Greenwich Council

Agenda, decisions and minutes.

Venue: Council Chamber - Town Hall, Wellington Street, Woolwich SE18 6PW. View directions

Contact: Daniel Wilkinson  Email: committees@royalgreenwich.gov.uk or tel: 020 8921 5102

Note: The deadline for public questions is 12 noon on Wednesday, 20 March 2019 

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Linda Bird, Stephen Brain, Bill Freeman, Ian Hawking, Rajinder James, Chris Lloyd, and Maureen O’Mara.

 

Apologies for arriving late were given for Councillors Angela Cornforth and Anthony Okereke.

 

Apologies for leaving for leaving early were given by Councillors Norman Adams, Tonia Ashikodi, Peter Brooks, Spencer Drury, Christine Grice, Mark James and Sizwe James

2.

Minutes

To agree the Minutes of the Council Meeting held on 30 January 2019 and 27 February 2019.

 

No motion or discussion may take place upon the Minutes except as to their accuracy, and any question on this point will be determined by a majority of the Members of the body attending who were present when the matter in question was decided.  Once confirmed, with or without amendment, the person presiding will sign the Minutes.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved –

 

That the minutes of the Council Meetings held on 30 January 2019 and 27 February 2019 be agreed and signed as true and accurate records, subject to an amendment to those for 27 February in that the number given in the supplementary answer to Member Question 23 be changed from 4 to 3.

3.

Mayor's Announcements

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor requested Council to give thought to the victims of the shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand. The Mayor stated that a book of condolences has been placed in the Victoria Hall for everyone to pay their personal respects. 

 

The Mayor requested everyone to stand for a Minutes silence for the Christchurch mosque victims, and to join with her in standing against racism and terrorism.

 

(Members observed a minute silence).

 

The Mayor stated she was initiating, on an annual basis a minutes silence for staff that they had sadly lost whilst in service in the past year.  The Mayor welcomed some of the relatives who were in the gallery that evening. 

 

The Mayor recalled those who had passed: Shaun Robertson (Community Safety and Environment), Kevin Turner (Housing and Safer Communities), Michael Hamilton (Housing and Safer Communities), William Townsend (Finance), Verona Norris (Housing and Safer Communities), Michael Shaw (Community Safety and Environment), Peter Dalley (Community Safety and Environment), Sarah Nisbet (St. Thomas a Becket RC JMI School), June Stock (De Lucy JMI School), Heather Sylge (Catering Service – GS Plus), Rachel Wallder (Cleaning Services – GS Plus), Piriya Subramaniam (Gateway Employment).

 

Councillor Danny Thorpe, Leader of the Majority Party, and Councillor Matt Hartley, Leader of the Minority Party gave recognition to staff for their service to the borough and its communities, and gave thanks for their work.

 

The Mayor requested everyone to stand for a Minutes silence

 

(Members observed a minute silence).

 

The Mayor was saddened to announce the death of former Councillor and previous Mayor, Terry Malone, aged 88.  Terry had originally been a Councillor with the old Woolwich Council, and then a Councillor with the current Greenwich Borough from 1965 until 1971, and then again between 1986 and 2002. He served on many committees during his time and was Mayor in 2001-2002. Terry had also been involved in the Town Twinning Association. The Mayor welcomed some of his relatives who were in the gallery

 

Councillors Danny Thorpe, Mick Hayes, Peter Brooks and Nigel Fletcher spoke in memory of Terry Malone. Terry’s charm, courtesy, and caring attitude was recollected. His dedication to the people of this borough was noted, and that he had served the local community for many years. Terry was recognised as the father of town twinning, that he was involved in it from the beginning. That he would missed by his town twinning associates overseas showed that Terry had been a great ambassador for the borough not only in this country but also abroad.

 

The Mayor requested Members stand for a Minutes silence for Terry Malone.

 

(Members observed a minute silence).

4.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 45 KB

Members to declare any personal and financial interests in items on the agenda.  Attention is drawn to the Council’s Constitution; the Council’s Code of Conduct and associated advice.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved –

 

1.  That the list of Councillors’ memberships as Council appointed representatives on outside bodies, joint committees and school governing bodies is noted.

 

2.  That the following declarations be noted:

 

Councillor Angela Cornforth declared a Personal and Financial interest in agenda item 12, because the proposed amendment to that item personally affected her.

