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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Zoom - remote meeting

Contact: Jemma West 

Items
No. Item

3.

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.

4.

Chairman's Communications

Minutes:

The Chairman gave the following communications:

 

Firstly I would like to thank all our officers for the way they have unstintingly kept us up to date with all the many changes during the additional work load they have taken on during this most difficult of times.

 

Because of the restrictions of the pandemic my deputy Councillor Philip Martin and I have been unable to support many of the outside invitations that we would have normally supported.

 

I did manage on 15 September to support The Battle of Britain Commemoration on the Leas and also supported the Hawkinge Mayor making Ceremony of Councillor Martin on 23 September.  Government guidelines were in place at both ceremonies.

 

On 8 October I joined in the very well organised Black History Month celebrations on Zoom, This was very well supported by many groups and individuals throughout the evening with Music, Poems, Readings and interesting stories”.

 

5.

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 gave the following announcements:

 

“Thank you madam Chairman, and good evening to you all.

 

Well it is a long time since I last addressed the Council with my report.

 

Such a lot has happened since I last spoke to you all.

 

I must start by praising the fantastic response of our officers in dealing with the pandemic situation as well as continuing to deliver our ambitious programmes. There are many instances of them ‘Going above and beyond’ in the course of their duties. In recognition of this we have extended the Christmas break. I would also like to thank those members that were able to contribute especially those working with the hubs.

 

With regard to Napier barracks, the situation at the moment appears to be stable, this past weekend’s potential clash of divergent groups passing off with only one arrest. Again six of our officers were supporting the police to assist in controlling the situation. I will stress that this is a Home Office project although we have posted to our website a Q&A to inform our residents.

 

Back to our wonderful staff, we have just received the official confirmation of the outcome of the review of our Customer Service Excellence certification, not only have we fully passed all 57 categories we have gained another three compliance plus awards which brings our total to 15 which is exceptional and is an endorsement of our mantra ‘Customer First’. The assessor particularly noted the enthusiasm and good will evinced by all.

 

Some of you have asked me to arrange a physical meeting for all of the councillors that want or can attend. To that end I am trying to arrange a meeting at Westenhanger where there is room in the marquee to set out tables with safe distancing as soon as I can confirm that I will let you know. At the present time there is no likelihood of a physical Council meeting as some members are shielding and we cannot at present legally hold hybrid meetings.

 

We will continue to hold Leader’s Question sessions and the next virtual council meeting is scheduled for 25 November”.

 

The Leader of the Labour Group responded and advised that time had flown by, and it had only been a short time ago when preparations were being made for Full Council in March, which had not gone ahead.  He echoed the comments relating to staff, who had adapted so well to a new way of working.  He also commended the introduction of the regular Leaders Q&A sessions, helping to bridge the gap when Full Council meetings were not going ahead.  He stated that the community hubs had been fantastic.  With regard to Napier Barracks, he looked forward to the council working together with the Home Office to ensure that those staying at the Barracks were treated as any other resident of the district.

 

The Leader in reply stated that he seconded the point about Napier Barracks.

 

Proposed by Councillor Monk,

Seconded by  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Opposition Business

The Labour Group has raised the following matter:

 

This council notes that:

 

·       Last year 2160 young people (aged 16 or over) left the care of Kent Country Council and began the difficult transition out of care and into adulthood.

 

·       A 2016 report by The Children’s Society found that when care leavers move into independent accommodation they begin to manage their own budget fully for the first time. The report showed that care leavers can find this extremely challenging and with no family to support them and insufficient financial education, are falling into debt and financial difficulty.

 

·       Research from The Centre for Social Justice found that over half (57%) of young people leaving care have difficulty managing their money and avoiding debt when leaving care.

 

·       The local authority has statutory corporate parenting responsibilities towards young people who have left care up until the age of 25.

 

·       The Children and Social Work Act 2017 places corporate parenting responsibilities on district councils for the first time, requiring them to have regard to children in care and care leavers when carrying out their functions.

 

·       That in January of 2020 KCC resolved to: Agree that Kent County Council will fund the council tax payments for Kent young people who are Care Leavers from the age of 18 years, up to the age of 21 years. All young people will be supported and expected to claim any council tax benefit/discount entitlement that they are eligible for. E.g. singled person, student, severe impairment of mental capacity etc.

 

·       A campaign by the Children’s society has successfully lobbied at least 130 councils to commit to keeping care leavers exempt from council tax until the age of 25. So far some 47,459 young people are benefiting from this scheme.

 

This council believes that:

 

1.  To ensure that the transition from care to adult life is as smooth as possible, and to mitigate the chances of care leavers falling into debt as they begin to manage their own finances, they should be exempt from paying council tax until they are 25.

 

2.  Care leavers are a particularly vulnerable group for council tax debt.

 

This council, therefore, resolves:

 

1.       To consider a report assessing the options with the aim of exempting or significantly reducing the amount of council tax due by young people, who have left the care of Kent County Council between the ages of 22-25 who currently reside in the district of Folkestone and Hythe.

 

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  ...  view the full agenda text for item 6.

Minutes:

The Leader of the Labour Group, Councillor McConville, set out his Opposition Business which asked the council to consider applying an exemption or discount on Council Tax for care leavers aged between 22 and 25.

 

Proposed by Councillor McConville,

Seconded by Councillor Prater, and

 

RESOLVED:

 

That Option (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) be agreed for the business below;

 

To consider a report assessing the options with the aim of exempting or significantly reducing the amount of council tax due by young people, who have left the care of Kent County Council between the ages of 22-25 who currently reside in the district of Folkestone and Hythe.

