Contact: Lorraine Bush, Democratic Services Manager Telephone 01205 314224 e-mail email@example.com
The minutes of the meeting of the Council, held on 23 November 2020, were taken as read and signed by the Mayor as a correct record, subject to corrections being made to the response given by Councillor Yvonne Stevens to the supplementary question asked of her by Mr. Darron Abbott.
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors David Brown and Viven Edge.
The Chief Executive reported that, following changes within memberships of political groups, the allocation of committee seats had been revised and circulated to all Members for information.
QUESTIONS FROM ELECTED MEMBERS
The Chief Executive reported there were questions from Councillors George Cornah, Tom Ashton, Judith Skinner, Brian Rush, and Anne Dorrian.
Question asked by Councillor George Cornah pursuant to paragraph 10 of the Rules of Procedure as set out in the Constitution.
“Following the announcement of the investment in our town by Plant and Bean will the Portfolio Holder explain why the company chose to invest in their global headquarters in Boston, and what impact this will have on the local economy in the future.”
Response by Councillor Nigel Welton
“Our whole approach to inward investment is simple; its driven by passion, trust and a shared understanding of the needs of the business underpinned by an agile, flexible and seamless team approach - and landing Plant & Bean was no exception.
Firstly they chose Boston over two other sites because of the confidence, rapport and integrity in the officers of the council during early preliminary and fact finding conversations and gave credit to our proactive approach in supporting their needs.
Secondly, how quickly we mobilised a collaborative ‘Touch Down Team’ which they could interrogate on how the Council, University of Lincoln, Boston College and DWP could work with them on skills, recruitment, supply chain introductions and general business support. This approach also gave us the opportunity to reiterated our growth vision and the part the Town Deal plays in influencing future investments like this.
Thirdly, was the importance of our embedded relationship with a well-connected food sector including logistics, access to the Port, educational links across all levels, a connected supply chain (including growers) and a very well-trained workforce.
In regards to the economic impact; the business will over time deliver nearly 500 new jobs with a relatively high proportion of those in technical roles requiring higher skill levels creating opportunities for up-skilling of local skill sets, resulting in higher wage levels, increased productivity and greater spend locally.
Having a major business like Plant & Bean relocate to Boston again is a massive boost to our credibility as a place to start, grow and invest and presents the council with a great opportunity to move, in part away from agri food to more plant based production and manufacturing. It also creates the opportunity to expand and grow a “plant based” food cluster and become the “go to location” for this type of food production - creating more higher skilled job opportunities, higher wage levels, raised aspirations in our young people - all delivering great economic well-being and resilience for the borough and what better reason for families to stay or relocate here.”
Supplemental question asked by Councillor Cornah pursuant to paragraph 10.6 of the Rules of Procedure as set out in the Constitution:-
“Thank you for the response. It is really exciting to see this level of investment and creation of jobs for Boston and I thank the Economic Development Team for all their work on this project.”
Question asked by Councillor Tom Ashton pursuant to paragraph 10 of the Rules ... view the full minutes text for item 128.
QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC
The Chief Executive reported there were two questions from members of the public.
Question asked by Mr Paul Blackburn pursuant to paragraph 11 of the Rules of Procedure as set out in the Constitution.
“Can the council legitimately restrict the use of disabled and loading bays, as regulated under the Restricted Zone Order 1/3/2017 Boston- Market Place?”
Response by Councillor Tracey Abbott
“I thank Mr. Blackburn for notice of his question and confirm thatyes the usage can be restricted with a temporary traffic regulation order in place.”
Supplemental question asked by Mr. Blackburn pursuant to paragraph 11.8 of the Rules of Procedure as set out in the Constitution:-
“I am not sure you fully understand my question. However this temporary order you refer too, must have been breached because, to the best of my knowledge, this practice has continued from day 1 (01/03/2017) to today nearly 4 years. So who at Boston Borough Council authorised and implemented the breach to the order of 01/03/2017 ?
I believe we should have a full public enquiry because insurances and market traders contracts being breached, the deliberate obstruction of disabled and loading bays, conflicting parking information, putting the public, market traders, stall erectors at risk under health and safety, let alone operating in contrary to the Charter.”
Response by Councillor Tracey Abbott
“I will provide a written response.”
Question asked by Mr Darron Abbott pursuant to paragraph 11 of the Rules of Procedure as set out in the Constitution.
“Since last March the world has changed immensely and we still find ourselves in unprecedented times.
We have seen the Council staff step up to the plate and have been on the front line throughout the year helping protect us from Covid 19 and ensure everything has run smoothly and without problems.
