Agenda and minutes

Full Council - Monday, 27th June, 2022 6.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Municipal Building, West Street, Boston, PE21 8QR

Contact: Lorraine Bush, Democratic Services Manager  Telephone 01205 314224 e-mail  lorraine.bush@boston.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

11.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 159 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meetings of the Council held on 29 March, 11 April and 16 May 2022 were taken as read and signed by the Mayor as a correct record.

 

12.

APOLOGIES

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Alan Bell, Neill Hastie,

Martin Howard and Frank Pickett.

 

13.

COMMUNICATIONS

To receive communications (if any) from the Mayor and the Chief Executive

Minutes:

The Mayor invited Members to stay at the end of the meeting to hear the history of the Monteith Punchbowl, an item in the Council’s civic regalia collection.

 

14.

DEPUTATIONS AND PETITIONS

To receive deputations or petitions (if any) pursuant to Rules 12 and 13 of the Council’s Rules of Procedure.

Minutes:

The Chief Executive reported there were no deputations or petitions.

 

15.

QUESTIONS FROM ELECTED MEMBERS

To answer questions (if any) from elected members pursuant to Rule 11 of the Council’s Rules of Procedure.

Questions by elected members must be received by 5pm two clear working days before the meeting- the deadline for this meeting is 5pm on Wednesday 22nd June 2022.

Minutes:

The Chief Executive reported there were a series of questions from Councillor Anton Dani.

 

16.

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

To answer questions (if any) from members of the public pursuant to Rule 10 of the Council’s Rules of Procedure.

Questions from members of the public must be received by 5pm two clear working days prior to the meeting – the deadline for this meeting is 5pm on Wednesday 22nd June 2022.

Minutes:

The Chief Executive reported there were a series of questions from Councillor Anton Dani.

 

Questions asked by Councillor Anton Dani pursuant to paragraph 11 of the Rules of Procedure as set out in the Constitution:-

 

1.         Can you please give an update on the Council’s current financial position?

 

Response by Councillor Jonathan Noble

 

It is too soon into this financial year to predict what the year-end position will be for 2023/23.  However, there are a number of exceptional pressures which are being closely monitored and others more longer term which will need to be considered as part of the Councils MTFS this autumn.

 

 Energy and fuel costs are being regularly considered with potential pressures such as central government funding, feeding into Q1 and onwards. If these look to become longer term features due to international influences then this will need to be considered as part of the 22/23 budget setting process. Reserves may need to assist if pressures continue and cannot be accommodated in the round during the year.

 

Income levels – post covid, these again are being monitored monthly and showing continued and steady increases, the issue here will be if they do not return to previous levels. We have a covid reserve to continue to smooth this funding pressure whilst income levels return.

 

Other key pressures include the potential for pay inflation which would be one of the most significant financial impacts the Council could face. This is currently being closely considered and modelled in terms of potential impacts and will need to be a feature of the MTFS modelling.

 

Regular updates will be provided to the finance PFH throughout the year. A new financial system is being implemented which will also assist in improving financial management data to service managers regarding their budgets.

 

Supplemental question asked by Councillor Dani pursuant to paragraph 11.6 of the Rules of Procedure as set out in the Constitution:-

 

At what level of increase in energy prices would impact on the Council’s finances?

 

Response by Councillor Noble

 

A 30% increase has been allowed for.  As you will recall at the Council meeting in April 2022 approval was given to the use of a covid smoothing reserve to off-set budget pressures.

 

 

2.         What is the current value of the Council’s assets and have any assets been disposed of in the last 3 financial years? 

 

Response by Councillor Jonathan Noble

 

As at 31 March 2022, the Council’s land and property assets were valued at £39,075,654; no land or property has been disposed of in the last three years.

 

 

3.         Can you explain why the Council still refers to the PE21 project which was first instigated fifteen years ago?

 

Response by Councillor Nigel Welton

As was recently explained at Environment and Performance Committee, the re-development of this area has had numerous names over time. Ranging from the “Modus” proposals of circa 2007, to the more recent ‘PE21’ name which was adopted c2018.

 

The ‘PE21’ project in its more recent guise having been developed from a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.

17.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

To receive declarations by Members of any interest in respect of items on the agenda.

Minutes:

None

18.

MODEL CODE OF CONDUCT pdf icon PDF 229 KB

(Report by the Assistant Director – Governance and Monitoring Officer)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Assistant Director – Governance and Monitoring Officer introduced a report presenting the Local Government Association (LGA) Model Code of Conduct and associated guidance for consideration and comment.

 

The report stated that in accordance with section 27(2) of the Localism Act 2011, every local authority was required to adopt a Code of Conduct which dealt with ‘the conduct that was expected of members and co-opted members of the authority when acting in that capacity.’

 

It was noted that in July 2012 the Council adopted its current Code of Conduct, subsequently amending and re-affirming in June 2013; and again in January 2019 when certain Council policies were linked to the Code of Conduct which made any breaches of those policies a breach of the Code of Conduct.

