Agenda and minutes

Council Meeting - Wednesday 9 December 2015 2.00 p.m.

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

Contact: Debbie Pons, Principal Democratic Services Officer 

No. Item




As a mark of respect the Council stood for a minute’s silence to commemorate the victims of the Paris attacks.




To consider any announcements by the Mayor or the Leader.


The Mayor shared with the Council the contents of the letter received from Xavier Bertrand, Mayor of Saint Quentin, expressing thanks for the support offered by Rotherham following the terrorist attacks in Paris, which he had shared during their Council meeting on 23rd November, 2015.


The Mayor was also pleased to present two awards and offered her congratulations on behalf of the Council.  The first for the Great British High Street Award 2015 – Town Centre of which Rotherham was the winner received by Bernadette Rushton, Simeon Leach, Catherine Davis and Bob Taylor, and the second for the National Enterprise Network Awards 2015 – Enterprise Coach/Mentor of the Year which was won by Martyn Benson from RiDO. 


Since the last Council Meeting the Mayor had also represented the borough of Rotherham on sixty-three occasions. Like many she attended a number of moving Remembrance events including the Dinnington Festival of Remembrance and the Minster Remembrance Service and parade at which she was supported once again by Zoe Father, Rotherham’s little Mayor.


The Mayor also attended a number of sporting events including the National Women’s Football Final at New York Stadium and the Leeds Mayor’s Civic Reception for Yorkshire Cricket Club, Yorkshire Women’s and Yorkshire Girls Cricket Clubs.


The Mayor attended Lung Cancer awareness day at RDGH, the NHS Proud Awards, and the VAR Community Achievement awards where she presented a special award to the Hospice Shop Volunteer, Edna May Bateman, who was ninety-nine years young and an amazing example to all.


The NSPCC, ROPES, REMA AGMs, were also attended along with the launch of Xmas Toy Appeal Parkgate, a visit to the Shoebox appeal, the Youth Cabinet Manifesto launch and a belated Eid Party at Winterhill School.


The Mayor also hosted Town Hall visits by the young people from Kimberworth Park Community Partnership, Rotherham 218 Squadron cadets, Anston Brook Primary school and the Spanish TRC exchange students.


The Leader also reported on the revisions to the numbers of Advisory Cabinet Members, which now included Councillors Alam, Wallis and Yasseen.  Details of the portfolios were to be shared with all Members over the next few days.




To receive the apologies of any Member who is unable to attend the meeting.


The Managing Director submitted apologies for absence from Councillors Finnie, Fleming, Hague, Johnston, Lelliott, Parker, Robinson, Tweed and Whysall.




To report on any petitions received by the Council.


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


·             Containing 457 from Swinton residents who live on the Wentworth Parks Estate and in Wentworth Gardens and Piccadilly Road areas asking for the regular bus service on Piccadilly Road and Wentworth Road in Swinton to be reinstated.

·             An e-petition containing 13 signatures asking for Council websites to be used to advise and help the public not as a campaign tool asking members of the public to sign petitions.


Councillor Wyatt offered his support to the petition asking for the regular bus service in Swinton to be reinstated, pointing out the number of elderly residents living in this area who were isolated without public transport.


Councillor Currie pointed out that a review of the petition process had been requested as it was felt the present scheme was out of touch and had been previously recommended as part of the scrutiny review undertaken by the former Self Regulation Select Commission.




Any communication received by the Mayor or Managing Director which relates to a recommendation of the Cabinet or a committee which was received after the relevant meeting.


No communications had been received.




To invite Councillors to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests or personal interests they may have in any matter which is to be considered at this meeting, to confirm the nature of those interests and whether they intend to leave the meeting for the consideration of the item.


There were no Declarations of Interest made at the meeting.




To receive the record of proceedings of the ordinary meeting of the Council held on 21st October, 2015 and to approve the accuracy thereof.

Additional documents:


Resolved:-  That the minutes of the meeting of Council held on 21st October, 2015, be approved for signature by the Mayor.


