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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Guildhall, York

Contact: Jill Pickering  Senior Democracy Officer

Items
No. Item

46.

Declarations of Interest

At this point, Members are asked to declare:

 

·        any personal interests not included on the Register of Interests

·        any prejudicial interests or

·        any disclosable pecuniary interests

 

which they may have in respect of business on this agenda.

 

Minutes:

Members were invited to declare at this point in the meeting any personal, prejudicial or disclosable pecuniary interests they might have in the business on the agenda.

 

The following personal interest was declared:

 

Councillor

Agenda Item

 

Description of Interest

Cllr Gillies

12 (Notices of Motion) B (iv) from Cllr Burton (Acomb Team).

Former chair of Acomb Conservative Club who have been involved in discussions on this proposal.

 

 

47.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 361 KB

To approve and sign the minutes of the last Council meeting held on 11 October 2012.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:       That the minutes of the last Ordinary meeting of the Council held on 11 October 2012 be approved and signed by the Chair as a correct record.

48.

Civic Announcements and Lord Mayor Elect

To consider any announcements made by the Lord Mayor in respect of Civic business and invite the Leader to announce the Lord Mayor Elect for the 2013/14 municipal year.

 

Minutes:

The Lord Mayor invited all present to stand and observe a minute’s silence in memory of Honorary Alderman Bob Eccles following his recent death. Honorary Alderman Eccles had been a long standing colleague and member and Chair of Rawcliffe Parish Council and Ryedale and City of York Councils.

 

The Lord Mayor also welcomed Cllr Jeffries back to meetings and Council business, following her recent illness.

 

The Lord Mayor then invited Cllr Alexander to nominate the Lord Mayor Elect for the Municipal Year 2013/14. Cllr Alexander nominated Cllr Julie Gunnell as the Lord Mayor Elect and this nomination was unanimously agreed.  Cllr Gunnell replied that she would be honoured to accept this office for the 2013/14 Municipal Year. 

 

49.

Public Participation

At this point in the meeting, any member of the public who has registered to address the Council, or to ask a Member of the Council a question, on a matter directly relevant to the business of the Council or the City, may do so. 

The deadline for registering is 5:00pm on Wednesday 12 December 2012.

Minutes:

The Lord Mayor announced that two members of the public had registered to speak at the meeting.

 

Gwen Swinburn spoke in relation to governance issues. She explained that she had attended Council meetings over the past year and had spoken widely to colleagues and citizens who shared her concerns regarding the governance of the city. She stated that problems existed at a number of levels, including Cabinet, scrutiny, and Ward Committees where improvements needed to be made. She suggested that a form of governance commission/panel should be established in order to examine these issues and expressed her desire for all council meetings to be web cast.

 

John Cossham FRSA spoke as a representative of ‘Frack Free York Our Clean Energy Future’. He explained the process of fracking which involved pumping high-pressure water and chemicals into underground shale to release trapped gas. He pointed out that this process was well publicised in the States and although there were currently no fracking sites around York, there were concerns that current planning legislation could allow energy companies to use this process in the area. He reported that permission was already in place locally to drill for gas using coal bed methane extraction with rigs up and running in Shipton and Wigginton, and pointing out that fracking was an alternative method for dealing with coal beds. He asked members for their support in adopting a policy to prevent hydro carbon extraction in the York area.

 

50.

Petitions

To consider any petitions received from Members in accordance with Standing Order No.7.  To date, notice has been received of one such petition as follows:

·        A petition to be presented by Cllr Reid on behalf of residents of Spurr Court requesting the reinstatement of the streetlight that was removed in 2011.

 

 

Minutes:

Under Standing Order 7, petitions were presented by:

 

i)          Cllr Reid on behalf of residents of Spurr Court requesting the reinstatement of the street light removed in 2011 to improve security and safety for residents. 1.

 

ii)        Cllr Orrell on behalf of residents of Lea Way, Huntington requesting the City of York Council to carry out the resurfacing of Lea Way postponed while Lea Field Court was constructed. 2.

 

 

51.

