Agenda and draft minutes

Council - Thursday 19th January, 2023 6.30 pm

Venue: Town Hall, Bootle

Contact: Steve Pearce  Interim Democratic Services Manager

Items
No. Item

76.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted by Councillors Atkinson, Danny Burns, Carlin, Irving, O’Brien, Sathiy, Anne Thompson and Veidman.

77.

Declarations of Interest

Members are requested at a meeting where a disclosable pecuniary interest or personal interest arises, which is not already included in their Register of Members' Interests, todeclare any interests that relate to an item on the agenda.

 

Where a Member discloses a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest, he/she must withdraw from the meeting room, including from the public gallery, during the whole consideration of any item of business in which he/she has an interest, except where he/she is permitted to remain as a result of a grant of a dispensation.

 

Where a Member discloses a personal interest he/she must seek advice from the Monitoring Officer or staff member representing the Monitoring Officer to determine whether the Member should withdraw from the meeting room, including from the public gallery, during the whole consideration of any item of business in which he/she has an interest or whether the Member can remain in the meeting or remain in the meeting and vote on the relevant decision.

 

Minutes:

The following declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests were made by the Members of Council set out below and Councillors Riley and Shaw left the room during the debate on the item.

 

Member

 

Councillor D’Albuquerque

 

 

Minute No.

 

Minute No. 91 -Motion Submitted by Councillor Corcoran - Housing Benefit Discrimination

 

Nature of Interest

 

He is the landlord of two properties

Councillor Riley

Minute No. 91 - Motion Submitted by Councillor Corcoran - Housing Benefit Discrimination

 

 

He is a landlord

Councillor Shaw

Minute No. 91 - Motion Submitted by Councillor Corcoran - Housing Benefit Discrimination

He is the landlord of a property jointly owned with one of his children

 

78.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 467 KB

Minutes of the meeting held on 17 November 2022

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the Minutes of the Council meeting held on 17 November 2022 be approved as a correct record.

79.

Mayor's Communications

Minutes:

Councillor Daniel McKee

 

The Mayor congratulated Councillor Daniel McKee, on his election as a Councillor for the Linacre Ward at the By-Election held on 24 November 2022 and extended a warm welcome to him at his first Council meeting.

 

Councillor David Irving

 

The Mayor reported that Councillor Irving was admitted to hospital on 31 December 2022 and had major surgery in the Aintree Hospital on 15 January 2023. On behalf of the Council, the Mayor had sent a letter to Councillor Irving extending best wishes to him for a comfortable convalescence following his operation.

 

Mayoral Charity Events

 

The Mayor reported that tickets were still available for the next two Charity Nights, which would be an 80’s Night on Saturday 18 February 2023 at St William of York, Thornton, with tickets priced at £10 and then on Saturday 1 April 2023, the Mayoral Gala Charity Ball, would be held at the Waterfront Hotel, Southport, with tickets priced at £50.00. The Mayor requested Councillors to contact the Mayoral and Civic Services Officer for further details and to purchase their tickets.

 

Holocaust Memorial Week

 

The Mayor commented that as we approach the Holocaust Memorial Week, she thought it was only right and just, that everyone should take opportunity to reflect and continue to learn from the horrors of the past and indeed present conflicts and the continued persecution of humans around the globe.

 

During this time, we remember the millions of Jews, Gypsies, Russians, LGBTQ community and the people of ethnic backgrounds, who were horrifically persecuted and murdered under the Nazi Regime.

 

We must never forget but equally we should challenge any behaviour that leans towards hate. Language – divisive language was how this began. We should challenge it, learn from it, be aware of the danger that language can cause, and essentially use language of love and hope, not hate and danger.

80.

Matters Raised by the Public

To deal with matters raised by members of the public resident within the Borough, of which notice has been given in accordance with the procedures relating to public questions, motions or petitions set out in Paragraph 36 to 47 of the Council and Committee Procedure Rules in Chapter 4 of the Council Constitution.

 

(Details of any further petitions notified or questions submitted by members of the public will be circulated at the meeting).

Minutes:

The Mayor reported that no matters had been raised by members of the public.

81.

Questions Raised by Members of the Council pdf icon PDF 384 KB

To receive and consider questions to Cabinet Members, Chairs of Committees or Spokespersons for any of the Joint Authorities upon any matter within their portfolio/area of responsibility, of which notice has been given by Members of the Council in accordance with Paragraph 49 to 51 of the Council and Committee Procedure Rules, set out in Chapter 4 of the Council Constitution.

