED that the County Council notes the report.

92.

Motions for Time Limited Debate

 

Motion 1

 

 

 

Motion for Time Limited Debate – Devolved Government for Kent

 

 

Proposer:  Mike Baldock

Seconder:  Antony Hook

 

Background information provided by the Green & Independent Group

The recent Levelling Up White Paper has formalised the Government’s purported desire to devolve more power and responsibility to local authorities, recognising that local communities need to be empowered to deliver substantive and sustainable change based on local democratic priorities.

The Welsh Parliament, Scottish Parliament, London Assembly and Northern Ireland Assembly have produced substantial change in their areas by devolving legislative powers to the people through their elected representatives.

Kent has a strong distinctive identity, sense of place and set of opportunities and challenges that warrant constitutional recognition and greater autonomy.

The creation of a Kent Assembly, with legislative powers, will increase local control and ensure that directly elected representatives have more power to deliver policies that reflect the needs of Kent residents.

Motion

The County Council resolves;

to establish a cross-party working group to oversee a feasibility study into devolved government for Kent, based on an elected assembly with legislative powers similar to the powers of other devolved parliaments and assemblies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Motion 2

 

Motion for Time Limited Debate – Play Streets

 

Proposed by: Kelly Grehan

Seconded by: ­­­­Alister Brady

 

Introduction:

In 2016, the World Health Organisation published a report on ‘Ending Childhood Obesity’.[1] It stressed how childhood experience can have an important influence on life-long physical activity habits. In short, what we experience as a child will impact – positively or negatively – on how active we are for the rest of our lives. NHS guidelines state that children aged 5-18 need an hour each day of what they call ‘moderate to vigorous physical activity’ to remain healthy and well.[2] However, evidence shows that a staggering 80% of UK children[3] are not getting the required level of exercise, and that this is fuelling all kinds of growing health problems in children, including clinical obesity and mental ill-health - and this is before we even begin to consider the impacts of the pandemic on activity levels.

 

Background information provided by the Labour Group:

·         A child’s right to play is enshrined in Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.[4]

·         Research shows that play is fundamental to children’s physical, social, mental and emotional development, as well as to their immediate happiness and wellbeing.[5]

·         A great way of encouraging children and young people to play outdoors is to create a ‘play street’. A play street is an event where a road is closed off to traffic for a few hours on a regular basis so that children have a safe space to play freely.

·         Legislation such as the 1874 Town Police Clauses Act and the 1984 Road Traffic Regulation Act can reasonably be used as a basis for implementing play streets.

·         With council permission and general consensus from neighbours, residents legally close the road to through-traffic, using ‘Road Closed’ signs and cones (in this respect, the  ...  view the full agenda text for item 92.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Motion for Time Limited Debate 1 – Devolved Government cross party working group

 

(1)       Mr Baldock proposed and Mr Hook seconded the following motion for time-limited debate:

 

Kent County Council agrees to establish a cross-party working group to oversee a feasibility study into devolved government for Kent, based on an elected assembly with legislative powers similar to the powers of other devolved parliaments and assemblies.”

 

(2)       Following the debate, the Chairman put the substantive motion set out in paragraph 1 to the vote. The voting was as follows:

 

For (11)

 

Mr M Baldock, Mr D Beaney, Mr I Chittenden, Mr P M Harman, Mr M Hood, Mr A Hook, Rich Lehmann, Mr T L Shonk, Mr M J Sole, Mr P Stepto, Mr R G Streatfeild, MBE

 

Against (27)

 

Mr N Baker, Mrs C Bell, Mrs R Binks, Mr T Bond, Mr D Brazier, Mr C Broadley, Mrs S Chandler, Mr D Crow-Brown, Mr M Dance, Mr M Dendor, Mr R W Gough, Mr P M Hill, OBE, Mr D Jeffrey, Mr J Kite, Mr J P McInroy, Mr D Murphy, Mr P J Oakford, Mrs L Parfitt-Reid, Mrs S Prendergast, Mr O Richardson, Mr D Robey, Mr D Ross, Mr A Sandhu, MBE, Mr B J Sweetland, Mr R J Thomas, Mr A Weatherhead, Mr S Webb

 

Abstain (7)

 

Mr A Brady, Ms M Dawkins, Ms K Grehan, Mr A R Hills, Mr S Holden, Mr A Kennedy, Dr L Sullivan

 

Motion lost.

 

Motion for Time Limited Debate 2 – Play Streets

 

(1)       Ms Grehan proposed, and Mr Brady seconded the following motion for time-limited debate:

 

“The County Council resolves:

·       To undertake a feasibility study to assess the benefits and risks of implementing play schemes across the county;

·       To assess whether or not the implementation of such a scheme could be cost-neutral, possibly through sponsorship by local businesses or through Member Grant funding; and

·       On the proviso that the above conditions are met, the Executive should roll out a pilot scheme within the next 12 months.”

 

(2)       The Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport said he would be happy to work with the opposition groups and Highways Officers outside of the meeting to discuss the Play Streets proposal.  This would require additional information and any scheme would need to be cost neutral.    

 

(3)       RESOLVED that the motion be withdrawn following commitment from the Cabinet Member that further discussion would be had with a view to progressing this proposal.