Agenda and minutes

Council Meeting - Wednesday 30 September 2020 2.00 p.m.

Venue: Virtual meeting

Contact: Governance Unit  The webcast can be viewed at

No. Item




To consider any announcements by the Mayor in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 3(2)(ii).


The Mayor was pleased to present her activity since the last Council meeting which was attached for information to the Mayor’s Letter, but drew particular attention to:-


·              Yorkshire Day – 1st August 2020 – recording of  short video message for the Yorkshire Society which was published on their website.

·              Zoom Meeting with the New Zealand Yorkshire Society along with Cabinet Member, Councillor Sarah Allen, and the Chief Executive.

·              VJ Day – 15th August 2020 - two minute silence and recorded message followed by an online performance of Lorrie ‘The Vera Lynn Story’.

·              Forthcoming Remembrance Sunday – 8th November, 2020.

·              Dalton Parish Council’s Remembrance Service – 8th November, 2020.

·              Redeployment of Civic Officers – Riverside Food Bank.





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


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Cusworth, D. Cutts, Fenwick-Green, Jarvis, Napper, Steele and Whysall




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


There were no communications received.




To receive the record of proceedings of the ordinary meeting of the Council held on 22nd July, 2020, and to approve the accuracy thereof.


Resolved:-  That the minutes of the meeting of Council held on 22nd July, 2020, be approved for signature by the Mayor.


Mover:-  Councillor Read                        Seconder:-  Councillor Watson


PETITIONS pdf icon PDF 135 KB


To report on any petitions received by the Council received by the Council and receive statements in support of petitions in accordance with Petitions Scheme and Council Procedure Rule 13.


The Mayor introduced the report and confirmed the receipt of two petitions received since the last Council meeting which had not met the threshold for consideration by Council.


·              Containing 30 signatures calling on the Council for replacement pavements and crossings on Well View Road.


Mr. L. Ashton and Mr. S. Collins addressed the Council as part of the presentation of the petition.


·              Containing 22 signatures calling on the Council to explain why a report on RMBC’s website (presented to the Improving Live Select Committee in March, 2020) continued to communicate errors of fact after these errors were pointed out.


Councillor Cowles addressed the Council as part of the presentation of the petition.


Resolved:-  (1)  That the report be received.


(2)  That the relevant Strategic Directors be required to respond to the lead petitioners as set out by 14th October, 2020.




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.


Councillor Senior declared a personal interest in Minute No. 383 (Public Questions and specifically Question 3 on the grounds of her employment).  She was not present in the meeting when questions were asked.




To receive questions from members of the public who may wish to ask a general question of the Mayor, Cabinet Member or the Chairman of a Committee in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 12.


(1) Mr. Peter Thirlwall asked, following his complaint to the Standards Board about Brian Cutts’ failure to complete his register of interests, the Board decided to take no action against Councillor Cutts, but instead decided that the best course of action would be to regularly remind all Members of their obligations.  Therefore, he asked could the Chair of the Board tell him if this had been done?


Councillor McNeely confirmed it had.  She also confirmed this matter had been considered by the Standards and Ethics Committee at its meeting in January, 2020 where the Legal Officer recommended reminders being issued to Members on a six monthly basis.  The Committee recommended this take place on a monthly basis and this practice had continued to take place.


In a supplementary question Mr. Thirlwall referred to training that had been provided for many years for Members and again for UKIP Members on the Register of Interests.  The Legal Officer had also met with Councillor B. Cutts to remind him of the importance of updating his Register of Interests, but still with monthly reminders, his current Register of Interests still had him registered as a Brexit Party member.  This was the same for Councillor John Turner and Councillor Reeder who was not registered to any political party.  Last September as Chair of Standards you advised all Members had been emailed to alter their Register of Interests.  Councillor B. Cutts altered his on the 4th September, 2019, but he still was registered as a Brexit Party member.  He, therefore, asked what the Chair of Standards was going to do about it.


