Agenda and minutes

Venue: Remote Meeting

Contact: Claire Chaplin, Democratic and Civic Services Manager - Tel: 01905 722005 

Items
No. Item

14.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

The following declarations of interest were made:

 

Councillors Altaf, Ditta, Hassan, Riaz and Stephen - item 26 - Referral Report from Policy and Resources Committee, 9th June 2020 - Electrical Safety Enforcement Charges In The Private Rented Sector) - as landlords of rental properties in Worcester.

 

Councillor Gregson - item 26 - Referral Report from Policy and Resources Committee, 9th June 2020 - Electrical Safety Enforcement Charges In The Private Rented Sector) – partner is the owner of a rental property in Worcester.

15.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 76 KB

Of the meeting held on 19th May 2020 to be approved and signed.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the Annual Council meeting held on 19th May 2020 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Mayor.

16.

Mayor's Communications

To receive any communications the Mayor may wish to make.

Minutes:

Welcome Judge Burbidge and Judge Juckes

The Mayor welcomed both Judge Burbidge and Judge Juckes to the meeting and provided a summary of Judge Juckes’ career. She invited the Council to agree to bring forward on the agenda Item 7a – Notice of Motion – Appointment of Honorary Recorder for the City of Worcester, to be dealt with as the next item of business. This was agreed.

 

Civic Events

The Mayor thanked everyone who had attended the Armed Forces Day raising the flag event on 22nd June and the Remembering Srebrenica memorial event on Friday, 10th  July.

17.

Notice of Motion - Appointment of Honorary Recorder

Appointment of Honorary Recorder

 

That this Council, in pursuance of the statutory powers derived from the Courts Act 1971 and the Local Government Act 1972, do hereby resolve that His Honour Judge James Burbidge QC is hereby appointed Honorary Recorder of the City of Worcester.

 

Proposed by: Councillor Bayliss

 

Minutes:

The Council considered the following Notices of Motion, which had been submitted in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 8:

 

That this Council, in pursuance of the statutory powers derived from the Courts Act 1971 and the Local Government Act 1972, do hereby resolve that His Honour Judge James Burbidge QC is hereby appointed Honorary Recorder of the City of Worcester.

 

The proposer, Councillor Bayliss, spoke in support of the Motion. He explained the background to the position of Honorary Recorder and thanked Judge Juckes for his service during his tenure. The seconder, Councillor Gregson also spoke in support.

 

On being put to the vote, the Motion was unanimously agreed and it was

 

RESOLVED: That this Council, in pursuance of the statutory powers derived from the Courts Act 1971 and the Local Government Act 1972, do hereby resolve that His Honour Judge James Burbidge QC is hereby appointed Honorary Recorder of the City of Worcester.

18.

Public Participation

Up to a total of fifteen minutes can be allowed, each speaker being allocated a maximum of five minutes, for members of the public to present a petition, ask a question or comment on any matter on the Agenda or within the remit of the Council in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 10.

Minutes:

Further to the decision regarding the Appointment of Honorary Recorder, both Judge Juckes and Judge Burbidge addressed the Council. Judge Juckes thanked the Mayor and all Members for their support and expressed his best wishes to Judge Burbidge as his successor. Judge Burbidge thanked the Council for appointing him to the role and expressed his pleasure in accepting the position.

 

Annabel Heath spoke in support of Agenda item 7 - Notice of Motion - Adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Anti-Semitism.

19.

Questions

The Leader of the Council, the Deputy Leader of the Council or the Chair of any Committee or Sub-Committee to take any questions that may be submitted in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 9.

Minutes:

Question From:

Councillor Chris Mitchell

Question To:

Councillor Marc Bayliss – Leader of the Council

Question:

As a local businessman, I, like many other businesses have felt the significant of COVID 19 on my business. The government have made great efforts to provide support to business in the form of CBILS and Bounce Back Loans. Can you provide me and the local business community, with reassurance that, we as a City Council are, and will do as much as possible to support local businesses in sustaining their operations and also encourage and support new local businesses start-ups to the best of our ability.


 

Answer:

Can I thank Councillor Mitchell for his question. We are indeed as a City Council doing a huge amount to try and support the business community in Worcester in what must be the most troubling times that the whole business community has faced for many, many decades.