Report of Cabinet Leader and Cabinet Recommendations pdf icon PDF 88 KB

To receive and consider a written report from the Leader on the work of the Cabinet, and the Cabinet recommendations for approval, as set out below:

 

Meeting

Date

Recommendations

 

Cabinet

 

 

Cabinet

 

6 November 2012

 

4 December

2012     

 

 

 

 

Minute 55: 2012/13 Capital Programme Monitor 2

      

Minute 70: Council Tax Support  Decision Paper

(Minutes to follow)

 

http://modgov.york.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=733&MId=6879&Ver=4

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A written report was received from the Cabinet Leader, Cllr James Alexander, on the work of the Cabinet.

 

A       Questions

 

Notice had been received of fifteen questions on the written report, submitted by Members in accordance with Standing Orders. The first six questions were put and answered as follows and Cllr Alexander undertook to provide Members with written answers to the remaining questions:

 

(i)      From Cllr Warters: “Whilst supportive of the Council’s aim to increase the pay of the lowest paid workers, will the Council Leader confirm that the implementation of the living wage on 1 April 2013 will not lead to similar percentage wage increases further up the salary grades to maintain differentials?”

 

The Leader replied:

Can I start by thanking Councillor Warters for his support for this policy. This is a refreshing change from York Conservatives who have said the policy is “the wrong thing for council to be doing” and York Liberal Democrats who have called the policy “financially reckless”.

 

Job redesigns will be completed by 1 April 2014 and this will determine if further changes to pay structures are required. I am not anticipating many increases but we need to address issues where staff may have little difference in pay to those who they manage, who will now benefit from the Living Wage.

 

(ii)     From Cllr Cuthbertson: “How will the ‘living wage’ be funded in 2014/15?”

 

The Leader replied:

From core budget. This will be put before full council in February 2013 as part of our two year budget for 2013/14 – 2014/15.

 

(iii)     From Cllr D’Agorne: “If the 'Living wage' is to be funded from borrowing in the first year, how is this sustainable from 2014? Will this still be implemented if compulsory redundancies are required to balance the books in 2013/14?”

 

The Leader replied:

The Living Wage is not going to be funded from borrowing. In local Government you cannot pay revenue wages using capital borrowing.

 

(iv)    From Cllr Healey: “Name one action taken by your administration since taking office which will have affected the latest published unemployment and growth figures cited in your report?”

 

The Leader replied:

Increasing the number of apprentices at City of York Council by 60 since being elected in May 2011.

 

(v)     From Cllr Warters: “Noting references to the Hiscox development in the report, will the Cabinet Leader be attempting to influence the Hiscox management to relocate back to the UK from the companies’ tax haven base in Bermuda in line with national concerns over corporate taxation levels?”

 

The Leader replied:

I am not au fait with tax avoidance and so I am not sure what arrangements Councillor Mark Warters is referring to. However I share concern over UK corporation tax evasion. I trust the Chancellor will be closing these loop holes with the recent media attention on Starbucks and Amazon.

 

(vi)    From Cllr Healey: “Please name the financial contribution being made by the private sector that backs the council taking  ...  view the full minutes text for item 51.

52.

Scrutiny - Report of the Chair of the Corporate and Scrutiny Management Committee pdf icon PDF 69 KB

To receive a report from Councillor Wiseman, the Chair of the Corporate and Scrutiny Management Committee (CSMC) on the work of the CSMC.

Minutes:

Council received the report of the Chair of the Corporate and Scrutiny Management Committee at pages 93 to 96, on the work of the Committee.

 

Councillor Runciman then moved and Cllr Steward seconded acceptance of the report and it was

 

RESOLVED:                That the scrutiny report be received and noted.

53.

Report of Cabinet Member pdf icon PDF 139 KB

To receive a written report from the Cabinet Member for Crime and Stronger Communities, and to question the Cabinet Member thereon, provided any such questions are registered in accordance with the timescales and procedures set out in Standing Order 8.2.1.

Minutes:

Council received a written report from Cllr Williams, Cabinet Member for Crime and Stronger Communities.