Councillor McNeely explained she had listened and been guided by the Legal Officer accordingly.  She confirmed that in a meeting with the former Brexit Party and Legal Services it was explained to them what needed to be done.  They gave their assurances this would be undertaken.  Councillor B. Cutts  was not at that meeting and  subsequently the Legal Officer had  met with him and again he assured everything would be brought up-to-date.  If this was not the case then the Legal Officer would be requested to take action.


(2) Elizabeth was not present at the meeting so would receive a response to her question in writing.


(3) Mr. John Smith was not present at the meeting so would receive a response to his question in writing.


(4) Mr. Gerald Dempsey was not present at the meeting so would receive a response to his question in writing.


(5) Ms. Margaret Edge was not present at the meeting so would receive a response to her question in writing.


(6) Ms. Philomena Holland was not present at the meeting so would receive a response to her question in writing.


(7)  Mr. Liam Harron asked would the Leader agree to a debate in public (with appropriate social distancing arrangements), ideally before the next Council meeting scheduled for 11th November, 2020, with one or more adult survivors of CSE about (and he quoted the Leader) “the progress  ...  view the full minutes text for item 385.




Should it be necessary, in the opinion of the Mayor, to consider excluding the press and public from the meeting in relation to any items of urgent business on the grounds that private information is likely to be divulged.


There are no such items at the time of preparing this agenda.


Resolved:-  That under Section 100(A) of the Local Government Act 1972, that should the Mayor deem it necessary the public be excluded from the meeting on the grounds that any items involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined under Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12(A) of such Act indicated, as now amended by the Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006.




To receive a statement from the Leader of the Council in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 9.


The Leader wished to highlight the concerns and the current rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases nationally and the tightening of restrictions that this had brought to try and bring this awful virus back under control.


Over the summer a substantial reduction had been seen in the number of cases in Rotherham. After the horror of more than 330 deaths, for five weeks there were none at all. At one stage there were no COVID-19 patients in Rotherham hospital.


The Leader’s sincere thanks went to all sections of the Rotherham community for the calm and responsible way they went about their business. Rotherham was spared some of the terrible things that have happened elsewhere. Its religious institutions, the churches and mosques, voluntary sector groups, all stepped up brilliantly  and very often with the support of Elected Members.


It had been hoped that a relatively more stable position would be in place, but this was not the case.


Last week cases rose steeply with 139 new cases confirmed (53 per 100,000).   Those numbers varied from day to day, which was why the Council only reported on the end of week published figures.  All the indications since then were that the number of infections continued to rise rapidly.


The number of patients in hospital was still  rising as, sadly, were the number of fatalities. There was a three or four week delay from cases being identified, when people became ill, before they passed away. It was almost inevitable that people who were infected today would not be around in a month’s time.


It would not be a surprise to see Rotherham return to the national watchlist this week.  The cases confirmed were across several Wards with no hotspots or spikes being recorded at the current time. Whilst younger people have been disproportionally affected, all age groups had seen infections. 


Many were also affected by the failure of the national testing system.  The shortage of lab capacity had meant that people in the Borough had been left waiting for appointments, which was not good enough and was a failure.


Big areas of the North West, West Yorkshire and the North East have all be severely affected, as everyone knows so Rotherham was far from alone.


People were urged to act responsibly and to:-


·           Keep 2 metres apart whenever possible.

·           Wash hands often.

·           Self-isolate and get tested if you have symptoms.

·           Wear a face covering whenever required.


People were also urged to download and use the NHS Covid smartphone app.  This had, indeed, been a difficult year, but together the Borough would get through this and eventually lives would return to normal. Everything would be done to protect jobs and ensure that the world being returned to was better than the one left behind. 


Everyone please be careful, stay safe, and look after each other.


Councillor Carter echoed the remarks about the community and personal sacrifice made by people, but believed the Council should be doing more with the Public Health role.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 387.




To note the minutes of the Cabinet Meeting held on 20th July, 2020.


Resolved:-  That the reports, recommendations and minutes of the meetings of the Cabinet held on 20th July, 2020, be received.


