Agenda and minutes

Council Meeting - Wednesday 3 June 2015 2.00 p.m.

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

Contact: Debbie Pons, Principal Democratic Services Officer 

No. Item


Declarations of Interest


The following declarations of interest were reported:-


Councillor Hughes declared a personal interest in Agenda Item No. 8 (Community Governance Review – Orgreave Parish) on the grounds of being a member of Catcliffe Parish Council.


Councillors Beck and Jepson declared personal interests in Agenda Item No. 12 (Standards Committee Minutes) on the grounds of their involvement with Anston Parish Council and both withdrew from the room whilst that item was discussed.


Councillor Read declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in Agenda Item No. 16 (Staffing Committee Minutes) on the grounds of his partner’s employment status and withdrew from the room whilst that item was discussed.


Councillor Rose declared a disclosable pecuinary interest in Agenda Item No. 16 (Staffing Committee Minutes) on the grounds of sponsorship relating to her election campaign and withdrew from the room whilst that item was discussed.


Annual Council Minutes pdf icon PDF 71 KB


Resolved:-  That the minutes of the meeting of the Annual Council held on 22nd May, 2015, be approved for signature by the Mayor.


Mover:-  Councillor Read                           Seconder:  Councillor Watson




(1)  The Managing Director submitted the following petitions which had been referred to the appropriate Directorates for consideration:-


·           Containing 6 signatures from local residents requesting action to trees growing on vacant land to the rear of Redscope Crescent between the houses and Redscope School.

·           Containing 159 signatures from local residents requesting road safety measures to be put in place at Swinton Bridge and refers to a traffic accident occurring on Monday, 18th May, 2015.


(2)  The Managing Director submitted apologies for absence from Councillors Ahmed, Astbury, Beaumont, Burton, Finnie, Godfrey, Hamilton, Hoddinott, Lelliott, Pickering, Roddison, Smith, Wallis and Whysall.


Questions from Members of the Public


(1)          Mr. D. Smith asked why had the Council not got an Empty Homes Officer.


Councillor Read, Leader, explained that the Voids Team, within Contract and Service Development, had overall responsibility for managing the performance of vacant Council properties.  For the last three years the number of Council void properties in Rotherham had placed performance within the top quartile for all social landlords on the Housemark national benchmarking system.


In respect of privately owned empty properties, the role of an ‘Empty Homes Officer’ was accommodated within the responsibilities of the Council’s Private Sector Housing Officer who, as part of his role, co-ordinated the activity of the Council in tackling empty private homes. This activity was predominantly focused on long-term (over six months) empty properties. The Council for a long time had initiatives in place to bring long term empty properties back into use and there was a Private Sector Empty Property action plan produced that identified what the Council intended to do to return properties to use as soon as possible.


In a supplementary question Mr. D. Smith referred to the Dinnington Ward and how they had the fourth highest number of empty homes in Rotherham, which was three times the Borough average of 9.3% against 3.2%.


He described how Dinnington was suffering from empty homes blight and the failings of the Housing Department in dealing with the issue.  He believed Dinnington had been let down by the Council and wished to see the occupancy rate increased and housing brought back into use in areas such as Dinnington.


He referred to there being 196 empty homes in Dinnington and asked how many EDM homes in Dinnington had been issued.


The Leader confirmed he would respond to this question in writing.


(2)  Mr. B. Cutts asked whether the practice and procedures over the five days’ notice given to produce the answer for the public and Councillors’ questions could be described.  With the restriction of a fifty word limit to this question could the supplementary question and answer please be minuted.


Councillor Watson, Deputy Leader, referred to the recent cross-party review group that looked at the questions presented to the Council.  It was decided unanimously that the deadline for submitting questions would move from the Monday to the previous Friday to enable the proper investigation of the issue and the preparation of a response to avoid answers then having to be provided in writing.


The procedure had now been changed to include any supplementary question and answer being recorded in the minutes.


In a supplementary question Mr. B. Cutts provided three examples of past activity which he wished to share.  The first related to his involvement as a Governor, his seeking of financial information and the difficulty he experienced with obtaining information from Rotherham.  He described how he had obtained this information from another Council in Hampshire.


His second related to a question to former Councillor Hussain and an unsatisfactory answer he had received.  He also referred to the resignation of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.