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

7.

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.       From Councillor Prater, Leader of the Liberal Democrat group

 

This Council resolves to:

 

1. Encourage all publicly organised firework displays within the district area to be advertised online in advance of the event by offering or signposting a free listing service, so that residents can both enjoy the celebrations and take precautions for their animals and vulnerable people;

2.Promote a public awareness campaign about the impact of fireworks on animal welfare and vulnerable people and the precautions that can be taken to mitigate risks, such as asking people to let neighbours know about private displays in advance, and the penalties for causing a noise nuisance late at night where not allowed by legislation;

3.Encourage retailers to follow the lead of Sainsburys in withdrawing the sale of fireworks to the public;

4.Develop and promote a voluntary local code on firework sale licenced premises to promote quieter firework options;

5.Write to the UK Government urging them to introduce legislation to limit the maximum noise level of fireworks to 90dB for those sold to the public for private display;

6.Encourage the public to notify KCC Trading Standards of retail outlets that are not correctly applying the regulations of the selling of fireworks both in terms of age-appropriateness, licensing and CE markings;

7.Given the damage they cause and risk they present, institute a ban on the release of sky lanterns from F&HDC land, and write to the UK Government urging them to consider banning sky lanterns in the UK in total.

 

2.     From Councillor McConville, Leader of the Labour Group

 

Council Notes

 

That in recent years there has been a worrying reported rise in racism, xenophobia and hate crimes across the United Kingdom. In the year 2018/19 there were 103,379 reported hate crimes, this is in comparison to 42,255 in 2012/13.

 

Taking many forms, the impact this is having on people in their day-to-day lives and the inequalities faced have been highlighted by groups such as Amnesty International, Stonewall, Black Lives Matter, stop hate, hope not hate and many others.

 

Folkestone and Hythe District Council is proud that communities in our area are tolerant and inclusive to people from all racial, ethnic, sexual and religious backgrounds, but also recognises that continuing work is still necessary to ensure that everyone feels welcomed and safe here.

 

Council Believes:

 

That there needs to be a commitment to ensure there is no place for institutional racism or unconscious bias in its functions and practices and that it is an authority not just tackling inequality to meet a duty, but one that actively works with its communities and other agencies to fight racism and hate crime throughout the district.

 

That a key duty of a council and its representatives is to condemn racism, xenophobia, hate crime, and all other forms of intolerance. Express our support  ...  view the full agenda text for item 7.

Minutes:

1.       The Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group set out his motion, which set out a number of actions for the Council to take in respect of fireworks and Chinese lanterns, as set out in the agenda.

 

          Proposed by Councillor Prater,

Seconded by Councillor Fuller; and

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Council takes the following action:

 

1.   Encourage all publicly organised firework displays within the district area to be advertised online in advance of the event by offering or signposting a free listing service, so that residents can both enjoy the celebrations and take precautions for their animals and vulnerable people;

2.   Promote a public awareness campaign about the impact of fireworks on animal welfare and vulnerable people and the precautions that can be taken to mitigate risks, such as asking people to let neighbours know about private displays in advance, and the penalties for causing a noise nuisance late at night where not allowed by legislation;

3.   Encourage retailers to follow the lead of Sainsburys in withdrawing the sale of fireworks to the public;

4.   Develop and promote a voluntary local code on firework sale licenced premises to promote quieter firework options;

5.   Write to the UK Government urging them to introduce legislation to limit the maximum noise level of fireworks to 90dB for those sold to the public for private display;

6.   Encourage the public to notify KCC Trading Standards of retail outlets that are not correctly applying the regulations of the selling of fireworks both in terms of age-appropriateness, licensing and CE markings;

7.   Given the damage they cause and risk they present, institute a ban on the release of sky lanterns from F&HDC land, and write to the UK Government urging them to consider banning sky lanterns in the UK in total.

 

(Voting figures: 27 for, 0 against, 2 abstentions).

 

2.       The Leader of the Labour Group set out his motion which asked the council to take a number of actions in order to help eradicate racism, as set out in the agenda.

 

          Upon opening the debate, it was proposed by Councillor Field that the question now be put (as per paragraph 15.11.1 (closure motions), part 4 of the Constitution).  The Chairman indicated that insufficient debate had taken place at that point, and therefore the Motion fell, and the debate was allowed to conclude.

 

          Proposed by Councillor McConville,

Seconded by Councillor Keutenius; and

 

RESOLVED:

 

That Full Council recommend to Cabinet to consider the following:

 

·       To declare that this council is intolerant to racism and will continue to seek to eradicate it, Islamophobia, sexual orientation discrimination, Anti-Semitism and hate crime across the district by developing initiatives that are actively inclusive and anti-racist. This declaration, or pledge, should appear on the council’s website.

·       Commit to working with all our partners, including the KCC, national government and Kent Police, to ensure that divisive and discriminatory behaviour is not allowed to continue in our area.

·       Be supportive of groups and individuals that are seeking to address these issues through respectful and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Annual Scrutiny Work Programme 2020/21

This report presents recommendations for the work programme for the Overview and Scrutiny committee for the remainder of the municipal year 2020/21.

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The report presented recommendations for the work programme for the Overview and Scrutiny committee for the remainder of the municipal year 2020/21.

 

Proposed by Councillor Shoob,

Seconded by Councillor Keutenius; and

 

ResOLVED:

1.     That report A/20/02 be received and noted.

2.         That the annual scrutiny programme (shown at appendix 1) be approved for the remainder of the municipal year 2020-21.

 

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