 

Councillor Mark James declared a Personal interest in agenda item 14, because of his employment.

 

Councillor Anthony Okereke declared a Personal and Financial interest in agenda item 12, because the proposed amendment to that item personally affected him.

 

Councillor Matthew Morrow declared a Personal and Financial interest in agenda item 12, because the proposed amendment to that item personally affected him.

 

5.

Notice of Members wishing to exceed the 5 minute rule

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor noted that that no requests to exceed the five minute rule had been received.

6.

Submission of Petitions

Presentation to the Council of petitions for consideration.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The following petitions were presented at the meeting;

 

Subject and Number of Signatures

Presenting Councillor

Lead Department

To prevent future dangerous road traffic accidents in Winn Road

101 signatures

Councillor

Mark James

Director of Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills

 

 

 

Give residents parking to the current free areas from Victoria Way, Eastcombe Avenue, Wyndcliff and surrounding roads

110 signatures

Councillor

Linda Perks

Director of Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills

 

 

 

Increase the number of parking bays in Erwood Road, Charlton, SE7

99 signatures

Councillor

John Fahy

Director of Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills

 

 

 

Give residents parking to the current free areas from Victoria Way, Eastcombe Avenue, Wyndcliff and surrounding roads

225 signatures

Councillor

David Gardner

Director of Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills

 

 

 

Greenwich Council is urged to take decisive action to reduce speeding and inconsiderate driving in Park View Road

83 signatures

Councillor

Roger Tester

Director of Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills

 

7.

Public Deputations on matters not otherwise on the agenda

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor noted that that no requests for public deputations had been received.

 

8.

Public Questions pdf icon PDF 173 KB

Up to half an hour will be allowed for questions by Members of the Public.

 

Questions will be taken in the order notices are received by the Chief Executive.  Each question to have no more than one part.  No member of the public shall ask more than 2 questions at a meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor stated that Council had received 22 written questions by members of the public.  The questions and replies, together with the supplementary submissions made during the meeting are attached as Appendix A to the minutes.

 

9.

Questions from Members pdf icon PDF 187 KB

a.      To receive written responses to questions submitted by Members in line with procedure Rule A1.38.

b.      Up to 10 minutes will be allowed for Members questions.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor stated that 37 written questions had been received from Members of the Council.  The questions and replies, together with the supplementary submissions made during the meeting are attached as Appendix B to the minutes.

 

Under procedures for oral questions, the Mayor invited questions to Members of the Cabinet for response.

 

Councillor Mehboob Khan raised with the Cabinet Member for Growth and Strategic Development the issue of the now longer time envisaged for the replacement of the cladding on the buildings at New Capital Quay and asked if he and the Leader of the Council could again use their influence with Galliard and their agents to try and progress the matter. The Cabinet Member for Growth and Strategic Development thanked the Greenwich West Ward Councillors for their work on the matter. He commented that the Council sought that the cladding be removed or replaced with something suitable at no cost to the resident. He agreed that they needed to get all the key stakeholders together and see if they could progress the matter in a sensible way and look for a solution that worked for everyone.

 

Councillor Matt Hartley asked the Leader of the Council if the Labour group had recently used a consultant from the LGA and if so who had paid for it. The Leader of the Council commented that if they were talking about the Labour group then he would highlight that the Labour group had brought forward the biggest single council housebuilding programme, had closed off streets outside schools and recommissioned the whole of the voluntary sector in 10 months, and he invited the Leader of the opposition to watch what they would do over the next four years.

 

Councillor Matt Hartley, Leader of the Minority Party, objected to an allusion made by the Leader of the Councillor to one of the written questions from Councillor Pat Greenwell and indicated it was perceived that her comments were generally treated inappropriately; he felt that all members of this Council should be treated with respect. Councillor Pat Greenwell requested an apology from Councillor Danny Thorpe. Councillor Danny Thorpe, Leader of the Majority Party, apologised for any offence that was caused, and affirmed that Councillor Greenwell’s contributions to Council were valued.

 

Councillor Matt Hartley suggested to the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources that there was an army of bailiffs operating in the borough, and he asked if she would consider what Hammersmith and Fulham had done which was to end bailiff use for council tax collection. The Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources confirmed that they were aware of the Hammersmith and Fulham scheme and that Officers were looking into it. The Cabinet Member added that there had been a decrease in the current year in the use of bailiffs in Greenwich.

