Agenda and draft minutes

Council - Wednesday, 20 April 2022 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Time Square, Market Street, Bracknell, RG12 1JD. View directions

Contact: Kirsty Hunt  01344 353108

Media

Items
No. Item

60.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 669 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meetings of the Council held on 23 February and 24 February 2022.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the Council meetings held on 23 and 24 February 2022 be approved, and signed by the Mayor as a correct record.

61.

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.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

62.

Presentation from Business Improvement District (BID) pdf icon PDF 11 MB

To receive a presentation from Maria Sabey from Fujitsu and Ian Ferguson from Partnerships for Better Business covering progress of the Business Improvement District.

Minutes:

Maria Sabey from Fujitsu and Ian Ferguson from Partnerships for Better Business attended to provide the meeting with an update on the progress of the Business Improvement District.

 

Arising from questions it was noted that:

·       in response to concerns about incidents within the underpasses and local businesses were encouraged to promote buddy systems for those walking through them

·       looking at all renewable energy options including neighbourhood energy production to help businesses in the area

·       the previous scheme to improve connectivity to Heathrow Airport would be discussed at a future network meeting

·       improving the rail connectivity into London was a challenge and that this would be achieved through partnership working to make a commercial case so that operators recognised the profitability

·       the original BID levy invoices arrived during the first lockdown period

·       the BID was relying on support from officers within the Council to resolve issues with the software being used, issue the reminder notices and sharing updated information 

 

The Mayor thanked them for their presentation.


63.

Mayor's Announcements pdf icon PDF 5 MB

Minutes:

Bracknell Camera Club 

 

The Mayor advised that she had attended the Bracknell Camera Club for a prize giving event and thanked Jeff Lawrence, Chair and the team for providing the resource for friendship and improving camera skills.     

 

Tree Planting 

 

In honour of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the Queen’s Green Canopy project the Mayor joined the Leader of the Council, Councillor Bettison OBE, the Chief Executive, Timothy Wheadon and the Lexicon team to plant a wild cherry tree in Bond Square.

 

Sandhurst Town Council Civic Service

 

The Mayor attended the Mayor of Sandhurst, Councillor Mrs Davenport’s civic service on Sunday 27 February. The event was followed by the Community Awards ceremony honouring local residents for their voluntary service.       

Mayor's Challenge - Mum and Baby Group

 

The Mayor completed the challenge to read and sing at a mum and toddler group in Great Hollands on 28 February and thanked Councillor Temperton for supporting her ‘Challenge the Mayor’ initiative.

Queens Award for Voluntary Service

 

The Mayor attended the event in Newbury honouring voluntary groups across Berkshire being considered for The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The Mayor observed that the Queen’s Award is considered to be the highest award given to volunteer groups, that to be nominated is a considerable achievement and congratulated all the groups being considered.      

Meet the Mayor for new citizens

 

During the pandemic citizenship ceremonies had been held virtually. A series of ‘Meet the Mayor’ events had been held at South Hill Park to enable new citizens to have photographs with the Mayor in full regalia and to share their journeys and aspirations for the future.

Ground-breaking for new Binfield Community and Health Hub

 

The Mayor was pleased to report that she had attended the ground-breaking ceremony for the new Binfield Community and Health Hub on 18 March. The development of a double-height hall, multi-use meeting and activity space including General Practice consultation and examination rooms and minor procedures room was being built at the heart of the Blue Mountain site. 

 

Deputy Mayor events

 

The Deputy Mayor, Councillor Gbadebo had attended the English Language Café end of term celebration at Open Learning Centre. The Mayor thanked all the volunteers and organisers for the resource which helped with language skills for many nationalities.

 

The Deputy Mayor had also attended the Bracknell and Wokingham Police Cadet Awards Ceremony and the performance of Shrek at South Hill Park.

 

Pride of Bracknell

The Pride of Bracknell Forest Awards took place at Wellington College on Friday 1 April. Homestart had won the Gold award for Charity of the Year and the Mayor thanked everyone who had been nominated.

  
50 years of Crowthorne Good Neighbours

 

The Mayor had attended the celebration to recognise the 50th birthday of Crowthorne Good Neighbours which not only provided transport to medical appointments but gave residents support and friendship.