Whilst the budget constraints will sadly not allow a remunerative reward to be made would the Council consider having a special medal struck and presented to Council staff to recognise their heroism and express the thanks of the people of Boston.”
Response by the Leader
“Mr Abbott, thank you for your question.
I agree wholeheartedly – our teams have worked incredibly hard over the past year to ensure services continue to run, whilst providing our communities with the support they need as they respond to Covid-19. Their efforts have been nothing short of monumental.
I must also pay tribute to our partners and other key workers who have also worked tirelessly.
Our teams are continuing to respond to the pandemic alongside our partners and in due course we will collectively consider how we recognise all those involved in the response to Covid-19 in the Borough.”
Supplemental question asked by Mr. Abbott pursuant to paragraph 11.8 of the Rules of Procedure as set out in the Constitution:-
“I thank the leader, but is that yes or no to a medal, if not could we think of something that will enrich the environment and plant a tree in their honour”
Response by ... view the full minutes text for item 129.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
The Monitoring Office advised Council that under the provisions of Section 25 of the Localism Act 2011, Members who had previously made a decision on a matter could take part in consideration at a later stage of the decision making process on the same topic if they maintained on open mind.
However, it was apparent that some Members had made comment on social media platforms suggesting they would be voting against the matter under consideration at the meeting, implying they had a closed mind which was incompatible with the legislation. It was recommended that, if Members had made such statements, they may wish to consider making a declaration that, irrespective of previous statements, they had an open mind on the decision to be made.
Councillor Tom Ashton declared an interest as an Elected Member of East Lindsey District Council, a partner organisation in PSPS Ltd., but had made no comment when the decision had been considered by East Lindsey District Council. The only public comments had been made at the meeting of the Corporate and Community Committee and he came to debate with an open mind.
Councillor Neil Hastie stated that he had an open mind regardless of comments posted on social media.
(Report by the Assistant Director – Support Services and Partnerships)
Appendix A is exempt from publication under paragraphs 3 and 4 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.
Portfolio Holder: Councillor Jonathan Noble
Prior to the introduction of the report by the Portfolio Holder, the Mayor invited Mr. Lewis Ducket, Chief Executive of Public Sector Partnership Services Limited (PSPS Ltd) to address the Council.
Mr. Ducket outlined the benefits of the Council joining PSPS Ltd including achieving cost savings, investment in IT systems, creating capacity and resilience to improve services, and development opportunities for transferring staff. The Council would not be losing control over services as it would effectively co-own the company and have representation on the Board.
Councillor Jonathan Noble, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Commerce, introduced the report setting out the proposal for the Council to become a third shareholder in PSPS Ltd with East Lindsey District Council (ELDC) and South Holland District Council (SHDC), to deliver the back office services for the Council, including Finance, Human Resources, Health and Safety, Customer Services, Revenues and Benefits, Information Technology and Digital Services.
The report stated that PSPS Ltd was as a Local Authority Trading Company (LATCo) and was overseen by a Board of Directors appointed by each shareholder organisation. It operated at ‘arms length’ with activities and strategic direction influenced by a group of stakeholders drawn from the Councils involved.
The delivery model was principally a collaborative partnership with services delivered through a commissioning type arrangement and underpinned by agreed standards of service which were reviewed on an annual basis to enable each Council to deliver their strategic plans and priorities.
Having recently completed its first ten year contract and delivered annual savings of £2.1m, PSPS Ltd had secured a further ten year contract to deliver its services to ELDC and SHDC with a commitment to an agreed new programme of transformation and efficiency savings that would generate cumulative savings over the twenty year contract period of £25.8m for the current shareholder councils.
As part of the new ten year contract extension to 2030, the Board of Directors and existing shareholder Councils had agreed to explore growth opportunities with Councils across Lincolnshire. In October 2020, PSPS had approached Boston Borough Council to explore such an opportunity for the Council to join neighbouring Councils as a third shareholder of PSPS.
Since the initial approach to the Council, PSPS had completed outline business case principles which had subsequently been reviewed by stakeholder representatives at both ELDC and SHDC and approved by the PSPS Board of Directors in December 2020. In January 2021 both ELDC and SHDC as existing shareholders took formal decisions to invite Boston BC to become a third shareholder and both Councils had approved an invitation offer to Boston BC. Shareholding equity between the Councils would stand at 48% ELDC; 28% SHDC and 24% Boston BC and Boston BC would have two Director positions on the Board of shareholders.
Subject to approval by Full Council, all Councils would work towards the transition of services from 1 April 2021 in order to meet the agreement of the existing shareholders and to allow the arrangement to commence at the start of the financial year, ... view the full minutes text for item 131.