Minutes:

The Council considered a schedule setting out the written questions submitted by:

 

(1)      Councillor Sir Ron Watson to the Leader of the Council (Councillor Maher)

 

(2)      Councillor Sir Ron Watson to the Leader of the Council (Councillor Maher)

 

(3)      Councillor Prendergast to the Leader of the Council (Councillor Maher)

 

(4)      Councillor Prendergast to the Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Care (Councillor Doyle)

 

(5)      Councillor Howard to the Leader of the Council(Councillor Maher)

 

(6)      Councillor Lewis to the Leader of the Council (Councillor Maher)

 

(7)      Councillor Shaw to the Executive Member for Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services (Councillor Lappin)

 

(8)      Councillor Sir Ron Watson to the Leader of the Council (Councillor Maher)

 

together with responses given. Supplementary questions were responded to by the Leader of the Council and the Cabinet Members for Children’s Services and, Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services.

82.

Financial Management 2022/23 to 2024/25 and Framework for Change 2020 - Revenue and Capital Budget Update 2022/23 - Additional Estimates pdf icon PDF 292 KB

Report of the Executive Director of Corporate Resources and Customer Services

Minutes:

Further to Minute Nos. 104 and 105 of the Cabinet meeting held on 5 January 2023, the Council considered the report of the Executive Director of Corporate Resources and Customer Services which set out the supplementary estimates for approval in the Council’s Revenue Budget and Capital Programme.

 

It was moved by Councillor Ian Maher, seconded by Councillor Fairclough and

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)      approval be given to a supplementary revenue estimate of £1.200m to be fully funded by the Better Care Fund (BCF) – Discharge Grant as outlined in paragraph 1.3 of the report;

 

(2)      approval be given to a supplementary revenue estimate of £2.171m for Improving Technology in Care Settings to be fully funded by the grants outlined in paragraph 2.3 of the report;

 

(3)      it be noted that, of the three grants received for Improving Technology in Care Settings totalling £2.171m, Sefton has been initially allocated £0.222m (Digitisation of Social Care Records £0.147m and Supporting Independence Through Technology £0.075m);

 

(4)      Sefton Council passports grants for Improving Technology in Care Settings to partner agencies in line with agreed allocations;

 

(5)      approval be given to a supplementary capital estimate of £0.540m for Ainsdale Coastal Gateway funded by £0.490m of capital receipts and £0.050m of external grant funding; and

 

(6)      approval be given to a supplementary revenue estimate of £1.196m for the allocations outlined in paragraph 4.4 which will be fully funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

83.

Council Tax Reduction Scheme and Council Tax Base 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 576 KB

Report of the Executive Director of Corporate Resources and Customer Services

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Further to Minute No. 102 of the Cabinet meeting held on 5 January 2023, the Council considered the report of the Executive Director of Corporate Resources and Customer Services which provided details of the review of the local Council Tax Reduction Scheme for the current year, 2022/23, and recommended that there was no change to the scheme for 2023/24 for working age claimants.

 

The report also proposed an increase in the Long-term Empty Homes Premium from 200% to 300% on dwellings that have been empty for 10 years or more from 1 April 2023; and provided an updated Council Tax Base for Sefton Council and each Parish area for 2023/24.

 

It was moved by Councillor Ian Maher, seconded by Councillor Fairclough and

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)      the content of the review of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme for the current financial year, 2022/23 be noted;

 

(2)      approval be given to no changes being made to the existing Scheme for working age claimants for 2023/24;

 

(3)      the Equality Impact Assessment in respect of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme at Annex C be noted;

 

(4)      approval be given to an increase in the Long-term Empty Homes Premium on dwellings that have been left empty for 10 years or more, from 200% to 300%, from 1 April 2023; and

 

(5)      approval be given to the relevant Council Tax Base for Sefton Council and each Parish Area for 2023/24 as set out in Annex A of the report.

84.

Consultation and Engagement Framework pdf icon PDF 253 KB

Report of the Executive Director of Corporate Resources and Customer Services

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Further to Minute No. 6 of the meeting of the Public Consultation and Engagement Panel held on 13 January 2023, the Council considered the report of the Executive Director of Corporate Resources and Customer Services which provided details of the draft revised Consultation and Engagement Framework.

