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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Centre Folkestone

Contact: Jemma West 

Items
No. Item

35.

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:

Councillor Meade made a voluntary declaration in respect of minute number  42 (opposition business), in that she was a contractor who was not currently under IR35.

36.

Minutes

To receive the minutes of the meeting of the council held on 24 July 2019 and to authorise the Chairman of the Council to sign them as a correct record.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman advised on an error in the minutes which has been corrected. Under minute number 32, the resolution had been amended with the word ‘motion’; being replaced with the word ‘business’.

 

The amended minutes of the meeting held on 24 July 2019 were submitted, approved and signed by the Chairman.

37.

Chairman's Communications

Minutes:

The Chairman made the following announcements:

 

“Since the last meeting of full Council the Deputy Chairman and I have attended several engagements.

 

Because of the amount of business on tonight’s Agenda I will just highlight a few.

 

Hythe Venetian Fete Wednesday 21 August - A great event organised by the Hythe Venetian Fete Society. As always, a Wonderful Spectacular.

I have been asked by the Chairman of Hythe Venetian Society, Steven Way, to pass on his thanks to all of the people involved.  District Council Officers, Grounds men and Marshalls etc for the great service they provided to help make the event run so smoothly.

 

 Classic Car Rally 26 August - On The Leas. It was a brilliant sunny day, for what is always a great event for the Town, with many travelling great distances to be part of the annual event.

 

 The Folkestone Dover and Hythe Samaritans 4th September - We were invited to an open evening of which many of our Councillors attended. After the initial welcome we were taken in small groups for a talk on how the Samaritans work and the many thousands of people who contact them. Whilst there we could see through a glass partition, two volunteers talking on the phone, the privacy of the conversations is absolute and are never divulged. There are always at least two people on duty 24 hours a day doing shifts.  They would be pleased to engage with anyone who has a few hours to spare and wishes to volunteer for this very important work.

 

 Installation 9 September of full time Priest at St Peters Church on the Durlocks - After a lengthy Interregnum, a very moving and packed service was held to welcome the new Priest, The Reverend Mark Haldon-Jones with the Bishop and many local priests in attendance.

 

13 September saw the 80th Anniversary of Citizens Advice Bureau.  This was held in the Boulogne room here at Civic Centre. The CAB was set up the day after WW2 started.  Many of the Town’s representatives were in attendance. We were given a short talk by: Anne Petrie Chairman of the Board of Trustees, which gave us all a chance to learn more of what CAB can do to help and advise the local community.  After which the cake was cut!”.

38.

Petitions

There are no petitions to be presented.

 

Minutes:

There were no petitions.

39.

Questions from the Public

The following questions have been submitted:

 

1.    From Dr Burrell to Councillor Monk, Leader of the Council

 

Will the Leader please explain how and why a £1.132m Call-Off contract could rightfully have been awarded to Faithfull & Gould (F&G) and why this was done without the recorded authorisation of the s151 officer or anyone more senior in the council than level K.  F&G were appointed lead project management consultant for the Princes Parade development and commenced work 3 months prior to planning consent being granted on 18 July 2019.  The Pagabo Framework Agreement, under which F&G were the single pre-nominated consultant, did not provide the opportunity for competitive tendering for either the contract nor the Framework.  In all respects this was an irregular commitment from an already insufficient Capital budget that should not have occurred and I ask that this should be explained.

 

2.    From Mrs Lawes to Councillor Mrs Hollingsbee, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Communities

 

Can the cabinet member explain how and what they are doing to actively reduce the deprivation in the district?

 

3.    From Mr Cooper to Councillor Peall, Cabinet Member for Enforcement, Regulatory Services, Waste & Building control

 

As a council tax payer in St Mary's Bay I have noticed that the council is clearly not fulfilling its statutory duties towards the environment. Could you please inform me when I and other residents of the Bay can expect to receive a real, meaningful and proper street sweeping service from you and your council in order to ensure, in accordance with the associated codes of practice and the advertised schedules on the councils website, that the pavements, gutters and alleyways are cleared and swept of all rubbish, leaf matter and other accumalated detritus including weeds, or is the council expecting its tax payers to issue Litter Abatement Orders through the Magistrates Court before it will act.

 

4.    From Mr Deane to Councillor Monk, Leader of the Council

 

In the light of growing concerns over environmental quality, will the council commit to an air quality monitoring exercise along the Dymchurch Road from the Dymchurch side of the new Aldi store to the to the traffic lights at the junction of the light railway station? This to be recorded at different periods throughout the day, week and year.

