Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: The Street, Buckinghamshire Council, Gatehouse Road, Aylesbury HP19 8FF. View directions

Contact: Ian Hunt - Email: democracy@buckinghamshire.gov.uk 

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Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

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Apologies were received from Councillors D Barnes, P Bass, N Brown, D Carroll, M Collins, P Drayton, T Egleton, C Etholen, P Griffin, C Heap, I Hussain, P Irwin, C Jones, M Knight, J MacBean, I Macpherson, R Newcombe, J Ng, C Oliver, M Rand, J Rush, G Smith, L Smith, N Southworth, B Stanier, J Towns, P Turner, G Wadhwa, and A Waite. Apologies were also received from the Lord Lieutenant, Lady Howe.

1a

Honorary Alderman Margaret Aston

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Tribute was paid to a past County Councillor and Honorary Alderman, Margaret Aston, who had recently passed away. The Chairman recorded sincere condolences to her family on their sad loss.

 

Mrs Aston had been a Member of Buckinghamshire County Council from 1993 to 2017 representing the Haddenham and Stone/Haddenham/Bernwood Division and was made an Honorary Alderman from 2017.  Some of her appointments during 24 years on the Council included: 

·                     Chairman of the Council 2005-06. 

·                     Cabinet Member for Children & Young People 2000-2004. 

·                     Cabinet Member for Community Engagement & Public Health 2016-17.  

·                     Chairman of Appeals & Complaints Committee 2007-2013. 

·                     Elected Member rep on the Adoption Panel 1999-2002 and 2005-2013. 

 

Her funeral would take place at the Watermead crematorium at 2.30pm on Thursday 28 July.

 

Members then observed a minute`s silence in memory of Margaret Aston.

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 682 KB

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Minutes:

RESOLVED –

 

That the Minutes of the meeting held on 18 May 2022 be approved as a correct record.

3.

Declarations of Interest

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There were none.

4.

Chairman's Update

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The Chairman paid tribute to Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue services, who had worked so diligently to fight fires in extreme temperatures over recent days. The Chairman further thanked NHS and Council staff who had continued to provide vital services to Buckinghamshire residents in the challenging temperatures. In addition, the Chairman thanked the Chief Executive and staff of the Council as well as host families for the excellent high level of support given to Ukrainian guests.

 

The Chairman reported on the numerous events he had attended and supported since his appointment in May. Amongst the many events were a Wycombe Wanderers FC Forum event, a number of Platinum Jubilee celebrations including a cake judging ceremony for which the Chief Executive of the Council and Lord Lieutenant were thanked for arranging, Armed Forces events at RAF Benson and High Wycombe including flag raising ceremonies, a Buckinghamshire Scout Beavers event, Leap award ceremony, Horses, Hounds and Heroes (Horses Trust) event, MacMillan cancer charity event in South Bucks, Rural Farm Tour, Citizenship Ceremonies, Chesham Town Mayor Civic Ceremony, Lord Lieutenant presentation of MBE, Whizz Fizz Fest, Desborough Carnival, Queens Veteran Rally in Stoke Mandeville, the official opening of Penn Road Cemetery, prize giving ceremony for South Bucks Police Cadets, Simply Walks Annual Picnic and the 10th anniversary of the Princes Trust. 

 

The Chairman confirmed that his charity for 2022/23 would be MacMillan Cancer Support and he highlighted the excellent support and services MacMillan provided residents and their families who were going through cancer treatment. A Golf competition would be hosted at South Buckinghamshire Golf Club on 30 September, and other events would include a movie night at Pinewood Studios and a Bollywood event, for which dates would be confirmed. Members were encouraged to attend and make these events a success. 

 

The Vice-Chairman reported that she had attended and supported a number of events including a Platinum Jubilee Tea Party at Buckingham Library and numerous Citizenship Ceremonies. The Vice-Chairman added that she had met many new Ukrainian guests, securing violin lessons for a young person and advanced English courses to assist guests in improving their language skills and applying for jobs. The Vice-Chairman also recognised the excellent education providers in Buckinghamshire, highlighting an event she had attended at Chiltern Hills Academy to pay tribute to their recently retired Head Teacher.

5.

Petitions

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There were none.

6.

Pay Policy Statement pdf icon PDF 197 KB

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Council considered a report that requested the Buckinghamshire Council Pay Policy Statement 2022/23 attached at Appendix 1 be approved.  The Council was required to annually update and publish a Pay Policy Statement in accordance with Section 38(i) of the Localism Act 2011. The Pay Policy Statement had been considered by the Senior Appointments and Pay Committee on 6 July 2022, and following approval by Full Council, the Annual Pay Policy Statement and any amendments would be published on the website along with details of remuneration of the council’s Chief Officers.  The Pay Policy Statement covered all employees.

 

Members rose to voice concerns over inflation and cost of living costs many staff, particularly the lower paid were facing and the 2022 Gender Pay Gap analysis. The Leader highlighted that the Pay Policy Statement covered the previous year, rather than the current year and acknowledged the rising inflation and cost of living crisis which was one of the reasons that those staff paid under £27k would receive an additional pay award for 2022/23. The Leader also advised that the deadline for the Gender Pay Gap analysis had been extended so had not been included within this report, however when this was available it would be made available in the public domain.

 

The Leader moved the recommendation to approve the Buckinghamshire Council Pay Policy Statement (1 July 2022). This was seconded by Councillor T Butcher.

 

RESOLVED –

 

That the Annual Pay Policy Statement (1 July 2022) be approved.

7.