 
Forest Springs

 

The Mayor reflected that the unique initiatives within the town centre were valuable to local businesses, residents and maintained the town’s profile. The Forest Springs event over  ...  view the full minutes text for item 63.

64.

Executive Report pdf icon PDF 218 KB

To receive the Leader’s report on the work of the Executive since the Council meeting held on 23 February 2022.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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 23 February 2022. The Executive had met once on 15 March 2022.

 

The Leader highlighted the following matters that had been considered:

 

·       As part of the LGA programme on behalf of DLUCH a Peer Review was conducted in November 2021. The main outcome was that Bracknell Forest Council was “an organisation that knows what it wants to do and how to do it”. There were eight recommendations with three relating to replacing the Chief Executive with the others relating to emerging from Covid and re-engaging with residents.

 

·       An enhanced partnership agreed with local bus operators was a requirement to access future funding allocations as part of the National Bus Strategy.

 

·       The Highways Infrastructure & Asset Management Plan sets out the future approach to long term maintenance of assets including 460km highways, 534km footways/cycleways, 193 structures (e.g. bridges), 21,598 drainage gullies, 14,138 lamp columns and 20km railings.

 

·       The Highways & Transport Capital programme 2022/23 of £4.013m had been agreed with 85% externally funded.

 

·       Procurement Plans had been agreed for Domestic Abuse Refuge & Outreach Services and Environmental monitoring.

 

·       S75 Agreement with Frimley Clinical Commissioning Group had been extended to allow new agreement to be developed with Integrated Care System for 2023/24 onwards.

 

·       Since the Executive meeting two Government Schemes supporting Ukrainian refugees had been introduced e.g. Family Visa Scheme and Homes for Ukraine. The Council had established a web page with contact information with a range of signposting advice for anyone arriving from Ukraine or their family members, set up a dedicated email address, published guidance leaflets for hosts and guests and had regular engagement with the local Ukrainian and Russian communities as well as co-ordinating support with voluntary and church sectors. Support measures included a welcome pack from the Kerith Centre, a £200 payment and assigning a link worker. There were some challenges due to lack of information about the number of families arriving, their travel information or where they would be staying. The Council was reliant on families contacting the Council in order to respond to support requirements. Generosity and support for those arriving had been incredibly positive, and the Council would support new arrivals as much as possible.

65.

Review of Contract Standing Orders pdf icon PDF 124 KB

To consider the recommendation to replace the Council’s existing Contract Standing Orders with the attached updated version.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered the recommendation regarding the replacement of the Council’s existing Contract Standing Orders with an updated version as set out in Appendix 1 of the agenda report.

 

On the proposition of Councillor Allen, Chair of Governance and Audit Committee,

seconded by Councillor Heydon it was

 

RESOLVED that Council updates the Constitution to replace the existing Contract Standing Orders with the version proposed in Appendix 1.

66.

Annual Report of Overview and Scrutiny pdf icon PDF 321 KB

To receive an update on progress made in respect of the operation and development of Overview and Scrutiny in Bracknell Forest during 2021 - 22.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered the Overview and Scrutiny annual report which informed councillors of progress made in respect of the operation and development of overview and scrutiny in Bracknell Forest during 2021- 22.

 

Councillor Temperton enquired whether the list of flats which had met the criteria for introducing food waste collection, established as part of the Food Waste in Flats review, could be circulated.

 

Councillor Angell, Chair of Overview and Scrutiny Commission reported that the Commission and its Panels had received support from Executive members, officers and external witnesses in terms of information provided and participation in activities. The report included statistics on activities including increased frequency of Commission meetings, review activities, officer and witness attendance. He thanked the Chair and Vice-Chairs of the Panels for their hard work to deliver the work programme.

 

On the proposition of Councillor Angell, Chair of Overview and Scrutiny Commission, seconded by Councillor Virgo it was

 

RESOLVED that the 2021-22 annual report of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission be adopted.

67.

Champions’ Annual Report pdf icon PDF 209 KB

To receive a report on the activities and outcomes of the Council’s Champions 2021 - 2002.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Each Champion was asked if they had anything to add to their submitted report and answered any questions:

 

           Councillor Wade, Small Business Champion responded to a question about the lack of green innovation, agreed it was disappointing but believed smaller businesses had been focused on remaining trading during this difficult period.