 

5.    From Mr Rylands to Councillor Wimble, Cabinet Member for the District Economy

 

What is the total expenditure by our Council  for the delivery of the Mountfield Rd Phase IV project New Romney, up to the 26th Sept 2019.

 

6.    From Mr Goode to Councillor Mrs Hollingsbee, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Communities

 

Is the council practising social exclusion in its service delivery by abandoning and neglecting the maintenance or replacement of play equipment; and closing children’s playgrounds often unexpectedly and without, or at short, notice by only allocating the total sum of £15,000 in this years budget to cover the maintenance and replacement of play equipment for the whole of the district?

 

7.    From Ms  ...  view the full agenda text for item 39.

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.

 

Proposed by Councillor Prater,

Seconded by Councillor Whybrow;

 

That the matter raised by Dr Burrell in question 1 be referred to the Audit and Governance Committee, as per paragraph 8.10 of part 4 of the constitution.

 

(Voting figures: 13 for, 15 against, 1 abstention).

 

The motion was LOST.  

40.

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.

 

41.

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. 

 

You should all have received an invitation from our Chief HR Officer inviting you to join the Folkestone and Hythe Rewards scheme. This scheme not only provides discount opportunities but also gives health and well-being support so if you want to be richer and healthier, I would advise you to take advantage of it.

 

Talking of well-being, have you tried out any of the outdoor gym equipment that has been recently installed in Radnor Park? It is supposedly for adults to use but seems to have found universal approval.

 

For your information we are working with KCC and our other districts to formulate a scheme that will give those leaving the Kent care system help with their Council Tax bills. KCC have indicated that exempting care leavers from having to pay until they reach the age of 25 would find favour with them. The scheme would primarily be administered by KCC. We would, of course, have to go through due process to adopt it but I am sure that we would want to support this particularly vulnerable group of young adults.

 

I was going to talk to you about the purchase of Westenhanger Castle but as it is an item on this evening’s agenda, I will wait until then.

 

You all should have received an invitation, albeit at short notice, to view tomorrow the new affordable housing in Princess Street, Folkestone.  This is another ten homes that have been made available for an affordable rent linked to the local housing allowance for the area and are being let through the Council’s housing list.  So now we have provided over 100 Council homes towards our target of 300 within the current plan. I have been told that the cap on the HRA has been raised so I have asked Councillor Godfrey to review the position with a view to increasing our target.

 

That is all from me this evening”.

 

The Leader of the Labour group responded and advised he was pleased with the additions to the Council Housing Stock, but felt that 300 houses in ten years was not sufficient for the number of people on the waiting list. In regards to the HRA, this was old news, announced at last years Conservative party conference. He looked forward to working with Councillor Godfrey and officers to build a robust innovative council house building scheme. He welcomed the FHDC rewards scheme, and hoped Councillors would engage with it as much as staff. With regard to the Radnor Park equipment, he stressed the importance of parks and gardens to residents in terms of both physical and mental health.  In response to the care scheme, he stated that this should be in place already and it was another symptom of poverty in the district.

 

The Leader of the Green Group responded and stated that she welcomed the care leaver scheme. She was pleased to accept the invitation from the Leader to visit the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41.

42.

Opposition Business

The Green Party has raised the following matter: 

 

Full Council notes that:

1.    The pressure on organisations to pay the right amount of tax in the right place at the right time has never been stronger.

2.    Polling from the Institute for Business Ethics finds that “corporate tax avoidance” has, since 2013, been the clear number one concern of the British public when it comes to business conduct.

3.    Almost two-thirds (63%) of the public agree that the Government and local councils should consider a company’s ethics and how they pay their tax as well as value for money and quality of service provided, when undertaking procurement.

4.    Around 17.5% of public contracts in the UK have been won by companies with links to tax havens.

5.    It has been conservatively estimated that losses from multinational profit-shifting (just one form of tax avoidance) could be costing the UK some £7bn per annum in lost corporation tax revenues.

6.    The Fair Tax Mark offers a means for business to demonstrate good tax conduct, and has been secured by organisations with a combined annual income of £50bn and more than 6,500 outlets and premises, including many social enterprises and co-operatives.

 

Full Council believes that:

1.    Paying tax is often presented as a burden, but it shouldn’t be.

2.    Tax enables us to provide services from education, health and social care, to flood defence, roads, policing and defence. It also helps to counter financial inequalities and rebalance distorted economies.

