Venue: Time Square, Market Street, Bracknell, RG12 1JD
Contact: Philip Sadler 01344 352140
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meetings of the Council held on 13 July and 28 September 2022.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the Council meetings held on 13 July and 28 September be approved and signed by the Mayor as a correct record.
Declarations of Interest
Members are asked to declare any disclosable pecuniary or affected interests in respect of any matter to be considered at this meeting.
Any Member with a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in a matter should withdraw from the meeting when the matter is under consideration and should notify the Democratic Services Officer in attendance that they are withdrawing as they have such an interest. If the Disclosable Pecuniary Interest is not entered on the register of Members interests the Monitoring Officer must be notified of the interest within 28 days.
Any Member with an affected Interest in a matter must disclose the interest to the meeting. There is no requirement to withdraw from the meeting when the interest is only an affected interest, but the Monitoring Officer should be notified of the interest, if not previously notified of it, within 28 days of the meeting.
Councillor Heydon declared an Affected Interest in agenda item 6, Executive Report in relation to the decision regarding the Market Street Site Settled Development Plan.
Petition submitted under Council Procedure Rule 9
In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 9 (Public Participation), a petition has been submitted by Ms K O’Neal, resident of Binfield with Warfield, on behalf of Bracknell Climate Action Group. The full text of the petition is set out below:
· Bracknell needs to join the surrounding unitary authorities in declaring a climate emergency
· The council needs to recognise the urgency of climate change and act decisively
· The council must develop a measurable, ambitious, target-driven climate strategy that reflects the government’s stated climate targets
Bracknell Climate Action Group will present a written petition to the meeting together with an online petition available via https://chng.it/wk6Dsdr4
In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 9 (Public Participation), Council received a presentation and petition from Ms K O’Neal on behalf of Bracknell Climate Change Action Group.
Councillor Mrs Hayes MBE responded on behalf of the Council. The full text of the response is set out below:
“Mr Mayor, as the Executive Member for the Environment, and the lead Member for addressing Climate change, I would like to thank Ms O'Neal, and Bracknell Climate Action Group for this petition. This petition giving me a further opportunity to speak to council about this important issue, that has been a priority of this council since 2007.
It is a shame that Ms O'Neal, and her Group, missed my last speech on this topic in July. I understand the recording of the meeting is lost, so I am pleased to have a further opportunity to repeat my remarks, and with the indulgency of the Mayor, to highlight our record on this matter. Given that this is the same speech, in line with our council's policies; it is good to reuse and recycle.
Having looked at the points requested in the petition, clearly the requestor hasn't googled the phrase Bracknell Forest and climate change. Had they done so, the answers to her petition would have clearly presented themselves to them for review. Waste, Mr Mayor is something that we must all guard against.
Mr Mayor, the strategy is easily found on our website, along with the annual report on progress. This sitting alongside the videos of the meetings of the Climate Change Advisory Panel, meetings of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission and a large number of policy documents, covering recycling, biodiversity, insulation, planning policy, walking and cycling; I could go on and on and on. Also, for those minded to read the odd council agenda, minutes detailing councillors discussions on this matter can easily be found there too. If help is needed to access the Internet, I am sure that our library staff would be more than willing to show how to get to such information, as part of our warm hub initiative.
In terms of this petition, I am hoping that this lack of knowledge is an access issue, rather than as Al Gore said, an inconvenient truth. That truth being that this council has a long and successful programme of addressing man-made climate change head on. In fact, Ms O'Neal spoke to the council's Overview and Scrutiny Commission, on 2nd December 2020, as part of the commission's scrutinisation of the draft strategy, whose highlights I will present again to council today, plus the many things we have done since. If Ms O'Neal has forgotten that session, the video of the meeting is on YouTube. I am sure that library staff can help with that too.
Although this is my second speech this year on this subject, it is also the second time a similar presentation has been made to the council that we are not doing enough. In January 2020, the ... view the full minutes text for item 21.
