Agenda and minutes

County Council
Wednesday, 26 November 2003 2.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber

Contact: D O Pitt - Telephone 0116 265 6034  Email: dpitt@leics.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

133.

Chairman's Announcements.

Minutes:

International Education

 

The Chairman reported that the display in the Members’ Lounge had been put together by Denise Outen, International Links Co-ordinator, for International Education Week 10-14 November 2003.  It had stood for the whole of that week in the main foyer of County Hall and would be placed next week on the walls of the corridor near the Director of Education’s office.  It illustrated just a few of the wide range of international activities being pursued in Leicestershire schools and the important role played in this work by the County’s International Education Centre, Quorn Hall.

 

Heritage Lottery Fund

 

The Chairman said he was pleased that a number of Community Services staff involved in successful bidding for Lottery funding had been able to join him for lunch and that it gave him great pleasure to confirm that the County Council had been awarded £1.2m from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards two major projects.

 

£516,000 had been awarded towards a £600,000 Community Heritage Initiative and £683,000 towards a £820,000 scheme to develop a new Fashion and Textiles gallery at Snibston Discovery Park in partnership with NEXT plc.  The gallery would be the largest outside London.

 

The Chairman felt sure that members of the Council would wish to join him in expressing thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, NEXT plc and other partners for their support for these important County Council projects.

 

Sichuan Province in China

 

The Chairman reported that on 29th November the Leader of the County Council and himself would be leading a business delegation to Sichuan Province in China. Leicestershire and Sichuan had enjoyed a close relationship for nearly twenty years. During this period the friendship links had resulted in several exchanges of a civic, educational, cultural and business nature and the County Council was anxious to continue to develop these links, particularly in relation to trade and business. Sichuan and Leicestershire were both prosperous areas with long traditions of enterprise, innovation and entrepreneurship, and there was much which the Council could do to promote trade and business co-operation between the two areas.

 

The civic link had provided the basis for these relationships to develop over twenty years. The link could help business on a very practical level; the delegation would have access to the highest levels in the Sichuan Government and this would give Leicestershire’s businesses a head start by cutting through local procedures, which could be very time-consuming.

 

During the visit it was hoped to conclude negotiations by signing a memorandum to strengthen trade and business co-operation and agree to the creation of a new Sichuan and Leicestershire Trade Bureau which would support local businesses in a very practical way.

 

Visitors

 

The Chairman welcomed to the meeting all visitors and guests of members.

134.

Minutes. pdf icon PDF 154 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was moved by the Chairman, seconded by the Vice-Chairman and carried:-

 

“That the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 17 September 2003 copies of which have been circulated to members, be taken as read, confirmed and signed.

135.

Declarations of Interest.

Minutes:

The Chairman invited members who wished to do so to make declarations of interest in respect of items on the agenda for this meeting.

 

The following members declared personal non prejudicial interests in Minute 138(B) below (Community Safety Plan):-

 

Mr Anthony

Mr Galton

Mr Sheahan

Mr M T Jones

Mr D C Bill

Mrs Smith

Mr Barber

Mr Ould

Mr Kershaw

Mr Rhodes

136.

Questions asked under Standing Order 7(1)(2) and (5).

Minutes:

(A)    Mr Lucas asked the following question of the Leader or his nominee:

 

“1.     In reading the Leicester Mercury and listening to Radio Leicester I have noticed that representatives of Leicester Shire Promotions repeatedly refer to “Leicester” but never refer to the County of Leicestershire.  Is this a breach of any agreement, written or otherwise, made when our tourism staff were handed over to Leicester Shire Promotions?

 

2.      Is there a written signed agreement in force between the County Council and Leicester Shire Promotions?  If so, when was it agreed?  If not, when will an agreement be in place?

 

3.      What arrangements are being put in place for County Council Departments to work in co-operation with Leicester Shire Promotions?

 

4.      The booklet entitled “Welcome to Leicestershire” which was produced by the County Council, in house, is one of the best examples of this sort of document which I have seen.  Will this standard be maintained under the new arrangements?

 

5.      Is the Cabinet aware of public concern at being charged 25p per minute for tourism information relating to Leicestershire?

 

6.      Was this charge recognised in the handover agreement?

 

7.      Is it not the case that Council taxpayers already pay for the delivery of these services?

 

8.      Does the “call centre” employ Leicestershire people?”

 

Mr Barber replied as follows:

 

“1.       Leicester Shire Promotions was launched in July 2003 with the remit to promote the County and City in an integrated way to visitors and potential investors. It is producing publicity material and has developed campaigns relating to both the County and City. There are however elements of the company’s work which relate specifically to the City, to the County and to individual districts and parts of the County.

