Greenwich Council

Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Town Hall, Wellington Street, Woolwich SE18 6PW. View directions

Contact: Jean Riddler  Email: jean.riddler@royalgreenwich.gov.uk or tel: 020 8921 5857

Note: All and any public questions for this Council meeting must be submitted, with the questioners name and address by no later than 12noon on Wednesday 18 January. They can be emailed to committees@royalgreenwich.gov.uk 

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Norman Adams, Bill Freeman, Mick Hayes, Ambreen Hisbani, Christine May, Clare Morris, Paul Morrissey and Cherry Parker.

 

An apology for lateness was received from Councillor Angela Cornforth.

2.

Minutes

To agree the Minutes of the Council Meeting held on 14 December 2016.

 

No motion or discussion may take place upon the Minutes except as to their accuracy, and any question on this point will be determined by a majority of the Members of the body attending who were present when the matter in question was decided.  Once confirmed, with or without amendment, the person presiding will sign the Minutes.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved –

 

That the Minutes of the meeting of Full Council held on 14 December 2016 be confirmed and signed as a true and accurate record.

3.

Mayor's Announcements

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor announced that six residents of the Borough or people with a close relationship with Royal Greenwich have been awarded honours in Her Majesty’s the Queen’s 2017 New Year’s Honours.   The following awards have been announced:

Greg Warner received a British Empire Medal (BEM) for his services to Heritage and People with Learning Disabilities in Greenwich.

Colin Edward Armstrong, received Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to Emergency Response and voluntary service to Community Sport in Greenwich.

Sewa Singh Nandhra received a British Empire Medal (BEM) for his services to the community in Woolwich.

MassaSingh Nandra recevied an MBE for services to charity and the community in South London.

Fiona Sinfield recevied an MBE for services to Education and the community in Thamesmead.

Former Director of Social Care, David Behan, had been awarded a knighthood. 

 

It is with sadness he advised the Council of the death of former Mayor and Councillor Phil Graham, who served the Borough between 1978 to 1994, sitting on a number of Committees, as well as serving as Mayor between 1985 and 1986 and Deputy Mayor between 1984-1985.

 

Councillors MacCarthy, Austen, Brighty and Gardner spoke of respect for Mr Graham.  They spoke of his personal passion for cricket and film as well as his lifelong commitment to public service as a man of the people.

 

The Chamber joined the Mayor in a minute’s silence of respect.

 

4.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 64 KB

Members to declare any personal and financial interests in items on the agenda.  Attention is drawn to the Council’s Constitution; the Council’s Code of Conduct and associated advice.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillors Matt Clare, Mark Elliott, Denise Hyland, Rajinder James, Sizwe James, Clive Mardner and Jackie Smith declared a financial interest in relation to Item 11 – Council tax Base 2017/18 as owners of a second property within the Borough and were advised to leave the Chamber for this item.

 

Resolved –

 

1.     That the list of Councillors’ memberships as Council appointed representatives on outside bodies, joint committees and school Governing Bodies be noted.

 

2.     That the Councillor’s financial declarations be noted.

 

 

 

 

5.

Notice of Members wishing to exceed the 5 minute rule

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council noted that there had been no requests to exceed the five minute rule.

 

6.

Petitions

Presentation to the Council of petitions for consideration.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no petitions submitted by Members at this meeting.

 

7.

Public Deputations on matters not otherwise on the agenda

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council noted that there had been no requests for public deputations.

 

8.

Public Questions pdf icon PDF 88 KB

Up to half an hour will be allowed for questions by Members of the Public.

 

Questions will be taken in the order notices are received by the Chief Executive.  Each question to have no more than one part.  No member of the public shall ask more than 2 questions at a meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor advised the meeting that notice had been received of 11 written questions by members of the public.  The questions and replies, together with the supplementary submissions made during the meeting are attached as Appendix A to these minutes.

 

9.

Questions from Members pdf icon PDF 162 KB

a.      To receive written responses to questions submitted by Members in line with procedure Rule A1.38

b.      Up to 10 minutes will be allowed for Members questions.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor advised the meeting that notice had been received of 29 written questions. The questions and replies, together with the supplementary questions made during the meeting, are attached as Appendix B to these minutes.