 

A copy of the revised Consultation and Engagement Framework document which incorporated the minor amendments made to it by the Public Consultation and Engagement Panel had been circulated in a supplementary agenda

 

It was moved by Councillor Ian Maher, seconded by Councillor Lappin and

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)      the draft revised Consultation and Engagement Framework as amended by the Public Consultation and Engagement Panel be approved; and

 

(2)      the Council’s commitment to ensuring that children and young people’s voice, engagement and co-production with families is a central tenet of local authority and partnership strategies be re-affirmed.

85.

Amendments to the Constitution pdf icon PDF 251 KB

Report of the Executive Director of Corporate Resources and Customer Services

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Further to Minute Nos. 40 and 43 of the meeting of the Audit and Governance Committee held on 14 December 2022, the Council considered the report of the Executive Director of Corporate Resources and Customer Services which sought approval to the revised terms of reference for the Audit and Governance Committee to allow for the appointment of one independent member and to the revised Financial Procedure Rules in Chapter 10 of the Constitution.

 

It was moved by Councillor Robinson, seconded by Councillor Fairclough and

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)      approval be given to the revised terms of reference for the Audit and Governance Committee to allow for the appointment of one independent member; and

 

(2)      approval be given to the revised Financial Procedure Rules as set out in Appendix 1 to the report.

86.

Pay Policy - 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024 pdf icon PDF 757 KB

Report of the Chief Personnel Officer

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Further to Minute No. 8 of the meeting of the Pay and Grading Committee held on 11 January 2023, the Council considered the report of the Chief Personnel Officer on the proposed Pay Policy 2023/24 for the Council as required by the Localism Act 2011.

 

A copy of Annex A to the report entitled the Pay Policy for the Centrally Employed Teaching Staff was circulated around the Council Chamber and published in the supplementary agenda prior to the meeting.

 

It was moved by Councillor Lappin, seconded by Councillor and Fairclough and

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)      the proposed Pay Policy for 2023/24 as set out in the report be approved; and

 

(2)      any changes to the Pay Policy as required because of legislation be delegated to the Pay and Grading Committee for approval.

87.

Programme of Meetings – 2023/24 Municipal Year pdf icon PDF 241 KB

Report of the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Further to Minute No. 95 of the Cabinet meeting held on 1 December 2022, the Council considered the report of the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer which sought approval to the Programme of Meetings for the 2023/24 Municipal Year.

 

It was moved by Councillor Ian Maher, seconded by Councillor Fairclough and

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)      the Programme of Meetings for the Council, Member Briefing Sessions; Regulatory Committees; and Overview and Scrutiny Committees for 2023/24 as set out in Annexes B and C of the report be approved; and

 

(2)      the Programme of Meetings for the Cabinet, Public Engagement and Consultation Panel, Safer Sefton Together and the Health and Wellbeing Board for 2023/24 as set out in Annexes A and D of the report be noted.

 

An amendment was moved by Councillor Shaw, seconded by Councillor Lloyd-Johnson that the Motion be amended by the addition of the following text to the Motion:

 

(i)       add the following text at the end of Recommendation (1):

 

“Subject to (3) below;”

 

(ii)       add the following text at the end:

 

(3)      “Noting the current proposed imbalance across all scheduled meetings, with 59% being scheduled at Bootle Town Hall and 41% scheduled for Southport Town Hall, officers be requested to re-examine the distribution of meeting locations with a view to a more equitable balance. “

 

Following a debate on the amendment, the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer officiated a vote and the Mayor declared that the amendment was lost by 14 votes to 38 with 3 abstentions.

Following a debate on the Original Motion, it was:

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)      the Programme of Meetings for the Council, Member Briefing Sessions; Regulatory Committees; and Overview and Scrutiny Committees for 2023/24 as set out in Annexes B and C of the report be approved; and

 

(2)      the Programme of Meetings for the Cabinet, Public Engagement and Consultation Panel, Safer Sefton Together and the Health and Wellbeing Board for 2023/24 as set out in Annexes A and D of the report be noted.

 

88.

Member Development in Sefton - The Next Steps pdf icon PDF 389 KB

Report of the Executive Director of Corporate Resources and Customer Services

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Further to Minute No. 96 of the Cabinet meeting held on 1 December 2022, the Council considered the report of the Executive Director of Corporate Resources and Customer Services which outlined the purpose and benefits of the North-West Employers Member Development Charter and the various steps to be taken in the process for achieving accreditation.

