Contact: Lorraine Bush, Democratic Services Manager Telephone 01205 314224 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
To sign the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 26 October 2020.
The minutes of the meeting of the Council, held on 26 October 2020, were taken as read and signed by the Mayor as a correct record, subject to the name of the public questioner being amended from Councillor Rush.
Following a question raised at the last meeting of the Council, the Monitoring Officer confirmed that there was no provision within the Constitution for a Chairman’s introductory address to be longer than the allocated five minutes.
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors David Brown and Viven Edge.
To receive communications (if any) from the Mayor and the Chief Executive.
There were no communications.
DEPUTATIONS AND PETITIONS
The Chief Executive reported there were no deputations or petitions.
QUESTIONS FROM ELECTED MEMBERS
To answer questions (if any) from elected members pursuant to Rule 11 of the Council’s Rules of Procedure (as amended by the Protocol and Procedure Rules for Remote Meetings).
Questions from Members of the Council must be received by 5 p.m. two clear working days prior to the day of the meeting – the deadline for this meeting is 5 p.m. on Wednesday 18 November 2020.
The Chief Executive reported there were questions from Councillors Stephen Woodliffe, Brian Rush, Peter Bedford, Peter Watson and Anne Dorrian.
Question asked by Councillor Stephen Woodliffe pursuant to paragraph 10 of the Rules of Procedure as set out in the Constitution.
“What advice and guidance have you given or intend to give the Mayor, Cllr Anton Dani, regarding his revelation in the C&C Overview and Scrutiny Meeting on Thursday 12th November 2020 that he intends to visit Boston, Massachusetts, in his official capacity with the Chains of Office, but apparently at his own expense?”
Response by the Leader
“Thank you for your question Councillor Woodliffe. I’m sure Cllr Woodliffe would agree with me the position of Mayor of our town is a special honour received by Members of this Council. I applaud the enthusiasm of our current Mayor who under these unusual circumstances has served longer than most.
If the Mayor is in an official capacity and the rules of this Council are followed, then a Mayor would be permitted to travel with an element of sponsorship.”
Supplemental question asked by Councillor Woodliffe pursuant to paragraph 10.6 of the Rules of Procedure as set out in the Constitution:-
Thank you for your response. As you know there have been a number of occasions when the Mayor has been injudicious in his choice of language. Indeed I had occasion to write to you on 3rd September to express concern at the comments made by the Mayor at a meeting of the Corporate and Community Committee on 27 August which was an unbridled and unjustified rant against officers. We are also aware of comments made in public targeting the travelling community. Illconceived remarks are inappropriate in any context but when they are from the mouth of the Mayor, the first citizen of the Borough, the damage caused to Boston is incalculable. What action plan and training do you have in mind to kerb the Mayor’s indulgences.
Response by the Leader
I am very keen on training and development of all Councillors and am sure we can put together a way of training all in the future. It is so easy to get carried away with oneself and I’m sure the Mayor did not do it intentionally, he is a very passionate man.
Question asked by Councillor Brian Rush pursuant to paragraph 10 of the Rules of Procedure as set out in the Constitution.
“I was genuinely shocked when I received an eleventh hour email from you, suggesting that you had been made aware of my efforts to locate, what I have grown to refer too, a consignment of bespoke Market Stall, Frames and Covers, which this Council it seems purchased some time back.
Would you kindly explain to me, and of course the people we serve whose money it was, that we used to purchase this equipment, and explain to them, how most of it now seems to have vanished, and ultimately whose responsibility it was, to have ... view the full minutes text for item 117.
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 (as amended by the Protocol and Procedure Rules for Remote Meetings).
Questions from members of the public must be received by 5 p.m. two clear working days prior to the day of the meeting – the deadline for this meeting is 5 p.m. on Wednesday 18 November 2020.
The Chief Executive reported there was one question from a member of the public.
Question asked by Mr Darron Abbott pursuant to paragraph 11 of the Rules of Procedure as set out in the Constitution.
“Recently Boston Borough Council publicised that since September 2019 the fact that they had issued 836 fixed penalty notices for fly tipping.
I know of one individual that has been reported for fly tipping on 5 separate occasion, one of those reports being made by a portfolio holder. These reports have been supported by evidence, I attach a letter from Christian Allen dated 5 June 2020 that confirms the actions of this individual was fly tipping but no action would be taken as it occurred during the first lockdown.
The incidents have continued and have been reported but no action has been taken. Councillor Stevens perhaps you would like to explain to everyone why Boston Borough Council are selective in issue of penalties and how do we all avail ourselves of this special treatment?”