 

This year the Council is providing just under £22m in busines rates relief to help local businesses deal with the effects of lockdown. To date, we have provided grants for over 1,400 small businesses and those in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors, totalling £919.2 m. We will continue to provide these grants, actively engaging with businesses who we expect to apply but have not yet done so.

 

Further discretionary funding of just under £900,000 has been provided, for which we have received 210 applications. To date, we have paid grants to 46 of those applications, to small and micro businesses, to small and sole traders, totalling £230,000.

Information about the above grants, the low interest business interruption loan scheme, and the eat out to help out scheme and many other forms of support are provided on our website, and are publicised through local bulletins by the Economic Development Team, direct contact with busines owners and work with partners such as the BID and the Chamber of Commerce. In addition, we continue to make grants available of £1,000 each to help business start-ups and £3,000 to help businesses grow. There is £50,000 available for these schemes and we currently have 9 applications pending.

 

A recovery plan for the economy is being put in place, including the establishment of a Trading Liaison Group, formed by Regulatory Services, the district councils, County Highways and the Safer Neighbourhoods Team, to operate a one Worcestershire perspective to the issues faced by traders recovering from Covid-19. We are also delivering a range of promotional activity to support the re-opening of our High Streets and a paid for Support Worcester campaign through the local Worcester News.

Supplementary Question:

Thank you very much for your comprehensive response. What I would ask is – what more can we do? Which is probably an unfair question to place on you at this very moment. However, I think it would be beneficial to all Members of the Council if we could receive some form of update or plan of what more we as a Council can to support local  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.

20.

Notices of Motion

To consider any Notices of Motion submitted in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 8.

 

Adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Anti-Semitism

 

Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

 

Worcester City Council will not tolerate anti-Semitic behaviour and therefore adopts the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism, including all its examples, and include its application in the Members’ Code of Conduct and in any governance relating to Council staff and officers. 

 

Proposed by: Councillor Griffiths

 

 

Reducing the Number of Empty Properties

 

Full Council notes:

 

1.   There are currently (as of 27/01/20) 327 houses in Worcester that are termed long-term empty – empty & substantially unfurnished for at least six months.

 

2.   There are 86 properties that have been empty for more than two years and these properties currently are liable to a premium of 100% additional council tax.

 

3.   There are 15 properties that have been empty for more than five years and 13 properties that have been empty for more than ten years.

 

Full Council believes that:

 

1.   An empty home is a wasted resource, both for the owner who could otherwise make financial gains by letting or selling the property, and for those who are in need of housing.

 

2.   Returning empty properties into use helps increase housing supply and regenerate rundown areas. It is also important to consider the blight that empty properties sometimes cause to local areas in attracting petty crime and devaluing neighbouring property.

 

The Council will:

 

1.   Publicise the opportunities that empty properties provide and encourage more local residents to report potentially empty properties to the Council.

 

2.   Proactively work with and advise property owners with houses that have been empty for more than one year to bring their property back into use.

 

3.   From April 2021 increase the council tax payable on empty properties of more than five years from 100% to 200% premium.

 

4.   From April 2021 increase the council tax payable on empty properties of more than 10 years to 300% premium.

 

5.   Prior to implementation the specific details of how these additional empty premium charges will be applied will be referred back to the Communities Committee to ensure that any unintended consequences can be minimised.

 

Proposed by: Councillor Stephen

 

 

Ethnic and Racial Inequality

 

This Council values the cultural diversity of our city and commits to addressing ethnic and racial inequality in Worcester.  We call on officers

 

    to review the collection of data by the Council on race and ethnicity

    implement training to tackle racism

    develop and implement targets for the employment of ethnic minorities

    ensure equality law is applied in relation to all policy areas and decisions

 

in line with the general recommendations in the Runnymede Trust 'State of the Nation' report 2020.

 

Proposed by: Councillor Denham

Minutes:

The Council considered the following Notices of Motion, which had been submitted in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 8:

 

1.    Adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Anti-Semitism

 

Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

 

Worcester City Council will not tolerate anti-Semitic behaviour and therefore adopts the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism, including all its examples, and include its application in the Members’ Code of Conduct and in any governance relating to Council staff and officers. 

