Venue: Town Hall, Moorgate Street, Rotherham. S60 2TH
Contact: Debbie Bacon, Senior Democratic Services Officer
Resolved:- That the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 12th September, 2012 be approved for signature by the Mayor.
Mover:- Councillor Stone Seconder:- Councillor Akhtar
(1) The Chief Executive submitted the following petition which had been referred to the appropriate Directorate for consideration:-
· Containing thirty six signatures requesting double sized litter bins outside the shops on Broadway, Swinton, owing to the exceedingly heavy usage from both residents and three local schools.
(2) The Chief Executive submitted apologies for absence from Councillors Ali, Beaumont, Burton, Donaldson, Godfrey, Havenhand, Jepson, Lelliott and Wootton.
Questions from the Public
(1) A member of the public asked do Councillors consider that it was a good idea to install cycle lanes in Rotherham which were continually and legally obstructed by a significant number of cars?”
The Leader reported that the purpose of the advisory marking was to give guidance, particularly to car drivers about the space required by cyclists. It was not unlawful for vehicles to park in the advisory lane unless there were restrictions and guidance did suggest that such markings should primarily be used where parking was restricted. It was known that some parking did take place in some advisory cycle lanes, but even so it was believed that on balance the advisory marking was beneficial to cyclists (and other road users) and, therefore, it did encourage more people to cycle rather than drive. This also contributed to improving air quality and reducing congestion.
In a supplementary question, the member of the public confirmed he was aware of the different types of cycle lanes and the advisory guidelines for their imposition, but asked if the Council thought it was a good idea to install the cycle lanes in the first place?
The Leader reported that he did consider it a good idea for the installation of the cycle lanes even though the parking of cars within them was not enforceable.
(2) A member of the public asked what actions were believed to be required to restore public confidence in Child Protection Services locally following Andrew Norfolk’s article in The Times of 24th September, 2012?
The Leader reported that the public should take reassurance that in the last three major external safeguarding inspections since 2009, Children and Young People’s Services have been found by Ofsted to no longer require intervention and have indeed made significant improvements, Inspectors particularly commented on the positive work being engaged in jointly with the Police in respect of Child Sexual Exploitation.
To offer further reassurance, a position statement would be made available following this Council meeting that set out what the work of the Child Sexual Exploitation team covered, a chronology of all the sexual exploitation operations and other key milestones since 1997. Two conferences have been held in Rotherham, one in 2006 and the other in 2011 on sexual exploitation and the learning from the Operation Central activity. The conference in 2011 had over 500 delegates. Reassurance should also be taken from the fact that the Child S. serious case review was externally evaluated by Ofsted (and graded outstanding) and found to have an appropriate action plan arising from the serious case review. The scrutiny function recently held a session on this action plan, progress made and the impact from the actions and the sexual exploitation staff team have been co-located with the Police Public Protection Unit to improve joint working and response to tackling child sexual exploitation.
There would be awareness raising on how to spot child sexual exploitation in a campaign delivered in partnership with the Rotherham Advertiser. This ... view the full minutes text for item 46.
Resolved:- That the reports and minutes of the meeting of the Standards Committee (Section B) (pages 2B to 4B) be adopted.
Mover:- Councillor Gosling Seconder:- Councillor Sims
Capital Programme Monitoring 2012/13 and Capital Programme Budget 2013/14 to 2014/15 (Minute No. C77) (Page 46C)
Resolved:- That the reports and minutes of the meetings of the Cabinet (Section C) (pages 32C to 48C) be adopted.
