Venue: Council Chamber, The Arc, Clowne
Contact: Nicola Calver Governance Manager
Apologies For Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Jane Bryson, Paul Cooper, Mary Dooley, Tom Kirkham and Clive Moesby.
Declarations of Interest
Members should declare the existence and nature of any Disclosable Pecuniary Interest and Non Statutory Interest as defined by the Members’ Code of Conduct in respect of:
a) any business on the agenda
b) any urgent additional items to be considered
c) any matters arising out of those items
and if appropriate, withdraw from the meeting at the relevant time.
Being members of the mineworkers’ pension scheme, the following Members declared an interest in Agenda Item 7 (1) – Motion re Mineworkers’ Pensions.
Councillor Allan Bailey Non Statutory Interests (other interests)
Councillor Derek Adams Non Statutory Interests (other interests)
Councillor Dexter Bullock Non Statutory Interests (other interests)
Councillor Jim Clifton Non Statutory Interests (other interests)
Councillor Andrew Joesbury Non Statutory Interests (other interests)
Councillor Chris Kane Non Statutory Interests (other interests)
Councillor Steve Fritchley Non Statutory Interests (other interests)
Councillor Duncan McGregor Non Statutory Interests (other interests)
To receive any announcements that the Chair of the Council may desire to lay before the meeting.
Emergency Services and First Responders
As had been custom and practice for the last few years, and on behalf of the Council, the Chair would be raising the Union Jack flag outside of the Arc at 9.00am on Thursday 9th September 2021 to celebrate the work of the Emergency Services and First Responders. All Members and officers were welcome to attend if they so wished.
Members were awarethat the presentations of Honorary Alderman had been delayed from last year due to the Covid19 Pandemic, also, due to capacity in the Council Chamber, it had been decided to hold the ceremonial presentation of Honorary Alderman at an alternative venue to be confirmed in the near future.
Pinxton Parish Council Fun Day
The Chair read out a note on behalf of Councillor Mary Dooley who wished to pass on a ‘big thanks’ from Pinxton Parish Council to Leisure staff; Tom, Gracie and Isobel, who had worked hard at Pinxton Parish Council Fun day.
To approve the Minutes of the Council meeting held on 21 July 2021
The Chair noted an amendment was required to Minute Number CL26-21/22 of the minutes of the last meeting held on 21st July 2021, as per the wording highlighted in bold below.
Agenda Item 5 - Motion submitted by Councillor Tom Kirkham - Sale of Land at Park Avenue, Glapwell;
The Director of Development pointed out for the information of Members that the sale of the land had been scrutinised when the decision had been called in and reviewed by Growth Scrutiny Committee in 2020.
The Director of Development confirmed that at this point that the sale of the land had already been completed on 20th July 2021 and that procedures were being undertaken by officers to process that sale.
Councillor Tricia Clough also noted that at the last meeting, the Chair had requested that all Members receive a copy of the statement via email from the Director of Development (now the Executive Director of Strategy and Development), and to date she had not yet received it.
The Executive Director of Strategy and Development agreed that the commitment was given at the last meeting and confirmed that the statement would be sent to all Members in due course.
Moved by Councillor Tom Munro and seconded by Councillor Ray Heffer
RESOLVED that subject to the above amendment, the Minutes of a Council meeting held on 21st July 2021, be approved as a true and correct record.
(Governance Manager/ Executive Director of Strategy and Development)
Questions from the Public
In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 8, to allow members of the public to ask questions about the Council’s activities for a period of up to thirty minutes. A question may only be asked if notice of twelve clear working days has been given.
In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 8, Members of the Public were able to ask questions to an Executive Member about the Council’s activities for a period of up to 15 minutes.
No questions were submitted to this meeting of Council under Rule 8 of the Council Procedure Rules.
Questions from Members
In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 9, to allow Members to ask questions about Council activities. A question may only be asked if notice of twelve clear working days has been given.
In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 9, Members of Council were able to ask questions about the Council’s activities to either the Chair of the Council, Chairman of a specific Committee or a relevant Portfolio Holder.
No questions had been submitted by Members of Council under Council Procedure Rule 9.
In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 10, to consider motions on notice from Members.
1) Motion submitted by Councillor Steve Fritchley (Mineworkers’ Pensions)
2) Motion submitted by Councillor Clive Moesby (Universal Credit)
In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 10, Councillors were able to submit Motions on Notice for consideration at meetings of Council.
a) The following motion was submitted for consideration by Councillor Steve Fritchley;
“To support the recommendations of the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme Sixth Report of Session 2019-21 as follows;
Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme
1. The Scheme’s Trustees had little choice but to accept the Government’s proposal to divide future surpluses on a 50:50 basis, as a condition of securing the Government’s guarantee during the negotiations in 1994. (Paragraph 16).
2. The Government failed to conduct due diligence during the 1994 negotiations and undertook no empirical analysis or evaluation to inform or support the 50:50 split it proposed. The Government was negligent not to take actuarial advice. (Paragraph 17).