 

Councillor Charlie Davis asked the Leader of the Council about when the lease between Greenwich Council and Blackheath rugby club would commence. The Leader of the Council replied that the lease had definitely been signed,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Matters for early debate

Up to 3 items of business may be prioritised for consideration under this section.  Each political party may select an item of business, from the list of items on the agenda, for early debate. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor noted that no requests for matters to be taken early had been received.

 

11.

Pay Policy Statement 2019/2020 pdf icon PDF 93 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Adopted the Pay Policy statement for 2019/20 as outlined at Appendix A of the report and agreed to its publication on the Council’s web site.

Minutes:

The Mayor put the matter to the vote and it was unanimously

 

Resolved –

 

That the Pay Policy statement for 2019/20 as outlined at Appendix A of the report be adopted and its publication on the Council’s web site be agreed

12.

Members' Allowances Scheme 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 65 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

1. Noted that all Councils are required to make annually a scheme for the payment of allowances to Councillors and the scheme must include a basic allowance payable equally to all Councillors, and may include provision for special responsibility allowances.

 

2. Agreed that Allowances should be increased by 2% in line with the local government pay settlement as recommended by the Independent Remuneration Panel.

 

3. Subject to decision 2 above, agreed the Members’ Allowances Scheme for 2019/20 as attached at Appendix 1 of the report.

 

4. Agreed that the Members’ Allowances Scheme in Part 6 of the Council’s Constitution be updated accordingly.

 

n.b. Appendix 1 of the report will be updated to increase allowances in line with decision 2 above.

Minutes:

In moving the recommendations in the report, the Leader of the Council commented that the Members allowances scheme was introduced so that council chambers across the country could look more like the populations they were elected to serve, to ensure that politics and elected office was open to everyone. He said that politics was at its best when at its most diverse and that the allowances scheme has helped to ensure the diversity of the Chamber.

 

Councillor Spencer Drury questioned whether the item was constitutionally acceptable as it had not been published five clear days before the meeting, and he queried how late publication affected the ability to submit written questions within the constitutional prescribed deadline. 

 

The Head of Legal Services advised that the legal position had been set out in the response given to the written question. He further advised that in such a situation as a late publication of an item the Mayor of the Council had the discretion to consider a written question relating to that item after the deadline.

 

Councillor Spencer Drury proposed, and was seconded by Councillor Matt Hartley, the motion that the Council adjourn under A1.83 of Part 4 of the Council’s Constitution.

 

Councillor Drury suggested it would be extremely damaging to the Council's reputation to proceed as matters had been mishandled with the report being published late. The constitution were the rules of the game that they had all agreed to play by. What was even more damaging was that the decision by the Labour Group to change the deadline for Members' questions early in the municipal year meant there was no opportunity for opposition members to read and ask questions on the report.

 

He commented that the Leader of the Council might reply that a version of the report was circulated to Conservative group leader last week but that might suggest an attempt at a backroom deal rather than putting it in the public domain so everyone could see what was going on as the constitution required. It could give the impression that something untoward was going on or that Councillors had got their snouts in the trough; it would confirm the worst suspicions of local residents about politicians that they were not listening and were hiding things.

 

He requested Council vote to adjourn and the report be delayed to the next Council meeting, or another Council meeting could be arranged for two or three weeks' time, and that would enable the Council to consider the item in a constitutional way where the public had had time to look at this particular issue.

 

Councillor Thorpe refuted that there was a single person in the Chamber who was there to have their ‘snouts in the trough’. All Members worked hard on behalf of their constituents. It was acknowledged that the report was published late. It was denied that there had been some backroom negotiation in sending the report to the Leader of the opposition, rather he had been keen to ensure that the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.

13.

Motion - "School Funding Cuts" pdf icon PDF 32 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved –

 

1.  This Council notes that as a result of the ongoing government cuts, Greenwich’s schools:

a. Will have lost an aggregate £33.6 million in overall funding between 2015-2020, equating to a loss of on average £367 per pupil.

b. Must bear the brunt of unfunded National Insurance increases.

c. Will suffer inadequate High Needs Block Funding, leaving our must vulnerable pupils without the support they need.