 

Under procedures for oral questions, the Mayor invited questions to Members of the Cabinet for response.

 

In response to a question from Councillor Hartley asking if the Parks consultation response could be released with the proviso that they were unrepresentative, Councillor J. Smith, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Environment advised that the legal advice was not to do this.

 

In response to a question from Councillor Drury as to how households with multiple occupants with differing views could respond to a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) consultation when only one response form, per household, was made available.  Councillor Thorpe, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Sustainability advised that they should approach the Highways Department.

 

In response to a question from Councillor Hartley as the Council had unanimously agreed to progress webcasting of meetings will the issue be reconsidered and progressed.  Councillor O’Mara advised that webcasting was still a learning process for the Authority and with the large number of competing financial pressures it was not possible to finance everything.

10.

Matters for early debate

Up to 3 items of business may be prioritised for consideration under this section.  Each political party may select an item of business, from the list of items on the agenda, for early debate. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that no requests from the party whips for matters to be taken early had been received.

11.

Council Tax Base 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 64 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Agreed a council tax base for the whole authority area for 2017/18 of 77,699.77 in accordance with the Local Authorities (Calculation of Tax Base) (England) Regulations 2012.

 

Agreed an additional council tax base for the Gloucester Circus Garden Square area of the authority for 2017/18 of 91.20.

 

Agreed a continuance in 2017/18 of the Council Tax discount of 0% on Class A & Class B dwellings (second homes) and Class C & D dwellings (empty homes).

         

Agreed a continuance in 2017/18 of the Long Term Empty Premium of 50%.

 

Agreed that no changes will be made to the Local Council Tax Support Scheme adopted by the Council on 30 January 2013 and the Scheme will be continued for 2017/18.

 

Noted that the council tax base relevant to the Southern Region of the Environment Agency for flood defence levy apportionment purposes in 2017/18 is 5,204.75.

 

Noted that the council tax base relevant to the Thames Region of the Environment Agency for flood defence levy apportionment purposes in 2017/18 is 72,495.02.

Minutes:

Councillors Matt Clare, Mark Elliott, Denise Hyland, Rajinder James, Sizwe James, Clive Mardner and Jackie Smith declared a financial interest in relation to Item 11 – Council tax Base 2017/18 as owners of a second property within the Borough and all left the Chamber for the duration of this item.

 

Councillor Thorpe, Deputy Leader of the Council, moved recommendation of the report, advising that this was largely a technical report outlining the proposed Council Tax Base which was a matter reserved for Council agreement. 

 

In line with the Local Government, England, Local Authorities Standing Orders regulations 2014, the Chief executive called the formal vote on the matter which were cast as follows;

Councillors Ashikodi, Austen, Babatola, Barwick, Bird, Brain, Brighty, Brinkhurst, Brooks, Cornforth, Davis, Drury, Fahy, Gardner, Geary, Grice, Hartley, Hills, M James, Khan, Kirby, Lekau, Lloyd, MacCarthy, Merrill, Morrow, Offord, O’Mara, G. Parker, Scott-McDonald, Singh, A. Smith, Stanley, Thorpe, Walker and Williams voted for the recommendations set out in the report.

 

No Members voted against or abstained.

 

Resolved Unanimously –

 

1.     That a council tax base for the whole authority area for 2017/18 of 77,699.77 in accordance with the Local Authorities (Calculation of Tax Base) (England) Regulations 2012 be agreed.

 

2.     That an additional council tax base for the Gloucester Circus Garden Square area of the authority for 2017/18 of 91.20 be agreed.

 

3.     That a continuance in 2017/18 of the Council Tax discount of 0% on Class A & Class B dwellings (second homes) and Class C & D dwellings (empty homes) be agreed.

         

4.     That a continuance in 2017/18 of the Long Term Empty Premium of 50% be agreed.

5.     That it be agreed that no changes will be made to the Local Council Tax Support Scheme adopted by the Council on 30 January 2013 and the Scheme will be continued for 2017/18.