3. The 50:50 split was, and remains, arbitrary. (Paragraph 18).
4. To date, the Government has received £4.4bn from the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme. This is already more than the 1994 expectations of what the Government would receive. The Government is also due to receive at least another £1.9bn, on top of 50% off any future surpluses. (Paragraph 22).
5. The Government has not paid any funds into the Scheme since the surplus sharing arrangement was put in place in 1994. (Paragraph 23).
Fairness of the current terms
6. Many former mineworkers have chronic health issues directly related to their former occupation, and the former coalfields are amongst the most deprived areas of the UK. Sadly, their numbers are also decreasing year by year. Over half of Scheme members receive less than the average pension. Given the success of the Scheme, and the vast sums which have been paid to the Government, it is unconscionable that many of the Scheme’s beneficiaries are struggling to make ends meet. (Paragraph 31).
7. We recognise that the Government’s guarantee is important, has contributed to the success of the Scheme, and has benefitted Scheme members. However, we are not convinced by the Government’s argument that its entitlement to 50% of surpluses is proportionate to the relatively low degree of risk it actually faces in practice. The number of Scheme members and the relative size of the fund has fallen significantly since 1994. Yet, the Government’s ‘price’ for the guarantee has not been adjusted to reflect that fact. With no formal period review mechanism built into the agreement, pension members remain tied to an expensive arrangement. (Paragraph 46).
8. Given that the Scheme has continued to produce strong returns despite the 2008 Financial Crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, there is little reason to believe the Government will be required to pay into the Scheme before it is wound-up. Even if, in extremis, the Government is required to financially contribute at some point in the future, realistically its contribution will not come close to the (at least) £6.3bn it is currently due to receive in total. (Paragraph 47).
9. Whether or not the Government knew in 1994 that it would disproportionately ... view the full minutes text for item CL41-20/21
Report of the Portfolio Holder – Environmental Health & Licensing
Members considered a report presented by the Portfolio Holder for Environmental Health and Licensing, which provided an update on the work undertaken by the Environmental Health Service during 2020/2021, and also the impact and response to Covid19.
The Portfolio Holder highlighted some examples on demands of the service during the year. At the peak of the lockdown last summer, there had been a 300% increase in domestic burning complaints when the household recycling centres were closed. Contrastingly, there had been a reduction in complaints regarding noise nuisance from dogs barking as more people were at home but at the same time there had been a lack of tolerance for general noise nuisance where complaints had increased.
A new app had been trialled were customers could collate evidence and send it to Environmental Health to request help with noise nuisance – this had been successful and would continue post Covid.
A new team manager was in post in the Environmental Health Protection Team, which had meant performance had improved in a number of different areas such as planning application consultations and air quality monitoring.
The Licensing section had also received increased requests for advice for example, from taxi drivers and a number of operational improvements had been introduced such as online applications and the licences themselves being issued by email. New staff had been appointed to streamline this work and this enabled the Licensing and Enforcement officers to continue with more enforcement activities. The Licensing Policy was also being reviewed.
The Environmental Enforcement Team were dealing with increased numbers of fly tipping, especially since the second lockdown. Work was underway to review CCTV and surveillance technologies to help capture evidence and undertake enforcement around these waste crimes. Members would note that there had been a recent successful prosecution of a roofer from out of the District who had fly tipped his waste in the rural hamlet of Stainsby.
Neighbourhood patrols were fully restored earlier this year to ensure littering and dog fouling offences were both deterred and detected. Members could encourage their residents to report these types of offences along with any evidence to the Council.
Food hygiene and safety inspections had also increased as new operators such as home bakers / caterers had started operating and selling through new platforms such as Facebook Market Place.
A dedicated Covid19 team had been established using funding from Derbyshire County Council Public Health and surge funding from Ministry of Housing Communities & Local Government to enhance capacity and meet demand, particularly with regard to compliance, business advice and support.
Additional ring-fenced grant funding which had been provided by the government through the Contain Outbreak Management Fund (COMF) was to support Covid19 related activities, including public health interventions, compliance and enforcement.
The investment in the service was certainly being felt with increased capacity within teams to undertake statutory duties and respond to requests for service. Two new Environmental Health Officer posts were also being funded for officers to undertake the 2-year MSc. Environmental ... view the full minutes text for item CL42-20/21
Report of the Monitoring Officer
Members considered a report presented by the Monitoring Officer in relation to the position of Independent Person to assist with the Standards process until the end of September 2025.
Under the Localism Act 2011, the Council was required to appoint Independent Persons who must be consulted by the Authority before a decision was taken on a complaint against a Member, and who may be consulted by the Member and at any other time by the Authority.
In addition, the Independent Persons may also be involved in any disciplinary action against any of the three statutory officers, those being the Head of Paid Service, the Chief Finance Officer and the Monitoring Officer.
To be appointed, an Independent Person must go through a recruitment process and not have been a Member, co-opted member or officer of the Authority or a parish council in the District or be a relative or close friend of any such person. They also cannot have been a Member or officer of the District or parish council in the last five years.
At the Meeting of Council held in September 2017, it was agreed to appoint Ian Kirk to this role for a four year term. This term was due to expire on 14th September 2021 and it was considered, in the Monitoring Officer’s opinion, that Ian Kirk continue to be an ideal candidate for the role, and on that basis should be offered a further four year term of engagement to carry out this service to the Authority.