3.    As recipients of significant public funding, local authorities should take the lead in the promotion of exemplary tax conduct; be that by ensuring contractors are paying their proper share of tax, or by refusing to go along with offshore tax dodging when buying land and property.

4.    Where substantive stakes are held in private enterprises, then influence should be wielded to ensure that such businesses are exemplars of tax transparency and tax avoidance is shunned - e.g., no use of marketed schemes requiring disclosure under DOTAS regulations (Disclosure Of Tax Avoidance Schemes) or arrangements that might fall foul of the General Anti-Abuse Rule.

5.    More action is needed, however, current law significantly restricts councils’ ability to either penalise poor tax conduct or reward good tax conduct, when buying goods or services.

6.    UK cities, counties and towns can and should stand up for responsible tax conduct - doing what they can within existing frameworks and pledging to do more given the opportunity, as active supporters of international tax justice.

 

Full Council resolves to request that cabinet adopts the following matters:

 

1.       Approve the Councils for Fair Tax Declaration. 

2.       Lead by example and demonstrate good practice in our tax conduct, right across our activities.

3.       Ensure contractors implement IR35 robustly and pay a fair share of employment taxes.

4.       Not use offshore vehicles for the purchase of land and property, especially where this leads to reduced payments of stamp duty.

5.       Undertake due diligence to ensure that not-for-profit structures are not being used  ...  view the full agenda text for item 42.

Minutes:

Councillor Whybrow, on behalf of the Green Group outlined the Opposition business, which asked the Cabinet to adopt the following matters:

 

1.       Approve the Councils for Fair Tax Declaration. 

2.       Lead by example and demonstrate good practice in our tax conduct, right across our activities.

3.       Ensure contractors implement IR35 robustly and pay a fair share of employment taxes.

4.       Not use offshore vehicles for the purchase of land and property, especially where this leads to reduced payments of stamp duty.

5.       Undertake due diligence to ensure that not-for-profit structures are not being used inappropriately as an artificial device to reduce the payment of tax and business rates. 

6.       Demand clarity on the ultimate beneficial ownership of suppliers and their consolidated profit & loss position.

7.       Promote Fair Tax Mark certification for any business in which we have a significant stake and where corporation tax is due.

8.       Support Fair Tax Week events in the area, and celebrate the tax contribution made by responsible businesses who say what they pay with pride.

9.       Support calls for urgent reform of EU and UK law to enable local authorities to better penalise poor tax conduct and reward good tax conduct through their procurement policies

 

Proposed by Councillor Whybrow,

Seconded by Councillor J Martin; and

 

RESOLVED:

 

That Option (b) (Refer the issue to the Cabinet for their observations before deciding whether to make a decision on the issue) be agreed.

 

In accordance with the council procedure rule 17.5, five members present demanded a recorded vote.

 

FOR: Councillors Mrs Berry, Brook, Miss Carey, Collier, Davison, Dorrell, Fuller, Gane, Goddard, Godfrey, Hills, Mrs Hollingsbee, Keen, J Martin, P Martin, McConville, Meyers, Monk, Mullard, Peall, Prater, Rolfe, Shoob, Treloar, Wade, Whybrow, Wimble, Wing (28).

 

AGAINST: None (0).

 

ABSTENTIONS: Councillor Meade (1).

 

(Voting figures: 28 for, 0 against, 1 abstention).

43.

Motions on Notice

The following motions have been placed on the agenda in the order received; up to 60 minutes shall be allowed for debates on motions on notice:

 

1.    Councillor McConville, Leader of the Labour Party:

 

This Council moves to, under part 4 section 25.2 amend the constitution in regards to part 4 section 12.6. “Time-limit debates on opposition business shall be limited to 15 minutes”. This should be amended to read 30 minutes.

 

As per the constitution, this item was proposed and seconded at the meeting held o 24 July 2019, and is now open for debate.  

 

2.    Councillor Prater, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party:

 

"This Council believes that a Committee system is appropriate for its Governance in the future and asks the Audit and Governance Committee to consider the issue at the earliest opportunity.

 

"If the Audit and Governance Committee endorses this view when it reports to Council it should suggest an outline committee structure."

 

3.    Councillor McConville, Leader of the Labour Party:

 

“This Council moves to, under part 5 section 27.2 amend the constitution in regard to part 5 section 6.2. A councillor, who has proposed a motion which has been referred to a committee or sub-committee, shall be given at least three clear working days’ notice of the meeting, at which the motion will be considered, by the Head of Paid Service. If the councillor attends the meeting but is not a member of that committee or sub-committee, s/he shall have an opportunity to explain the motion to the committee or sub-committee.