 

6. That the council tax base relevant to the Southern Region of the Environment Agency for flood defence levy apportionment purposes in 2017/18 is 5,204.75 be noted

 

6.     That the council tax base relevant to the Thames Region of the Environment Agency for flood defence levy apportionment purposes in 2017/18 is 72,495.02 be noted.

12.

Motion relating to the National Libraries Week and commitment to future of smaller libraries. pdf icon PDF 54 KB

Proposed by CouncillorsGeoffrey Brighty, Mandy Brinkhurst, Matt Clare, Charlie Davis, Spencer Drury, Mark Elliott, Matt Hartley, John Hills and Nuala Geary

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved – That this Council notes the launch of National Libraries Week between October 9 and 14 October 2017.   Council commits to working with our partner and provider, Greenwich Leisure Ltd (Better.Org), to build on previous participation in the National Libraries Day by involving all our libraries across the Royal Borough in this new week-long initiative in order to generate a greater impact.

 

Council celebrates the overall success and popularity of its libraries and recognises how this Labour administration has opened and enhanced libraries such as The Greenwich Centre. Council notes the importance of libraries to its residents, whether adults or children. Council encourages schools to make use of their nearby library as well as any central resources.

 

Council requests that the Executive commits to maintaining, and where possible enhancing, library provision in the neighbourhoods of Abbey Wood, Plumstead, Thamesmead, Blackheath, Charlton, Shooters Hill, New Eltham, Coldharbour and West Greenwich.

 

Furthermore, Council calls on the Conservative Group to use their influence with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to reverse the cuts to Local Government funding, the root cause of library closures nationwide.

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that an amendment to the motion had been published and was laid around the Chamber.

 

In moving the motion Councillor Elliott stated that whilst he was aware that there were activities being undertaken at the three main libraries, to support the National Libraries Week, there appeared to be a lack of incentive in the Borough to promote it.  As there was time to prepare, with the small libraries, voluntary and arts groups and the Conservative Group wishing to help promote the week, it should be possible to make National Libraries Week a successes story for the Borough for 2017.  He noted that there had been some excellent local initiatives, such as the Eltham Read and Big Book Drop.   He continued that concern remained as to the future of the Boroughs’ smaller libraries, which was not allayed by the proposed amendment and the uncertainly was, in part, driven by the success of the three large Centres which were not accessible to everyone.  That there was a need to assure that the future of these excellent service provisions was safe.

 

Councillor Hartley formally seconded the motion, reserving his right to speak.

 

Councillor Scott-McDonald moved an amendment to the motion stating that she was disappointed with the motion and noted that 2016 had been a very successful year with library visitor numbers up across the Borough whilst across the country the trend was for a reduction in visits to libraries.  Further, Greenwich’s libraries had won awards, including Greenwich being a runner up in the Time Out awards.

 

In seconding the amendment to the motion Councillor A. Smith stated that he believed Greenwich had a fantastic modern library service which was valued by our residents.  He noted that significant numbers of libraries were closing across the Country and, whilst Greenwich was facing stringent fiscal challenges had, thus far and hopefully into the future, been able to keep its branch libraries open, but all services required funding.  

 

Councillor Elliott responded to the Mayor that he did not accept the amended motion.

 

Councillors Lloyd, Austen, Kirby, J. Smith, Brain and Hyland spoke against the amendment commenting that the Government Grant, which helped fund library services, would be cut by over one hundred and twenty million pound, by the end of the current administration, whilst   Greenwich continues to offer a modern thriving 21st century library service with the Woolwich Centre being the second busiest library in the country and the Greenwich Centre attracting five times more visitors that the former Greenwich Library.  That this Borough ensured that Greenwich libraries were family friendly environments offering a range of integrated services as well as an expanded home visit services and offered a service based on the needs of the people who lived, work and studied in the Borough.  That it was not the buildings in which libraries were based that was important but the provision provided to meet the needs of the residents was, however, it was not realistic to offer a guarantee that the future  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.

13.