 

It was moved by Councillor Ian Maher, seconded by Councillor Fairclough and

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)      the content of the report be noted; and

 

(2)      approval be given for the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive signing the Declaration of Commitment to the principles included in the North-West Member Development Charter and its intention to achieve Level 1 Member Development Charter Status, as set out in Appendix 1 to the report.

89.

Membership of Committees 2022/23

To consider any changes to the Membership of any committees etc.

Minutes:

The Mayor reported that the Labour Group wished to make changes to the membership of the following Committees:

 

Overview and Scrutiny Committee – Adult Social Care and Health

 

Councillor McKee to be the Substitute Member for Councillor Cluskey.

 

Overview and Scrutiny Committee – Children’s Services and Safeguarding

 

Councillor McKee to replace Councillor Christine Maher as Member of the Committee and Councillor Corcoran to be his Substitute Member on the Committee.

 

Overview and Scrutiny Committee – Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services

 

Councillor McKee to be the Substitute Member for Councillor Bradshaw.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the changes as detailed above be approved.

90.

Motion Submitted by Councillor Roscoe - Care Experience pdf icon PDF 128 KB

Copy attached

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Roscoe, seconded by Councillor Doyle and unanimously

 

RESOLVED:

 

Care Experience

 

The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care headed by Josh McCallister published in May 2022 a final report and recommendations that included:

 

“Government should make care experience a protected characteristic” and “new legislation should be passed which broadens corporate parenting responsibilities across a wider set of public bodies and organisations.”

 

On Protected Characteristics for Care Experience - (Care Review May 2022)

 

“Many care experienced people face discrimination, stigma, and prejudice in their day to day lives. Public perceptions of care experience centre on the idea that children are irredeemably damaged and that can lead to discrimination and assumptions being made.

 

One young person told the review that a teacher had told them “You’re smart - for a kid in care”, another young person said “I don’t want people to point out that I am in care if I don’t want that mentioned. It makes me so cross – that shouldn’t happen.”

 

This stigma and discrimination can be explicit, and often comes with assumptions about the likely characteristics of children and adults that have care experience. They can also be implicit and are evidenced in the way care experience is discussed in schools, workplaces, and the media.

 

At its worst this can lead to care experienced people being refused employment, failing to succeed in education or facing unfair judgements about their ability to parent when they have children and families of their own.

 

Hearing testimony from care experienced people sharing the discrimination they have experienced, even from a very young age, it is clear that such discrimination can be similar in nature to other groups that have a legally protected characteristic under the Equality Act (2010). So, while there may be ways that society can help reduce stigma and discrimination, including creating greater public consciousness on these issues, just as with other areas of equality, there is a case to go further. Therefore, the Government should make care experience a protected characteristic.

 

Making care experience a protected characteristic would provide greater authority to employers, businesses, public services, and policy makers to put in place policies and programmes which promote better outcomes for care experienced people. It will make the UK the first country in the world to recognise care experienced people in this way. As a measure, it will bolster and pave the way for a number of the recommendations in this chapter.”

 

Care Review May 2022

 

§    Care experienced people face significant barriers that impact them throughout their lives;

§    Despite the resilience of many care experienced people, society too often does not take their needs into account;

§    Care experienced people often face discrimination and stigma across housing, health, education, relationships employment and in the criminal justice system; and

§    Care experienced people often face a postcode lottery of support.

 

As corporate parents, councillors have a collective responsibility for providing the best possible care and safeguarding for the children who are looked after by  ...  view the full minutes text for item 90.

91.

Motion Submitted by Councillor Corcoran - Housing Benefit Discrimination pdf icon PDF 467 KB

Copy attached

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Corcoran, seconded by Councillor Thomas:

 

Housing Benefit Discrimination

 

This Council notes that: -

 

?      It is already very difficult to access housing for people on low income/in receipt of benefits due to scarcity of social housing and high rents in the private sector that often exceed local housing allowance. It is on this basis that the Council is being proactive in seeking to help meet the housing needs of local people through the new Council Housing Programme and Sandway Homes. This approach is in parallel with the work being done with other local providers to maximise the amount of affordable housing in the borough. However, the private rented sector plays a critical role in helping to meet our housing needs and will continue to do so in the future.

 

?      Even where people’s income (through benefits or otherwise) is sufficient, they also often face ‘housing benefit discrimination’.

 

The Council further notes that housing benefit discrimination takes the form of:-

 

?      Overt discrimination:

        Where properties are listed as ‘No DSS’ or ‘no housing benefit’ applicants.