Moved by Councillor Duncan McGregor and seconded by Councillor Steve Fritchley
RESOLVED that Ian Kirk be appointed as an Independent Person to assist with the Standards process until the end of September 2025.
Report of the Leader of the Council
Members considered a report presented by the Leader which provided an update on the Senior Management Review and the reporting arrangements for Assistant Directors.
At its meeting on 12th July 2021, Council approved the disestablishment of the two Joint Director posts and established a full-time Executive Director post, namely Executive Director of Resources. This allowed for two Executive Directors dedicated solely to Bolsover District Council.
Following formal consultation with the two Joint Directors, Karen Hanson was appointed to the newly established post of Executive Director of Resources and also appointed to the role of Head of Paid Service. These appointments took effect from 2nd August 2021. Grant Galloway was appointed as Executive Director of Strategy and Development.
The report to Council on 12th July 2021, also requested the Executive Directors carry out a review of the management structure in terms of reporting lines and responsibilities for departments. Discussions had taken place with the leadership of the Council’s Strategic Alliance partner and informal discussions with Heads of Service / Assistant Directors in order to arrive at a preferred option.
To enable the Council to achieve its ambitions, the reporting structure as outlined in Appendix 1 to the report, was currently considered the most appropriate.
Subject to further consultation with North East Derbyshire District Council in relation to joint officers, it was proposed that all Heads of Services be re-titled as Assistant Directors within the new structure – this would provide consistency across the Senior Management Team. It should also be noted that there were no significant changes to Assistant Director job roles proposed - the changes related to reporting lines and job titles only and did not require formal consultation or approval. All staff affected were aware of the review.
Whilst some service areas and Assistant Directors would remain joint as part of the Strategic Alliance Management Team, other posts would remain single Council posts, and these were outlined in the report.
Moved by Councillor Steve Fritchley and seconded by Councillor Duncan McGregor
RESOLVED that the reporting structure for the Senior Management Team as outlined in Appendix 1 to the report be endorsed.
Suspension of Council Procedure Rules
The Leader proposed that Procedure Rules of Debate for Council be suspended to enable Members to discuss the contents of the letter from the RH Robert Jenrick MP, without restraint.
Moved by Councillor Steve Fritchley and seconded by Councillor Duncan McGregor
RESOLVED that the Council’s Procedure Rules of Debate be suspended to enable Members to discuss the contents of the letter from the RH Robert Jenrick MP, without restraint.
Report of the Leader of the Council
See attached letter from the Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government
Members considered a letter from the RH Robert Jenrick MP, Ministry of Housing Communities & Local Government (MHCLG), in relation to the Government’s Levelling Up agenda regarding local government reorganisation.
The Chair advised Members that Bolsover District Council was probably the first Council in Derbyshire to debate the contents of the letter and that a representative from the BBC was present to film the debate.
The letter from the Robert Jenrick, followed on from the Prime Minister’s speech of 15th July 2021, regarding the government’s intention to widen devolution beyond cities to counties, towns and villages, as they had promised in their pre-election manifesto.
The letter explained that the government did not want to or could not deliver full devolution alone and wanted to work with local government. The Leader noted that in effect, the government was leaving it to local politicians to come to some arrangement. The letter also stated that “not one size fits all, and no authority would be forced to wear a model that was ill fitting”.
The Leader noted that the government’s proposals for combined authorities was not new. Members had discussed ‘Vision Derbyshire’ with Derbyshire County Council last year and had decided not to be involved. Derbyshire County Council had now written to Robert Jenrick asking to be considered for inclusion in early discussions about county deals.
‘Vision Bolsover’ was the Council’s attempt to shape the future but this depended on the decisions Members made today, either locally or nationally. The Leader stated that Members may consider that what the Council wanted to achieve could only be possible by being part of a bigger authority, and Members may be right but there would be a price to pay and the Leader had asked Senior Management Team to analyse the pros and cons.
The Leader stated that Bolsover District Council wanted to help shape the future. However, it would not help shape the future if it constantly waited for someone else to make the decision for it. At the end of this debate there would hopefully be a clear idea of what Members’ stance was on local government reform. The BBC was filming out of particular interest and Politics Today also had a particular interest in what Bolsover was doing. Times may be difficult in some urban areas but the Leader felt that rationalising staff numbers would not overcome the difficulties and a faceless bureaucracy would not provide an efficient service to the tax payer - and that is what it was about - the people that Members represented.
The Leader added that the debate on local government reform would also be communicated to residents via the Council’s In Touch magazine where they would be given an opportunity to comment in writing or via the Council’s website.
Councillor Duncan McGregor thanked the Leader for his words and his rallying call for Members to be proactive and take the initiative in shaping the future of Bolsover and its constituents. Like the Leader, he also remembered ... view the full minutes text for item CL46-20/21
Chairman's Closing Remarks
In closing the meeting, the Chair reminded Members that Thursday 9th September 2021, would mark the 20th anniversary of the ghastly events which happened in New York. He asked that thoughts be given to the people of New York and all the people who were impacted by the events.