Mayor’s Opportunity Champion Awards Winners
The Mayor explained that this was a new initiative introduced to recognise Bracknell Forest residents who contribute in a selfless way to improve the wellbeing and access to opportunities for their fellow residents and community. Each month a winner will be selected and invited to share details of their work at the next full council meeting.
The June award was presented to Monika Taplin for running and cycling in various costumes to raise awareness and money for the charity Youthline.
The July award was present to joint opportunity champions, Natalia Vil and Ashleigh Toomey for creating the VSI Razom Community Hub in Princess Square in aid of Ukrainian refugees.
The August award was presented to Alison Baker for her volunteering and work with the Parks Community Association.
The Mayor explained that it had been a ‘bittersweet’ civic year starting with the celebrations in honor of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s platinum Jubilee year and then the activity surrounding her passing, funeral and the proclamation of King Charles III.
The Mayor reported that he had attended multiple events on behalf of the borough including the Interfaith Forum with the Chief Executive, Reading Pride, The FA Cup Match at Bracknell Town Football Club and the unveiling of the commemorative Jubilee poppy.
The Mayor advised that information about past, present and upcoming engagements is being posted across social media so that the message of opportunity in and around Bracknell Forest continues to be shared.
Household Support Fund
Councillor Dr Barnard, Executive Member for Child, Young People and Learning, reported that the Household Support Fund was being continued for the financial year covering 2023/24 and stated that the Council had already distributed over half a million pounds from this fund to Bracknell Forest residents since October 2021.
Councillor Dr Barnard explained that this scheme was now being widened and that those identified as being eligible would be contacted directly and receive payment before Christmas. Options for next year’s funding was being considered in January to ensure that the grant continues to be used to support the borough’s most vulnerable residents.
Councillor Dr Barnard wanted to thank the officers involved in putting this initiative in place and who have helped ensure its effectiveness.
Councillor Birch, Executive Member for Adult Social Care, Health and Housing, explained that there was recognition of the pressures households would face over the coming winter and wanted to highlight some of the initiatives the Council was putting in place to support residents’ health and wellbeing.
Councillor Birch explained that seven sites across the borough have been established as Community Winter Hubs. These are warm spaces hosting various community facilities for residents to access should they need to and advised that there were other community spaces like these around the borough being run by community organisations and volunteers. He asked councillors to acquaint themselves with the various options available for their residents in their wards.
Councillor Birch also highlighted winter wellness activities that were ... view the full minutes text for item 22.
To receive the Leader’s report on the work of the Executive since the Council meeting held on 13 July 2022.
Council is asked to resolve a recommendation in respect of:
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Bettison OBE, presented his report on the work of the Executive since that reported at the Council meeting on 13 July 2022. The Executive had met four times on 19 July, 20 September, 18 October and 15 November 2022.
The Leader highlighted the following matters that had been considered:
Transformation & Finance | Revenue Expenditure Outturn 2021/22
• Executive noted revenue expenditure for 2021/22 was £74.068m (subject to audit)
• Represented -£1.020m underspend compared to the approved budget
• £1.019m returned to General Reserves
• General Reserves balance at 31 March 2022 was £11.346m (5% of Council’s net budget)
• Noted the Council’s Treasury Management performance during 2021/22.
• In accordance with the Prudential Code of Capital Finance it was recommended to Council
Transformation & Finance | Market Street Settled Development Plan
• Adoption of Settled Site Development Plan for Market Street, proposed by Bracknell Forest Cambium Partnership.
– Setting out the final build form and quantum for development, number and nature of affordable properties and anticipated financial returns.
• Included the development of an additional 52 affordable rented homes, increasing the proportion of affordable homes to 56%.
• £0.500m from S106 to a nominated Registered Provider for the additional affordable rented homes.
Transformation & Finance | Bracknell Library
• Agreed the principle of relocating the library to Princess Square, creating a new library and cultural facility
• Linked to the final stages of the Deck and facilitating the future regeneration of the current library site
• Agreed the Council will enter into heads of terms for the lease, completion being subject to the Deck scheme being unconditionally committed to by Bracknell Regeneration Limited Partnership
Transformation & Finance | Depot Surplus Land
• Agreed that the exclusivity period relating to the surplus land at central depot site, granted to Bracknell Forest Cambium Partnership, be extended a further 12 months from 1 October 2022.