 

I cannot comment on the media coverage referred to in the question but Leicester Shire Promotions has only been in existence a few months and it may be that the wider branding and focus is relatively new to the media.

 

2.       The County Council and the City Council are both currently discussing how an appropriate agreement can be sensibly based on the type of agreement previously operated between the City Council and the former Leicester Promotions. The two Councils would nevertheless have separate agreements with Leicester Shire Promotions and it is anticipated that they will be concluded shortly.

 

3.      County Council officers liaise with Leicester Shire Promotions staff at both a strategic and an operational level.

 

4.      I am pleased that Mr. Lucas found the guide ‘Welcome to Leicestershire 2003’ to be of a high standard. So did I. A 2004 visitor guide to the County and City is currently being produced and Leicester Shire Promotions is using its expertise to ensure that this standard is maintained.

 

5.      The County Council has never operated a comprehensive tourist information service, as some District Councils have done and continue to do. County staff answered tourism enquiries which were received, but this was not their prime function. Leicester Shire Promotions’ tourist information line operates 364 days a year, from 8am – 10pm Monday to Friday and from 8am – 8pm on Saturday and Sunday, enabling people to call and obtain information when it is convenient for them. Enquiries previously handled by the County Council’s staff are now handled in this way. Responses given through the tourist line are based on information obtained from the Destination Management System, which can be accessed through the County Council’s website, and the quality of responses is monitored. The vast majority of callers require an information pack sending to them, which is also undertaken via the information line and most calls  ...  view the full minutes text for item 136.

137.

Position Statements under Standing Order 8. pdf icon PDF 70 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader presented a position statement on the following matters:

 

The William Webb Ellis Cup

Leicestershire Matters

3 Star Rating

Structure Plan

Health Scrutiny

Proposed Settlement for Local Authorities

Burleigh Community College, Loughborough

Park and Ride

 

The Lead Member for Education presented a position statement on the following matters:

 

Schools’ Funding

Yellow Buses

School Improvement

I.C.T. Award

 

Copies of the Position Statements are attached.

138.

Reports of the Cabinet, Scrutiny Commission, Scrutiny Committees and other bodies:

138a

Report of the Cabinet pdf icon PDF 101 KB

A:     Future Provision of In-house Residential Care for Older People.

 

B:   Community Safety Plan.

 

C:   Pensioners Council Tax Discounts.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(A)   FUTURE PROVISION OF IN-HOUSE RESIDENTIAL CARE FOR OLDER PEOPLE

 

It was moved by Mr Parsons, seconded by Mr Sprason and carried:

 

“That the action being taken regarding the future provision of in-house residential homes for older people, as set out in Section A of the report of the Cabinet, be noted.”

 

(B)   COMMUNITY SAFETY PLAN

 

It was moved by Mr Rhodes and seconded by Mr Ould:

 

         That the contents of the Community Safety Plan, as set out in Appendix 1 of the report of the Cabinet, be approved.”

 

An amendment was moved by Mr Jones and seconded by Mr Galton:-

 

‘That the following words be added at the end of the motion:-

 

“subject to there being a representative from, and appointed by, each District Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership on the proposed Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Community Safety Programme Board.” ’

 

The amendment was put and not carried.

 

The original motion was put and carried.

 

(C)   PENSIONERS’ COUNCIL TAX DISCOUNTS

 

It was moved by Mr Parsons and seconded by Mr Miller:

 

         That the action being taken to urge the Government to implement a nationally funded scheme to give discounts to pensioners on their council tax bills, as set out in Section C of the report of the Cabinet, be noted.”

 

The mover of the motion, with the concurrence of his seconder, sought and obtained the consent of the Council to incorporate the following amendment in the name of Mr Brown into the motion:-

 

‘That the following be added at the end of the motion:

 

“and that this Council further:-

 

(a)     notes that billing authorities already have powers under the Local Government Act 2003 to offer Council tax discounts to people, including pensioners, disabled people and people on low incomes;

 

(b)     notes that the current Council tax benefits scheme already protects pensioners on low incomes;

 

(c)     notes that the minimum income guarantee and new pensioners credits further protect pensioners on lower incomes;

 

(d)     supports the principle that people on low incomes, including pensioners, should be cushioned from rises in Council tax that exceed the rate of domestic inflation measured by the Retail Price Index;

 

(e)     supports the principle that any discount scheme for pensioners and low income groups should not be introduced at the direct expense of other Council Tax payers;

 

(f)     urges the Government to review the funding arrangements for Local Government and, in particular, seek ways to broaden the tax base at local level.” ’

 

The motion, as amended, was put and carried.