Mover:- Councillor Stone Seconder:- Councillor Akhtar
Delegated Powers Minutes
Children, Young People and Families Services – Pages 19D to 25D (Section D)
Cohesion – Pages 10E to 12E (Section E)
Culture and Tourism – Pages 10F to 12F (Section F)
Regeneration and Development – Pages 31G to 41G (Section G)
Adult Social Care – Pages 21H to 28H (Section H)
Safe and Attractive Neighbourhoods – Pages 21J to 27J (Section J)
Health and Wellbeing – Pages 13K to 20K (Section K)
Waste and Emergency Planning– Pages 20L to 34L (Section L)
Deputy Leader – Pages 14N to 22N (Section N)
Resolved:- That the reports and minutes of the meetings of Cabinet Members as listed below be adopted:-
· Children, Young People and Families Services – Pages 19D to 25D (Section D)
· Cohesion – Pages 10E to 12E (Section E)
· Culture and Tourism – Pages 10F to 12F (Section F)
· Regeneration and Development – Pages 31G to 41G (Section G)
· Adult Social Care – Pages 21H to 28H (Section H)
· Safe and Attractive Neighbourhoods – Pages 21J to 27J (Section J)
· Health and Wellbeing – Pages 13K to 20K (Section K)
· Waste and Emergency Planning– Pages 20L to 34L (Section L)
· Deputy Leader – Pages 14N to 22N (Section N)
Mover:- Councillor Stone Seconder:- Councillor Akhtar
Resolved:- That the reports and minutes of the meeting of the Audit Committee (Section P) (pages 16P to 18P) be adopted.
Mover:- Councillor Sangster Seconder:- Councillor Kaye
Resolved:- That the reports and minutes of the meeting of the Licensing Board (Section Q) (pages 11Q to 14Q) be adopted.
Mover:- Councillor Barron Seconder:- Councillor Goulty
Health and Wellbeing Board
Resolved:- That the reports and minutes of the meeting of the Health and Wellbeing Board (Section S) (pages 12S to 19S) be adopted.
Mover:- Councillor Wyatt Seconder:- Councillor Doyle
Resolved:- That the reports and minutes of the meetings of the Planning Board (Section T) (pages 54T to 65T) be adopted.
Mover:- The Mayor (Councillor Pickering) Seconder:- Councillor Dodson
Questions to Cabinet Members and Chairmen
1) Councillor Gilding asked In view of the bad publicity Rotherham recently received over the sex grooming scandal, please give reasons why a Public Enquiry into the handling of the subject should not be held. An open enquiry would reassure the Rotherham public that there had not been a cover up.”
Councillor Lakin reported that he would like to categorically assure both Members and also the public that there had never ever been a cover up in relation to child sexual exploitation. The information published by The Times was historic and all of the cases highlighted had been dealt with and detailed information such as covered in the Times would never be published that identified individual young people. Young people and their families needed to be confident that information of a personal nature remained confidential, and was not used by a third party inappropriately.
Scrutiny has been asked to look at Exploitation as part of their work programme and would prepare a report which would be publicly available and all their scheduled meetings were open to the public. Rotherham was also a major contributor to the national enquiry into gangs and grooming led by the Deputy Children’s Commissioner, Sue Berelowitz. There would be a national report on this soon as requested by Michael Gove. The Exploitation Sub-Group of Rotherham Safeguarding Children’s Board specifically addressed matters in relation to child sexual exploitation. Agenda and minutes were available through the website and lay member representatives attended these meetings and provided appropriate challenge.
If any request was made to give evidence to contribute to a Select Committee then the Rotherham Safeguarding Children’s Board would be more than happy to co-operate openly in the process.
(2) Councillor Middleton asked following revelations in 'The Times' concerning the sexual grooming and abuse of under-age girls from Rotherham, what disciplinary or other measures have been taken to deal with the shortcomings of those Council employees who failed to act adequately or at all to protect children from repeated criminal acts?
Councillor Lakin confirmed he had personally asked for an analysis of what actions had been taken by social care and others in respect of those young people who featured in Andrew Norfolk’s coverage of sexual exploitation here in Rotherham and read that appropriate support and protection for all the young people was highlighted. There was no evidence that any Council employee had failed to act appropriately in their efforts to protect these young people from sexual abuse.
Councillor Lakin gave his assurance that anyone failing to protect children in this Council would be dealt with robustly. In some cases there was a need to go to great lengths to protect some of the young people including applying to courts to gain parental responsibility over some of the young people and to place them in care at a distance from the risk factors posed to them.