Organisational Review of Rotherham Council - Laying the Foundations pdf icon PDF 186 KB


Consideration was given to the senior management review that had taken place, which had been particularly urgent given the gaps in permanent management appointments following resignations and retirements.


Seminars had been held with Elected Members to go through the proposed recommendations in more detail and particularly in specific areas such as the restoration of key parts of the corporate management of the organisation, Democratic Services and the Communications function.


Councillor Parker referred to the new posts being created and the associated estimated costs and was informed by the Leader that these were currently estimated at £218,807. Some of these increased costs could be absorbed by a reduction in management spend following a review.


In a supplementary question Councillor Parker was pleased to hear a reduction in management to achieve additional funding, but expressed his concern if staff at less senior level were being made redundant.


The Leader expressed his concerns about any redundancies, but pointed out this was a direct consequence of the budget position.  However, there would be benefits to the proposals to be implemented.


In addition, Councillor Reynolds referred to a key point in the report relating to effective structures and the consequences of the Council losing its ability to be effective if the capacity to challenge and manage from Elected Members and the Chief Executive was removed.


Resolved:-  (1)  That the second tier job titles be changed from “Director” to “Assistant Director”.


(2)  That a post of Strategic Director be created for the new Community Wellbeing and Housing Directorate to include Adults Services and most of Housing and Neighbourhoods Services.


(3)  That the Director of Public Health report directly to the Managing Director/Chief Executive.


(4)  That the posts of Assistant Director Strategic Commissioning and Assistant Director Independent Living and Support be created for the new Community Wellbeing and Housing Directorate in relation to Adult Social Care Services.


(5)  That the existing retitled post of Assistant Director Housing and Neighbourhood Services should be within the Community Wellbeing and Housing Directorate.


(6)  That the post of Director of Human Resources be deleted and the creation of an Assistant Chief Executive Partnerships, People and Performance.


(7)  That a post of Strategic Director Finance and Corporate Services be created.


(8)  That Human Resources be managed by the new post of Assistant Chief Executive.


(9)  That Scrutiny be included in Democratic Services, creation of a Democratic Services Manager post and transfer of Democratic Services into the management of the Assistant Chief Executive.


(10)  That a new Corporate Performance Team be created initially from existing staff from within the Authority.


(11)  That the Equalities function be recreated to include responsibilities for helping to support cohesion and to be located in the Policy and Performance Team.


(12)  That a post of Voluntary Sector Liaison Manager be created.


(13)  That the Communications Team be restructured.


(14)  That the post of Director of Transformation (formerly known as Internal Audit and Asset Management) be deleted and the post of Assistant Director, Audit, ICT and Procurement be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.


Community Governance Review - Orgreave Parish pdf icon PDF 38 KB

Additional documents:


Councillor Hughes outlined the details of the request for a Community Governance Review following receipt of a petition from Orgreave Parish Council.  This related to the proposal to alter the existing boundary of the Parish of Orgreave to enable a separate parish to be formed for the new development known as Waverley.


It was also noted that there was a requirement for residents of the new Waverly development to pay an additional management fee towards the management of their green space.


Resolved:-  (1)  That a Community Governance Review be undertaken in the Parish of Orgreave.


(2)  That the Terms of Reference for the Review be approved.


(3)  That a further report be submitted with the results of the consultation exercise.


Mover:-  Councillor Read                           Seconder:-  Councillor Watson


Governance Review of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council pdf icon PDF 62 KB


Consideration was given to a report outlining the reasons prompting a review of the governance arrangements for the Council and proposed Terms of Reference.


The Commissioners wished to collect the views of Members and the community of Rotherham on governance arrangements before they submitted their views on the most effective and efficient form of governance.  Accordingly, a group of Elected Members was to be established to review and examine the issue and report the views of the political parties and of the Independent Councillors.  Membership of the review group would require commitment as there was a significant amount of work to be undertaken over the course of the next six months. 


Councillor Read, the Leader, in moving the report recommended an amendment to replace the objectives of the Review Group at 3.2 of the report to new read:-


·                Consider the purpose, role and duties of Elected Members in Rotherham, to include decision-making, scrutiny, community leadership and representation, and outline how these are to be met in the recommended governance model.

·                Review the Scheme of Delegation; ensuring the appropriate levels of delegation to officers and Councillors, and between executive arrangements and decisions of the full Council.