139.

Appointments in accordance with items 11 and 12 of Standing Order 4.

Minutes:

It was moved by Mr Chapman and seconded by Mr Hyde:-

 

(a)    That the size of the Scrutiny Commission be reduced to 11 members and that the membership thereof be as set out below:-

Conservative (6)      Labour (3)      Liberal Democrat (2)

 

1       Mr N J Rushton      1.      Mr N J Brown      1.      Mr S J Galton

2       Mr B Chapman      2.      Mr P Hyde      2.      Mr R M Wilson

3       Mr P C Osborne        3.      Mr M T Jones

4       Mr M B Page

5      Prof M E Preston

6      Mrs M L Sherwin

 

(b)    That, as a consequence of (a) above, Paragraph (d) of Rule 14 of the Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules be amended to read as follows:-

 

‘(d)      During that period, the Chief Executive shall call-in a relevant Key Decision for scrutiny by a relevant overview and scrutiny committee only if so requested in writing by any four members of the Scrutiny Commission, at least one of whom must be either the Chairman or a Spokesman of the Scrutiny Commission.  The written request shall include a cogent explanation of the reasons for the call-in.’ ”

140.

Notice of Motion by Dr Feltham

Dr. R.K.A. Feltham

 

“(i)    That this Council notes the proposed European Constitution being prepared by the European Convention will have huge implications for Leicestershire.  The Constitution will give the European Union ‘shared competence’ over home affairs, transport, energy, social policy, economic and social cohesion, consumer protection and the environment, meaning overall more legislation and guidance binding on local government will be decided at a European rather than a national level.

 

(ii)     That given the Government has used referenda to approve other constitutional change affecting local and national government, including establishing regional assemblies and directly-elected mayors, this Council believes the people of Leicestershire should be able to have their say on these constitutional changes in a referendum.

 

(iii)    This Council therefore resolves to make a formal written submission to the Prime Minister, supporting calls for a national referendum on the proposed European Constitution”.

Minutes:

It was moved by Dr Feltham and seconded by Prof Preston:

 

“(i)    That this Council notes the proposed European Constitution being prepared by the European Convention will have huge implications for Leicestershire.  The Constitution will give the European Union ‘shared competence’ over home affairs, transport, energy, social policy, economic and social cohesion, consumer protection and the environment, meaning overall more legislation and guidance binding on local government will be decided at a European rather than a national level.

 

(ii)     That given the Government has used referenda to approve other constitutional change affecting local and national government, including establishing regional assemblies and directly-elected mayors, this Council believes the people of Leicestershire should be able to have their say on these constitutional changes in a referendum.

 

(iii)    This Council therefore resolves to make a formal written submission to the Prime Minister, supporting calls for a national referendum on the proposed European Constitution.”

 

An amendment was put by Mr Brown and seconded by Mr Bown:-

 

‘That the motion be amended to read as follows:-

 

“That this Council;

 

(a)     supports the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union and recognises the important trading, employment, social and political benefits that our membership brings to the people of Leicestershire;

 

(b)     welcomes the expansion of the European Union membership to include the ten accession states including those former Communist countries of eastern Europe and their participation at the Intergovernment Conference (IGC);

 

(c)     notes that whilst the IGC is still debating and preparing the draft European Constitution, this Council agrees that the areas of taxation, social security, defence and foreign policy should be matters for the national governments of individual member states;

 

(d)     does not support action and campaigns by organisations and individuals whose intention is to bring about the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from membership of the European Union.’ ”

 

The amendment was put and not carried:

 

The original motion was put and carried:

141.

Report of the Chief Executive. pdf icon PDF 64 KB

A:     Urgent Action Under Rule 15 of the Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules.

Minutes:

(A)              URGENT ACTION UNDER RULE 15 OF THE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY PROCEDURE RULES

 

It was moved by Mr Parsons, seconded by Mr Miller and carried:

 

          That the action taken under Rule 15 of the Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules, as set out in the report of the Chief Executive, be noted.”

 

 

 

 

 

                                      CHAIRMAN

 

26 November 2003

2.30 p.m. – 6.55 p.m.