Corporate Parenting Week was also scheduled from the 26th to 30th November, 2012 and a letter and blanket had ... view the full minutes text for item 54.
Questions to Spokespersons
(1) Councillor Gilding asked the Police Authority Spokesperson if they could update Members about the activities of various protest marches held recently in Rotherham Town Centre.
Councillor Akhtar confirmed that in summary in the past three weeks Rotherham had had two demonstrations in the Town Centre.
The first one involved the English Defence League and a counter demo (celebration) by United Against Fascism. Whilst there were five arrests, overall the protests passed without significant issues
The second which occurred this last weekend involved right wing groups, including the National Front and English Defence League. There was a counter demonstration by United Against Fascism and local members of local communities again. Both passed off peacefully. The numbers from the National Front were significantly less than the organisers expected.
There were some key issues from both operations which included: -
· Lack of understanding of public order legislation by the community at large. It was not possible to ban an assembly and the banning of a march required a certain threshold to be met
· Over 800 additional officers were committed on both operations to ensure the Police achieved the strategic intentions which were to protect public safety, ensure public order was maintained, protect business continuity and allow local businesses/people to go about their daily lives in a normal manor.
· Overall the Police received positive feedback from both operations.
At this time there were no information about any other demonstrations in Rotherham,
(2) Councillor Mannion asked the Police Authority Spokesperson what the political make-up of the South Yorkshire Police Authority, currently was and for the past ten years i.e. how many, Conservative, Labour, Liberal etc?
Councillor Akhtar confirmed the membership as being:-
2002 – 2005 Six Labour, two Liberal Democrats and one Conservative.
2006 - 2010 Five Labour, two Liberal Democrats, one Conservative and one Independent.
2011 - 2012 Six Labour, two Liberal Democrats and one Conservative.
2012 to end Seven Labour, one Liberal Democrat and one Conservative.
It was also noted that the newly formed Police and Crime Panel was also made up of:-
Seven Labour, one Liberal Democrat, one Conservative and one English Democrat, plus two co-optees.
Councillor Whelbourn, Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board, welcomed the opportunity to give an update on activity and introduced Councillor Simon Currie, Chairman of the Self Regulation Select Commission, who gave an update on the Commission’s work programme and progress to date.
The main focus for the Commission was the scrutiny of the budget setting process, alongside monitoring performance, complaints and customer feedback and finance.
A major piece of work on performance monitoring and been undertaken highlighting that:-
· Information to Members was in ‘plain language’ and accessible.
· Key areas of under-performance were all easily identifiable.
· Clear timeline of what actions and recommendations had been taken at each stage.
· Clarity about what 'success looked like' .
· Better understanding of how Members could unpick each of the priorities to see the 'bigger picture' and what sat beneath each of the headlines.
At a future meeting the Commission would be looking at two of the corporate plan priorities which have areas of concern and how these were being addressed. These were in the areas of child poverty and obesity. Members on other Commissions were welcome to attend.
A report had also been submitted to Cabinet on scrutiny of the budget setting process and a response was due shortly. The twenty-one recommendations broadly covered:-
· Clarity about which services would be delivered into the future and how Council priorities would be met.
· Risk and business continuity.
· How service changes and reductions were communicated to the wider public.
· How the impact of service changes may impact on vulnerable groups and how these were mitigated.
· The changing legislative and policy agendas of Welfare Reform, Health and Wellbeing and Localism and impact these may have on the Council’s ability to deliver its priorities.
At the meeting in November the Commission would consider a scrutiny review of District Heating. The review had been chaired by Councillor Beck and had been a thorough consideration of how cost effective and fuel efficient provision of District Heating could be delivered. The review was timely as the Government was rolling out its next wave of eco-initiatives.
Other pieces of work would focus on receiving a report how support costs were charged and an examination of commissioning in terms of securing value for money and best outcomes.
Resolved:- That the update on the work of the Self Regulation Select Commission be noted.