 

This should be amended to read “A councillor, who has proposed a motion or Opposition Business”. As per the constitution it is resolved that this motion stand adjourned, without discussion until the next ordinary meeting of the Council”.

 

4.    Councillor McConville, Leader of the Labour Party:

 

"This Council condemns the purchase of Westenhanger Castle without the specific prior agreement of this Council."

Minutes:

1.       From Councillor McConville, Leader of the Labour Party

 

Councillor McConville set out his motion to amend the constitution in regard to part 4 section 12.6, altering the time limit for debates on Opposition business from 15 minutes to 30 minutes. The motion had been proposed and seconded at the meeting of the Council on 24 July 2019, and was now open for debate.

 

Proposed by Councillor McConville,

Seconded by Councillor Monk; and

 

RESOLVED:

 

That under Part 4, Section 25.2, the time limit set out in part 4 section 12.6 of the constitution be amended from 15 minutes to 30 minutes.

 

In accordance with the council procedure rule 17.5, five members present demanded a recorded vote.

 

FOR: Councillors Mrs Berry, Brook, Miss Carey, Collier, Davison, Dorrell, Fuller, Gane, Goddard, David Godfrey, Hills, Mrs Hollingsbee, Keen, J Martin, P Martin, McConville, Meade, Meyers, Monk, Mullard, Peall, Prater, Rolfe, Shoob, Treloar, Wade, Whybrow, Wimble, Wing (29).

 

AGAINST: None (0).

 

ABSTENTIONS: None (0).

 

(Voting figures: 29 for, 0 against, 0 abstentions).

 

 

2.       From Councillor Prater, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party

 

Councillor Prater outlined his motion which proposed that the Audit and Governance Committee be asked to consider the introduction of a Committee system.

 

Proposed by Councillor Prater,

Seconded by Councillor J Martin;

 

That this Council believes that a Committee System is appropriate for its Governance in the future and asks the Audit and Governance Committee to consider the issue at the earliest opportunity. If the Audit and Governance Committee were to endorse this view when it reports to Council, it should suggest an outline committee structure.

 

Proposed by Councillor Monk,

Seconded by Councillor Mrs Hollingsbee; and

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the motion be amended to read:

“That this Council believes that all Councillors should have the ability to participate fully in decision-making and that a range of governance options are available. This council believes that a cross party working group of all group leaders should be set up to consider the issues of moving to a committee system, or an alternative system, at the earliest opportunity reporting back to council”.

 

(Voting figures: 29 for, 0 against, 0 abstentions).

 

RESOLVED:

 

That this Council believes that all Councillors should have the ability to participate fully in decision-making and that a range of governance options are available. This council believes that a cross party working group of all group leaders should be set up to consider the issues of moving to a committee system, or an alternative system, at the earliest opportunity reporting back to council.

 

(Voting figures: 29 for, 0 against, 0 abstentions).

 

3.       From Councillor McConville, Leader of the Labour Party

 

Councillor McConville outlined his motion which asked for an amendment to part 5, section 6.2 of the constitution, to read “A councillor, who has proposed a motion or Opposition business”.

 

Proposed by Councillor McConville,

Seconded by Councillor Fuller;

 

“This Council moves to, under part 5 section 27.2 amend the constitution in regard to part 5 section 6.2. A Councillor, who has proposed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43.

44.

Report to Council on a Key Decision made in accordance with the constitution's call-in and urgency rule

The constitution provides that, when an urgent key decision is made by the Cabinet, for which any delay in implementation, likely to be caused by the call-in process, would seriously prejudice the Council’s or public interest, then the ‘Call-in Rules of Procedure’, Part 6.3, rules 1-6 do not apply.  Key decisions, taken as a matter of urgency, must be reported to the next available meeting of the Council, together with the reasons for urgency. 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The constitution provides that, when an urgent key decision is made by the Cabinet, for which any delay in implementation, likely to be caused by the call-in process, would seriously prejudice the Council’s or public interest, then the ‘Call-in Rules of Procedure’, Part 6.3, rules 1-6 do not apply.  Key decisions, taken as a matter of urgency, must be reported to the next available meeting of the Council, together with the reasons for urgency. 

 

Proposed by Councillor Monk,

Seconded by Councillor Mrs Hollingsbee; and

 

RESOLVED:

 

That report A/19/12 be received and noted.

 

(Voting figures: 29 for, 0 against, 0 abstentions).