 

Notice had been received of eighteen questions on the report, submitted by Members in accordance with Standing Orders. The first eight questions were put and answered as follows and Members agreed to receive written answers to their remaining questions, as set out below:

 

(i)      From Cllr Healey:

 

Are you actually implying that the creation of a single cabinet post has led to a reduction in crime of 19.4% in the last two years and isn’t this disrespectful to the police, probation service and other criminal justice professionals who are really responsible?”

 

Cabinet Member replied:

“Its taken a deliberately provocative comment from me to get opposition councillors to ask me questions about crime figures, which show a spectacular success story since Labour took control of the authority.

 

I am delighted to take up the opportunity to talk about the staggering reduction in crime in York since May 2011, which followed from a year of rising crime in 2010/11.

 

Of course the major credit for this should go to professionals on the ground in the police and Safer York Partnership.

 

But just as we praise officers we should acknowledge that these successes came under a policy framework set by this administration and taking their lead from this administration . I am sure he would be the first to blame me if the figures showed a rise in crime.”

 

 

(ii)     From Cllr Orrell:

 

“What were the figures for overall crime in 2003 and in 2011? What percentage increase/decrease does this represent over the 8 year period?”

 

Cabinet Member replied:

“Crime fell in York over those eight years. But the fall was not at all consistent. On average it fell by 6.7% per year in those years.

 

Crime fell by 10% last year. So far this year its fallen by 9.4%. He can try to play around with the Lib Dem figures all he wants – it will still show a remarkable performance in the last two years under Labour and far better than anything achieved under the Lib Dems.”

 

(iii)     From Cllr Orrell:

 

“Would he agree with me that at least some of the credit for the continuing drop in crime in York over the last ten years should go to the Police and other partners?”

 

Cabinet Member replied:

“Yes.”

 

(iv)    From Cllr Orrell:

“In the areas of theft or unauthorised taking of a vehicle, shoplifting, and fraud our performance position compared to our family group of authorities has worsened. How does the Cabinet Member explain this and what steps has he put in place to improve this position?”

Cabinet Member replied:

“In the case of fraud, the sample base is very small and so small changes can distort the figures. I should say that we are considerably ahead of target for this crime type.

 

There doesn’t appear to be a specific reason for the change with regards to the other two types of crime.

 

in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 53.

54.

Recommendations of the Joint Standards Committee pdf icon PDF 55 KB

To consider the following recommendations for approval from the Joint Standards Committee:

 

Meeting

Date

Recommendations

 

Joint Standards

Committee

 

 

 

 

 

 

28 November 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minute 20: Appointment of Independent Persons

 

Minute 21: Dispensations

 

http://modgov.york.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=140&MId=7107&Ver=4

 

 

 

 

Minutes:

As Chair of the Joint Standards Committee, Cllr Runciman moved and Cllr Cuthbertson seconded, the following recommendations contained in Minutes 20 and 21 of the meeting of that Committee held on 28 November 2012:

 

APPOINTMENT OF INDEPENDENT PERSONS

 

(i)      [That Council] approve the appointment of Mr David Laverick as an independent person.

 

(ii)      That, until a full complement of independent persons has been appointed, the existing former independent persons be requested to continue to act in this role. 1.

 

DISPENSATIONS

 

[That Council] agree that agenda papers for meetings record dispensations that had been granted. 2.

 

On being put to the vote, the recommendations were declared CARRIED and it was

 

RESOLVED:       That the recommendations in Minutes 20 and 21 of the Joint Standards Committee meeting held on 28 November 2012 be approved.

55.

Recommendations of the Gambling, Licensing and Regulatory Committee pdf icon PDF 40 KB

To consider the following recommendation for approval from the Gambling, Licensing and Regulatory Committee:

 

Meeting

Date

Recommendations

 

Gambling, Licensing and Regulatory Committee

 

 

19 November 2012

 

 

 

 

Minute 8:

Statement of Licensing

Policy – Gambling Act 2005

 

http://modgov.york.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=606&MId=6921&Ver=4

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

As Chair of the Gambling, Licensing and Regulatory Committee,  Cllr Boyce moved, and Cllr Gillies seconded, the following recommendation of that Committee held on 19 November 2012:

 

STATEMENT OF LICENSING POLICY – GAMBLING ACT 2005

 

        That Full Council be asked to approve the new statement of licensing policy.