Response by Councillor Yvonne Stevens
“Thank you for your question. The letter you refer to sets out the council’s position in June during the first lockdown, and although the Council had limited enforcement capacity, the fly swat crew continued to collect fly-tips and retained any evidence they found within these fly-tips to enable enforcement action to be taken at a later date.
The very nature of garden waste is non-hazardous and as garden waste fly-tips are highly unlikely to contain evidence of the perpetrator, the priority for the reduced team was the collection of putrescible wastes and other wastes blocking pavements for example, that were an obvious hazard to public health.
You have provided information on alleged fly-tipping of garden waste and rubble at Garfitt’s Lane, and responses have been provided to you. For clarity, these incidents have been investigated but officers have been unable to determine who had fly-tipped the garden waste. Appropriate action has been taken as far as possible.
I would ask anyone that if they have tangible evidence of a fly-tipper, such as a witness statement where the fly-tipping event has been witnessed, or car number plate, then please send that information to email@example.com and this will be acted upon. The Council has an exemplary record in both enforcement against fly-tippers and in the speed of removal of fly-tips.”
Supplemental question asked by Mr. Abbott pursuant to paragraph 11.8 of the Rules of Procedure as set out in the Constitution:-
“I thank Councillor Stephens answer. I would have been nice if she had actually answered the question herself rather than taking the officers report ( I know how this works) If she had looked into the matter herself she would know evidence had been provided and all an investigating officer would have been given by myself and her fellow cabinet member. I ask Councillor Stevens is this a case of who you are depends on whether you get penalised?”
Response by Councillor Stevens
“Thank you for your ... view the full minutes text for item 118.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
To receive declarations by Members of any interests in respect of items on the agenda.
No declarations of interest were made.
(Report by the Monitoring Officer)
The Monitoring Officer introduced a report setting out the appointments to the positions of Chairman of the Environment and Performance Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Planning Committee and representatives to the Black Sluice Internal Drainage Board which had been deferred from the meeting of the Council held on 26 October 2020.
The Monitoring Officer suggested the expedient method of voting on the appointment of Chairman of the Environment and Performance Committee and the Vice-Chairman of the Planning Committee would be to vote by naming preferred candidate as there were two nominees for each position.
It was moved by Councillor Tom Ashton, seconded by Councillor Stephen Woodliffe and
Members then commented on the experience, skills and knowledge the nominees would bring to the roles.
The Monitoring Officer provided clarification on the Statutory Guidance in respect of Scrutiny Committees, specifically that the guidance did not prohibit the Chairman of a scrutiny committee presiding over a relative, however it strongly recommended that this should not be the case.
On being put to the vote it was
Consideration was then given to the Council’s appointments to the Black Sluice Internal Drainage Board and it was moved by Councillor Tom Ashton and seconded by Councillor Deborah Evans that Councillors Tom Ashton, Richard Austin, Peter Bedford, Michael Cooper, Frank Pickett, Paul Skinner, and Mr. Michael Brookes (lay member) be appointed as the Council’s representatives to serve on the Black Sluice Internal Drainage Board.
An amendment was moved by Councillor Neill Hastie and seconded by Councillor Brian Rush that Councillors Peter Bedford, Michael Cooper, Frank Pickett, Paul Skinner, Brian Rush, Peter Watson and Mr. Michael Brookes (lay member) be appointed as the Council’s representatives to serve on the Black Sluice Internal Drainage Board.
On being put to the vote the amendment was lost.
The substantive motion was then put to the vote and it was
Councillor Peter Bedford offered to seek agreement from the Black Sluice IDB for Councillors Rush and Watson to be appointed to a Works Committee which would give them an insight into the workings of the ... view the full minutes text for item 120.
(Report by the Licensing and Land Charges Manager)
Portfolio Holder: Councillor Yvonne Stevens
Councillor Frank Pickett, Chairman of the Licensing Committee, introduced a report by the Licensing and Land Charges Manager on the Statement of Licensing Policy which was required to be consulted on and published every five years.
The report stated that the Council as the Licensing Authority was required to publish a statement setting out its policy for the exercise of its functions under the Licensing Act 2003 for the sale of alcohol and the provision of regulated entertainment and late night refreshment with a view to promoting the licensing objectives of:
The revised Statement of Licensing Policy, attached at Appendix A of the report, had been consulted on and where appropriate updated to reflect the consultation responses received.
The final draft Statement was considered by the Licensing Committee on 11 November 2020 and recommended to full Council for adoption.
It was noted that the Licensing Act 2003 was permissive legislation and it was the duty of the Licensing Committee to uphold the licensing objectives. Evidence was required of any contraventions by licence holders before action could be taken to suspend or revoke any licences.