·                Ahead of the Local Government Boundary Commission for England’s electoral review, consider the appropriate number of Elected Members that will be required under the new governance arrangements.


Councillors Parker and C. Vines believed the current terms of reference were broad enough to include elements of the amendments above and questioned why the amendment was required.


Resolved:-  (1)  That the Terms of Reference for the review be approved with the revisions indicated above.


(2)  That the the size and membership of the review group be approved to include ten Elected Members.


Mover:-  Councillor Read                           Seconder:-  Councillor Watson


Adoption of a Revised Statement of Community Involvement pdf icon PDF 40 KB

Additional documents:


Consideration was given to the outcome of the consultation that had taken place on a draft revised Statement of Community Involvement.


Section 18 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (as amended) required the Council to produce a Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) which set out how and when stakeholders could influence new planning policy documents covering Rotherham, how information would be communicated and the ways in which individuals and organisations could comment on planning applications.  It was critical in encouraging engagement in the planning process with the communities and stakeholders of Rotherham and a range of other statutory consultees.


Since adoption of the existing Statement of Community Involvement in 2006, the national planning context had changed significantly.  The changes meant that a Statement of Community Involvement was no longer a development plan document and was not subject to independent examination.  The contents of what a Statement of Community Involvement should contain were also now much less prescriptive, however, for a development plan document to be found sound at examination in public must demonstrate that it had been prepared in accordance with the Council’s adopted Statement of Community Involvement.


The current Statement of Community Involvement had been revised and refreshed to create a new simplified and user-friendly document that was fit for purpose.  It had been subject to a six week consultation period between 13th October - 24th November, 2014.  Representations had been received from nine individuals/organisations.


Reference was made by Councillor Jepson to the key stages in the production of the Community Infrastructure Levy and he asked if he could be provided with the full timetable.


Councillor Read, the Leader, confirmed the Strategic Director for Environment and Development Services would be asked to provide the information.


Resolved:-  (1)  That the current Statement of Community Involvement be withdrawn.


(2)  That the revised Statement of Community Involvement be adopted.


Mover:-  Councillor Read                           Seconder:-  Councillor Watson


Changes to Disciplinary Procedures for Senior Officers pdf icon PDF 70 KB


Consideration was given to a report setting out changes to staff and disciplinary procedures in respect of the Head of Paid Service, the Section 151 Officer and the Monitoring Officer positions. 


Section 28(6) of the Localism Act 2011 (the Act) required local authorities to have in place arrangements under which allegations against any of the Head of Paid Service, Section 151 Officer or Monitoring Officers could be investigated and decided upon.  The Authority was currently required by the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 to appoint a Designated Independent Person whose views were to be sought and taken into account by the Authority before it made a decision.  However, the Secretary of State had now issued new regulations which had the effect of requiring the Council to adopt new Standing Orders removing the requirement for a Designated Independent Person.


Now the decisions regarding disciplinary processes would be taken by full Council.  An Independent Panel would be established which would investigate the proposed dismissal and any representations from the officer concerned.  Council must then consider any advice, views or recommendations from the Panel.


The Council was required to invite Independent Persons who had been appointed to the Standards Committee to form part of the Independent Panel.  The Council’s two current Independent Persons on the Standards Committee had agreed to join the Panel.  It was proposed that the total membership of the Panel be 5 and be named ‘The Senior Officers Independent Disciplinary Panel’.


The Regulations also limited the remuneration to be paid to Independent Persons on the Panel to the level of remuneration which they would normally receive as an independent person on the conduct regime.  At present in Rotherham this amount was an annual payment of £710.


Resolved:-  (1)  That the changes to staff and disciplinary procedures in relation to the Head of Paid Service, Section 151 Officer and the Monitoring Officer positions be noted.


(2)  That the Council’s Standing Order No. 31 be removed and replaced with the Standing Order in the schedule to the report.


(3)  That the Independent Panel be renamed the ‘Senior Officers Independent Disciplinary Panel’.


(4)  That the Senior Officers Independent Disciplinary Panel be a standing committee of the Council.


(5)  That the size of the Panel be three Members and two Independent Persons.


Mover:-  Councillor Read                           Seconder:-  Councillor Watson


Standards Committee pdf icon PDF 50 KB


Minute No. B23 (Outcome of Standards Hearing Regarding the Alleged Breach of the Code of Conduct) (Page 17B) refers.