 

The proposer, Councillor Griffiths and the seconder, Councillor Bayliss, both spoke in support of the Motion.

 

Councillor Griffiths explained that the Notice of Motion had originally including the following words:

 

“Due to the rising levels of anti-Semitism in our society, Worcester City Council is urged to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism, including all its examples, and include its application in the Members’ Code of Conduct and in any governance relating to Council staff and officers. 

 

The definition of anti-Semitism to be adopted by Worcester City is as follows:

 

    Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

 

    Manifestations of anti-Semitism might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collective. However, criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic. Anti-Semitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.” It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.

 

    It is not anti-Semitic to criticise the Government of Israel, without additional evidence to suggest anti-Semitic intent.

 

It is important to note that this policy follows the Macpherson principle: that a racist incident is one perceived to be racist by the victim. Therefore, the perceptions of Jewish people, both as a collective and individually, should be the starting point for any application of this policy. Anti-Semitism still has to be proven by the criteria provided by this policy, but any accusations should be taken seriously and properly handled and investigated.”

 

Other Members spoke in support of the Motion.

 

On being put to the vote, the Motion was unanimously agreed and it was

 

RESOLVED: That the Council will not tolerate anti-Semitic behaviour and therefore adopts the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism, including all its examples, and include its application in the Members’ Code of Conduct and in any governance relating to Council staff and officers. 

 

2.    Reducing the Number of Empty Properties

 

Full Council notes:

 

1.       There are currently (as of 27/01/20) 327 houses in Worcester that are termed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.

21.

Report from the Relevant Committee on Matters which are Referred to Council for Decision

To receive reports on matters which by law or in accordance with the Constitution are referred to Council for decision.

Minutes:

The Council considered the following reports from the Relevant Committee on matters which are referred to Council for decision.

22.

Referral Report from Standards Committee, 13th November 2019 - Code of Conduct pdf icon PDF 85 KB

That the Council adopts the draft Code of Conduct attached to this report and delegates authority to the Council’s Monitoring Officer to make any minor changes necessary to the Constitution to give effect to this recommendation.

 

Contact Officer: Sian Stroud, Deputy Director – Governance

Tel: 01905 722019

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a report from the Chairman of the Standards Committee.

 

The report explained that the Worcestershire local authority Monitoring Officers considered that the current Code of Conduct was fit for purpose, but would benefit from a few relatively small amendments flowing from some of the Nolan Committee’s best practice recommendations. A revised pan-Worcestershire Code of Conduct for Members had been drafted and was appended to the report.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Lamb and seconded by Councillor Roberts and on being put to the vote it was agreed and

 

RESOLVED: That the Council adopts the draft Code of Conduct attached to this report and delegates authority to the Council’s Monitoring Officer to make any minor changes necessary to the Constitution to give effect to this recommendation.

23.

Referral Report from Policy and Resources Committee, 4th February 2020 - Capital and Investment Strategies 2020/21 - 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 90 KB

That the Council agree to:

 

i.        adopt the Capital Strategy and Investment Strategy for 202/21 – 2022/23 as set out in Appendices 1 and 2;

 

ii        revise the limit on the Development Fund in accordance with the proposals set out in the report; and

 

iii       revise the Authorised Limit and Operational Boundary for external debt in accordance with the proposals set out in the report.

 

Contact Officer: Shane Flynn, Corporate Director – Finance and Resources

Tel: 01905 722536

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a report from the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee on the Capital Strategy for 2019/20 – 2021/22 and Investment Strategy for 2019/20 – 2021/22, and revised Operational Boundary and Authorised Limit for external debt. The Committee had agreed to recommend that the Council adopt the Strategy and revise the limit on the Development Fund and Authorised Limit and Operational Boundary for external debt, in accordance with the proposals set out in the report.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Stephen and seconded by Councillor Bayliss and on being put to the vote it was unanimously agreed and

 

RESOLVED: That the Council agree to:

 

i.    adopt the Capital Strategy and Investment Strategy for 2020/21 – 2022/23 as set out in Appendices 1 and 2 to the report;

 

ii.   revise the limit on the Development Fund in accordance with the proposals set out in the report; and

 

iii.  revise the Authorised Limit and Operational Boundary for external debt in accordance with the proposals set out in the report.