It was moved by Councillor Frank Pickett, seconded by Councillor Deborah Evans and
(Report by the Council Tax and Benefits Manager)
Portfolio Holder: Councillor Jonathan Noble
Councillor Jonathan Noble introduced a report by the Council Tax and Benefits Manager on the operation of the Council Tax Support scheme to date and the outcome of the consultation process for the 2020/21 scheme.
The report set out the background to the Council Tax Support (CTS) scheme which had been in operation since 2013/14 under the provisions of the Welfare Reform Act.
It was accepted that the outturn performance of the adopted schemes from 2013/14 onwards were broadly in line with original assumptions. The full service for Universal Credit was rolled out for the Boston area on 12 September 2018, although this was currently only for new claims. The migration of existing claims was not due for completion until 2023.
Since the introduction of universal credit it had become apparent that those people in receipt, together with earnings and council tax support could have their claims reassessed every month. If the earnings increased or decreased over that month, the assessment for universal credit would change, consequently creating a reassessment for council tax support. If council tax instalments changed some applicants may not receive a council tax reminder for 12 months. There were currently 900 cases where the situation could apply.
Whilst the new regulations provided councils with flexibility to set up their own local arrangements, the Government expressed clear intentions in relation to certain aspects of a local scheme, including:-
The 2021/22 council tax support scheme was consulted on the following options:-
Continuation of the current scheme, as it was, with a ‘no change’ approach, uprating the amounts used in the calculation of Council Tax Support for working age claimants in line with Department for Work and Pensions uprating for working age social security benefits and non-dependent deductions.
This option would maintain a consistent approach to Boston’s CTS scheme since its introduction in 2013/14. It would continue to recognise the additional needs of the vulnerable through the approach to its calculation.
Any further reduction in grant funding or increase in CTS awards would need to be found from other budgets areas or service cuts. Any consultation process would include this as an option with views on how or what services would be affected.
Uprate in line with the Department of Work and Pensions uprating’s for working age social security benefits and non- dependant deductions, but assess working age applicants who are working and in receipt of universal credit every 3 months.
If an applicant had a significant change in their income within the 3 month period the case should be reassessed, this will allow the applicant more consistency with their entitlement and allow the council tax to become due and if the need ... view the full minutes text for item 122.
(Report by the Assistant Director – Organisation and Corporate Services)
Portfolio Holder: Councillor Nigel Welton
Councillor Nigel Welton introduced a report by the Assistant Director – Organisation and Corporate Services, on a proposed Corporate Strategy for the period 2020 – 2024.
The report stated that, at its meeting held on 9 September, Cabinet had approved the draft Corporate Strategy to be published for consultation purposes, focusing on the four priorities of:
The public consultation had been undertaken between 10 and 30 September by means of a survey published on the Council’s website, distribution to local community groups, partner agencies, and shared via social media. A total of 57 responses had been received and the results were set out in appendix C of the report. The document had also been considered by the One Voice Forum (Staff Forum) and comments included in appendix C.
The Corporate and Community Committee had considered the draft Strategy at its meeting on 27 August and comments were attached at Appendix B.
Responses from the consultation exercise had helped shape the final version of the Strategy presented at appendix A to the report.
The Corporate Strategy/Priorities had been further considered by Cabinet at its meeting on 21 October 2002 and recommended to Council for approval.
Members expressed their support for the Corporate Strategy recognising it as an inspirational document which was understandable and easily read. The priorities reflected the ambitions of the Council particularly for future prosperity and growth.
However, it was noted that improvements in the road infrastructure would be instrumental in working towards realising the priorities, which was not within the gift of the Borough Council.
It was moved by Councillor Nigel Welton, seconded by Councillor Paul Skinner and
(A report by the Democratic Services Manager)
Councillor Judith Skinner introduced the Annual Scrutiny Report for 2019-20, which set out details of the overview and scrutiny function; the work programmes for the two scrutiny committees for 2019-20, review work undertaken by the Task and Finish Groups and details of the call in function.
The draft Annual Scrutiny Report had been considered by the Corporate and Community Committee on 15 October 2020 and the Environment and Performance Committee on 3 November 2020 and recommended to Council for approval and publication on the Council’s website.
Members moved a vote of thanks to the Democratic Services Officers for their hard work and adapting to the new ways of remote working which had enabled the scrutiny committees to carry on with their work.
Tribute was paid personally to Janette Collier, Senior Democratic Services Officer, and Councillors extended their best wishes for her forthcoming retirement.
It was moved by Councillor Judith Skinner, seconded by Councillor Stephen Woodliffe and