Mover:-  Councillor Read                       Seconder:-  Councillor Watson




To receive questions from members of the public who may wish to ask a general question of the Mayor, Advisory Cabinet Member or the Chairman of a Committee.


(1)        Mr. M. Eyre asked did the Council publish a full list of the Elected Member attendees to the full Council meetings so that the public could see which Councillors did not attend? 


The Leader thanked Mr. Eyre for his question and advised that attendees and apologies were recorded for every Council meeting, but that a table in the form that he was suggesting was not produced.  He was aware that other authorities did publish a table and was happy to look at this.


In a supplementary question Mr. Eyre pointed out he had been told by a few people that their Councillors repeatedly did not attend meetings and whilst it was a high turnout today, this was not always the case.  He asked that a table be published at the end of the year to provide an annual record of attendances so that the public could see clearly if they were being represented or not.


The Leader confirmed he was happy to look into this.


(2)            Mr. S. Thornton explained that he had been convicted three times by the Standards Committee. On the first occasion he made a complaint that Labour Councillors conspired to "stitch him up".  He further complained that Labour Councillors lied in their statements in all three cases and asked why were his complaints not investigated?


The Leader was informed by the Legal Department that on the 23rd February, 2015, a Standards Hearing Panel decided that Parish Councillor Thornton had assaulted a member of the public in April, 2013, by slapping them across the face after an annual parish meeting.  The Panel decided this constituted a breach of the Code of Conduct of Councillors and found Parish Councillor Thornton had not treated the member of the public with respect and was in direct contravention of the Code. 


The Panel were also satisfied that Mr. Thornton’s aggressive behaviour at the annual parish meeting brought the office of parish councillor into disrepute.


On the 19th August, 2015 a Standards Panel Hearing found Parish Councillor Thornton had breached the Code of Conduct at an event on the 9th July, 2014 where he called a fellow councillor corrupt and repeated the accusation on the 6th August, 2014.  On the 17th June, 2014 he disclosed confidential information provided in confidence at a private meeting.


Parish Councillor Thornton was also advised that should he wish to make such an allegation, it would be considered by the hearing panel, as this went to the credibility of the witnesses in the case. However, Parish Councillor Thornton did not attend the hearing to put forward these allegations. Neither did he provide any further information which would substantiate allegations of collusion.


In relation to the second and third investigations, Parish Councillor Thornton, would not engage with the investigation by either meeting the investigating officer or providing a statement for the investigation.


The Leader understood Parish Councillor Thornton did refer to the witnesses as liars in correspondence, but did not provide  ...  view the full minutes text for item 93.




To consider the enclosed final draft Performance Management Framework and first version of a new Corporate Strategy for 2016-18.

Additional documents:


Consideration was given to the report which provided the Council with the new Performance Management Framework and Corporate Plan included as a commitment within the Corporate “Fresh Start” Improvement Plan.


Attached to the report was the final draft of a new Performance Management Framework for the Council (Appendix A) and the first version of a new Corporate Strategy for 2016 to 2018 (Appendix B).


Whilst both documents were subject to further work before they were finalised, it was important that the entire organisation had a clearer picture of how it needed to work corporately in support of the new vision for the Council as set out by the Leader on 28th October, 2015 (as part of the Commissioners’ Public Meeting).  It was important that Elected Members had the opportunity formally to consider the working documents.


Appendix A set out the means by which the Council worked to identify its objectives, cascaded them through the organisation and tracked progress to provide an overall assessment of how it was performing.  It was designed to give an overview of performance management at every level of the organisation, connecting individuals and those providing front line services through service plans and management to the Council’s overall priorities and vision.


Appendix B would be the core document that sat within the overall Performance Management Framework setting out the specific headline actions, indicators and milestones that should be monitored and managed to demonstrate delivery against the overall Council vision over the coming years.


Resolved:-  (1)  That the final draft of the Performance Management Framework and the first version of a new Corporate Plan for 2016-18 be approved.


(2)  That the form, content and headline actions/measures within the documents be supported so that work could progress to finalise the detailed content by early 2016.


Mover:  Councillor Read                        Seconder:-  Councillor Watson




To note for information the appended Outline Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) for the 3 financial years 2016/17 to 2018/19.