24.

Referral Report from Environment Committee, 3rd March 2020 - Procurement and Introduction of In Cab Technology for Waste Collection Vehicles pdf icon PDF 91 KB

That the Council agrees to amend the Capital Programme in the sum of £26,087 to facilitate the installation of ‘Jobtrak’ to complement the existing Dennis Connect System.

 

Contact Officer: Kevin McFeeley, Environmental Operations Manager (Waste/Fleet)

Tel: 01905 722383

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a report from the Chairman of the Environment Committee on the procurement and introduction of in cab technology for waste collection vehicles. The Committee had agreed to recommend that the Council agrees to a supplementary estimate to the capital programme of £26,087 to facilitate the installation of ‘Jobtrak’ to complement the existing Dennis Connect System. Any amendment to the Capital Programme required approval by Full Council.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Squires and seconded by Councillor Stafford and on being put to the vote it was unanimously agreed and

 

RESOLVED: That the Council agree to amend the Capital Programme in the sum of £26,087 to facilitate the installation of ‘Jobtrak’ to complement the existing Dennis Connect System.

25.

Referral Report from Licensing and Environmental Health Committee, 12th March 2020 - Cumulative Impact Policy Review - Licensing Act 2003 pdf icon PDF 80 KB

That the Council approve the revised Statement of Licensing Policy.

 

Contact Officer: Niall McMenamin, Senior Licensing Practitioner

Tel: 01905 822799

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a report from the Chairman of the Licensing and Environmental Health Committee on the draft Cumulative Impact Assessment and the revised Cumulative Impact Policy, within the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy. The Committee had endorsed the proposed Cumulative Impact Policy, as set out in Appendix 1 to the report, and agreed to recommend the revised Statement of Licensing Policy to full Council for approval.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Udall and seconded by Councillor Griffiths and on being put to the vote it was unanimously agreed and

 

RESOLVED: That the Council approve the revised statement of Licensing Policy.

26.

Referral Report from Policy and Resources Committee, 9th June 2020 - Electrical Safety Enforcement Charges In The Private Rented Sector pdf icon PDF 81 KB

That the Council approve the financial penalties under the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020, as set out in the report, for inclusion within the Worcester City Council Fees and Charges Schedule for 2020/2021.

 

Contact Officer: Ismene Broad, Private Sector Team Manager

Tel: 01905 7225252

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a report from the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee on the implementation of the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020. The Committee had noted the report and agreed to recommend the related financial penalties to full Council for approval and inclusion within the Worcester City Council Fees and Charges Schedule for 2020/2021. In accordance with the Constitution, changes to the Policy and Budgetary Framework are reserved to full Council to determine.

 

The Monitoring Officer advised that, whilst a number of Members had declared an interest in this matter, the nature of their interest did not constitute a pecuniary interest as the item related to a general policy matter. Therefore those Members were entitled to speak and vote.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Stephen and seconded by Councillor Bayliss and on being put to the vote it was unanimously agreed and

 

RESOLVED: That the Council approve the financial penalties under the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020, as set out in the report, for inclusion within the Worcester City Council Fees and Charges Schedule for 2020/2021.

27.

Report from the Leader of the Council on any matters which he is of the opinion require urgent consideration by The Council

To receive a report, if necessary.

Minutes:

None.

28.

Items Involving the Disclosure of Exempt Information

The Council is invited to pass the following resolution:-

 

That under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of information as defined in Schedule 12A of the said Act.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of information as defined in Schedule 12A of the said Act.

29.

Referral Report from Policy and Resources Committee, 9th June 2020 - Introduction of 'Pay For Extra Weight' System for Non-Recyclable Trade Waste

That the Council approve the proposed Fees & Charges for 2020/21 for commercial waste detailed in Appendix B. These are commercially sensitive and are not for publication.

Minutes:

The Council considered a report from the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee on introducing a system of paying for extra weight, in line with the ‘polluter pays’ principle, to establish best practice in waste management and encourage increased recycling by commercial waste customers. The Committee recommended that the Council agrees to the proposed Fees and Charges for recycled waste for 2020/21.

 

The Council approved the proposed Fees and Charges, which were detailed in Appendix B to the report. These were commercially sensitive and therefore not for publication.