 

In January 2019 the House of Lords Committee on Standards in Public Life issued a report on Local Government Ethical Standards which made a number of recommendations in respect of the Code of Conduct.  In particular, the Committee noted significant variance between the Codes adopted by different local authorities and recommended the creation of a Model Code of Conduct by the LGA.  The Committee also noted some key matters were omitted from some local authority codes, such as social media use, bullying and harassment and recommended that they should be included in any Model Code.

 

In December 2020 the LGA published a Model Code of Conduct, attached at Appendix A to the report, and associated Guidance, attached at Appendix B to the report. The Model Code was subject to wide consultation with the local authority sector, including consultation with elected members and Monitoring Officers.

 

The LGA Model Code of Conduct was designed to protect the democratic role of members, encourage good conduct, and safeguard the public’s trust and confidence in the role of the councillor in local government.  Whilst it could be adapted to local circumstances, a key benefit was in bringing consistency across the local government sector and this would be especially helpful where members served on different tiers of local authority.

 

The Model Code was relatively short and easy to read, and was therefore more accessible to members, officers and the public.  The LGA would review the Model Code on an annual basis to ensure it reflected developing legislation and case law, and to ensure that it incorporated advances in technology and social media.

 

Boston Borough Council’s current Code of Conduct was very short, and largely restricted to the seven Nolan principles.  It did not include a number of obligations that were present in the Model Code and provided no assistance or guidance in the use of modern technology and social media.  Such a limited version of the Code of Conduct was not conducive to the aim of upholding good standards of ethical behaviour.

 

The Code of Conduct applied when a Councillor acted in that capacity and the New Model Code provided much more detail on that point than the current Code, supported by additional information within the Guidance including worked examples.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.

19.

LEVELLING UP WAVE 2 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

(Report by the Deputy Chief Executive – Growth)

Minutes:

Councillor Nigel Welton introduced a report by the Assistant Director – Planning and Strategic Infrastructure providing an overview of the direction of travel for the Council’s proposed Levelling Up Fund (LUF) round 2 submission which focused on the re-development of ‘PE21’.

 

The report stated that the Levelling Up Fund was part of the government’s wider Levelling Up agenda.  It was a capital fund designed to invest in infrastructure that improved everyday life across the UK.  The £4.8 billion fund would support town centre and high street regeneration, local transport projects, and cultural and heritage assets.  It was a competitive bid-process where authorities could seek to secure up to £20m from the fund.

 

The report contained the background to the Council’s round 1 submission, which had been unsuccessful, and the feedback received from Government which had been positive with minor suggestions being made in respect of narrowing down the focus of the bid to PE21 only; revisiting values and costs; revisiting engagement with the community and seeking support from more partners and the MP.

 

Taking into account the response from Government to the round 1 bid, the submission had been reviewed by external advisors and discussions held with the Scarborough Group to consider working up a private/public sector proposal for the entire PE21 area to be delivered through a Joint Venture arrangement. 

 

A re-working of the PE21 masterplan for the western end of the site had been commissioned, jointly with NHS colleagues and LCC (transport) to look at opportunities for a new health centre and how this could be brought forward as a deliverable proposal, working alongside neighbouring parcels.  The work was being led by Wilmott Dixon in order to provide information to feed into a LUF 2 bid as well as future funding opportunities / scheme development.

 

As work was progressing on the LUF 2 bid it was not possible to provide Members with a precise picture of what would be included in the bid and what the financial model and ‘ask’ would be, but it was likely to be in the region of £15m.  However, in all eventualities the ‘match funding’ (10%) requirement would not exceed the £2m previously indicated as being acceptable (within LUF 1 to come from land value and a top up if necessary from reserves) owing to the maximum £20m bid allowance that could be made.

 

The likely direction and key elements of the bid were set out in the report under the headings of:

 

  • Delivery of a significant enhancement of the public realm (spanning the area between the river and the Len Medlock Centre);
  • Crown House – as per round 1;
  • B&M redevelopment – evolution of round 1

 

Those interventions would use the LUF funding as a catalyst to unlock the remainder of the PE21 area, including adjacent sites.  Collectively this would then leverage the ability to bring forward other potential interventions in the future which could include:

 

20.

EXTERNAL APPOINTMENT - PUBLIC SECTOR PARTNERSHIP SERVICES BOARD OF DIRECTORS pdf icon PDF 156 KB

(Report by the Assistant Director – Governance and Monitoring Officer)

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer introduced a report to appoint a Council representative as a Director of the Public Sector Partnership Services Ltd Board.

 

The vacancy had arisen following the resignation of Councillor Alan Bell from the position. The appointment was reserved for opposition Members and expressions of interest had been sought.  Councillor Peter Watson had responded offering his services to the Board.

 

Council asked for their thanks to be recorded to Councillor Alan Bell for his service to the PSPS Board.

 

It was moved by Councillor Paul Skinner, seconded by Councillor Nigel Welton and

 

 

RESOLVED that Councillor Peter Watson be appointed as a Council representative on the Public Sector Partnership Services Ltd Board of Directors, to hold office whilst he remains a Member of the Council, until the Annual Meeting of the Council in 2023 or until the appointment of their successor.

 

 

 

(The meeting ended at 8.10 p.m.)