Adult Services, Health and Housing | Berkshire Community Equipment Service
• Berkshire Community Equipment Service (BCES) was commissioned through a S75 Joint Agreement across all Berkshire Unitary local authorities and NHS partners.
• Agreed to continue membership of the S75 Joint Agreement for a maximum period of five years.
• Procurement process is being led by West Berkshire Council, subject to review by BFC
Adult Services, Health and Housing | Bay House and Bar Close
• Agreed to spend up to £500k to Silva Homes from S106 affordable housing commuted fund
• Support the development of 51 additional social rented homes.
Adult Services, Health and Housing | National Drug Strategy
• Agreed to a Berkshire East geography for the Combatting Drugs Partnership that will look to deliver against the priorities set out in the National Drug Strategy
• Stuart Lines, Director of Public Health for Berkshire East will be the Senior Responsible Officer.
• A temporary post will be created to support the establishment of the Berkshire East Combatting Drugs Partnership
• Next steps will be to undertake a needs assessment and develop a local ... view the full minutes text for item 23.
To approve the proposed changes to the Councillor Code of Conduct.
The Council considered the proposed changes to the Councillor Code of Conduct
On the proposition of Councillor Allen, Chair of Governance and Audit Committee seconded by Councillor Wade it was
RESOLVED that Council approve the changes to the Councillor Code of Conduct as set out in Appendix C of the report and agree to the constitution being amended accordingly.
To consider the provisions and effect of recently published Statutory guidance on the making and disclosure of Special Severance Payments by local authorities in England.
The Council considered the recommendation regarding the special severance payments – statutory guidance
On the proposition of Councillor Allen, Chair of Governance and Audit Committee seconded by Councillor Wade, the Council
NOTED the contents of the Statutory Guidance on the making and disclosure of special severance payments by Local Authorities (Appendix A)
APPROVED the delegations set out in Appendix B relating the granting of Special Severance Payments, for inclusion in the Constitution and;
NOTED the contents of the pro forma document (Appendix C) used for all special severance cases submitted for approval in accordance with the delegations set out in Appendix B.
To review and agree the Pay Policy Statement for 2022/23.
The Council considered the recommendation regarding the Pay Policy Statement 2022.
On the proposition of Councillor Allen, Chair of Governance and Audit Committee seconded by Councillor Heydon it was
RESOLVED that Council had reviewed and agreed the Pay Policy Statement for 2022/23.
To endorse two appointments:
· an Independent Person who has a consultative role in connection with complaints alleging breaches of the Councillor Code of Conduct
· a Primary Parent Governor Representative to sit on the Overview & Scrutiny Commission and Education, Skills & Growth Overview & Scrutiny Panel
and consider exercising its powers under Section 85 of the Local Government Act 1972 to approve Councillor Mrs McKenzie’s further absence from meetings.
The Council considered the recommendation regarding appointments and attendance at meetings
On the proposition of Councillor Allen, Chair of Governance and Audit Committee seconded by Councillor Mrs Birch it was
RESOLVED That Heather Quillish be appointed to the role of Independent Person for a four-year term of office until 30 November 2026.
That should the Independent Person be unavailable or have a conflict of interest while there is a vacancy for a Reserve Independent Person, an Independent Person from a neighbouring authority will be asked to undertake the role.
That Victoria Hill is appointed to the role of Primary Parent Governor Representative on the Overview & Scrutiny Commission, and that the Commission is asked to formally appoint Victoria Hill to the Education, Skills & Growth Overview & Scrutiny Panel, both terms of office to run for four years until 30 November 2026.
That Councillor Mrs McKenzie’s absence from council meetings due to her ill health is approved until the date of the council elections on 4 May 2023.
To approve the proposed Schedule of Meetings 2023/24.
