Agenda and minutes

Council Meeting - Wednesday 28 January 2015 2.00 p.m.

Venue: Town Hall, Moorgate Street, Rotherham. S60 2TH

Contact: Debbie Pons, Principal Democratic Services Officer 

No. Item


Minute's Silence


The Mayor referred to the recent death of former Councillor Audrey Gilbert, the atrocities in Paris and the links Rotherham had with St. Quentin, to which the Leader and Mayor had tendered their support to the people of St. Quentin and France, and the media coverage regarding the atrocities around the Holocaust.  A minute’s silence was held as a mark of respect.


Council Minutes pdf icon PDF 171 KB


Resolved:- That the minutes of the meetings of the Council held on 10th December, 2014, be approved for signature by the Mayor.


Councillor Parker referred to Minute No. A77 (Cabinet Minutes) where he had asked a question and clarified that this related to if there were any Roma families in this community in Rotherham married to underage children.


The Leader confirmed a full response would be provided.


Mover:-  Councillor Lakin                           Seconder:-  Councillor Hoddinott




(1)  The Interim Chief Executive submitted apologies for absence from Councillors Beaumont, Finnie, Gilding, J. Hamilton, N. Hamilton and Turner.


(2)  The Director of Legal and Democratic Services reported on revisions to future meetings of Council, namely the 22nd April, 2015 meeting which fell within the Purdah Period and which would be cancelled following consultation with the Leaders of the relevant political parties, and the 1st July, 2015 Council meeting clashed with other arrangements and, therefore, would move onto the 8th July, 2015.


(3)  The Director of Legal and Democratic Services also referred to a letter which had previously been circulated in which she exercised her function as the Monitoring Officer to grant dispensations to Elected Members who may have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in Minute No. C122 (Housing Rent Increase) and Minute No. C123 (District Heating Scheme Charges) and asked that they disclose the interest at the relevant point on the agenda.


Questions from the Public


(1)  Mrs. C. Sadler referred to plans for a travellers’ site at Dog Kennel Hill, Anston and asked could the Council assure her that the Cabinet Member for Business Growth and Regeneration would vote in the interests of the people of Anston and not with the Labour Council in order to protect his job?


The Cabinet Member for Business Growth and Regeneration was clear about his personal thoughts on the proposed site for gypsy and traveller allocation and would not advocate that responsibility, but explained that all Elected Members were aware of the obligation to act reasonably when taking decisions on sites which were not always in their own areas and to only take into account relevant considerations and to disregard those which were irrelevant in order to adopt a robust Local Plan at the relevant stage.


In a supplementary question Mrs. Sadler explained that she was not aware of anyone who lived in Anston who had an idea why this particular site been considered due to its total unsuitability.  There were a number of points that had been raised and asked why the site has been considered in the first instance?


The Cabinet Member for Business Growth and Regeneration confirmed that he had been part of the Local Plan process for nearly four years and indicated that by law the Council had to allocate a site for gypsy and traveller use.  In the absence of any other site this was probably not the best site, but the Council would have to adopt a robust and rigorous local plan for the next twenty years or so and if that was not the case the Independent Planning Inspector would make the final decision. 


(2)  Mr. R. Bartle referred to headlines in The Star on 7th January, 2015 which suggested that compensation claims from victims of child sexual exploitation may have to be met by the local taxpayer, currently there were thirty-four claimants each estimated to receive £100,000.  Could the Leader confirm that the taxpayer would have to foot the bill?


The Deputy Leader explained the cost of meeting any compensation claim as a result of child sexual exploitation was divided between the Council and its insurers in accordance with the terms of its insurance policies. Each claim would be carefully considered on its merits, although a decision had not yet been made.  Any amount not covered by insurance could be met from Council reserves.  The £100,000 figure quoted was derived from the experiences of another Local Authority.  Currently no claims have been settled and, therefore, it was not known how much the figure may be.  However, it was clear the Council must meet its legal responsibility to victims where compensation was deemed to be due and the Council, as a public service, was funded by the taxpayers.


In a supplementary question Mr. Bartle referred to the Leader when asked that the insurance would cover the bill even though it was pointed out it was likely that Councillors knew this was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 94.


Standards Committee pdf icon PDF 33 KB


Resolved:-  That the reports and minutes of the meetings of the Standards Committee (Section B) (pages 10B to 13B) be adopted.