Mover:-  Councillor Read                        Seconder:-  Councillor Watson




To consider a recommendation from Cabinet to note the revenue outturn position and approve the updated Capital Programme.

Additional documents:


Further to Minute No. 31 of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 20th July, 2020 consideration was given to the report which detailed how the final outturn position was a balanced budget which required £2.0m less use of corporate reserves than planned for.  The original budget was supported by budget contingency reserves of £3.2m.  Additional funding received in year, use of earmarked reserves and flexible use of capital receipts had resulted in a reduced call on the reserves of £1.2m leaving a balance of £2.0m to support the budget in later years. 


The Council continued to face demand pressures, in particular in respect of Social Care.  This coupled with the significant financial challenges the Council’s response to Covid-19 would bring, as reported in detail to Cabinet in June 2020, meant the outlook was very challenging.


The Council’s General Fund minimum balance had been increased to £20.700m as planned and set out within the Council’s Reserves Strategy reported in the Budget and Council Tax Report 2020/21.  The reserve was held to protect the Council against unforeseen events and realisation of contingent liabilities. 


The Housing Revenue Account had an underspend of £2.9m, however, the revenue contribution to capital outlay was increased by £0.2m. Therefore, the net budgeted use of HRA reserves reduced by £2.7m.


The schools outturn position, funded by the ring-fenced Dedicated Schools Grant had an underspend of £1.968m.


The capital outturn showed slippage and underspend of £6.3m against the estimated spend for 2019/20 included within the Capital Programme.


Councillor Carter regarded this typically as overspending on the budget with huge overspends in Children’s Services during 2019/20 before the COVID-19 pandemic. This administration was trying to claim the financial outturn was a success when it was just fudging figures in the budget and in the statement presented.  It was clear the Council could not manage a budget, failed to meet its obligations year after year and used precious reserve funds.  If it could not  manage a budget last year what hope did it have in managing one in the middle of global pandemic.  He was, therefore, unable to support the report.


Councillor Alam explained the Council had worked through difficult circumstances and simply could not predict numbers of children or adults who needed support and had to meet its obligations.  It was disheartening when colleagues made political comments rather than working to move the town forward.


Councillor Cowles supported Councillor Carter’s comments.  Comparatively Barnsley was able to manage its budget and was underspent in areas of  Adults and Children’s Social Care.  This just highlighted the failure of this organisation to stick to rigorous management processes and indicated a clear failure of management.


Councillor Alam reiterated that with the overspends in both adult and children’s social care both Cabinet Members had worked tirelessly to deliver to vulnerable groups and this Council would not allow legacy issues to return or let vulnerable people down.


Resolved:- (1)  That the updated financial position as detailed in the report be noted.


(2)  That  ...  view the full minutes text for item 389.




To consider a report in respect of the final consultation responses received in respect of the Community Governance Review being undertaken by the Council following the receipt of a petition from Ravenfield Parish Council..

Additional documents:


Further to Minute No. 362 of the meeting of the Council held on 22nd July, 2020, consideration was given to the report which provided a summary of the final consultation responses received in respect of the Community Governance Review being undertaken by the Council following the receipt of a petition from Ravenfield Parish Council. The report recommended a final outcome to the Review that there be no change to the current boundary arrangements.


Councillor B. Cutts could not understand why the matter had arisen when he had found both Parish Councils to be considerate previously. 


Councillor Alam explained the review had been undertaken following the submitting of a petition requesting boundary changes.


Resolved:-  That the final outcome of the Community Governance Review be that there be no change to the current arrangements in respect of the Parish boundary between Ravenfield and Bramley.


Mover:-  Councillor Alam                        Seconder:-  Councillor Allen




To consider the report and approve the Audit Committee Annual Report 2019/20.


Further to Minute No. 97 of the Audit Committee held on 18th August, 2020 consideration was given to the Audit Committee Annual Report for 2019-20 for Members’ approval, having been endorsed by the Audit Committee.


The purpose of the Annual Report 2019/20 was to bring together in one document a summary of the work undertaken by the Audit Committee. The production of the report complied with current best practice for Audit Committees.