Reports from Cabinet Members pdf icon PDF 2 MB

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Members received reports from Cabinet Members. There was an opportunity for Members to ask questions of individual Cabinet Members about matters and issues affecting their portfolios.

 

Leader of the Council, Councillor Martin Tett

The Leader received comments and questions on Welcome Back funding, a Select Committee call-in, Enterprise Zones, High Wycombe Local Cycling Walking Infrastructure Plan, Helping Hands for Ukraine, Devolution, Strategic Finance and Deprivation in areas of Bucks.

 

The Leader and Officer team were thanked for making great use of the Welcome Back funding for local high streets and it was emphasised that the Council was passionate about supporting local businesses and in encouraging residents to get out and make use of their local high streets.

 

The Leader acknowledged the Select Committee call-in of the decision taken by Cabinet in relation to the Buckinghamshire Sports and Social Club and explained that the decision was re-considered by Cabinet on 12 July, taking account of the concerns of residents and the Select Committee. Cabinet then made its decision having recognised the 5,000 people in need on the housing register and it was highlighted that the Council had a moral duty to provide housing and opportunities to families to access affordable housing in the county which this site could provide.

 

The Leader spoke of the tremendous success of the Enterprise Zones in Buckinghamshire and confirmed that he would be pleased to hold local ward member briefings on the Enterprise Zones, and also welcomed any questions Members may have about the zones.

 

In response to a query on the High Wycombe Local Cycling Walking Infrastructure Plan, for which the High Wycombe Community Board had put a great deal of work into and a decision to be taken was outstanding, the Leader advised that he would be pleased to look at this and welcomed speaking further with the Member who raised the question.

 

Council gave a round of applause to all those Council employees, as well as staff from the NHS and voluntary services who had played such a vital role in supporting the Helping Hands for Ukraine scheme. The Leader noted that there would be further challenges ahead as hosts initial six-month period of providing housing came to an end.

 

The Leader explained that due to a number of Minister changes over the past year the Devolution Recovery deal was still with Central Government, however work remained underway to leverage investment through close partnership working with the Local Enterprise Partnership and other business groups which it was hoped would generate good well paid jobs for residents. 

 

The Leader recognised the significant cost pressures of inflation and cost of living and advised that Senior Officers had been instructed to operate within the budget set which would mean a number of particularly tough decisions would have to be made. The staff pay budget set in February 2022 predated the significant inflation rises, and likewise capital programme spend had risen to a point that some projects were no longer viable and the Cabinet Member for Accessible  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Notices of Motion pdf icon PDF 161 KB

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Minutes:

Notice of Motion – Reduction of Council’s Own Emissions by 2030

The following motion had been submitted by Councillor Ed Gemmell and seconded by Councillor Adam Poland-Goodyer:

 

“The Council notes:

1.                  On page one of the Council’s Climate Change and Air Quality Strategy it states:

a.                  The Council has ‘the objective to achieve net carbon zero for Buckinghamshire as a whole by 2050’; and

b.                  ‘The council should also evaluate reaching ‘net zero’ for its own emissions no later than 2050 and possibly before this, potentially by 2030, subject to resources”

 

The Council believes:

1.                  In order to have the possibility to reach net zero for its own carbon emissions by 2030 and to understand if it has the resources to do this, the council needs firstly to understand what needs to be done, and when, in order to reach net zero for its own carbon emissions by 2030 and what this is projected to cost.

 

The Council resolves:

1.                  To require council officers to establish what steps need to be taken for the council to reach net zero for its own carbon emissions.

2.                  To require council officers to provide a comparison identifying when each of the established steps would need to be completed to reach net zero for each target (2030 and 2050) for the council’s own emissions.

3.                  To require council officers to estimate the cost of reaching each target, as established in 1. and 2. of the above resolutions, on a gross basis and on an annual basis.

4.                  The information required in 1, 2, 3 of the above resolutions of this motion to be presented to the Transport Environment and Climate Change Committee at the planned meeting on 8 September 2022.

5.                  Thereafter updates on progress against the targets to be provided to the Transport Environment and Climate Change Committee in each meeting and an annual update provided to full Council.”

 

Councillor Gemmell briefly explained the rationale behind the Motion, highlighting the past 48 hours which had seen extreme heat temperatures, resulting in fires, transport disruption and increased pressure on emergency services. Councillor Gemmell explained why he believed the Council needed to assess the costs involved to make it possible to reach net zero on carbon emissions by 2030 and set targets of where the Council expected to be at certain stages, for example in six and twelve months and to identify the practical steps that could be taken to shape the future, after which it was opened up to debate.

 

During the debate, Members raised a number of issues as follows:

-          The Buckinghamshire Climate Change Strategy was already committed to reducing carbon emissions, with £75k spent on a carbon audit and 60 actions to be implemented noted within the strategy, which had significant investment behind it.

-          Other local authorities who had set earlier net zero targets may need to utilise taxpayers’ money to purchase carbon offset credits.

-          The Council contributed to 0.3% of carbon emissions in Buckinghamshire, with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Questions on Notice from Members pdf icon PDF 151 KB

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The written responses to questions from Members, published as a supplement to the agenda, were noted.

10.

Report for information - Key Decisions Report pdf icon PDF 172 KB

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A list of decisions taken by Cabinet Members since the last Full Council meeting on 18 May 2022 were received and noted.

11.

Date of Next Meeting

Wednesday 21 September 2022 at 4pm

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The next full Council meeting was scheduled to take place on Wednesday 21 September 2022 at 4pm.