Mover:-  Councillor Gosling                      Seconder:-  Councillor Tweed


Cabinet Minutes pdf icon PDF 87 KB

Minute No. C106 (Page 117C-119C) (Capital Programme Monitoring 2014/15 and Capital Programme Budget 2015/16 to 2016/17)


Minute No. C107 (Page 118C-199C) (Mid-Year Treasury management and Prudential Indicators Monitoring Report 2014/15)


Minute No. C111 (Page 125C) (General Enforcement Policy) 


Minute No. C120 (Pages 132C-133C) (Calculation of the Council Tax Base 2015/16)


Minute No. C122 (Pages 135C-136C) (Housing Rent Increase 2015/16)


Minute No. C123 (Pages 136C-137C) (District Heating Scheme Charges 2015/16)

Additional documents:


A number of questions were raised in relation to the minutes of the meetings of Cabinet as follows:-


Minute C103(1) (Question from Elected Members) – Councillor Cowles confirmed he had not yet received the response in writing as indicated by the Director of Housing and Neighbourhood Services at the meeting and asked that the costs be clearly indicated as to whether the costs included post and officer time or whether they had been excluded.


The Mayor confirmed this matter would be followed up.


Minute No. C110 (RLSCB Child Sexual Exploitation Action Plan) – Councillor Parker asked if it could be explained what the concerns were about in relation to the appointment of a person to oversee the work of the multi-agency safeguarding hub to ensure the right sort of person to deliver on this was appointed, given that this was a very important role and the people of Rotherham had a right to know.


The Leader confirmed that the concerns were about getting the right person to oversee this very important work.  A person had now been appointed and a response in writing as to who this person was would be provided.


Minute No. C112 (Private Rented Sector – Selective Licensing) – Councillor Parker referred to this scheme and asked if the proposed charge of £687 related to individual properties or was it a total amount for the properties owned by a landlord as it was not stated.


The Cabinet Member for Safe and Attractive Neighbourhoods confirmed the suggested fee of £687 had since been reduced to £625, but this was being looked into to see if this could be reduced further.  A final fee figure would submitted to Cabinet for approval before the scheme became operational.  That fee was per property and reflected the cost of administering the scheme, but consideration was being given as to how this could be further reduced and a £100 discount would be applied for landlords who were part of a recognised accreditation scheme.  Paying by instalments and reductions for landlords with multiple properties were also being considered.


In a supplementary question Councillor Parker believed if this fee was payable for every individual property landlords would simply pass the cost on to the tenant and the rent would increase accordingly hitting the tenants the hardest.  He did not object to it being used against the properties of landlords that required some maintenance, but he did object to the fee being payable for each property as ultimately this would end up being paid by the tenant not the landlord.


The Cabinet Member for Safe and Attractive Neighbourhoods clarified the Minute did refer to the original suggested fee as being £687, but this had since been reduced to £625.  It was recognised that this was a cost and there may be landlords that would pass on the sums via their tenants.  This was a one-off fee for a five year period and so had to be looked at in this context.  The benefits had to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 96.


Delegated Powers pdf icon PDF 38 KB


Deputy Leader – Pages 14D to 26D (Section D)


Children and Education Services – Pages 21F to 39F (Section F)


Environment – Pages 24G to 30G (Section G)


Adult Social Care and Health – Pages 32H to 40H (Section H)


Business Growth and Regeneration – Pages 13I to 25I (Section I)


Safe and Attractive Neighbourhoods – Pages 41J to 59J (Section J)

Additional documents:


A number of questions were raised in relation to the minutes of the meetings of Cabinet Members as follows:-


Minute No. D31 (Individual Electoral Registration) – Councillor Middleton considered this a very good idea and referred to the Minute text indicating verification of a person’s identity was undertaken with records held by the Department for Work and Pensions.  The Minute also indicated that those people who could not provide this information may prove their identity using an alternative form of evidence and asked what other forms could be used?


The Deputy Leader confirmed identity information was required in the form of a date of birth and national insurance number.  Specific details on what was required in terms of alternative forms of evidence would be supplied in writing.  A briefing note was to be circulated to all Elected Members on Individual Electoral Registration to coincide with National Registration Day.


In a supplementary question Councillor Middleton referred to the telephone registration service which had been in operation since the 1st July, 2014 and asked how many people had taken advantage of this service?


The Deputy Leader would provide a response to this question in writing, but drew Members’ attention to Resolution No. 2 and the briefing note with all the details which was to be circulated shortly.


Councillor Parker also pointed out the implications to Individual Electoral Registration and the 20,000 people who may have dropped from the Electoral Register.  There was evidence of electoral fraud in some areas and hopefully Rotherham would not be one of them.


The Deputy Leader confirmed there were concerns that some people may disappear from the Electoral Register.  However, Individual Electoral Registration provided the necessary safeguards, but required people to register themselves, including young people whose parents could no longer register on their behalf. 