It allowed the Audit Committee to demonstrate it had fulfilled its terms of reference and shared its achievements with the Council and was thought useful as a reminder to the organisation of the role of the Committee in providing assurance about its governance, risk management and financial and business controls.


The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) had issued guidance to local authorities to help ensure that Audit Committees operated effectively. The guidance recommended that Audit Committees should report annually on how they have discharged their responsibilities.


Resolved:-   That the Audit Committee Annual Report 2019/20 be approved.


Mover:-  Councillor Wyatt                        Seconder:-  Councillor Walsh




To receive updates from ward councillors from Wales, Wath and Wickersley on the activities supporting Thriving Neighbourhoods across the Borough.

Additional documents:


Further to Minute No. 55 of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 19th November, 2018, consideration was given to the annual Ward updates for Wath, Wales and Wickersley as part of the Thriving Neighbourhood Strategy.


The Strategy signalled a new way of working for the Council both for Members and for staff and covered every Ward in the Borough delivered through Ward Plans developed with residents to address local issues and opportunities.  Ward Members would be supported by the neighbourhood team and would work with officers and residents from a range of organisations to respond to residents.


Councillors Atkin and J. Elliot, on behalf of the Wath Ward, gave an update on their Ward priorities for 2020/21 and welcomed the opportunity that the Thriving Neighbourhoods had given to Members and listed a number of initiatives that had taken place in the Ward, including:-


·            Following receipt of a request from Hedgehog Rescue Hedgehog Warning Signs  have been erected.

·            Music in the Park to encourage community spirit and boosting moral during the lockdown.

·            Laptops had been funded by the Ward budget for the Internet Access Project which enabled people accessing the foodbank to also access the internet and supporting them to access benefit support online.

·            Match funding support had been provided for various improvements to the Wath Scout Hut and the purchase of new equipment for activities.

·            Parking Buddies.

·            Local Democracy Week.

·            Support for Covid-19 food parcels which had enabled the purchase of equipment and food needed for the Montgomery Hall Covid19 Food Parcel Project.  400 households had been supported and 2,500 food parcels delivered.

·            Residents’ voices had been listened to for future improvements in Newhill Park.  A family fun event was to have been held but had been delayed due to the pandemic.

·            Multi-agency and enforcement work had taken place on the White Bear Estate that had included a survey of all the bins on one road checking for missing/contaminated/broken bins and replaced where appropriate, warning letters issued for untidy gardens, work undertaken on overgrown grassed areas and porch door improvements as well as recycling education.

·            Following the closure of the Oaks Day Centre, a social enterprise (Community Connect) to support local people with mild to moderate learning disabilities had been set up in Wath.  They had transformed a disused piece of land owned by Wath Rugby Club next to Community Connect into a sensory garden. 

·            Match funding had been provided to enable the purchase of a floating jetty facility on Manvers Lake and 171 metal warning signs for installation at key entrances to the facility which would assist the Police in their enforcement work.

·            The Kings Bowl Club had been severely damaged during the November 2019 floods.  Working with contractor Mears, the Club had been provided with new kitchen cabinets, new electrical installation, electrical items and crockery as well as a section of fencing to protect the Club from any further incidents of anti-social behaviour.

·            Places on a First Aid at Work course for community volunteers had been  ...  view the full minutes text for item 392.




To receive and consider reports, minutes and recommendations of the Audit Committee.


To confirm the minutes as a true record.


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


Mover:-  Councillor Wyatt                        Seconder:-  Councillor Walsh




To receive and consider reports, minutes and recommendations of the Planning Board.


To confirm the minutes as a true record.

Additional documents:


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


Mover:-  Councillor Sheppard                 Seconder:-  Councillor Williams




To receive and consider reports, minutes and recommendations of the Licensing Board Sub-Committee and Licensing Sub-Committee.


To confirm the minutes as a true record.

Additional documents:


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


Mover:-  Councillor Ellis                          Seconder:-  Councillor Beaumont




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 Council Procedure Rule 11(5).