 

2.  Council further notes:

a. That despite the imposed Government cuts, our hardworking teachers, support staff, students and parents are doing their best to maintain our high standards.

b. That 94% of Greenwich’s schools have been rated Good or Outstanding by Ofsted.

d. The Chancellor’s Budget announcement for £400 million for schools to spend on ‘little extras’ was a drop in the ocean compared to the £2.5 billion that has been cut since 2015. Furthermore the £400 million is a one off payment so does not deal with the long term funding crisis in schools.

e.  That free standing nurseries, which are the golden bullet for social mobility, will lose their transitional level funding after this financial year meaning most could face closure.

 

3.  Council resolves to call on Cabinet:

a. To join other councils and Greenwich’s MPs in opposing the government’s ongoing cuts to school budgets and call for more funding to be invested in education.

b. To call on the government to fully fund the pay increase for teachers that is independently recommended by the School Teachers' Review Body.

c. To support the coalition of trade unions campaigning against school cuts.

d. Support the calls of the All-Party Parliamentary group on nurseries for an extension of the level funding for maintained nursery schools for 2020/21 and beyond.

Minutes:

The Mayor noted that the motion was also supported by Councillors Adel Khaireh and Mariam Lolavar.

 

Councillor David Gardner moved the motion. He explained that the slight increase in the schools budget was offset by the increase in the number of students at schools so that in real terms the average spend per pupil in in Greenwich has reduced from £6120 per pupil to £5694 with further cuts to come the next year.  He detailed the effect of reductions on schools in the borough, and how it impacted on their ability to maintain their current level of provision unless there were proper funding for schools.

 

The motion was seconded by Councillor Christine Grice.

 

Councillor Matt Hartley proposed the amendment to the motion, as detailed in the published Tabled Items 3 agenda. He emphasised that it was not just about how much money was spent but the outcomes that the tax payers' money achieved, the quality of education provided, and the outcomes for pupils and students.  He said the amendment focused on what the Council itself could do

 

The amendment was seconded by Councillor Nigel Fletcher.

 

Councillor David Gardner did not accept the amendment.

 

Councillors Linda Perks, Christine Grice and Miranda Williams spoke against the amendment.  It was stated that the figures in the motion had been validated by Council officers. Personal experiences of the financial difficulties faced was described. It was noted that some teachers were having to purchase supplies out of their own money. The work of teachers and non-teaching staff was praised. It was highlighted that there was still uncertainty around the spending review. The effect of the national funding formula on Greenwich schools and the potential for schools going into deficit was emphasised, with the majority of Greenwich schools’ governors expecting to be in deficit within the next three years. All schools were struggling to make ends meet and it was not clear how they were going to be able to continue in two to three years’ time without adequate funding proposals from the government. It was noted that the school funding crisis was also impacting on Greenwich’s own commitment to social value locally in terms of procuring and commissioning local services and Greenwich’s commitment to the London living wage.

 

Councillor Nigel Fletcher joined Members in praising all the staffing in schools in the borough. He commented on what the Conservative and previous Labour Government had done with the schools budget. He said there had been a rise and increase in money but it was recognised that what had happened in the two years from 2015 was that those continuing rises did not take into account properly the increased pupil numbers, but that Government ministers were to discuss the matter. He felt improvement in results had come about not just because of the increased money but also because of structures, and that they should trust the professional judgement of heads when they make those decisions about what's best for their schools and their children.

 

In closing the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.

The Mayor asked Members if they wanted to extend the length meeting under Part 4, A1.95 of the Council’s Constitution. With the majority voting against the meeting time was not extended.

 

 

14.

Motion - "Impact of Crossrail delay on local residents and businesses" pdf icon PDF 41 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

As the meeting was not extended under Part 4, A1.95 of the Council’s Constitution, at the discretion of the Mayor the motion was deferred to the next ordinary meeting of Council.

Minutes:

As the meeting time was not extended, at the discretion of the Mayor the motion was deferred to the next ordinary meeting of Council.

15.

Petition Responses pdf icon PDF 36 KB

The Council is asked to note the action taken in response to petitions presented at recent meetings of the Council.

 

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

Noted the action taken in response to petitions presented at recent meetings of the Council.

 

 

Minutes:

The Mayor noted the petitioners were not in attendance but had raised a query which she requested be considered by Highways Officers.

 

Resolved -

 

That the action taken in response to petitions presented at recent meetings of the Council be noted.