The Council considered the recommendation relating to the Meetings Schedule for 2023/2024.
On the proposition of Councillor Bettison OBE, Leader of the Council, seconded by Councillor Birch it was
RESOLVED that the schedule of meetings 2023/24 as set out in the annex to the report was approved.
Questions Submitted Under Council Procedure Rule 10
Heathlands was opened in April to ensure Bracknell Residents receive the Specialist care and attention they need. We all welcomed and celebrated this. August and the CQC inspection declared the rating Inadequate- not safe, not effective, not well led with improvements needed in care and in service response. The report was damning and concerned some of our most vulnerable residents. What has been done to ensure all the improvements are put in place within the time scale specified?
Councillor Neil to Councillor Harrison, Executive Member for Culture, Delivery and Public Protection
In every area where we knock on doors, residents report blatant drug dealing, intimidation, unchecked anti-social behaviour, and so on. People used to report these issues but as nothing happens in response to their calls, they now tell us they have given up reporting in. What can the Council do to restore confidence in community safety and neighbourhood policing?
Councillor Bidwell to Councillor Dr Barnard, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Learning
Presumably the Youth Centre in Braccan Walk is now open for all. What is being provided there? And what has been the uptake?
Councillor Brown to Councillor Heydon, Executive Member for Transformation and Finance
I recently met with senior council officers at the Priestwood Square Neighbourhood Shopping Centre to highlight the serious repairs required to the fabric of the buildings there. Considering the limited budget of £85K being made available for ‘tidying’ all of Bracknell’s neighbourhood shopping centres, what is the realistic cost to restore them all to a state of good repair?
Councillor Temperton asked Councillor Birch, Executive Member for Adult Services, Health and Housing the following published question:
Heathlands was opened in April to ensure Bracknell Residents receive the Specialist care and attention they need. We all welcomed and celebrated this. August and the CQC (Care Quality Commission) inspection declared the rating Inadequate- not safe, not effective, not well led with improvements needed in care and in service response. The report was damming and concerned some of our most vulnerable residents.
What has been done to ensure all the improvements are put in place within the time scale specified?
In response Councillor Birch stated that Heathlands delivers more than just dementia care and that the CQC inspection was only in relation to the dementia care element of the site and that the Council is not responsible for delivering dementia nursing care at Heathlands. However, Council officers and partners in the NHS had been undertaking detailed and intensive work to support the operator, that being Windsar Care, to make the necessary improvements.
Councillor Birch stated that Windsar Care, as the registered provider, are responsible for developing and delivering the improvement plan that they had agreed with the Care Quality Commission and that the plan outlines actions in response to each of the issues identified by the inspection. Council officers are providing support and advice as needed and monitoring the provider’s improvement journey. Delivery of each part of the plan has been overseen by a representative from one of the following teams – Care Home Quality Team, Medical Optimisation in Care Homes, Safeguarding, Community Mental Health and Commissioning. The plan is reviewed by Windsar Care initially and then shared jointly for the Council to assist.
Actions included in the plan include training, audits of practice and medication procedures, developing and auditing support plan, recruitment of skilled staff including a new manager and new deputy manager and many other things. Each action is validated before it is signed off with joint review meetings taking place on a fortnightly basis.
Councillor Birch explained that to ensure that people within the facility are safe the council had undertaken a range of specific safeguarding activities. These included reviews of staffing rotas and risk assessments, welfare visits, targeted medication training, observations, and individual safeguarding meetings. Weekly council meetings are being chaired by the Assistant Director for Commissioning to review progress, analyse risks, and to consider necessary actions.
Councillor explained that the CQC had re-inspected Heathlands in the first week of November and that the Council was awaiting the outcome of this inspection but, stands ready to provide further assistance to the operator should it be needed. Windsar Care as the operator will be the first to see the report and will then share it with the council so no comments regarding the outcome of that inspection could be shared at this time.
Councillor Temperton appreciated all that had been done and hoped for a positive outcome to the latest inspection. She asked whether the monitoring and support provided ... view the full minutes text for item 29.