Additional documents:


Consideration was given to the new Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) as set out as a target in the Corporate “Fresh Start” Improvement Plan.


The MTFS was currently in outline form as it was recognised that the document would require amendment following the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement and Spending Review of 25th November 2015 and in light of the forthcoming Local Government Finance Settlement for 2016/17 provisionally expected in December, 2015.


In addition, the Council’s own budget process was still ongoing, reviewing and assessing savings proposals and growth/pressures bids.  A finalised version of the MTFS was anticipated by the end of February, 2016, in line with the requirements of the Improvement Plan.


The MTFS was to be approved by Council at its 2nd March, 2016, meeting as part of approving the Council’s 2016/17 Budget and Council Tax setting.


Councillor C. Vines fully endorsed the outline Medium Term Financial Strategy document as the Council had been broken and needed rebuilding.


Resolved:-  That the Outline Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) for the three financial years 2016/17 to 2018/19 be noted.  In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, a final proposed version of the MTFS for approval by Full Council would be submitted by Commissioners to the 2nd March, 2016 Budget and Council Tax setting meeting.


Mover:- Councillor Read                        Seconder:-  Councillor Watson





To receive and consider reports, minutes and recommendations of the Standards Committee held on 4th December, 2015 (to be circulated).


To confirm the minutes as a true record.


Resolved:-  That the reports, minutes and recommendations of the meeting of the Standards Committee be adopted.


Councillor Beck, Chairman, gave a brief outline of the work of the Standards Committee Working Group and the positive recommendations which included changing the name of the Standards Committee to the Standards and Ethics Committee to reflect the promotion of strong ethics amongst those democratically elected in Rotherham and the revisions to the complaints process and hearing membership.


Councillor Hughes, Vice-Chairman, endorsed the comments by the Chairman and in doing so wished to thank all those who had been involved in the Standards Committee review.


Councillor Jepson referred to his previous request to the Standards Committee Working Group on whether consideration had been given to abolishing the Standards Committee altogether and was advised by the Chairman that this had been considered, but that it was felt by the Working Group that there was a strong need for a Standards Committee which promoted good ethical behaviour and probity in Rotherham.


Councillor Jepson pointed out the Standards Committee should be a totally independent membership with no other Councillors sitting judgement on others.


Mover:-  Councillor Beck              Seconder:-  Councillor Hughes




To consider the recommendation of the Standards Committee and approve the supplement to the Council’s Code of Conduct.

Additional documents:


Consideration was given to a report setting out a supplement to the Council’s Code of Conduct.


Lead Commissioner, Sir Derek Myers, in conjunction with partner representatives, other Commissioners, Members and senior officers, had sought to strengthen the Code of Conduct by preparing a supplement entitled “A healthy system of democratic leadership and accountability”.


The supplement had been approved by the Standards Committee Working Group and by the Standards Committee at its meeting on 4th December, 2015.


Resolved:-  That the supplement to the Council’s Code of Conduct be approved.


Mover:-  Councillor Beck                        Seconder:-  Councillor Hughes





To note the decision of Standards Committee, endorse the adoption of the Code for Rotherham MBC: Senior Staff working to Councillors and approve the making of consequential amendments to the Council’s constitution.

Additional documents:


Consideration was given to the Code for Rotherham MBC: Senior Staff Working to Councillors which had been prepared by Commissioner Sir Derek Myers in liaison with other Commissioners, Leaders of political groups, Trade Unions and Senior Officers.


The report was considered by a special meeting of the Standards Committee on 4th December, 2015.


Although there currently was a Member/Officer Protocol as part of the Constitution, the Code herewith provided more specificity as to the dynamics of the relationship expected between Senior Officers and Members. 


Resolved:-  (1)  That the decision of Standards Committee be noted and the Code for Rotherham MBC: Senior Staff working to Councillors be adopted.


(2)  That consequential amendments to the Council’s constitution be approved.


Mover:-  Councillor Beck                        Seconder:-  Councillor Hughes




To consider a revision to the following:-


·             To include Councillor Rosling on the membership of the Advisory Licensing Board to replace Councillor Currie.