 

On being put to the vote, the recommendation was declared CARRIED and it was

 

RESOLVED:       That the recommendation in Minute 8 of the Gambling, Licensing and Regulatory Committee meeting held on 19 November 2012 be approved. 1.

56.

Activities of Outside Bodies

Minutes of the following meetings of outside bodies, received since the last meeting of Council, have been made available for Members to view via the Council’s website at

 

http://democracy.york.gov.uk/ecCatDisplay.aspx?sch=doc&cat=12959&path=0

 

Copies may also be obtained by contacting Democracy Support Group at the Guildhall, York (tel. 01904 551088)

 

·        NHS Foundation Trust - 23 May 2012

 

·        Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation – 22 June 2012

 

·        North Yorkshire Police Authority – 25 June 2012

 

·        Quality Bus Partnerships – 17 September 2012

 

·        North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority – 26 September 2012

 

·        Safer York Partnerships – 11 October 2012

 

Members are invited to put any questions to the Council’s representatives on the above bodies, in accordance with Standing Order 10(b).

Minutes:

Minutes of the following meetings had been made available for Members to view on the Council’s website:

 

·        NHS Foundation Trust - 23 May 2012

 

·        Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation – 22 June 2012

 

·        North Yorkshire Police Authority – 25 June 2012

 

·        Quality Bus Partnerships – 17 September 2012

 

·        North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority – 26 September 2012

 

·        Safer York Partnerships – 11 October 2012

 

No questions had been submitted to representatives on outside bodies.

 

 

57.

Notices of Motion

To consider the following Notices of Motion under Standing Order 12:

 

A – Motions referred from the Cabinet in accordance with Standing Order 12.1(a)

 

None

 

B – Motions submitted for consideration directly by Council, in accordance with Standing Order 12.1(b)

 

(i)      From Cllr Williams

 

“This Council congratulates Julia Mulligan on being elected as the new Police and Crime Commissioner for York and North Yorkshire.

 

In noting that around 40% of all crimes in North Yorkshire take place in York, it is very important that the new Commissioner wins the confidence of the people of York by making the tackling of crime and anti-social behaviour in our City her top priority.

 

With this in mind, we resolve to ask for her support in the following policy commitments for her first year in office:

 

1. Maintaining a separate Community Safety Partnership for York, with resources to remain at least as they are at present.

2. Maintaining Police Community Support Officers in York to at least their current levels.

3. No cuts to Neighbourhood Police Teams in York.

4. Support for City of York Council’s coming Crime Summit to be themed around addressing alcohol misuse.”

 

 (ii)     From Cllr Steward

 

“Council notes with increasing concern the anti-democratic behaviour of the Cabinet and Council and its failure to respect residents or opposition councillors. In particular council notes:

·        That the ruling group should not have scrutiny chairs and also the insistence of this cabinet on whipping scrutiny committees, as was recently highlighted by Cllr Jeffries.

·        The late publication of papers, with inadequate time for consideration by councillors or information for residents and also the abolition of public decision sessions and an increased amount of decisions in total secret. In addition the lack of access to papers including the late publication of budget papers to opposition councillors.

·        The lack of discussion on key issues such as ‘20’s plenty’ and when consultation is held it does not truly engage or may even be flawed – for example in the case of the changes to Adult Social Care.

·        The frequent rearrangement of meetings, with a lack of notice or the cancellation of meetings for example this month of EcDos and the several times cancelled Local Plan Group;  the committees for which have much needed work to do.

·        The poor format of Full Council meetings, with discussion stifled, too little opportunity to question Cabinet members and motions not given adequate priority.

·        The over-use of ‘pink papers’ as one of the ways to keep information secret, which leads to a situation where members of the public are forced to use Freedom of Information requests.

Therefore council calls for an all party group, including  independent members  to be established in order  to make recommendations to ensure council works in a more  effective, transparent and democratically engaging way and to restore the respect for the council which cabinet has done so much to erode.