Minute No. D23 (Webcasting) – Councillor Parker welcomed webcasting in the Council Chamber for members of the public, but expressed his concern about the apparent “editing” when the webcast was posted to the webcast library and asked how was the Council going to ensure independence of the system?


The Deputy Leader confirmed webcasts were not edited in any way.  However, there had been occasions where the sound had been quieter on occasions and this had been traced to the microphones.  It was suggested that Elected Members receive some training moving forward to ensure clarity to the webcasts in the future.


Councillor Parker believed editing did take place.  Members of the public had voiced concerns at editing differences and would be watching the permanently installed system closely.


Minute No. D28 (Revenue Budget Monitoring) – Councillor Parker referred to the pressures relating to printing in Legal and Democratic Services and the high income target set against the budget which had not materialised and asked why this target had not been met?


The Deputy Leader did not have the actual figures to hand and would supply the detail in writing, but this did relate to the Central Print Unit and utilising more the provision  ...  view the full minutes text for item 97.


Licensing Board Sub-Committee pdf icon PDF 24 KB

Additional documents:


Resolved:-  That the reports and minutes of the meeting of the Licensing Board Sub-Committee (Section Q) (Pages 16Q to 22Q) be adopted.


Mover:-  Councillor Dalton                        Seconder:-  The Mayor

                                                                       (Councillor John Foden)


Health and Wellbeing Board pdf icon PDF 86 KB


Resolved:-  That the reports and minutes of the meeting of the Health and Wellbeing Board (Section S) (Pages 48S to 63S) be adopted.


Mover:-  Councillor Doyle                          Seconder:-  Councillor Hoddinott


Planning Board pdf icon PDF 31 KB

Additional documents:


Resolved:-  That the reports and minutes of the meetings of the Planning Board (Section T) (Pages 33T to 39T) be adopted.


Mover:-  Councillor Atkin                           Seconder:-  Councillor Tweed


Revised Membership Arrangements 2014/15


·                To include Councillor Wyatt on the membership of the Licensing Board to fill the vacancy left by Councillor Doyle.


The Director of Legal and Administrative Services submitted details of the revised membership arrangements for the current municipal year to include Councillor Wyatt on the membership of the Licensing Board to fill the vacancy left by Councillor Doyle.


Resolved:-  That the inclusion of Councillor Wyatt on the Licensing Board be approved.




(1)           Councillor C. Vines asked why was the Rotherham Advertiser informed of the new director and manager appointments before Elected Members?


The Leader confirmed as a matter of general principle, officers worked on the basis that any information to be shared more widely with a range of stakeholders would be shared beforehand or simultaneously with Elected Members.


On the assumption that Councillor Vines’ question related to the proposed restructure within Children and Young People’s Services, and a number of interim appointments pending consultation, it was confirmed that information was sent to Elected Members in an email from Ian Thomas, Strategic Director of Children and Young People’s Services, on 12th January, 2015.


Gareth Dennison, a reporter from the Rotherham Advertiser, interviewed Ian Thomas on Thursday, 8th January, 2015 when initial information about the new appointments was shared, on the basis that this would not be appearing in the newspaper until Friday, 16th January, 2015 (given that the interview was too late to appear in the Advertiser’s edition of Friday, 9th January, 2015) – after information had been shared with Elected Members and staff.


In a supplementary comment Councillor C. Vines pointed out the information had been shared with Elected Members late on the Thursday afternoon, following which the information appeared in the press.


The Leader agreed with Councillor C. Vines and it should not have happened in this way.  The information was shared at the interview on the basis that it would not appear until the following week’s edition, but unfortunately it appeared in the edition of the same week.


(2)  Councillor Cowles asked according to the press RMBC refused to name care homes found to be failing vulnerable adults by putting them at the risk of harm. The reason given in the article was that by doing so would harm their future business prospects, was this correct?


The Cabinet for Adult Social Care and Health found the question useful.  To be helpful he explained that when the Care Quality Commission undertook an inspection of a care home that information was placed on the website and was available for public view.  On occasions this was picked up by the local press.  Following a Council inspection which resulted in an action plan with a care homes as a result of a problem that occurred, this was passed to the Cabinet Member who would disseminate to the Ward Members.  This could possibly be more transparent and officers were being asked to look at ways to see how that information could be disseminated wider to the full Cabinet.


In relation to the question this related to a report from the Adult Safeguarding Board relating to the previous year where care homes referred to had issues that have now been resolved.  Once the issues had been resolved the care home had 12-18 months to continue successful trading without any concerns.  If a former care home that had had concerns previously had to be named in that report it would engender concern amongst residents and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 102.




There were none.

Written Answers - 28th January, 2015 pdf icon PDF 100 KB