Agenda and minutes

Council
Tuesday, 22nd January 2019 6.30 pm

Venue: The Guildhall

Contact: Graham Watts, Democratic Team Leader and Elections Manager  (01522 873439)

Items
No. Item

38.

Mayor Announcements

Minutes:

The Mayor reported with sadness that the City of Lincoln Sheriff, Roy South, had very suddenly passed away. Members stood for a moment of silence in his memory and were given the opportunity to pay tribute.

 

It was also report that Councillor Rosie Kirk’s mother had recently passed away. Council conveyed its best wishes to her and her family.

39.

Confirmation of Minutes - 4 December 2018 pdf icon PDF 106 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 4 December 2018 be confirmed, subject to the amendment of a typographical error under item 34(a) where reference to £1 billion should read £100 billion.

40.

Declarations of Interest

Please note that, in accordance with the Members' Code of Conduct, when declaring interests members must disclose the existence and nature of the interest, and whether it is a disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI) or personal and/or pecuniary.

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were received. 

41.

Receive Any Questions under Council Procedure Rule 11 from Members of the Public and Provide Answers thereon

Minutes:

No questions were received.

42.

Receive Any Questions under Council Procedure Rule 12 from Members and Provide Answers thereon

Minutes:

Councillor Ronald Hills asked the following question to the Portfolio Holder for Remarkable Place:

 

“Can the Portfolio Holder tell me which children’s playgrounds are currently closed, with access denied by padlocks and chains, and the dates that this action was approved?”

 

Councillor Fay Smith, Portfolio Holder for Remarkable Place, responded and confirmed that decisions had been taken to close children’s play areas at the Lawn on 17 November 2018 and Hartsholme Country Park on 20 November 2018 for health and safety reasons.

 

Councillor Ronald Hills understood that, in relation to the play area at Hartsholme Country Park, the play area had been resurfaced three times and was still not repaired properly. He was unsure where the Council would stand in this respect with people still using these facilities despite notices stating that they were closed. In understanding that the play areas would not be re-opened until the Easter Councillor Hills asked, as a supplementary question, how this situation would be addressed.

 

Councillor Smith reported that the works required for both play areas was currently out for quotes and anticipated repairs being completed and the play areas re-opened before Easter. They had to remain closed on health and safety grounds and other than erect large fencing to prevent people accessing the play areas Councillor Smith was unsure what further action the Council could take prior to the repair works being carried out. She added that completion of the works would be dependent on the weather.

43.

Receive Reports under Council Procedure Rule 2 (vi) from Members

43a

Report by Councillor Rosie Kirk - Portfolio Holder for Reducing Inequality pdf icon PDF 137 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Ric Metcalfe, Leader of the Council, provided an update report on behalf of Councillor Rosie Kirk on the work of her Reducing Inequality Portfolio.

 

Councillor Metcalfe reported that Councillor Kirk’s Portfolio had changed significantly to incorporate a number of key service areas and projects which, together, helped the Council to reduce inequality across the city.

 

The areas covered by the new Portfolio included anti-poverty, corporate social responsibility, social value, community cohesion, community strategies and policies, modern day slavery, asylum seekers and refugees, the Lincoln Community Lottery, Universal Credit, welfare and benefits advice, housing benefit and council tax support, welfare reform, crime and disorder, equality and diversity, financial inclusion, skills and training, young people, prevent, public protection and domestic violence. Updates on each of these aspects to the Portfolio were set out in the report.

 

Achievements under the Portfolio and in support of the Reducing Inequaility vision, were reported as follows:

 

·         the shared Revenues and Benefits service with North Kesteven District Council winning a prestigious national award for ‘Excellence in Partnership Working’;

·         the success of World Hello Day and continuing to support resident integration in the city;

·         the launch of the Lincoln Community Lottery;

·         the launch of the Lincoln Social Responsibility Charter;

·         the implementation of the Universal Credit Support Team, which assisted 448 Lincoln residents with digital support and 235 residents with budgeting support between 1 April and 31 August 2018;

·         the adoption of the Council’s Social Value Policy which embedded the Council’s commitment to social, environmental and economical sustainability through procurement processes.

 

Councillor Edmund Strengiel was pleased to see reference in the report to a programme aimed at tackling rough sleeping in the city. He highlighted a charity rough sleeping event hosted by the Lincolnshire YMCA on 15 March 2019 and was keen to bring more attention to the event and the issue in general, stating that raising awareness was extremely important.

 

Councillor Thomas Dyer referred to the Lincoln Living Wage Campaign, stating that thirty businesses had signed up to this at the commencement of the campaign and at the end of the previous financial year this had reduced by over half. He therefore questioned what influence the City Council had in respect of encouraging local businesses to participate. Councillor Dyer also raised the Lincoln Social Responsibility Charter which had felt, in principle, was very good and was pleased to see it being promoted across the city. He was keen to understand how the Council could better encourage participation. However, reflecting on the points system within the Charter which consisted of 45 different points, Councillor Dyer was concerned that in order to quality small businesses only had to demonstrate that they met three of the 45 points, with medium businesses having to meet five points and large businesses only having to meet ten points. Given that some of the points were relatively easy to demonstrate, Councillor Dyer was of the view that the low point threshold for qualifying for the Charter devalued the scheme and that it should be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43a

43b

Report by Councillor Geoff Ellis - Chair of the Audit Committee pdf icon PDF 141 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Geoff Ellis, Chair of the Audit Committee, provided an update report on the work of the Committee.

