Agenda item

Notice of Motion

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

 

1.    Proposed Amendment to Council’s Constitution

  

The Council notes that:

 

1.   Public participation in Committee meetings should offer a meaningful opportunity for residents to engage with local democracy. Residents should be able not only to raise questions and share their views on matters discussed by the Committees of this Council; they should be also entitled to receive responses to their questions raised in the Committee meetings.

 

2.   The current Constitution does not guarantee that residents must receive answers to their questions and therefore it may create a serious doubt whether the Council listens to and seriously considers the views and suggestions raised by residents.    

 

3.   In order to rectify this democratic deficiency and enhance the sense of accountability of Elected Members and Council Officers, this motion asks the full Council to amend our Constitution where it states that ‘Any question shall be directed at the Chair who may reply orally at the meeting, or in writing following the meeting or who may decline to reply; or who may ask an Officer so to reply on his or her behalf.’ (Part 5 Committee Procedure Rules, 10.4.3).

 

4.   The Council is therefore being asked to accept the material amendment resulting in the following wording: “The Council values opinions and welcomes questions of the public. Shall there be any questions directed at the Chair, the Chair shall be obliged to reply orally at the meeting, or in writing following the meeting; or shall ask an Officer so to reply on the Chair’s behalf.” 

 

5.   Furthermore, one may be under the impression that the Council’s present Constitution does not give sufficient weight and acknowledgement to the importance of petitions put forward by members of public.

 

6.   The relevant section of our Council’s Constitution states that: ‘Any petition shall be received by the Chair without response’ (10.4.2).

 

7.   Whereas it is right and proper to allocate sufficient time for considering petitions of residents, acknowledging the receipt of a petition should be an important and clear sign that the views of residents matter. Thus is the nature of democracy.

 

8.   Therefore, the Council is happy to accept an amendment that would affect the wording regarding petitions from members of public by stating that: “Any petition shall be received by the Chair who will who be obliged to acknowledge its receipt and will endeavour to respond in writing to its content. The Chair may delegate the formal reply to the petition to an Officer.”

 

Proposed by: Councillor Piotrowski

 

2.    Voter ID

 

In April 2022 the Elections Act came into effect. This rules that all voters for English or UK-wide general election must show photographic identification.

 

Voter ID is completely unnecessary and all the evidence indicates that it is likely to particularly suppress turnout amongst disadvantaged groups. 

Furthermore, there is specific concerns about its rollout for local election across England in May 2023.

 

Election officials as quoted by The Guardian on 10th November 2022 have expressed concern that a short timetable for implementation and lack of clarity about the rules could cause thousands of people to be disfranchised.

 

Council therefore resolves to mandate the Managing Director to write to H.M. Government calling for a delay to the introduction of compulsory voter ID pending a review of its likely impact.

 

Proposed by: Councillor Lamb

 

3.    BBC Local Radio

 

Council recognises and values the contribution to Worcestershire life and society made by BBC local radio stations, such as BBC Hereford and Worcester.  Council views with deep concern the possible impact of the government decision to freeze and then abolish the TV Licence Fee and the consequences it could have on future funding for local radio.  Use of BBC local radio is an important and vital part of the Council’s ability to communicate with local residents at times of emergency or natural disaster. 

 

Council therefore mandates the Managing Director to write to the Secretary of State calling on her to ensure and secure future funding for BBC local radio in Worcestershire.

 

Proposed by: Councillor Allcott

 

4.    Additional Licensing for Houses in Multiple Occupation

 

In May 2020, Worcester City Council adopted rules to require additional licensing for the creation of new HMOs in five wards of the city: St John, St Clement, Bedwardine, Cathedral and Arboretum.

 

In the context of a recession and a cost of living crisis, where housing and living standards are likely to decline, these rules are a necessary protection against exploitation.

 

All wards in the city would benefit from being covered by these rules.

 

Therefore, Council resolves to revoke the exemptions currently in place, and instead require additional licensing for HMOs across the whole of the city, regardless of the ward they happen to be in.

 

Proposed by: Councillor Riaz

Minutes:

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

 

1.    Proposed Amendment to Council’s Constitution

  

The Council notes that:

1.     Public participation at Full Council and in Committee meetings should offer a meaningful opportunity for residents to engage with local democracy. Residents should be able to raise questions and share their views on matters discussed by Full Council and its Committees, and they should also be entitled to receive responses to their questions.

2.     The current Constitution does not guarantee that residents will receive answers to their questions and therefore residents may doubt whether the Council listens to and seriously considers their views and suggestions.    

3.     In order to rectify this democratic deficiency and enhance the sense of accountability of Elected Members and Council Officers, this motion proposes that:

a)    Part 4 Council Procedure Rules, 10.3.5 is changed from ‘Any question shall be directed at the Leader of the Council or the chair of the relevant committee who may reply orally at the meeting, or in writing following the meeting or who may decline to reply; or who may ask an Officer so to reply on their behalf.’ to: ‘The Council values opinions and welcomes questions of the public. Should there be any questions directed at the Leader of the Council or the Chair of any Committee, they may reply orally at the meeting, or in writing following the meeting; or may ask an Officer so to reply on their behalf.’

b)    Part 5 Committee Procedure Rules, 10.4.3. is changed from ‘Any question shall be directed at the Chair who may reply orally at the meeting, or in writing following the meeting or who may decline to reply; or who may ask an Officer so to reply on his or her behalf.’ to: ‘The Council values opinions and welcomes questions of the public. Should there be any questions directed at the Chair, the Chair shall be obliged to reply orally at the meeting, or in writing following the meeting; or shall ask an Officer so to reply on the Chair’s behalf.’