           Councillor Atkinson, Commuters’ Champion responded to earlier comments relating to the reduced frequency of trains on the Martins Heron to London service as pre pandemic there were 3 or 4 trains per hour. He advised that the South Western Railway’s consultation on a new timetable, referenced within the report, would go towards introducing higher frequencies at peak times. He reported that he had met with South Western Railway recently and was updated that they were awaiting a response from the Department of Transport who were required to approve the proposals.

 

The Council received the Champions’ Annual Report for 2021 - 22, and the Mayor thanked the Champions for their work.

68.

Councillor Development Annual Report pdf icon PDF 209 KB

To receive the Councillor Development Annual Report 2021 - 22.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council received the Councillor Development Annual Report which provided an overview of activity which has been completed to support councillor’s development in 2021 – 2022. Councillor Allen, Chair of the Councillor Development Charter Steering Group, thanked the officer team behind the development programme.

69.

Questions Submitted Under Council Procedure Rule 10

Councillor Temperton to Councillor Dr Barnard, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Learning

 

The Ofsted/CQC report on our SEND provision was damning and shameful. Despite the claim ‘children are at the heart of all we do’, we have clearly failed many of our most vulnerable children. Will the portfolio holder for Children, Young People & Learning explain how this happened on his watch and what could have been done to prevent it?

 

Councillor Temperton to Councillor Dr Barnard, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Learning

 

 Which Bracknell Forest Schools have accepted students from other schools as a ‘Managed Move’ since September?

 

Councillor Bidwell to Councillor Heydon, Executive Member for Transformation and Finance?

 

This month Bracknell Forest residents will face increases to NI, doubling of the cost of energy bills and an increase in council tax, the maximum permitted. Although there has been social media advice on how to receive the £150 council tax grant can the responsible councillor advise:

 

·       How much money was in the hardship fund?

·       What has been the take up e.g. number of residents and amount of money given?

·       How many residents who applied via the BFC website have been denied and why?

·       What is the council’s strategy for broadcasting the availability of the hardship fund other than the BFC website?

Minutes:

Councillor Temperton asked Councillor Dr Barnard, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Learning the following published question:

 

The Ofsted/CQC report on our SEND provision was damning and shameful. Despite the claim ‘children are at the heart of all we do’, we have clearly failed many of our most vulnerable children. Will the portfolio holder for Children, Young People & Learning explain how this happened on his watch and what could have been done to prevent it?

 

In response Councillor Dr Barnard apologised to those parents, carers and children who had been let down in terms of the service provided for SEND provision in recent years and commended those who contributed to the Ofsted inspection. He requested additional time to provide context to his response. The changes to the service began in 2014 when the service moved from a system of providing a Statement of Special Education Need to developing Education, Health and Care Plans. He explained that he was initially shown data that demonstrated that plans had been moved forward in a timely manner and that, as found in the Ofsted inspection, outcomes for Early Years and overall outcomes were good. He advised the meeting that he initially became concerned in 2019 due to an increase in complaints being received. He reminded colleagues that a complaints dedicated email account was created last autumn to manage this. He advised that another reason was that when looking at inspection reports from neighbouring authorities to SEND they shared partners delivering specialist assessments.

 

During late 2019 and early 2020 the council put in place a self-evaluation and SEND framework to monitor outcomes and track progress of plan development. He reflected that although the council consulted with partners it had become evident that they did not undertake enough engagement with parents and carers at that time. He added that work with the Schools Forum also highlighted issues. The self-assessment framework was implemented. He asked colleagues to note that when Ofsted began their inspection it was identified that the council knew what was required to improve the service. He commented that it was impossible to know whether faster progress would have been made without the pandemic but, although not an excuse, it impacted on the ability to move plans forward as the council worked with schools in a different way during that period. He advised that operationally additional resources and capacity were introduced and the quality and timescales towards the 20-week schedule was known to be improving. He stated that the relevant data was reported annually in January so the impact would not been seen for another year. He reflected that 5 of the 6 Berkshire unitary authorities had also received challenging outcomes from their SEND Ofsted inspections. He believed that better performance data could have been shared and two new forums had been established in order to address this: SEND Partnership Board which would be co-chaired by a senior officer and a parent and also the People’s directorate Performance Board where data would be analysed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 69.