 (iii)    From Cllr Runciman

Using the Sustainable Communities Act

 

“City of York Council

 

(a)supports the  ...  view the full agenda text for item 57.

Minutes:

(i)      Police and Crime Commissioner for York and North Yorkshire.

 

It was moved by Cllr Williams and seconded by Cllr Fitzpatrick that:

 

This Council congratulates Julia Mulligan on being elected as the new Police and Crime Commissioner for York and North Yorkshire.

 

In noting that around 40% of all crimes in North Yorkshire take place in York, it is very important that the new Commissioner wins the confidence of the people of York by making the tackling of crime and anti-social behaviour in our City her top priority.

 

With this in mind, we resolve to ask for her support in the following policy commitments for her first year in office:

 

1. Maintaining a separate Community Safety Partnership for York, with resources to remain at least as they are at present.

2. Maintaining Police Community Support Officers in York to at least their current levels.

3. No cuts to Neighbourhood Police Teams in York.

4. Support for City of York Council’s coming Crime Summit to be themed around addressing alcohol misuse.”

 

On being put to the vote, the motion was declared CARRIED and it was

 

RESOLVED:       That the above motion be approved. 1.

 

At this point in the meeting, the guillotine fell and the following motions and amendments were put to the vote without debate having been deemed, moved and seconded.

 

 (ii)     Workings of Council  (proposed by Cllr Steward)

 

 Council notes with increasing concern the anti-democratic behaviour of the Cabinet and Council and its failure to respect residents or opposition councillors. In particular council notes:

·        That the ruling group should not have scrutiny chairs and also the insistence of this cabinet on whipping scrutiny committees, as was recently highlighted by Cllr Jeffries.

·        The late publication of papers, with inadequate time for consideration by councillors or information for residents and also the abolition of public decision sessions and an increased amount of decisions in total secret. In addition the lack of access to papers including the late publication of budget papers to opposition councillors.

·        The lack of discussion on key issues such as ‘20’s plenty’ and when consultation is held it does not truly engage or may even be flawed – for example in the case of the changes to Adult Social Care.

·        The frequent rearrangement of meetings, with a lack of notice or the cancellation of meetings for example this month of EcDos and the several times cancelled Local Plan Group;  the committees for which have much needed work to do.

·        The poor format of Full Council meetings, with discussion stifled, too little opportunity to question Cabinet members and motions not given adequate priority.

·        The over-use of ‘pink papers’ as one of the ways to keep information secret, which leads to a situation where members of the public are forced to use Freedom of Information requests.

Therefore council calls for an all party group, including  independent members  to be established in order  to make recommendations to ensure council works in a more effective, transparent and democratically  ...  view the full minutes text for item 57.

58.

Questions to the Cabinet Leader and Cabinet Members received under Standing Order 10(c)

To deal with the following questions to the Cabinet Leader and / or other Cabinet Members, in accordance with Standing Order 11.3(a):

 

(i)      To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Doughty:

 

“It is my understanding that the Economic Infrastructure Fund of £28.5Million for so-called 'investment projects' by this Labour Council administration was intended to be used over a 5 year period from April this year. I note from the Cabinet papers of December 4th 2012, a sum in excess of £12Million has already been spent or under consideration. I am no mathematician but this equates to around 40% nominated in the first year alone. Will Councillor Alexander give assurances to Council that his party will not plunge the City into yet further debt when these 'borrowed' coffers have run out and seek a further fund by method of borrowing with interest?”

 

(ii)     To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Doughty:

 

“ Whilst admiring the council’s aspiration to pay its lowest-paid employees a living wage, can the Council Leader explain how it can be sustainable to fund staffing costs by borrowing from the already heavily-subscribed Economic Infrastructure Fund and whether this fund will also be used to fund employees’ increased wages in 2014 and after?”

 

(iii)     To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Doughty:

 

“Regarding the Cabinet’s proposed ‘Arts Barge’ project,  what steps will the Council take to protect residents’ money as a public investment in this project beyond part ownership of an unrefurbished boat and can the Council Leader make any representations at all as to the financial sustainability of this project over a long term basis?”