Resolved:-  That the reports, minutes and recommendations of the meeting of the Standards Committee (Section B) (pages 14B to 20B) be adopted.


Mover:-  Councillor Gosling                      Seconder:-  Councillor Pitchley


(Councillors Beck and Jepson both withdrew from the room whilst this item was discussed)


Audit Committee pdf icon PDF 38 KB

Additional documents:


Resolved:-  That the reports and minutes of the meeting of the Audit Committee (Section N) (Pages 29N to 38N) be adopted.


Mover:-  Councillor Wyatt                          Seconder:-  Councillor Hughes


Health and Wellbeing Board pdf icon PDF 44 KB

Additional documents:


Resolved:-  That the reports and minutes of the meeting of the Health and Wellbeing Board (Section S) (Pages 78S to 93S) be adopted.


Mover:-  Councillor Roche                        Seconder:-  Councillor Watson


Planning Board pdf icon PDF 36 KB

Additional documents:


Resolved:-  That the reports and minutes of the meetings of the Planning Board (Section T) (Pages 48T to 59T) be adopted.


Mover:-  Councillor Atkin                           Seconder:-  Councillor Tweed


Staffing Committee pdf icon PDF 34 KB


Minute No. U9 (Annual Pay Statement) (Page 7U) refers.


Resolved:-  That the reports and minutes of the meetings of the Staffing Committee (Section U) (Pages 6U to 8U) be adopted.


In moving and seconding the minutes both Councillors Watson and C. Vines pointed out that market supplements would not be used as a matter of course and each request would be considered on its own merits.


Mover:-  Councillor Watson                     Seconder:-  Councillor C. Vines


(Councillor Rose withdrew from the room whilst the item was discussed)


Questions to Spokespersons


There were none.


Questions to Advisory Cabinet Members and Committee Chairmen


(1)  Councillor Cowles asked had the Council received the SCRIF funding to cover the £1m put up for additional broadband cover, bearing in mind the previous indication the Council would get this money back first in December and then in April.


Councillor Read, the Leader, confirmed the Council had not received formal notification from the Combined Authority that SCRIF funding had been secured to meet the local authority match funding contributions in relation to the South Yorkshire Superfast Broadband BDUK contract, the Council’s share of which was £1.596m.


At the time that the Council agreed to enter into the BDUK contract it was anticipated that Barnsley MBC, as lead authority, would submit a full business case to the Combined Authority and obtain a decision on SCRIF funding by December, 2014.  Due to the complexity of the scheme, Barnsley was unable to achieve this timetable and a revised timetable was agreed early 2015 which envisaged that the full business case would be submitted to the Combined Authority by March, 2015 and a funding agreement secured by June, 2015. The latest position was that the full business case was submitted and approved in May, 2015 resulting in a further month’s slippage. The Funding Agreement was now expected to be in place by the end of July.


In a supplementary question Councillor Cowles asked about the broadband coverage, where this was in phases and it there was any copies of documentation?


Councillor Read, The Leader, indicated he would ensure a copy of any maps or documentation was provided.


Councillor C. Vines made reference to the timeframe for implementation and asked if Barnsley were underwriting the contract, what redress did the Council have?


Councillor Read, the Leader, indicated the funding for the Council to meet its share of the cost, but it was not possible to say if there were any additional costs to be incurred by the Council.


(2)  Councillor Cowles asked for a brief update on the 'Core Plan', what happened next and when.


Councillor Read, the Leader, confirmed the Local Plan Core Strategy was adopted by the Council on 10th September, 2014.  It now formed part of the statutory development plan for Rotherham. To complete the Local Plan, a Sites and Policies document was being prepared which would allocate specific development sites to deliver the Core Strategy’s growth targets.  It would also set out development management policies to guide decisions on planning applications. A final draft of the Sites ad Policies document was subject to public consultation between 13th October and 24th November, 2014.


The next stage of the process was the “Publication” of the version of the Sites and Policies document that was intended to be submitted to Government. This would entail a six week statutory consultation period for any comments on the document prior to submission. Subject to approval by the Commissioners and Council, the Publication consultation period was programmed to start late September, 2015. Exact dates would be confirmed nearer the time.


In a supplementary question Councillor Cowles  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.


The meeting ended at 3.30 p.m.






Director of Legal and Democratic Services.