Local democracy during coronavirus

During coronavirus, we've made some changes to how we're running council meetings. See our coronavirus updates for more information on meetings and decisions.

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: The Thornton Room - Ground Floor, West Offices (G039). View directions

Contact: Louise Cook 

Webcast: video recording

Items
No. Item

1.

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 any personal interests not included on the Register of Interests, any prejudicial interests, or any disclosable pecuniary interests, which they might have in the business on the agenda.

 

Cllr Kilbane declared a personal interest in Agenda Item 3 (the Called-in Item), as a member of the Bishopthorpe Road Traders’ Association.  Cllr Hunter declared a personal interest in the same item, as Chair of the Acomb Traders’ Association.

2.

Public Participation

It is at this point in the meeting that members of the public who have registered to speak can do so.  The deadline for registering is 5.00pm on Friday, 31 January 2020.  Members of the public can speak on agenda items or matters within the remit of the committee.

 

To register to speak please contact the Democracy Officer for the meeting, on the details at the foot of the agenda.

 

Filming, Recording or Webcasting Meetings

Please note that, subject to available resources, this meeting will be filmed and webcast, or recorded, including any registered public speakers who have given their permission. The broadcast can be viewed at http://www.york.gov.uk/webcasts or,if sound recorded, this will be uploaded onto the Council’s website following the meeting.

 

Residents are welcome to photograph, film or record Councillors and Officers at all meetings open to the press and public. This includes the use of social media reporting, i.e. tweeting.  Anyone wishing to film, record or take photos at any public meeting should contact the Democracy Officer (whose contact details are at the foot of this agenda) in advance of the meeting.

 

The Council’s protocol on Webcasting, Filming & Recording of Meetings ensures that these practices are carried out in a manner both respectful to the conduct of the meeting and all those present.  It can be viewed at http://www.york.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/11406/protocol_for_webcasting_filming_and_recording_of_council_meetings_20160809.pdf

Minutes:

It was reported that there had been one registration to speak at the meeting under the council’s Public Participation Scheme.

 

Gwen Swinburn spoke on Agenda Item 3 (the Called-in Item), expressing support for the original decisions, except for allocation of Inclusive Growth funding to the ‘greening our commercial estate’ project, which she considered should be funded from the council’s commercial profits.

 

The Chair responded to the speaker, confirming that she was welcome to contribute to meetings under public participation, but in doing so should refrain from making adverse comments on the personal integrity of Council Members and officers.

3.

Called-In Item: Inclusive Growth Initiatives Fund - Progress and Authority to Spend pdf icon PDF 295 KB

To consider the decisions made in relation to the above item on 15 January 2020 by the Executive Leader, in consultation with the Executive Member for Economy & Strategy Planning, which has been called in by Councillors Douglas, K Taylor and Webb in accordance with the Council’s Constitution.

 

A cover report is attached setting out the reasons for the call-in and the remit and powers of the Customer & Corporate Services Scrutiny Management Committee (Calling-In) in relation to the call-in, together with the original report and the decisions of the Executive Leader.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered a report which set out the reasons for the call-in of the decisions made by the Executive Leader at his Decision Session on 15 January 2020, in respect of the Inclusive Growth Initiatives Fund, and the Committee’s remit and powers in relation to the call-in.

 

The decisions were set out in Annex 1 to the report, along with the original report to the Decision Session at Annex 2.  Paragraph 11 of Annex 2 explained the background to the proposed allocation of £300k inclusive growth funding to 8 projects.  The decisions had been called in by Cllrs Douglas, K Taylor and Webb for the following reasons:

      i.While many of the proposals have some merit, very few of them relate to inclusive growth, resulting in a misappropriation of retained business rates funding;

     ii. A number of the items funded are items that would either have to be funded anyway or should be funded from another budget, suggesting the Leader is using inclusive growth funding to allow for savings elsewhere, e.g. consultation on the Economic Strategy, energy efficiency survey of the council’s commercial estate.

   iii.Making growth genuinely inclusive requires a long-term strategy, supported by measures that are significant and won’t be halted after one or two years – for many of the funding decisions taken it is difficult to see how they will make any meaningful impact given the level of funding and time period involved.”

 

Under with the provisions of the council’s constitution and the requirements of Local Government Act 2000, the following options were available:

·        A – not to refer the matter to Executive, in which case the original decisions would be confirmed, or

·        B - refer the matter to Executive with specific recommendations.

 

Cllr Douglas addressed the committee on behalf of the Calling-In Members, explaining in more detail the reasons for the calling-in, and responding to questions put by Members.  The Executive Member for Economy & Strategic Planning, on behalf of the Executive Leader, then outlined the reasons for the original decisions, and responded to Members’ questions.  Finally, questions were put to officers responsible for the report at Annex 2.  During this part of the meeting, it was confirmed that:

·        There was no alternative funding source for the ‘greening our retail estate’ project;

·        Profits from the council’s commercial estate were used to fund council services as part of the base budget;

·        No external bodies had been consulted on the funding allocation; this would not have been normal practice;

·        The effectiveness of community jobs fairs had not been formally assessed; it was intended to do this in future;

·        There were many definitions of ‘inclusive growth’, depending on local economic context, place and political perspective;

·        As in many other local authorities, there was currently no formal definition of ‘inclusive growth’ in York.

 

After a full debate in the light of all the information provided, the Executive Member was asked whether he was prepared to be involved in a discussion at a scrutiny committee on the definition of ‘inclusive  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

 

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