 

iv)      To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Ayre:

 

“Could the Cabinet Leader detail all trips made by him since taking office, what the expense was to the taxpayer, and what budget this came from?”

 

(v)     To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Reid:

 

“What proportion of retail and office space is currently empty in each of the City’s sub-urban wards and how does this compare to the City Centre? How much of the “Innovation & Delivery  Fund” and the “Economic Infrastructure Fund” does the Cabinet Leader intend to allocate to regeneration initiatives in sub-urban employment centres such as Acomb Front Street?”

 

(vi)    To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Reid:

 

“What came first the invitation to visit the Philippines embassy or the publicity for the National Union of Students protest?”

 

(vii)  To the Cabinet Member for Corporate Services from Cllr D’Agorne:

 

“Can you give an assurance that any additional council tax funds raised from the increased revenues on empty homes, as approved by cabinet in November, will be used exclusively to directly alleviate poverty in York amongst our most financially vulnerable residents, specifically those who will suffer when the large cuts in council tax benefit are introduced in April?”

 

(viii) To the Cabinet Member for Corporate Services from Cllr Ayre:

 

“Could the Cabinet Member detail all her trips made since taking office, what the expense was to the taxpayer, and what budget this came  ...  view the full agenda text for item 58.

Minutes:

Fifty five questions had been submitted to the Cabinet Leader and Cabinet Members under Standing Order 11.3(a). The guillotine having fallen at this point, Members agreed to receive written answers to their questions, as set out below:

 

i)             To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Doughty:

 

“It is my understanding that the Economic Infrastructure Fund of £28.5Million for so-called 'investment projects' by this Labour Council administration was intended to be used over a 5 year period from April this year. I note from the Cabinet papers of December 4th 2012, a sum in excess of £12Million has already been spent or under consideration. I am no mathematician but this equates to around 40% nominated in the first year alone. Will Councillor Alexander give assurances to Council that his party will not plunge the City into yet further debt when these 'borrowed' coffers have run out and seek a further fund by method of borrowing with interest?”

Reply:

We have no current plans to extend the Economic Infrastructure Fund. If debt is such a concern for the local Conservatives, they should explain why they did not support Labour's alternative budget when it was proposed in February 2010 or when it was approved in June 2011. The budget reduced the debt liability of the council.

 

(ii)     To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Doughty:

 

“ Whilst admiring the council’s aspiration to pay its lowest-paid employees a living wage, can the Council Leader explain how it can be sustainable to fund staffing costs by borrowing from the already heavily-subscribed Economic Infrastructure Fund and whether this fund will also be used to fund employees’ increased wages in 2014 and after?”

Reply:

“I thank you for your stating your belief that this council's aspiration is the right one, especially so considering Councillor Steward said at the recent Cabinet meeting, and I quote, the Living Wage is the "wrong thing for the council to be doing". He went on to add that cleaners do not deserve the Living Wage as they get perks like pensions. The Living Wage was also opposed at the York Economic Partnership by Councillor Barton.

 

I will repeat the comment I made at the Cabinet that local Conservatives are misunderstanding how the Economic Infrastructure Fund has been set up. Yes £20m is coming from prudential borrowing but £8.5m is revenue from New Homes Bonus. So the payment of the Living Wage in the next financial year is not coming from borrowing. From then on it will come from core budgets. All council expenditure is either from local council tax, government grant or commercial income.”

 

(iii)     To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Doughty:

 

“Regarding the Cabinet’s proposed ‘Arts Barge’ project, what steps will the Council take to protect residents’ money as a public investment in this project beyond part ownership of an unrefurbished boat and can the Council Leader make any representations at all as to the financial sustainability of this project over a long term basis?”

Reply:

“The Council will link investment in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 58.

Travel Costs Information - Questions to the Cabinet Leader and Cabinet Members) (Questions iv) viii) xix) xxviii) xxxviii) xlvi) and li) refer) pdf icon PDF 96 KB

Additional documents:

 

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