 

The Audit Committee, as a key part of the Council’s corporate governance arrangements, oversaw and assessed the Council’s risk management, control and governance arrangements and advises the Council on their adequacy and effectiveness. It also had responsibility for reviewing the statutory financial reporting process through approval of the Statement of Accounts and receiving key reports from the External Auditor.

 

Councillor Ellis presented the report which summarised the work of the Audit Committee in respect of the following:

 

·         membership and training;

·         audit plan, progress reports and the annual internal audit report;

·         counter fraud;

·         audit recommendations and agreed action;

·         the Assurance Lincolnshire Partnership;

·         audit standards;

·         Audit Committee work programme;

·         risk management;

·         financial statements;

·         Annual Governance Statement and Code of Corporate Governance;

·         Treasury Management.

 

Councillor Ellis reported that by completing the work programme and providing challenge where required, the Audit Committee had:

 

·         increased public confidence in the Council’s governance arrangements;

·         reinforced the importance and independence of internal and external audit and other review processes that reported to the Audit Committee;

·         assisted in the co-ordination of assurance with internal audit and, in so doing, made management more accountable;

·         provided additional assurance through a process of independent and objective review, raising awareness of the need for internal control;

·         helped ensure the timely implementation of audit recommendations.

 

Councillor Ellis confirmed that the Council’s Audit Committee and Audit function was consistent with best practice.

 

Councillor Edmund Strengiel raised the issue of partnership working and cited the Revenues and Benefits Shared Service as a good example of a services delivered in partnership. He encouraged the Audit Committee to explore other areas that could be delivered in partnership, therefore bringing down costs.

 

Councillor Tom Dyer asked what more could be done to ensure that audit projects did not go on for too long and were completed in a timely manner.

 

Councillor Ellis responded to the request to review other potential partnership working arrangements, which he said the Executive was already in the process of investigating.

 

With regard to audit projects, regular monitoring took place with update reports submitted to the Audit Committee as part of a programme of projects. Senior managers would be expected to attend meetings of the Audit Committee to provide updates, particularly when targets were not being met.

 

RESOLVED that the report be noted.

43c

Report by Councillor Chris Burke - Chair of the Policy Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 135 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Chris Burke, Chair of the Policy Scrutiny Committee, provided an update report on the work of the Committee.

 

Since May 2018, the Policy Scrutiny Committee had considered and scrutinised the following major themes:

 

·         the City of Lincoln Council Fairtrade Policy and Fairtrade Audit;

·         the Modern Slavery Statement and Charter Against Modern Slavery;

·         Mandatory Licensing of Homes in Multiple Occupation and enforcement of high standards;

·         the Commemorative Plaque Scheme for Lincoln proposed to recognise outstanding contributors to the city;

·         the proposed introduction of a Public Space Protection Order to allow St Peters Passage in Lincoln to be gated;

·         the work of the Protecting Vulnerable People Group;

·         the Joint Protocol on Unauthorised Encampments in Lincolnshire.

 

The Committee was also due to consider the Health and Environment Enforcement Policy and the Housing Strategy this municipal year.

 

Councillor Burke, as the Council’s representative on the County Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee for Lincolnshire and in his capacity as Chair of the Policy Scrutiny Committee, had provided regular updates on the work of the Health Scrutiny Committee. A list of the subjects and organisations scrutinised at these meetings was set out in the report.

 

Councillor Burke concluded by stating that the Policy Scrutiny Committee in performing its role effectively ensured that the Executive received an informed and well considered guide to its decision making function.

 

Councillor Edmund Strengiel reflected on the challenges relating to housing in Lincoln, which in being an urban area was constrained by its boundaries. He therefore called for the Policy Scrutiny Committee to look into the provision of housing and housing delivery.

 

Councillor Burke confirmed that the Committee would continue to look into these issues.

 

RESOLVED that the report be noted.

44.

To Consider the Following Recommendations of the Executive and Committees of the Council

44a

Localised Council Tax Support Scheme 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 356 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was proposed, seconded and RESOLVED that Council:

 

(1)       Notes the consultation responses relating to the Localised Council Tax Support Scheme for 2019/20.

 

(2)       Approves the continuation of the Exceptional Hardship Scheme fund of £20,000, made available during 2018/19, into 2019/20.

 

(3)       Approves the City of Lincoln Council’s Localised Council Tax Support Scheme for 2019/20, subject to the incorporation of the following changes to the 2018/19 Scheme:

 

·         reducing the maximum savings limit to £8,000;

·         introducing a 200% premium charge for properties empty over two years;

·         introducing a care leavers Council Tax exception;

·         reverting the discount level for domestic properties that become unoccupied to 100% for the first month.

44b

Annual Scrutiny Report 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 43 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was proposed, seconded and RESOLVED that the Scrutiny Annual Report for 2017/18 be approved for publication.

45.

Decisions Taken Under Special Urgency Measures pdf icon PDF 45 KB

Minutes:

It was proposed, seconded and RESOLVED that the report be noted.

46.

Annual Timetable of Meetings 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 40 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was proposed, seconded and RESOLVED that the annual timetable of meetings for 2019/20 be approved.