Consideration was given to the revised membership arrangements for the current municipal year as recommended.


Councillor C. Vines sought clarification on why Councillor Currie was being replaced and was advised by Councillor Currie that it was at his request given his work commitments.


Resolved:-  That Councillor Rosling to become a member of the Advisory Licensing Board to replace Councillor Currie


Mover:-  Councillor Read                       Seconder:- Councillor Watson




To receive and consider reports, minutes and recommendations of the Audit Committee held on 30th October and 24th November, 2015.


See Minute No. 35 – Amendment to the Constitution of the Audit Committee and Appointment of Independent Member


To confirm the minutes as a true record.

Additional documents:


Resolved:-  That the reports and minutes of the meeting of the Audit Committee be adopted.


Councillor Currie questioned the validity of the appointment of an independent member in accordance with the Committee’s new prospectus, given that this person was not elected and, therefore, should not be given a vote.


Councillor John Turner also pointed out that the independent person should also be non-political so they could not be drawn into any conflicts or prejudice.


Councillor Wyatt, Chairman of the Audit Committee, confirmed this was good practice to have an independent view and the position had been advertised publically with no reference to any political persuasion.


Mover:-  Councillor Wyatt            Seconder:-  Councillor Hughes





To receive and consider reports, minutes and recommendations of the Planning Board held on 8th and 29th October and 19th November, 2015.


To confirm the minutes as a true record.

Additional documents:


Resolved:-  That the reports and minutes of the meetings of the Planning Board be adopted.


Mover:-  Councillor Atkin                            Seconder:-  Councillor Middleton




To receive and consider reports, minutes and recommendations of the Staffing Committee held on 26th November, 2015.


See Minute No. 14 – Children and Young People’s Services Senior Management.


To confirm the minutes as a true record.


Resolved:-  That the reports, recommendations and minutes of the meetings of the Staffing Committee be adopted.


Councillor Watson drew particular attention to Minute No. 14 and the positive news that Interim Strategic Director for Children and Young People’s Services was to be made permanent.


Mover:-  Councillor Watson                    Seconder:-  Councillor Roche




To put questions, if any, to the designated Members on the discharge of functions of the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority, Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield Combined Authority and South Yorkshire Pensions Authority, in accordance with Standing Order No. 7(5).


No questions had been received.




To put questions, if any, to Advisory Cabinet Members and Chairmen (or their representatives) under Standing Order No. 7(1) and 7(3).


(1)  Councillor Currie asked please could the Leader give him the names of any current serving Councillors in receipt of special responsibility allowances, who were either Cabinet Members or on the South Yorkshire Joint Police Authority Committee in the era of 1997 to 2013.


The Leader confirmed there were three serving Councillors in receipt of a special responsibility allowance who were Cabinet Members during the period 1997 to 2013.  These being:-


Councillor Sue Ellis

Councillor Rose McNeely

Councillor Ken Wyatt


Councillor C. Vines was the only current serving Member who was on the South Yorkshire Joint Police Authority during the 1997 to 2013 period.


In a supplementary question Councillor Currie referred to failure and the need for a fresh start.  Change was happening with the new management structure, but he expressed his concerns about the need for a fresh start politically and not rewarding failure, which was the reason why he had become an “Independent”.  The people of Rotherham would continue to see failure while ever people were being paid to make decisions in that era when 1400 young people were let down.  He asked the Leader when was he going to stop the denial and these people fall on their swords and step down.


The Leader explained he did not accept the denial premise of the question, but pointed out a number of changes had been made to the political environment with a number of key people around in that era having moved on.  There were a small number of members left who were around at that time who were doing a great job and he gave them his full support.


Councillor C. Vines, in a point of order, confirmed Councillor Currie was entitled to question/interrogate any member and he invited any questions, which he would answer in an open and transparent way for the benefit of members of the public.


(2)  Councillor Julie Turner referred to Rotherham being the Town Centre Category winner in the Great British High Street Awards 2015, but asked why were there so few Rotherham people shopping here.