4.     Furthermore, the Council’s present Constitution does not give sufficient weight and acknowledgement to the importance of petitions put forward by members of public.

5.     In order to rectify this democratic deficiency and enhance the sense of accountability of Elected Members and Council Officers, this motion proposes that:

 

a.     Part 4 Council Procedure Rules, 10.3.4 is changed from: ‘Any petition shall be received by the Mayor without response’’ to: Any petition shall be received by the Mayor, who will be obliged to acknowledge its receipt and will endeavour to respond in writing to its content. The Mayor may delegate the formal reply to the petition to an Officer.’

b.     Part 5 Committee Procedure Rules, 10.4.2. is changed from ‘Any petition shall be received by the Chair without response’ to: ‘Any petition shall be received by the Chair, who will be obliged to acknowledge its receipt and will endeavour to respond in writing to its content. The Chair may delegate the formal reply to the petition to an Officer.’

The proposer, Councillor Piotrowski and the seconder, Councillor Lewing, both spoke in support of the Motion. Councillor Piotrowski explained that he wished to make a number of amendments to the Motion. Details were circulated at the meeting.

 

Other Members spoke on the Motion. In accordance with the rules set out in the Constitution, Councillor Udall proposed an amendment to the Motion, as follows:

 

That the Council refers this Motion to Audit and Governance Committee for consideration.

 

The proposed amendment was seconded by Councillor Roberts.

 

On being put to the vote the amendment was carried. Members then proceeded to vote on the Motion, as amended, and it was agreed and

 

RESOLVED: That the Council agree to refer this Motion to Audit and Governance Committee for consideration.

 

2.    Voter ID

 

In April 2022 the Elections Act came into effect. This rules that all voters for English or UK-wide general election must show photographic identification.

 

Voter ID is completely unnecessary and all the evidence indicates that it is likely to particularly suppress turnout amongst disadvantaged groups. Furthermore, there is specific concerns about its rollout for local election across England in May 2023.

 

Election officials as quoted by The Guardian on 10th November 2022 have expressed concern that a short timetable for implementation and lack of clarity about the rules could cause thousands of people to be disfranchised.

 

Council therefore resolves to mandate the Managing Director to write to H.M. Government calling for a delay to the introduction of compulsory voter ID pending a review of its likely impact.

 

The proposer, Councillor Lamb and the seconder, Councillor Denham, both spoke in support of the Motion.

 

Other Members spoke on the Motion, following which the Motion was put to the vote. The Motion was agreed and it was

 

RESOLVED: That the Council agree to mandate the Managing Director to write to H.M. Government calling for a delay to the introduction of compulsory voter ID pending a review of its likely impact.

 

3.    BBC Local Radio

 

Council recognises and values the contribution to Worcestershire life and society made by BBC local radio stations, such as BBC Hereford and Worcester. 

 

Council views with deep concern the possible impact of the government decision to freeze and then abolish the TV Licence Fee and the consequences it could have on future funding for local radio.  Use of BBC local radio is an important and vital part of the Council’s ability to communicate with local residents at times of emergency or natural disaster. 

 

Council therefore mandates the Managing Director to write to the Secretary of State calling on her to ensure and secure future funding for BBC local radio in Worcestershire.

 

The proposer, Councillor Lawrance and the seconder, Councillor Udall, both spoke in support of the Motion.

 

In accordance with the rules set out in the Constitution, Councillor Mitchell

proposed an amendment to the Motion, as follows:

 

Council therefore mandates the Managing Director to write to the Director General of the BBC calling on him

 

The proposed amendment was seconded by Councillor Bayliss. On being put to the vote the amendment was lost.

 

Other Members then spoke on the Motion, following which the Motion was put to the vote. The Motion was agreed and it was

 

RESOLVED: That the Council agree to mandate the Managing Director to write to the Secretary of State calling on her to ensure and secure future funding for BBC local radio in Worcestershire.

 

4.    Additional Licensing for Houses in Multiple Occupation

 

In May 2020, Worcester City Council adopted rules to require additional licensing for the creation of new HMOs in five wards of the city: St John, St Clement, Bedwardine, Cathedral and Arboretum.

 

In the context of a recession and a cost of living crisis, where housing and living standards are likely to decline, these rules are a necessary protection against exploitation.

 

All wards in the city would benefit from being covered by these rules.

 

Therefore, Council resolves to revoke the exemptions currently in place, and instead require additional licensing for HMOs across the whole of the city, regardless of the ward they happen to be in.

 

The proposer, Councillor Denham and the seconder, Councillor Cookson, both spoke in support of the Motion.

 

In accordance with the rules set out in the Constitution, Councillor Mitchell

proposed an amendment to the Motion, as follows:

 

That a paper is brought to Communities Committee, having full regard to introducing licensing for HMOs across the whole of the city.

 

The proposed amendment was seconded by Councillor Stanley. On being put to the vote the amendment was lost.

 

Members then spoke on the Motion, following which the Motion was put to the vote. The Motion was agreed and it was

 

RESOLVED: That the Council agree to revoke the exemptions currently in place, and instead require additional licensing for HMOs across the whole of the city, regardless of the ward they happen to be in.