ModernGov

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Centre Folkestone

Contact: Jemma West 

Items
No. Item

70.

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.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest at the meeting.

71.

Minutes

To receive the minutes of the meeting of the council held on 20 November 2019 and to authorise the Chairman of the Council to sign them as a correct record.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 20 November 2019 were submitted, approved and signed by the Chairman.

 

72.

Chairman's Communications

Minutes:

The Chairman invited the Head of Paid Service to make a statement to Council.  The Head of Paid Service made the following announcement:

 

Thank you Chairman.

 

I would like to make a statement about the work of the council relating to the illegal occupation by travellers at Shorncliffe.

 

On 25 November a group of travellers illegally entered the sports ground car park off Aldridge Road. The size of the encampment was around 13 caravans and towing vehicles.

 

The site is owned by Taylor Wimpey and the car park and sports ground has been subject to several previous incursions. Some target hardening measures have taken place by the site owner including a strengthened height barrier. However, despite these measures, entry was gained.

 

In the following days, the council received a high number of call and emails from concerned local residents reporting serious incidents of anti-social behaviour including theft, violent threats against the community, children defecating on play equipment, fires being lit and loud noise, etc.

 

In response to the level of public concern, we first issued a legal notice to leave the land under Section 77 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.  This was then backed up by obtaining a Section 78 order authorising the council to remove persons and vehicles unlawfully remaining on the land. The Section 78 order was obtained at the earliest available opportunity from the Magistrates Court on 3 December.

 

As soon as the order was approved the encampment was notified and eviction scheduled for later that week, which involved the council bringing in bailiffs and tow trucks. On 6 December the encampment moved away from the sports ground car park to a nearby commercial site but returned to Aldridge Road on 9 December initially setting up along the road and then moving back into the car park, removing the reinstalled height barrier in the process.

 

The encampment then proceeded to barricade the entrance with vehicles and concrete blocks and expressed a clear intention to remain at the car park and threatened that any further attempt at eviction would be met with a violent response.

 

The council was not prepared to allow the encampment to continue occupying the car park and, in conjunction with the police, returned to the site on 11 December to enforce the court order despite the very real risk of physical violence and potential injury to those involved in the eviction process.

 

An attempt was made to peacefully resolve the situation.  When this did not make progress the bailiffs were authorised to remove the physical barriers to the site entrance. The encampment responded by driving vehicles across the entrance and locking young children into those vehicles and into their caravans.  The police attempted to negotiate the safe removal of the children. This continued for some time until the local inspector, after discussion with his superiors, took the decision that to continue the eviction would put the children locked in the vehicles at significant risk of injury. The decision was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 72.

73.

Petitions

There are no petitions to be presented.

 

Minutes:

There were no petitions to be presented.

74.

Questions from the Public

1.    From Mr Rylands to Councillor David Godfrey, Cabinet Member for Housing, Transport and Special Projects

 

What were the numbers for the Rough Sleepers across the district when the Council and other agencies undertook the headcount in Nov 2019?

 

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.

75.

Questions from Councillors

(Questions can be found on www.folkestone-hythe.gov.uk from noon 2 days before the meeting, on Modern.gov, under the agenda for this meeting).

 

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.

 

76.

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 made the following announcements:

 

“Good evening to you all. 

 

I am sure most of you are aware there have been problems with the running of East Kent Housing and it is likely that we will be bringing our part of it back in house.

 

Not only will we have to address the compliance issues and put in systems to ensure future compliance, we will also have to invest heavily in bringing the stock back up to a reasonable state of repair.  If we do this, just using existing H.R.A revenues we will not be able to build the remaining 200 of our 300 target homes that are to be financed through the H.R.A business plan.

 

Without a doubt, 2 of the major priorities for the council are

1)     To provide more social housing

2)     Address the climate emergency

 

This administration will therefore be proposing to the council that instead of paying of the loan on the H.R.A on a reducing balance basis will just pay the interest, and further that we make available £10m from the General Fund for the H.R.A to draw on over the next 3 years.   This would enable not only the refurbishment of our existing stock but the building of a further 1000 homes making a total of 1200 in the next 10 years.

 

The climate emergency initiative will also need funding as there is no budget for it at the moment, for instance one of the first proposals is that whenever possible when we replace vehicles that they should be electric however, electric vehicles are more expensive and we will have to provide charging points, we do not want to cut services to accommodate these additional costs so we are suggesting that £10m is ring-fenced to accommodate it.  If the council agrees that, the funding will come firstly from £5m of reallocated reserves and then as necessary from prudential borrowing up to £15m, giving £20m across the two proposals, we would see the £15m being funded from future land sales of the Otterpool Park scheme thus giving a tangible benefit to the whole of the district.

 

On the social housing proposition we have run high level financial scenarios which we are happy to share with group leaders.  Both of these initiatives are also the new government priorities so we may be able to either improve on targets or lever in more money.