        There have been two County Court cases brought against residential lettings agents which have found rejecting tenancy applications because the applicant is in receipt of housing benefit was unlawfully indirectly discriminatory on the grounds of sex and disability.

?      Covert discrimination:

        Indirect ways in which landlords and letting agents effectively exclude applicants on housing benefit, including but not limited to:-

        Insisting on a guarantor or excessive upfront rent payment;

        Imposing affordability checks that automatically fail benefit recipients/those on low income;

        Pointing to exclusionary insurance company/mortgage lender rules;

        Pointing to landlords’ ‘personal preferences’;

        Being stonewalled by agents.

Despite the illegality of housing benefit discrimination in certain situations, research conducted by Cllr Jen Corcoran between October and December 2022 shows that over 65% of rental listings in Sefton on OpenRent exclude ‘DSS applicants’. This figure rises to 75% in Southport. *

 

This Council defends the right to decent housing, as demonstrated by the commitment to social housing, and will work to eliminate housing benefit discrimination from Sefton by asking:-

 

(1)    That Officers of the Council explore the possibility of making amendments to the Landlord Licensing Scheme to allow for us to revoke a landlord’s licence on the basis that they are no longer considered ‘fit and proper’ on the basis that a court of law has determined that the licence holder has:

        ‘practised unlawful discrimination on grounds of sex, colour, race, ethnic or national origins or disability in, or in connection with, the carrying on of any business’

 

(2)    That the Leader of the Council writes to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to request: -

·       An increase in Local Housing Allowance in line with real market rents;

·       More powers to tackle housing benefit discrimination, including power to prohibit landlords requiring guarantors/excessive upfront rent from tenants;

·       The establishment of a government backed Deposit Guarantee Scheme for private tenants; and

·       Additional resources to allow the Council to enforce any new powers in this regard  ...  view the full minutes text for item 91.

92.

Motion Submitted by Councillor Halsall - Sefton's Workers pdf icon PDF 330 KB

Copy attached

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Halsall, seconded by Councillor Lunn-Bates:

 

Sefton’s Workers

 

This Council believes:

 

That workers have been for too long holding up the economy with restrained wages. Workers now should not foot the bill for this government’s ineptitude in dealing with Covid and economic problems caused by their own actions/inactions.

 

Workers being forced to take strike action is always the last thing they want; this shows just how much they have been forced into a corner with the current wave of industrial action across many sectors.

 

This Council Notes:

 

Workers both public and private sector not only deserve but need a pay rise, guarantees to terms and conditions long hard fought and won, and to have the ability to negotiate directly with their employers in good faith.  This government have decided rather than to settle these disputes, that they’d rather wage a relentless war on this country’s various trade unions. This year we have seen bus drivers, railway workers, manufacturing workers all the way through to our ambulance staff and for the first time in 106 years our nurses have felt the need to go on strike. With our firefighters looking like they will be joining the growing number of frustrated workers nationally.

 

This Council resolves to:

 

1.      Put on record its support to all workers in their collective struggles

 

2.     Put on record its thanks for the work they do to keep our economy and public services moving and often operating under extreme pressure;

 

3.     Write to the relevant Secretaries of State with regard to health workers and transport workers urging them to negotiate fairly with trade unions and end these disputes amicably; and

 

4.     Recognise the rich history of the trade union movement here in Sefton.

 

An amendment was moved by Councillor Pugh, seconded by Councillor Brodie-Browne that the Motion be amended as follows:

 

Delete Line 2

 

Line 3 - adding (and not citizens) after workers

 

Line 3 - the text ‘now should not’ be replaced by ‘should have to’

 

Line 4 replace after ‘caused by’ with ‘either actions or inactions - including its botched post-Brexit trade policy.

 

Delete Lines 5, 6 and 7

 

Delete from ‘this government’ to ‘nationally’

 

Line 19 - change ‘all workers in their collective struggles’ to ‘for free collective bargaining’

 

Replace Line 22, 23 & 24 with ‘the need for fair negotiation with the unions to end current disputes amicably’

 

Following a debate on the amendment, the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer officiated a vote and the Mayor declared that the amendment was lost by 7 votes to 49.

Following a debate on the Original Motion, the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer officiated a vote and the Mayor declared that the Motion was carried by 42 votes to 6 with 8 abstentions, and it was:

 

RESOLVED:

 

Sefton’s Workers

 

This Council believes:

 

That workers have been for too long holding up the economy with restrained wages. Workers now should not foot the bill for this government’s ineptitude in dealing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 92.