ModernGov

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Centre Folkestone

Contact: Jemma West 

Items
No. Item

55.

Declarations of Interest

Members of the Council should declare any discloseable pecuniary interest or any other significant interests in any item/s on this agenda.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest at the meeting.

56.

Minutes

To receive the minutes of the meeting of the council held on 15 November 2017 and to authorise the Chairman of the Council to sign them as a correct record.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Govett advised that she had been included as present at the meeting, when she had in fact given apologies.  She requested that the minutes be amended to reflect this.

 

Subject to this amendment, the minutes of 15 November 2017 were submitted, approved and signed by the Chairman.

57.

Chairman's Communications

Minutes:

The Chairman gave the following update:

 

“Following the extensive number of events that I reported last month largely on the theme of Remembrance, the past month has been somewhat different and between the Vice Chairman and myself we have attended nearly 20 local events in support of our local organisations and town mayors; many on the theme of Christmas.

 

Major events included the launch of this years Folkestone Book Festival at the Quarterhouse. We also attended the Hythe Late Night shopping event as well as the Prize Giving at the Marsh Academy. On this latter occasion I was able to see the facilities first hand for the first time. They are truly magnificent and a fine example of outside investment in education. I would commend anyone with the opportunity to visit the school.

 

Thanks to the Mayor of Hawkinge, I joined an organised tour of the Eurotunnel site. Having worked there for 5years but having left 10 years ago, it was an eye opener as to what has been achieved following the write off by the UK and French Governments of the original building debt. When I was there the debt was like a bag of concrete round the proverbial neck. Now they are planning positively post Brexit. There seems to have been something of a change of heart and the UK side at least are now more outward looking in their relationships to local organisations. In conversation with the Director of Public Affairs I have been able to obtain an invitation for a party of Members to make a similar visit should you be interested. The plan would be for this to take place in the Spring but in the first instance expressions of interest to me would be appreciated.

 

May I conclude by wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and may we all be able to take our  community forward to a prosperous New Year".

 

58.

Petitions

There are no petitions to be presented.

 

Minutes:

There were no petitions.

59.

Questions from the Public

 

1.            From Mr Southgate to Councillor Ewart-James, Cabinet Member for Housing

 

With reference to the annual Shepway 'homelessness count', can the council please state which areas of Shepway will be (or have been) inspected? Furthermore, can the council disclose how this data is used? (For instance, informing funding for support services etc.)

 

2.            From Mr Rylands to Councillor Dearden, Cabinet Member for Finance

 

In Report Number AuG/17/11 which went before the Audit & Governance Committee on the 29/11/17 at page 10 of the Report

 

2.5 Special Projects review 2016/17 it states:

 

A previous audit of creditors showed retrospective orders for the Council as a whole was 20%. As a result an email was sent to Heads of Service and retrospective orders are now being monitored by the Finance department on a monthly basis. Figures for October 2016 to April 2017 show that retrospective orders, overall, have reduced to a range of 8% to 15%

 

What does 20% equal as a number eg 100, 1000 and what amount in £'s did it represent?

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The questions asked, including supplementary questions (if any), and the answers given are set out in Schedule 1, appended to these minutes.

60.

Questions from Councillors

(Questions can be found on www.shepway.gov.uk from noon 2 days before the meeting. They can be found in the A-Z index under Q)

 

Up to 45 minutes is allowed for questions from councillors.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The questions asked, including supplementary questions (if any) and the answers given are set out in Schedule 2, appended to these minutes.

61.

Announcements of the Leader of the Council

To receive a report from the Leader of the Council on the business of the cabinet and on matters that the leader considers should be drawn to the council’s attention. The leader shall have 10 minutes to make his announcements.

 

The opposition group will have an opportunity to reply to the leader’s remarks.  The opposition group leader shall have 5 minutes to respond after which the Leader of the Council will have a right of reply.  Any right of reply will be for a maximum duration of 5 minutes.

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council gave the following announcements:

 

“Good evening to you all.

 

I am going to talk to you about an emerging problem, that of discarded needles.  Due to recent publicity you might think that there is an increasing problem of substance misuse in the District, but this is not the case.  Rather it is a result of our old friend “unforeseen consequences”.  There was running a comprehensive service for substance abusers which included a needle exchange service and the operators actively encouraged their clients to use it.  The contract was then re-let and the comprehensive service is now located in Dover, and while there is still a needle exchange facility available in Folkestone, it is a public building and does not offer the intervention and counselling that the previous system did.  The NHS are the commissioners for this service and our officers along with our partners in the Community Safety Unit are pressing them to resolve this problem.

 

As the year draws to a close we can look forward to an exciting 2018, especially on the implementation of some of our Corporate Plan aspirations with the Princes Parade scheme going before the Planning and Licensing committee in the New Year,  and the Otterpool Park Masterplan by the summer.

 

We have just completed the purchase of the old Highview School site which will allow us to meet part of our commitment to build 200 council homes within 10 years and I expect to see significant progress on both the Biggins Wood and the Ship Street sites.

 

On the homeless front, we will have purchased accommodation so that we are not reliant on costly B&B placements which have cost us in excess of, an unbudgeted £500k. 

 

In supporting the Districts tourism industry we will be considerably increasing our litter collection capacity so that our beautiful parks and beaches are not marred by overspill from our bins.

 

We have signed up for a peer review by the Local Government Association which will, again I hope, show that we are a well run and progressive council but will also give us an insight to the best practise from other councils as is the intention of the scheme.  In saying that we are well run, you do not have to take my word for it. I quote from the Annual Audit Letter from Grant Thornton – “we gave an unqualified opinion of the council’s financial statements on 7 September 2017”.  “We are satisfied that the council put in place proper arrangements to ensure economy, efficiency and effectiveness in its use of resources during the year ended 31 March 2017”.

 

This years financial settlement from the Government on the whole has been a good one for us.  The New Homes Bonus has not been altered and this will have a beneficial effect on our MTFS, there is also an option for slightly raising the level of Council Tax without having to hold a referendum.  Staying with the good news on the financial  ...  view the full minutes text for item 61.

62.

Opposition Business

There is no opposition business.

Minutes:

There was no opposition business.

63.

Motions on Notice

There are no motions on notice.

Minutes:

There were no motions on notice.