Councillor Watson, Deputy Leader, confirmed he was answering the questions on behalf of Councillor Denise Lelliott, who was attending a very important Tata Steel Taskforce Meeting in Sheffield.  He asked his fellow Councillors if they agreed with him that this was a fantastic result for Rotherham.


In terms of people shopping on the High Street there were more and more people who were doing so and four million people had shopped in Rotherham markets, which was more than comparable markets.  The town centre had seen a 9.5% increase in footfall since 2010 so did not accept the premise of the question that Rotherham’s people were not shopping.  Rotherham’s High Street had been recognised nationally, which was significant and the success should be applauded.


In a supplementary question Councillor Julie Turner had been told by residents that the town centre had lost its sparkle and atmosphere, many now avoided it preferring to shop at Parkgate.  Sheffield  ...  view the full minutes text for item 104.




Any other public items which the Mayor determines are urgent.


The Mayor authorised consideration of an urgent item on the Magna Trust in order to determine urgently whether the Council continued to provide ongoing support and if so what level of financial support was provided.


Magna Trust - Update pdf icon PDF 81 KB

Additional documents:


Further to Minute No. 138 of the meeting of Commissioner Manzie held on 30th November, 2015 consideration was given to  a report which detailed the minded to decision taken by Commissioner Manzie. 


The views of Council were, therefore, sought on the conclusions of the review of the Magna Business Plan and the strategic positioning of Magna as a key site. Councillor Chris Read (Leader) supported the recommended option to seek a repayment plan with Magna on the two loans and sought changes to the inter-creditor deed as well as the Council offering support in kind to help Magna identify business and development opportunities in respect of the Magna facility and the wider site.


Councillor C. Vines expressed his concern about the Council offering support in kind and how information about the Business Plan was detailed in the media prior to Opposition Members being informed.  He did not feel the Council had moved on and was uncomfortable offering his support moving forward.


Councillor Hoddinott welcomed the report and the financial opportunities available as part of Option 4, which protected employment and public money through investment.  An option had been put forward by Councillor C. Vines to the Leader, the detail of which was not public.


Councillor C. Vines confirmed he had forwarded his proposals to the Leader of the Council, but expressed concern that the detail of the report to Council had been shared in the media with no formal discussion with Members or in the public interest.


Councillor Reynolds welcomed the protection of employment, which was for the benefit of Rotherham, but questioned the level of support to Magna when the town had an equivalent asset and modern building in the town with New York Stadium.  It was suggested that consideration should be given to the long term future of Magna and the use of the site for social housing.


Councillor Currie believed the minded to decision by Commissioner Manzie to be correct, questioned the viability of social housing on an industrial site and supported Option 4 moving forward.


Councillors Alam, Beck, Buckley and Jepson echoed the comments and issues raised by Councillor Hoddinott and the protection afforded to employment and public funds.  Both supported Option 4 moving forward.


Councillor Hunter questioned the status of the loans under Option 4 if they were combined.


Councillor Reynolds again referred to the long term future of the site should Magna fail and suggested the extension of credit to Magna should be increased, secured against the site, and then run as a commercial concern generating revenue, rather than a focusing on one side of the business.


The Leader responded to the comments made by fellow Councillors,  confirmed to Councillor Hunter that the revised loan agreement under Option 4 would capture both loans securely and restated his support for Option 4 of the report.


The Mayor reminded Members of their duty to treat each other with respect and to restrain their comments, which was echoed by other Members.


Resolved:-  To support confirmation  ...  view the full minutes text for item 106.




Resolved:-  That, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part I of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended 2006 - (finance and business affairs).


Magna Trust - Update


Further to Minute No. 106 of this meeting, consideration was given to the confidential appendices of the report submitted.


A number of questions were raised on the appendices including confidence in Magna going forward, the future and viability of the trading elements, visitor numbers, utility expenditure and the constitution of the commercial entertainment and education element, which the Leader responded to.


Resolved:-  That the information be noted.


Closing Remarks


The Mayor formally closed the meeting at 4.30 p.m. and in doing so wished all those present a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.