Motion relating to Social Care Funding pdf icon PDF 64 KB

Proposed by CouncillorsDon Austen, Stephen Brain, John Fahy, David Gardner, Denise Hyland, Mark James, Clare Morris, Cherry Parker, Denise Scott-McDonald, Jackie Smith and Danny Thorpe.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved – That this Council acknowledges that the Local Government Finance settlement allows local authorities to frontload the new social care precept, but agrees with the Health Select Committee, LGA and King’s Fund that this still leaves a major funding gap that can only make a small dent in the mounting social care crisis. Council believe that this will not only mean additional suffering for vulnerable people needing support and their families, but will have a direct impact on our equally hard pressed NHS.

 

Council praises our professionals in the Royal Borough for their continued dedication in ensuring the safe and timely discharge of hospital patients, and the on-going integrated support in the community and at home. Council notes the excellent record in Greenwich on delayed discharges due to assessments and reablement to care but also the increasing pressure due to the scarcity of residential care, where costs are spiralling. Council notes that while Social Care budgets have been cut by £5bn in England (£10m in Royal Borough of Greenwich's net budget) since 2010, it is estimated by the King’s Fund that just to stand still; budgets must increase by 4% annually and are currently underfunded by nearly £2bn.

 

Council therefore calls for:

 

·         Government to make emergency funding available to local authorities for social care either through a dedicated grant or the current Better Care Fund of £2b for the next financial year

·         Greenwich CCG to continue at least its current funding for the social care element of the BCF in 2017/18 vital to our excellent joint emergency, integrated discharge and care and rehabilitation teams

·         Cabinet to come back in their budget proposals with a 3% social care council tax precept in 2017/18.

·         Cabinet to bring forward proposals to improve the supply of high quality residential care

·         Support the calls of the Chairs of the Health Select Committee, Communities and Local Government Select Committee and Public Accounts Committee for a sustainable cross party solution for social care.

·         Reaffirms its call for full implementation of the Care Act to cap people’s financial contribution to their lifetime social care.

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that an amendment to the motion had been published and was laid around the Chamber.

 

In moving the motion Councillor Gardner advised that there was an error to the first bullet point which should read £2b not £2m.  He continued that the Institute for Fiscal Studies was predicting a further cut, between now and 2020, of 1% and the Kings Fund advised a 4% increase, per annum, was required just to stand still. He further noted that the individual care spending cap element of the Care Act had yet to be introduced.   He continued that Greenwich had suffered a fall in the level of financial support for Care Provision and there was an overspend to the budget in order to meet the needs of a significant population in desperate need.  He continued that the Council was working with the voluntary sector to ensure that the needs of vulnerable Borough residents were addressed.  He advised that the cost of nursing homes and care homes was increasing and a number were closing which was creating additional pressure on an already fragile service.

 

Councillor Hyland seconded the motion the Leader of the Council recognised that the Government had gone some way to recognising that the social care system was in crisis but urgent attention as to how this should be resolved, nationally was required.  She continued that the Borough faced the challenge of a broken social care market, which favoured services for profit and was open to abuse and a number being embargoed, due to issues of quality, which resulted in the Council having to find alternative accommodation to meet the needs of displaced care home residents.   She advised that the 3% Council Tax would have little impact and the situation which needed to be addressed and remedied soon to adequately treat our vulnerable citizens.

 

Councillors Merrill, M. James, G. Parker and J. Smith spoke in favour of the motion and it was noted that at any one time at least two care homes within the Borough are embargoed from admitting new residents due to care quality issues.  Further, that the price of private care was prohibitive for a number of residents as well as the Borough.  That there was an issue of staff being expected to work exceptionally long hours. It was noted that the Queen Elizabeth Hospital A&E was designed to see 80 admissions per day but saw over 400 a day.  That the cost of providing Social Care was increasingly required to be met from Council budgets and Council Tax was not suitable to meet the burden of the increased costs and noted that, as a country less than 1% of GDP was spend on Social Care.

 

In presenting the amendment Councillor Hartley stated that he believed that an accord was unlikely in respect of the short term funding but agreement on longer term funding could be reached and that the amendment drew a distinction between short term funding and longer term funding beyond 2020.   That  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.