 

This proposition, I believe, expands on our existing emphasis in these 2 areas as well as addressing the top priorities of all our councillors and would influence the direction of our corporate plan, and certainly make the council one of the most forward thinking in the land.

 

Before I close, I must congratulate both Charlotte Spendley and Andy Blaszkowicz on their being appointed as Corporate Directors effective from 2 January and I look forward to working with them both as we drive forward our exciting agenda.

 

I wish you all a Happy Christmas and productive New Year”.

 

The Leader of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 76.

77.

Opposition Business

The Labour Group has raised the following matter:

 

This council resolves to:

Train its corporate procurement team to understand modern slavery through the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply’s (CIPS) online course on Ethical Procurement and Supply. We also call on Kent County Council to adopt the same protocols…

1. Require its contractors to comply fully with the Modern Slavery Act 2015, wherever it applies, with contract termination as a potential sanction for non-compliance.

2. Challenge any abnormally low-cost tenders to ensure they do not rely upon the potential contractor practising modern slavery.

3. Highlight to its suppliers that contracted workers are free to join a trade union and are not to be treated unfairly for belonging to one.

4. Publicise its whistle-blowing system for staff to blow the whistle on any suspected examples of modern slavery.

5. Require its tendered contractors to adopt a whistle-blowing policy which enables their staff to blow the whistle on any suspected examples of modern slavery.

6. Review its contractual spending regularly to identify any potential issues with modern slavery.

7. Highlight for its suppliers any risks identified concerning modern slavery and refer them to the relevant agencies to be addressed.

8. Refer for investigation via the National Crime Agency’s national referral mechanism any of its contractors identified as a cause for concern regarding modern slavery.

9. Publicly display the acceptance to the modern slavery charter.

10. Report publicly on the implementation of this policy annually.”

Council Notes:

There were 6,985 victims of modern slavery submitted to the National Referral Mechanism in 2018, a 36% increase on 2017. Of this number 3,128 of those victims were children. A rising number but still well below the 10,000 and 13,000 potential victims estimated by the Home Office. Modern Slavery is happening nationwide. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment. This can include sexual and criminal exploitation.

 

5,059 criminal claims of modern slavery have been referred to the police between March 2018 and March 2019. 

 

“That this Council believes that action needs to be taken to raise awareness of modern slavery and the fact that it is happening all over the UK. That councils have an important role to play in ensuring their contracts and supplies arrangements are set up to combat modern day slavery and exploitation.


Debates on opposition business shall be limited to 30 minutes.  If the time limit is reached or the debate concludes earlier, the leader of the group raising the item shall have a right of reply.

 

The Council shall:

 

a)         Note the issue raised and take no further action;

b)         Refer the issue to the cabinet or relevant overview and scrutiny committee, as the case may be for their observations before deciding whether to make a decision on the issue;

c)         Agree to examine the matter as part of a future scrutiny programme;

d)         Adopt the issue raised by opposition  ...  view the full agenda text for item 77.

Minutes:

Councillor McConville, on behalf of the Labour Group, set out his motion which asked the council to train its Corporate Procurement team to understand modern slavery through the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply’s (CIPS) online course on Ethical Procurement and Supply.

 

Proposed by Councillor McConville,

Seconded by Councillor Meade; and

 

RESOLVED:

 

That Option (C) (Examine the matter as part of a future Scrutiny programme) be agreed for the matter below.

 

“That this council believes that action needs to be taken to raise awareness of modern slavery and the fact that it is happening all over the UK. That councils have an important role to play in ensuring their contracts and supplies arrangements are set up to combat modern day slavery and exploitation”.

 

(Voting figures: 27 for, 0 against, 1 abstention).

78.

Motions on Notice

There are no motions on notice.

Minutes:

There were no motions on notice.

79.

Appointment of Independents Persons under the Localism Act 2011

This report sets out the Audit and Governance Committee recommendations on the appointment of Chris Harman, David Carter and Ken London as the Independent Members under s28(7) of the Localism Act 2011.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The report set out the Audit and Governance Committee recommendations on the appointment of Chris Harman, David Carter and Ken London as the Independent Members under s28(7) of the Localism Act 2011.

 

Proposed by Councillor Prater,

Seconded by Councillor Whybrow; and

 

RESOLVED:

1.        To receive and note report A/19/21.

2.        To appoint Chris Harman, David Carter and Ken London as the Independent Persons under s28(7) of the Localism Act 2011 for a term of four years.

 

(Voting figures: 27 for, 0 against, 0 abstentions).

80.

Audit and Governance Committee - Independent/Co-opted Member

This report sets out the recommendations of the Audit and Governance Committee that a co–opted/independent member be appointed to the committee.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The report set out the recommendation of the Audit and Governance Committee that an independent member be appointed to that Committee.

 

Proposed by Councillor Whybrow,

Seconded by Councillor Prater; and

 

RESOLVED:

1.        That report A/19/20 be received and noted.

2.        That an independent member be appointed to the Audit and Governance Committee

 

(Voting figures: 27 for, 0 against, 0 abstentions).