Councillor R. Elliott asked Councillor Taylor, the Council’s Designated Spokesperson on the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority “Will you confirm that since the last Council meeting because of severe staff shortages the day shift has been kept on the road by Firefighters working overtime. How many times this did not work resulting in a pump being taken off the run leaving just the one on days as well as nights and how much has all this cost.”


In response Councillor Taylor advised that the day staffed fire engine at Rotherham had been unavailable on three full shifts since the beginning of 2020, noting that this was generally due to staff taking summer leave, the staffing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and other sickness issues. Councillor Taylor noted that there may be other occasions where it was unavailable for shorter durations, such as urgent short notice absences or mechanical repairs but on the whole, it was available on most days.


Councillor Taylor advised that as with every fire station in the County, the Service sometimes used pre-arranged overtime to staff certain shifts and that a budget for an amount of overtime was allocated each year.  Councillor Taylor noted that although the Service was spending above its specific overtime budget this year, that its overall spend was within its total budget.


As a supplementary question Councillor R. Elliott asked that as the Fire Authority’s budget was showing a significant underspend for the first quarter of the financial year 2020/21, whether the Fire Authority should commit to put the second pump, with associated staff into place at Rotherham on a permanent basis.


Councillor Taylor advised that whilst the budget was currently underspent, it remained essential that the Authority exercised caution with regard to its budgetary position, and as such the Fire Authority was not in a position to make this commitment.  




To put questions, if any, to Cabinet Members and Committee Chairpersons (or their representatives) under Council Procedure Rules 11(1) and 11(3).


(1)  Councillor Jepson asked the Leader following three Labour Councillors being removed from office for non-attendance at meetings, did the Leader think it fair that their Wards have now lost £1,483 from the Community Leadership Fund which could have been used to help sustain local organisations following the pandemic as well as losing other benefits that having three Ward Councillors would bring.


In response the Leader advised that as the Community Leadership Fund was allocated to individual Councillors as opposed to Wards, that this particular funding could not be utilised by other Councillors and noted that the situation had been communicated through to Councillor at Ward briefings. The Leader stated that it was regrettable that the Councillors referred to had been removed from office due to non-attendance at meetings and noted that all wards should have a full complement of councillors.


As a supplementary question Councillor Jepson asked that as the Community Leadership Fund was able to be spent on both revenue and capital projects, whereas the Ward fund could not, had the remaining Councillors for the Wards that had lost Councillors made representations regarding the loss of available funding for their Wards.


The Leader stated that he was not aware of any specific representations from those Councillors had been made, but advised that this issue had been raised with the Deputy Leader who was the responsible Cabinet Member. 


(2)  Councillor Carter asked the Cabinet Member for Waste Roads and Community Safety given the challenges with Coronavirus continuing during the winter, how had the Council planned for winter pressures on essential Council services, specifically highway maintenance such as road gritting?


In response the Cabinet Member for Waste, Road and Community Safety noted her thanks to all frontline staff, including Highways staff for their work during the pandemic who had ensured that services had continued to be delivered and advised that contingency plans were in place to ensure that essential highway maintenance tasks could be delivered throughout the winter effectively and also in a Covid secure way.


As a supplementary question Councillor Carter asked how the potential impact of staff absences over the winter would be mitigated in order to ensure that services continued to be delivered.


The Cabinet Member advised that services across the Council had been planning in order to build resilience into their service delivery plans for winter and noted that drivers from other services would be deployed to grit roads if needed during the winter. The Cabinet Member noted, however, that sickness absence, even with the best planning, had the potential to impact on service delivery, but noted that experience developed during the pandemic so far in delivering services would be used in order to minimise any potential disruption to services.

(3)  Councillor Jepson asked the Cabinet Member for Waste, Roads and Community Safety further to recent extensive utility works being carried out in his Ward which have led to numerous complaints, will the Cabinet Member for Waste, Roads and Community Safety ensure that these companies  ...  view the full minutes text for item 397.




Any other public items which the Mayor determines are urgent.


There were no urgent items for consideration.