Agenda and minutes

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Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 526 KB

To receive the minutes of the previous meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meetings on 25 February and 10 March were signed and approved subject to an amendment proposed by Councillor Gerard to minute C64 of 25 February meeting, “Felsted Neighbourhood Plan”.

 

Additions are highlighted in bold:

Councillor Gerard seconded the proposal and commended the hard work of the local team who had put the plan together. He said Newport had an emerging Neighbourhood Plan but the challenge they faced was a lack of a three-year land supply. He urged Members to support the proposal.

 

2.

Reports from the Leader and Members of the Executive pdf icon PDF 260 KB

To receive matters of report from the Leader and members of the Executive.

Minutes:

The Leader gave a report to Council. A copy of his statement is appended to these minutes for information.

3.

Questions to the Leader, Members of the Executive and Committee Chairs (up to 15 minutes)

To receive questions from members for the Executive and committee chairmen.

Minutes:

In response to a question from Councillor Sell regarding whether more could be done to engage with residents, the Leader said there was already a tremendous amount of information being provided to residents from a variety of sources.

 

In response to a question from Councillor Khan regarding risk assessments against investments, the Leader said he had already responded to Councillor Khan’s letter. The matter could be reviewed at the Investment Board and could continue to be discussed offline.

 

In response to a question from Councillor Dean, the Portfolio Holder – Planning and the Local Plan said he did not intend to seek clarification from the Inspectors on the reasons for the Local Plan being found unsound because they were clear. It was not appropriate to approach the promoters about public support for the sites.

 

The Portfolio Holder – Finance and Budget noted that town and parish councils would still get their precepts paid, and the Council was being moved onto a green energy tariff which would cost approximately an additional £30000.

 

In response to a question from Councillor Barker, the Chief Executive said the Council was not furloughing any staff, and staff who were self-isolating would be receiving full pay.

 

In response to a question from Councillor Light, the Leader said that headline figures about how the coronavirus public health emergency was affecting Council finances had been provided to councilors. The Council was doing a tremendous amount of work with charities at this time.

4.

Remote Meetings pdf icon PDF 282 KB

To consider the report on remote meetings.

Minutes:

Members considered the report on remote meetings, which summarised the steps that needed to be taken to hold remote meetings in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

                        RESOLVED to:

a. Approves the holding of remote meetings in compliance with the Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 (“the Regulations”) for so long as is reasonably necessary.

b. Authorises the Chief Executive to summon remote meetings of the Council, its Executive, committees and working groups.

c. Confirms that references in the Council’s Constitution to attendance at meetings shall be satisfied by remote attendance in accordance with the Regulations.

d. Confirms that references in the Council’s Constitution to publication, deposit or inspection of notices, agendas, documents and other information shall be satisfied by publication, deposit or inspection in accordance with the Regulations.

e. Amends the Council Procedure Rules as set out in the Appendix to this report as they apply to remote meetings.

f. Authorises the Chief Executive to develop and implement protocols for the holding of remote meetings, subject to consultation with Group Leaders and the Scrutiny Chair.

g. Authorises the Chief Executive to take such other steps as, in her view, are reasonably conducive or incidental to facilitating remote meetings.

5.

Treasury Management Practices, Principles and Schedules pdf icon PDF 206 KB

To consider the report on Treasury Management Practices, Principles and Schedules.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder – Finance and Budget gave a summary of the report which set out Treasury Management Practices, principles and schedules in line with the CIPFA Code of Practice on Treasury Management in the Public Services. Local Authorities are required by Law to have regard to the Treasury Management code.

 

RESOLVED to approve the Treasury Management Practices, Principles and Schedules as set out in Appendix A.

6.

Council Tax Discretionary Discounts Policy pdf icon PDF 138 KB

To consider the Council Tax Discretionary Discounts Policy report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder – Finance and Budget gave a summary of the report which said that in December 2019, Leaders and Chief Executives of the County, district, borough and city councils in Essex agreed that they would like to support care leavers with their council tax liabilities.

 

In addition, Council Tax Premiums currently applied to all unoccupied and unfurnished properties in Uttlesford after a period of 2 years had elapsed since the property became unoccupied. Where there were mitigating circumstances it might be deemed that the premium is not appropriate and that this could therefore be waived subject to qualifying criteria.

 

REOLVED to approve the recommendations as set out in the report and associated appendices;

a. That a Council Tax discretionary discount for Essex Care Leavers as set out in Appendix A is applied

b. That the Empty Property Premium Waiver as set out in Appendix C is applied

7.

Financial Regulations and Contract Procedure Rules pdf icon PDF 131 KB

To consider the report on Financial Regulations and Contract Procedure Rules.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder  - Finance and Budget gave a summary of the report which said that the Financial Regulations and Contract Procedure rules hadbeen reviewed in order to ensure that they remained relevant and fit for purpose.

 

In response to member questions, the Portfolio Holder -  Finance and the Budget said the rules and regulations were all about providing value for money. He would look into how these rules took account of environmental and ethical concerns.

 

RESOLVED to approve the updated Financial Regulations and Contract Procedure Rules.

8.

Business Rates Relief and Grants pdf icon PDF 85 KB

On 30 March, the Director – Finance and Corporate Services made an urgent officer decision. It is brought to Council for information.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members noted the urgent officer decision that had been made on 30 March 2020 to update the business rates relief policy and to approve the additional Small Business Grant and the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant.

9.

Hardship Grant Funding pdf icon PDF 358 KB

To consider the report on Hardship Grant Funding.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder – Finance and Budget gave a summary of the report which said that in response to the Public Health Emergency, Covid-19, the Government had provided £500 million to Local Authorities for additional support to council tax payers. Government had requested that these funds be administered using Local Authorities discretional powers, under Section 13a (1) (c) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.

 

RESOLVED to approve the Exceptional Hardship Fund Policy (Appendix 1) using their discretionary powers under Section 13a (1) (c) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992:

·         To provide working age Local Council Tax Support recipients with an award of £150 or the total of their Council Tax liability whichever is lower

·         To provide council tax relief via the Exceptional Hardship Fund to residents suffering extreme hardship

10.

Governance, Audit and Performance Committee Annual Report pdf icon PDF 137 KB

To receive the GAP Committee’s Annual report.

Minutes:

The Chair of the Governance, Audit and Performance Committee presented the report which summarised the work of the Committee in the 2019-20 year.

 

Members noted the report.

11.

Scrutiny Committee Annual Report pdf icon PDF 143 KB

To receive the Scrutiny Committee’s Annual report.

Minutes:

The Chair of the Scrutiny Committee presented the report which summarised the work of the Committee in the 2019-20 year.

 

Members noted the report.

 

 

The meeting ended at 9.40pm.